Tears in Heaven – Supernatural 9.22

credit mishnjay
credit mishnjay

The penultimate episode of Supernatural Season 9 shook up fandom – that part is nothing new. Just about every season, the last few episodes destroy most of us emotionally, in one way or another. We’re used to it. We prepare for it, stocking up on tissues and some good wine and making sure we have our support systems at the ready. This week’s episode, however, shook up fandom in a different way, splitting it down the middle and sending fans scrambling to make their feelings known to TPTB — and in some cases, turning on fellow fans.


It’s not that fandom wank isn’t an integral part of fandom – two of our books (Fandom at the Crossroads and Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls) have chapters that analyze the reasons for fannish infighting. But I never seem to be expecting it when it happens, caught up in my customary bubble of “Supernatural is my happy place”. Being yanked out of that with all the gentleness of an attack dog getting its teeth in my throat was….well, painful. By the time the West coast airing had finished, some fans were breaking up with Show and leaving the fandom. Yes, this happens from time to time – people flounce, people rant, people come back. Or they don’t, and they find another Show to love and another fandom. But this was a lot of people. Insightful, analytical people who had been fans from the beginning, whose opinions I respected and whose reviews I enjoyed. These were journalists and bloggers and fans I knew from all corners of online fandom – Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal. They weren’t flouncing off with drama; they were angry. Or devastated. And that’s a problem.

At the same time, there were other fans on cloud nine, who had loved the episode and were bouncing with anticipation of next week’s finale. Honestly? That’s where I usually am. That’s where I wanted to be! I love this Show with a fiery passion, and I’m not ready to give up on it by any means – but ouch. This episode, and especially its aftermath, hurt.

Let’s start with the stuff I liked.


No. 1 – I watched the Show with my daughter, and both of us thought the episode itself was well written – the dialogue was excellent, with lots of fabulous zingers that weren’t over the top or out of character. Emily especially appreciated that the story flowed from start to finish, instead of jumping back and forth between different story lines. We had whiplash watching some of the recent episodes, they were so fragmented. “Look over here!” “No wait, over there!” “Okay, back to here!” It was a relief to have a story line play out without too much back and forth.

No. 2 – That first scene in the ice cream shoppe. Thanks for that, Andrew Dabb. It was perfection.

No. 3 – I know some fans are, at this point, asking WTF, why is everyone saying that? But I like the repetition of the line, ‘I did what I had to do’ throughout this season. I noted it in the season premiere, and have expected it to be a theme of the season – and it has. It’s everyone’s explanation for all kinds of bad decisions and worse behavior. If it doesn’t play into the finale, I’ll be disappointed.

No. 4 — There were some great lines and pop culture references this week, which I enjoy as long as they aren’t overused. Loved the shout-out to Curtis Armstrong’s Booger in Revenge of the Nerds.

Bowling alley angel to Metatron: “It’d still be you. A nerd. Trying to be one of the popular kids.”

And Metatron trying on Castiel’s trenchcoat? I laughed out loud.

No. 5 — The Sam and Castiel interactions were also a high point for me.

Sam tries to pick the lock of the warehouse, but fails.

Castiel: “Step aside, I’ve got this.”

(Throws himself ineffectually against the door, which doesn’t budge)

Castiel: “I don’t got this.”

credit iwuvspnandshady
credit iwuvspnandshady

Also loved Sam solving the riddle that opens the warehouse door (seven eight nine) and then looking so disbelieving that it worked. My daughter yelled out “Indiana Jones!” at the “Only the penitent man shall pass”, which greatly amused me – since it’s usually me yelling at the television during Supernatural.

And when Sam and Cas finally went through the portal, the looks on both their faces at what they found were priceless. Fandom, as always, captured the moment best:

Whiskeyandoldspice: Castiel’s own personal heaven: taking Sam to prom

Sam: What the...?
Who wouldn’t want to take this guy to prom?

No. 6 — There was also a lot of hotness in this episode (yes, the shallow does play a part in my enjoyment of the Show, what can I say?)

The beginning scene with Sam being rudely awakened by Dean was delicious. Just Sam sprawled out on the bed was a moment of hotness, but the way he sprang up, gun at the ready, was extra yummy. Also I laughed out loud when Sam threw his shoes right back onto the floor, bitchface in place. Living with Dean as he is right now would be enough to make anyone perfect the bitchface.

Also, as Dean himself noted: Good reflexes. Better hair.

So true.

Sleepy Sam. Yum.
Sleepy Sam. Yum.

Cas looked fetching in this episode too, especially when he’s being all earnest and turning those baby blues pleadingly on a Winchester or two.

And then there’s Dean. I continue to love Ackles’ portrayal of Dean going darkside, and holy hell, is it ever hot. I think Osric Chau said it best:

@OsricChau: Oh my Dean, you’re so strong and forceful… #Supernatural


While I wish the Flagstaff angel hadn’t been in a female vessel, that scene also worked. The angel gave voice to Dean’s negative views of himself as just a killer, Daddy’s blunt little instrument, which are being reinforced by the Mark: “You think you help people. It’s amusing. … You believe every problem in the world can be solved with a gun. You think you’re a hero, but under the hype, you’re a killer with oceans of blood on his hands. I hate men like you.”

And then Dean flipped the table and took her down with the angel blade at her throat and I literally leapt out of my comfy seat on the couch and screamed! (My daughter did not appreciate this reaction).

Holy crap, Dean! Ackles sold that on-the-edge-of-out-of-control violence perfectly, while making the next thing he said hotter than hell.

Dean: Oh honey, there ain’t no other men like me.

I’ll say. Dayum.

Definitely ain't no other man like Dean Winchester
Definitely ain’t no other man like Dean Winchester

The look on Dean’s face after Tessa forces herself onto the Blade, as he savors the rush of the kill, all flushed and breathless, was also pretty damn hot. Took my brain off in all sorts of interesting directions…

I also have some shallow love for Sam and Castiel returning to find Dean tied to a chair and gagged with duct tape. Sam should probably have left the duct tape on, considering the pronouncements that followed.

So, all that was of the good. There were other parts of this episode that really didn’t work for me, however, so much so that I was thrown out of the narrative. Never a good thing.


a) The Predictable

Did anyone not know that Dean was lying to Sam when he promised not to take the First Blade with him?

Cas and Sam driving off to go exploring and leaving Dean alone. Really, guys? When you’re all so worried about the MoC and how it’s impacting him?

Hannah forcing Castiel’s hand to find out if he’s loyal to angels or…humanity? If anyone thought Cas was going to “punish” Dean, you’ve been reading too much fanfic. (Which, go for it, really there’s no such thing as too much fanfic, but in the episode? Not a lot of tension in that scene).

b) The Characters-Are-Not-Too-Bright

Sam’s argument for why they shouldn’t bring the First Blade. Really, Sam? Wait until one of the Big Bads announces to you ahead of time that there will be an opportunity to kill them, and then bring the Blade? Surely you could have come up with a better rationale than that! (How about Dean, you’re an out of control unpredictable violent dick when you have the Blade in your hand?)

Cas taking a Skype call from Metatron (is this how ineffectual the angels have become??) without having a clue that it’s a bad idea to converse with a master manipulator while your troops are all listening in. Oops. Shouldn’t have stolen that grace, Cas.

c) The Annoying

Tessa coming back and not seeming like Tessa at all. Also, since when are Reapers angels? I was thoroughly confused. And why could everyone see her? I thought you could only see them when you were about to die? Reapers never took vessels, they could manifest as whatever they wanted you to see. So confused! Is this LOL!Canon or something else?? (ETA: Yes, I know this wasn’t the episode that started the…ummm….evolution of reaper lore, so I’m not blaming you Andrew Dabb! I think it just stung more because this was Tessa, who we know so well.) I was confused enough that it threw me out of the narrative momentarily, which is never a good thing. So reapers are angels now.

Tumblr: Reapers will be zombies next, or maybe vampires.

Me: Argh


Much of the episode fell somewhere between the Good and the Bad for me.

No. 1 – Meta mistakes. I was at first expecting more of the meta that the Show isn’t getting quite right recently.

Metatron on the mystery of the ‘cult of Castiel’: “Sure, he’s cute…”

Me: Oh no, not again. Please can we not go there, Show?

Luckily, it didn’t go too far and wasn’t too heavy handed.

No. 2 – Castiel.

I enjoy Castiel’s continuing awkwardness – even though he now has an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, he can’t apply it. Nuance and metaphor escape him. I think one of the reasons for the character’s popularity is that many of us have felt awkward or “weird” at some point in our lives too. That Sam and Dean still accept him and respect him is a powerful thing, something that many fans find inspiring and hopeful. So I enjoyed all those cute and awkward moments, and thought they were both well written and well acted. Jared and Misha can be hysterical together (though I always wonder if one is pranking the other unmercifully every time the camera is on the other…)

Warner Bros/The CW
Warner Bros/The CW

Sam (incredulous): Spears and Aguilera?

Cas: I noticed your aliases are usually the names of popular musicians.

Dean (eye rolling): Wow.

I’ve also liked seeing some evolution in Cas as a character, but this week I felt like we were looking at him from the outside. The exception was his clear distress when he thought the Winchesters didn’t trust him. He’s still feeling guilty for getting caught up in pride himself and lying to Dean and Sam, and has desperately wanted to prove himself to them. Dean’s harsh words to him – while they were true and probably needed to be said – stung.

“Cas, I know you try to be a good guy, okay, I do. You try. But what you’ve got here, this is a freaking cult. The last time you had this kind of juice, you did kill humans. AND angels. And you did nothing but lie to me and Sam about it the whole damn time.”

And it gave me a moment of heartclench when Cas plaintively asked Sam in the car whether Sam believed him. Awww, Cas.

Other than that, though, I found myself unconvinced that Castiel was anywhere near heartbroken when he lost his army. He was a reluctant leader from the start, and while I believe he wants to help his fellow angels, I think he’s happy enough to do that with the “humanity” that he cares about – Sam and Dean.

No. 3 — Metatron. I liked him as a villain at first – he was unique, frightening because he was so creepy and so deluded, a talented manipulator. Now I’m not so sure – he’s set himself up as the hero, and seems convinced he’ll win, but when is that kind of pride not the source of downfall on Supernatural? When Metatron had Gadreel kill Kevin, he became someone on my “go ahead and kill him” list. I realize I’m not supposed to like him, but I really really don’t.

xxx 9.22 meta

No. 4 – The angel war. I’ve been mostly bored by the angel war story line for quite a while now, but I did like the idea running through this episode that the angels are much like humanity – when they’re lost and hurting like Tessa was, they just want someone to tell them what to do. It’s a relief to follow someone, to take orders, to have them give you a purpose for existing. And that’s also tragic. The idea of suicide bombers is not abstract, it’s real – so that hit home in a way that left my stomach in knots. I may not care much about the angels, but it packed an emotional hit anyway because I do care about real life tragedies. Like Sam said, people have been doing crazy things in the name of faith and the name of God since forever. That’s real. And tragic.

No. 5 — Also of the in between: Gadreel.

Gadreel is straddling my good and bad categories (much like the character himself). I can’t help but snicker every time he makes the epic bitchface that he obviously learned from sharing space with Sam Winchester.

Gadreel version of the patented Sam Winchester bitchface
Gadreel version of the patented Sam Winchester bitchface

I like that he hasn’t been a one-dimensional character, that we haven’t been sure of his motivations. I was hoping Gadreel would be part of some surprising twist – I expected the character to be a bit smarter than he turned out.

Although I tend to believe Gadreel was sincere when he returned to the bunker, I was startled when Dean reached out to shake his hand. I was screaming again (with subsequent apologies to family) when the handshake happened, because NO WAY would Dean forgive the angel who possessed his brother and killed Kevin. My screams got even louder when the handshake turned into a First Blade attack.

YES! That scene totally worked for me, in a way that last week’s Dean and Abbadon showdown didn’t. It was quick, unexpected, dramatic but not overplayed. And Sam and Cas jumping in to hold Dean back was perfect. Good lord, did anyone else find Dean growling and grimacing like a wild animal both terrifying and ridiculously hot??

credit appleteapackage
credit appleteapackage

No. 6 — And that brings me to my biggest ‘in between’ – most of it is of the good, but it’s not the kind of good that you want to roll around in happily forever: The Mark of Cain storyline

I’ve written before about how much I’m liking the Mark of Cain story. What it’s doing to Dean makes sense to me, especially in light of what I heard Ackles say in the recent DCCon meet and greet. He’s playing Dean’s need for the Blade as an addiction, as something that’s filling the “gaping wound” left by Sam’s declaration earlier this season that they weren’t brothers, just partners. (Let me reiterate, I understand Sam’s motivation and am frustrated that we haven’t gotten to explore more of his feelings about being lied to and once again possessed). Jensen said that Dean’s feelings of hurt are a part of why he so recklessly took on the Mark, and why the rush of holding the Blade is so addictive to him, the only thing bringing him “calm” and easing the pain he’s still feeling. No wonder he’s surrendering to it so completely – and no wonder he’s using his newfound numbness and violent urges to wound poor Sam even more. He really is “daddy’s blunt little instrument” – and he can say all the hurtful things to Sam that he used to be afraid to voice, the way two people who care about each other do when they’re hurting.

credit wearydean
credit wearydean

It’s no coincidence that Dean emphasized the “we’re not partners” when he told Sam “how it was gonna be”. It must be a heady sense of relief for Dean to be freed from needing people, and from working so hard for their approval. To not care. It makes him a friggen’ frightening character!

I also think that the issue which consumed fandom for much of the early part of the season – Dean allowing Sam to be possessed without his consent – hasn’t been swept under the rug and ignored completely. I think that’s part of why Dean was so eager to take on the Mark, and so uncaring of what would happen from then on. He’s described himself as “poison” more than once, and specifically cited that decision and its outcome as part of the reason why. When the Flagstaff angel calls him a murderer, he doesn’t disagree. He took on the Mark in part because he hates himself for that, and for what he did to Sam, and for what Gadreel did to Kevin. Do I wish we’d get more of this onscreen and actually have it articulated? Yes. So much yes. But I do think it’s there, in the narrative.

No. 7 — Most of the Sam and Dean interaction in this episode falls in this in between category too. I, like much of the fandom, long for a glimpse of the brothers’ love for each other – the reason I fell for this Show in the first place. I hate that we’ve had so little of it all season, and I’m still wondering where the Jeremy Carver who wrote “A Very Supernatural Christmas” has gone to and who the hell has taken his place. That said, I didn’t hate the scenes that Sam and Dean did have this week, even though they were tremendously painful to watch.

Sam: “So, Dean, uh . . . we going to talk about this or what?”

Dean: “About what? Yeah, I lied. But you were being an infant.”

Sam: “Wow. Even for you, that apology sucked.”

Dean: “Oh, I’m not apologizing. I’m telling you how it’s gonna be.”

Sam: “Dean — ”

Dean: “That blade’s the only thing that can kill Metatron, and I am the only one who can use it. So from here on out, I’m calling the shots, capische? Until I jam that blade into that douchebag’s heart, we are not a team. This is a dictatorship. And you don’t have to like it, but that’s how it’s gonna be.”

OMG, Sam’s FACE! I nearly knocked my daughter off the couch with my gasp of horror. Ouch!

Oh, Sammy!
Oh, Sammy!

That scene, painful though it was, was well done. But then Sam just walked away! I agree with everyone who felt cheated that we didn’t get any reaction time with Sam. Why cut away, and have him storm off? Why not give us a glimpse of what’s going on in Sam’s head right now? Yeah, we know he’s worried, and I believe he’s sticking around because he does love his brother and knows that Dean needs him, no matter how big a jerk he’s being right now. But can’t you show me that??

Someone described Sam in recent episodes as “like a ghost moving in and out of the background of the story” and honestly, it does seem that way at times. I’m a Dean girl, and I really really miss Sam!

Once Sam leaves, presumably quite hurt, Dean calmly assures Castiel that he has proven himself by choosing Dean over his angel army. The smile that accompanies Dean’s insistence that the three of them will be enough made the whole scene feel off.

xxx 9.22 cas2

“We always have been,” Dean says, but I find that I don’t quite believe him. After all, if it’s going to come down to Team Free Will, it doesn’t make much sense that Dean just announced to Sam that they are not a team. I wonder if Cas was as skeptical as I was. (After all, it’s not just Sam who Dean treats harshly in this episode – he also is brusque with Cas, mistrusts him, and takes him to task in front of his own angel army).

As painful as the results of Dean’s addiction are to watch (especially when it comes to Sam), that part of it, to me, is good storytelling. As long as we don’t stay there too long. In any good story, there’s the build up of tension, the angst, the OMG moment, and then there’s a satisfying resolution. That resolution has to include the brothers getting back to being brothers and both loving and liking each other, or my reason to love the Show is gone. GONE.

Like I said, I do understand why some fans are bowing out.

Okay, and now for…


For some fans, that reason to love the Show is gone already. It’s been a long time since the brothers have had fun together, or teased each other affectionately, or, you know, died for each other. This episode seemed to be the last straw for many.

“It broke my heart… I severed my deeply rooted attachment to the Show…”

“I’ve been told I’m not welcome in their story world anymore”

“At one point last night during a scene I cannot recall I remember wondering if Sam & Dean had any feelings at all for each other anymore.”

I understand those reactions; I feel some of that too. It’s indescribably painful to love something and then have it change, and to desperately want it to return to what made you love it in the first place. Change is, of course, inevitable. But when it takes away something that was emotionally important to you, that hurts. The same sort of hurt has happened to other segments of fandom over the past few years, when what they desperately wanted to have in the Show and what was emotionally important, also seemed to be changing. Sometimes it’s Dean fans hurting, sometimes Sam fans, sometimes Cas fans. Sometimes it’s ‘brothers’ fans or ‘Wincest’ fans or ‘Destiel’ fans. But every time, the hurt is real.

And every time, some fans turn on each other. Because this is the age of reciprocal interaction and social media, fans on every ‘side’ bombard the writers and producers with pleas to make the Show the way they passionately want it. Then some fans, out of fear and hurt and desperation, lash out at fans who want something different – they perceive those other fans as a threat, possibly someone who might influence canon to ‘go the other way’. Or if they’re on the currently ‘winning’ side, they taunt others with ‘haha, I told you so.’

Last night I watched fans be bullied by other fans. It’s not just one particular side. I’ve seen the same thing happen when the tables are turned, whenever one side is rejoicing over an episode that went their way and wants to rub it in someone else’s face. Whenever one side attacks another who might have a different opinion. Last night, I watched real people be hurt by other real people, behind the veil of anonymity the internet provides. .

[Name redacted]: What’s that? It’s raining [insert whatever your ‘side’ is] hater tears?

Tears, no matter who in fandom is crying them, are hurtful. We wrote “Fangasm” to celebrate fandom for the awesome, supportive, giving community that it can be. I might have to go back and read my own book to remember.

I’m not giving up on fandom – or on Show. But I am hoping that SPN will show us more of what seems missing. Show us more of Sam’s perspective! The Sam and Cas friendship that’s developing seems like it could be a way to ease the fandom divide – the two work together well, and they’re united in their concern for Dean right now.

Fanart says it best: (credit kelisab)

xxx 9.22 cartoon

Show us more of that! Let the angel war finally end, and let Cas be organically part of the Winchesters’ ongoing story. And for godsakes, show me the Winchesters again! Show me the Sam and Dean who would do anything for each other, who fought and disagreed and were cruel to each other sometimes, but who were always, at the end of the day or the end of the world, brothers.

That’s the Show I love.

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87 thoughts on “Tears in Heaven – Supernatural 9.22

  • I haven’t seen the episode yet and didn’t read this entire post (for the same reason. Gotta watch it first) but I am saddened to hear of the strife that it caused. What happened to unconditional love? Yes there have been episodes I didn’t care for, but I care for the guys and their lives and relationships. I would never dump them because I was unhappy with one episode. I would never leave SHOW because of one incident, or even a string of incidents. I offer my support regardless.


    If it is that easy to walk away, then there wasn’t real love to begin with, is all I gotta say.

    • I criticize & angst & lash & bitch over SPN because I love it so much.

      It’s great you can accept everything SPN does so wholeheartedly (I wish I could!), but just because I/fans voice frustrations & question walking away, doesn’t mean I/fans love the show or these characters any less than you do.

      I just don’t think you should be so quick to judge.

      I’m sure that walking away from this show was not at all easy for the fans that did.

      • I’m in it to the end, as I’ll just have to know what happens. I do understand fans walking away or contemplating it though. I’m scared that by sticking with the show it’ll irredeemably tar characters I so care about, and I won’t be able to forgive them. I just have to put my faith in the writing team that this won’t happen but I am very fearful it might as there seems to be a lack of affection for the characters right now.

    • i totally agree with you. I mean, i would never leave the show for one episode, hell for even one entire season. I love Supernatural for many reasons, and i believe that “fans” who said they’ll stop watching the show,or that sent hate messagges to the writers aren’t truely fans. I know it’s been 10 seasons and we all want different things, but we love the brothers no matter what, and we support them no matter what because the show gave us its support when some of us really needed it.
      i’ll keep watching Supernatural no matter what happens i will love it to the end

  • Thank you, Lynn, for articulating so perfectly what I am feeling about this show. Last nights episode left me feeling empty. I love that Dean is finally getting a more in-depth storyline, and while it has been interesting to further explore this dark!Dean, and while Dean/Jensen are extremely sexy, I am having a hard time watching this Dean as the Dean I fell in love with, the hero. I am also having a very hard time with the brothers discord. I fell in love with this show because of the brothers’ strong connection, and to have that connection missing for most of the season has left me starting to not care. I am anxious for the season finale, but not in the way one would think. I am anxious for the finale because I just want this season to be over with. I want it to end, and I want S10 to start in the fall as a redoux for the series, with the brothers back together, fighting side-by-side, in synch with one another, laughing, teasing, and loving each other like they were in the earlier seasons. I really need that to be in existence next season or I may just give up on this show as well. As it stands now, this season will be my least favorite out of all the 9 seasons, And as you mentioned in your narrative, where is the Jeremy Carver that knew these brothers so well from ‘A Very Supernatural Christmas,’ because the way it looks right now, that Carver is gone.

    From a technical viewpoint, this episode was done very well. As always the acting, lighting, staging, and editing were superb. We had some great quippy one-liners, and the progression of Dean’s dark side is scary, as it continues to manifest itself more and more.

    However, I am more or less bored with the angel storyline and just ready for it to be over. I found Tessa to be one of the angels(?) (I didn’t realize reapers were angels too) a little disturbing that she would wantonly agree to destroy innocent souls. When Dean asks her that it’s okay if a few innocents get lost when trying to kill the bad guys, she responds with “in the grand scheme, they don’t matter.” I really had a problem with that, especially when remembering episode 6.01 and she (along with Death) were trying to teach Dean a lesson about the natural order and how all lives matter, and their death and life. This was not the Tessa we have known, and I found it jarring that her personality would have changed so much between then and now.

    I do not like Metatron AT ALL, and really just want him gone and to be nothing but a bad memory.

    I am not ready to give up on this show just yet, I have invested too much time and too many feels to give up just yet. And, I am a HUGE Dean girl, and I really can’t give up on Dean. I need/want our Dean. He has captured my heart and soul and he is hard to let go. However, the love and avid feeling that I used to have for this show is no longer existent. And that saddens me. I feel like an old friend has died, and I am grieving hard at the loss of this dear old friend. I really do hope that the finale will give us something we have all be hoping and craving for, but frankly, I have lost my faith in the writers, and don’t have much hope for that happening at all. But I would love it if they surprised us and gave us something we are not expecting.

    As you said, “Show me the Sam and Dean who would do anything for each other, who fought and disagreed and were cruel to each other sometimes, but who were always, at the end of the day or the end of the world, brothers.” Amen to that Lynn, Amen. That is the show I love. That is the show I need, That is the show I want back for Season 10.

    • Ditto! The Dean we have right now is not the character I fell in love with, and while I accept that people (including fictional ones!) do and should change, Dean is the sole character who anchors the audience to the story. Remove him or turn him into a completely unsympathetic character, and you will risk losing your audience too.

      • I don’t see Dean as an unsympathetic character, in fact, I find him to be completely sympthetic. It’s about time Dean gets to let out his anger and feelings, he’s always being told by other characters to “suck it up” or “fake it” or “stow your baggage” but a person can’t survive doing that, especially since Dean has always been the one who has had to make the tough decisions and takes the hard actions to spare others (e.g. Croatoan). If the show had let Dean had have some release/PTSD from his Hell time (no, the show only allowed basically one episode, one it was even mocked in, in Yellow Fever), or from Purgatory (again, the PTSD only lasted about one or two episodes.

        I sympathisize and empathisize with Dean, even moreso now.

      • I completely agree with you, Maggs! I sympathize and completely understand where Dean is coming from – and I love it! I think it’s time for the gloves to come off for Dean. He’s accepted an awful lot of hurtful speeches from Sam, and I’m not seeing too much of an issue for him to articulate his own feeling in the matter, when usually he has to suck it up. I feel Dean was completely sincere when he spoke to Castiel and comforted him at then end – that’s just how the scene read to me, and the acting. Jensen has always been exceptional at showing Dean’s real feelings and motivations in any scene, regardless of dialogue, and I feel this time he played it sincere. Sam is getting the short side of Dean’s temper because of the way he’s been treating Dean., and I’m okay with that. I want Sam to EARN his brother’s trust and love back, but it’s going to be a long hard road after the past two season, I believe.

  • I agree with you completely..the show is losing direction..what does it matter whether Sam is possessed by Gadreel or Dean has the Mark of Cain if none of it has any bearing to the Sam and Dean story. You could take a million things from mythology and make them happen to the boys. How that affects their relationship is what matters.This is the story of two brothers.That is why we love it. There are a lot of other shows giving interesting mythology to watch, much better than Supernatural’s. We stay with the show because that is where Sam and Dean are. I miss Seasons 1 and 2. I miss the two brothers just hitting the road and killing monsters. What does all this mean?? The show has such a good thing going for it in the form of Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. They have chemistry like no one else on TV. Why not use it to give the fans what they want to ultimately see?? Watching them bicker like kids, no one would ever believe the things they have done for each other. It might be time to walk away. The show has been struggling since Season 6. Season 7 was embarrassingly bad. While Season 8 seemed to pick itself up and gave way for a good Season 9, I do not know how this is going to end.
    Also, why is Padalecki being given more to do already? All the season finales which were Sam-centric have stood out, be it Season 5 or 8. Why is he just being used more or less like a prop, watching Dean turn into a rage and kill monster?? He has proved on more than one occasion that he is a capable actor. He has played Lucifer, an addict, Gadreel, soulless and how. Even then, he is now a mere spectator. How could he NOT relate to what Dean is going through right now, addicted as he was to demon blood himself?? The writers continue to ignore all this and chase this Mark of Cain storyline. While we have reached the finale now, I’m still asking myself “What is the point of all this again?”

  • I enjoyed this episode! I loved seeing Sam and Cas working together, all the pop culture stuff. I sang ‘Hallelujah’ when Gadreel finally realized that Metatron had used him(always a big problem with evil megalomaniacs).

    I wasn’t really shocked to see Metatron revealed as an angry nerd trying to fit in with the cool kids, because I think they’d been building up to it since they introduced him last season, but that’s me.

    Dean going dark side was a shock, even though we’ve been seeing it coming. How quickly it came about is frightening. I’ve been seeing parallels to Season 4, but Sam’s dark turn wasn’t this fast, as I remember. Plus Sam’s turn was born out of his desire to make his tainted blood work for good. Dean’s is born out of his need for revenge.

    I’m not sure what the MoC is doing to Dean, I can’t quite say he’s becoming a demon, or if the Mark is stripping away his humanity and inhabtions and turning him into the killer that he’s kind of been trained to be since he was a child.

    I’m like you, I love this fandom(even when the negativity tries my patience) and I’m not giving up my show, because I still think it’s one of the best on television.

  • First of all, a well written article and you sort of voiced my opinions too..not all, but some!
    But I am shocked out of my wits to hear that there are people leaving the show over yesterday’s episode!

    I for one found it absolutely brilliant!Yes, being a Dean girl, even I miss Sam’s POV but the MOC storyline fits for me.

    Dean has been hurt real bad by the only person who matters to him, his little brother, and obviously its adding fuel to the fire of the already there effects of MOC! So if he’s being nice to Cas but absolutely a douche to Sam, it makes sense. Sam has done the same to him a while ago.

    I agree that this season has tested the brothers relations at a whole new level but it has been there since season 8 (purgatory, anyone) and trust me, it hurts! I have been craving a brotherly moment like a pregnant woman but it’s just not coming!

    Dean has been hurting since the purgatory story and it’s only a matter of time all these bottled up angst will resurface and he will flip off his humanity!So Sam not leaving him or putting up a fight is his way of showing support or I will like to believe it that way!Though I strongly believe they need to have a calm heart-to-heart.

    I am really upset to hear that fans left the show!I know its not doing tremendously well but it has not gotten lost!It will find its way and will bounce back!I believe in it!We all need to!

    • And the brother’s care for each other isn’t gone. They are hurt and neither can get over it easily. That they keep trying to work together – that Sam is so clearly worrying about Dean and that Dean is so clearly still trying to keep Sam safe tells me that there is still SO MUCH care. It is just bathed in hurt and anger and betrayal.

      • Exactly! It’s not the blatant brotherly love that we’ve seen in past years, not by any means.

        To me, the subtext of this show is just as important as the text. So while the brothers are hurling angry barbs at each other, and constantly fighting, it’s the looks that they give when the other can’t see (and sometimes when they can!) that show the love.

        Sam is clearly concerned for Dean. You can see it in those big puppy dog eyes.

        And Dean, as always, has shouldered his way into a protector role. He’s always wanted to spare Sam from the darkness of the world in whatever way he can. This is nothing new for Dean, the one who volunteered to go to hell just so his little brother could live.

        I did find it interesting that Dean talked about never being suicidal, even at his lowest. Maybe he wasn’t suicidal, but he’s certainly seemed to have a deathwish all along.

        Just because we can’t see the brotherly love as clearly as before, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

  • As Dean (or Gadreel) said to Sam at the start of this season, “There ain’t no me if there ain’t no you.” And it seems to have come to pass. There ain’t no Sam. He’s a cypher – a place marker – a shadow where there used to be a Sam, and because of that there ain’t no Dean. I have no objection to Dean going dark, but I have every objection to Sam letting him go there without a fight.

    And if there ain’t no Sam, and there ain’t no Dean, then sadly, there ain’t no me.

    Reapers have been retconned, Whole swaths of seasons 6 and 7, and even the first 5 years are retconned, and I am wondering when the boys I love are going to be replaced by shiny teenthrobs and turned into another soap.

    I didn’t sign up for angel wars; I signed up for Sam and Dean in the Impala, saving people and hunting things. That’s gone, sunk without trace and now we have the Angelsoap, also Starring facsimile Sam and Dean,

    I’ll tune in to look at the pretty Jensen and Jared, but I won’t care. I never thought I would be ready to say I don’t care about Show, but it’s happening. I hear Kripke and Edlund are available right now. Any chance we can have them back? Any chance we can get this current pack of writers locked in a room until they watch the first 7 years of the show and learn the canon?

    Any chance we can have Sam and Dean back?

  • Lynn-
    I too am sad that some fans are so unhappy or that others are jeering. The central themes of the show are really about the power of love and a fractured fandom is hard to experience.

    So here’s my confession: I didn’t understand at first why some were so upset. And real life got in the way of my fandom (dammit) so it took me hours tonight to sort it all out. Normally I consider myself reasonably empathetic but I think two things prevented me from seeing the other POV (until I read up on line tonight):
    First — I’m 100% confident that we’ll have our boys back and stronger than ever. I AM worried that they’ll mess up the pacing and take to long to sort it out. But the end state? I’m positive that we will have Team Sam and Dean. It’ll be different but I’m really hoping it’ll be twice the brotherly and 1/16th the cranky.
    Second – that binge view thing. I just have enormous patience because I think I view things on a different timescale. So one individual episode doesn’t usually deter.

    So… my sympathies to those who are upset. If I felt they weren’t coming back stronger, I’d be there with you. But I feel like Carver & Company have telegraphed it so strongly that there’s just no doubt in my mind. I hope you see something that gives you hope.

    My POV: Dean unchained is getting some serious shit out of his system. The trick will be for him to OWN that he feels this way, apologize for the brutality, and then DEAL with the underlying issues. Sam, OTOH, is proving to be very steadfast and loyal. I hope Sam realizes that he can save Dean an actually does it. Sam NEEDS A WIN.

    Reapers being Angels: I’ve always presumed they were some variant (like Cupid) because they do Heaven’s bidding. It’s Heaven that essentially decides which way you go after Death. Tessa being in a “Tessa” meatsuit — well that was LOL!Canon for sure. But since I love Lindsey’s portrayal, I’m totally fine with ignoring that moment.

    And in the meantime… Boogertron is still a LOSER.

  • I want the boys to have fun together, to laugh together, to really talk to each other…. I want them to share with each other, support each other, help each other, die for each other! I want the story to be about Sam & Dean as it has always been. But…. Not happening!
    I just don’t care about an angel or a demon war… They re only interesting when they support Dean & Sam’s story line and not the other way around!
    Anyway, I ‘m not ready to give up on them but pleeeeease season 10 give me the brothers back!!!! Cause if you do I’ll still be here for season 20

  • Wow. I had no idea that fandom was freaking out about this episode. I guess I don’t really understand why though. People are giving up? WHY? This is Supernatural – it is a roller coaster and pretty much always has been.

    I agree with all the “good” section. This episode had some great one liners, sass, bitchfaces, sexiness and rage. I LOVED the beginning with Dean waking Sam up – every moment of that scene was pure perfection. The Dean and Flagstaff scene was also a favourite. Every word Flagstaff said aided Dean’s plunge into the darkness. She confirmed what he believes about himself and on the shallow side – it was soooo HOT. MOC Dean can interrogate me anytime!

    I don’t agree with all of your “bad” section. Yes, it was predictable that Dean would take the blade despite saying he wouldn’t but I think that was the point. We all knew he couldn’t leave it behind. Plus I think the way Sam went about trying to get him to leave it behind was smart. He couldn’t hit Dean head on with “the blade is bad for you” because Dean wouldn’t put up with that crap. He used reverse psychology on Dean – asking him if he really needed it. Challenging him to leave it behind. I don’t think Dean is the kind of guy who ever turned down a dare and I think this is what it was. It just didn’t work and honestly I don’t think anything Sam could have said or done would have separated Dean from that blade.

    Sam and Cas drove away together because I believe that deep down both Sam and Dean did not really know what Cas was up to and he needed to be watched. Maybe he was repeating the disaster of sucking in purgatory! In my head it made sense that Sam needed to keep an eye on Cas because at that point he had the potential to be a greater risk than Dean. I mean suicide-bomber-angels? How could Sam and Dean know for sure that it wasn’t Castiel?

    Tessa – I don’t think she went against her character at all. She knows that people need to die and that the order of things is that they move on to Heaven or Hell. That stopped for her, rendered her useless, with no focus or future and I can imagine if I heard all the ghosts screaming in confusion in my head all the time I’d go postal too.

    My “bad” section would really only have 1 scene in it – the saw blades in the walls. I was like … HUH? And I am still scratching my head about that one.

    For the “in between” section.
    I loved the Cult of Castiel line because that’s so meta with Misha’s minions. Even William Shatner has made comments on Twitter about Misha’s followers being cult like! Spears and Aguilera was fu**ing brilliant! I loved that line and the looks that Dean and Sam had as they put their ID away.

    When Cas loses his army I didn’t think he was heartbroken or that he was supposed to be perceived as such. I think he looked at his army as the only way he knew how to succeed but he didn’t like the idea and was reluctant to lead. I think he felt more ambivalent about the angels abandoning him.

    As for the last scene between Dean and Cas when Dean tells him the three of them will be enough. My first thought was BULLCRAP (well I used the more sweary version). Dean doesn’t think for a second the three of them can do it. He thinks HE can do it with the blade. He doesn’t need a team because with the blade he is invincible, calm, clearheaded, righteous and powerful. He just couldn’t come out and say THAT to Cas though.

    I agree that I would like to see more of Sam’s inner dialogue. I agree that watching the boys grow apart is painful, but I have faith that this roller coaster drop will end soon and the boys will work their way back together. TPTB know that this show is about two brothers and their relationship. We may not know where some big wigs and writers, etc… stand when it comes to Destiel or particular story lines and so on, but from day one the drive behind this show is the brother’s relationship. Have faith that it has not been abandoned. Have faith that we are just on a terrifying roller coaster ride that will leave us breathless.

    Wow – I was going to write a few lines and ended up writing an epistle.
    I love your reviews and usually agree wholeheartedly – but I am not on board with all of this one.

    • Some very good points. I agree with you about Sams inner dialogue but it always seems to have been that way. You see what Sam does, how he reacts but don`t always understand why. I think the two of them should be locked in a room (no blade of course) and then beat the crap out of each other. Lol At least they would be communicating.

      • I think the two of them should be locked in a room with Jody Mills. She’d bang their heads together and then make them work it out!

    • “I have faith that this roller coaster drop will end soon and the boys will work their way back together. TPTB know that this show is about two brothers and their relationship. We may not know where some big wigs and writers, etc… stand when it comes to Destiel or particular story lines and so on, but from day one the drive behind this show is the brother’s relationship. Have faith that it has not been abandoned. Have faith that we are just on a terrifying roller coaster ride that will leave us breathless.”

      I am with you here 100%. This show has always been abut finding and having faith, no matter how bad things get. ‘Babe Ruth was a dick but baseball’s still a beautiful game’. I found this show at a time of great personal loss, and it helped me find the strength to have faith again. I will continue to have faith until the last second of the last scene happens and then I will continue to carry that faith in my heart. “I guess if you’re gonna have faith…you can’t just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don’t.”

    • “As for the last scene between Dean and Cas when Dean tells him the three of them will be enough. My first thought was BULLCRAP”

      So true! I have to laugh when I see some fans call it “Team Free Will together again” What a joke! There is NO team, it’s a DICtatorship. And there is certainly NO FREE WILL- that is reserved only for Dean – boss of everyone and everything.

  • You title for this post is so fantastic. “Tears In Heaven” Ahhh how I wish it were not such an appropriate title!

    I lashed out last night about everything that was this episode & today I am still kinda ragging. I just don’t see how the season finale will possibly be able to fix/make-up for this entire season.

    “As painful as the results of Dean’s addiction are to watch (especially when it comes to Sam), that part of it, to me, is good storytelling. As long as we don’t stay there too long.”

    This here is the biggest issue I have with the show right now. I can forgive the canon errors & the sometimes sloppy writing & even tolerate the boring angel vs. angel drama & dumbing the brothers down, but I’m just done with waiting for writers to write Sam & Dean again.

    We have had feuding brothers for over half the season. It is being dragged out FAR past the point of good storytelling. There has been very little movement in the brothers’ feud since “The Purge” – almost 10 episodes ago! We have been given movement scraps since then.

    How patient do the writers expect us to be?? I have said this in previous reviews, but Sam & Dean – as a unit – carry Supernatural & have since day 1. So why are writers making a conscious decision to not allow them to do so?

    I get changing things up & keeping things fresh & introducing new dynamics, but there are things so core & essential, that you simply can’t change them without ruining the final product. Like when cooking or baking, there are certain ingredients you can tweak, and certain you can’t. Completely removing the Sam & Dean dynamic (essentially) from an entire season is something I don’t believe can be tweaked. I just see the show both imploding in on itself & becoming something entirely different.

    It is like I am watching Sam & Dean pod-people. I don’t recognize them, and the saddest part is, I don’t really like them. I know I’m not alone in that sentiment & that is a massive problem.

    I can somewhat hand wave the issues I have with Dean’s character because he is being influenced by the MoC, and while obviously questionable/morally iffy-wrong, Dean’s decision to save Sam felt like the Dean from the past 9 seasons. & I do believe he truly thought he was doing the right thing, for both Sam & himself & the world really at the time. Bottom line: while I may not agree, I 100% get why Dean did what he did.

    Sam? I just don’t know. I want to knock him over the head & kick him into gear to start really outwardly caring about the MoC is doing to Dean. Research the MoC! Watch Dean like a hawk! Voice your concern like any decent brother would!

    99% of my Sam frustration is linked to the writers giving us so little insight into his headspace. I really don’t think the writers want to write him. I can think of no other explanation for the lack of attention (and empathy) that has been paid to him this season. We did not have a single Sam-centric episode all season. It is inexcusable.

    I’m beginning to feel like I’m getting an idea of where the writers are taking the brothers & the show, and I don’t like it. I feel like they are taking sometime special & unique, and making it..normal. I’m holding out hope that Sam will come through & save Dean…however, that hope is dwindling.

    Like the writers want to show that Sam & Dean shouldn’t always be one another’s first-most concern. Silly fans, they are too mature for that!

    Thanks for this review. Misery loves company! I like knowing I’m not the only one struggling here.

    • I really agree with most of what you have said (pod people – ha ha). At the moment I am more invested in reading what other people think about the episodes than the episodes themselves. I really just want this season to be over so I can stop (or put on hold at least) the loss I feel about the brothers relationship. I stay away from twitter, tumblr so not involved in the fan wars but I can see that if you just like the Dean character then this season would be okay for you and if you just like the Sam character then this season has been a disaster and if you like the brothers and the original premis for the show you would be unhappy and that is where I am – unhappy!

  • Having a hard time speaking -or spelling more like- my feelings out loud here. So much and so mixed. Probably getting on board of the unconditional love train. I’m not giving up on Sam or Dean or the show altogether. Here I am for good or bad times but I have to agree with Lynn that we need to know there’s still reason for hope. That brotherly love and friendship are still there beneath the harsh surface. It would be nice to see some Sam’s POV scene like we saw Dean when Sam was addicted to demon blood, or souless, or wall-less. Just saying. And now, gotta gear up for next week. Tissues, booze… a shrink’s cel phone number… whatever it takes to survive. Love u all.

    • The thing is Pia we have had Sam’s POV, and it was well stated in S8 with Sam not looking for Dean yet without Show showing Sam’s grieve (and in my book the greatest injustice to the character of Sam as there has been since S1); Sam stating his wanting to die comes from Dean choosing others over him; S9 Sharp Teeth, and Purge ‘we’re not brothers’ and ‘you hurt more than you help’ ‘Dean the hero’ ‘willing to sacrifice as long as it doesn’t hurt you’. The issue I have is how off centre it is with my understanding of Sam. Why Carver allowed the brother bond to be demolished to this level is beyond me, and to allow such imbalance of sympathy, where Sam just ends up looking worse and worse even when the sympathy should be with him due to the possession. How ppl can say Carver favours Sam… I just don’t get it. Anyway rant over.

      • I think maybe people were saying Carver favours Sam because a lot of the main story lines were about Sam. Demon blood, soulless, Lucifer, etc. Maybe some of the shots about this arc is that it is about Dean instead? I like it. I’m glad Jensen gets a meaty, nasty dark role for a change. Neither of the boys are like they were in earlier seasons. It’s kind of sad, but they are getting older and changing too. I admit I don’t like change but sometimes it’s necessary, even in our favourite universe. Whatever happens, I hope the brothers and their relationship is stronger, and that this is the last time we have the angst and crap that is going on. Good rant Kazz052.

  • I might be naive, but I still believe and hope, that everything will be alright between Dean and Sam and we`ll see some brotherly love! But it really hurts to watch this. Yet I refuse to give up on them.

  • I dunno, I’m not done, not by a long shot. Even if Dean goes totally darkside at the end of the season. I’m kind of bracing myself for it, but I had to watch my favorite (Cas) go darkside at the end of Season 6 and TPTB did a bang up job of bringing him back from the brink, so if they’re willing to do that for a character that isn’t nearly as important as Sam and Dean (yep, it’s true) than they will go that extra mile for the boys.

    Maybe Season 10 will be about Sam realizing that actually he would do whatever he needs to do to save Dean, maybe negate him not looking for Dean when Dean was in Purgatory, maybe make him realize that he understands why Dean let Gadreel possess him instead of letting him die. Maybe the end of the season is Sam standing with Cas saying “We have to save him” not “We have to stop him”.

    If I was going to have quit it would have been at the beginning of Season 7 when Cas died after realizing his mistake but I kept watching because I still love the boys and I have faith that even if the end of Season 9 means Dean is lost to the Mark of Cain (or maybe Sam takes it on … or Cas, who knows?) i will continue to watch.

    No, I wasn’t excited about the whole Godstiel thing but I can look back and say, “hmm … it was an interesting way to take this character that was so loyal to the boys and have him lying to the boys and becoming something that they need to try and stop”. I hated seeing them on opposite sides just as much as I hate seeing Sam and Dean on opposite side but you need to wait and see the whole story before just throwing in the towel. I mean, the penultimate episode of Season 4 was Dean telling Sam that if he walked out that door, don’t ever come back, but the next episode saw Dean trying to get back to Sam because he didn’t mean it, not really.

    Plus, as much as I like Dean (and i do) I’ve always felt that his mistakes haven’t been treated the same, he’s always been the Righteous Man despite having broken the first seal. That was never treated the same as Sam choosing Ruby over Dean, i suspect because Dean breaking the first seal didn’t have anything to do with Sam, but with Dean being tortured over and over again. Dean has never made a mistake like Sam made, or Cas has made until now and I find it intriguing even if it scares me for him. It puts him even with Sam and even with Cas so I’m hoping that next season they can find equilibrium and start over so to speak.

    On a different note, I would agree, I want to see Cas more organically part of the boys lives and it can happen in much the same way as Bobby. No, Bobby wasn’t actually in every episode but sometimes Sam just got off the phone with him so he was mentioned at least. Maybe Sam and Dean need to have some bonding time, maybe Cas stays behind to do research, maybe Charlie comes back from Oz and they hit it off (plutonically as Cas has the wrong body parts for Charlie) and he goes to visit her. There’s a lot of reasons for Cas to not be in an episode without Gadreel forcing Dean to kick him out or an angel war (that I’m also done with) to keep him away from the boys. I understand that maybe Carver was trying to have a reason why he wasn’t around them the whole time but I’m getting kinda bored with whole angel story line itself. I’m not bored with Cas, no never, but I’m kinda hoping they end that whole arc and am hoping the grace burning out issue offers an out for him to be a part of the show still but without the angels. Of course, the only drawback would be no Gabriel … ok, that sucks.

    Anyway, I’m saddened that people are just throwing in the towel … sometimes you need to take a step back from you’re feels and look at what’s going on and say, “I don’t like it, but story wise, it really does work”. I sincerely doubt that Carver’s endgame is to have the boys hate each other … patience, young Padawan, I would say. It’s gonna be long summer though …

    • You wrote “Maybe Season 10 will be about Sam realizing that actually he would do whatever he needs to do to save Dean, maybe negate him not looking for Dean when Dean was in Purgatory, maybe make him realize that he understands why Dean let Gadreel possess him instead of letting him die. Maybe the end of the season is Sam standing with Cas saying “We have to save him” not “We have to stop him”. ”

      I have to disagree. I don’t think Sam would do just anything to save Dean. I think Sam has had his free will corrupted or taken away from him too many times. He’s been possessed multiple times and taken over by demon blood and I think we could look at that almost like a spiritual or mental rape. Dean KNEW that Sam wouldn’t agree to being possessed by Zeke/Gadreel. That wasn’t implied, Dean stated it outright. He had to trick Sam and that lead to another spiritual rape. I don’t think Sam would do that to Dean. I think he would go to great GREAT lengths to save Dean, but I think there would be limits.

      That’s what Dean doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand how deeply scarred and hurt Sam was by his betrayal. Dean also doesn’t understand that Sam would still do almost anything to save Dean – but he wouldn’t do anything that would hurt Dean to the extend that Dean hurt Sam.

      I for one, am not pissed off at Sam for still being upset and hurt. Dean hasn’t honestly and sincerely apologized to Sam. I know that an apology to me, without the person understanding what they really did, doesn’t’ mean much.

      • The issues in the relationship are not just Dean’s fault, Sam said some awful things earlier in the season, that needs to be addressed.

        There needs to be apologies from both Dean AND Sam.

        I understand why Dean is upset and hurt. Sam’s basically said Dean’s whole life was a failure and Dean was worthless.

  • Just a couple of observations here: (1) I don’t think Dean did bring the Blade with him. I think he “called” the Blade to himself when he arrived at Cas’s Angel HQ. Remember how he pulled it into his hand off the floor while pinned to the wall and before he took out Abaddon? That’s psychokinesis, I believe it’s called.

    (2) The reapers are, I also believe, a subset of angels. Their “boss” is, after all, the Angel of Death. Perhaps this could have been articulated better, but I never thought that reapers were anything but angels.

    Waiting on the Finale Brink: Love this show, this season, and this episode. Having watched Supernatural since 2005, every season finale has ended with a volcanic explosion of rabidly differing opinions from its fans! Not one season-ending finale has been easy to take! However, I continue to trust the brains behind the Show, two of whom are named Ackles and Padalecki. We’re all going to be scratching this ninth finale’s itch until the S10 story arcs start to leak in Sept.-Oct., and the first Season 10 episode hits our screens. Good luck over the summer! It will be another, even more disturbing, Hellatus.

    To abandon Supernatural, the best show on television, would be unthinkable — at least for me. Warts, canonic trembling, unfair story arc distributions, lost souls, character personality changes, and all the other “stuff” make this Show constantly fascinating, endearing, and irritating, but well worth my continued devotion and support.

  • For me, Supernatural is all about loyality. And because that’s also a very strong part of my personality I will never – not even for just one second – think about leaving this wonderful and rabid fandom or stop watching the show for good. It hurts to see others leave. It hurts even more when the reasons why they left would be forgiven on any other TV show.
    But the SPNfamily is a bit different, as much as we are enthusiastic about our show, the rabid we are when we think Show failed us.
    The producers and writers know that they have “specia”l fans and they try to deliver, but sometimes the bar is just too high. I would love to remind the writers and producers that their first goal is to make us feel with the characters. It doesn’t matter what drama the characters experience, the story has to take us viewers along with it. I’m so dissapointed when show doesn’t help me feel why Sam and Dean do or say the things they do. If Show can make me say “yes, I would have done the same!” – then they’re doing it right.
    I will stick with Supernatural and the SPNfamily until the end – meanwhile coming up with my own explanations why there are visible angel-reapers etc.
    I have a feeling that the finale will go down like S05 – just with reversed roles, because I firmly believe that they are still loyal to each other and love each other – no matter what they’ve said and done.

  • For me, I am loving the fact that its not Sam or Cah being told “don’t do that” or “stop that’s not good for you.” Dean has always been in that role and its kind of satisfying to shas him be told not to do something like this. For Sam it was demon blood/Ruby, for Cas it was Purgatory and now we get to see someone trying to protect Dean from himself like he has tried to protect them. They are getting a taste of what he went through with them both and I think that’s more than a little poetic. Maybe when this is done they will have more respect for him and listen when someone says “Don’t. That’s going to break the world again.”
    I will admit to being a bit over the whole Angels at War thing but I also think it has to be played out otherwise there’s no closure. And really i ts nature. Nature does not tolerate a vacuum and people (or angels) don’t tolerate a vacuum of power. Hopefully this will be resolved so we can see more Monsters of the Week like in their old days but it does need to be resolved some way.
    Its the same with the brothers. Jared and Jensen have both said that while they love the relationship the brothers have, having them at odds makes for good drama. And who among us can say that they don’t fight with their siblings? There is so much hurt there that also needs to be addressed going back years. Maybe this will be the thing that unifies them again. I doubt that they will do the heart-to-heart moment about all of the ways they’ve hurt each other and make everything better because that’s not what these guys do. If they did it would be completely out of character for them and would make even more people mad.
    Personally, and this may make me a bad fan I don’t know, but really I could care less about continuity errors. Frankly, we could chalk some of it up to all the times that history has been messed with and call it a day. I love this Show. Honestly, its half the reason I get up day after day. To get to next Tuesday. There is nothing, short of replacing Jensen and Jared, that they could do that would make me give up on this Show. These people put in the time and effort to bring us this amazing escape from reality week after week and I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt. Yeah there are some episodes that I didn’t really care for, for various reasons. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.
    Not trying to be ranty. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I more than respect that. I just read the article (which was awesome by the way. I’m looking forward to reading you books soon) and some of the comments and felt the need to add my own. For whatever its worth. 🙂

  • I will not comment on everything (partly because I only have 10mn left on my break, partly because that would be a huge wall of words if I did) but I wanted to talk about the end and why Sam’s not answering to the “dictatorship” from Dean. I didn’t feel cheated on, even though I would LOVE to see Sam’s reactions (but I’m used to it I guess, we never see them!), because I believe right now he knows it’s not “the right time”. Dean’s hooked up on the blade and the MoC and arguing with him wouldn’t make any good. My opinion was that he left, not to say something. But I also believe that’s he’s only staying until Metatron is dealt with. My view of his reaction is that he’s putting it aside for now, because there’s more important things to deal with, but he will not forget it and he will not forgive it without a damn good excuse from Dean. They both said really hurtful things this season and I’m hoping that this make it “even”. There’s no more “you hurt me more” because damn, they both broke each other soul and heart. And ours too…

    I’m a SamGirl, but I really really really love Dean and for the 1st time I really wanted to slap him. Hard. I understand him but the same way I wanted to slap Sam in season 4, I just want to tie him up in a chair and make him think. And it wouldn’t even be kinky!
    As for Sam being a “ghost in the background”, I’ve got to say I kinda agree. It hurts to see and I hope it’ll pass soon. But the same way Dean was in the background in season 4, I guess that’s necessera for the storyline. If it doesn’t last!

    I need the brothers back too, but I believe in Show, I believe that will be back in season 10. I BELIEVE that Carver destroyed everything to rebuilt it on new fundations.

  • I thought one of the best scenes of the episode was the Dean-Castiel scene. I love Jensen and Misha together, they have great on-screen chemistry and I think there were some truths said between them that needed to be said.

    It’s interesting how most people here are saying Dean is being mean to Sam (Dean’s being a jerk or a douche) and yet they don’t seem to care about how and what Sam has said and done to Dean. Double standards. I hope what Sam said and how he lashed out at Dean isn’t swept under the rug, Sam lies (that Dean only sacrifices when Dean isn’t the one hurt and that Dean does more harm than good) need to be addressed. If that’s Sam’s view of Dean, then Sam hasn’t been paying attention to Dean and what he’s given up for Sam (e.g. Bad Boys) and maybe they do need to separate and live separate lives.

    I love that Dean has a storyline and isn’t sidelined like he was for the last half of Season 8. I think Jensen has been amazing and has been knocking it out of the park this season.

    • Maggs, you’re kinda dumbing-down the situation. Dean, pre-MoC, by his OWN admission, has said some things that’ve put Sam “back on his heels” (in other words, Dean has not been all sunshine and lollipops to Sam.) Nor has Dean been the sort to instigate chick-flick moments. He’s been as condemning of caring and sharing as the next guy. Both boys are guilty of double standards.

      SAM lies? Seriously? Again, by Dean’s own admission, Dean is a lying liar who lies. The CORE of what needs to be addressed is not that Sam said some hurtful things to Dean–because they both do that to each other constantly–it’s that they need to redefine what “being family” means to each of them.

      Being family does not mean allowing a rogue angel, through subversion and deceit, to inhabit your brother’s body, especially after you know, for a fact, that that brother is willing to offer his life for some small bit of good to be done. Dean didn’t save Sam for Sam; Dean saved Sam for Dean.

      I love Dean’s MoC storyline too! But I don’t think Dean is the side-lined, wronged party that you believe he is. Just my two cents. 🙂

      • You wrote “Being family does not mean allowing a rogue angel, through subversion and deceit, to inhabit your brother’s body, especially after you know, for a fact, that that brother is willing to offer his life for some small bit of good to be done. Dean didn’t save Sam for Sam; Dean saved Sam for Dean.”

        I agree 100%. Sam wasn’t dying and screaming to be saved. He wasn’t dying and going to burn in hell. Dean didn’t really save Sam from anything. Dean needs to understand that and he needs to be truly sorry before I think Sam can forgive him.

      • “Dean didn’t save Sam for Sam; Dean saved Sam for Dean.”

        I think this is very debatable.

        Yes, Dean saved Sam because he loves him & wants him around & both those reasons are for Dean.

        But I also think Dean saved Sam for Sam.

        It is hard to wrap your mind around the idea that death is a better option than life for a loved one, no matter the circumstances. I think Dean believes that Sam deserves (more than anyone probably – hell, Sam saved the world by jumping in the pit) to live, and more importantly, that Sam does want to live. To find that light at the end of the tunnel.

        @ JoLy: Yes, Dean did save Sam from something – he saved him from death.

      • I’m “dumbing-down the situation”? Thanks for the condescending and partronizing reply, C. Griffin.

        Yes, Sam lied in The Purge. Even Jared has said that Sam lied, he did it to hurt Dean.

        They are both “lying liars who lie.” Sam has lied just as much as Dean has over the years.

        I said Dean was sidelined in the last half of Season 8, I wasn’t saying he was sidelined now.

      • Hey we ALL have our feelings, opinnions, etc! But could we be grown ups anyways? There`s no reason why anybody should be rude to each other, so suck it up! Like many others I got realy bad feeling about finale and after it I`m pretty sure we all need loads of tissues and hugs, so let`s all just calm down and pray that everything turns out good to those awesome, lovable, gorgeous, heroic, badass brothers and everybody else, who fights in tomorrows episode against Metatron and everything else evil/bad!

        Save your energies for tomorrow, cause you will need it! I`m sorry if somebody gets offended, but it`s hard enough that those brothers doesn`t get along.

    • “I think this is very debatable.

      Yes, Dean saved Sam because he loves him & wants him around & both those reasons are for Dean.

      But I also think Dean saved Sam for Sam.

      It is hard to wrap your mind around the idea that death is a better option than life for a loved one, no matter the circumstances. I think Dean believes that Sam deserves (more than anyone probably – hell, Sam saved the world by jumping in the pit) to live, and more importantly, that Sam does want to live. To find that light at the end of the tunnel.

      @ JoLy: Yes, Dean did save Sam from something – he saved him from death.”

      @Jaime – Well said!

  • Well said, as always, and in a great overall perspective. You are always sure to include all factions of fandom and I appreciate it. People just need to calm down. Obviously Sam and Dean are going to makeup in some major way that is comparable to 8×23, and that’s what I’m waiting on. The writers are not stupid, neither is the show-runner. They know that the strength and appeal of this show lies a great deal in the brothers’ relationship. They will fix it, but we, as fans, need to stop being so demanding. We are behaving like entitled lunatics. As Jared stated at DCCon, the WRITERS are in control. As a fan, you like the show for the reasons you like the show, and if it no longer appeals to you, then stop watching it. Don’t hurl insults at the writers because they aren’t giving in to fan-service (which I think they HAVE done in the past and I am completely annoyed by it—hence the fact that Castiel is even still a relevant character. People must realize that the entire reason they keep coming up with angel storylines is to keep Misha apart of the show. Otherwise, Sam and Dean would move on to hunting the thousands of other mythological threats out there). People can’t expect them to cater to the individual ideas of varying fan groups, and we need to stop demanding it. That’s like everyone praying to God that they will win the lottery, He couldn’t possibly answer one prayer without inadvertently ignoring others!!! The writers are trying to keep Sam and Dean’s struggle real. We only know and appreciate the brothers’ epic love because the writers have developed interesting ways to test it over the years; and trust me, when we get that moment of them making up (which we WILL because the show has to go for another whole season, as Jensen advised at DCCon) it is going to be well worth the wait, and will be another testament to the undying, UNCONDITIONAL love the brothers have for each other—which we all adore.

    • “The writers are not stupid, neither is the show-runner. They know that the strength and appeal of this show lies a great deal in the brothers’ relationship.”

      Sorry, but I think the writers ARE stupid, and they DON’t understand the appeal of the show lie in the brother’s relationship- or did you not see their pathetic attempt at a spinoff that had *nothing* to do with the show, and why it was great.

  • Very good article. I personally love the episode I thought it was very good. Dean with the Mark of Cain the consequences seem to finally caught up with him and I don’t think he cares after Kevin after Sam saying he wouldn’t do the same for him just after everything I just don’t think he cares and that’s why he took the mark. Now the blade and the mark give him this powerful feeling and he is becoming more dark which I find sexy and scarcer at the same time. Yes as like many other fans I miss the brothers but Sam still doesn’t trust Dean and I think reason why Sam left Dean after the whole “this is a dictatorship is because he honestly doesn’t know what to do anymore he has try to be there for his brother but I notice Dean keeps pushes him away. I have love this season a lot and I know a lot of people haven’t. I still believe in this show and it shocks me that people are leaving just because of a some changes. It’s been almost ten years is no wonder one them is about to go on a murder spree and the brothers relationship is in shambles. However I think there is still hope for the relationship to be repair I mean Dean still call Sam Sammy a couple times. If your mad because Dean went all dark side haven’t you not seen the episode when Sam was dark? NO matter what I plan to stick with the brothers until the very end because I have watch this boys go through changes and I am not giving up on them.

  • I agree with quite a few of your comments, especially about wanting the brothers to bond and be back together again. In the meantime, it’s been a hell of a ride. Go up, oh look they are at least talking to each other and still caring about each other (the episode when Dean first got the blade) and going down (Dean and the dark side). I find the character of Metatron a bit one-sided right now, he is just arrogant, assumes he will win, and his not paying attention to Gadreel which could be his downfall (or it could be part of his “story”). I think that it could be interesting if Sam starts using some of the pop references that Metatron uses (he does read too) in some way to come back at Metatron. If you’ve read the book, you know the ending, right? I have no intention of abandoning my show because of plot twists, just because I don’t always like them, doesn’t make them bad. I always finish my books and I always watch to the bitter end. Only one more mind-bending episode and the then summer to get over it!. Looking forward to some more hills and valleys.

  • This season has felt so wrong, and I’m wondering if the writers have lost their way. Are they trying to please networks execs by giving a different relationship angle to the boys? It’s similar to the reaction I had after watching “Bloodlines”…I was literally insulted of the writers’ obvious underestimation of SPN fans. Do TPTB not understand that the fans watch this show for the relationship between the brothers (not the “world” in which they live). Same with SPN…this season has spiraled downward because the brothers aren’t caring and interacting enough. Don’t just send Sam to his room and Dean to his bottle. Let them fight for that love. Looking forward the finale so that I can see this season in the rear view mirror of the Impala.

  • Am I the only person who is absolutely in love with season nine? I’ve kinda stayed out of fan discussions recently, but I feel like I need to come back to defend what I think has been an awesome season.
    I LOVE the MoC storyline. Darkside!Dean has been something that was always hinted at but never fully explored, and seeing it come to life is terrifying in such a good way. I like asshole!Dean, I like seeing him be a jerk to Sam and a brute to other people, because it emphasizes how much he’s changed and how far he’s gone. It’s supposed to scare us and make us uncomfortable, because we’re seeing someone who, in many fans eye’s is a hero, completely give in to wrath. The whole point is he’s not treating Sam like normal, he’s not being the big brother we know he is, because he’s being influenced by something that he can’t control.
    Metatron’s what I call a ‘smarmy’ villain- not a destroyer like Abbadon, just a little man with too much power that he’s abusing (for Sherlock fans, he reminds me a lot of Magnussen). When Abbadon was still alive, they were good foils for each other. Now that she’s dead, it’s getting a little annoying, but I think we’ll get a satisfying downfall for Metatron. And honestly, I’ve liked all the meta references, the only one that I think didn’t work is the one last week about being a fan.
    One last thing, then I’ll shut my mouth:
    SPN is not a happy show. It has its moments, but quiet honestly, its whole thing is emotionally torturing all of its characters. That means that Sam and Dean aren’t always gonna be as tight as they can be, and for them to remain so while Dean has the MoC would be OOC. I think that they’ll make up, but Dean did seriously break Sam’s trust in the beginning of the season, and even for the brothers that won’t be easy to forgive. Quite honestly, I didn’t like it last season when the bro’s relationship was back to season 2 levels, all relationships change and grow with time, and Sam and Dean are not going to behave now the same way they did when they were 20. I think Sam and Dean will make up-they always do- but to be blunt, I think quitting the show because they’re not hugging it out 24/7 is ridiculous.
    TL;DR I think season 9 is the best season since (my favorite) season 4 and I don’t understand where all this wank is coming from.

  • I loved this review. It was authentic and unbiased, and while I am 100% on Dean’s team, I agree with all you pulled together. I’ve encountered the ‘done with show’ from five or six people that I have corresponded with about the show for several years now — all charter viewers since the Pilot. It saddens me that all of these people have either quit the show this year or plan to once the finale airs. I hope they will come back, but it’s really questionable at this point. Personally, although I will be here until the end, I really have to have resolution to Sam disowning Dean or I’m not going to be happy with the season. I hope that comes this season, but I’m not expecting it. In fact, I wonder if the plan isn’t to completely break the ‘brother bond’ to reduce the Sam/Dean camp fandom fights.

    Loved the fan art pictures. Good read. Thanks.

  • Every Tuesday night this year, I have watched SPN while texting with the daughter of my best friends. She has the best analysis of why Sam’s part in the season has been so lackluster that I’ve heard. In fact, at this point, I’m going to be disappointed if this is not what the writers have been aiming at. It explains why so many of us fans have been disappointed in certain things this season–we have texted back and forth, more than once, “do the writers even watch this show?” Her theory, in brief, is that Metratron has been scripting the season from the beginning. More detail on her tumblr: http://stealthbuffalo.tumblr.com/post/85666433640/go-check-out-the-basement-or-why-sam-winchester-may

    • I just checked out stealthbuffalo’s theory and I LOVE IT! If this is the way it plays out? I will be please as all get-out. It will totally explain the vanished Sam of this season.

  • Though I am fairly new to the SPN fan base I can see why people are so emotionally connected to this show. Before SPN I never cared about a show’s creator/crew. But with this show I have totally invested in the whole creation process. And though I don’t always “like” or “love” an episode I still believe that SPN is better than any show out there. I may not understand the concerns about cannon that other fans seem to be, I do believe that the writers could be a little better about explaining the changes. I just assume time issues with this. All I really know is that no matter what, I love this show and it kills me to have to watch a season over the year (watched the first 6 seasons in less than a month!) I have even gone to 1 SPN convention and going to Houston next year. I want to thank you, Lynn and Kathy, for your work with this show and I enjoy your comments even when I don’t agree with them. That is one of the best things about this show is that everyone gets something different from it. By the way- really liked this last episode (watched 3x already).

  • This all reminds me of LOTR days, when some of the fans went nuts because Peter Jackson had Frodo reject Sam, and send him away, on the Stairs. It wasn’t just the ‘have to follow the book’ crowd that got upset, but all the people who were so invested in the Sam and Frodo relationship. This reminds me of that because… yeah, the Ring WOULD have that effect, and so would the Mark of Cain/Blade combo. It hurts to see this relationship, already so damaged, under more strain, but of course I’m hoping that it’s going to be Sam who helps pull Dean back from the Dark, ultimately, and who believes in the courageous, giving, and loving soul that’s at Dean’s core, even if it does somehow coexist with “killer” because of his upbringing, role, and all that the hunting life has wrought. *crosses fingers* Even if Sam is somehow the victim, or near-victim, of the Blade…I still hope that he somehow saves Dean in the end.

  • I am again reminded why I DON’T follow the message boards or discussions of the eps in many places. Your reviews and those of Bardicvoice are among the few I really respect. Fans have the capability for amazing levels of devotion, love of one another and great deeds. They also have the capability for cruelty that is astonishing. For that reason alone I stay away from many areas of the fandom. I love this Show…have from day one. I will continue to trust the writers and the show runners, despite a few disappointments and missteps. I’ve said this so many times: One episode does not a season make!! 🙂

    Your review was spot on. I too am starving for brotherly love, and so OVER the angel mess. Can we please just kill Metatron and get the angels back into heaven and out of our hair!

    The Mark of Cain storyline has been epic and amazing. I can’t wait to see where the writers take us next week. And by “can’t wait” I mean angsty goodness, tears, screams, feels and all of it!!! Bring on the kleenex!! And wine, more wine!!

    This has been a great season in my opinion, many great moments and some not-so-great. But Show has not failed me yet. Show loves our boys as much as we do. I rejoice at Dean’s story arc after many seasons of Sam holding the forefront. Okay. I’m ready. Bring it Show. Finale here we come!

    • I just wanted to say that I really relate to what you are saying: there HAVE been many great moments in this season, and even in the seasons some people love to hate, like 6 or 7. (Personally, I think it’s bloody amazing that so much great stuff continues to be cranked out. It’s a virtual miracle they could keep a compelling story going after Kripke finished his long envisioned arc and left.)

      I, too, trust the writers…not that they don’t make little boo-boos now and then, or leave me wishing for more of something (like Sam’s pov!). But, I forgive them that stuff because they have had to CRANK it under pressure for years… I really am disturbed by fans bashing too soon, too hard, and without regard for the miracle that is Supernatural. In my comment, I was drawing parallels with the Lord of the Rings films, and now I’m going to draw some more! It was a freaking gift of the gods, the way those actors were perfect for those hobbits, and the fact that their real-life bonds came to resemble those of their characters. The same thing can absolutely be said about Supernatural: Jared and Jensen, in those roles — a gift from the gods. And I am not going to nitpick.

  • To: Jeanne, May 15, 2014 5:18 pm
    and dean4me, May 15, 2014 7:23 pm

    Liked your comments and the “stealthbuffalo” blog! My own comments above mirror Jeanne’s closely; and dean4me’s notes and link are fascinating.

    My theory: Sam may be what is known as a “deus ex machina” (i.e., a character or thing that … enters the story in a novel, play, movie, etc., and solves a problem that had previously seemed impossible to solve); or an Alfred Hitchcockian “macguffin” (i.e., an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance). SAM may be the all-time greatest one of either of these, as manipulated by Metatron, and further serving as the avatar for the SPN writers. The SPN writers take a lot of abuse and praise from us, the “fans” (derived from “fanatics,” which we surely can be about this Show!), and they may have gleefully set us up right from the get-go. I guess we’ll find out next week.

    In any event, as I commented above, I loved this season, all of its episodes, and am looking forward with fear and fascination to where the writers leave us crouching at its finale. My fanatic’s position is that of staring into the hypnotic eyes of a cobra, waiting for the bite!

    [And love to Lynn, for her patience in putting up with us all this season!]

  • Let me start by saying, I think we’ve seen Sam as a ghost this season, dipping in and out of Dean’s life…to portray how Dean is viewing their current relationship. Sam bowed out of Dean’s life as a brother and Dean is feeling that loss in a profound way. Whether Sam meant it the way Dean took it (which I don’t think he did) or not doesn’t matter. This show has always been told from Dean’s POV. Dean feels Sam has left him, that he wouldn’t save him, that he doesn’t care. And they have been showing that feeling throughout this season. It hurts so much because we care too. We have been feeling that loss along with Dean. Over 8 seasons we have grown into that brotherly bond as well, so when they split up on such a drastic level, we feel split up as well. I feel THAT is why people are angry, people are wanting to leave the show, wanting that love back. Because that is how Dean is feeling.

    The writers have done the amazing job of making the Mark of Cain affect not only Dean, but the fans as well. We are becoming more angry than usual, as Cas pointed out of Dean. We want nothing more than to have that brotherly love back, as does Dean, and when it seems like that won’t happen, we stoop to drastic measures. As has Dean, let’s take on this mark, who cares if I end up dead in the end, because nobody (Sam) cares about me anyway. The writers have effectively put the fans in Dean’s shoes without us even knowing it.

    As far as this episode went…I loved it! Such raw emotion from Dean (Jensen). Sam has distanced himself from Dean’s controlling ways to the point where he hasn’t caught on to his brother’s dire straights. That has upset me more than anything else this season. Sam’s lack of action in regards to the Mark of Cain. That leads me to my first dislike of the episode: Sam and Cas in the car, discussing Dean. They briefly mention he seems more angry than usual…and then on to something else. WHAT?!?! That’s it?? Sam has had to talk Dean down twice from the blade and that’s all the concern he shows to Cas??? That was a lost opportunity for more discussion, imo.

    Second thing I didn’t like: Tessa. I’m with you, since when are reapers angels? I have never considered them the same thing. Why could Dean see her? Why would people ‘not matter’ to her? Having just watched the episode where Dean takes on Death’s ring for a day…that attitude is a complete 180 for her. If the screams and torment of those trapped in the veil bother her, why would she so willingly allow herself to take a hand in sending more souls there?

    Dean, throwing Flagstaff to the floor? Oh yes, HOT! And even though I saw the Gadreel attack from the moment he entered the room (did you see the daggers Dean was throwing at him with his eyes?) it didn’t make that scene any less awesome! Dean literally went rabid and Jensen pulled out all the stops!

    Sadly, as far as the brother’s relationship goes? It will get better! I truly believe that, sadly, I don’t see it happening next week… They did say a big cliff hanger…. I DO think next week’s finale will bring about the eye opening moment that Sam and Cas seem so desperately to need on Dean’s behalf, that will lead to that moment next season.

    Lastly, now that Abbadon is dead…what happened to all the souls she was supposedly harvesting? Will that come to light next season? Or is that a plot line that will be left dangling, like Adam…?

    • And just exactly would you like Sam to do, take away Dean’s fave new toy? Oh yeah, that’ll fix things, Dean will love that. As if Sam could get Dean to do anything, while Dean belittles him and orders him, and sends him off on false goose chases again and again and again.

  • I don’t know…I don’t find the brothers’ relationship to be an irretrievably broken thing. To me, Sam’s “partners, not brothers” line said, “Hey, I want to be an equal here, a 50/50 partner & decisionmaker,” and he’s shown plenty of concern over Dean this season and saved his life, as Dean has had Sam’s back. But I can see why some fans think the strife has been drawn out for too long. There were a lot of episodes with very little progress there, so it’s normal to feel frustration.

    I really loved Castiel’s growth as a person shown in this season/episode (a person, not as an angel, but as a person making very human mistakes but putting his friends over his mission) to be really good character progression. After telling Sam “nothing is worth losing you,” it’s so obvious that he wouldn’t let anything happen to the Winchesters, and he’d always put Dean over anything. I was so happy that Dean actually SAW this happen, instead of the audience-only view of what broke the connection in the crypt scene. Dean still doesn’t think he deserves to be saved, sadly. The Mark has messed him up so badly that he’s not really listening to his bro or to Cas.

    It seems like the internecine fandom stuff is down to some unhappy fans resenting others for getting what they want some of the time. I saw some really rude complaints about Misha being reinstated as a regular, for Pete’s sake. Oh no, a character other fans love gets to keep his job and make them happy! (Well, probably…he likely won’t be in as many episodes as I’d like.) That’s fostering bad karma, IMO. I won’t prod haters, but I don’t mind seeing them disappointed over something that makes me and others happy.

  • Did the Campbell Family Library end up in the MoL bunker? For some odd reason, I need to know if these archives are safe. Basically, I think I have lost my mind, but, what the hey? After next week, I’ll have several months (*gasp*) to recover. Going to go read a book now (a history of the Baltic); I should be unconscious about 5 minutes into it!

  • Thank you for yet another thoughtful analysis. I do my best to steer clear of fandom wank, but from what I’ve seen, this season has been hard on everyone. Whether you tune in to see the brothers or Dean and Cas or Team Free Will as a whole, people have been disappointed. But I think that’s intentional. I read somewhere that Carver had a three season arc planned for seasons 8, 9, and 10 which makes this the end of part two. Think back to any trilogy you’ve ever read or watched and that’s always the darkest moment before the dawn. I think this season was spent tearing everything apart so that it can be built up stronger next season.

    I have loved the Mark of Cain storyline and the opportunities it has given Jensen as an actor, but I agree wholeheartedly that Sam’s perspective post-Gadreel has been sorely lacking. Plus I feel like Dean’s downward spiral has suffered from inconsistent writing. Some weeks I’m so stressed over where he is mentally, then the next week glosses over the whole thing. Sometimes I think we’d do better with say, 16 or 17 really tightly scripted episodes per season instead of 23 meandering, bloated ones.

    Hang in there SPN Family!

  • I’m very torn like alot of fans. I too fell in love with the show because of the relationship between the brothers. I also really like Castiel as a character, he makes me laugh, and he’s offers a good vehicle to shine a light on what it means to be human, our frailties and strengths etc. I also think everyone’s ships can easily exist harmoniously with each other so long as one character isn’t underwritten. Sam is being unwritten right now and that also means Dean is too, as he has never been one for expressing his feelings or ‘chick flick moments’ and the narrative has always relied on Sam talking to Dean to reveal how they’re both feeling. Without a strong Sam we’re left wondering what’s going on in both their heads and tragically we’re left wondering if they have any love left for each other at all. I find that heartbreaking.

    I do think they’ve allowed the big myth arcs to override the heart of the show. I also feel the bunker has set a new tone to the show for the worse. Sam and Dean’s relationship has never been perfect, always oscillating between comforting and claustrophobic. The car and the open road, sharing a talk and a beer on the roadside etc, always offered a sense of freedom and escape, the cramped motel rooms a sense of being trapped and claustrophobia. I thought that’s where it’s strength lied in the fact there relationship never was perfect, when Sam became addicted to demon blood, Dean shared responsibility through his suffocating overprotectiveness of Sam. You could understand and forgive both their transgressions because of the random horror of the universe they grew up in and shared and because they explained to us how they felt, their vulnerabilities and failings through their conversations. Since the bunker it’s felt to me the narrative of what and how they’re fighting them has become more important than the why, which was always what made it such a special show to me. I don’t know if anyone else agrees, but I just don’t think the bunker fits in their universe.

  • I didn’t know that this episode caused fandom to break out into a wankfest. Honestly fandom has felt like a wankfest for years. So I’m not sure why this one episode struck a nerve with so many people. I

    I used to be on a blog for this show and I spent every waking moment on there both at work and at home. I thought that I’d found friends for life on that blog. Turns out after some of us were able to go and see Jensen in “A Few Good Men” a lot of our “friends” were jealous of us and I sat back in my chair and watched my beloved blog implode. I have no contact with any of the sixty some people who were on that blog. Do I miss it? No. Not one little bit. I don’t like people who whine and moan and groan and won’t accept other people and their points of view. We all watch shows with different sets of eyes. I loved reading what other people had to say each and every week after each new episode aired. I remember how stoked we were to talk about the show and how upset we were if we got spoiled for anything. I can honestly say that for me the glory days of the show were back in seasons one and two. I miss the Winchester Brothers from back then. The ones that I fell in love with and could relate to so deeply. The ones who put family first and who wanted to help their fellow man no matter the cost. I could relate to them so much because those are the things that I do in my own life. Now I feel like I don’t know either one of them at all and I frankly don’t want to.

    I know a LOT of people who pulled out of this show a long time ago. People who swore they were diehard fans but who really weren’t willing to stick with it through the good and the bad. I always said that I’d watch until the very last episode no matter how bad the show got simply because I’m a fan of the boys and their story and I want to know what happens to the both of them. I care. I love the Knuckleheads. Sometimes I want to smack them silly but for the most part I still watch every week through the bad and the worse simply because I’m still deeply invested in their characters.

    Fandom has left me cold. If I go to a Convention I don’t know anyone there anymore. It’s all new fans and I find the vast majority of them to be rude and obnoxious and trying to outdo one another with their “Misha winked at ME!” stories. I’m way too old for that kind of thing so I stay home for the most part. More power to them but I don’t have the time nor the energy to devote to that sort of popularity contest.

    The closest I ever came to not watching the show anymore was the episode where Sam said to Dean, “Do you remember when we were kids and Dad took us to the Grand Canyon?” I literally thought that I could hear the groans of my former blog mates erupting from all over the country. That, my friends, is what you call POOR writing and POOR research. Horrible and inexcusable in my book.

  • Excellent, well thought out review hun. I wish I could have the mind sometimes to be so calm about the show when writing my own reviews/reactions. It’s much easier when I’m not feeling so frustrated I suppose. But I do agree on ALL your points here. I also think that if this episode had aired earlier in the season I would have been much more forgiving of it. In fact, I would have no doubt revealed in it. Instead, being the one before the end, it left me wondering if they had completely forgotten everything they had set up in the beginning. But, as you know, it’s mostly the lack of opportunity for the viewers to understand Sam that has me so frustrated. I think maybe that’s because if Dean is the narrator then we aren’t privy to what Sam is thinking just like he isn’t. It might be that when HE finally understands Sam then we, as the audience, we be allowed to get a glimpse of that also. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.

    *clings tight* for the finale. I fear that if that episode left fans tearing each other apart (and boy, I’m glad I haven’t seen any of that) I figure the finale is going to be even worse.

  • First, I have to say that I loved most of the acting, especially from Jensen Ackles! Guy Norman Bee had some wonderful things to say about Jensen in the podcast Guy did with WinchesterBros.

    Second, I am loving Dean’s Mark of Cain storyline. Dean hasn’t had a mytharc storyline that was actually followed through and not dropped in a long time. It’s nice to see.

    Third, I don’t get the “X vs. Y” comments and calling characters’ names, including Dean. (I didn’t think that was allowed here, but I guess I was wrong). BOTH Sam and Dean have been wrong this season, they BOTH owe each other apologies.

    • We try not to let comments descend into name-calling, especially not to other fans – and we hope that fandom can be respectful even when disagreeing. It doesn’t always work tho. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • I agree that they both need to apologize to each other. Right now, I can’t say that I see Dean doing this ( he is too angry with everything to be looking inside himself) but maybe Sam would. I also like the Cain storyline and would like Sam to track down Cain and get an explanation. Don’t think it will happen as he seems to be very hard to find but I would like to see Sam and Cain together. There are some great comments here and I enjoy reading them although I could do without some of the negative stuff.

  • After watching our once-tolerant and loving fandom rip itself to shreds over Season 9, I cannot bear to participate any longer. Much as I esteem Fangasm’s reviews and the follow-up comments, I won’t be participating in the post-S9 and S10 discussions. My enjoyment will continue to be watching this epic Show and letting others’ thoughts and opinions rightfully follow their own paths without me. Thank you, Fangasm, you’ve been great, and I’ll miss you.

    • We’ll miss you too! I do think that most of this fandom is wonderful and loving and supportive – it’s what I value so much about this community – but the discord is painful to watch at times. I hope you enjoy the best little show in the world forever – I intend to 🙂

  • The one constant for me is this Show; it truly is epic. Without sounding too geekish, its depth and scope remind me of Homer’s Odyssey — the long, hard journey to get home.

    I’m heartbroken at the way the SPN fandom has caused such pain to itself. Really. I’ll take this journey alone, without the fandom, because I can’t watch it implode any more. Thanks again for your kindness. Much love and gratitude!

    Μπορεί πανιά σας φέρει στο σπίτι πάρα πολύ! [Trans. May your sails carry you home too!]

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