Three In A Row for Supernatural with Prophet and Loss – and Yay for Season 15!

 

I said I was overwhelmed last week when there had been two excellent and emotional Supernatural episodes in a row, so I don’t know what adjective to use to describe where I’m at this week – because it’s now THREE episodes in a row that have been truly amazing!  Last week’s “Prophet And Loss,” penned by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner, who are not always my favorite writers, continued the show’s string of wins. I guess I have to amend my opinion and say that the duo sometimes do write a favorite episode, in fact. Thank you Brad and Eugenie! And thanks to Tom Wright for some beautiful direction too.

There was a great deal of anticipation going into this episode. First, it’s the episode before the 300th and the return of John Winchester. Second, at the last Supernatural convention I tweeted something ominous that Jensen Ackles said:

That tweet made the rounds yesterday since the episode he was referring to was finally about to be shown, and that meant we all knew that there was a heart-wrenching scene during which Jensen got emotional for real. That’s not an unusual thing, since both Ackles and Padalecki have often talked about the fact that they don’t need to think about something sad to bring the emotion to a scene – they just let themselves feel what the character they know so well is feeling, and the emotion happens organically. That’s what makes it so real, and why it’s impossible for me not to empathize when it happens. However, it’s not usually so intense that the seasoned crew is actually tearful! (If anyone can do that, though, it’s Ackles).

Third, we were all already feeling emotional after the last two episodes – at this point, most of us were traumatized in advance just thinking about Dean being locked in a sinking and slowly disintegrating box at the bottom of the ocean, trying desperately to stay in contact with Sam and knowing he’s trapped there with Michael. So when the episode began with that infernal box at the bottom of the ocean and Dean freaking out inside it, most of us freaked out too.

The first time I watched, I just sat there gaping and horrified, feeling the terror right along with Dean thanks to Jensen’s acting – or maybe I should say thanks to Jensen’s performance and how much he allowed himself to really go there. It’s so well done, the whole scene, the eerie and ominous sounds as the box creaks and the close-up of the first small droplets as it starts to inevitably crack. We’re close up on Dean’s face as he struggles to maintain control while confronted with a nightmare scenario that would destroy anyone, and we see every second as he starts to lose it, panic and horror taking over as he pounds and scratches desperately and starts crying out for his brother.

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That red icon on his phone that says he can’t make the call, that he is truly alone, is so horrifying I started to cry. It’s like every worst nightmare you’ve ever had, and it’s happening to this character you care about so effing much and it’s just too horrible! Just like when Dean was doomed and trapped eternally in hell, he calls out for Sam again and again.

Sam! Sammy!!

Ohgod, my heart. No wonder the crew were crying. I’m sure that scene was much longer than the edited version that made the episode, so Jensen had to endure those emotions and the crew and director had to experience them as well for much longer. I can’t even imagine how intense that must have been!

I think I had the presence of mind the first time watching to tell myself it was probably a dream, but it was so vivid and so horrifying that didn’t really matter – it could be a dream that’s about to come true after all.

Dean wakes up with a start, fingers bloody from scrabbling at the wall, and Sam appears in the doorway, worried (no doubt having heard his brother screaming for him).

The Winchesters are soft and sleep rumpled and in their single layer sleep clothes and they both look strikingly and incongruously gorgeous and my heart just aches for them.

Sam is so tender and careful with Dean, reassuring him that it’s okay to be scared, sitting on the side of the bed to talk and just be with him.

Dean: Never said I wasn’t scared. But it doesn’t matter.

It’s the first of many conversations that the brothers have in this episode (which in and of itself brings a high probability that it’s going to be a good one) as they go round and round, Dean stubbornly insisting there’s no other way to save the world from Michael and Sam equally stubbornly insisting that there is another way and they just haven’t found it yet (and starting to come to terms with just how horrific Dean’s fate is truly going to be, something Dean is coming to terms with too in his nightmares).

The amazing thing about this show is – I feel for both of them.

Cut to the other storyline (which dovetails in, so no complaints – or at least not the “two separate storylines argh” complaint yet). Other storyline opens on a bound and tortured woman and I’m immediately a bit sick to my stomach. The realism that makes the Show work so well in a scene like the one of Dean trapped in the box is too much for me sometimes in the ‘horror movie’ type scenes that the current showrunners seem to love. We see too much, and hear too much as she gasps in pain and terror, and it goes on way too long and we have to actually watch her be cut and then drown and honestly, Show, I don’t watch for that. I know you think I do, but I don’t. I don’t need so much graphic violence to know what’s going on or to empathize with a woman who’s being tortured and killed, thanks. I’m sure there are some fans who do watch for that, and that’s fine and dandy, but I’m not one of them. I expect some horror but I don’t expect it to be so graphic that it makes me queasy.

Then we’re off to the other other storyline (which does not dovetail in as of this point in the season, so complain complain). I foolishly thought that maybe we’d seen the last of Nick last week (okay, not really, but I considered it for a hot minute) but Nick is back, and his storyline continues to have alot of that graphic violence that keeps upsetting my stomach. The cop who’s guarding him makes the mistake of taunting Nick, so we pretty much know he’s about to die. Sure enough, Nick not only knocks him out with a bedpan, but then stomps his head to a pulp and leaves him moaning incoherently on the floor in a puddle of his own blood.

Again, not really my cup of tea. Ewww. Off goes Nick to wreak more havoc. Donna should’ve shot him in the head instead of the leg (offscreen…)

Back to Sam and Dean (yay!), setting out on their tragic journey with the box on a trailer hitch behind Baby. They have their second conversation in the car, as so often happens, Dean wanting reassurance that Sam is still with him in this and Sam trying to keep his word but having a hard time. As soon as Dean walks away for a minute, Sam is on the phone with Cas – because of course he told him despite Dean not wanting to deal with anymore goodbyes.

This was way too big to keep to himself, and besides, Sam needs all the help he can get. So far Cas has come up with nothing, alas, despite being as worried and as opposed to this plan as Sam is.

There are some beautiful shots of Sam and Dean in the Impala at night, always some of my favorites.

 

The very first time we were on set, they were shooting a scene of the boys in Baby at night. Serge Ladouceur offered to show us exactly how they filmed it, and we were so fascinated and so in awe that I think he must have wondered if we could speak at all. I’m still struck by the beauty of Baby and her boys from time to time, and this episode Serge and Tom Wright brought some of those.

I’m teaching a graduate course on grief and loss this semester (and using lots of clips from my favorite show) so I was struck by how realistic both Sam and Dean’s behavior and emotions are considering what each of them is going through as Dean prepares to die. He’s trying hard to tie up loose ends, and of course most of what Dean feels guilty about and wishes he could make better has to do with his little brother. As Michael bangs away in his brain, Dean apologizes to Sam, saying he knows he wasn’t always the greatest brother to him.

Sam, for his part, is both devastated by the reminder that Dean is about to die and protests Dean’s need to apologize.

Sam: Dean, you were the one who was always there for me – the only one. You practically raised me.

Me: More tissues!

 

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Dean: I know things got dicey when Dad….I wasn’t always looking out for you like I should have been.

Oh Dean.

He says that he always tried to keep the peace, but realizes that Sam as a child probably saw that as Dean taking Dad’s side. He also is still carrying a lot of guilt over those times he had to leave (like the amazing episode ‘About A Boy’) even though he was a child himself and it clearly was not his fault.

Dean: Sometimes, when I was away – Dad would send me away when I really pissed him off…

He trails off, and my heart just breaks for both of them. For Sam, who probably did think that his big brother abandoned him from time to time, and for Dean, who still feels guilty about not being there for his little brother. It’s been a while since we got some glimpses of the boys’ past, and the Show is richest when it goes there, giving us context and backstory for these characters we love so much. I don’t know how they’ll reconcile the problematic version of John that we hear about here and have heard about in the past with the ‘good dad’ that Jeffrey Dean Morgan wants John to be, but it will be interesting to see next week when he returns. Or a version of him anyway.

Sam, for his part, absolves Dean of all that guilt, and also gives us a glimpse into the ways Sam had to cope with the trauma in his childhood.

Sam: I left that all behind a long time ago. I had to.

He asks Dean to spare him the “deathbed apologies” so he can keep going (hang onto his denial) and on they drive. On the way, Sam finds them a case, and Dean acquiesces, saying “one last case for the Winchester brothers” and making both me and Sam get emotional. Maybe because I was already feeling emotional or maybe because the Show had just been renewed but I realize it probably won’t be forever, it struck me that someday the Winchester brothers really WILL work their last case. I’m not sure how I’ll survive that, because just thinking about it  now made me all wibbly. I even felt emotional about Sam and Dean in their fed suits, both of them thinking it would be the last time. Sob.

Back to other storyline number one, which is that one last case, and more graphic violence as another innocent person is bound and murdered, with lots of blood and gory close ups. Ewwww.  The Winchesters visit the latest victim’s twin brother, who is understandably devastated by his violent death. As Sam and Dean fold their long lean bodies into too small chairs, Eddie talks about his brother.

Eddie: I can’t believe he’s gone….we were close… best friends. He was my big brother, born first by four minutes. I feel like I’m losing a part of myself, I never knew it could be this bad.

You can see by the look on Dean’s face that he’s thinking of his own little brother who will soon lose his big brother, and that the intensity of that pain isn’t lost on Dean. Or Sam.

They get a clue about who the horribly violent killer is and Dean calls Cas to run the name by him.

Cas: Dean!! It’s so good to hear from you!

Dean: (confused and a little taken aback by Castiel’s unusual enthusiasm) Oh. Okay, good.

Dean quickly realizes that Sam has told Cas about his plan, and Cas does his best to talk Dean out of it. Dean refuses to listen, all the while casting glares at his brother for not keeping the secret. He does offer Cas an awkward goodbye though.

Dean: Thank you. It’s….good to hear your voice.

They pay Tony Alvarez a visit, figure out what he’s doing by reading the scrawlings on his wall because smart!Winchesters, and track him down in a dark abandoned warehouse type place (where all bad guys inevitably end up). More old school Winchesters with flashlights make me wibbly again, then the boys barely get there in time to save victim number three from another overly violent and graphic death, this time by being burnt alive. Ewwww.

Sam is so angry he nearly strangles the guy, then when Tony Alvarez realizes that maybe he’s not doing God’s work after all, he shoots himself in the head, much to Sam and Dean’s horror. Another violent graphic death, and really Show, I’ve had enough!

Together with Castiel, Sam and Dean figure out that because poor current prophet Donatello (Keith Szarabajka) is sort of in between dead and alive, the next prophet is being called up but is also somehow distorting what they should be doing. Hence all the overly violent graphic murders. And with Tony Alvarez gone, the next prophet will probably do the same.

Sam: How do we end this?

Dean: (sadly) You know how.

Me: Nooooo! Not Donatello!!!

I felt so bad for Donatello, and was really angry at Cas for what he did. I get that he felt like it was what had to be done, but that’s always the justification and in this case, it really bothered me. Poor Donatello.

Sam and Dean head to the care facility where he is, asking the physician in charge to pull the plug on the okay of “his nephews”.

Doctor: Sometimes letting go is the right choice.

Dean: Tell me about it.

Sam: (glares)

Castiel beats them there, confiding that he feels guilty about what happened too, which makes me feel a bit better. That also means we get Cas playing doctor.

Dr. Novak aka Cas: I know them. Mr. Winchester and….the other Mr. Winchester.

Me: I think I read that fic.

Dean: Doctor.

Sam: Doctor.

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They find out that Donatello has been “babbling” lately and Sam goes in to investigate, leaving Cas the opportunity to try to talk Dean out of his plan. Dean protests that they’ll talk about it later, and Cas snaps at him.

Cas: According to your plan, there won’t be a later!

He has a point, Dean.

Dean: Cas, if you’re a friend, you won’t try to stop me.

Cas: (angry and hurt) So this is goodbye?

At that moment, Sam returns, and they find out that Donatello’s brain may be coming back online.

Cas: I can fix him. If there’s a spark, if there’s any hope, then I have to try.

He looks at Dean pointedly.

Cas: You taught me that.

Dean hears him, just as he’s heard Sam, but he clearly feels like he has no choice, because he doesn’t back away from his plan. Sam and Dean sit in more small chairs and talk around the problem. Sam comments on how horrible it must be to be trapped in your own body, between life and death. He’s not just talking about Donatello, but Dean shrugs off the parallel, insisting there’s no other way.

Dean: Nothing’s changed, Sam.

After a harrowing few moments when Cas attempts a cure and they pull the plug, Donatello awakens and seems more or less okay. (Dean Winchester is the first thing he sees when he wakes up and puts on his glasses, and gotta say, that is not a bad way to come back from the almost-dead).

Dean (to the astounded physician): It’s a miracle!

Dean (to Cas): Is he okay?

Cas: Well, he has no soul.

Dean: Nobody’s perfect.

A tiny moment of humor in an episode that was 99% dark, which felt good.

Meanwhile, in other other storyline, Nick returns to the house where his family was killed and is confronted with a ghost.

Nick: Is that you?

Ghost: Yes

Nick: (hopefully) Lucifer?

Ghost (crestfallen) It’s Sarah. Your wife.

Ouch.

It seems that Sarah and Nick’s infant son are trapped there, unable to move on unless Nick rejects Lucifer once and for all. She begs him to do it, and he seems anguished about it, but ultimately says that he can’t. Sarah is furious, accusing him of “choosing Lucifer” almost like she’s talking about infidelity.

Sarah: You chose Lucifer. You wanted him. You still do! You came here to find him, in the place where you became one with him.

That reads really oddly, gotta say. At the very least, Nick’s relentless pursuit and longing for Lucifer seem almost like an addiction that he feels powerless against – or that he doesn’t really want to fight. Mark Pellegrino always does a great job showing us Nick’s twisted emotional state, but I’m hoping that Nick is still around only so that Michael can eventually end up in his vessel and we can be done with both of them.

Back to the main story line. Cas stays behind to fill Donatello in on the history he mercifully does not remember, and Dean goes outside to find Sam leaning against the Impala. Like so often as an episode ends, Sam tosses Dean a beer and they sort of celebrate their win.

Except everything is different this time, because this is Dean’s last case, and Sam’s frustration and terror and hurt have reached a breaking point. He’s tried everything he can think of to change his brother’s mind, and panic that Dean really will go through with this is starting to set in.

As soon as Dean references it being the last case, Sam snaps.

Sam: No rest for the self destructive…

Dean tries to say he’s sorry, and Sam whirls on him, unable to believe it. I think all of us have been there, when someone we love is doing something that’s incredibly hurtful to us, and they say “I’m sorry.” It’s impossible to hear it without some sense of rage. If you’re sorry, why are you doing it?

Jared Padalecki was absolutely masterful in this scene. Like, throw all the awards at him masterful.  The entire episode, he has been crafting Sam’s slow relentless disintegration, his increasing horror and hurt and sadness and anger at what his brother is about to do. He tries so hard to do what Dean asked and go along, but it becomes more and more difficult as the reality gets closer. By the time Sam verbally attacks Dean in this scene, Jared has showed us the cracks in Sam’s defenses splitting open, and inside those cracks the intensity of pain there just took my breath away.

Sam: Sorry? How sorry are you? Sorry that you fight to keep Donatello alive but when it comes to you, you just throw in the towel? Are you sorry that after all these years, our entire lives, after I’ve looked up to you, after I’ve learned from you, I’ve copied you, I followed you to hell and back, are you sorry that it means nothing now?

Dean: Who’s saying that?

Sam: (practically spitting) You are! You tell me that I have to kill you, you’re telling me that I have to just throw away everything we stand for. Throw away faith, throw away family. We’re the guys who save the world, we don’t just check out of it!

Dean is almost as anguished as Sam, saying that he’s tried everything, that he only has one card left to play.

Dean: And I have to play it!

Sam is so enraged at Dean’s refusal to listen, and so desperate to get through to him, that he starts pounding his hands against Dean’s chest, like a two year old would when they’re at the end of their rope and nobody is listening to them. The gesture rang so true, seemed so real, and I don’t even know if it was scripted or not – Jensen/Dean reacts with surprise, glancing down like he can’t believe Sam put his hands on him – but the physicality of it carried the scene, made it a thousand times more intense.

Sam:  You have one card today. But we’ll find another tomorrow! But if you quit on us today, there will be no tomorrow. You tell me you don’t know what else to do — I don’t either, Dean. Not yet, But what you’re doing now it’s wrong. It’s quitting!  I mean, look what just happened. Donatello never quit fighting, so we could help him because he never gave up!

He slaps at Dean again, and Dean just holds his ground, never raising a hand to slap back or defend himself.

Sam: I believe in us, Dean!

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I think everyone who was watching heard the “never quit fighting” line as a parallel to Jared’s real life campaign to encourage fans to “always keep fighting” in the face of depression and suicide. Instead of throwing me out of the scene, it just made Sam’s anguish more real to me, and maybe let Jared invest even more genuine emotion into Sam’s plea to Dean.  If you’ve read the very emotional chapter Jared wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood’, you know how close he’s come himself to not being able to keep fighting, so the whole idea of Dean (who Jared and Jensen genuinely love at this point, fictional or not) giving up is incredibly hard to accept.

Dean doesn’t answer, and that pushes Sam over the edge. He suddenly, desperately, punches his brother, every bit as hard and unexpected as Dean’s anger and sorrow-fueled punch way back in Season 2. Dean doesn’t make a sound, but Sam groans like it hurts him, like he’s the one being hit.

Sam: (anguished) I believe in us!

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He raises his fist to hit Dean again, and Dean grabs him and folds him into his arms, saying “Hey hey hey” the way the Winchesters always do when the other one is hurt and they’re trying to make it better. Instead of responding with anger or any sort of defense, Dean reads Sam’s actions for what they are – the physical expression of Sam’s overwhelming grief and impotent rage at losing his brother.

It’s worth saying that there is so much emotion between Sam and Dean in this scene and in this circumstance because they have lost each other before, and it has been unbearable for them each time. I know some people decry the codependence that characterizes the Winchesters’ relationship, but honestly, that’s the Show. That’s the reason it’s so powerful. Sam and Dean really can’t live without each other – don’t want to live without each other – and that’s what drives the entire story. Sam’s tears are all the more painful to see because we know what he’s been through. We’ve watched him fall apart in Mystery Spot, seen him move heaven and earth to bring his brother back from being a demon or succumbing to the Mark of Cain. For much of this season, he lost his brother again to Michael and was devastated (even grew a grief beard!) We know what it will do to Sam to lose Dean again, and so we get it – and that makes Sam’s pain something that I feel myself, in empathy and in sympathy. And god, it hurts.

Dean holds his brother, and Sam abruptly stops hitting him and folds his arms around Dean desperately, almost burying his face in his brother’s shoulder.

Sam: (pleading) Why don’t you believe in us too?

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The question and the broken way Sam asks it, the way he’s clinging to his big brother, clutching a fist full of the back of his jacket, and the tears shining in his eyes, all telegraph the child Sam was, the boy who only had his brother and who loves him like a mom and a dad and a best friend too. Someone posted that Sam and Dean always hug the same way, and that Dean grabs Sam around the neck as though he’s still the taller one. In this scene, it’s like he is – the way it’s blocked almost makes Jared look shorter than Jensen, making Sam look every bit the little brother pleading for his big brother to stay with him. Many fans commented that Sam actually looks like a much younger version of himself in this scene, so complete is the transformation into little brother.

Dean holds out for a second or two, his struggle written all over his face, and then you can see the moment his resolve breaks. He closes his eyes, and I knew.

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And Dean knew too – that’s why he tried so hard to hide what he was planning from Sam, because Sam was the only one who could change his mind. Through my own tears, I dared to take a breath.

Dean: (softly) Okay, Sam. Let’s go home.

Sam can’t even believe it at first, his face incredulous.

Sam: What?

Dean pulls away, nods in reassurance.

Dean: Let’s go home. Maybe Billie’s wrong. Maybe. But I do believe in us.

Castiel walks up, and Dean nods to him too.

Dean: I believe in all of us.

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I thought I could stop grabbing for tissues then, but oh no, Show had more for me. Dean tells Sam what he doesn’t want to hear, and both of them at this point are tearful.

Dean: I’ll keep believing until I can’t, but when – IF – that day comes, Sam you have to take it for what it is. The end, and you have to prom…

His voice breaks then, and he barely can get out the word, and how is it possible that their acting is so good and they don’t have all the awards??

Dean: You have to prom—ise me you’ll do then what you can’t do now. And put me in that box.

My heart is aching so badly at this point I could barely stand it.

Dean nods at Cas. “You too.”

Cas gives tacit agreement, and Sam, though he’s barely able to get the words out, finally does too.

Sam: All right. All right.

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Dean: Now you heard me, let’s go home.

He steps forward, cups the side of Sam’s face in an effort to comfort his brother.

Dean: Don’t hit me again, okay?

My guess is that was an ad lib on the part of Ackles, but either way, it’s so Dean – he needs to defuse all that emotion that’s gotten way out of control. And that gentle pat seemed so much like a parent and child, like something that Dean does instinctively for Sam because he has been so much a parent to him, so much more than a big brother.

I wonder what it cost Dean, to make that concession for his brother. Michael is tormenting him constantly – much like when Sam had Hallucifer in his head night and day – and I wonder how long Dean can hold him off and keep functioning like a normal human being. I was worried a few times that he’d drive right off the road when Michael got really loud in there.

There’s a gorgeous ending shot of Baby as Dean and Cas get in, and Sam walks around to the passenger side, stopping to cast a glance at the box on the trailer.

And then we fade to…. White. Instead of a black screen, it’s stark white. Superwiki informs us that there has only been one other time that’s happened – for the episode Lucifer Rising.

If that’s not ominous, I don’t know what is.

I know this Show isn’t perfect. I don’t know why Michael could get back into Dean when the whole Gadreel possession story was explained so differently (and the Lucifer possession history too, for that matter). I don’t know why sometimes Cas has powers and sometimes he doesn’t. I don’t know why the AU hunters and beloved character alternate versions seemed like a good idea or why Melanie Mollie Meghan oh Maggie is leading them now. I don’t know why the first half of this season was so woefully Winchester light. I wish some things were different. I wish I could like Mary Winchester. I wish Sam would talk about the time that Dean had to let him go and did, when Sam took Lucifer right into the pit with him to save the world. I mean, look how that turned out!

But right now, after three episodes in a row that made me FEEL so much and reminded me why I fell in love with this Show fourteen years ago, I’m a happy fangirl.

And next week? The 300th episode! I’m glad we got the news of a Season 15 renewal yesterday, because I’m sure as hell not ready to give up on Supernatural yet.

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–Lynn

You can read the chapter Jared wrote in Family

Don’t End With Blood (and Jensen, Misha and

most of the cast) – info here on the home page

 

36 thoughts on “Three In A Row for Supernatural with Prophet and Loss – and Yay for Season 15!

  • I don’t know why the first half of this season was so woefully Winchester light. Unfortunately for us, but a plus for J2 if they are not in the screen then they are not on the set and can be home with their families

  • Lynn, Great review and as always you take my thoughts and put them into words. I agree with the too much blood and guts this week. I didn’t find Supernatural until 2015 and even though the boys were soooooo handsome, the music rocked and Baby reminded me of my 67 Impala from high school…I couldn’t get past the gore. Eventually the brothers won me over and I was hooked, but this episode really tested me too. I want more time with the boys and Cas and less time with the disturbing horror.That being said…I do have a fast forward button! Loved this episode. Jensen and Jared outdid themselves again. WOW
    I agree the Show isn’t perfect, but I don’t take it that seriously either. I don’t think any of the angel “rules” apply to Michael, Lucifer, or Gabriel. Do you ever wonder why Rafael never shows up again? I still wonder who Maggie really is. I think I’ll be disappointed if she just turns out to be plain ole Maggie.
    Lynn, thanks again for your review. I look forward to reading them every week. Hope to meet you someday. Pat

    • I think Maggie really is plain ole Maggie, but I’m still mystified as to why she’s become such a fixture on the show. And I’d love to see both Rafael and Balthazar back again – why not, most everyone else has returned! Look forward to meeting you someday too 🙂

  • So, if we ignore all of the Nick storyline and the overly graphic violence (which I completely agree was too much this episode), I really only had one complaint. I was a bit bothered that they were treating Dean like he was giving up and being selfish. Dean was terrified and doing what was going to save the world anyway. He had been told that if he didn’t trap Michael that everyone would die. It is no different than Sam jumping in the pit in season 5. I’ve seen some fans saying, “Why is he freaking out now if he wanted to go into the box?” That drives me nuts. He doesn’t want to go into the box, but he is willing to be tortured forever if it will save the world. Honestly, Sam and Cass are being selfish and putting Dean’s life over the rest of the world. I still loved the last scene though.

    Also, if the ma’lak box is as powerful as it seems, a little salt water and pressure are not going to break it. I imagine the magic that keeps all-powerful creatures inside also keeps them alive and wouldn’t let anything destroy the box.

    • Personally, I think the reason it came across this way to some people (re. Dean is being selfish) is because they had Cas in this episode. For *Cas,* of all people, Mr. “I’m going to let Sam out of the panic room so he can start the apocalypse and open Purgatory for the souls but instead curse the planet with the Leviathans and then abandon Dean – a mere human – in Purgatory and then allow Lucifer to possess me because I never learn!” to be lecturing Dean about anything is absurd. Having both Cas and Sam trying to talk Dean out of it really made it seem like they were ganging up on him.

      I completely understand why Sam felt the way he does. It is unthinkable to him to lose Dean again, and he has always been willing to sacrifice the planet to keep his brother. Dean sacrifices himself to save Sam. Sam sacrifices the world to save Dean. He’s been doing it since Faith in season 1, when he didn’t even know he was sacrificing someone else to heal Dean’s heart condition. Sure, it’s selfish, but Sam doesn’t know how to exist in a Dean-less world. Dean at least had four years of a mom and a dad and a home, whether he can remember most of it or not. The only stability Sam has ever known is Dean. Throwing Cas into the mix really came across as dogpiling

      I am more bothered by all the people commenting, “Yes! Finally someone beat some sense into Dean!” because the fandom has a really bad habit of glorifying people “beating some sense” into Dean, and they’re completely misunderstanding that Sam didn’t punch Dean in this episode to “beat some sense” into him but out of sheer desperation and anguish. It’s been *years* since either of the brothers has hit the other one when not under a spell or otherwise mentally compromised. They’re no longer hotheaded young men. They understand that hitting someone, particularly someone you love, is not an effectively debating technique. Had Sam’s goal been to beat some sense into Dean he wouldn’t have allowed Dean to pull him into a hug so easily or immediately started crying.

      • People are saying that Sam “beat some sense into Dean”??? That is not what happened at all, and also that doesn’t work, in real life or on television. That’s like some antiquated abuse-rationalizing parenting bullshit or something. What made the punch and the aftermath work was that Dean recognized it for what it was – not Sam trying to beat some sense into him, but Sam decompensating in desperation and impotent rage and terror. He doesn’t want to hurt Dean, he wants to make the pain stop and he doesn’t know how. That’s why as soon as Dean embraces him, Sam clutches him back with so much desperation that he’s fisting the back of Dean’s jacket and practically vibrating with emotion.

        The writing of Cas is so inconsistent that he sometimes comes across as hypocritical, or at the very least unpredictable. I think I’ve grown so used to that, that I just try to view the current episode for what it is – but yes, you’re right. Sometimes I think the writers want to include Castiel but just are not sure how to do it, and that doesn’t necessarily work well.

      • People are indeed going, “Yes! You go Sam! Beat some sense into Dean!” Which, as you said, is not what happened *at all.* Not even a little bit.

    • I didn’t necessarily think that Sam or Cas were accusing Dean of being selfish – it’s why I do wish that they had actually talked about Sam making a similar sacrifice and Dean allowing him to do it, so they could hassle over why either this situation is different or why they second guess that decision now at this point. I suspect it’s a little of both. I found it realistic that Sam and Cas would be selfish – we’re all selfish when it comes to losing someone we love so much. And I think that can be rationalized as holding onto hope as long as possible.

      Also I didn’t think about the ma’lak box being impermeable – the drops coming through the lid seemed to imply that perhaps it was not. Either way, though, horrific fate :/

      • I think it wasn’t Sam and Cass who bothered me with their (understandable) selfishness, but some fans perspectives that Dean was choosing to selfishly jump in the box. I agree that they should have compared it to Sam’s choice to jump in the cage.

        I think the box was only leaking because it was Dean’s dream. I don’t think the real box can break, because otherwise it wouldn’t be an eternal prison for Michael.

  • So…after this episode, my hopes that TPTB are auditioning their current talent pool for a new show runner have really greatly increased (even though I accept that I’m likely wrong) because wow. There were only a few times during this episode that I actually believed it was a Bucklemming episode considering how weak their episodes usually are and how (mostly) strong this one was. It didn’t work entirely for me, which I do want to touch on before simply *gushing* about how wonderful the brother stuff was, because if TPTB are looking for a new show runner I still don’t want it to be them.

    None of the Nick stuff worked. Which isn’t Bucklemming’s fault, they just didn’t handle what is ultimately a clunky and uninteresting story as well as Perez and Yockey handled aspects of this season that haven’t worked in the last two episodes. The idea that Sarah and their son are trapped in the house because Nick chose Lucifer makes *literally* no sense. It’s been fourteen years now and there has never been a ghost that has been bound somewhere that couldn’t be released. There is absolutely no reason that THEIR souls should be bound by a decision Nick made after they were murdered. It’s another one of those plot points that has no internal logic, rewrites our understanding of anything ghost related waaaaaaaay far into the series, and seemed to have been used because they need to keep Nick around and not because it makes sense in any way. (And I really want the Nick story line done. No offense to Mark P., he is knocking this story out of the park, it’s just a story I have zero interest in seeing.)

    The parallels in the episode were very heavy handed, with the twins who were four minutes apart and Donatello holding on until Cas apparently has enough of his powers back to fix him. Maybe Cas got a boost when he was in heaven getting Jack out? I dunno, it remains highly irritating to me that Cas has powers when they need him to have powers and when he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Apparently he was able to fly there as well, since he drove back with Sam and Dean, and if he’d driven there like he did when he went to see that shaman or psychic or whatever the sketchy Russian dude was he’d just randomly be leaving a car behind. Stuff like that just bothers me.

    I didn’t like that they saved Donatello. I really just didn’t. His character has been weird since they removed his soul, and did I mention THEY REMOVED HIS SOUL? The fact that his lack of a soul is how he was manipulated by Kentucky Fried Demon last season and now the guys are just like, “Eh,” like it’s no big deal??? To me it was just too easy for a *major* mistake that Cas made that was really in the dark morally grey area (and therefore made Cas interesting when I haven’t personally found him interesting since Dabb took over) to be undone by Cas just concentrating long enough. It was an example of actions not really having serious consequences on this show anymore, though at least it tied up a loose end from last season so I guess that should at least make me begrudgingly happy. Honestly, to me it felt like pandering to Cas fans as a way to get him into this episode when he really didn’t need to be there (he really didn’t).

    Also clearly pandering to the militant Destiel shippers (I’m talking about the ones on Twitter who issue death threats to Jensen and want to kidnap Jared until the show runners make Destiel canon, not the Destiel shippers who are sane human beings) was having Cas come out in the middle of Sam and Dean’s BEAUTIFUL moment at the end to third wheel in a scene that should have *only* been between the brothers, and that really bothered me. A lot. Sam is the one who got through to Dean. Sam is the reason Dean is willing to temporarily forego his plan. Not Cas. Not Jack. Not Mary. Not any other person but Sam, who was so broken and raw and grief stricken, and just *needed* his brother not to leave him, that bringing another person in there so Dean can throw a line at him and then turn back to his brother like Cas doesn’t exist jolted me out of the scene temporarily and made no sense.

    Sam is the one who watched Dean die in Mystery Spot so many times he lost count of the days. Sam is the one who had to watch Dean get torn apart by hell hounds. Sam is the one who was holding Dean when he bled out after being stabbed by Metatron. Sam is the one who *cannot lose Dean again.* I can guarantee that if the situation were reversed, and Dean had been trying to stop Sam from this plan, Cas would not have wandered in because they wouldn’t have to worry about a handful of unbalanced fans on Twitter who do not represent the majority of fandom spewing vitriol and threatening to hurt the cast and writers. Just hold Cas back until after “Don’t hit me again,” or better yet, have him drive whatever car home that he drove there in so I’m not wondering if he flew or stole a car or why he’s suddenly riding with them when he didn’t arrive there with him. It was a very poor writing decision that served no purpose but to keep a tiny segment of the viewing audience from throwing a tantrum on social media.

    Having said all that – every single brother scene in this episode reached into my chest and grabbed my heart and squeezed until it was painful. I will watch this episode over and over and over again and just fast forward through the tiny bits that made me sigh in frustration. I was literally clutching my pillow during the opening sequence with Dean trapped in the box, and I haven’t clutched my pillow during this show in a long time (not counting the last two episodes because we can all agree they are outliers for this season). As someone who has been ride or die for Dean since the pilot it was so difficult to see him trying to claw his way out of that box and thinking back to the end of season 3/beginning of season 4 when he was crying for Sam in hell and then woke up and had to dig his way out of his own grave. Even though I knew it couldn’t possibly be anything other than a dream, it was something Dean has actually experienced before and it was harrowing for me as someone perhaps a bit too invested in these characters. His imagination didn’t have to make up what he would feel like trapped in a box, because he *knows* what it’s like to be trapped in a box (which I’m going to stop saying before I digress into Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and whether it’s better to be trapped alive in a box or dead). Then to see he had been clawing the wall when he woke up – my heart!!! I don’t know how they expected people to make it through this episode when they went for the heart squishing right in the first three minutes. And I can see exactly why the crew would have been so upset watching Jensen work that scene. That was a *tough* scene.

    In fact, all the scenes between the brothers were tough. This truly was a tour de force for both the Js, and I just gotta say, I don’t know if Jared put his foot down and demanded they start writing him ACTUAL MATERIAL again or someone higher up realized they have been absolutely squandering his talent, but I am overjoyed at the writing they’ve given Sam these last three episodes. It was astounding to watch him slowly, *physically* unravel over the course of the episode in the face of Dean’s determination until he just snapped. I agree with you completely about Jared looking younger at the end of this episode. I really got season 3 vibes from both of them, and that end scene was like Mystery Spot and No Rest for the Wicked rolled into one for Sam.

    These two men are so damn good. They are so underrated. It is insulting that the Emmy committee won’t even glance their way because they are on a genre show on the CW. There is no excuse for it either. If the Emmys are supposed to be about the best work done on television, they should be open to considering ALL of television, because the scenes between Padalecki and Ackles in this episode alone should get them nominated. Sam’s desperation came from over a decade of loving and losing his brother, which we as the audience have watched. Dean’s eventual capitulation came from almost forty years of loving and caring for his brother, which we as the audience have watched (not all forty years, but you get what I’m saying). I could see Sam thinking of every time he’s lost Dean and I could see Dean thinking of every time he’s left Sam when he didn’t want to in that final scene. They weren’t simply acting in the moment, they were acting in the *life* of these two characters.

    The whole run up to the final scene was wonderful. I really still can’t believe Bucklemming wrote those scenes. From Sam trying to comfort Dean when he woke up from the nightmare while still delicately working to chip away at his resolve, to the apology in the car that revealed John didn’t just send Dean away one time (I wonder if he sent him off to stay with Bobby those times and that’s why Dean was Bobby’s favorite), where Dean openly stated what has been clear to anyone watching the show about why he always seemed to take John’s side (and Bucklemming actually articulating that correctly makes me wonder if they were told to rewatch the early seasons), to the way Sam just hurled the “villain” in the episode across the warehouse floor because he needed to hit/hurt/kill something, to Dean realizing that he can’t do this to his brother when Sam still has hope and is fighting so hard for him – it just made me so happy to see the emotional investment both Jared and Jensen were able to make because the script allowed for it. These characters are so rich and so full and when they’re relegated to second fiddle ON THEIR OWN SHOW it just doesn’t work. These last three episodes have worked so beautifully because Yockey, Perez, and now Bucklemming kept the focus where it belonged: Sam and Dean.

    I also don’t understand anyone who, after fourteen seasons, is still complaining about the “codependency.” First of all, I don’t see it as codependency at all. These men grew up extreme circumstances where the only people they could really count on as children were each other; where the only stability they really had were each other. How exactly are they supposed to “grow out of this” when their childhood lives were a war movie and their adult lives have been a horror movie? They can’t go to therapy. They’d be institutionalized immediately. Outside of Jess and Lisa, neither of them have had any kind of stable relationship with another human being (I don’t count Amelia because nothing about that relationship was stable, IMHO). Even their own parents don’t pick up the phone when something horrific is happening to one of them and they’re looking for emotional support. They are “codependent” because they’re all the other one HAS. They’re not all the other one has because they’re codependent, and that is an important distinction.

    As one of those people who really likes horror, I thought the horror aspects of this episode were just marvelous. I can certainly understand why it was too much for some people, but one of the things that has bothered me so tremendously since Dabb took over is the whole idea that hunting is a fun occupation you can learn through an easy correspondence course and *everyone* should want to give up any hope of a normal life to kill monsters! I just recently rewatched The Real Ghostbusters when Dean was visibly upset that Damien and Barnes are roleplaying as them and think their lives are so cool, because “It is not fun. It is not entertaining. It is a river of crap that would send most people screaming to the nut house.” While the murders the new prophet was committing were super gory and graphic, you certainly can’t claim that it’s the sort of thing a teenage girl getting straight A’s should abandon school and her father for to go live with a stranger, or for which a young woman should give up a nursing career she has already started because “Girl PowerTM”.

    On that little bit of backstory we got about how John sent Dean away, I really have no idea how they plan to reconcile any of that with John coming back next week (though frankly, I expect the issues Dean raised to be completely ignored because Dabb as a writer doesn’t seem to be that interested in exploring anything that has had a negative emotional impact on Dean). One of the big things that used to bother me with Sam (which I have long since gotten over) is how in the early seasons he didn’t seem to care about Dean’s abandonment issues, or how badly Dean wanted them to be a family. He was obviously very smart. How could he not see these obvious issues of his brother’s? It makes a whoooooole lot more sense for Sam way back then not to see leaving for college as that huge of a deal if Dean was always leaving because John made him, not knowing that Dean was leaving because John made him. Which I don’t expect them to actually address, because JDM doesn’t like the idea of John not being a good father, even though he is demonstrably not (this is not a “John Winchester is abusive” comment – you can love your children with all your heart and still be a crappy parent). I can empathize with JDM when it comes to how he views John, because when you’re approaching a character who is problematic, you don’t focus on what is problematic about them or you end up playing a cartoon instead of a character that is fully realized.

    If JDM *didn’t* genuinely believe that John Winchester is a man who deeply loved his children and instead played him as an obsessed bastard who put things on his oldest son, especially, that he didn’t deserve then no one would be excited for John’s return. But I am afraid that his insistence he wasn’t going to return if it was just going to mean a hate-fest for John means that all of the issues Sam and Dean still have with their father will be swept under the rug. Particularly when Dabb wrote it and he just…isn’t a good writer anymore. There are definite ways to address big, lingering problems for the Winchester men without it being an all-out John attack, but I don’t see Dabb as skilled enough to pull that off. It worries me that this latest bit of backstory is just going to be ignored when it revealed so much to me as a viewer about the brothers’ dynamic, even fourteen years into the show when one might think long time viewers would know everything about them.

    Also – let’s not talk about this show ever ending. I realize it must at some point. Sam and Dean can’t be running around hunting monsters when they’re scheduled for a hip replacement or need pacemakers, but it makes me cry just thinking about it, so I’m going to pretend they’ll be getting renewed for season 40 and we’ll STILL be learning things about the Winchesters and their screwed up childhood. The year they announce the final season of the show I will probably spend wearing all black and weeping my way through every episode.

    • I agree with you, especially about Donatello and Cass. Donatello needs to die so they can get a souled prophet again. They have already addressed the “not having a soul is a BIG issue” with Jack this season. Though Dean’s line made me laugh when he said “no one is perfect,” it didn’t quite work with what we know about soulless people. I think Cass’s entrance at the end of that scene was poorly handled as well. I think it would have been better to let Dean have a conversation with him later. He had missed all the important parts of the conversation, he didn’t know what was happening, he didn’t even have any dialogue, and then, like you said, he climbed in the car and left whatever vehicle he’d driven behind. It did feel weird to have him come out at that moment.

    • Mer, I’ve seen your comments here before, and I wanted to share with you how beautifully written, how illuminating your responses always are. I don’t agree with everything you say, but on the whole I am with you all the way. As somebody who began watching from episode one, this show is a part of me. The story of these brothers somehow comforts me even though it’s blood, guts, and horror. I don’t exactly understand why it’s as affecting as it is, I only know this show, these magnificent actors, has made a huge difference in my life and always will. As a fellow Dean Winchester adorer, keep writing, Mer.

    • Once again, I pretty much agree with everything you said – even the horror stuff. I personally don’t like it, but I also don’t like hunting being portrayed as anything but the horrific traumatizing thing that it is. I just have a very good imagination and don’t need to SEE it all!

      I wasn’t invested enough in the Nick and Sarah scene to even recognize all the quibbles you pointed out – which are indeed valid quibbles. I guess that really says something, that I wasn’t invested enough to even realize how little sense some of that made!

      I said this above, but there are episodes that they want Castiel to be in but have no idea how to include him organically, and that results in odd moments that seem like strange storytelling decisions indeed. I was too caught up in that incredible scene to notice at the time, but it was an odd decision to have him there watching this intense interaction between the brothers play out. I almost had to wonder what he was thinking – I would have felt like an interloper standing there while they broke apart and put each other back together again. Poor Cas!

      As for John, I’m still grateful we got those bits of childhood canon. Sam’s leaving for Stanford does make so much more sense if Dean was repeatedly leaving without explanation. I think this calls for some new fanfic, stat!

      And finally, I’ll wear all black and weep with you when that day finally comes. But for now? Shhhhh 🙂

    • Yes! Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! Your comments are my next favorite thing to read after Lynn’s reviews. I’m not too worried about the 300th episode because it sounds like Jared and Jensen had a lot of input with how it was written. I wonder if they had to make any tweaks to “Prophet and Loss.” Regardless, their scenes were killer. The last scene took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting such raw emotion.

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the writers are hopefully getting back to scary villains instead of the wise-cracking demons and the whiney angels. I think the show works better when the drama is taken seriously with some jokes peppered in. I feel llike the villains/monsters/angels/demons have been campy in the last few seasons. Asmodeus anyone?

      I’m rewatching season 5. Cas isn’t full power during that season because he’s cut off from heaven. I don’t know if that’s what they’re basing his powers\lack of powers on but it’s annoying that the writers give him some powers when they need to get out of a jam quickly. And I also wondered why he got inthe Impala at the end because he had to have driven to the nursin home. Stuff like that shouldn’t make it into the script. We’re a savvy fan base and things like that get noticed.

  • Loved your review, as always. If Cas was able to extract Gadreel’s grace from Sam, why can’t he extract Michael’s grace from Dean. Granted it would be more grace, but they could use several syringes. They could then put the grace in the box, hopefully with Nick/Lucifer and drop it in the deepest part of the ocean. It works for me. And why isn’t Mary pestering Dean about his plan. She was sort of a loving mother (for her anyway) last episode and nowhere to be found in this one. Dean and Sam had to be everything to each other growing up and they still do. She needs to return to the AU with Bobby. Sorry for the rant.

    • No apology needed, I invite rants and comments here and love reading them! I forgot to put this in my review, but I also found it very weird that Mary wasn’t trying harder to talk Dean out of his plan. If one of my kids was planning something like that, I’d have myself strapped to the roof of the damn car or throwing myself in front of that damn box! She seemed to find some motherly affection last episode, then poof. :/

      • Agreed. I thought it was weird not to have more from Mary. Especially after she said, “All three of us are going to talk about this.” If she really cared, she would not be letting her son out of her sight.

    • Grace is just a battery, what gives an angel their powers and makes an angel an angel. Removing the grace from Dean, doesn’t remove Michael, it still leaves Michael’s consciousness / personality inside Dean. And we saw even in Dean’s head, without his powers he was strong, so Michael could still break free and assert control over Dean’s body again. At which point, without his grace, Michael will be for all intents and purposes “human” and unable to be removed.

  • I agree so much with what you say and how you say it: “it goes on way too long and we have to actually watch her be cut and then drown and honestly, Show, I don’t watch for that. I know you think I do, but I don’t. I don’t need so much graphic violence to know what’s going on or to empathize with a woman who’s being tortured and killed, thanks.” Also the paragraph with three “I don’t know” sentences followed by three “I wish” is wonderful.

    • Thank you! Some people commenting here do watch for the horror, but I get empathy overload and find myself really bothered by it when it’s so graphic and so drawn out. Still upset about that scene :/

  • I enjoyed most of this episode which surprised me a bit. I could honestly watch that whole episode without the Nick storyline ( which I’m still confused about-am I supposed to care about him?) and the Castiel storyline (pull the plug on Donatello and call it a day). But watching the boys trying not to say some things but expressing it all anyway, that’s my jam!

    There wasn’t much humour in this episode (which fits) but Castiels’ line about Rowena having a remarkable command of profanity made me laugh.

    Dean was tiptoeing around the main thing hanging over their heads quite a bit but also made sure that Sam wasn’t going to make Dean do it by himself. I think doing it all himself is scarier to Dean. Even now, he wants his brothers’ support. Ouch.

    One last case for the Winchester boys. Ouch again.

    Happy Daze Nursing Home. Really??

    Felt sorry for ghost of Sara. But logically (?) ghosts start going off the deep end and she seems sane. It’s a weird part to the whole story and doesn’t make sense. Now I’m a ghost expert?? 😱

    They should just put Michael into Nick and put them both in the sea. Don’t know how but that’s what I would like.

    What happened to Garth? Did they just let him loose?? Is he locked up in the bunker? For the record, I hate loose ends.

    Anyway, Jared and Jensen were so good in this episode, that final speech of Sam’s was so painful, and angry that Deans response was equally as painful. Ouch again.
    Looking forward to the 300 but I don’t think it will be quite as… ouchy(?)

    • I’m not sure anyone really cares about Nick, despite Mark’s excellent portrayal. And as pointed out above, the ghost story made no sense and didn’t line up with canon at all. I just laughed out loud when you mentioned Garth – is he still in the trunk?? lol

      • Sam mentioned to Maggie that Garth was in the trunk of the car when he talked to her on 5e phone when she was driving back to the bunker with some of the AU hunter in “Nillism.”

  • First, I’d like to say thank you for always being honest with what you think of each episode, do the writer/s “get” Sam and Dean, etc. Being a Bro fan since day 1 and having 14 years watching each season unfold, I realize storylines might not always go “my way.” I like the brothers TOGETHER, riding in Baby, at the bunker, on a case. The first half of this season, as much as I was liking the Michael storyline and how are they going to save Dean, it seemed like the two of them were barely in a scene together. Then came the last three episodes (including this one) that I absolutely loved. After hearing Jensen talk about filming “Prophet and Loss,” I knew it was going to be intense but, when I saw who was writing it, I initially became concerned. Imo, in the past, Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner have written good, interesting stories, but, I felt their Sam and Dean were…generic. I felt the dialogue could have been with any two guys, ie: Henry & Bill, Harry & Fred… So, here comes this episode where Dean is in dire straits and Sammy just HAS to be worried and want to save him. Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner did not disappoint. They wrote beautiful Sam & Dean scenes. My crow tastes just fine. 😀 The final scene between Sammy & Dean was heartbreakingly beautiful and exquisitely acted by Jared & Jensen. They both, in their own unique way, can express so much with just a look. In the photo you have at the very top, just look at Sammy’s anguished expression. Everything between the two of them was so real, so honest, so raw. “I believe in us, Dean.” I believe in Sam and Dean, and in Jared and Jensen. I can hardly wait to see what’s next. 🙂

    • I’m with you – and was 100% happy to have my worries about the writers of this episode proven wrong! And wow, did they EVER prove me wrong!

  • Long time lurker. First time poster. I just had to pop in to say I love reading your reviews each week! I’ve been anticipating this one. You tend to express most everything that I’m feeling about an episode.

    The first half of the season was a huge struggle for me. In fact, the past three seasons have been a struggle at times. I watch television shows that emotionally engage me. I have to have characters that I love. I take that over plot any day of the week. Supernatural did that for me right from the get go. I haven’t watched it from the beginning. I actually watched it during the summer of 2013 as a kind of distraction and escape from a difficult situation. The story of Sam and Dean, and the deep and unending love between these 2 brothers gripped my heart and has never let go. It came at a time when I needed to see love like that.

    So I love this show, and I love those brothers, and I want the show to be about THEM.

    I don’t watch for side characters and storylines that don’t involve or at least circle back to the brothers. I sure as heck don’t watch for Sam and Dean to have two minutes on screen together and then be apart for the remainder of an episode. I know Jared and Jensen are older and they have families. I get it. So I’m with you. I would happily watch a 15 episode…..heck I’d take a 13 episode season…if it would get Sam and Dean back on my screen for the majority of the time. When i heard they were knocking it down to 20 episodes this season I was giddy because I thought that would mean they would be on screen more…instead it’s felt even worse this year…especially that first half of the season.

    I love Bobby Singer. LOVE him. I love Jim Beaver as an actor. However my love for Jim Beaver as an actor does not mean that I want to watch a replacement Bobby on my screen. Why would I want to watch a Bobby that does not love Sam and Dean? That’s what made him special. Actor love and character love are two separate things for me. This applies to Charlie as well.

    The past three episodes have been amazing. The phrase I keep using is “It
    has felt like Supernatural again.” The focus has been on Sam and Dean where it belonged. Mary , whose return has been the most disappointing thing I think show has done, (I don’t blame Sam Smith, I blame the writing) was the best I’ve seen her in “Damaged Goods”. Why? Because we got to see Dean through her eyes and her story was a lens through which we got to see her boys. Her and AU Bobby needing space from each other? Yawn…don’t care.

    This past episode gave me the biggest emotional reaction I think I’ve had since episode 11×20 when I laid eyes on the Samulet again.
    (Robbie. We need him back…now…not season 20)

    That ending scene between Sam and Dean (that I’ve watched a few times now) was my show again. That’s what I’m here for. Please let it continue.

    I will give all the kudos to Bucklemming for this one. I’m not going to lie when I found out they were writing this episode my expectations were low. They know how to write action and very weirdly placed and often very misplaced sex scenes (I’m looking at you “Man’s Best Friends With Benefits”) but they have always been lacking (or so I thought) in writing decent emotional scenes between the brothers. Sam finds out Dean did survive Amara in episode 12×3 and it’s kind of “Oh…hey” (yeah I’m exaggerating…..slightly).

    The scene in 14×12 however will go down as one of my favorite brother moments in the history of the show. They will also have my eternal gratitude for the way they used Baby in this episode. She too has been one of the victims of the past few seasons. Her downfall began with the Bunker (I HATE the bunker, but I digress…I am fully aware I’m in a very, very small minority on that one) but I’ve definitely noticed the lack of her more these past few seasons. She used to feel like an integral part of the show, a natural extension of the brothers. Now she feels more like a prop they pull out every now and then. (Ok I may be a wee bit obsessed with the car. My husband who watches the show with me owns a 1967 Impala, so we are very “car aware” 🙂

    Thanks for letting me post! This episode kind of made me giddy…at least after I picked my heart up off the floor and attempted to put it back together, and I’ve been needing to talk about it somewhere!

    Excited for 300 coming up this week and I truly hope this pattern the past few episodes continues!!

  • Thanks Lynn, for another great review. Only, I didn’t get emotional seeing Dean in the box. Not that Jensen didn’t do a great job, but going straight in at the show’s opening, with no slow burn up to it was too quick, not giving me time to feel it. Also, just made me jump to the conclusion that it was a dream sequence, so therefore nothing to be upset about! (didn’t occur to me at the time it could be a flashback type episode and this was the end result – horror!) Like everyone else it seems, I’m over the Nick/Lucifer storyline. Terminator!Luci covered in The Empty’s ick seems to have been pointless and forgotten, so now let’s start up with the ghost wife? The whole scene was out of place, and I have no idea where it came from, or is supposed to go. Filler to give Jared and Jensen a day off? Fair enough, but filler could have been supplied by Mary possibly being concerned and following her son who is about to drop himself in the ocean. And I agree with Mer about Cas in this episode… And if Cas was there, where is Jack? Is he left in the dark about all this? I need to rewatch this season, as this hiatus has seemed to throw me off. I’m not sure where Jack is supposed to be, or the AU hunters for that matter – one storyline I think could have been great and brought a lot to the show, but has been mangled badly. I was under the impression that the whole season gets roughly drafted out before scripts are started, but it sure doesn’t seem that way lately. Thanks also to Mer, your comments I thoroughly agree with.

  • Lynn, I thought of you the moment the show went to commercial and we were able to breathe for the first time. THREE!! They did it THREE TIMES!!
    Seeing Jensen in that box just about DID ME IN! HOW he hasn’t been rewarded for his acting is BEYOND me!
    I too thought the torture scenes were crazy intense, gory, cringe-y. I couldn’t wait for them to be over and I think I vocalized that to the empty room as I watched. However, I think they needed to be as they were. The entire episode (well with some exception) seemed amped up, teetering on the edge. I didn’t like those scenes, almost had to look away and I think that was the intention. We shouldn’t be comfortable watching that just as Sam isn’t ok with what Dean has set out to do. I think there was an acceleration to every conversation the boys had (and they just kept coming!!) and we broke right there with Sam at the end. And JARED HOLY MOLY, what a performance!!
    Can someone please correct me if I’m wrong but I thought Lucifer is dead. Isn’t he?!? I don’t understand the Nick storyline. Don’t get me wrong, Mark is fantastic and can cry almost as beautifully as Jensen but man I’m just over that part of the story!

  • I get you not liking the violence but honestly, those scenes were similar to some crime shows and other horror shows. We as a society have gotten desensitized. As for the Nick storyline, it’s more of a “what if” situation. What if Sam did not take control of Lucifier to jump in the pit or battle the Lucufier hallucinations to continue saving the world. What if Dean, didn’t lock Michael is the keg cooler. I never thought Nick killer his family. I always thought he was in such a low spot in his life and had no one to help him see the “light” that Lucfier was able to take control. The same storyline was used with Vince (Rick Springfield). So when Nick chose Lucifier, he saw Lucifier as the light instead of his family. I have always viewed this show as the demons we fight in life to find our balance. With Lucifier and Michael, there was balance. When Sam and Dean work together, there is a balance. The current AUMichael doesn’t belong in the Winchester universe and neithet can a dead Lucifier. (Caged Lucifier with a crazed Michael is balance.) As with this episode, the more calm Dean became with his decision, the more angry Sam became. Again with Donatello being between alive and dead. The scale was unbalanced causing a crazy prophet. At the end, Dean “agrees” to create a brief balance because well, good television storytelling needs a little drama so more weight will be added to the Winchester universe scale forcing balance to be restored once again.

  • I watched the scene where Dean was in the Malak box at the bottom of the ocean. Ahoy Matey! If you want to experience it in an even more heartbreaking way then watch the television using a mirror. It becomes 3D and gives you a whole new feel to the space Dean was occupying. As if it wasn’t moving enough seeing it normally, it was even more disturbing like this! I discovered the 3D effect years ago while I was looking at the reflection of my tv screen in the glass of my daughters hexagon aquarium. I’d completely forgot about it. Figures it would be Jensen’s portrayal of Deans predicament that would make me remember. ;). Now I want to go back and review many key episode moments throughout the years!

  • Still decompressing, but have to say Lynn you are spot on with so many things. I have just one wish for that episode with hindsight, there was an obvious off camera scene with the Winchester men and their Mom, Sam references it. If only we could have been a fly on the wall to that AWKWARD conversation, see the tensions and frustrations start to build, whilst the people who clearly adore Dean tried to get through to him, I think everything else that followed as Dean’s resolve broke would have worked so much better. Instead we got a very sad, disjointed scene between Nick and Sarah that felt uneasy and wrong (not sure why, the blocking, the dialogue?) like they were not and never had been a couple, they were two strangers saying words (and no offence to either actor, they put their hearts into it) That is why Sam and Dean work so well, our little show isn’t perfect, but when they are on screen, it feels real, like life real, their love, their pain, we feel all of it .

    Every part of the interaction between the brothers recalled all the things they have gone through, issues have been raised time and time again about their co-dependency and will rattle on to the end of the show, no doubt. Its easy to loose sight of the fact they never got to be children, not the way they should, so those children they were always surface in times of crisis, give the guys a break, those reactions to cling as tight as they do, are normal for them.

    A lot of the comments raise excellent and valid points and cover pretty much anything there can be said, so I just want to offer a few thoughts that are banging round my head, a bit like Michael wanting out, regarding Dean’s motivation for doing the box thing in such a committed way.

    I’m certain, despite Cas saying it out loud, Dean had and has, no desire to end his life, his nightmare confirmed that, he changed his mind and was desperately clinging to Sam in the final moments before he woke and fought to save himself with such vigour, he injured his hand in the real world, not the dream of a man with death wish.

    So why would Dean want to commit himself to an eternity of torture ?. Possibly the answer lies with Death, the “Big Daddy Reaper” as Dean has called that entity. Death has been one of few constants in Dean’s Life, he lives expecting it and holds the Winchester record for most deaths, thanks to Gabriel. Dean’s had many interactions directly with the Big Boss and it seems some degree of trust has been built, something Dean isn’t that good at, but when he does, he’s all in. Conversely, Dean has grown on Death, going from a minor irritation, to a position of tacit respect, after all he loaned out his ring to Dean, more than once. Their relationship seems to be one of student and Master, Death has often stepped in when Dean has been spinning out of control to offer perspective and wisdom, repeatedly teaching Dean how to put value on his own life, because I think Death recognises the damaged little boy inside who desperately at times, needs guidance.
    Right now Dean is still reeling from the violation of being possessed, which is why I believe Billie has stepped in again, despite her threats, Billie, by offering Dean access to his book of death (for want of better expression) is trying to help giving him something to fight against, because he functions best with something to fight for, or against.It wouldn’t be any kind of motivation to Dean to fight, if he thought it was all hearts and flowers, because his life isn’t like that. Dean himself has the power to re-write his book, as he did with the other books when he went against advice to fetch his Mom and Jack back and Billie knows it.
    Unfortunately, Dean, as traumatised as he is, has taken her approach very literally, weighed down with more than his normal amount of guilt at what he has unleashed, unsure of himself and trying so hard to atone, I think Dean is trusting Death to have the answers he does not and that he genuinely believes he has to go in the box to trap Michael; he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t want to leave Sam, but he doesn’t want to end the world.
    Everything good comes at a price, in Dean’s experience and he is willing to pay the price, because he cares so much, he only capitulated for Sam, because he’s not selfish, never has been, despite how it may appear at times, Sam is his whole world and he will remain at his side until Sam no longer needs him (which will obviously be never).
    Can’t wait for next week, fingers crossed its 4 in row!!!

  • As always I loved your review!

    And I’m a fan of Mark P, but I’m done with Nick’s story. Somebody just kill him, please! And Donatello, oh my… Why not let him die and get the next profet online?

    And I’m also done with Cas’ story, I think you’re right, they promised him to get X episodes this season and now they have to fit him in…and TPTB don’t really know what to do with him.

    Get me back to hunting monsters from urban legends and Baby!

    And AU!Bobby and AU!Charlie can go back and fix their own world with all AU!hunters. Sorry, they don’t appeal to me at all…

    I’m hoping that when John & Mary meet again they’ll go to heaven together. As a very important match made in heaven they should get to stay in the same, right? I also think that this upcoming episode will be a stand-alone one. Unless they want to make that John is the best hunter ever and teach Dean how to get Michael out…
    ❤ B

    • I love your idea of Mary going with John back to heaven. PLEASE let this be so! Along with Cas and Nick, her story has run out, and that’s a shame, but with Dabb running the show (cough*into the ground*cough) for the last three seasons a lot of things are only going to be fixed by starting literally cut their losses and start shedding characters that no longer contribute to the story of the WINCHESTER BROTHERS. Because *that’s* what the show is about.

  • I am so glad I finally found this page and your reviews of the show! Better late than never! Especially for this episode, that brought so many tears I could hardly believe it. My god, that ending scene was so beautiful.
    I heard in a con video that Jared had such a hard time filming that scene, that he couldn’t do it and almost gave up on it. Do you think that is what made it so good? That some of the real frustration of the moment made it in the scene? Anyway I can keep watching the Sam and Dean scenes in this ep, it’s so incredibly well done. How Sam looks so much younger in that final scene, really like a child fighting, but knowing he can’t win… I don’t know how he did it, but it’s amazing and breaks my heart.
    Thank you for all the awesome episode reviews, I think I’m going to spend all night reading them all 🙂

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