Two In A Row! Supernatural Does What It Does Best With ‘Damaged Goods’

I don’t quite know what to do with myself – this is two weeks in a row that I’ve been absolutely blown away by how GOOD the Supernatural episode was. I must have become accustomed to getting a good episode here and there and every now and then a great one, and having the ones in between be frustrating in some way or not quite satisfying. I didn’t even realize how accustomed to that I’d become, but apparently having two fabulous episodes back to back is almost too much for me – I haven’t felt this euphoric about the Show in a while, and it feels amazing to be back to fangirling my little heart out over Supernatural.

Thank you, Show! Thank you Steve Yockey for last week’s episode and Davy Perez for this week’s episode. The cast never disappoints — even when I’m disappointed in the episode itself, I’m never anything but impressed with all of them. But this week and last week, something special happened. That spark, that magic, that “lightning in a bottle” that first captivated me about this Show returned. This week and last week, Jared and Jensen were onscreen together after being apart for much of this season, and I was blown away all over again by how much emotional impact they bring to Sam and Dean when the brothers are interacting. That’s what made me fall in love with this Show, and what I found so compelling – and I’ve missed it. Something happens when those two are onscreen together, when the emotions are so intense and so palpable and so REAL and I can feel everything Sam and Dean are feeling. It’s magic, pure magic.

Damaged Goods was also heartbreaking and horrifying, but that too is what Supernatural has always been about. From the moment we see Dean packing up his duffel, there’s a sense of foreboding. He leaves his room and glances down the hall, almost wistfully. Was he regretting not being able to say goodbye to Cas and Jack? Regretting leaving the place he’s come to call home? He finds Sam in the library, hard at work trying to figure out a way to vanquish Michael and save his brother. Dean overtly expresses his appreciation, and that’s…. odd? Then he says he wants to go see Mom, sounding downright sentimental, and he doesn’t want Sam to come along, and … uh oh. Every alarm bell in my head starts going off. Dean’s going to do something stupid and sacrificial, clearly.

When Dean starts to leave and then suddenly veers to pull Sam into a hug from behind, I already want to cry because something very bad is clearly about to happen. Ackles is brilliant in this small, quiet scene. The way it looks like he’s trying to leave without touching Sam, but he’s pulled almost like a magnetic force, and the way he clutches Sam to him, almost kissing him on the head – it’s almost more maternal than brotherly, so full of affection it makes my heart ache.

“Take care, Sammy,” he says, and forces himself to leave.

Sam stares after him, looking as worried as I’m feeling.

Caps itsokaysammy

Such a small scene, but so much of what this Show is about. The love between these two brothers, the shared history of sacrifice and courage and saving each other and the world and trying to do the right thing – it all adds up to become this intense emotional experience when you’ve been following the Winchesters’ story for going on fourteen years. We know them; we know, as Dean rests his chin on Sam’s head and pulls Sam to him, that this is goodbye.

And that fucking hurts.

Dean meets up with and shares burgers with Donna (Briana Buckmaster, kicking ass as always in this role) because that’s what they do. They first bonded over their unabashed love of donuts, and their mutual appreciation for burgers is no less enthusiastic. I love that about both of them.

We get a mention of Doug (miss you, Doug!) and the confirmation that Jody and Donna are hunting (Wayward Sisters shout out, sorta). Dean very obviously tries to avoid talking about himself by asking her a million questions, but she’s onto him because a) she’s smart and b) Sam has been keeping everyone up to date about what’s happening with Dean.

Dean: What, does he have a freakin’ newsletter?

Dean hugs Donna and it’s just as obviously a goodbye hug.

Meanwhile, Sam isn’t taking this lying down – which makes me very happy indeed. Too often there’s some totally suspicious situation going on, but the other person just kinda shrugs and appears not to take it seriously, and that always rings so false to me. This is Sam Winchester, and it’s about his brother, so of COURSE he takes it seriously! He even manages to sleuth out the books that Dean took from the library, and whatever they are, Sam knows it is NOT GOOD. He calls Mary, letting her know something is up with Dean.

Sam: And he….hugged me.

Mary: That’s…sweet…

Sam: We don’t hug! I mean, we do, but only if it’s literally the end of the world.

Only on Supernatural would that statement be literally true!

Dean is uncharacteristically touchy feely with Mary too when he arrives. She suggests inviting Sam too, and Dean snaps that he doesn’t want Sam there. Alarm bells go off all over fandom and in Mary’s head too, but Dean tries to backtrack, saying he’s just “hangry”. Oh Dean. You’re a terrible liar.

He asks Mary to make him his favorite meal from childhood, the ominously named “Winchester Surprise”. Mary protests that it wasn’t even good, but Dean claims that he’s a horrible cook (which is also a lie) and that he loves it. We soon find out that he may have wanted a sentimental “last meal” but he also wanted Mary out of the way so he could construct something in Donna’s handy dandy shed. The look on his face after she pulls away and he heads out to Donna’s shed….it’s chilling.

It’s obvious immediately that whatever he’s constructing is probably something that’s bad news, but I shallowly appreciate Dean in his welder apron and in those safety glasses, I can’t help it. Also, Jensen learned to weld just for this scene, and the fact that he still takes this role so damn seriously after all this time gives me lots of feelings. And the way he handles those tools and that fire and….competence kink, let me show you it. And glasses kink on top!

The shed is a perfect setting, complete with Donna’s pin ups of burly shirtless dudes and an eight track player. You go, Donna!

Dean pops in the Guess Who, “No Time” which is again absolutely perfect, and I’m so glad they got the rights to use it. The lyrics are haunting – No time left for you, distant shores are calling me, I got myself some wings…

Oh Dean.

Dean even sets the table, which means Mary becomes as suspicious as Sam and calls him. She says that she’ll get to the bottom of it, that if Dean needs space they should respect that. Sam agrees – then the shot pulls out and we see that Sam is already on his way. That’s the Sam Winchester I know!

Dean gets a chance to tell his mother how much it means to him (and to Sam) to know that she’s alive and in the world. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Mary, but this whole episode portrayed her as softer than she’s seemed since she’s been back, and I found myself believing that she really does have feelings for her sons. That’s progress!

Dean also shares some stories of his and Sam’s childhood with Mary, which is what I was hoping for long ago when Mary returned and we never got. It’s sad and uncomfortable, making it clear that the boys’ childhood was nothing like Mary had hoped for – not enough food or money, not enough parenting, Dean having to grow up too soon and John having a bad temper. Mary is sort of horrified, and Dean doesn’t know how to salvage the moment, and it’s all just heartbreaking. Once again, this is the Show I fell in love with – the one that makes me FEEL.

Mary says she sometimes forgets just how much she missed, being gone.

Mary: How much the two of you, just…

She trails off, and it’s so sad, but it’s also so realistic and so satisfying to finally see it talked about! Why did we not get more of this with Mary’s return? Insight into Sam and Dean that can only come from this kind of conversation with their mother. I don’t know why Show squandered these opportunities, but I so appreciate that Davy Perez did not in this episode.

Dean tries to snow her with a barely managed speech about how great it is to cook with her and spend time with her, finishing with “and there’s no….clouds on the horizon…”

It’s clear he can hardly get the words out because he knows that’s exactly the opposite of the truth. Those little things, the way Ackles pauses and almost chokes trying to get out the lie, those things make this show and that character so rich.
Mary checks out the shed while Dean sleeps curled up awkwardly on the couch, snoring away. Kudos to Samantha Smith here, that fond look she casts at her grown son rang so true.

And then the slowly dawning horror as she goes out to the shed and realizes what he’s planning.

Mary: No. Nonononono.

That rang very true  too, and it hurt.

Nick is in this episode, still killing people and liking it, and now looking for Mary because she was somehow mixed up with capturing the demon Abraxus who killed Nick’s family. He finds Donna and they tussle, and Donna more than holds her own until Nick cheats with a taser. Ouch. (Though I really don’t think Donna would have turned her back on him while she checked his fingerprints, just saying.)

Nick also gets the jump on Mary, who tries to stall admirably before finally taking Nick to the storage locker where she’s got Abraxus in a puzzle box. Nick manages to evade the trip wire and break into some very poorly locked storage containers, some of which contain heads that appear to be submerged in liquid – a little foreshadowing of Dean’s horrific plan perhaps.

Ewwww

Then he does a really dumb thing and lets Abraxas out of the box to find out why he killed Nick’s family. Once again, Mark Pellegrino does a wonderful job portraying a seriously damaged Nick, different than Lucifer but still unpredictable and therefore scary.

Meanwhile, Sam shows up and surprises Dean and they and Donna race to save Mary. On the way, Dean is a little harsh with Sam about going easy on Nick.

Dean: Nick’s not a project, or a puppy. You’re not that dumb!

Sam: It’s not about being dumb, Dean. It’s called compassion. Look, what happened to Nick could’ve happened to me. It almost happened to me. And since when do we give up on people and cut them loose?

I totally understand why Sam has compassion for Nick after being possessed himself more than once, but I did think it wasn’t the best idea to let him wander off (That was Cas who was babysitting everyone though, not Sam). This little scene was important though, because Sam’s empathy and compassion has been a major theme this season. My heart breaks for him, such a sensitive man who tries so hard to do the right thing. Life can be so unfair, in reality and on Supernatural.

Dean: When people are past the point of saving, maybe you need to learn to walk away.

We all wonder if he’s talking about Nick or himself.

The boys and Donna bust in to save the day, Nick foolishly breaks the devil’s trap to let Abraxas out, and we get a really cool scene where the demon sweeps everyone off their feet and then tosses them across the room.

Eventually Nick stabs him with a demon blade after he tells Nick that Lucifer planned the whole murder of his family just to have a convenient vessel. Donna is pissed and shoots Nick in the leg, and Mary is pissed and punches him in the face, and that was very satisfying indeed.

Sam confronts Nick before Donna takes him away, not understanding why he did what he did. Nick claims it was revenge, and that Sam would have done the same thing. Sam says no, and says he’s sorry that he couldn’t help him, that he didn’t know how, but Nick isn’t having it. He lashes back, saying it’s not about YOU, Sam. He doesn’t want to be fixed, because he isn’t broken.
Sam looks so sad when he says, “Yes, you are.” He tells Nick that he feels sorry for the people Nick hurt, and that they’ll haunt him (not sure that’s true, since Nick is in fact pretty damn broken).

He finally gives up, and you can see it happen and see how much it goes against Sam’s nature.

“You can burn,” he says, and turns his back and walks away. It must have cost Sam a lot to say that; he’s so full of empathy, and it’s so hard for him to give up on someone. Jared slayed in that small scene, and my heart broke to see that kind of evolution and hardening in Sam, a character I love so much.

Nick out of the way, safely tucked into Donna’s squad car, the Winchesters head back to Donna’s cabin. Mary tells Dean that he’d better tell Sam about the thing she saw in the shed, or she will.

So Dean does. And all our worst fears are confirmed. He’s built a Ma’lak box, which can contain an archangel. Dean plans to climb in and have it sunk to the bottom of the Pacific, where he’ll be trapped for all eternity with Michael – but the world will be saved. Dean expresses his appreciation for how hard Sam and Cas and Jack have all tried to save him, but he has clearly given up hope.

It was Billie herself who told Dean how to build the box, assuring him it was the only way. Hmmm. What’s Billie’s agenda here, I wonder?

There follows one of those scenes that you’ll never forget, even a long long time in the future, when Supernatural was that show you watched thirty years ago. Jared and Jensen absolutely killed it, and I sat there open mouthed with tears overflowing, in awe of how much they can make me feel for Sam and Dean.

 

Sam (anguished): So you came out here to see Donna, to see Mom, on what? Some sick secret farewell tour? You were gonna leave and you weren’t even gonna tell me. ME! Do you realize how messed up that is? How unfair that is?

Dean (equally anguished): I didn’t have a choice. You are the last person I could tell, the last person I could be around, ’cause you’re the only one that could’ve talked me out of it.

Me: Tissues!!!

The first notes of the Winchester family theme start to play, and I totally lost it. This – right here – is what this Show is all about, and what makes it so special. Its ability to make me feel SO MUCH.

Sam protests, insists there’s another way, but Dean assures Sam that his mind is made up and he’ll do it anyway, with or without Sam. Otherwise, Michael will get out, Dean is sure of that. Dean insists that it’s fate.

Sam: Since when do we believe in fate?

Dean: Since now, Sam. I won’t be talked out of it. I won’t. I’m doing this. Now, you can either let me do it alone or you could help me. But I’m doing this.

What a horrible dilemma. Does Sam refuse to go along with it, and leave Dean to go through with it all alone? Or does he help his brother damn himself to eternal torment?

Of course it’s a familiar scenario to the Winchesters; Sam insisted on a similar plan at the end of Season 5, and plunged into the pit with Lucifer inside him – which nearly destroyed Dean. Now the tables are turned.

Sam’s soft, reluctant “All right” made the tears come all over again. Jared showed every ounce of Sam’s pain on his face, in his tear-filled eyes, in the twitch of his mouth as he tries to hold back tears and hopelessness.

 

Caps whiskeycherrypieThese two kill me every damn time. The relationship between Sam and Dean, forged over all those years and all that they’ve been through, is so real and so rich that when they have to confront losing the other, it kills ME to see it. After almost fourteen years of experiencing the bond between these brothers, the intensity of their emotions comes through my screen so clearly that it’s like I’m right there, feeling it all along with them.

I know it seems to make no sense, but I’m so happy about this episode. It broke my heart and filled with me dread, but that has been a part of loving this Show since day one. This episode gave me a Sam and Dean who feel like the characters I know and love. It filled me with every emotion, from a deep warmth at seeing the familial love Dean always feels but doesn’t always show, to a horrible sense of dread, to the heartbreak of knowing what Dean was planning and how much courage it took, to the heartbreak of Sam having to face losing his brother. Again.

THAT is my Show. We’ve watched the Winchesters struggle against fate, defy the odds to save each other at any risk, and also have to watch each other sacrifice themselves. What choice will Sam make this time?

Phil Sgriccia directed an episode that flowed from start to finish without those annoying jumps back and forth for entirely separate story lines – it all came together and the tension never eased throughout the entire episode. Of course I would have been even happier if there was only the main story line, but maybe I wouldn’t have survived all that happiness anyway! Sgriccia has also been with the Show since the beginning, and seems to know when to let Jared and Jensen do their thing and just let that magic happen.

It seemed like the cast found this episode special too – we even got some live tweeting and some behinds the scenes pics, which doesn’t happen all that often anymore.

Tweet @samsmithtweets
Tweet @officialbrianab

I feel so damn lucky that this Show is still this amazing after almost 300 episodes!

–Lynn
Read more about what makes this show and
cast and fandom so special in ‘Family
Don’t End With Blood’, written by the
actors and the fans of Supernatural!
Links on the home page!

36 thoughts on “Two In A Row! Supernatural Does What It Does Best With ‘Damaged Goods’

  • YES. Amen to you, Lynn…
    I felt like I had to re-watch the Pilot (after rewatching „Damaged Goods“ for a probably unhealthy amount of times…), and bathed in the feeling that Show can still grip me emotionally, after so many seasons!
    Kudos to every one involved in the last two episodes… you gave this show what it deserves!

  • Lynn, you hit the nail on the head with this review as usual! I found this episode very stressful (Nick is almost as creepy as Luci!) because almost every scene filled me with dread. When I realized Dean was hugging Sam goodbye I thought NOOOO! Even the little scene in the parking lot, where the kid who works at the grocery refuses to acknowledge to Nick that he knows Mary was creepy…I wondered if Mary had warned him not to give her away. But as stressful as it was, it really did bring the brothers’ relationship into sharp focus, especially the last scene with Sam and Dean.
    Now I am really wondering how they are going to handle this situation…I don’t want to see Dean thrown into the ocean in that damned box! (I never watch the preview of next week’s episode because I HATE spoilers)

    • They really have come up with a truly horrifying dilemma this time – I can’t even think about what Dean is planning without feeling vaguely sick to my stomach. But I loved the episode anyway – it felt like the show I fell in love with so many years ago 🙂

  • I was so waiting for you to post your review for 3 days now. Love your comments on the scenes and you have so much insight. I read your binged read your reviews for my favorite episodes (which are many) in a span of few days. You ahve a way of finding stuff that I have missed/not understood completely.
    During the last 4 min, I had goosebumps not just because the boys were acting their heart out but because it gave me the same vibes as the earlier seasons. I have watched the last 4 min on a loop since it aired. Kripke will be proud of this episode in particular! Not surprising since the director has been with us since S1. Am worried about the next one because of the writing duo. But that episode has made crew members cry apparently so having full hopes. See you in few days Lynn!

    • Thank you! I agree, this episode really made me feel the way I did those first few seasons, when I was falling head over heels for this show. I’m so grateful that it can still make me feel so much after all these years.

      I am also worried about the next episode considering the writers, but hopefully our incredible cast can pull it off anyway. Fingers crossed!

  • I love your review. we agree on everything, as usual. I cried a lot watching it and I even cried just reading your review. that’s why I love this show after all these years. jared and Jensen bring it 100% every time. and the writing was good this week. not sure about the nepotism duo writing next week, but i’ll give it a chance, as always. its so important and I hope they don’t screw it up.

  • Davy Perez, evil genius, has thought up the most exquisite possible torture for the Winchesters,it harked back to all the horrible things both have been through in the cruellest, most horrific way. Mr Perez is such an amazing writer of horror and understands the characters and their specific traits so well. Every part, as you said rings true and had me reaching for the kleenex.

    But in the midst of the appalling agony , through bleary eyes, I saw a thing of utter beauty which I am still mulling round in my head, the Winchesters using their fledgling communication skills. Sam talked to Mary, Mary listened, but reserved judgement until she saw Dean, Mary listened to Dean, but Dean amazed me most of all.

    Every step of his long heartbreaking goodbye Dean spoke out, granted it started with the non verbals, with Sam and that so very nearly a kiss.A very grown up, Fatherly gesture, letting Sam know how very much he was loved. Reaching out to Donna, Dean provided a brotherly visit, he not only sought comfort Donna in her break up, but he looked for the same comfort for himself, which he rarely permits, using their (too brief) chat and the Hug, it was as if he was testing his resolve to be able to say the things he needed to say. Lastly those scenes with Mary and Sam when possibly for the first time in his life Dean asserted himself in his choices with them, his (not wise) decision to leave Sam home, his right to permit himself alone time with his mother, in a (mostly) non passive aggressive way as he would have done in the past. And, its a miracle, Dean continued to use his word explaining his actions and feelings, and boy, this is huge, when did we last hear Dean say what he feels using the word Love in it?
    For that, I will happy torture myself by watching repeatedly!

    Sam Smith, thank you for putting so much into Mary this week, that enabled me to understand her and see why Dean loves her so much .

    Please lets see a little more of the Donna /Dean friendship, she is so kind and gentle with him, she brings out his better side.They seem to have a good understanding each other, possibly as they both have self esteem issues, they give each other mutual validation and respect, I think they are both better characters for each other’s support.
    Dean does not deserve such a horrible fate, I’m sure he has has no wish to die, just as he was starting to build a happier life, he is simply trying to fix what he broke the only way he knows how and hopefully Sam will find a way to save him!

    • You make such a good point – Dean really did reach out and ask for what he needed, and allow himself the vulnerability of seeking connection. Even if it was because he expects to die, it was still more than he usually allows himself, and it was beautiful to see. I agree about Dean and Donna – they’re kindred spirits, they ‘get’ each other, and I love the way they relate to each other. Here’s hoping for more of that friendship onscreen. I trust that Sam will find a way to save his brother – but we will undoubtedly suffer greatly in the interim!

      • Me thinks the knife will be really twisted for good few episodes, if they are committed to the consequences and character growth idea. I’ve spotted that there is a upcoming episode title, which I won’t give away for the non spoilery people, but think you may have possibly seen it Lynn? that neatly ties into my theory. I expect to have my heart repeatedly broken for now, so I’m stocking up on Kleenex
        P.s. I was bursting with so much to say, I forgot to thank you for your most excellent review, SO, Thank you! .

  • I have been dying waiting for you to post this review. I loved this episode. I LOVED IT. Two in a row!!!! I didn’t think that was possible anymore! Almost everything Jensen did had me feeling all verklempt, and the look on Jared’s face when Dean hugged Sam from behind – MY GOD, LET THEM ACT TOGETHER!!!! PLEASE!!!! THEY ARE MAGNIFICENT! I was terribly worried as soon as Dean started packing up a secret duffle and to see Sam’s expression – “What’s he doing? Why is he hugging me? Is he dying? Has he taken on something else like the Mark of Cain? Has he been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor??? WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY BROTHER???” All of the acting that came out of both of them in that one little moment was why I love this show so very, very much, and why it is so very, very good this far in when it focuses on Sam and Dean.

    I just…am almost speechless at how happy I am with these two episodes, and how desperately I want to believe they were auditions from Yockey and Perez for the head writer’s position. Last week Yockey gave us the most phenomenal motivation for Michael, got rid of a bunch of the AU hunters that have plagued this season, AND addressed one of the big looming issues from last season that it upset me to no end at having been dropped and ignored, specifically Billie and the “other worlds are like a house of cards.” She threw that out in 13×04 and it is just NOW being addressed. There is no reason for it to have taken this long, outside of just not knowing what to do with Michael at the start of this season. If Dean had spent the first half of the season possessed she could have had this conversation with Sam at some point in the first half, explaining to him briefly what she talked with Dean about (the big reveal of all of Dean’s books ending the same way still could have been held back) and it wouldn’t have felt like a major plot point that had just been forgotten.

    Sidenote, I absolutely don’t think the one way Dean ended up not dying at Michael’s hands had anything to do with him locking himself in a box at the bottom of the deepest ocean for all eternity. Billie’s books are about how he *dies,* and he clearly wouldn’t die in that scenario, so it’s got to be something worse.

    So last week Yockey fixed three major issues (a dropped plot line, the AU hunters, and Michael’s real motivation) and this week Perez fixed three major issues – or started to (getting Nick mostly off the board, literally killing the Abraxis story line before it could spiral out of control, and rehabilitating Mary’s character). Some of the writing was unfortunately transparent, but I consider that to be more of an issue of what Perez had to work with than his skill as a writer. The love triangle with Bobby-Mary-John has to be not as big of a problem before the 300th episode because it can’t be about the Bobby-Mary-John mess, and it was obvious as soon as they revealed that a demon killed Nick’s family that the only reason that happened was to push him into being Lucifer’s vessel. It was just one more thing that Dabb thought would be interesting that was instead painfully obvious from the get-go and a detractor from the main story in an effort to make this more of an ensemble show.

    Honestly, I did not think it was possible for *anyone* at this point to make me like Mary or make me feel like she actually cared about what happens to her sons, yet Perez did it. I certainly don’t feel it was a complete redemption of her, but good lord, he was trying to correct two full seasons of her just being The WorstTM. Not only did turning her into A MOM *not* make her seem weak, it played to Sam Smith’s strengths. I have never found her to be a particularly strong actor, certainly not in comparison to other people on the show like Jared, Jensen, and both Marks (I still miss you, Crowley!!!), but when she is playing the happy homemaker mother from season 1 she is absolutely in her element. She radiates warmth and caring magnificently, and her scenes with both Dean and Sam were just wonderful. Her chemistry with them *as their mother* is sublime, and when she’s forced to play against that or ignore it, it feels wrong because it *is* wrong. It’s a crime that it took them this long to recognize her strengths and *write to them*. Not to mention how many viewers Dabb could have avoided insulting by somehow deciding that a woman can either be a loving mother OR a strong warrior but certainly not both (cuz you know, we aren’t complex creatures or anything – I’m going to stop before I get completely sidetracked).

    I was just heartbroken in the final scene where they were looking at the coffin and Sam couldn’t believe Dean was just going to up and leave without saying anything to him, and that Dean couldn’t tell him because Sam can talk him out of it and he won’t be talked out of it. I just…love these men so much. And was so happy to see them together on my television screen. And it will probably go all to hell this week because it’s a Bucklemming episode and I am genuinely afraid Dabb will want the whole Michael problem taken care of completely before the 300th episode so he doesn’t have to deal with it (and then the “I’m going to burn the world down” arc would have lasted exactly three episodes and I will have to accept that my instincts when it comes to Dabb are painfully accurate) and we will have had all of one episode where Jensen was able to really flesh out the character and we had a really great premise and it will be gone. But at least right now I am legitimately terrified for what is going to happen to Dean and I haven’t been legitimately terrified for something that has happened to either of the boys in a very long time.

    I love this show. So much. And there is honestly no reason it can’t be like this all the time except for incompetence at the top. I respect Jensen and Jared’s desire to slow down a little (god knows I would want to at this point), but I would rather have a 16 episode season like season 3 run by someone who knows what they’re doing if that’s what it takes to get us all Sam and Dean all the time than have to put up with a 20 episode season where they aren’t together for half of it because the people *literally* running the show don’t have the attention span to carry a plot through for 20 episodes. The way the last three seasons have gone legitimately leave me wondering if Andrew Dabb and Scott Gimple were separated at birth, because Dabb has been taking SPN down the same terrible path of sacrificing consistent characterization to move forward mediocre plots that Gimple did with TWD, and it has been deeply painful to watch. Please let these last two episodes be a sign that TPTB have noticed and are taking steps to correct it before it’s too late!

    • With you on that, for first time in a while the threats seem so real, think it mostly because they have not been resolved in one episode, good writing and good direction are key (Here’s looking to you Phil,we need you to direct more) J2 are amazing,always brothers to the end

      • The directing has been a major complaint of mine as well this season. There are some directors who are just *so good* (like Phil and Amanda Tapping) and some directors who just seem to be phoning it in. A lot of my irritation with the way Sam has been written this season and the struggles Jared has had to deal with are just as big of an issue with sloppy directing as it is a bad script. Jared is soooooo damn good when he has a solid script, a strong director, and a chance to play off of Jensen. Half the time this season it’s felt like they’ve thrown crap material at him, co-stars who have almost no chemistry with him, and the director has gone, “I don’t know, man, make it work,” when he’s been trying to figure out how to play a scene. You. Don’t. Do. That. To. Your. Lead. Actors. It is completely unfair, because people judge the actor instead of the director, when it’s 100% the director’s fault if a scene doesn’t work. The whole freakin’ job of a director is to make sure their actors are giving the best performance they can, not go, “Eh, do what you want.” Phil and Amanda clearly care about whether or not their stars shine the brightest they can and it shows in wonderful episodes like these last two.

    • You are spot on with your observations. It’s so frustrating to know that we can have episodes with killer Sam and Dean scenes but we aren’t getting them week in and week out. I’m frustrated that Sam hasn’t had a real story line since season 10 where he worked to save Dean from the Mark of Cain. I don’t understand why this is happening. Is it writers not wanting to give him a substantial story line or does Jared want to cut back on his work (which I would find hard to believe).

      I’d love to see Dabb replaced as show runner but my fear is that Bucklemming would be next in line because of Bob Singer. I wouldn’t see that as an improvement. Things could get worse. I would be happy with your scenario though since these two writers seem to get what the show should be about.

      I keep seeing quotes from TPTB about how the show is about the brothers and how it works best when it’s about the brothers but they haven’t been writing a how about the brothers for the last few seasons. I keep hoping that the ship will be righted for the second half of the season.

      • Please don’t even put out into the Universe the possibility of Bucklemming taking over this show. That is honestly the only thing I can imagine that would be worse than Dabb.

        I can’t imagine that Jared wants to work less or wants these weak (and often nonexistent) story lines for Sam. It makes his job so much harder not to have character consistency. He’s been trying to hit a moving target with his character for the last three years, and I just don’t know why that is besides a total lack of creativity. Dean hasn’t really had any kind of story line either until this Michael thing that is being so badly bungled. They’ve both sort of been working on the same problems together without one or the other of them being a main thrust of the story since Dabb took over. First it was the BMOL/Welcome back Mary and Satan’s baby in season 12, but that didn’t impact one of them more than the other. Then it was the AUs and trying to get Mary and Jack back, but again, that didn’t impact one of them more than the other (well, Sam a little more in the beginning of the season but then they were both fully on board). And yet the writing for Sam has been so completely unfocused compared to the writing for Dean. Jensen has at least had some kind of consistent through-line to work with for Dean in each of Dabb’s seasons. Jared hasn’t. At all.

        I simply don’t understand it.

      • Me too!!! They can’t just give lip service to “this show is best when it’s about the brothers” and then have them disappear from the story and never interact in the same damn scene!

    • Agreed on every single point. I SO wish they would do a reduced season that actually focuses on Sam and Dean and has Jared and Jensen in the same room so they can make the absolute magic they do when they get to act together – please please let it be so! It breaks my heart that the show can still be so off the charts AWESOME if only it keeps its focus and ties up its plotlines and does things that make sense (like let Mary be a mother to her sons and a – gasp – warrior at the same time). I hope these past two episodes aren’t just an anomaly – honestly I’m not gonna think about it too hard because it feels so good to bask in how much I love this show right now 🙂

      • I’m right there with you. I’m not looking at any spoilers for write-ups for this week’s episode because I just want to be happy about the show again, and I am SO happy after these last two episodes.

  • As usual, Lynn got the review right on point. I always enjoy what is written to see the details that I’ve missed (like I need an excuse to watch this episode again).

    So the points I saw were – the books Dean took out of the storage room -Fallen Angels and Maria Prophetissima Historia Achengeli.

    The elk leg lamp at Donna’s cabin. Yuck. I don’t think it was a moose (wrong colour) but it might have been a funny shot at Sam’s nickname.

    After Sams trust in Nick went sideways, I wonder if it’s going to change him? Make him trust less. I hope not, that’s one of my favourite things about Sam but how many times can he be betrayed before he just stops trusting?

    The trip wire at her storage unit-just like John Winchesters in Bad Day at Black Rock-nice little history there.

    Donna’s good with the leg shots. She did the same thing to the vampire in Breakdown in season 13. Very effective.

    The story that Abraxas told Nick doesn’t make sense. He told Nick they just threw a dart at a phone book. But only certain people can contain archangels. It’s certainly possible that Lucifer knew that for some reason, Nick would only be able to contain him for a while until his real vessel was accessible. But the story didn’t hold.

    Dean(Jensen) snoring away on the couch. Ad lib?

    So I’m thinking that Jack would be strong enough to hold Michael and that he might sacrifice himself to save Dean and the world. Not sure why or how but this thought randomly occurred today.

    I hope this fantastic story line continues but I’m not counting on it right now. Loved this episode though. Even though I just want to give both the boys big hugs. 🤗😢😢

    • Good catches! And I’ll bet that Dean snoring (and his pretzeled position) was an ad lib – it worked so well, Mary’s fond little look struck me as absolutely real. I hope this continues too – but for now, I’m just basking in my love for the last two episodes 🙂

  • My only issue with this episode is the whole Nick thing. The longer the story line goes on, the more I don’t care. It doesn’t make sense to me that he’s alive, since I’m pretty sure he has been canonically dead since season 5. Even if he wasn’t, are we really supposed to accept that he was just unconscious the entire time that Crowley was experimenting on his vessel? I’m pretty good at head cannoning stuff to help it make sense, but I just can’t with this particular story line.

    Other than that, I loved this episode. Thank you for your review.

    • Yes, I’m entirely over the Nick storyline and almost every other fan I know is as well. Sometimes TPTB’s decisions just leave me scratching my head…

      • Even worse, it hit me today that Nick HAD to be dead in season 12. When Crowley transferred Lucifer into his new vessel-cage, Lucifer didn’t get Nick’s consent and he was still able to enter his body. As we all know, angels HAVE to have consent if the body is alive. If Lucifer was able to enter Nick’s vessel, Nick had to be dead. Now, I generally just fast forward through the Nick scenes during my re-watch. After watching the comic con interviews with Eugene, I’m convinced the only reason Nick is alive is because she (the writer) has a crush on Mark Pellegrino. She just kept talking about how much she enjoys writing for him and how interesting she finds his character. That’s not a good reason to bring someone back.

      • I can’t stop thinking about this comment and how much it bothers me and is indicative of how people behind the scenes in the Dabb era seem to want to pander to fans and/or ignore what makes sense from a narrative standpoint because they like certain actors or think it will get them publicity to cast certain people in certain roles. Take Daneel Ackles, for instance. No offense to Jensen’s wife, but why exactly was Sister Jo in the season premiere? What did she add to the story? Did it wrap up her plot line? Did it tell us anything about Michael? Surely there was a better way for Sam to get a tip about Michael doing something with vampires than to bring Mrs. Ackles back in for a one shot so the audience would go, “Oooo! Look! It’s Jensen’s wife again!!!” There seem to be precious few writers in the Dabb era who care about whether something fits the overall story, advances the main plot line in a logical way, or – and this is key – shows consistent character growth and progression. Even a character seeming stagnant in their personal journey can make sense if it is authentic to the story that is being told. Dabb has continuously abandoned authenticity for the sake of getting clicks on Twitter. He doesn’t respect his chosen art form and it makes me want to scream when his two lead actors are working their butts off trying to make some kind of sense out of his crappy writing.

      • Seriously. I am trying not to think ahead to the 300th episode and how Dabb is one of the writers and all the many ways he could just…churn out something awful. I know the Js had a LOT of input as the script was being written, and I just hope that and Meredith Glynn co-writing are enough to offset whatever terrible, pandering, out of character ideas Dabb wanted to go with. The man understands nothing about this show, which is astonishing when he’s worked on it for so long.

    • Hear hear! I was done with the Nick story line the second it started! The current “Nick” vessel was rebuilt by Crowley and should be empty, just like Cas’ vessel no longer houses Jimmy Novak. If Nick can suddenly return after Lucifer was stabbed with an archangel blade, then Jimmy should have woken up at the beginning of season 13 and gone, “Wait, what happened?” THAT might have actually been interesting, since they were trying to spinoff Wayward with Claire as the lead. I know that show was supposed to be about Girl PowerTM but having Claire and Patience trying to navigate icy relationships with their fathers could have led to some interesting character development.

      • I also feel like all the vessels that they’ve stabbed with angel blades in general should still be alive if we’re going to go that route. If you get stabbed through the heart, you die, period. Ergh. It frustrates me.

      • Oh, it’s clear that the only reason that Nick is suddenly alive is because they needed a way to keep Mark Pelligrino around and they didn’t give a crap how it messed up *every single angel possession to date.* Dabb just doesn’t care about anything that’s come before him. He’s dead set on remaking the show but he has all the narrative skill of a bad teenage fanfic writer.

  • I look forward to your reviews so much, and all the comments. It’s good to see I’m not alone with my feels. I don’t disagree with anything so far. I have to comment on the Dean pretzel though, so hilarious and not the first time Jensen has used this. I hope they don’t go down the Jack sacrificing himself road, I honestly can’t see why anyone didn’t suggested draining Michael of his grace while they had him bound. Jack could use a little extra grace, right? And I presume they could even do this while Michael is contained, seeing as Cas extracted the last of Gadreel from Sam by ginormous syringe. I have a horror that next week’s writers will completely alter plot course – or disregard points entirely, like they have a habit of doing. And just a last point – kudos to Dean for cutting and welding that box, sigil plates and all, in the time it took Mary to get two bags of groceries. 😀

    • Lol luckily it seems that Mary’s grocery store was approximately two states away 🙂 I’ve seen that comment a few times, and I have no explanation for why they didn’t extract some handy dandy Michael grace when they could have! Also share your trepidation about this week’s episode and writers….fingers crossed!

  • Love you reviews, Lynn!
    Agree with almost everything here. Except I do hope that Nick now will be finished on show.
    Oh, and where is the archangel sword?

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