But I Want More! Supernatural 10.03 Soul Survivor


There was a lot riding on episode 3 of Season 10, Soul Survivor. Jensen Ackles was directing, so everyone’s anticipation was high. On the other hand, some of the episodes by these writers are not my favorites, so I was wary. And, woman of little willpower that I am when it comes to this Show, I was once again a little bit spoiled – particularly for the scene where a tied down Dean tries every trick in the book to hurt his brother. Ouch. Maybe it was merciful that I was prepared, since it still hit me hard enough to make me nauseous hearing Dean say those hurtful things to Sam.

I’m not sure I’ve ever loved Sam more than when he refused to fall for it. When he plunged that needle into his brother and countered “This is me yanking your lame ass out of the fire,” I shivered. When he looked back over his shoulder and said, “You’re welcome,” I think I gasped. And then tweeted in capslock THAT’S RIGHT SAMMY!!!

Damn. How so hot, Mr. Padalecki?

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I was fairly sure that this week’s episode would be the last we see of Demon!Dean, so I was prepared for that too – but it still left me a little disappointed. There was so much I loved about this episode – most of it actually – but I wanted more.

Some of that wanting comes from how deeply I care about this Show and these characters. Caring makes you vulnerable, because when you desperately want something to happen on your screen and it doesn’t, it’s painful. Like, literally painful. I desperately wanted Sam to save Dean. Even Jensen and Jared seemed to be invested in that outcome. So part of me was biting my nails throughout, hoping that I’d get what I wanted.

Did I? Well, yes and no.

For the most part, yes. The episode gave me a lot of what I wanted – and most of it had me on the edge of my seat and yelling at my television, which sounds bizarre but actually is a good sign when it comes to my SPN viewing. The scenes that worked the best were the ones that I wanted to be about fifty times longer – why can’t this be a 3 hour show??

Take that scene of Demon!Dean tied to a chair while Sam works resolutely to cure him. Padalecki and Ackles made good use of their amazing chemistry, and that scene really worked.

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(Though I was disappointed that it wasn’t Sam’s blood. Is that wrong? I realize they weren’t trying to shut the doors of hell so there was no reason I guess that it had to be Sam’s, but it seemed so right. Poetic even. Cured with Winchester blood. Sam’s attempted cure of Crowley was so intense in part because of what Sam was going through to accomplish it — it was his blood, it was taking a real toll on him. How powerful would that have been, to have Sam make that sacrifice for Dean? To love him so much he would give his own blood to save him. That seemed like a powerful opportunity wasted. I have a feeling the writers aren’t quite as sentimental as I am…)

Still, we got some scenes straight out of the best hurt/comfort fic, especially when Sam walks in to find Dean unconscious and fears he’s gone too far.

“Dean! Dean! Come back to me,” Sam pleads, grabbing Dean’s face in desperation, and my eyes start to water.

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Graphic by lemondropsonice
Graphic by lemondropsonice

Sam’s indecision was heartbreaking, his fear that he might be killing his brother instead of saving him. What a horrible position to be in, a horrible decision to have to make. Sam’s voice breaking as he spoke to Cas on the phone, the look on his face when he has to accept that this might kill Dean….that really got to me. Kudos, Jared.

Also, Sam looks really good when he plays doctor. Just saying.

And Demon!Dean growling? Too much hotness in one Show, I swear.

I was prepared for some of the cruelty that Demon!Dean dished out to Sam, since I watched one promo vid, but I guess it wasn’t enough. It’s physically painful to hear the Winchesters tear each other apart, no matter what the extenuating circumstances. And Dean, since he had all of his own memories, really knew how to get to Sam. Go for the jugular, hone right in on the things Sam worries about that he’d never say out loud. His guilt for being the “cause” of his mother’s death. His fear that Dean resents taking care of him as a child. His overwhelming sense of loss, with Dean the only family he has left. Those were the things that would hurt Sam the most, and Dean knew it. His willingness to go there, and the sadistic twist of his mouth as he did, were the first clues that this was a Dean who was capable of going anywhere. I don’t think those were truths as far as what Dean believes, but rather the things Dean knows Sam unconsciously fears.

Sam: We don’t get to quit in this family. This family is all we have ever had!

Dean: Then we’ve got nothin’.

I can’t help but think that Demon!Dean’s vicious insistence that if family was what they had, then they have nothing, was a stab at Sam in retaliation for Sam calling into question the meaning of family and their brotherhood during last season too. That just made it hurt more. We’ve always known that demons lie – but rarely does a demon know its target as well as Dean knows Sam.

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Sam clearly feels guilty (understandably) about setting up Lester, though he also clearly intended to step in before the deal actually went down. Knowing what we know now about Lester, though, made it hard for that to rise to the level of “Sam is a monster” that seemed to be intended. How many demons have both Sam and Dean killed in human vessels without much visible angst? Some of the things Sam did in his misguided attempt to save the world back in earlier seasons seem a lot more monstrous than this particular incident. Both Sam and Dean have gone darkside to save each other, and I’m pretty okay with that. That’s why I watch this show. I felt more sorry for Sam than horrified at his ‘monstrosity’ here.

One of my other favorite scenes was Sam going into Dean’s room, needing to remember his brother – not the demon tied to a chair in the other room. He obviously needs to remind himself of his love for Dean, to steel himself to do this. He looks so fondly at Dean’s stack of porn and at the oddly preserved slice of half-eaten pie, both of which just made me giggle.

But then he picks up the photos that Dean keeps on his nightstand and that music starts to play and all my emotions spilled over. I can’t hear even the first few notes of Americana without crying, and hearing it while looking at the photos that Dean Winchester keeps in his room was almost too much. John and Mary, John with Sam and Dean. Sam and Dean with Bobby. Sam and Dean, laughing together. Was Dean looking at them as he battled the effects of the Mark of Cain, desperately trying to hang onto his humanity?

Somehow the fact that the Sam and Dean photos were actually behind the scenes shots of Jared and Jensen laughing together just made it more poignant. There’s so much love to go around on this Show – between the brothers, between the actors, between the fans. It all got twisted up in my head and made for a really messy few minutes in which I used up far too many tissues.

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The actual behind the scenes pic - one of my favorites!
The actual behind the scenes pic – one of my favorites!

The most amazing scene in this episode, though, was Sam and Dean’s “cat and mouse” chase in the bunker. In a recent meet and greet, Jensen had talked about filming that scene in the bunker hallways, which are like catacombs. (They really are – I practically got lost in them once looking for craft services). He talked about filming it like an old Hitchock movie, right down to making sure he filmed the protagonist walking from left to right and the antagonist approaching from right to left, the two of them getting closer and closer. He also said that Jared and Jerry Wanek helped him plan it out, giving some suggestions to build suspense. Just that description was enough to have me bouncing with anticipation.

But the scene itself? OMG that was a masterpiece! When Jensen described it, it sounded intriguing – seeing it was so much more terrifying than I ever imagined!

Serge Ladouceur’s lighting was masterful, the dark red tones adding to the suspense and the sense of approaching evil. That scene alone made the episode a favorite, and I once again found myself wishing it was longer. I would have happily watched a whole episode of Sam and Dean playing cat and mouse in the bunker.

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“You wanna hang out with your big brother? Spend a little quality time?”

“Come on, Sammy! Let’s have a beer, talk about it. I’m tired of playing. Let’s finish this game.”

It’s such a cruel parody of their brotherly bond, all the things real Dean would love to say to Sam twisted into something violent and cruel.

“I’m lucky, oh hell I’m blessed, because there’s just enough demon in me left to kill you.”

I wanted so much more of this, because it was absolutely delicious. Feral Dean, snarling and growling and sniffing the air to catch the scent of his prey (his brother). Scaring the crap out of me, for real. I don’t think I’ve ever been so frightened while watching Supernatural. This wasn’t some nameless monster that we knew would be vanquished – this was Dean. And he was terrifying.

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“I know you’re still in there somewhere,” Sam says.

But is he? I realized at some point during that scene that Jensen had sold me on Demon!Dean – that I no longer believed what I’d been hanging onto for the past few episodes, that Dean’s humanity was still in there. That Dean was still in there. I no longer believed that he couldn’t kill his brother – and that was profoundly terrifying! Ackles did an amazing job with directing those scenes, which seems nearly impossible to me since he was acting in them too. Demon!Dean looked 100% deadly and about 400% hot as hell, and the combination had me beside myself. He stalked through those halls like he owned the place, almost swaggering. And sniffing the air like a dog, trying to catch Sam’s scent and track him down? Holy hell. That should not be so hot.

I completely forgot to breathe when Dean swung at Sam with that effing hammer, and the choreography of that sequence was perfect as Sam ducked and came back with the knife to his brother’s throat.

And ohgod, Dean’s growled out, “Do it” was terrifying and yet still so damn sexy.

Kudos to Jared for making me fear for Sam and feel for Sam simultaneously – he was so torn, he so didn’t want to kill his brother.

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The moment when he pulled the knife away from Dean’s throat took me back to that pivotal moment in Croatoan when Dean couldn’t kill Sam – no matter what. I loved it for that parallel, and for the look of both defeat and determination on Sam’s face as he lowered the blade.

“I’m not gonna leave you” is such a powerful theme in Supernatural, and it played out here memorably – Jared sold it 100%. I cried for Sam, at that moment.

I was sitting there not breathing when Cas appeared and grabbed Dean from behind. Half of me gasped in relief and the other half sort of wanted to see what would have happened next. I guess the hammer just missing Sam’s head and smashing into the wall should have made it clear though, right? See how much I still don’t want to believe it?

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I saw someone on Tumblr sum the episode up as “Crowley saves Cas. Cas saves Sam. Sam saves Dean.” And I guess that’s how I’m looking at it too. I really needed Sam to save Dean this time, and he did. With a little help from his friends.

Not that Crowley is what you’d call a friend, but he was an integral part in the success of Sam’s plan. I’m not entirely sure why Crowley decided to re-grace Cas, at least temporarily. Is it because he doesn’t want Dean to be a rogue demon mucking things up, or because he doesn’t want Dean – or possibly any of them – dead?

Is Crowley still feeling some of the effects of his human blood addiction? He certainly has no problem offing demons, but he seems less certain when it comes to humans and perhaps even angels. He didn’t kill Hannah either, out of deference to Cas or because he thought she could help Cas get to Sam and Dean, I’m not sure. Crowley’s mooning over his good times with Dean belied his “I’m not sentimental” insistence, but I have no idea what he really wants. I did love the look on his face when one of his minions referred to Dean as his boytoy though. Hehe.

Mark Sheppard delivers every line he has with so much personality that I can’t help but smile every time Crowley is on my tv screen. Oh, and Mark’s son Max made a brief appearance too (see Sheppards selfie below). Good genes in that family, huh?

Crowley saves Cas. Do we really know why?
Crowley saves Cas. Do we really know why?

I’m still on the fence about Cas and Hannah and their budding non-romance. I like the character of Hannah, and I feel for her as Cas awkwardly friend zones her – which probably says something good about Erica Carroll’s acting. But I don’t really ship them either. (Also, why did poor Hannah get left to sit out in the car while Cas was in the bunker anyway? Security risk? Not trusting her? Bros only? Quality time with Dean?)

Misha always does a good job portraying awkward!Cas, and Erica played Hannah’s confusion turned irritation and hurt perfectly. But I admit I was also happy to see Cas back to being strong and competent, even if he did swoop in at a rather convenient time.

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Jensen directs Misha and Mark
Jensen directs Misha and Mark

The episode was less satisfying as we got closer to the end. We went from heart-pounding nail-biting will-he-or-won’t-he (kill Sam) to oh, the blood infusions apparently happened while we were watching Apple commercials, and now Sam and Cas are just calmly waiting for Dean to wake up. WTF??? Way to ruin the suspense and make what should have been an emotionally climactic scene almost anti-climactic. Neither Sam nor Cas looked particularly concerned, when earlier Sam had been terrified that the treatments might kill Dean instead of cure him. Why is everyone so damn calm now? Why, Show, why???

(I did like Castiel’s acknowledgement that perhaps Dean has been in so much pain that he would rather stay a demon so he doesn’t have to feel it again. Ouch.)

But I absolutely did not like that Dean just woke up and made a joke and then we effing CUT to a while later, Dean in his room and Cas and Sam having a perfectly normal conversation. Where is my broment?? Where is the hug I was expecting?? Urgh, Show, I hate you sometimes. And yes, I still love you. But seriously, I hate you. I wanted that! So badly.

I get it, Sam expresses his love by going out to get Dean food – cholesterol-laden food. It’s the way the Winchesters say I love you. (But sometimes they hug too, Show, don’t forget that.)

“I’m just gonna go pick up a bag of crap food and stuff it in his face myself.”

Awwww, Sammy.

Cas goes to find Dean, perhaps both to reassure himself that Dean’s okay and to see if Dean really is okay. Cas takes the Mark of Cain seriously, the way I could never understand that Sam didn’t. It’s a big deal, he says – well duh, I say. Thankfully someone is finally saying that. Thank you, Cas!

Dean, breaking my heart a little more, is looking at the family photos. Staring at the picture of smiling Dean and Sam.

Dean: “So what did Sam say? He want a divorce?”

That goes down as one of my favorite lines ever. Cas tries to be reassuring.

Cas: It’s going to take a lot more than trying to kill Sam with a hammer to make him walk away.

That was a great line, because it’s both preposterous and true. Cas also tries to talk Dean into taking a break. For his own good perhaps, but also because Castiel doesn’t want him out there with the Mark of Cain, I think. Right now, Cas seems to be thinking more clearly than anyone. It’s a shame we didn’t get any scenes of Cas actually interacting with Demon!Dean – it would have been interesting to hear his perspective.

I don’t know what to make of Dean’s expression as that scene ends. What is he feeling, other than worried that he went too far and drove his brother away? How cured is he, and how human is he?

And what the ever loving hell was that very last scene? I can’t help but wish we’d ended with Sam bringing back a slice of pie for his brother. And a goddamn hug!

But that’s the joy and agony of being a fan. We can’t always get what we want. I got a lot of what I wanted from this episode, and some of it was way better than I’d dared hope for! I know that Jensen and Jared are enthusiastic about the brothers getting back to being brothers again, and I’m looking forward to that too. Though a part of me is going to miss Demon!Dean and his swaggering devil-may-care hotness. I saw more than a few fans express their irritation that this was billed as “The Year of the Deanmon” [ouch ouch ears hurting now] – three episodes does not a year make, CW. I wish we’d had five or six episodes of that at least. Hell, I would’ve been ecstatic to have three whole episodes of Dean chasing Sam around the bunker!

I stayed up for the west coast feed, with EVERYONE tweeting, and ended up more in love with this Show and this cast than ever as Misha, Jensen, Jared and Mark sassed each other for our amusement.

Misha: 1 hour west-coasters. Buckle up. @jensenacles, this is the episode you “directed,” right?

Jensen: @mishacollins yes…this would be the episode I directed. #CaptainObvious #YourFavoriteDirector

For a while, Jensen and Jared were just going back and forth teasing each other while fandom watched grinning.

Jensen: #Deanmon needs a haircut. Any longer and he’s gonna start growing moose antlers. No offense @jarpad.

Jared: My favorite part was slapping the director in the face and purposely messing up so I could keep doing it.

Jensen: @jarpad yeah thanks for that. Took me a few takes to realize what you were doing. Well played sir, well played. #Revenge

Fandom: Sounds kinky

Misha got in a few good ones too, including this wry tweet when Sam took a sentimental stroll around Dean’s bedroom.

Misha: go for the porn, @jarpad. #spnAdultfamily

And this one when Crowley brought Cas back to full strength.

Misha: Being saved by @mark_sheppard is so emasculating. I wish it could have been someone super tough, like @feliciaday.

There were some emotional tweets too.

Jared: Crazy to see what Sam will do to get his brother back. He breaks all of the old rules he set for himself!

Me: Hell yes!

Jensen: “Lil’ Levi’s” gas station. A little shout out to my nephew. Love ya buddy.

Me: Awwwww.

Osric Chau and Erica Carroll joined in the live tweeting too.

Osric: This is the exact same conversation I had with @mishacollins in the kayak on Sunday. Except I was Castiel and he was Hannah.

Must have been an interesting kayak trip.

The fact that they were all using fandom’s selected hashtag for the episode from time to time was awesome. Reciprocal relationship stuff always makes me emotional. And for the record, #ActionAckles had more tweets than the World Series on Tuesday night! Go fandom!

Then the cast began tweeting selfies.

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Graphic by stacejospn

Much to Jensen’s apparent dismay and fandom’s glee.

Jensen: Well, since we are posing and tweeting like we’re 12. Here ya go. I like to wear an #spn shirt for extra effect!

Jared: @jensenackles you stole my shirt!

Fandom: Jared and Jensen clothes sharing, who has Bingo!?

Fanboy Jensen Selfie
Fanboy Jensen Selfie

I tweeted my reaction to hearing ‘Americana’ played in this episode.

Me: Big kudos to @jaygruska for reducing me to sobs

JayGruska: @FangasmSPN Sorry 🙂

I feel like maybe he was lying…

So what did everyone else think? We’re heading to ChiCon this weekend, where we’ll hopefully hear more about this week’s episode and what’s to come. We’ll also have some autographed copies of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls and Fan Phenomena: Supernatural (signed by Jensen, Jared, Misha, etc.) – so if you buy a book at the con, you might find your copy already autographed. Come find us in the vendor’s room if you’re at the con!

Or pick up your copy of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls
or Fan Phenomena: Supernatural (with chapters by Misha
and Richard) at the links at the top of the page!

Caps by midnight-road.livejournal.com

40 thoughts on “But I Want More! Supernatural 10.03 Soul Survivor

  • My feelings on this ep are mixed. Like you, I loved so much of Sam and Dean’s interactions, but didn’t understand the editing at all, esp at the end. And I’m very disappointed that Sam didn’t use his own blood. Iirc, the blood had to be purified (not blessed) in order for the cure to work at all, and there was a secondary ritual for closing the gates. It’s frustrating to see that ignored (if it was), especially when there was no explanation for it in the episode.

    I was also scratching my head a bit over Sam’s supposed monstrousness, since we’ve seen both him and Dean do as bad if not worse in the past (drinking a nurse in S5, torturing a demons in S6/S3 to name two). After S8-9 I’m thrilled to see Sam willing to cross his own personal lines to save Dean, just as Dean did to save him. My heart needed that more than I can say.

    The most important part of the ep–by far–was Sam saving Dean. That’s what I’m focusing on, that’s what I’m keeping as my takeaway from this ep. I’m hoping we get some–any–emotional progress or resolution in upcoming episodes, because I think I need that almost as much as Sam and Dean, so *fingers crossed* they don’t make us wait too long!

  • I feel like maybe he was lying…
    I’m pretty sure that “Sorry” with a smile face = “sorry not sorry”, at least that’s my head canon.

    Another OUTSTANDING review.

    I’m completely with you on NOT ENOUGH TIME. Dear DVD people … go get ALL the extra scenes now and finish them so our deleted scenes are chock full of “Soul Survivor”. Also, rope Jensen and Jared into commentary….because if I’m going to dream, I’m going to dream BIG.

    Whilst at the convention, is there any chance you would ask Misha — what the Hell is up with Heaven? Are souls still in the Veil? Cas said “Heaven was back on track” or something similar. Well if Kevin isn’t in his own private Idaho with girls and games, then I want that fixed. Like pronto.

    Back to the episode. The sound effects of the growl combined with that utterly terrifying ….IDK..biting motion ….Dean makes! It was almost a Code Brown moment for me. And yes, cat-n-mouse through the bunker. MORE PLEASE. Jensen did a fantastic job. I tweeted that I thought Jensen Ackles/Jerry Wanek/Serge Ladouceur should win all the awards for this one.

    I know our little show is lucky to get People’s Choice Awards. But DAMMIT. Who to we have to tweet to get some Emmy love for our show?

    Ahem. Crowley, Crowley, Crowley. I think he’s smitten. I think he loved his time with Dean. It felt REAL. It was not boring. I think Crowley has tipped his hand. He can’t stand boring. We saw it in his version of Hell in “The Man Who Would Be King” and again in “Soul Survivor”. Crowley can’t stand to be bored. He needs to mix it up with the boys to feel like he’s doing something fun. BTW, that wingman proposal? Oy. I was ready to smite him myself. I’ve met the King’s Wingman and you sir are no Wingman.

    Looking forward to another ginger on our screens. I miss Abaddon.

  • I can see two possible reasons why Sam would not use his own blood. The first is that he had no idea if Cas would make it or not. He couldn’t afford to be weakened by blood loss while trying to cure Dean, plus Dean is no ordinary demon, if curing him took more blood than Sam could take from himself then Dean would not be cured. Better to use sanctified blood, with plenty of extra, than pass out from blood loss with Dean chained to the chair, still uncured.

    The second reason is that Sam knew what he had done to find Dean. It was obvious that he felt guilty about it. I think Sam may be convinced that his blood would never be pure enough to cure a demon.

    I hated the last scene with Cas. Yes, the “does Sam want a divorce?” line was cute, but at the end of the day Dean thanks CAS for being saved, not Sam. Sam is shuffled off screen and the final conversation is Cas and Dean. The writing last season had fans saying Dean took the Mark because of what Sam said in The Purge even though he took the Mark two episodes before The Purge. Leaving the episode with the very clear implication that Cas had cured Dean was a big misstep for me. I can see where a final scene would not be long enough to deal with all the emotions of Dean being healed, but I would have preferred for Dean to be shown contemplating what had happened by himself, rather than thanking Cas. Frankly, I wanted Sam to cure Dean without anyone else’s help, but I really didn’t expect the writers to give Sam that big a win.

  • I’m also having a mixed reaction. I assume that Sam didn’t use his own blood because it weakened him so much last time or maybe, because of the blood type comment, he and Dean don’t have the same type. At any rate, it lacked the emotional and physical punch of curing Crowley.

    I felt Sam’s guilt over what happened to Lester, and Jared really broke my heart, but my husband and I both immediately thought that Dean’s comment about Lester’s soul was weird because Crowley already stated that he lost his soul because Dean blew the deal.

    I was torn over not getting a bromoment at the end because I almost felt like we got more honest worry out of Dean talking to Cas than we might have if the guys talked to each other. Isn’t that a sad testimony to their relationship lately?

    I completely agree with the anticlimactic feel of the last bit of the cure. The lines were so awkward and occ. When does Dean ever call Sam and cas, “fellas”? And ” welcome back Dean ” was just cheesy.

    I just wanted to like it more, I guess. I think everyone was giving their all and that really saved it from being really unpalatable.

    Thanks for your insightful opinion.

  • My first reaction was to feel deprived of not getting that immediate ‘boys back together’ scene–it left me feeling like there was unfinished business. And then I realized that was exactly how I was supposed to feel–off kilter, just like Sam and Dean are feeling! This wasn’t a feel-good, you’re back from the dead, give me a hug reunion–after what demon!Dean said, Dean is feeling guilty and Sam is surely feeling hurt at what he heard. Intellectually he knows it was the demon taunting him–but emotionally he was hearing his brother say what Sam has always feared.

    So no hug yet, for the boys or for us.

    • Exactly my thoughts on second viewing. Dean’s little look of guilt as he comes back to himself in the chair and realizes he almost killed his brother, then his asking Cas later if Sam wants a divorce…The Winchesters are left with a lot of emotional baggage after this and I’m guessing it will take awhile to heal. But eventually — hug please!!

      • I agree with you both. A bro hug out would feel too rushed & soon. The end of the episode did feel like an anti climax, again proper pacing seems to elude this team of writers. That being said I think Sam & Dean have too many cracks in their relationship for them to be papered over again. So I hope we see some real bro heart to hearts (hopefully leant against the Impala parked by water). For now I’m just glad they’re together & so home, but I feel this is where the real work to repair their relationship begins.

  • I too am torn, not by the directing, but the lackluster writing at the end. I too wanted more Deanmon (sorry, but I love that term). Growling Dean was just swoon-worthy. See you ladies a BurCon!

  • As a director Jensen had a say in wardrobe choices – so he knows a) what a huge symbol his dark red shirt is and b) what that shirt does to his fans? So, was the red shirt his idea or did someone suggest it? The cat and mouse chase was a masterpiece – it would have been even more effectful without the damn promo that I tried to avoid but apparently couldn’t. Someone should ask Jensen about scenes that got cut during editing! Oh, and my guess about that ginger in the last scene – she might be connected to Crowley (just sayin’). Thank you so much for this great review!

      • Red is often the color of demons or devils or blood, or the red light district where debauchery is conducted. Not sure if that isn’t fandom’s take or if it was intentional. It does attract the human eye on camera which I am sure a director knows off the bat. It wasn’t plaid so it contrasted with Sam’s shirt nicely. I agree JA wore it well.

  • I think with Sam not using his own blood, it was because it needed to be purified through confession, and, for reasons that werent revealed, but might be later, or just for us to guess at, that is the “monsterous” things he has done, this couldnt happen. Logistically, it was better for Sam to have purified blood on hand, rather then use his own, also with him “winged”, I think Sam drawing his own blood, could have been tricky. Im sure that these were the reasons, but there is no reason why I cant speculate further!

    I wonder if Sam uses his own blood, and cures a demon, and this will complete the Trials. remember that Crowley didnt want Sam’s blood, but Kevins. Ive been wondering about that for over a season now! I know that Sam needs to recite the spell for the Gates of Hell to close, and I dont think that happened in Sacfifice, but what if even cured Demons got sucked back into Hell. While I think, I am over thinking this, there is something about Sam’s blood, that has not been answered. I guess it is being held for a big reveal at some point

    I still think the scenes of Sam and Crowley in that beautiful but simple church in “Sacrifice” are some of the best Ive seen in television – not just Supernatural. I was shocked to see a behind the scenes photo with Jared, Mark, and dozens of crew, those scenes were always so “lonely” just the two of them (and Abaddon!) Perhaps the setting for that demon cure is one that cant be bettered

    also remember, the Winchesters dont do chick flick moments. Sam went to get Hunter food !! I guess the Bunker’s kitchen is full of lettuce !!

  • “(Though I was disappointed that it wasn’t Sam’s blood. Is that wrong? I realize they weren’t trying to shut the doors of hell so there was no reason I guess that it had to be Sam’s, but it seemed so right. Poetic even. Cured with Winchester blood. Sam’s attempted cure of Crowley was so intense in part because of what Sam was going through to accomplish it — it was his blood, it was taking a real toll on him. How powerful would that have been, to have Sam make that sacrifice for Dean? To love him so much he would give his own blood to save him. That seemed like a powerful opportunity wasted. I have a feeling the writers aren’t quite as sentimental as I am”

    I thought about this and then realized that it was probably done on purpose. When Sam was curing Crowley he was going to die… I know it was mainly to do with the trials and not just the last one, but it probably had something to do with sacrificing himself and his blood to save a demon too, so maybe the writer were trying to placate that question before it was even raised… if Sam would have died saving Crowley, how comes he can save Dean and not die?? I don’t know, that was just my impression

  • That moment when Demon!Dean is smashing his way out of the electrical room was so terrifying! When he says “I don’t have a choice” and you just know as a viewer that he WILL kill Sam if he can — That was unbelievably well-played. Also when Sam drops the knife and you see his defeat and Demon!Dean just starts to LEAP at his brother — that split second before Cas appears totally stopped my heart. They just NAILED IT.

    Thank you again for your wonderful review and bringing everything into focus!

  • Great review! You always seem to find the nuances that make me say “yeah! That!” I think we can truly say now that Jensen Ackles has come into his own as a director. The cat/mouse chase through the halls was wonderful and I agree that 2 full episodes of just that would have been just fine by me. Directing and acting in an episode is hard enough but bringing as much to this episode as Jensen was required to, and direct? Well, he has surely earned new respect in my book. (which now has a whole new chapter in it for Demon Dean) Woowzer. Demon Dean. The feral growl, the bloodthirsty looks, the absolute terror of Dean hunting his brother. Thank you Show, for taking us to a truly terrifying place. But I wanted sooo much more time to soak in this moment. But I understand the mantra of television…movin’ on!! *sighs*
    Thank you for your love of Show too! When you see the Boys this weekend in Chicago please make sure they know of our kudos on a job well done. And our love. And our fanning of selves as they took hotness to a new level. Oh, getting off topic…

  • Great review. I thought after “sacrifice” that Jared could not go deeper and here he is giving a multi-layered performance of Sam that is one of his best if not the best of the series. Ackles’s nuamces ,like stroking his hair, differentiated DD from our beloved Dean-that narcisistic gesture with the growling, added to another A+ performance. The lighting, music,props, all hit high notes. My biggest complaint is that I wanted the episode to be longer, but alas that is commercial television.
    The denouement felt a little empty. Yes I loved Dean’s quip about the divorce. And Cas’ concern for the MoC brings up episodic possibilities. When we come back from commercial and Dean is waking up and says,”you look worried”- I think it was to represent fandom’s build up of emotion, but for me it fell a bit flat. Sam’s errand to find cholesterol and hand feed it to Dean, is cute and it is how the brothers often show acceptance. What worries me more is that Sam says then he is going to get drunk. Is it because he is celebrating or attempting to blot out the guilt he feels for having pushed Dean to Crowley and the MoC or perhaps even the Lester debacle. (Lester’s soul is not taken by Crowley, so in effect Sam should not be guilty for this one).
    Sam did not use his own blood perhaps to stay upright because he knows of the price he would have to pay physically and both brothers cannot be down at the same time. It also isn’t clear how purified Sam’s blood is. He says to Dean that he got Dean’s blood type, so does that indicate that he thinks he may have demon leftovers which would impair the cure? There was no final bloody fist sandwich shown as part of this cure. Is it off screen or did the writers forget>
    Now Crowley is as always delicious. He needs to have feral Dean taken care of one way of the other in order to maintain respect in Hell. He needed to be loved and Dean just didn’t work it out with him. Despite his”I’m not sentimental, the fact that he is ruminating about Dean and gives Cas and opportunity to help Dean say different. But being Crowley, if it had to come to his survival or Dean’s, well it is an easier choice. Not so easy for Sam give the same choice. And therein lies the difference between the relationship btwn the brothers and Crowley’s fantasy about his relationship with Dean. Sam would not kill Dean, just as Dean would not kill Sam( s5) The End), but Crowley would.
    Not sure where we are going with the Hannah/ Cas journey. She is like Cas 6 years ago and just doesn’t get humanity. It is a dangerous road for angels to travel.
    The episode comes back to a fabulous performance by all but a riveting one by Jared. This director got the best out of his fellow players and his generosity to them is visible on screen.

  • I was completely captivated by the hunting sequence. I don’t think I was breathing as they stalked each other through red-lit corridors. And moment when Sam turns and Dean swings the hammer made me jump and instinctively cover my eyes. I haven’t been that startled and terrified by the show in a while. It brought me back to the horror movie style of season one, most of which I watched in delightful terror, my hands over my eyes, peeking through my fingers. The bunker sequence was beautifully staged. It was horrifying and heart-breaking. Loved every second of it. I agree that the ending felt off and I hated to have it conclude without Sam. Did anyone else question the way that Dean escapes? I knew it was coming. I though the reveal of the empty chair was great. But I was wondering how the writers would explain it. When Dean says that he had just enough humanity to escape, I thought this was clever. However, shouldn’t we have seem some of glimpses of that humanity once he’s on the loose? I didn’t see it. No complaints, though. I love Demon!Dean unfettered and feral. I’m so happy to have Dean back, but I think I’ll miss Demon!Dean.

  • The work of cast and crew was awesome. The performance, the directing, the amtomsphere. Fantastic. You must read between the lines. After ten years, Supernatural has gotten a higher quality. The acting of Jensen and Jared and also the writers.
    I distrust the calm. Have you seen Dean’s face? Did Cas really looks calm and trustful? And Sam? Don’t you think, that he is to much euphoric? That he don’t wanna know, that something is wrong? I’m sure, it will be continued. I for one need a emotional break before the next shock comes.

    • I think 10.4 is a werewolf hunt with a twist so that will be a nice break- only a SPN fan can say that about werewolves. Did you notice the prop glitch? Sam gets Dean’s blood type- the universal donor O, but John’s blood type on his dogtags is AB which would make it impossible for Dean to be 0. Sure it is a continuity issue not a plot thread as to Dean’s heritage. That ship has sailed.

  • Last season was my line in the sand so whether the brothers repair the tangled mess that is their relationship probably does not matter as much to me as others. I just feel like Sam as been stomped on character wise since season 4 with the boy have no genuine reply to anything that is done to him and last season cemented that. Sam being sent off to get fast food comes as no surprise. Would Dean of been certainly not but then we are talking about something completely different in how each brother is approached.

  • Love this review and I agree with it 100%. I wish this episode could have just focused on Sam and Dean in the bunker. Every time we cut away for either Cas or Crowley I couldn’t wait for them to get back to the boys (actually the whole angel/heaven storyline has been boring me since last season). I thought Jensen did a amazing job directing – his best episode yet. And both Jared and Jensen knocked it out of the park with their acting.

    I’m not sure if there’s really an explanation as to why Sam didn’t use his blood. I guess I don’t have that much faith in the writers of this episode since they’re the same ones who messed up the whole reaper lore in “Taxi Driver.”

    I’m really disappointed that we didn’t get our Sam & Dean scene at the end of the episode, especially after all the friction between the boys last season. I hope that we’ll get something at the beginning of next episode. Fingers crossed.

    Jared and Jensen need to do a commentary for this episode when the DVD comes out.

  • I guess I’m alone but I thought it quite clever that Sam used blood other than his own. Perhaps his research led him to believe that his blood wasn’t necessarily needed? Just blessed and sanctified blood?

    • and we cannot have both brothers weakened at the same time- using his own blood may have made him sick and unable to cope with the rigors of curing his brother. Also, maybe his blood is not so pure.

  • Loved, loved, LOVED this episode!! It is now tied for my favorite. Demon Dean was amazing! I believe we will get to see more of him in future episodes (flashbacks). Jensen out did himself. So did Jared.

    • I am spoiled by JA performances always and the writers tend to give him great lines so let me just say he did not disappoint What delighted me was the outstanding performance by JP. He has often shown layered performances and emoted with much believability whether he is souless, possessed, or just Sam knowing he has to kill a werewolf ladyfriend. Of course, there is his performance in “Sacrifice” which was top rate. This episode gave him multiple opportunities to show his skill and he gave it his all. Maybe it was the script and the direction of JA that propelled it. It is certainly a mature, in depth interpretation of a character who is sometimes not given his due. A generous director gave him some great camera shots. As usual JP uses breathe but this time, you could see his physical being holding back his tears, temper, and angst.

  • Interesting review as always, Lynn. I have to say I loved the episode though 🙂 I needed to lie down after. Any More and I would have had a coronary.

    I loved DemonDean, but am looking forward to seeing how MarkofCainDean detoxes from the First Blade again and post-Demon reintegration into Winchester “normality”. Plus, with Episode 200 being “musical-ish” and the Show desperately needing to pace itself for the season arc, this is about as much Demon Dean as we were gonna get, I feel.

    After all, when something is so rich …. just a TASTE of it is exquisite! And Jared and Jensen this season? Holy crap.

    I managed to remain pretty much unspoiled so … I gasped, I ducked the hammer swing, I held my breath and even welcomed the secondary and tertiary story scenes as a respite from the pressure-cooker tension of the bunker. And the music and sound were perfect and painted exquisitely over the brilliant performances.

    And I actually found I didn’t actually miss a Winchester hug at all! The look on Sam’s face said it all, for me – plus Sam going for ‘cholesterol’ for his brother was the icing on the cake. I actually really like that they changed it up. For me, Sam donating blood would have been too on-the-nose.

    Strangely though, one of the things you noted as cool, the fact that a couple of the photos were obviously of Jared and Jensen not Sam and Dean, was one of the few things that jarred for me.

    But overall, an A from me. And the fact that it leaves one wanting more? Think that’s a sign of a job well done 🙂 Kudos, Mr Ackles.

    Random observations:

    How long had that pîece of pie been sitting there?
    – When Dean’s chopping down the door a la The Shining, delivery of the line: “Personally, I like the disease, “ = Jack Nicholson impression?
    – Loved the voice distortion when Demon Dean was being exorcised.
    – Color palette from Reichenbach would have made the episode EVEN better.
    – Did Dean sound like he was purring to anyone else when he taunted Sam? No? Just me then.

  • I liked this episode and I might be in the minority here with being ok with no hug. Sam was so damn HAPPY that Dean was cured and his denial about the Mark of Cain for me read completely human and true. He can’t always worry, he’d go insane. And going to get drunk is a well-prooved way to not be worried for a while. He knows damn well nothing is resolved yet, and he’d been so high-strung over WEEKS… why not have him just slow down,shut up his brain and just be happy for a few moments. He’ll get sad and worried soon enough.

    Honestly him NOT worrying is a lot more healthy on the long run, and reads to me as a smart idea from Sam. Just for one, be glad for what you have and take the next step another day.

    I wasn’t too thrilled about the angel-storyline. It’s boring me to tears, really, so I’d have gladly skipped most of it.

    What I truly LOVED was Demon Dean throwing insults at Sam and trying to be mean and evil.
    I was deeply satisfied with it, and also with the reaction in Sam. Yes, I might be the truly evil one here, but damn, that felt GOOD.
    I know Dean didn’t mean half of it, maybe had some of these thoughts around his mind here and there, once and again. But he’d not felt it – there had been way too many moments in the Winchesters lives to just go and leave if Dean would have really felt it too hard to care for Sam. No-one forced him to go to Stanford, if it had been so hard for the big brother, he’d have just left him there and count his job done. Kid grew up, kid left the nest, kid can care for himself.

    So for Sam, even though he would be hurt by the insults, there is a whole fucking life to think back on and KNOW, deeply and with certainty, that it’s not the truth.

    You don’t sell your soul for someone if you think that one a burden.

    But damn, that demon could finally say all those things that I’ve wanted Dean to say one of these days to Sam. He’d been kicked in the emotions by Sam in various states of mind – mindwashed by a ghost, hooked up on demon-blood, influenced by a siren, dreamworlded in heaven with his perfect memory being something WITHOUT his family…

    So damn often. And yes, I’m certain Sam didn’t think exactly what he said. But it always hurt Dean, it always does! Once it doesn’t anymore, it’d be over for the family – because they wouldn’t care anymore and why bother then?
    So it hurt Dean, and I’m too much a Dean-girl to not be deeply satisfied that this time, Sammy’s heart got broken a little.

    Hurts like a bitch, doesn’t it? And hey… even knowing it wasn’t really Dean who said that doesn’t help, does it?

    I’m vindictive enough to feel a deep feeling of accomplishment after that.

    Apart from that, I wish Dean could have kept a little bit of his demonic no-care attitude. He was smiling so much better, and seeing Jensen lose the smirk when he returned to being Dean was just sad. good that it’s Dean again, but still…
    Ah well. Let’s see how they torture them next.

    • I didn’t nee d the physical hug be be content. Sam going to hand feed Dean some crap food is a sign of that strong bond. Not sure Dean is in the mood for a hug as he questions what his trying to kill Sam has done to the relationship. That doesn’t mean the hug isn’t there. I also think we don’t always need to see it on screen as it becomes as Crowley would say, “to expected.” Besides, we are not out of the woods yet with the MoC looming. As for the angel story- at first I was WTF- but now I see it as the narrative for the story of the Winchesters as well as Cas’ attempt to educate Hannah as to the shades of grey in any situation. And we are not done with Metatron as I hear he reappears in 10.7 and beyond. So angels are not out of it completely.

    • I’m with you Fritz and blinder on this episode’s question of ‘To hug or not to hug’ . Plus, as I said further up the thread: there will be hugs 😉

  • Loved the episode, but like a lot of you I thought the ending was rushed – like the writers looked at the script and realized they were at 43 minutes and just typed out, “welcome back” and called it done. I agree that was cheesy and would have preferred something closer to “Are you back with me, Dean?” which would’ve framed Dean’s reaction well.

    I really was surprised that Sam set up Lester. That was colder than I expected. Obviously anyone who will sell their soul in exchange for murder is not a good guy. But I really didn’t expect Sammy to wander into a bar like a lion seeking out a wounded gazelle.

    Even though Dean is no longer a demon, I’m thinking the mark will keep pulling him back to the dark side. We just might get a nice, slow, delicious backslide to evil. I want to see both brothers struggle with that.

  • I loved it. I agree with you that the ending fizzled a bit, but otherwise, I just loved it. Show is awesome.

    One interpretation I differed on: When Sam had the knife to Demon!Dean’s throat, I read it that Sam was going to do it, he knew he had to, knew he had no choice but to do it and was coming to grips with that horrible reality, but then he saw Cas over Dean’s shoulder and THAT’S when he lowered the knife. Dean thought he couldn’t do it. Sam knew he was going to, but Cas saved Sam from having to do it.
    Sam still saved Dean. If he’d had to kill Demon!Dean, he would have still been saving Dean – Dean — real Dean would hate being a demon more than anything in the world (except for losing Sammy, of course).

  • Wow all of you had such great insight to the episode! Like everyone else I thought the end was kind of missing something but once I thought about I realized that the writers are taking their time with the brothers healing process. I know we want instant gratification, but if Sam and Dean hug and make up by episode 3 what’s left for the next 19 or 20 episodes. I am choosing to believe the writers and show runners have some good twists and turns to take us through over the next few months. I like the thought of being left wanting more each week through the whole season! Anybody else think that when Dean as the demon was being so hurtful to Sam that part of that was “Dean” trying to drive Sam away to keep Sam safe???? Can’t wait for tonight’s new episode!!

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