Back to Happily Squeeing – over Supernatural ‘Nihilism’!

 

I spent Supernatural’s mid season hiatus guardedly optimistic about the second half of Season 14 after feeling less than elated about the end of the first half. Then I was out of the country last Thursday when my favorite show returned and couldn’t watch until now – so imagine my absolute joy when I finally sat down to watch ‘Nihilism’ and sat there riveted the entire time. I might have yelled “YES!” and “That’s my Show!” more than once, and I might have had a big grin on my face at times that probably weren’t even appropriate for big grins, but I was just so happy to have my Show back! Thank you, Steve Yockey, for that beautiful story, and Amanda Tapping for that beautiful direction.

It’s already Thursday again so this is less a review or recap and more a few emotional reactions and thoughts as we gear up for tonight’s new episode and get closer to the 300th episode that I’m so anticipating.

‘Nihilism’ had some nostalgic touches, which almost always puts a smile on my face. I’ve been watching this Show for 14 years, and it feels good when the Show remembers its own history and acknowledges its own fandom. Dean’s fantasy world in his own head where Michael has trapped him is full of those touches – it’s Rocky’s Bar, complete with a stuffed squirrel wrapped around a Margiekugel’s beer bottle, a tap from “FB Beer Company” and references to “an IPA from Austin”.  The little in-group nods to Dean’s nickname of ‘Squirrel’, a Scoobynatural nod with ‘Daphne Loves Fred’ carved into the bar, and Jensen’s real life (Family Business Beer Company) brewery in Austin were happy making.

Although that taxidermied squirrel kinda brought back some unusual con memories….you know what? Never mind.

And who’s Dean’s partner in his dreamt up ideal world? None other than Pamela Barnes, the woman who unapologetically appreciated both Winchesters’ assets and always told it like it is (threesome, anyone?). I can see Dean appreciating a woman like that, and I have always appreciated her too.  I also love Traci Dinwiddie, who was a guest at some of the first Supernatural cons, and was so happy to see her back on the show.

The fact that Dean’s fantasy world has him being a badass brawling bar owner (who’s famous…) repeatedly beheading attacking monsters was so perfect – so very very Dean.  Of course he’d still be hunting monsters and saving people, even in a dream world! Also that gives us interesting shots like this…

You could actually spend hours analyzing the contents of Dean’s fantasy world – it’s so old school, right down to the vintage Rolodex on his desk. Dean values the past, perhaps a link to John Winchester and a longing for his Dad that’s never been blunted. Interesting too that he’s not romantically involved with Pamela, he just likes to flirt.  There’s nothing I love more than the characterization of my favorite characters seeming so right, whether I’m reading fanfic or watching the actual Show. Cue one of those big grins. And thanks, Mr. Yockey.

And a shout out to fight coordinator Rob Hayter for multiple kickass fight scenes in this episode too!

So, we soon find out that our suspicions about Michael were right, he did indeed “see everything”. Yet he manages to underestimate both the determination of Sam and Cas to get Dean back and their smarts. In fact, Michael ends up in cuffs.

Consumed in flames? Yep, still pretty.

Yay Sam and Cas and Team Save Dean!

Bonus points for little elements of humor tossed in, one of the Show’s signature characteristics.

“But Garth’s in the trunk.”

“It’s a big trunk….”

At some point, Sam calls the reaper who’s always around them, and they get whisked to safety. Violet the reaper, when asked how she did that, says “I didn’t”. So we all know that Lisa Berry will probably be making an appearance, and YAY!

Once Michael is cuffed to the table back at the bunker, the fun really begins. I have been impressed with some elements of Jensen Ackles’ portrayal of Michael before, but this episode, he really owned the role. Maybe it took a little while for him to settle into another character, or a little while to “find” this character in order to really inhabit Michael, but holy shit, he really did that this time! I found myself increasingly intrigued by Michael as Yockey’s script let us get some insight into what drives him – insight that made more sense than anything we’ve heard Michael say before. As so often happens on Supernatural, part of that motivation is anger and betrayal and a deep sense of abandonment, with all the rage that brings. Seems the angels and the archangels and the humans have all struggled with an absent God in all the worlds – and Michael is no exception. His dark cold nihilistic view is of a God with no answers, a universe strewn with failed and discarded drafts, because he Just. Doesn’t. Care.

Michael is, when all is said and done, the abandoned son on a mission to destroy the absent father.

Michael: Even God can die.

Me: Rob Benedict, don’t come back this Season!!

I hate to admit it, but Michael – now that he has a personality and a coherent backstory – is not only intriguing, but downright hot. Like, wayyyyyy hot. The way he sits there handcuffed but still crossing his legs and casting almost flirty looks to his captors, looking every bit like “I might be in cuffs but you KNOW I look good” was a goddamn attack. Tapping’s extreme close ups only made it more lethal. (Thank you, Ms. Tapping)

And let’s talk about how Michael always acts like he’s in control, carrying out a subtly effective psychological attack on each of his captors. He taunts Sam, telling him that the last thing he’ll see is “this pretty smile – as I rip you apart.”

He does smile then, using Dean’s familiar face, the person Sam loves and misses so much. It’s brilliant, and horrible.

Caps itsokaysammy

Padalecki gets a chance to show his first class acting here too, the pain of that taunt crystal clear in his expression, the way he swallows hard and tries to remain stoic. Oh, my heart.

Michael also taunts Jack, confiding that he knows Dean’s inner thoughts and destroying Jack’s still-fragile belief that Dean cares about him. “You’re not Sam, you’re not Cas…you think they care about you but they don’t…”

Jack is so vulnerable, and Michael tells him everything that he fears the most. And Jack, we can see, starts to believe him, despite Castiel’s warning not to. Oh, my heart.

He taunts Castiel too, comparing him to the badass version of Cas in his world, calling him “anemic” compared to the other Castiel.

With each of the three would-be rescuers, Michael goes right for their vulnerabilities.

I loved the way Ackles carried out those taunts, the same familiar face but without a trace of the warmth that Dean would feel when talking with each of them. It was chilling, and yet he’s still so goddamn distractingly gorgeous!

We get some nice Sam and Castiel bonding in this episode too, which I’m always here for. If ever they were going to be close and working together, it’s now, as they try to save Dean.

Brief interlude for the only head scratching moment in this episode – Maggie (Katherine Evans) is in charge?? What now? I have no clue what it is with this character and why Show is so determined to make her a major player, but they’ve painted her as the least likely person EVER to be put in charge and then – put her in charge! Look, Show, I know you still feel bad about Wayward Sisters, but this isn’t the way to make up for it – it makes zero sense and threw me right out of an episode which otherwise had me entirely sucked in.

Sam and Cas are initially overwhelmed by all the trauma memories crammed into poor Dean’s brain, and it’s interesting to try to pick out the bits and pieces of all the awful things that have happened to Dean in his insanely traumatic life. Sam is once again allowed to show his smarts (thank you Mr. Yockey!) and how well he knows his brother, because he quickly realizes that Michael wouldn’t put Dean in a traumatic memory. Instead, he’d put him in a wished for fantasy, and that would be so distracting he’d never want to leave. “Bury him in contentment,” as Sam puts it.

So in Sam and  Cas go.

We got a couple more kickass fight scenes in Rocky’s Bar, with Dean fighting vampires and Sam and Cas splattered with blood and looking amusingly perplexed about it. I laughed out loud at Jared Padalecki’s expression to show Sam’s distaste – he is so good at comedy, just those subtle little things. Both Padalecki and Misha Collins were brilliant as Sam and Cas tried to get through to Dean, by turns adorably frustrated and seriously desperate.

The moment when Sam realizes that the best way to bring Dean back to himself is to use a word that is theirs, a secret code the Winchesters have shared forever, something that only they know, was the emotional highlight of the episode.

Sam: “Poughkeepsie”

The look on Dean’s face made me start to tear up. He hears Sam. He hears him.

Dean: What’d you say?

Gifs itsokaysammy

Sam: Poughkeepsie.

And slowly, with more brilliant acting by Ackles and Padalecki, Dean remembers.

I had to reach for the tissues, but at the same time I was smiling ear to ear, because this is my Show! It’s the Winchesters’ shared history that makes this all so special – it’s what saved the day when Sam fought back control from Lucifer and tossed him into the cage, and it’s what brought Dean back to reality now.

Of course, it can’t be that easy. Michael joins the party in Dean’s brain, and resumes his psychological games with more targeted taunts. He insists that Dean doesn’t care about either Sam or Castiel, that “you just tolerate the angel, because you think you owe him…but all he’s done is make mistakes.”

Ouch.

He insists that Dean is better off without Sam too, that “he was happiest when he left you – he knows you’ll abandon him again and again.”

Double ouch.

Michael: You don’t care about them, you just feel responsible for them.

Damn, Michael is good. He does know what’s in Dean’s head, and he twists it and uses it to manipulate and destabilize. It almost works too. There’s an amazing fight scene with Michael throwing Sam and Castiel across the room, which I’ll just bet that Rob Hayter and Ackles, Padalecki and Collins had a BLAST filming. Eventually Dean’s mental and emotional strength win out though – they trap Michael in Dean’s mind.

Dean, as Michael rages and bangs on the door: It’ll hold. My mind, my rules. I got him. I’m the Cage.

Ohgod. Oh Dean.

At the same time, Michael’s monsters are invading the bunker and things are looking bad for Jack and the AU hunters and actual Sam and Castiel who are still in Dean’s head (but also sitting at the bunker table).

What we all thought would happen eventually does – Jack, more determined than ever to prove himself after Michael’s taunts, uses his powers to destroy the monsters. Oh Jack.

Once everyone is awake, Cas has a heart to heart with Jack, reminding him that using his powers like that burns off some of his soul.

Cas: I’m not mad at you. It’s about you staying you.

I loved that scene and that conversation, and how Misha Collins and Alex Calvert played it. There was tenderness and affection, and damned if Castiel isn’t getting good at this parenting thing! I worry about Jack too, Cas.

We end with Dean – in a friggin’ single layer Henley – confronting himself in the mirror as Michael bangs and screams and roars and rages in his head.

Billie (the amazing Lisa Berry) appears, and as we assumed, she was the one who zapped them out of danger. And now we learn why. Seems all those many many books that had Dean Winchester dying in all sorts of ways? Now they all have Dean dying as things go south with Michael.

Except one.

Billie hands him that book, and Dean opens the page and reads how he dies.

His face says that it’s something unimaginable.

Dean: What am I supposed to do with this?

Billie: It’s up to you.

Me: OMG

That was followed shortly after by me telling everyone else who was home at the time how much I love this Show (which they’ve all heard a million times before, but come on, how awesome is it to be able to still squee about it after 14 seasons???)

‘Nihilism’ was a welcome reminder that Supernatural is still capable of being the most incredible show ever – and that its cast is fucking amazing. I’m so grateful that I sometimes still get to write a review that’s mostly me going OMG SO GOOD In a bunch of different ways.  If I was excited about the 300th episode before, now it’s off the charts!

Gorgeous caps by kayb625

— Lynn

Read the book written by the Supernatural

actors themselves, about how the show and

the fandom have changed them all –

Family Don’t End With Blood – links

for info and to buy on the home page

 

 

 

30 thoughts on “Back to Happily Squeeing – over Supernatural ‘Nihilism’!

  • Something has got to be going on with Maggie. I have wondered about it from the first time she appeared. Who is she ….really. Is she a vessel?

  • Exactly. Loved this episode, especially all the references to the past. And I don’t get the Maggie thing either.

  • Was waiting for your review all week! Squeed all the way through your review 🙂 It was a fabulous episode with lots of clapping and cheering from my end. The S14 second part has been kicked off with a bang and I hope this momentum carries us to the S14 finale 🙂 Looking forward to S15 and so much moooore 🙂 Too excited for words.

    • I am so with you – and it feels so good to be this excited about the Show again! I loved last night’s episode too, so we’re really getting some momentum going here as we approach the 300th episode. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

  • I’ve never commented on your reviews before, but I’ve read a lot of them, and i find that we are in agreement about a great many things. So, I’ve been waiting all week for your review, because I was pretty sure you’d love this episode as much as I did. It was nice to have actual insight and motivation into Michael. His snark was awesome, and he seemed like a completely different person than Dean. I really enjoy him as a villain now, so I’m glad that his story isn’t done. I’m intrigued and excited again for this season, which is a welcome change. After the third episode, I was having a hard time getting excited for new episodes because everything seemed to lag and the main story line was nowhere to be seen. Now that the main arch is moving again, I’m loving it! Honestly, this episode might be in my top ten.

    I don’t really care about Maggie either, but she’s fine. I wish they’d established more of the hunters instead of giving us FakeBobby and FakeCharlie. It would have been more interesting to have hunters with different motivations instead. Like, some of the hunters want to kill Dean so Michael can’t have his vessel or they resent Sam because he promised them safety and instead Michael followed them. They’re all pretty one dimensional and that makes them boring and a waste of screen time. In my opinion, people only have merit on the show if we see them interact with the boys. Anyway. Thanks for reviewing.

    • I so agree with you about the AU hunters. AU not-really-Bobby and Charlie just sort of frustrated me, and they wasted an opportunity to have the AU hunters react to Sam and Dean – it would have made sense that they either didn’t trust them or resented one or both of them or whatever. What’s the use of having them there if they’re just in the way? But I also agree with you about how much better the Show is these last few episodes – like it suddenly remembered what it was about and that it was telling Sam and Dean’s story!

  • I am with you 100% on everything in this episode. I had to keep pausing it to yell at my husband and my daughter to stop trying to talk to me because it’s ONLY 42 MINUTES THAT I NEED YOU TO BE QUIET and then I squee’d the entire time. The ENTIRE time. Except when Maggie and the Red Shirts showed up (sidenote – casting needs to get better at their job and not cast guys who are obviously going to end up getting turned into monsters as guys that end up getting turned into monsters, cuz the minute I saw that guy I went, “He’s gonna get turned into a monster”). I didn’t blame Yockey at all for having to shoehorn them in, since Dabb is the one who’s stuck us with them and seems bent on making sure we remember they exist – Maggie in particular because, as you suggest, he still feels bad about Wayward.

    Though maybe if he felt bad about Wayward he could *try* to do something to rehabilitate Mary’s character (where WAS she???), because I’m not gonna lie, as excited as I am about the 300th episode I genuinely do not care that Mary and John get to reunite. It makes it very transparent that the only reason she started something up with Bobby was to make things awkward when John returns, which was my instinct as soon as they were suddenly a couple. The second it was confirmed Jeffrey Dean Morgan was coming back I knew that’s why they’d done it, before articles even started talking about the emotional reunion between mom and dad.

    Anyway.

    I *loved* every single thing Ackles did with Michael. I don’t know as it’s that he’s had time to settle into the role so much as they finally gave him material to work with. Up until now he’s been seen as Michael in maybe 10-15 minutes, max, of each episode where he’s appeared as Michael. That is *nothing* to work with, especially when you’ve got a show runner saying, “Do what you want” when an actor has specifically asked for guidance (I have a BFA in Acting, reading that in an interview offended me down to my soul). Yockey’s material for him was absolutely fantastic as well. It really gave him something to chew on and work with, whereas up until now it’s like they were holding back on Michael’s motivation, even from Jensen, so they could shock the audience in the mid season premiere. Either that or they figured it out after they’d started writing, because the amazing motivation Yockey gave us for Michael is a far cry from the “What do you want” mess that was in the season premiere Dabb penned.

    And *wow* was I thrilled by the whole, “There is only one God and all these worlds are drafts and I am going to burn them all down until I find my father and kill him”. I expect that to last all of three episodes because it’s a brilliant premise in Dabb’s hands so odds are good he’ll bungle it badly, but stuff like that shows that when you have someone who understands story telling and understands the show and understands its history you can still get AMAZING things out of Supernatural fourteen seasons in. It really is sad that as soon as I went “OH MY GOD!!!!” (aloud, my dog was concerned for my well being) my brain immediately went, “Yeah…but it’s Dabb, so that’s not going to be addressed until maybe season 20 if the show’s still running then…” And then I told my brain to shut up and just enjoy how gorgeous Jensen looked as both Dean and Michael.

    Padalecki’s acting was on a whole other level in this episode as well, which had me screaming at my TV that *this* is why the show works best when it’s about the boys. Jared is a very talented actor, don’t get me wrong, but he and Jensen know each other so well and are basically extensions of the other at this point that when you separate them and then give Jared bad material on top of it he struggles. The writing for Sam this season has been mostly sub par, AND he’s been separated from Dean, and when you hit an actor with mediocre material and then have him film with other actors that do not share the same spark that Padalecki and Ackles have there’s not a ton *any* actor can do in that situation. When you get a script where Sam is solidly and well written and then you let him play off of Dean, your top billed actor cannot possibly do anything other than hit a grand slam with every single line and facial expression, because you’ve given him the tools he needs to do his *job.* Jared more than Jensen this season has simply not had what he needs to do his job effectively (which also offends me to my very soul – do not give the guy who’s name is first in the credits crap material week after week after week).

    I simply loved this entire episode. If I re-watch no other episodes from this season besides this and Mint Condition (a distinct possibility at this point), I will watch Nihilism on a loop, just so I can pick out all of Dean’s flashbacks inside his head (I went from a squee to a shriek on “SAAAAAAM!”). It was magnificent and made me oh my god so happy. I want Yockey and Perez running this show from now on.

      • Its fun, I enjoy being able to share with you guys! Also, I forgot to say, will Michael just stop with dressing Dean up like he a doll, its not right (even though he looks good in a suit) !!!!

    • I agree with every single word of what you said. What a far cry from “what do you want, random monsters?” to Michael’s nihilistic condemnation of his absent father and the rich psychological motivation that’s behind everything he’s doing. Finally it makes sense – please Chuck, don’t let it get forgotten 3 episodes from now! I don’t trust TPTB not to mess it up, but I sure as hell am grateful when we get an episode like this that just GETS IT RIGHT.

      Also so agreed about Sam and Dean (and Jared and Jensen) finally being able to be in the same scene and to have an emotional interaction together. Oh wow, look at that, THAT’s the Show I fell in love with! They were separated for the majority of the first half of this season, and it just did not work. Put them back together and make the story about the Winchesters again, and voila! There’s that amazing Show I’ve been missing!

      • Without going into any spoilers for last night’s episode in case anyone here hasn’t seen it (I just watched and I AM SO HAPPY) I just have to say that I am hoping against hope that TPTB have been seeing what Dabb has been doing with trying to shift the focus of the show, bringing in side characters no one likes, and CLEARLY starting a story he has no idea how to finish (the more I think about it, the more I am *convinced* he did not know Michael’s motivation when he started writing the character and that’s why he gave Jensen *nothing* to work with for the premiere), and have pulled aside at least Yockey and Perez and said, “Hey, you want to take this show over? Write us an episode that proves you’ve got the chops and can correct some of the problems from the Dabb era quickly and succinctly.” Last night’s episode, IMHO, corrected two big problems and “Nihilism” handily got rid of a bunch of the AU hunters we’re all complaining about in one fell swoop. The next episode looks like it might actually be good, too, except it’s Bucklemming and they tend to be less than excellent, so I’m trying to keep my hopes in check.

        These most recent two episodes, though – I really just pray someone above Singer and Dabb looked at the train wreck of the first half of this season (and most of seasons 12 and 13) and have decided enough is enough and “Nihilism” and “Damaged Goods” are Yockey and Perez either duking it out for the “captain’s chair” or are proving they could co-run the show next season. The fact that the 300th episode is Dabb and Glynn gives me further hope that TPTB are cracking down on this. Why would the show runner need a co-writer on ANY episode unless someone didn’t trust him not to botch it if he didn’t have help? Clearly they can’t just not let the current show runner have a hand in such a monumental episode, but someone decided he wasn’t handling it alone.

        I get the need to write filler episodes, but the filler – with the exception of the other two episodes Yockey and Perez wrote this season – have been dreadful and unfocused. This season really smacks of something that was not thought through from where it was going to start to where it was going to end before the writers were given their script assignments, so everyone was just kind of spitballing the first half trying to figure out what Dabb’s overall vision was. That Michael’s motivation went from “I’ll just wander around looking for good people to see if this world is worth saving,” to “I’m going to destroy all of my Father’s creations until he pays attention to me” really tells me Dabb just thought it would be cool to have Michael possess Dean without *knowing* what he was going to do with that story. I honestly think now that the only reason Dean came back so soon was not because people hate it when Sam and Dean aren’t together (because THEY WEREN’T TOGETHER EVEN AFTER DEAN GOT BACK), but because Dabb was stalling for time while someone, probably not him, figured out what would actually be a strong motivation for Michael.

        Dabb seems to make things up as he goes along, and that doesn’t work when you’re writing a show where the audience expects one main arc tying the whole season together, even if there are episodes sprinkled throughout that are largely unrelated to the main arc. This isn’t a police procedural where the plot doesn’t need to connect from the beginning of the season to the end. This show simply can’t continue the way it has been. Well, I mean, obviously it CAN, but there will probably too much damage done to ever get the show back to what it once was – the epic [brotherly] love story of Sam and Dean – if Dabb stays at the helm past this season.

  • Your review and the comments are spot on. The writing, acting and directing were superb. My comment though. If they remembered how to enter someone’s head, how about remembering how to extract the grace from a vessel. Cas did it for Sam. Maybe he could do it for Dean. It would be a lot of grace, but it would make Michael powerless. Unless there is something special about archangel grace. Can you just send the grace to the Empty. We need to ask Billie. And whatever happened to the archangel killing blade?

    • I wondered about that too- they got Michael in chains, the bunker is being attacked, and no one even thinks about extracting Michael‘s grace? Is there any explanation at all, or do we have to go with „…but then the story won‘t work as it‘s supposed to….“
      Otherwise, a wonderful episode if you erase the whole AU hinters part 😉

  • Thought about this a lot, excellently written, brilliantly filmed and acted and the reason why it worked so well was the very fact this show has so much history to draw on.However I think the show is moving in a new direction, the monsters are just the side show, which is the probable cause for the fact the monster move on the “red shirt” hunter being obvious, but hopefully there is a silver lining in the there, that there will be less AU hunters in the bunker now to bug Dean! (sorry AU gang). It seems there is a real push to try and make the show more about the Characters actions, thoughts, responses, lessons learned and,importantly, CONSEQUENCES, a thing that hasn’t always been apparent enough at times.

    Inside Deans head was intriguing and painful, as Cas put it “so much trauma” a sad indictment of Winchester world that Deans happiest memories were of inconsequential stuff like pie, he truly has had so little joy in his long life,no wonder he’s tired and does not really want to hunt any more. Who would? I remember Dean once said about who would want their lives, it was a river of cr*p and hearing it in waves in a tiny,Dean voice, made that so apparent and so darn powerful. The most shocking thing was it took barely a second for Sam to sift through the good to find the poor lost soul in a second rate bar with one drunk customer and it was not even a successful business. Of course it was constructed by Michael, but every aspect was carefully selected to appease Dean, from the single flirty companion to occupy him, to the bar fight, to Sam being on a hunt,even the failing bar kept it real enough for Dean to want to stay. Pamela Barnes (RIP) was a perfect choice, although Dean still grieves his part in her demise, they last parted on happier terms in Heaven, so she a safe go to memory that would not hurt enough to bring him back home. Everything placed in the Bar were safe things for Dean (I especially noted the old Impala number plate, Baby was there in his dream world, even though she wasn’t…)

    The whole Michael characterisation has come together in both writing and performance, he is cold calculating and very cruel, hence the taunts. Its been asked why did Dean not defend himself when he had the chance against those taunts?There are a few theories I have, first the dream was so powerfully real to Dean, it was like an extreme high that he was struggling to come down from, Sam being there wasn’t enough, even saying their go word ” Poughkeepsie ” whilst it registered, seemed to flummox him at first, if you watch his face. Secondly its possible Dean is no longer fulfilled by his life and he has experienced those feelings, just Michael twisted the intent. Its more likely that Dean is battling with resentment, not against Sam or Cas, but against the life he was thrust into that has repeatedly beaten him down, Michael has perhaps put a mirror up to those feelings, so Dean’s seeing things he’s been trying to ignore? I remember back in the day Dean told Jo Harvelle he wished he could do something else, he even told Sam once he wanted to be fireman. Michael’s residence has shaken loose some very long standing issues for Dean. My final( less likely because its so health and we know that ‘s not Dean,) theory, is that Dean feels he does not have to defend himself against a “Cockroach” like Michael, period.

    I too, will count this among my favourite episodes, we got continuity, history, smart Cas, very smart Sam who was emotionally switched on and totally in sync with his brother, even Dean was smart enough not to sign on the dotted line to pushy lady (who by the way was so very out of place in Deans head that I was literally yelling at him don’t sign, its a Michael trick)) I like where the show it seems to be going overall, its about both of our guys moving forward to be who they really are, Sam has acknowledge and slowly begun to move away from his trauma’s in a good more healthy way and has settled well into the leader role, so his story line may seem slower, but I hope and believe there will be a big pay off on that at the end of the season, he is still crucial to the story,” There is no me, if there is no you” still holds true for the brothers. Dean still has a way to go, poor Mr ” Even My Issues, Have Issues” has so much emotional baggage to unpack that he’s fighting against acknowledging still, it actually seems natural to me for him to unravel this way, now he knows Sam can handle himself. I’ve always felt inside Dean handles emotional stuff with his traumatised four year old brain, yet somehow by sheer force of will, held back for Sam’s sake and it was going to take an earth shattering event to make him face up to his past. Not because Dean lacks courage, he doesn’t, but he has always been afraid of the consequences if he were to let it all out. I’m thinking we’ll get to see some of those horrors he’s been through rear up again and what their consequences are in the next four or five episodes, then we’ll get to watch Dean rebuild who he is, supported by Sam, strengthening their bond even more, with Sam as protector and care giver, allowing Sam to finally repay everything he has always wanted to repay, because Sam is an awesome little brother!

    Think act 2 will be amazing.
    Great review this week,Thanks.
    P.S. Happy 40th Birthday Dean!

    • I’m hoping that’s exactly where we’re going, and that we’ll get to see Dean facing – maybe being overwhelmed by – all his trauma, and then with the help of his brother and family, slowly begin to rebuild. And yes, Sam is an awesome little brother!

  • I was so glad to watch an episode that I totally enjoyed. They’ve been few and far this season.

    Seeing Pamela was a surprise (finally -no spoiler) and even her shirt (To hell and back) was perfect. Her relationship with Dean was funny and quite believable as she let him know exactly how well she understood him.

    I didn’t really agree with the music in Rocky’s Bar, I would have thought more classic rock and less country but maybe it was Pamela’s quarter? But the rest of the bar was very Dean. Michael did his research.

    Smart Sam realizing that good images would keep Dean more content than his awful past made sense and I’m always glad when Sam figures out that stuff.

    Only two things bothered me, 1 as mentioned, is Maggie ( who I’m thinking has a crush on Sam) and is going to totally screw things up-otherwise why is she there?
    And 2 -GARTH IS STILL IN THE TRUNK!

    • OMG lol Garth is still in the trunk!!! I’m sorry that just cracked me up. No one knows what to make of Maggie – but I really hope it’s not a crush on Sam… :/

  • As this episode and its inhabitants have been so well analysed by everyone above, I’ll just stick to a few comments.

    One, I actually like Maggie because she’s kind of representing — for me, of course — the Clueless Civilian. She’s not like one of the Walking Dead ladies who either dies (permanently) right away or becomes a Michonne. I do appreciate that this episode, and Mr. Red Dude charging into the woods solo, resulted in many of the AU hunters’ demise; too many sous chefs in the kitchen is just as bad as cooks.

    Another, I thought the pushy real estate agent was Dean’s subconscious trying to tell him to wake up! I get that it was part of the loop but maybe the point in the loop was the weakest when he was worried about Sam’s and Cas’ hunt taking so long. A part of him, those hunter instincts we love so well, were prodding him: “You don’t belong here, it feels too _good_.”

    I really didn’t think of John coming back in relation to Mary slash Bobby! Maybe it was that mix of terror and glee I was deluged with on seeing Jim Michael’s tweet. I have tried to think how this going to work and I keep trashing my drafts because, a) it’s fun to think of new ones, and b) I keep saying to myself I hate being right when it goes less than spectacular. For example, I mean, one of my thoughts after the semi-spoiler of Traci Dinwiddie returning, Pamela (and others) might be coming back because Heaven had finally died and all the souls were on Earth.

    I also wondered where was the idea to siphon the archangel grace out of Dean. Give the grace to Jack, why not? Not so much about the archangel blade as it’s still not really settling right that it doesn’t kill the vessel. I enjoy the Hell out of Mark Pellegrino both as Nick and Old Nick (Satan Claus) so I’m willing to go with the show flow on it.

    Lastly, I love reading Lynn’s and everyone’s take on Our Show, even when I may have quibbles! I’ll admit, I can usually get through an episode without actual tears (usually Misha brings them?) but I always tend to tear up a little reading these reviews. I guess it’s the shared love and/or disgruntlement filtering through.

    Thank you!!

    P.S. Now I’m wondering if Garth is actually still in the trunk.

    • We’re all now wondering if Garth is still in the trunk! 🙂

      I do agree about the music in the bar being not quite what I’d expect – actually you really could spend hours dissecting what was going on in Dean’s fantasy world, right down to that realtor and the nagging suspicion that something wasn’t right that he kept trying to push away. I love when the Show is so fascinating!

      I guess that’s what they’re going for with Maggie, but it still doesn’t quite work for me, alas.

      Lastly, I love that my reviews sometimes bring the shared emotion. Get tissues ready for the upcoming episodes!

  • Loved this episode. I’ve watched it 3 times. But Maggie and those other hunters have got to go. It’s like watching the keystone cops. (Oops, showing my age). They just don’t belong on Supernatural.

    • HA! You are not wrong. The least they could do is provide some comic relief, but alas, all they do is annoy and detract from the overall narrative. They’re like burdocks. Once they’ve attached themselves it’s a pain in the butt to get rid of them and you keep finding new spots where you thought you picked them all off but they’re still clinging.

  • I really enjoyed this one. There were two things that bothered me. The first one was pointed out by a friend – shouldn’t Cas have been able to see the reaper? He saw all of the reapers in “Abandon All Hope” in Season 5. Also, what was the significance of the lady trying to get Dean to sell the bar? Was she Dean’s subconscious trying to tell him that there was something wrong?

    I’ll scream this from the hilltops until the show ends – Supernatural works best when it features Sam and Dean. We’ve seen so little of them together this season. When I see episodes like this one and “Mint Condition” I’m reminded why I love the show. I hope moving forward we get more of them together.

    • Your last paragraph? SO MUCH YES. That’s when this is the Show I fell in love with 🙂

      Also, ooh good catch about Cas and the reaper. Head scratch…

  • I’ve wondered from the beginning of Jack’s arc, when they’d “captured” Michael and even Lucifer so many times this season, why didn’t they take their grace and give it to Jack? Cas borrowed another angel’s grace way back when to recharge himself – why can’t they do the same with Jack?

    I hope they let Garth out and he’s back home somewhere! LOL It was so great to see him on the Show again though!! Same with Thunderbird Dinwiddle.

    While I’m glad the boys have their mom back, I have to admit, I’m disappointed with how they’ve written and used her character. This episode in particular showed Mary feeling guilty for missing her boys upbrining, again, but instead of her stepping in/up and trying to be that parent, trying to make up for all that lost time, she hides away in a cabin? Really? I don’t like the AU Bobby romance, it just doesn’t sit right with me. I can see them being friends, hunting partners, but not in any kind of a romantic relationship.

    As for Maggie and the other AU’s – it would make sense to me that as they acclimate to their “new world” that they leave the bunker and either continue hunting or make a new life for themselves. And while I love the idea of brainy, smart Sam, being in charge of these new hunters, much like Garth stepped in and took over for Bobby, the bunker is not a home for wayward hunters. The bunker is a home for Sam and Dean, the legacies. It makes sense that Cas and now Jack would reside there as well, but IMHO – everyone else needs to go.

    I did find myself pausing the Show and seeing how many easter eggs I could find in “Rocky’s Bar”. I missed Mark Shepard when they mentioned Crowley and the mind jump he made when Sam was possessed be Gadreel. Mark Pellagrino is amazing as Nick.

    The other thing I noticed and hurts my heart a little was when all Michael’s monster’s were attacking the bunker – um, I seemed to remember in a number of flashbacks, many saying that the bunker is the most secure place on earth from all things supernatural. Like when it locked down with Kevin inside when the Angels fell. So how come they couldn’t hit the button and lock the bunker down for safety? Color me confused Show.

    I’m so excited to see Papa Winchester come back, but after this episode, I think I know why he’s coming back and I’m nervous. 🙂

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