And We’re Off!  Supernatural Proverbs 17:3

 

We’ve never had a Supernatural episode named after a Bible verse before, but considering how this season is shaping up to be all about God, I guess it’s appropriate. Proverbs 17:3 was the swan song episode for writer Steve Yockey, who has written some of my favorites, and another directorial stint for Richard Speight Jr. With that combination, it’s not surprising that I liked it a lot – but it was an unusual episode in many ways. Proverbs 17:3 is all about how “the Lord trieth the hearts”, and that’s certainly fitting for what happened to the Winchesters in this episode. But it’s not that simple; this entire episode worked on multiple levels, so it’s equally fitting for what keeps happening to the fans. My heart is definitely being tried!

Let’s dig in, shall we? (There’s nothing I love more than feeling like I have a lot to dig into the day after an episode airs, and for the millionth time I have to say that I’m going to miss this day-after-conversation-speculation-discussion SO much)

The episode starts off with a quintessential Supernatural opener, three young women (who look so much alike half the fandom thought they were triplets) on an ill-advised camping trip and one of them being silly enough to go OUTSIDE the tent when they hear scary noises. Only one survives, and the case of the week is kicked off.

Meanwhile, Sam has been texting Cas (which he erroneously spells Cass like everyone on this show) and it’s sort of heartbreaking. I understand why Cas left so abruptly, but I doubt Sam really does despite whatever explanation Dean gave him.

Dean returns with supplies, including ghost pepper jerky, and we get a pricelessly funny brothers scene which I loved. Only Supernatural can seamlessly transition from people getting murdered to Jensen and Jared making us laugh over ghost pepper jerky. I think most of us suspected that we were seeing as much Jared and Jensen as Sam and Dean in that scene, and wondered if Jared was reprising his spike-the-eggnog-and-not-tell-Jensen bit from the Christmas episode, this time with super hot actual jerky. There’s a moment when Jensen definitely does his half hidden OMG laugh, and the throwing the water all over himself felt a lot like his ad libbing too. Meanwhile, Sam’s knowing taunting of his overly macho brother by withholding the water was so perfect – and could have been Jared too.

It’s wonderful to have a familiar and beloved colleague directing so much for the final season, and Richard Speight Jr. does a great job with this one. He understands the fandom differently than any other director would (except Jensen himself and another of this year’s directors, Matt Cohen) thanks to doing so many conventions for the past decade. He knows what gold Jared and Jensen are when he gives them some free rein and I think that’s what he did here. He also recognizes that gold when he sees it, and knows how to edit to make sure that comes through. I’m grateful!

On the other hand, Speight also knows how to make a moment visually stunning and powerful, perhaps thanks to his love of Tarantino and film in general. That fits well with this last season, when much of the show is subtext and meta, and when there are call backs to earlier seasons that have impact thanks to the way they’re presented. Speight has a unique style, and occasionally it jars me, but I think that also works most of the time. We’re supposed to jarred at this point, just like the Winchesters, our collective footing swept out from under us.

And lastly? Speight understands just how beautiful we think these characters are. Like Kim Manners, he’s not afraid to linger on their expressive faces, up close and personal, or to showcase their fighting as the oddly erotic thing it can sometimes be. He also is very aware of how demon Dean and Lucifer Sam affected the fandom, and just how powerful it will be to see them again. And see them we do, gorgeously.

In this moment, he knows what to linger on.

From those light hearted moments at the start of the episode that felt like a balm to the tortured fangirl soul, we careen right into heartbreaking with one of those gorgeous shots — of Sam as Lucifer. From behind, his broad shoulders in that white suit are striking, instantly recognizable.

 

Dean enters, gun raised, his face the picture of torment, and we know right away what he’s here to do.

Dean: Please forgive me….

He fires, and I literally jumped and gasped, because it’s not really happening in this universe but it looks real and it’s not Sam but it’s still Sam. And OMG I just wasn’t prepared for that. Sam slumps onto the table, Dean looks utterly devastated at what he’s done, and I have a moment of extreme empathy for this character I love so much who has just done the thing he cannot possibly live with. And then Sam sits back up, calmly heals the hole blasted through his head, and that telltale Lucifer smirk curls his lip.

What made it even more upsetting for us is that we’d all seen a tiny clip of what comes next in the preview for the season. Jared looked so beautiful, lit from behind, his hair like a glowing halo. Many of us admired his beauty even though we realized it was Lucifer. Now we realize with horror that the glow in which Lucifer!Sam is basking is the fire that’s consuming his brother. It made me feel briefly sick to my stomach, to have been complicit in not knowing and in feeling anything but horror. It was that upsetting.

Jared knocked it out of the park as Lucifer!Sam once again, reprising his role so perfectly it was like all those years hadn’t gone past, like we’d just been zapped right back to the episode The End when we first ‘met’ this version of Sam. I am loving the call backs this season, for the last one. It’s just so appropriate and so moving and Speight and Jared nailed it here.

Sam wakes up with a start in our reality, having fallen asleep in the car. He has to look several times to be sure his brother is there and okay and driving.

Dean: You okay?

Sam insists he is, that he just had a dream.

Dean: Tell me about it, I’ll Freud you.

Sam says no, but I love that Dean offered. I wanted to hear his dream interpretation!

The Winchesters reprise their Fish and Wildlife ranger identities, using the same badges they did way back in Season 1 as Agent Ford and Hamill.

There’s a running gag about Dean insisting he looks exactly the same and Sam scoffing at him every time, which keeps making me giggle, partly because is such a brothers thing to do and partly because fandom regularly hypothesizes that Ackles is an alien who doesn’t age.

The sheriff plays right into it, asking Dean with skepticism, “that you?”

Dean: Obviously.

Sam: scoffs affectionately

The sheriff is the same woman who played Tara, John’s old fling (Rachel Hayward). I liked her then and I like her now, she’s no nonsense and unimpressed and clearly good at her job. We learn that the triplety girls’ hearts were ripped out, which seems like a nod to exactly what this episode will do to the Winchesters – and what this season will do to all of us.

Bowlegs….

Before we leave this scene, Speight lingers deliberately on the hats that Sam and Dean are wearing – with a clearly depicted salmon on them. It’s a fandom in joke that everyone calls the brothers “SamandDean” which when you say it fast sounds like “Salmon Dean”. That became a thing one year at the Rome convention I was at, and Jared and Jensen have made fun of it ever since. So Dean and Sam wearing that cap? Yep. Salmon Dean.

I love all the shout outs, I can’t help it. Also Sam looks freaking adorable in that cap.

I mentioned that this episode feels odd sometimes though, and the next scene is one of the odd ones. Dean and Sam visit Ashley (Anna Grace Barlow) in the hospital, and Sam goes outside to talk to the doctor so Dean can question her. Uncharacteristically, he almost immediately sits down on her hospital bed – and then holds her hand! I was like, huh? Is that really Dean? Not that he’s not always empathic, but she’s a stranger and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him reach out like that so quickly. He also tells her monsters are real just like that, though he looks sad to see her so upset after. Weird.

Apparently Lilith was already possessing the girl at that point, so let me just say that Lilith is one damn fine actor!

Sam and Dean find the werewolves’ very werewolfy looking house in the middle of the woods and are smart by asking them to write down their phone number with a silver pen, but the werewolves don’t bite (haha see what I did there?) saying they don’t have a phone. Oddly, Sam and Dean just leave, and the werewolf brothers have an argument. This scene was also odd. The big brother/little brother dynamic is clearly meant to mirror Sam and Dean, but the older brother’s (Luke Camilleri) protectiveness is almost a parody of Dean’s protectiveness of Sam. He assures his brother that if he wants them to stop killing, they will. Little brother (Markian Tarasiuk) protests that he’s lying, but he insists “I don’t lie to you.”

Then he tenderly cups his brother’s face and tells him, “I look out for you.”

It’s a clear shout out to many Sam and Dean scenes over the years, with even the same words and familiar gesture used, but it also doesn’t ring true. We don’t believe the big brother, and neither does the younger one. So it’s not really like Sam and Dean at all. At the time, I scratched my head. Now I wonder if we were meant to wonder, because as Lilith points out, Chuck’s writing ain’t all that good. It’s like he’s been watching Sam and Dean all these years, but he doesn’t really understand them at all. Or he refuses to believe their devotion to each other is genuine.

Which, if that was the intent, is kinda brilliant.

Ashley calls Dean, saying she has nowhere to go, and the Winchesters give her their room at the aptly named Sleepy Bear Inn (a shout out to writer Steve Yockey, whose twitter handle is @SleepyPanda76). Nothing makes you feel safe and welcome more than a statue of a giant bear holding a ‘Welcome’ sign.

Shout out to Jerry Wanek’s set dec wizards too, so many nice touches.

Ashley asks Dean to stay with her, which struck me weird once again. Ashley is dressed as a school girl even though we know she’s a recent college graduate, and Dean is behaving entirely fatherly and protective and not at all lascivious (yay), but still, it’s weird.  Sam goes out to get food or something, but not before noting that the case feels weird to him also, like too easy.

Dean: I like easy.

Clearly Sam is sensing the same weirdness we all are. Meta.

Ashley and Dean have a bit of a heart to heart, which is surprisingly revealing.

Ashley: Do you like your job? Monsters…

Dean: Do I like my job? I do. There’s bad, a lot of bad. Still, it feels good to help people.

Ashley: Have you ever wanted to be anything else?

Dean: Jimi Hendrix. No, not really. I’m where I’m supposed to be.

I do believe that’s true for both Winchesters. They are doing what they want to be doing – they just want to be doing it of their own free will. This conversation is extra heartbreaking in view of where we leave Sam and Dean at the end of this episode though.

Ashley wonders if it wouldn’t be easier if everything was all planned out for you, but Dean disagrees. At the time I thought wow, that was way too on the nose. Which, of course, it was!

Next thing we know, Dean is sound asleep and Sam is back, wondering what the hell happened.

Gratuitous cap of sleeping Dean because Director Dick knows what I like

They go after Ashley, who is now tied up at the werewolves’ house about to be de-hearted. The Winchesters burst in just in time and an epic fight scene ensues. Beautiful directing by Richard Speight and choreography by Rob Hayter I’m sure, and Jared and Jensen and the guest stars all pulling it off flawlessly. Eventually younger bro has a gun on Sam and older bro is about to kill Dean as poor Sam can only sit there watching helplessly.

I think we all guessed that younger bro was going to shoot older bro in desperation, which again, really a little too on the nose, right? Right.

Younger bro: He was my brother…but he was never gonna stop. And he turned into a monster. And I’m a monster too!

He shoots himself, and Sam and Dean look at each other like Huh.

Sam to Dean: You good?

Dean: That was weird…

He reaches out to console Ashley and she uncharacteristically says “don’t touch me” and pulls away, trips over the antlers that Dean took off the wall to use as a weapon and falls on them, impaling herself theatrically.

Dean and Sam (and all of us): gobsmacked

Ashley: Well, this is a bitch.

Gotta say, I did not call it that Lilith would be one of the characters coming back.

My timeline: Who had Lilith on their back-from-the-dead Supernatural S15 bingo card??

Sam looks horrified. He killed her, after all, after a season that ripped all our hearts out. It did not go unnoticed by fandom that Jared portrayed Sam’s horror flawlessly, even when he wasn’t speaking, clenching and unclenching his fist as Lilith keeps talking as though to ground himself, the way he did back when he was never sure what was real and what was Lucifer. His PTSD is all about Lucifer, and Lilith is a brutal reminder of that.

Lilith, it turns out, was in the Empty (score one for Show for remembering that’s where demons go) until God yanked her out (but didn’t someone say that God had no power in the Empty so maybe take away that score, or…?). Anyway, apparently she was supposed to seduce Dean.

Dean: —

Me: In that outfit?

Now that that isn’t happening, she wants the gun.

Dean: The Equalizer?

Lilith: I’m not calling it that.

I actually laughed out loud at that line. Anna Grace Barlow did an amazing job portraying Lilith as smartass and oddly appealing while also scary and horrifying. For a second, Sam and Dean think they have the upper hand with the demon blade and the angel blade, saying they’ll never give up the gun, but she tosses them both across the room. As Dean gets up, she’s advancing on Sam menacingly, and he instantly panics.

Dean: Wait, wait, no, don’t touch him! I’ll show you where it is.

Me: Yes, that’s my show! What makes it so compelling after all these years. And what drives Chuck absolutely crazy.

Meanwhile, Sam is out cold – and has another vision. Each one of the visions has been some of the most amazing Supernatural ever, and this one – OMG it was maybe the most amazing one yet. We have all lamented again and again how we wish we’d had more of demon Dean, and how sad it was that we’d never get it again. But that’s exactly what we got in this vision. Mark of Cain Dean fighting his brother, throwing him through the railing on the bunker landing! Stunt coordinator Rob Hayter confirmed that Jared did this scene himself, plunging down to land on the map table (a cushion I’m sure in real life). Apparently in one planned part of the scene, Dean jumps down to join him – hence the released still. That didn’t make the cut, but wow, what a scene!

KSiteTV CW still

Dean pursues Sam and continues to throw him around, clearly way stronger than his brother and ruthless in his pursuit.

Rob Hayter’s choreography here was masterful, and Jensen plays demon Dean with just as much overt menace and unfettered sensuality as he did the last time. Jared and Jensen have said many times that they love doing fight scenes with each other, because they’re so comfortable with each other and can make it more real than with a guest actor. They wrestle regularly in real life, and that physical comfort shows. They also trust each other, so they can go harder than they would otherwise, as they’ve said at several conventions.

Dean finally gets Sam pinned against the wall, lifting him clear off his feet and choking him as he holds him there, helpless, dangling.  The trust they have allows Jensen to seemingly really hold Jared pinned there and to really choke him, which means the scene comes across as startlingly, terrifyingly, real.

Sam desperately chokes out, “Stop, this isn’t you,” but Dean doesn’t listen. Jensen channels the exact energy and personality he used for demon Dean seasons ago, and he looks just as incendiary doing it as he did then. The way he looks up at Sam, savoring the moment, virtually leering at him, tongue poking out, made my breath catch as he slowly raises the first blade so Sam can see it.

Then his eyes go black and he thrusts the first blade into Sam, watching like he’s looking at the most exciting spectacle ever, then slowly pulling the blade out and letting Sam’s body crumple to the floor.

It definitely shouldn’t have been hot, but I don’t think anyone told either of the actors or the director. There’s just something about demon Dean. Damn.

My timeline: So Sam’s visions (and Chuck’s endings) are just Sam and Dean’s hottest bad guy moments? Same, buddy.

Sam wakes up as his body hits the floor, to find himself lying there in real time, Lilith and Dean gone. He rushes outside, grabs the werewolf brothers’ truck and goes after them. Dean and Lilith have another interesting conversation as they drive back to the motel. It’s increasingly meta, as Lilith complains about God being a bad writer, not exactly Shakespeare – and reveals that for Chuck, it always ends the same, with one brother killing the other.

Lilith: He likes that one. I guess that’s why you had to see the werewolf brothers die. You know, foreshadowing.

We’re deep into the meta now, and it’s a bit dizzying to sort through it. All that really was way too on the nose, but that’s because it was Chuck being a bad writer? The interesting thing is that WE, the fans, have now been drawn into Chuck’s writing too. If things don’t feel right, maybe  it’s not the writers, it’s the Writer. Wow, that is seriously meta.

Also, Chuck apparently has “a very weird and very pervy obsession” with Dean.

Me: Like just about every other monster on the show ever. Oh, who am I kidding? Like pretty much everyone.

Lilith isn’t exactly blind to Dean’s charms either. They get to the motel room and she confronts him.

Lilith: Now be a good boy and show me that big gun of yours.

(Oh, Chuck, really?)

Lilith threatens to torture Dean by “death from 1000 cuts” and begins to slash him, but he remains resolute despite being in obvious pain. Suddenly Sam bursts in, shooting Lilith with a devil’s trap bullet.  It seems like a wonderful moment for a second, Sam getting a chance to save his brother from the demon who was responsible for his horrific death by hellhounds. Sam feels about Lilith the way Dean feels about Lucifer, because of what each of them did to their brother.

Sam to Dean: Dean, you good?

Sam to Lilith: I’ve killed you before, I can do it again.

Me: Mmmm BAMF Sam.

Unfortunately Lilith breaks out of the trap and traps Sam and Dean as they try to flee, freezing them in place while she looks for the gun. It’s conveniently in the glove box of the Impala, which makes little sense. I mean, at least couldn’t it be in the warded trunk? She destroys it before their shocked eyes, melting it into a puddle as director Speight gives us some truly spectacular closeups  of the stricken Winchesters. Then Lilith is gone.

The last scene of the episode was devastating in its quiet heartbreak. Sam tries to call Cas again, but it goes straight to voicemail. Dean and Sam sit down, looking broken.

Dean: He was supposed to be gone. So we’re stuck in his maze still? What’s he gonna do, throw our greatest hits at us?

(Exactly what the first few episodes of this season were. Meta meta)

Sam: Why doesn’t he just kill us?

Dean: It’s not what he wants. Lilith said Chuck only likes one kind of ending – you kill me or I kill you. Well, that’s not happening.

Sam is shocked, clearly, and he opens up to Dean, to my great relief.

Sam: My visions…they all end the same way.

Dean: And you’re just telling me now?

Sam: I thought they were just my PTSD…

(Oh, Sam. And we’re finally getting some clarification that yes, that’s exactly what Sam has which feels SO good. Jared has played it like that for a long time, but it seems that was mostly Jared and not the writers giving Sam’s trauma acknowledgement. It feels good to have it clearly stated in canon. And what a statement, that it’s so bad that Sam just assumed these horrific dreams were his customary PTSD-related nightmares.)

Sam: But what if somehow I’m seeing Chuck’s endings? Because of this (the God wound). It wasn’t a bullet, it was a piece of me, right? Maybe it created a link of some sort, like I’m somehow in his head?

(Exactly what fan theories have been for some time now)

Dean: (sounding hopeless) This was supposed to be over. We were done. Free. And now… What are we supposed to do, man? Keep running in a friggen’ hamster wheel, until we die – or get boring?

Sam: No. We fight.

Dean: (looking at Sam almost imploringly, like he desperately needs Sam to be the reassuring big brother right now)  Fight God? Without the gun? It’s God, Sam! And he’s coming for us. How the hell are we supposed to fight God?

And there it is. The set up for this last season that we knew was coming. The last scene killed me because Jared and Jensen brought so much emotion to it that seeing the Winchesters so lost and so hopeless was incredibly painful. But hearing the overt set up itself felt oddly anti-climactic, since we’ve known all along that’s the set up for this season. (Is this Chuck’s not so perfect writing again? More like the way television works these days.)

Speight closed out the episode with a brilliant shot, the Winchesters framed by what look like theater curtains, the helpless puppets in a show of God’s design, beautiful but tragic.

Kudos to Steve Yockey on his final episode – we will miss you! All the guest actors were top notch, even the ones we only saw for a short time. And kudos to Speight’s direction and Jared and Jensen for making me feel so damn much. I love you all for making me reach for those tissues.

Much of my timeline reacted by screaming about Sam being Chuck’s horcrux. Will Sam’s ability to see inside Chuck’s head allow them to stay ahead of Chuck and make their own choices beforehand?  Does Chuck have any idea that Sam is seeing into his head and all his endings? Somebody should probably “Freud” Chuck, and the sooner the better! The psychologist part of my brain is actually fascinated with who they’ve turned him into. I still think it’s a retcon of sorts, but they did lay the groundwork that would explain him being obsessed with the Winchesters. He has a big chip on his shoulder thanks to his troubled past (putting it mildly) and sense of betrayal with his own sibling. Does it drive him insane that Sam and Dean are as devoted to each other as they are? Someone smarter than me pointed out that in the demon Dean vision, Sam doesn’t have his arm in a sling, which means in that version, Sam never went crazy searching for and determined to save his brother. Is that what allows them to kill each other each time?

Is his own troubled sibling history why Chuck is so obsessed with driving the ultimate wedge between Sam and Dean? And if so, will it be that same dogged devotion and loyalty that allows them to defeat his plan for them? I like that idea a lot. We’re right back to free will versus destiny and it goes right along with Kripke’s original vision for the show’s ending from Swan Song. They chose family; and isn’t that the whole point? I’m guessing that Cas will too eventually, his chosen family.

I’m beyond thrilled that, in this last season, the show is actually ABOUT Sam and Dean (and Cas when he returns). Because really? I don’t care about anyone else. Just focus, Show. It’s your last chance!

Caps by @kayb625

Gifs by jaredandjensen

— Lynn

You can read all our books about Supernatural,

including the one written by the actors themselves

(Family Don’t End With Blood) – info at the links

on the home page

 

35 thoughts on “And We’re Off!  Supernatural Proverbs 17:3

  • I’m theorizing that each of these ‘endings’ are the ones the boys thwarted. Yes, they are in the bunker (because budget) so they MAY be new-ish but we are going thru the seasons:
    – Demon Blood Sam — if Dean had not been so opposed, if Sam hadn’t seen what ‘could be’ in Metamorphis, would Sam have gone full darkside? Never break the final seal? THAT’s what I think the first AUvision was. And don’t forget, the angels cheated and let Sam out of the panic room. So what if Chuck cheated right back and that’s why they ended up on the plane.
    – LuciferSam — if Dean had not gone to Stull cemetary; if that moment of pain that Lucifer experienced when flooded by Sam’s memories of Dean’s brotherly love, if Sam hadn’t overpowered Lucifer and jumped in the pit — this is the Second AUVision.
    – DemonDean – If Sam had not been able to do the ritual of purified blood. If Cas had not captured a weakened Dean, then this is the Third AUVision.

    In each, it’s familial love and commitment to save each other that saves the other brother from going full on evil.
    I’m speculating we’ll eventually see Michael!Dean kill Sam in another AUvision.

  • Wonderful review, as always! So much to think about! I wonder if the show will go back to “Dark Side of the Moon” and the suggestion that Sam & Dean are soulmates. If so, isn’t that a kind of destiny? Or is that something beyond God’s ability to dictate? Everything feels so open to possibility and interpretation right now. I wish the show wasn’t ending, but it’s kind of exciting to think about all the ways it could crash and burn (literally?!) I’m looking forward to whatever the show gives us, that’s for sure.

  • I didn’t care much for this episode and Richard’s direction didn’t match Jensen’s the week before. So I was really waiting for you to explain it to me. I rewatched it and agreed with Lilith that it was stupid! I’m waiting for the Pishtaco to come back and suck my heart out like episodes 3 & 4 did. And so the countdown continues. Is Robbie Thompson coming back to write one last episode? Anyone but Buck Lemming. I dislike most of their episodes. Still Jensen and Jared gave it their all. I always appreciate their very hard work. Jensen’s eye rolls and shrugs could fill an hour all by themselves.

  • Loved this ep! Two meta eps in a row, which, wow! And they were so unlike the first 3 eps… enjoyable, but it felt like whiplash. My friends and I were messaging madly in the commercial breaks (sample: WTF LILITH?! and “My head is exploding!” and of course, “Why was the gun not in the trunk?!?!” and “Why leave the window of the Impala open?!” lol)

    I was first struck by the beautiful lighting in the police department and the hospital, and the bright colors of the boys’ jacket and vest. They looked incredible in those colors. And the soft light coming through the blinds at the hospital and giving a pink glow to the nurse dressed all in white. Also, wonderful to see them back in an OTT tacky motel room again! A visual feast from Director Dick! When the boys said it was all too easy, I of course thought of this being Chuck’s story, and maybe the beginning was meant to look like a storybook. In the first few eps of this season with the harsh daytime lighting, I thought Sam (Jared) looked tired, with bags under his eyes, which I’d never really noticed on the show before. But as you mentioned Lynn, RSJ filmed them so beautifully.

    In addition to the brother parallels, I noticed some others, like that the one brother said he was a monster, just like the werewolf kid last week. And did you think that in the hospital, when Dean was talking about the job, that him saying “Do I like it? Uh, I do. I mean, there’s bad, don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of bad. Still, it feels good to help people. You know?” that it kind of felt like he could be saying that to the SPN family? Both Jensen and Jared have worked very hard on the show all these years, and made sacrifices of time with their own families, but they have done so much good, through the charities, inspiration to fans with depression and anxiety issues, and just the happiness the show has brought to us all!

    I had a lot of fears about the ending of the show, with one of the brothers killing the other and one being alone, but now my fears are allayed. I can’t imagine they would actually bring it up several times in the early eps of the season, then do exactly that. That would be kinda lame, right?! *crosses fingers

  • The one thing that kept showing up in this episode is the color gold. In the motel room, the tie around the neck of the survivor/Lilith, Deans shirt at the end. When was the last time he wore gold? The only thing that comes to mind is the proverb mentions gold and silver. The only silver I noticed that stood out were the pen and the werewolf commenting on silver bullets. Any thoughts as to why the color gold was featured so prominently?

  • Love your reviews!
    Now I have to rewatch! Loved that this episode was all about the brothers, and we got to see them so much together! 🙂

  • I hope they’re done with all the anvils dropping, I left this episode emotionally drained. I nearly always find something to like and find a way to engage with the story but not this time. I’d watch Dean’s antics and fast forward the rest which makes me sad. I was so sure our show was back on form after last week and then we get anvil after anvil. It’s very dark and disheartening.

  • I keep wondering if Chuck is really doing all of this. Lilith mentioned that Chuck woke her up from the Empty. The Entity told Cas that God has no power in the Empty. Did the Entity take the form of Chuck/God and start all of this because he is mad at Cas for waking him up and Jack for being in heaven at first and not in the Empty where he belonged. The Entity can take anyone’s form and not be detected. It was in Duma and no one could tell. Is he mad at Dean and Sam because Cas woke him up first because he needed to get back to them and help them with Jack and the AU world? I’ve loved Chuck until he started the End. The change seems like it’s too drastic and unsettling. Something is off. Great review by the way.

  • This episode didn’t make me *quite* as happy as Atomic Monsters, but I was still happy. And now I’m sad, because it was the last Yockey episode, so our odds of getting this level of writing again have just fallen, when I’m still trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the first two episodes. I know Dabb will undoubtedly write another episode (hopefully not the finale) and Buck-Lemming have nepotism working in their favor, so right there…yeah. But I digress.

    I like the idea of them killing each other if they hadn’t stuck together at various points throughout the show’s history, even if it was transparent after the second dream, and even if I think they might not really have thought that through if they want Sam to keep having dreams. Because when it comes to them choosing not to kill each other when not possessed or under some kind of curse or spell, there aren’t that many instances left where they were pitted against each other in a big way. There’s when Dean killed Death instead of Sam at the end of season 10, and then maybe Michael!Dean if Sam hadn’t gone looking for him, and other than that…I really can’t think of any others. While the boys may fight on the show, and did a *lot* in the early seasons, most of the time when they’ve fought, really had knock-down drag-outs where they might have killed each other, something was influencing them. The siren almost got them to kill each other, but that was basically a drug. The crazy shrink ghost almost got Sam to kill Dean, but he was effectively possessed. The shapeshifter that took on Dean’s form tried to kill Sam, but it was a shifter. You get where I’m going with this. Unless they’re going to take every single one of those instances and pull them in, they’ll run out of material for the dreams. And the instances that happened in the really early seasons are going to look weird considering that for as exceptionally well as both of them have aged, they do not look like 20-somethings anymore.

    I laughed so loudly at the ghost pepper jerky. I love when they allow Jensen to be funny without the joke being at Dean’s expense, like the running gag of the “That’s really you?” And while I get the whole “the man doesn’t age” thing (because he really hasn’t, not that much), one of the things that has happened during the Dabb era is the show laughing AT Dean instead of laughing WITH Dean. The ghost pepper thing was something that so many men would do while their partners said, “You really shouldn’t do that,” that it was kind of a “men are dumb” universal joke that Dean walked into, not a Dean-specific joke. The “That’s really you?” was a specific joke about Dean’s looks and how he doesn’t look as good as he thinks he does, and the guy’s got enough self esteem issues as it is without random strangers acting like he’s gone from a swan into an ugly duckling, as if that could ever be possible.

    Especially when come on – Jared looks *way* different, from the hair length to his face shape to really just everything. He looked like a boy in that photo, because he *was* a boy. Now he’s a man. With a whole lot more hair. That everyone would question Dean but not Sam was a cheap shot, even if it was meant as a nod to the fans.

    (I am willing to admit I’m sensitive on this topic because Dabb seems to really have never liked or understood Dean, going all the way back to Yellow Fever, when the reason Dean caught the ghost sickness was because he was, to quote Sam, “a dick.”)

    It’s unfortunate that the CW is a network that caters to a younger audience, because as a somewhat older viewer I found the opening and the Barbies getting drunk on their yearly camping trip that mommy and daddy obviously paid for insufferable. Largely because the girls were glamping, with perfect hair and perfect clothes and perfect makeup in the middle of the woods, and it just made it impossible for me to believe that they had been doing this since they were kids. They certainly didn’t look like the kind of young women who would be content having to hike to the nearest shower or bathroom rather than renting a cabin. I wondered who decided that should be their look, and if those people had ever even seen a forest, never mind a tent. It also made it impossible for me to really care that they died, or invest in the one who ended up being possessed by Lilith. Though I absolutely give Speight props for the jump scare when Barbie #2 got yanked out of the tent (even though I was expecting it) and when Barbie #3 impaled herself on the antlers. The latter I absolutely did not see coming.

    I felt like the guest actress did a much better job playing a recently graduated Philosophy major who may have just realized she made a terrible mistake in choosing her college major than she did as Lilith. Or rather, playing Lilith playing the girl she was using as a meat suit. It bothered me that Dean joked about wanting to be Jimi Hendrix, because Dean has stated plainly and seriously that he wanted to be a firefighter, and that’s…little things like that aren’t difficult to retain or look up when you’re writing an episode going, “Why do I feel like Dean said something about this before…?” It’s probably somewhere right on Super-wiki for writers who don’t want to take a ton of time to research their episodes. It just saddens me that the fans seem to be more devoted to this show than the writing staff.

    I found possessed Barbie #3 quasi-hitting on Dean to be very bizarre, though it made sense after it turned out to be Lilith that she would have miscalculated the kind of women Dean would be interested in now, given how long it’s been since she last saw him (though even back in season 4, Dean had moved on from college girls). I was very pleased that Yockey at least doesn’t think Dean is enough of a dog that he would hit on someone who is technically young enough to be his daughter, and that Dean was acting in a very fatherly way towards her. While yes, it made no sense that he was suddenly all, “Monsters are real,” it did make more sense if the idea is that Chuck has now taken over active writing of their lives again. Although at the same time, that seems like such a cup out, any time the writing is just awful (like the first two episodes), Dabb can claim, “That was the point! See, cuz Chuck’s a really terrible writer! So the writing is supposed to be bad! That was my plan the whole time! Suck it, viewers criticizing my total awesomeness online! I’m just smarter than you!” When you’ve got someone who is as solid as Yockey writing your episode, you can make it subtly obvious that the two werewolf brothers are supposed to be an inaccurate mirror to Sam and Dean, created by someone who doesn’t really understand Sam and Dean’s dynamic and just thinks, “Overbearing older brother vs. rebellious younger brother – doesn’t need to be deeper than that.” Same with making the obvious werewolf cabin obviously inhabited by werewolves, or convenient location for the Equalizer is conveniently inside the glove compartment in the unlocked car. But there’s a really fine line to tread between making your overall arc about God being a bad writer and having the writing just bad enough that it’s clearly the *point* and using your overall arc about God being a bad writer to dismiss the terrible writing of the people you’ve kept on staff who should have been fired after Route 666.

    I digress.

    I loved Sam’s reaction to it being Lilith, even if I was completely underwhelmed by Lilith’s return. I wish they had given Dean more to do in reacting to her. Because Dean should feel equally strongly about her, seeing as he’s the one who ended up in Hell, and then he’s the one who spent a whole year trying to keep his brother from walking into her trap, *while* dealing with PTSD from being tortured for 40 years. Speaking of PTSD, I really did love that Sam confessed he’d been having dreams to Dean, and that he mentioned “my PTSD,” because it established that 1) he has it, and 2) Dean is well aware that he has it. With the dwindling brother content and character development in the last season when writers like Perez and Yockey didn’t have the pen, it really feels wonderful to have those kinds of things acknowledged and put into canon that until now we’ve had to assume. It’s really important to not only contextualize Sam’s reactions, but reinforce his relationship with Dean, and that he’s openly sharing his issues with his brother, even if we don’t see it. Same with the “I’ll Freud you,” line. It was humorous, but also spoke volumes to how normal it probably is for Sam to have a bad dream and Dean to talk him through it and help him process whatever he dreamed about. When we were told the 300th episode was going to be them being all domestic and doing laundry and then they spent a third of the episode setting up a bunch of teenagers for Jack’s story line, we missed such an opportunity for exactly this kind of thing. Little touches like that matter tremendously to the overall story *about the brothers* that’s been going on for 15 years and show that at least Yockey cared about developing the brothers’ relationship right up until the end of his time writing for SPN.

    My heart broke at the end for Dean wanting to know how they’re supposed to fight God and being all upset, because upset Dean has made me want to wrap him in blankets and hugs since the bridge scene in the pilot. It makes sense, too, that it would hit him harder, knowing they’re just rats in a maze, when Dean has *always* been the one to believe in free will and personal choices, whereas Sam has always believed more in fate, and in particular fighting against your supposed fate (for obvious reasons). To discover after everything they’ve been through that their chains are still being yanked and they aren’t going to get that beach vacation where they sit around with a bunch of beer and stick their toes in the sand unless Chuck writes them enjoying a beach vacation is going to be an especially bitter pill for him to swallow.

    Despite my many lengthy rants and detailed criticisms, I’m going to miss this show so desperately when it’s gone, particularly if it ends up with one of the boys dead because Dabb just wants to burn the place down. And yes, I am still worried that Jensen was not okay with the ending and had to call Kripke to talk him through why it was okay. That doesn’t leave me in a good place.

    • I too am concerned over the ending Mer. Yeah I get that Jensen’s close to it and was advised to step back to view it but the man has shown time and again that he has good instincts so if it didn’t sit well with him? Plus it’s Dabb. Dabb. Burn it all down and piss on it to leave my mark Dabb. So call me skeptical as well.

      • That’s the thing. If you have to say to your actor, who is the only person on the production who has consistently understood his character for the last 15 years (when the current show runner plainly does not), “Take a step back, man,” in order for him to be okay with the ending, your ending just might suck. Because I don’t remember him saying that he liked the ending, just that he’s okay with it. Big difference. Dabb made it crystal clear last season that he genuinely dislikes Dean (and maybe even Jensen) with the way the Michael arc went and then trying to make Dean look like some kind of villain after Jack murdered their mom. Alex has been with the show all of a hot minute and he got to play another character who was actually pretty well thought out, but let Jensen play an archangel for more than 5 minutes? Nope. I’m really very afraid that the series will end with Dean killing Sam (and then not immediately killing himself), since Dabb really does seem to want to stand over the burning corpse of this show and sign his name in piss.

      • I have no idea where all this is headed, but Jensen understands us, the audience . If he has concerns, I have concerns. This week’s episode only reinforced my concerns that the heros of this story will not be the Winchester Brothers, but some other ” powerful entity” or last minute swoop in for the save by someone.

      • Marion, I’ve been afraid since Billie woke Jack up in the Empty that the ending to the show is going to be Jack swooping in at the last minute to save the Winchesters, because Jack is Dabb’s self-insert and wouldn’t that be just an amazing middle finger to all the fans who have complained about the show under his tenure? He comes across as such a petty little man in love with his own “special” brand of genius that I wouldn’t put it past him to have the ending of the show be about *his* original character and not the actual heroes of the story – Sam and Dean. And Jensen is the one who said, somewhat apprehensively, “We hope you guys like what’s coming” when Dabb took over.

      • I’ve been thinking that’s a very likely outcome and not one that I’m interested in. Jack has only really mattered for me in relation to the Winchesters, otherwise, he’s not a character I have invested in or ever cared for in any other respect, he’s one of the new breed of shallow written teens ( why do they do that?) Jack simply existed (in my opinion ) as a tool to divide the brothers. This is the Winchesters story, always has been and if it ends with someone else saving the day, I’ll just forget the finale happened and never think of that episode again.

      • I’m right there with you. One of the reasons I will never watch season 14 in its entirety again is because it was primarily about Jack, and I’m not here for Jack. Sam and Dean existed almost exclusively as props to develop Jack as a character, rather than developing Jack organically. ON THEIR OWN SHOW. And I have little doubt that Dabb intended to turn the show into “Sam and Dean’s entire existence revolves around how awesome Jack is,” and that’s why the boys said, “We’re done.” He couldn’t get his own spin off after two separate attempts, so he was just going to effectively spin Supernatural off from itself and that didn’t work either. Having Jack swoop in in the final episode to save the day would be a way to make sure if they ever made a Supernatural movie, Jack had to be included.

      • Sadly the art of letting thing happen naturally seems to be dying out. The Show justs needs to be brave enough to be itself in its final season ( argh they made me say the f word….) There’s no need to try to keep up with or emulate other shows. We’d be watching those other shows if that was what we wanted.
        If it’s any consolation, we are not alone in feeling the Winchesters matter and that it’s their story we care about.

  • Jared is showing his professionalism what with acting within 5 feet of a stuffed bear considering he’s afraid of them. :). I saw a picture once of Jared’s home that Genevieve put on her blog and there is a big (life size?) picture (or drawing -I can’t remember) of a bear. I couldn’t help but wonder if Jared did that to try and work/deal with his fear.

  • I hated the whole Lilith thing. I liked the actress as the scared girl, but I did not feel like she lived up to what Lilith would require. She just didn’t have that femme fatale look or acting skill. I also thought it was ridiculous to bring her back, unless they were going to use the actual actress who Sam kills. Now that would have been great. It seems like they wanted a big demon, and Abaddon (Alaina) was not available. That would have been awesome. The rest of the story was good. I am glad they stopped keeping secrets fairly early on. That also annoys me after 15 years. The comedy was great and the whole ghost pepper jerky scene made the entire episode. I loved last week’s though. That was great.

  • I always enjoy the review and comments-mostly because I miss things and then go back to see what others have seen. Not particularly observant I guess.

    I found this episode…disjointed? I’m going to assume that it was because Chuck was writing it- he was a much better writer early on.

    I’m dreading the ending of my favourite show because it is so far from what it could have been. It just isn’t Supernatural anymore.

    And I’m probably in the minority here (not for the first time) but I am so tired of everyone (the characters) preferring Dean to Sam. Bobby told Dean he was his favourite. Jo, Bela, Castiel, Crowley, Benny, and now Lilith and apparently Chuck. I’m very, very tired of that. The only ones who seemed to like Sam are Becky (yech) and Rowena (miss her) and possibly Gabriel. Am I overthinking? Anyway, onward and upward. Or is it downward?

    • Sam is very social and connects with people, always has.From the early days he had many friends in college and connected easily with people like Ava and Andy, Ellen was extremely fond of Sam too. Sam has also had his share of fans from those from what I’ll call the ” darkside” such as Azazel, Ruby, Meg. Right through case related friends such Cara Roberts who only had eyes for him, Eileen, the AUHunters to the present with Jack, Donna and Jodie . I believe Sam to be extremely likeable and popular, I’m sorry you feel sad about the Lilith thing , honestly though , who wants to be popular with Lilith? Granted some of their friends are no longer with us, but Sam seems to have the grace to be able to make friends with anyone, even monsters like Lenore.

      • You make some valid points but I guess I’ve just noticed that most of the main characters (not Lilith but Chuck) seem more fond (?) of Dean. Maybe it just seems that way? Eileen Leahy was fond of Sam too.

      • I expect it’s just the way it comes across right now. This season’s been a funny one and emotions are high, but I have no worries for Sam right now and hopefully you’ll be rewarded in your continued viewing by future episodes.🙂

      • This hopefully doesn’t come across as Sam bashing (which isn’t my intent) but Dean historically reaches out towards people more. This seems to be, to me, for two reasons.

        1) Sam has a disastrous track record with establishing connections with people not named Dean Winchester. Jessica died. He had to give up all of his college connections because they didn’t know anything about who he really was. Madison was a werewolf that he had to kill. Brady was possessed by a demon. Ruby needs no explanation. We’ll act like Amelia didn’t exist. Eileen died. Sam was the one who insisted they give Jack a chance, then bargained away part of Jack’s soul to bring him back, and Jack ended up killing their mom. He just had to kill Rowena. He’s got a TERRIBLE history making friends with strangers and plenty of reasons not to try to make deep connections with people.

        2) Dean is more willing to reach out to people and connect with them, and for the most part has better instincts (I theorize that has to do with Sam’s demon blood making him not as good of a judge of character, leading to him doubting himself, but that’s just me). Since he was just shy of five years old he’s understood that people will die or otherwise leave you, so you’d better know a lot of people, because if you can’t count on your mom to live long enough to put you in kindergarten, who can you trust to stay? The death of his mother, loss of his home, and loss of his father (I don’t think any of us can say John was the kind of father he would have been had Mary lived), not to mention a life constantly on the move molded him into a “any port in a storm” kind of guy and made him more willing to try to connect with others, even if only briefly. It’s one of the reasons he spent so much time picking up women in bars – “Hey, I made it through this storm, gotta find a port!” He is also unfailingly loyal to his brother, and people are drawn to that.

        I also think the more semi-permanent characters (excluding Castiel, that’s a whole different thing I’m not going to touch on) recognize that Dean needs stability that until the more recent seasons Sam hasn’t provided. Throughout the series Sam has, on numerous occasions, either left Dean physically or emotionally, or threatened to leave him physically or emotionally, where Dean has never threatened to abandon Sam. It’s one of the reasons Sam historically has gone off the rails when he loses Dean. Dean is *always* supposed to be there for Sam. It’s fundamental to Sam’s understanding of the world. “I can leave, because Dean will always be there if I want to go back.” And Sam has until recently assumed that Dean can manage just as well on his own as Sam does (while being in total denial of how he does *not* do well on his own, not even when he was with Jess, with whom he was never truthful). It has given Sam a sense of security that Dean didn’t have prior to season 10, and allies and enemies alike, in my opinion, recognize Dean’s vulnerability on this matter. Friends want to make sure he knows he’s not alone, enemies want to be there to swoop in when Dean’s at a low point. They, like Sam, know that Sam has Dean, and also like Sam they think, “No need to worry about Sam, because Dean will always be there for him,” and that’s not necessarily the case.

        Regarding Bobby specifically, I always felt that Dean was Bobby’s favorite not because Bobby loved Sam less, but because Bobby saw that Sam was Dean’s “favorite,” while Dean was no one’s favorite – certainly not John’s. And Bobby never, as far as we know, told Sam that Dean was his favorite. He was careful about that. It’s only been since season 10 that other characters really started gravitating towards Sam, because that’s when Sam and Dean really became very equal in their blatant, open devotion and loyalty. Sam feels more like Dean will support him emotionally in a way he needs, even if it makes Dean unconfirtable, if Sam makes a friend he has to stab in the stomach; and Dean doesn’t feel like he needs to have 30 other people to keep him from spiraling out of control if Sam leaves, because Sam isn’t ever going to leave him.

      • In fairness to Bobby any preference expressed was under a curse from Veritas, he was compelled to give up all manner of information because he couldn’t stop talking, but it didn’t make it definitive or final or explain any reasons why. For example a parent can love all their children but have one they understand better because they have things in common, or they see a part of themselves in that child, an example would be John who identified strongly with Sam, told him as much when Dean was out. But the key thing was that they didn’t discuss that bonding moment in front of Dean or dwell on it ( although it must have been clearly obvious at times in their childhood as Dean talks about it pre Hell when he’s gave to face with his own worst enemy, himself) That said it did not diminish his love for his eldest, whom he gave up his life for. To me it’s all about context.

        I forgave Bobby for that incident because all the other times he was there for and showed he loved the guys equally when not under duress of a compelling curse Bobby never expressed favourites and also he always called Dean on bad behaviour unequivocally.

        Dean does have a certain vulnerable undercurrent that draws people in and it probably goes back to his struggle as a child carer just trying to survive. Sam has only recently come to see that side of his brother and walked a mile in his shoes carrying the weight of leadership and decision making when Dean couldn’t ( because he was possessed) When Dean came back from that he’d changed so much, the fight for survival had begun to overwhelm him and he chose not to take back the leadership role finally accepting he needed to cease being a carer of his full grown very capable brother and begin to self care.

      • I’ve definitely never blamed Bobby for the “Maybe cuz you’re my favorite” comment (which I do believe is the unvarnished truth), because he was indeed being compelled to tell the truth by Veritas, and he was answering his own question. I’d probably side-eye the whole thing a lot harder if Dean had said, “So, which of us is your favorite?” and Bobby answered, “You,” but Dean didn’t even bring the subject up. It was a rhetorical question that Bobby was asking himself, and he was asking himself because he never imagined he would actually answer. He plainly would have taken Dean being his favorite to the grave were he given the choice.

        I also do think “favoring” a child often comes with being able to identify with them. John plainly favored Sam, because they’re exactly alike, despite all the fighting. But Dean was the one he literally gave his life to save, even if at the same time he gave him the directive that he had to save Sam or he’d have to kill him. Favoring one child doesn’t necessarily mean you love the other less. I think Dean was Bobby’s favorite for the exact same reason. He understood Dean easier than he did Sam, and with what happened with killing his father, Bobby undoubtedly recognized in Dean someone who had to do terrible things to survive at too young of an age.

        I think the shift between Sam and Dean started even earlier in season 11 (and then was stunted for three years when Dabb took over). Dean trying to deal with being bent to Amara’s will was when he started to realize that he truly could lean on Sam, and that he didn’t always have to be the invulnerable older brother because Sam was there to take care of him, but then, you know, *Dabb.* Who completely missed the opportunity to have a *truly* messed up dynamic between Sam, Dean, and Mary by taking the easy route and turning her into John 2.0 instead of her own person.

      • Yes, it was a shame Mary was less attached to her boys than John, and whilst it gave perspective to Johns plight, it painted her as an unforgiving hardened hunter who cared little for her own flesh and blood. Not the mother they deserved and not the mother we the audience had been presented with. I had no objections to her being a working Mom, but it was the comparison with Rowena’s growing care for the brother that showed how much her original characterization had been altered.

        Amara’s hold on Dean frightened him he’d never been so out of control when not under supernatural influence but being able to lean on Sam at that time was , I agree, a big turning point for him in trusting Sam. It allowed Dean to slowly drop his guard enough to let Sam in to start supporting him, but I think Sam only fully understood exactly how much Dean had hidden from him, how much responsibility he carried and how difficult a role Dean had played when he became a leader himself. Armed with that knowledge Sam has handled his brother differently this season, allowing Dean space to just take off patrol the town boundaries and shoot as many ghost as is he needed to in order to discharge his frustration instead of trying to talk feelings as he may have done previously.

        I think you’re right about Bobbys connection with Dean, they had the traumatic early life experiences ( not that Sams life was easy) They were also both practical hands on people who had interests that merged in cars and actions. Bobby was also a little wayward like Dean (well illustrated in Weekend at Bobby’s when he breaks in to the Library because it was closed, definitely a move Dean would do)

      • Dean is much better this season about allowing Sam to share the burden, and Sam is definitely much better at recognizing that Dean processes things *differently,* and that doesn’t mean he’s processing them *wrong* (though the drinking comes and goes as a serious problem), and that if he doesn’t try to force Dean to deal with things the way Sam wants him to, Dean’s ultimately much more stable. I think if Carver hadn’t left, or if someone who had any clue what to do with the story had taken over in season 12, we would have gotten here much sooner, because Dabb hasn’t had an interest in developing the brothers’ relationship until he has been forced to by the Js calling it quits and him not having a choice but to tell their story in the final season. That’s plainly why the first two episodes were so terrible (and why a good chunk of episode three was a mess). Dabb had to get rid of the whole “Hell is open” problem quickly and start slashing side characters so the story can actually get back to Sam and Dean, and when it’s about Sam and Dean all kinds of wonderful character development can take place.

      • Agreed. I think we’re currently feeling the same thing. More focus on the Winchesters makes a better story.

      • As it ought to be, considering the story is about them. Why they put someone in charge who doesn’t understand what the show is about, and then *kept* him in charge after the mid-air fight at the end of season 13, I really will never know. If nothing else could convince TPTB that Dabb didn’t know what he was doing, Peter Pan-natural should have done it.

      • I wish they could be more consistent, either they want the Winchesters or not. If it’s Jack’s show fine, I’m out of here. I’m bored with underwritten whiny teens. I could watch other shows if I wanted whiny teens…

      • Agreed. If they wanted to make it about Jack, go right ahead, but don’t expect me to stick around for it because I couldn’t give two sh*ts about Jack.

    • It would have turned into the Jack Is Awesome show. Watch Jack Kline come back more powerful from the Empty! Watch Jack Kline sabe people like a superhero! Watch Jack Kline struggle to find love with Dark Kara! Watch Sam and Dean occasionally show up to do research on the case Jack Kline is working!

  • The line Dean says about running in a hamster cage forever or getting boring seems the perfect explanation for why j&j are making this season the last.

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