"The Things They Carried"

10.15
Writer:Jenny Klein
Director: John Badham
Air
Date: March 17, 2015

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THEME

A Slasher/Sci-fi/ horror is used as a metaphor for soldiers returning home, carrying the horror of war,
and trying to cope while inadvertently
harming those they love.
This episode encapsulates
the weight of what our soldiers "hump."

PLOT & CHARACTERS

SLASHER

Fragmented visions appear. Dripping water. Hair. Empty hall. Upside down woman struggling.
Hands bound. Upside down, a masked man approaches from the end of the hall. She's screaming behind duct tape,
Writhing and twisting. He places an ordinary white plastic bucket under her.
He grabs her head and slices her neck. Blood splatters in the bucket and pools in his hand.

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He stoops to begin feasting.

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CAUGHT

When Dean enters the library, Sam quickly closes his laptop to conceal the Mark of Cain research.
Dean asks if he's
looking at "Porn?" Lying horribly, Sam denies it, "What? No. l. It's nothing."
Dean won't
pass judgement but, "Just, you know, not where we eat."
When Sam denies it again, Dean responds, "Okay, 'erotica.' Whatever. Zip it up. Check
this out."
His tablet shows an article of a soldier, Jackie Prescott, trained
in martial arts, "who had all her organs
drained, and the marrow was sucked completely out of the bones."
A Rugaru?
A God? Dean's going to get his "pencil-neck suit."
Sam's not crazy about going, considering recent events, but he's
unable to explain.
Dean takes charge, "10 minutes. I'Il meet you in the car."

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While Dean drives, Sam's continues researching the Mark on his phone.
Dean notices and tells him to stop. "We have to face the truth, right? Even if we don't like it.
Well, truth is there's no way around this. We saw what happened to Cain, okay?
I'm not happy about it. But l got to move on.
So l'm gonna keep doing what we do while l still can.
And l'd like you to be there with me."

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CAKE

They enter the Fayetteville police station where Officers enjoy some birthday cake.
The Sherriff (Peter Anderson) assumes they're agents by their suits.
He's surprised they drove all the way from DC to investigate the death of Jackie Prescott (Crystal Mudry).
The case was solved.
Officer Rick Willis killed her in a storage room at the base, leaving his fingerprints and dog tags behind.
He "drank a boat load of gasoline, then lit himself on fire."
"Well, that's a hell of a way to go." Dean comments.
The Sherriff adds Rick Willis "Left a wife and a baby. Third suicide we seen in six months.
Military town. Would you like some cake?"
Dean clearly wants some cake but Sam declines intercepting Dean's attempt to take some.
Sam asks for more details. The "Vic was killed with a Bowie knife."

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Dean manages to get a finger scoop of icing as they head out the door.
They rule out Rugaru and a god.
Dean's revolted, "The guy Molotov cocktailed himself. That's bonkers.
That's like demon possession bonkers."

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THE WOUNDED

They visit widow, Beth Willis (Helena Marie) in her kitchen. She juggles an adorable baby while explaining
her husband, back from a recent deployment, was good, "I have to kill the spiders, you know?"
She did notice he was unusually thirsty for "Water. He'd spend half the day drinking from the garden hose...
I caught him in the tub drinking the bathwater. When l told him to stop, it was like he couldn't even hear me.
And his skin, it got so dry it bled." She tried to get him to see a doctor at the V.A. "but, he just got on a list to get on a list."
When Rick stopped talking, she "thought maybe it was PTSD."
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Beth has no idea where Rick was deployed, "that stuff is classified."
However, she noted that her "friend Jemma... married to Kit Verson, a guy from Rick's team"
thinks her husband "came back different this time.
Kind of felt like we were dealing with the same thing."

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Sam and Dean interview Jemma (Michelle Morgan) in her living room.
Jemma admits "Kit's been going through some stuff... it takes him a while to get back to normal, but he always does."
When they discover that Kit's been out all night Jemma tries to excuse it,
"Kit, he comes back from these deployments, and he needs his space."
But, she's unable to keep up the deception, "God. I can't even convince myself."
Sam asks if Kit was thirsty, "Like 'drink out of the dog bowl' thirsty?"
Jemma asks, "How did you know?"

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BUDDY

Leaving Jemma's house, they see Cole (Travis Aaron Wade) leaning against Baby.
He pats Baby, "Recognized your wheels." Jemma called Cole for help.
Cole's known Kit since they were "military brats raisin' hell on the same base. He's a good man."

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Cole doubts the Winchesters are there for Jemma's "sweet tea."
Sam admits they're working a case involving Kit and advises Cole to let them "handle it."
Cole wants to help. He has contacts, "a friend of mine works military intelligence owes me a favor."
Dean consents, "Okay, fine."
Cole's hostility shows, "No, it ain't. You know, l figure what's going on here. I stick to you two like flies on roadkill,
make sure my buddy comes home in one piece. Look, l know what you two are thinking, but we are not
gonna hunt my best friend, who happens to be a friggin' war hero... We are gonna find him. And that's the difference."
Dean agrees, "Kit's a hero."
Sam cautions, "But you got to prepare yourself. Kit might not be Kit anymore."

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THIRSTY

At the Gas n' Sip, Kit (Richard de Klerk) staggers in and grabs a small bottle of water and tosses
it in favor of a larger bottle in the cooler.
The two clerks make eye contact. One of them has to step in. Dax (J. AlexBrinson) confronts Kit guzzling water.
"Sir? Sir, you have to pay for that first!" He tries to grab the bottle. Water splashes.
Kit smashes a wine bottle and slashes Dax's throat.

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Blood spatters. Kit falls to the floor sucking up the spillage.

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M.I.

"Well, when in doubt, eat." Dean advises as he tucks into a Sammy's Highway hamburger.
Cole reveals "an encrypted e-mail" from the M.I. "Kit and Rick were sent to rescue
an American P.O.W. Being held in Iraq, the Najaf cemetery."
Cemeteries were used as prisons.

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Cole shows them footage where a P.O.W. attacked his rescuers.

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Sam's phone interrupts, alerting them of the incident at the Gas n' Sip.

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TIP

Outside the Gas n' Sip horror, Cole talks to Jemma on the phone. He tries telling her he doesn't know for sure it was Kit.
Jemma pleads, "If he did, he isn't in his right mind, and you know that, Cole. You got to save him."
Cole promises he will.
Jemma remembers, "Sometimes, when Kit wanted to be alone, he would head up north to his dad's old cabin.
Maybe you could go check it out..."

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Dean calls to Cole, "Hey, Kung-Fu grip, you coming?"
Cole ends the call but doesn't inform the Winchesters of the tip.
Cole reminds them that Kit "doesn't need a bullet, and he doesn't need a knife."
Sam understands, "We know you want to protect your buddy, but . . ."
Dean finishes, "If he's a monster, we got to put him down." Cole asks to be dropped at Jemma's.
Dean agrees, "You keep her calm. We'Il keep you posted."

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Dean doesn't believe him and parks Baby a few streets up.
Sure enough, they spot Cole leaving in his jeep. They follow.

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Dean's annoyed at being deceived.

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KHAAAANN!

Using a flashlight, Cole enters Kit's cabin. He follows a trail of ravaged mice calling out to Kit,
"Are you here? It's Cole. There's some real serious people looking for you... It's bad, Kit. And it's either me or them."
The Winchesters pull up and get their gear ready.
Kit's sobbing in the corner of a bedroom, "I'm sorry. l can't stop."

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Suddenly, Kit attacks Cole. A Khan worm wiggles out of his mouth and into Cole's.
Dean enters and stomps on a Khan worm.
He and Sam rush in and are thrown to the side as Kit breaks away. Cole chokes on the worm.

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Dean goes after Kit. Cole's gagging. Sam tells Cole to stay calm.

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Returning, Dean scolds Cole for his "dumbass move."
Cole apologizes sarcastically, "l'm sorry. l should have let the machete brothers cut my buddy's head off."
Dean's cross, "If you did, maybe you wouldn't be chokin' down a damn Khan worm right now."

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MONDAY

Sam explains what a Khan worm is and the only way to fix them is to get capped in the head or electrocuted.
Cole's eager to try, "Fine. Electrocution it is. l'm game."
He's hopeful because if they can fix him, they can fix Kit.
Dean warns him it will "hurt like a son of a bitch."
Cole says with "a wife, a kid, and an upside-down mortgage to get back to. Whatever it takes, Dean-o."
Dean hooks up jumper cables to a car battery.
Cole admires the brothers, "Day in, day out, you and Sammy saving people from things they
just can't wrap their minds around. Hell, and nobody even notices it. Hell, at
least l get a medal for my efforts. But you, I tried to kill your ass."
Dean remembers it as "good times."
Cole marvels, he almost took Dean "off the map" and "Who would be saving me now?"

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Dean warns him not to get too sentimental about it. "All right, let's fire this puppy up."
Cole's impressed, "you say that like it's just another Tuesday."
Dean replies, "Oh, buddy, it's only Monday." He sparks the cables.

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SHOCKING

Cole puts a wooden spoon in his mouth pressing back in a chair. Dean applies the clamps to Cole's forearms.
Dean tries twice with no results. Cole insists he do it again.

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This time Cole's heart appears to stop. Dean pounds on his chest to get it going.
When Cole comes around he immediately insists, "Hey. All right. Again."
But, Dean's done with the torture, "No, we're done playing 'Operation.' I zap you again, you're toast.
Just take a knee."
Sam, unable to find Kit, picks up the phone for an update from Dean.
The worm was a no-show and "sparky struck out." Sam's heading to Jemma's.

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DRY

Dean and Cole regroup and strategize. Dean figures it's "like a parasite. It wrings you dry, and then it moves on."
Logically, Cole adds, "So if l dry myself out, the son of a bitch wouldn't like that very much, now, would he?"
Dean agrees, "He'd want the hell out. You'd be a hostile environment. Well, more than you already are."
Cole notes Dean's never "seen my chiller side."
They decide to try "rapid dehydration" via "sweat lodge in the woods."

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Jemma follows a trail of flowers to find Kit drinking the water from the flower vase.

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Jemma talks soothingly to him, "We're gonna fix this, okay? We're gonna get you well, Baby."
Kit attacks her and tries to deliver a worm from his mouth.
Sam appears to smash the flower vase over Kit's head.

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Over the phone, Dean fills Sam in, "take a schvitz, kill a freak. Call that a good day."
Sam has another idea, "plan 'B' for bullet." Dean says he isn't there yet and asks about Jemma.
Sam notes she's barely holding on. Dean tells Cole to keep sweating and cruelly cracks a cold bottle of water to drink.
Seeing Cole's anguished look, he says, "sorry."

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WHO R U?

Sam explains the situation to Jemma while Kit's tied up.
"On Kit's ... deployment with Rick, there was an incident, and something got inside Kit. ...
It was a real-life, actual, honest-to-god monster." Jemma ask Sam who he is.
Cole asks again about his father's monster and tells Dean, "I get it. Why you did it, Dean. My dad wasn't my dad anymore.
If l go down that same road. I want you to do that to me, too."
Dean wants to postpone going down "that road. That means giving up. If you think that's where
you're headed, then you've got it ass-backwards. You're gonna fight harder than you ever have.
You understand?"

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Dean has more water. Cole's face flashes with agony and hatred. He seats himself in a chair.
"Dean-o. Will you do me the honor of tying me to this chair?"
Dean starts to comply but takes too long. Cole slugs him and dives towards the water bottle.

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Dean pulls a gun.
Cole mocks him, "Come on. We both know you're not gonna do it."
Dean tells him to sweat it through. Cole admits, he can't. Dean gives him a pep talk.
"Yes, you can. Think about your family. Your wife, your kid. You hear me?"
Cole's struggling, "I appreciate the talk, coach. But honestly, all l can think about
is slicing your wrist and drinking you like a fountain.
Guess that makes me a monster, don't it?"

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FIGHT

Jemma tries to wrap her mind around hunters and monsters,
"I don't care if he's what you say he is, okay? He's my husband."
Sam tries to explain that Kit isn't Kit. He says he'll check in with Dean on the phone.
Jemma sees that Kit's no longer tied to the post in the kitchen. The lights go out.
Sam signals Jemma to be quiet. She tucks in behind him. He motions her to stay where she is.
When Sam moves on, Kit jumps on Jemma. Sam intervenes and begins struggling with Kit.
Kit's on top of Sam choking him. His phone's ringing.
Sam tries to reach for his gun laying a few feet away.

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Dean can't get through to Sam. Cole is seething by the fire.
Wildly, he leaps on Dean holding him down against the table.

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Dean holds a gun to his head,

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The Khan worm is coming up Cole's throat.
Dean throws Cole off and stomps on the worm when it hits the floor.
Cole is okay, "Oh, thank God. Thank God."

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Dean calls Sam to tell him the good news but Sam sadly reports he had to kill Kit.
Jemma rocks her dead husband.

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NO OFFENSE

Outside of Kit's cabin, Sam tries to apologize as Cole packs, "For whatever it's worth, I really wish it hadn't ended this way."
Cole understands, "Me, too, Sammy boy... Jemma told me everything. Soldier goes crazy, attacks his wife.
She had to kill him. Or at least, that's the story that she's got to tell."
Now, Cole wants to get back to his own family. He shakes their hands and thanks them,
but he hopes he doesn't "see the two of you anymore. No offense." Cole drives away.

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Dean tells Sam not to blame himself for Kit. Sam feels crappy, "I tried. l just, I couldn't save this one."
Dean understands too well, "You know, you can do everything right. And even still,
       sometimes, the guy still dies."

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His meaning sinks in and relates to their own predicament:
Sam's refusal to give up on Dean.

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THE SCRIPT

Supernatural has been giving nods to a variety of horror genre films this season.
Ackles included classic Hitchcock and Kubrick shots (10.02 Reichenbach), and we had the "who dunnit" mystery (10.06 Ask Jeeves).
10. 13 "Halt and Catch Fire" was a 'Ghost in the Machine' trope with a nod to a "Scary Movie" parody.
This script opens with a classic 'slasher' scene followed by a Sci-fi horror, parasitic Alien, with some torture thrown in.
(There's a potential article here.)
Another "off screen killing" with Sam and Kit occurs, as in 10.06, 10.09, and 10.14.
The Khan worm is a metaphor for soldiers returning home, carrying the horror with them.
The repercussions infect the soldiers with P.T.S.D. and their quest to escape from the torture, often manifests in various addictions.
The fallout affects their loved ones and suicide is all too prevalent. The novel, The Things We Carried, by Tim O'Brien,
encapsulates the weight of what our soldiers "hump" and it's not chewing gum and canteens.

Upon receiving the news that one of their soldiers drank gasoline and lit himself on fire, the Sherriff's
department acknowledges it as the "third" and carry on with their lives and birthday celebration, having become used to the suffering.

Beth voices the concerns of many families that there's not enough help for soldiers, and that they get put "on a list to get on a list."
The bonds formed by the soldiers extend to their families and this was demonstrated here.
Apparently, the military details are accurate and the dialogue between Dean and Cole realistically and convincingly written.
Freakishly, the story Cole and Jemma will tell is that, "Soldier goes crazy, attacks his wife.
She had to kill him." And, everyone will accept it. Sad.

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Cole's fight with the monster inside parallels Dean's fight with the Mark.
Dean uses this experience to teach Sam a lesson about knowing when to give up.

FLAWS

(Bitch count =2)
Slasher films use misogynistic tropes and gratuitous violence against female characters.
(Here a seasoned professional soldier.) Generally, a repulsive and offensive genre.

While some of the dialogue for the women was insightful, and the actresses gave 100%,
it still fell oddly flat and kind of dumb. Jemma especially seemed to be strange with her
"let's sit and clarify a few points" while her husband's tied to a post in the kitchen.

The parasitic worm thingy, regardless of the great SFX, was tired, done, and is often touted as a thinly veiled
reference for rape (Intrusion of the body). The logistics of the worm were confusing:
Kit gives the worm to Cole but still has one; Cole coughs up a worm and he's OK.
If the worm was leeching all the body's moisture, wouldn't their stomachs be distended? Etc.

The story should have stayed in the real world with a "Slasher" realistic monster.
However, the shock therapy, was rad.
Do it again!

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Castiel and Crowley were absent AGAIN, although it did not deter William Shatner from
tuning in to hack on his comrade Misha Collins.

F1

(BTW, Thanks for ruining the flower "petal trail to the bedroom" scenario for us all.)

Fans at this point were tired of the parallels and MOW episodes and wanted to get to the Season's arc,
especially after the last episode. Not this script's fault.

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DIRECTOR/CINEMATOGRAPHY

John Badham / Serge Ladouceur

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(Director Badham connecting with Travis)

New Book By John Badham
I'll Be in My Trailer: The Creative Wars Between Directors and Actors

http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Be-My-Trailer-Directors/dp/1932907149

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CLASSIC SLASHER SHOTS

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MOTIFS/SYMBOLS

STICKS/POSTS

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BLUE

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RED AND YELLOW
Lots of hits. Here are a few:

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GLASS

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SET DESIGN

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SFX

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MAKEUP

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For Makeup removal by writer, see:



FRIDGES
REVEAL CHARACTER

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READER QUESTIONS


1. What's On Your Fridge? Does Your Fridge Reveal Your Character?
2. Badham (challenging director) used "green" and it sprouts around Sam, Dean and Cole.
Any ideas what GREEN represents?
3. Have you noticed a horror genre featured in Season ten?
4.What's your opinion of "Slasher" horror films?


BEST PERFORMANCE
(honorable mention)

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Electrifying! Congratulations, Travis Aaron Wade!

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(You'll be back!)

FROM THE REARVIEW

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Richard de Klerk (Kit Verson) played Scott Carey in 2.10 "Hunted"

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THANKS TO
Supernaturalwiki
Storify: Live Tweets & Behind the Scenes
KissThemGoodBye
Supernaturaldaily gifs from Tumblr
Giphy: Wedgif
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

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Comments  

JJA
# JJA 2015-09-02 14:53
A solid MOTW episode from beginning to end. Although, it did seem kinda weird that Cole just so happens to be in the same town that Sam & Dean were working a case.

One MAJOR complaint: the CW spoiled the episode in the press release which stated that a Khan Worm was the culprit. Bad CW! Bad! Bad!
Vince
# Vince 2015-09-04 00:23
I thought it was pretty clear that Kit was carrying around multiple worms, since in the cabin two plop out of his mouth. One into Cole and one on the floor.
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-09-08 18:05
Hi Wednesday! Glad to see you back with another review. I read all your other ones too, but wasn't able to comment because of the start of the semester. Busy, busy! Anyway. You liked this episode a lot more than I did. I found it oddly flat and quite forced on a number of fronts and I found much of the plot very problematic. I'll try to break it down coherently....

1. The opening scene - it wasn't that it was illogical or anything, actually it was too realistic for my tastes. I am hardly a squeamish person, but that opening was just too hard to take, too realistic somehow. I shudder just thinking about it.

2. The Kahn Worm - this incarnation of the Kahn Worm was very badly set up. There was zero explanation as to why this Kahn Worm was so unlike the other Kahn Worm from season 6. Why didn't electricity work on this one? Why did more than one Kahn Worm infect some people and not others? I mean, there was no indication that the original soldier, Rick, carried more than one worm as that would have lead to even more people being infected, so why did Kit have so many of them? Why dehydration? That wasn't a part of the other Khan Worm's modus operandi. How come this Kahn Worm didn't try and communicate with anyone? The other Kahn Worm could. None of it was explained.

3. Cole - No offense to Travis Aaron Wade (he seems like a good guy), but Cole was downright annoying in this episode. He just HAPPENS to be really, really, weelly good friends with Kit... they go way back don't ya know. And he just happens to follow the Winchesters around spouting all kinds of kitschy and overdone military speak, and 'aint he just sooooo tough and dedicated. Oh, and lets be all suspicious until Sam and Dean prove themselves to him. And they couldn't have solved the case without his highly exclusive, top secret video! None of it seemed earned to me. It all was too terribly convenient and contrived to ring true. Oh, and lets not forget to thank Dean, apologize to Dean, hero worship Dean when the guy you tortured is standing right there. His nicknaming and forced familiarity got on my very last nerve.

4. Sam - Welcome back ineffectual, lets stay in the background, dumb Sam. Sam was pretty much useless here. The boys were split so that Dean could get intense torture scenes with Cole and deliver his useless "never give up!" crap that he doesn't even believe in and Sam is saddled (AGAIN!) with the 'wife' whom we barely know and couldn't care less about. He gets to "connect' with her which largely consists of letting her talk about herself while he sits there looking sympathetic. Then he leaves Kit tied up out of sight to have his heart to heart with this wife? How dumb is that? He should have been at Kit's side with a gun basically leveled at Kits head ready to shoot at a moments notice. If he'd been more diligent and kept Kit from getting loose (an incredibly tired out trope that I am SOOOOO sick of seeing) then maybe Kit's Kahn Worm would have jumped ship out of Kit (like with Cole) before Sam had to shoot him for attacking his wife. Grrr. And don't get me started on the off screen death. Why is Dean bonding with Cole more important that Sam being forced to kill a victim and innocent and destroying a young wife's life? And Sam's sorrow at the end of the ep was completely out of proportion to the set up. Sam doesn't get to be that upset when we didn't even see why. Then the anvils, the "you can't save them all, Sammy" bull-shit that is a complete contradiction to what Dean was telling Cole just about crushed my head in. Jenny Klein is certainly not the worst writer in the Supernatural stable, but she isn't in the least bit subtle.

5. Dean - There was a huge missed opportunity to show how much the Mark was affecting Dean here. They alluded to it ever so subtly when he took that drink of water and maybe, slightly, appeared to be enjoying Cole's discomfort, but it was so unclear that I could be reading into it and there was no connection made back to the Mark in anyway to show that Dean's insensitivity was fueled by the Mark. They could have shown Dean actually enjoying the torture a whole lot more, the water and the electrocution.. . maybe being a bit more sadistic than necessary which could have lead to the heart stopping moment at which point that is what snaps Dean out of his MoC induced haze. But nope, it was all so vague and so subtle it's as though the MoC wasn't a factor in this episode at all other than the fact that it was mentioned briefly at the start of the ep. Furthermore, I got so incredibly sick of Dean and his "buck up soldier! Never give up!" pep talks, dispensing advice that he never takes himself. They did that in Halt and Catch Fire as well. I don't want to listen to Dean deliver the "never give up!" mantra and then quits himself in his very next breath. This is all part and parcel of how badly written the MoC arc was. His entire mindset makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
"We have to face the truth, right? Even if we don't like it.
Well, truth is there's no way around this. We saw what happened to Cain, okay?
I'm not happy about it. But l got to move on.
So l'm gonna keep doing what we do while l still can."

Exactly what is Dean "moving on" from? What exactly does he think is going to happen when he can't keep hunting? Why is he sitting on his butt passively and waiting around to succumb without trying to find any kind of solution at all? Why is he so opposed to Sam trying to find a way out for him that Sam feels compelled to keep his research a secret? (Which is another whole can of kahn worms in itself). Dean's arguments make little to no sense and just perpetuate the conflict between the brother for the sake of having a conflict. Anything Sam might have come up with was not as bad as what was happening to Dean in the here and now. They handled this so much better in season three. Dean had a legitimate reason to not want to get out of his predicament; here? not so much.

Sorry for being so long winded!! I love these reviews they really make me think.