Supernatural Wins with ‘The Gamblers’ 

 

It feels SO good to sit down to write a review of my favorite show and be overflowing with love for it, like I’ve been so many countless times over the past fifteen years. We have nine episodes left of Supernatural, and all I want is to feel like this – grateful, inspired, in love, dreading the end. The relief is like a physical thing, to feel this way right now, as melodramatic as that might sound.

So, let me do some squeeing, because I’ve missed it!  I enjoyed this episode by Davy Perez and Meredith Glynn so much that I just want to go scene by scene and savor it all over again.

THEN:  (Moment of inappropriate giggling because they actually used the vampire Dean hiss in the ‘Then’ montage. Ahem. Okay, sorry.)

The opening is another musical montage, which seems to be a thing now for the Show, but it works especially well because the song is so damn fitting. “North to Alaska” is exactly where Sam and Dean are headed, and the song actually starts off with the lyrics “Big Sam left Seattle…” and something about his brother, and how perfect is that? Meanwhile, some poor guy named Leonard is losing at pool and losing his cool and clearly about to die. He loses, gets kicked out of the pool hall, falls in the dirt and can’t find his now-broken glasses ala the Lord of the Flies scene I’ve never gotten over and then gets run down by an 18 wheeler. In other words, quintessential Supernatural beginning.

As Sam and Dean make their way to Alaska, Sam texts with Eileen and Dean snarks about turning off the sound. Eileen is skeptical about this trek they’re on and so is Sam, but Dean insists they need to try, and is hanging onto hope.

Dean: It’s there, it’s gotta be. Chuck wants us weak, because he’s coming for us, Sammy.

So on they go (Baby might be down on her luck but apparently she can still drive all the way to Alaska, and the Winchesters are a whole lot better at getting through those Canadian border stops than I am most of the time even with their currently shitty luck!)

Sam’s asleep in the car like he often is in the best fanfic, and Dean of course wakes him like any big brother would, with a slap and a ‘Hey!’

Brothers.

Dean’s stopping for food, because he ate everything they had in the cooler while Sam slept.

Sam: (affronted) We’re on a budget!

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Jared Padalecki has such a knack for making even a simple line so funny and so Sam, and I laughed out loud at that. The Winchesters are down to their last $4.60, so all they can get is a cup of coffee and a slice of pie.

Dean: Two forks?

I laughed again, realized I was thoroughly enjoying the episode, and became practically euphoric at the realization.

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Sam gives Dean grief about not being able to have cheese and Dean gives him an affronted look right back.

Dean: Dude, Lactaid!

Me: This episode is everything!

Much of the episode – dialogue included – really did read like fanfic, and that is my highest compliment. It means the writers get the characters as well as we do, and that feels incredibly good. Sam and Dean and Cas and Jack were Sam and Dean and Cas and Jack!

Dean turns his 1000 watt smile on the waitress and they find out there’s a “magic pool hall” in the middle of nowhere and that people like poor Leonard don’t come back from it.

Sam: Now we know the down side – it might kill you.

Dean is much more optimistic.

Dean: This is my game – hell, our game!

He reminds Sam of all the memories they have of playing pool.

Sam: (frowning) Yeah, because we had to eat!

Me: Yep, definitely have read that fic.

Meanwhile, although the Impala apparently made it all the way to Alaska, she now has a flat tire in the parking lot, so their luck is still bad.

Dean at least knows how to fix a flat, and the Impala pulls up to the pool hall in the middle of nowhere, Lurlene’s. This too is classic Supernatural, a ramshackle building constructed in the midst of nothing else. It’s an instantly recognizable look and I’m going to miss it so damn much.

Dean to Sam: Relax, we might actually have some fun.

Sam: Right…

Evie the bartender (Hanneke Talbot) introduces them to Pax (Stephen Huszer, also an SPN alum), the hottie manager, who puts a battered coin on the table.

Pax to Dean: Go ahead, touch it.

Me: Where is that gif, fandom?

Dean does, and it apparently measures his luck.

Pax: About average.

Dean: Sounds about right.

Small quibble: That is not right, their luck has been way worse than “average” or “normal” or any of those things since Chuck intervened. The show can’t quite make up its mind how it’s considering what Chuck did to them, but it only makes sense if he cursed them with bad luck and that seems to be what they’re saying the majority of the time, so that’s what I’m going with. It also makes no sense that all their other learned skills were wiped away and they can barely walk down the street without dying, but both Sam and Dean remain really damn good at playing pool. But I’m not gonna quibble, just gonna go with it.

Dean: So when I win, can we split the luck?

Quintessential Winchesters.

Sam is still skeptical and doesn’t want Dean to do it, knowing what can happen if you don’t win.

Dean: I’ve been slinging pool cues since before you were born!

Sam: When you were four? What, between nap time and snacks?

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I burst into laughter again, thanks to the awesome dialogue and Jared’s perfect bitchfaced delivery. As Robbie Thompson would say, Brothers, man.  This is how you write brothers.

Dean refuses to be deterred, however. He gets serious for a second.

Dean: Look, you’re better than me at just about everything. I’m not mad – I’m proud. But I can wipe the floor with you when it comes to pool.

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Again, I loved that dialogue. Only a parent figure can thoroughly recognize that your child is better than you at something and feel not an ounce of envy or resentment, but just pure pride and joy. That’s the part of Dean that helped raise Sam, and whose identity is defined by being Sam’s big brother and a parent figure to him. That line, so simple – and so perfectly delivered by Jensen Ackles, who completely understands this about Dean – rang so true that it made my eyes water.

Sam understands too, and reluctantly agrees with his big brother.

And then we get another scene that is straight out of fanfic – Dean and Sam in a pool hall, Dean getting clueless players to take him on by pretending to be bad at pool.

Dean to Sam: I dunno, Sammy, I’m a little rusty…

A woman seemingly takes the bait and the game is on. Sam watches from the bar while he chats with Evie, still trying to figure out exactly what’s going on here.

Evie: Everyone wants something…. And no one knows when to walk away.

After Dean wins one game, Sam shares what he’s found out.

Sam: This place sucks you in.

Dean understands, but wants to maximize gains and minimize losses ala “Dad’s favorite Paul Newman movie, The Hustler”. Sam doesn’t really remember, and it’s a call back to their childhoods and a reminder of just how much Dean worshipped their dad for most of his, and how Sam’s view was always just a little bit different, in part because he had Dean as a parental figure too.

Sam agrees to Dean playing one more game.

Also, Dean looks about ten years old here.

Dean takes on the cowboy, PBR (pro bullrider apparently).

The cowboy asks his name, and Dean smirks, pure Dean Winchester like we haven’t gotten to see much recently.

Dean: My name is Dean Winchester. And I’m gonna kick your ass.

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He chalks his cue, shares a look with Sam, and they play. Eventually Dean has what looks like an impossible shot to make, and the cowboy says “double or nothing says you miss that shot.”

Dean: (assessing) You tryin’ to hustle me, Rodeo?

But the cowboy calls him on his cockiness, and Dean narrows his eyes and agrees. He pops the cue ball right over the ball that’s in the way — and makes the shot.

Sam and Dean exchange a look and Dean smirks.

Gif fierydeans

What makes this scene even more ridiculously hot is that Ackles did that shot himself – in ONE TAKE. (Thanks to VFX wizard Adam Williams for that info)

Seriously, is he actually Dean Winchester now??

Dean’s coin absorbs the luck, glowing.

The cowboy, defeated, takes his coin and walks outside. Sam and Dean follow him out, because that’s who they are. Turns out now that he has no luck, he’s dying of cancer (again), coughing up blood and lighting up his last cigarette after playing and winning an extra year of life. Sam and Dean are both clearly disturbed by this, the cost of Dean’s win apparently.

Sam wants more time to figure this all out, whereas Dean reminds him that “we’re in a fight with God” and they need to get going to fix the bigger problem. They compromise on Dean taking Baby out for a spin to see if her luck is any better. (It’s not, and he doesn’t even get out of the parking lot).

Sam tries to talk the other patrons into leaving and taking what luck they have, but he’s unable to convince anyone. Even the guy who seems to be playing for more luck for his favorite football team mutters, “Just one more game…”  Frustrated, Sam takes a look at the coin closely and – Smart Sam figures it out! It’s the goddess Fortuna (played to perfection by Lynda Boyd, a Supernatural alum from a prior season as a Djinn), skimming luck from the clueless players. And hottie manager? Turns out he’s her son.

The Winchesters use Pax as leverage, Dean holding a knife to his throat, telling the Goddess she’d better come out or they’ll kill her son.

Which is….alot of hotness in one frame tbh.

Fortuna: You probably could, his daddy was human… sorry, baby, but I can make more sons.

Ouch.

Fortuna is not interested in playing Dean again, saying she’s already read him.

Fortuna: You’re just a beach read – sexy but skimmable.

Dean (narrowing his eyes and looking like anything but skimmable): Lady, I’m Tolstoy.

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Me: Damn right.

Fortuna smiles and turns to Sam, looking suddenly very interested indeed (and who can blame her, with Sam in that single layer black shirt and that slight scruff and that hair and….sorry…).

Fortuna: This one here, he could be interesting…

Dean is immediately in protective big brother mode, stepping out with a warning “No no no, uh uh…”

But Sam nods.

Sam: Fine. Yeah, I’ll play. But for the lives of everyone in here.

Fortuna does not agree, and Sam eventually has to agree to her terms.

Sam and Fortuna rack them up and begin to play, and the music makes it seem like we really are back in time in ‘The Hustler’, camera switching back and forth from close ups of Sam and Fortuna to lining up cue sticks and balls rolling into the pockets.

Damn, Sammy. Sam in that single layer black shirt, a look of fierce concentration on his handsome face…

Is it hot in here?

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While Sam plays, Dean talks, telling Fortuna that they’re cursed by God – the real God. She has no affection for Chuck either, saying that humans initially praised the sun and moon instead of Chuck. He was pissed until he realized he could create those other gods to take the blame whenever bad things happened, and that’s still the case. And she’s still resentful.

Fortuna: Now God hides behind whatever religion has the best syndication deal.

Ooh, pointed, Show.

Dean tells her that they intend to go up against God, no matter the odds.

Fortuna: And when you lose?

Sam: We lose swingin’.

He looks at Dean before he sinks an 8 ball in the corner pocket.

Fortuna:  You’re good.

Sam: I learned from my brother.

Gifs: Jaredandjensen

Me: Where are my tissues???

Sometimes art imitates life – a few years ago Jensen posted a photo of him teaching Jared how to play pool. Clearly at this point they are both damn good at it!

Fortuna is now intrigued by the brother’s preposterous plan to defeat God, and offers another game, double or nothing, because to defeat God they’ll “need the luck of heroes.”

Sam agrees, but not for heroes’ luck.

Sam: Not for more luck. For them. You have to let them go. Give back the luck you stole.

Fortuna: They don’t matter!

Sam: They matter to me.

Dean: They matter to us.

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The brothers exchange a look, and Dean nods his agreement.

They’re 100% on the same page.

Sam and Fortuna play again, the atmosphere even tenser than before.

 

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Although Sam is damn good, Fortuna sinks ball after ball, ending with “8 ball in the corner pocket”.

The ball goes in, and Dean sags in defeat momentarily, eyes closed. Beside him, Sam hangs his head, knowing that she won.

Dean (regaining some defiance): Well, we had to try.

Fortuna: That was stupid.

Even though they know they’re probably going to die from bad luck soon, Sam and Dean are determined not to just leave all the others behind. They decide to try to find a way to save them and kill Fortuna, still ‘saving people hunting things’, cursed with bad luck or not.

But before they can get in the car, the pool hall door opens and the other patrons come slowly streaming out.

Evie: She shut it down.

Sam: Why?

Evie: Because of you. She’d thought your kind had gone extinct.

Sam and Dean: Our kind?

Evie: Heroes. Like the old days.

There’s a brilliant shot looking up at the Winchesters, and inside I’m screaming YOU ARE GODDAMN RIGHT THEY ARE BIG DAMN HEROES, LOOK AT THEM!

NO SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THEM!

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Evie tells them that Fortuna had some parting advice: Don’t play his game, make him play yours.

The coins glow when they hold them, and when they get in the car, Baby purrs to life.

Dean (grinning at Sam) We’re back, baby!

I half expected Sam to grumble “don’t call me baby” even though of course he’s talking to the Impala.

They drive off, the Impala roaring up the road, all seeming like it should – which feels SO good.

Without any manipulation by Chuck, the Winchesters have been heroes all along. Even when he took most of their luck and skills away, they were still determined to save people, and willing to risk their own lives to do it. It’s not anything Chuck gave them or could take away from them; it’s who they are.

And that makes me happy. That’s my Show.

Meanwhile, Castiel returns to the bunker looking for Sam and Dean and finds the note Sam left him (which kicked off a fandom fury about the show’s insistence on spelling Castiel’s name wrong with double s at the end). I had to wonder why didn’t they text him or something, but honestly I love Sam’s handwritten note on the library table.

Fandom: Fixed it!

Cas: Alaska??

He answers one of the phones left in the bunker, and it turns out to be a small town sheriff’s deputy (Kahlil Ashante) looking for Agent Watt (presumably one of the Winchesters). Cas says this is another agent, and comes up with “Agent Lizzo” which made me giggle. Cas has good taste in music, clearly.

The deputy says he was instructed to call that number if they ever spotted a certain someone: Jack Kline.

Close up on Castiel’s face as he registers the name and reacts, murmuring softly, “Jack…”

Misha Collins did a fabulous job of putting so much emotion into just that small moment. In fact, everyone really brought their A game to this episode, and as a result I felt so much more emotion too.

The small town deputy (who also did a great job and was immensely likable in just his few minutes onscreen) sends Cas a video of why they’re looking for Jack. Cas watches in shock as Jack attacks and kills a doctor and then calmly sits down and eats his heart.

Me: Ewwww

Soon Cas is on Jack’s trail, searching the doctor’s office, unceremoniously yanking off padlocks and finding a Grigori suitcase and sword. The plot thickens.

He meets up with the friendly sheriff’s deputy and gets some clues about where Jack might be.

Jack, a little ahead of him, tracks another Grigori – but ends up captured himself. The Grigori, enraged that Jack is killing his kind, begins to torture Jack, who refuses to answer his questions.

Ouch.

We find out that the Grigori doctor that Jack killed was feeding on the souls of people he was supposed to be healing (so clearly a bad guy) and that this Grigori apparently prefers children, so extra clearly a bad guy. We also find out that Death told Jack to go after them.

Just then, as the Grigori begins to torture Jack ruthlessly, Castiel appears and kills the bad Grigori guy.

There’s a moment.

A Moment.

Cas standing there, staring at Jack kneeling and bound.

Castiel (softly, like he’s almost afraid to believe it): Jack?

He unties Jack and helps him to his feet, and then sweeps him into a hug. Both Misha and Alex Calvert brought all the emotion to the reunion, so much so that I started to tear up again. It has been consistently clear that Castiel has loved Jack like a son, and that his death was a significant trauma for the angel. His joy at having Jack back in his arms was palpable.

Back at the bunker, Dean and Sam return from Alaska. Dean complains that they didn’t win any of the scratch off lottery tickets they picked up, but Sam points out that the Impala is running fine and their credit cards are working again. Oh, and Dean ate back to back double cheeseburgers without side effects.

Sam: She thinks we’re heroes – that we don’t need shortcuts.

And that, Show, is right where I like them! And puts all this luck versus normal versus whatever to rest once and for all. They’re the Winchesters. Just let them be who they are.

Castiel appears from the other room, and Sam and Dean realize right away that something’s up.

Dean: Cas?

Jack walks out and stands next to Castiel, as Sam and Dean gape.

Jack (with signature wave): Hello.

Sam: Jack?

Cas: It’s really him.

That’s enough for Sam. He crosses the distance between them in two long strides and sweeps Jack into a hug. Sam has felt paternal about Jack for a very long time, and grieved his death as a son, so his relief is clear – and Jared lets us see it.

Dean steps forward next, clasping Jack’s neck and looking hard into his eyes, searching. Jack, for his part, looks full of yearning, wanting Dean’s forgiveness and love, still full of guilt.

Dean hesitates, turns to look at Cas, who looks like he’s trying to convey all his faith in Jack in one silent expression. Satisfied, Dean looks back at Jack.

It was a short scene that didn’t need words, because all four actors can say so much without any. Dean has struggled with forgiveness – of both Cas and Jack – after the death of his mother at Jack’s hands. I will never ever think that isn’t understandable, and how just about any human would feel if someone killed your mother, by accident or not. I still think he is entitled to his anger and the complex feelings that he has as a result. He had accepted and loved Jack as a son, and he trusted Cas to tell him the truth about all things, and so Mary’s death left him with conflicted and overwhelming emotions, including anger. That’s okay. That’s completely understandable. But here he makes a choice to go forward with forgiveness, for both Cas and Jack. To accept Jack again and to trust Cas again. It was much more believable and meaningful here – understated, not dramatic, and all the more powerful because of that.

In the last few episodes, Dean has made it clear that he trusts Sam completely, accepting his assessment of a future without Chuck with “that’s good enough for me”, and here he shows that he trusts Castiel too, with the same acceptance. That sets the stage for the four to go up against Chuck united in these final nine episodes.

The four have beers at the map table, and talk about where Jack has been and why.

Jack: Every day, I wanted to come home. But I couldn’t. My grandfather will try to kill me. Again. He’s afraid of me.

Apparently eating the hearts are just the beginning of what Billie has instructed Jack to do, in order to make himself more powerful.

Jack: If I do exactly what she says, I’ll be able to kill God.

That was where most of us figured the Show was headed, so that didn’t come as a shock if it was supposed to. I’m still not on board with Jack being the one who saves the day at the end of the show, but who knows if that’s where we’re headed, so I’ll just reserve judgment for now.

Jack having to kill and consume to get more powerful has connotations of Sam and the demon blood drinking to get more powerful to kill Lucifer, and we all know how that went, so we’ll see how this goes. What is Billie’s agenda at this point? Do we trust her? Should Jack?

We’re headed into the show’s last ever mini hellatus, which hurts my heart to say. But I like going into it with some questions and some anticipation, after thoroughly enjoying that episode. I tweeted that the episode FELT like Supernatural – the suspense, the relationships, the emotions, the tiny bits of humor and occasional ewwws. This show is all of that, and it works so well when that unique combination is there.  A big thank you to writers Davy Perez and Meredith Glynn, and to veteran Supernatural director Charles Beeson for making it look gritty and real and very Supernatural.

The episode had real emotion, some of which spilled out into the press interviews the cast did with TVGuide at that time, including Misha spontaneously hugging an indulgent Alex just like real life dad and son. Awww.

TVGuide

The guest stars were also wonderful, and most of them hopped on social media to check out the reception the episode was getting. Clearly they had a blast, as just about every single guest star who has ever been on this show has said.

Misha with Kahlil Ashante

Jared watched the show along with the fandom (and his family, including the dogs) and posted a photo. That hasn’t happened in a while, and it reminded me of the old days, when the cast was often on twitter watching and commenting along with us. Nostalgia…

Photo Gen Padalecki from Jared’s IG

All in all, it was a very good night. And much needed.

My Show is back – and that means I’ll be on the edge of my seat for the last nine episodes! Stay tuned! The Show is back mid March – and I can’t wait!

Caps by @kayb625

— Lynn

For the perfect way to always remember how special

Supernatural is, check out Family Don’t End With

Blood, written by the actors and the fans! Links on

the home page here!

 

36 thoughts on “Supernatural Wins with ‘The Gamblers’ 

  • Please could Davey Perez write all the episodes?? This was soooo much better than last weeks.

    Sam and Dean exchanging looks and understanding that they were on the same page-perfect.

    The coroner from Pac Man Fever being Fortuna (it took me a minute to figure out why she looked so familiar).

    PBR being explained (kind of lame but whatever) was a tad weak but not everyone has watched bull riding.

    Sam winning that first game (after figuring out who Fortuna was) brains and talent!

    This was a Supernatural episode worth watching and rewatching. About time!

    Again-can Perez please write the rest of the season??

    • It’s the first time in a while that I wanted to rewatch right away – so wonderful to feel that kind of excitement about the show again!

  • Thanks for the review Lynn, Thanks Kelly for identifying the God Fotuna’s prior appearance, that bugged me.
    Davy is absolutely one of the best writers on staff and Cas got his redemption moment saving Jack, Sam got his son back, but it was all so expected. I so wanted to enjoy it the way you obviously all did, but for me there was a lack of tension and suspense or urgency. It was as if The Winchesters were just on a jolly day out which just didn’t sit right ( post Chuck , however, totally awesome, I wish them lots of jolly outings)
    It seems as if we are headed towards Jack as the saviour which if it happens will be a disappointment. This is The Winchesters story.

    • I don’t want that as the ending either, and I’m hoping that’s not where we’re headed. Fingers tentatively crossed….

      • well, I hope it doesn’t go that way too, but remember Jensen said that it took him awhile to come to terms with the ending, so I am not hopeful, especially if one of the main stars is not sure about it. no matter how he tried to spin it.

      • I think it was good of Jensen to be honest about his reservations, there will be people who feel exactly the same and there will be people who will want different endings , wherever we end up it’s impossible to please everyone, but just knowing reservations were voiced on our behalf is a good thing because it shows to the end how much this show meant not just to us, but to him as well.

  • I totally agree about the sigh of relief. I cheated and delayed my viewing until 8:40 so I could fast-forward and make sure I knew the outcome of the first pool game so that I wouldn’t be so tense. Seriously.

    I know they’ve been inconsistent with the luck thing but I remain convinced they HAVE their skills, Chuck cursed them and gave them some ailments/brain fog. But I also think Chuck’s ‘game’ was to cause them doubt. And part of their recovery, before Fortuna gave them ‘luck’, was the confidence with which they took on the pool game. Dean KNEW he would win the game. And he did. Sam KNEW he could play the game and win and he did. The last game Fortuna ran the table – not giving Sam even a shot at winning. But they also were the Big Damn Heroes they are and worked the ‘case’.

    Let me be clear – this was NOT an instance of ‘you didn’t need the feather to fly’. No, Fortuna gift of luck countered whatever Chuck did to them. They NEEDED to break or block that curse. But she restored them to a ‘fair fight’, Winchester style. And her advice was excellent – don’t play Chuck’s game. Chuck’s intent was to break their confidence.. He lost. And even if he tries again, they will just go out and find another way. He’s doing everything he can to cause them to have doubt but they are stronger than ever now.

    I also liked the silent exchange at the end. I don’t think the ‘eating hearts’ recipe for success is going to fly with the boys. They aren’t going to just trust Billie. And that’s going to come to a head soon, I suspect.

    We’re back baby!

  • Knew my heroes were not gone, I have faith in my boys!
    Completely agree that this was a very “Supernatural” feeling episode. The pace was perfect from start to finish. The editing between the two story lines was spot on; music added to the story rather than distract. In other words it was another great episode of my favourite show. I didn’t stick around for 15 years for nothing after all!
    The only thing I keep coming back to at the end of this episode as well as the last, with Billy returning Jack, is the statement Death made in Season 5 or 6 when he said that he was older than God and that he would some day reap God…Billy obviously has been watching Chuck and has a plan. Who will play what role in her plan and is it to reap God? Can’t wait to pull down the safety bar and go for one last roller coaster ride with the Winchesters when the show returns. 🤘🏻

    • That’s such a good way to put it – pull down the safety bar and go for one last roller coaster ride with the Winchesters. Probably with lots of screaming!

  • Just a comment about who wrote the script. The story was by Meredith Glynn and Davey Perez. But Meredith wrote the script. It was a really good, traditional Supernatural episode. And of course Jensen can shoot amazing pool.😍😍

    • Meredith is one of my favorite writers. Her dialogue is always spot on and she seems to understand the characters really well. I also love Davy’s writing, so they made a great team here!

  • thank you lynn. I totally agree with your recap. you wrote > “I tweeted that the episode FELT like Supernatural – the suspense, the relationships, the emotions, the tiny bits of humor and occasional ewwws. This show is all of that, and it works so well when that unique combination is there. A big thank you to writers Davy Perez and Meredith Glynn, and to veteran Supernatural director Charles Beeson for making it look gritty and real and very Supernatural.” yessss! I said the same thing. and I agree with you snazzyo.

  • Enjoyed reading your very enthusiastic review! I so much more enjoyed it than last week, but (cringing) I did find it a just a little bit boring.although I so liked the Bros being together the whole time and being in tune with each other. Dean’s comment – you are so much better etc – I am a parent as you are – but I found it a bit jarring and I don’t think it is a natural comment for a parent to make – just IMO! It certainly wasn’t a big deal to me but I know many who it annoyed. Unfortunately we then came to Jacks return, I am really afraid he will be the saviour and not our boys and if that is what happens I will have to wipe Season 15 out of my mind!! Not a fan of how he was greeted either surely there is some residual upset from his previous actions. It sounds as if I am not a fan of this episode but I did think it was much better than most of the others we have had this season – again IMO.

    • A parent would probably be proud and I don’t have an issue with Dean emoting that, he was Dad to Sam in every way that matters, it’s probably his proudest achievement, the problem is the regressive setting and language used, the same happened in the prayer to Castiel. It’s fine to say I’m sorry or I’m proud, but what is jarring is to say those things Dean puts himself down and it negated much if what he proclaimed last season about being good with who he was. This season has seen so much regression, not just the way he talks about himself, the way he has begun to take all the blame for everything, how he accepts direction unquestionably, it’s heartbreaking, He’s right back at season 1, what ever the reasons and it’s so sad. It was part of the reasons I was so angry about episode 9.
      What also gets forgotten is the Dean also lost a child, his own flesh and blood daughter, those issues were never addressed but must have played into why he struggled with Jack so much and now he just has to be ok about it.

      I agree that Davy Perez is so talented and it’s a shame his abilities have not been expanded. I didn’t enjoy this episode as I should, but I do see there’s a bright future waiting for him.

      • I had to purposely say to myself, “Don’t think about Emma, don’t think about Emma, don’t think about Emma,” during the reunion. I really wish they would stop slapping us in the face with that for the sake of propping up Jack by showing that “See? Even Dean thinks of Jack as his kid!” Dean had a kid. His own kid. Who died in front of him. That *matters*.

      • Sorry, didn’t intend to upset you bring that up. But it really mattered and still matters to me and one of the reasons why I found Jack’s arrival difficult.

      • Oh don’t be sorry. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who was thinking of it – or pointedly trying to not think of it so I could keep enjoying myself. Ever since they decided that Dean would suddenly think of Jack as his kid, as if he hasn’t been down the dad road before the Show never fails to find new ways to make me feel bitter about Emma. I also find it highly insulting to his relationship with Ben. He may not have been Ben’s biological father, but the father-son bond between the two of them was a thousand times stronger and better developed in a handful of episodes than the Dean-Jack relationship has been after years. It’s like Dabb thinks kids are interchangeable when it comes to Dean and the way he views having a child has the depth of a puddle.

      • I think you hit the nail on the head, there’s been a demonstrative lack of understanding regarding how to write child parts since Eric and Sera’s tenure and of late it’s got worse. Consequently we don’t get the time devoted to developing the child character which impacts big time on the relationships.
        It’s sad specifically in respect of Dean because right from Dead in the Water he’s been great with kids and was always invested in their well-being, because he remembers being left alone in crap room caring for his brother .
        I’m glad you remember, makes me feel good to have a kindred spirit.

      • The worst thing about it, in my opinion, is that it stole from Sam a chance for significant character growth in the ability to acknowledge one of his worst mistakes that the show just keeps ignoring (and will until it ends). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. ALL they had to do to get me to accept Jack and Sam’s instant desire to want to raise him (and to foist him onto Dean even though Dean *clearly* stated he wanted no part of raising Lucifer’s kid) was to say, “I made a mistake not giving Emma a chance and I don’t want to do that again.” That’s it. It is literally impossible for me to accept Jack as their “son,” especially that Dean thinks of him as a son, when they REFUSE to acknowledge the direct parallel between the two, right down to the fact that they freakin’ let Bucklemming write LOTUS when they’re the ones who wrote The Slice Girls. Did Dabb really think they’d come up with something original for how Kelly became pregnant rather than looking back at what they’d already written and going, “Well…if we just change some of the names…”? And now that it truly looks like Jack’s going to be the ultimate hero of the show the cut is even deeper.

        Yes, Dabb could just be trying to make us think that’s what’s going to happen, but now we’re in a six week hiatus and the show’s moving to Mondays. Networks tend to move shows in their final death throes when they really don’t expect anyone to be watching anymore, and I find that terribly disconcerting – like they know they’re going to upset a lot of people with the finale and are hoping the majority of fans forget the move and/or wait until the last season hits Netflix to binge the whole thing, when it’s too late to scream out their dissatisfaction on Twitter.

      • Agree, the opportunity to allow Sam to grow and allow Dean to grieve that loss ( monster or no he will have felt it deep down) For them to be able to bond in a more honest way with some acknowledgement of that loss would have made it easier and look less forced. Maybe have allowed us( through Dean’s journey to adjusting) to accept Jack in a more believable way as part of their lives.

      • What is so tragic about the Dabb era is all the wasted potential. There were *so* many opportunities for truly great stories and wonderful character growth, and the story turned the wrong direction in every single instance. Someone needed to have the power to sit with Dabb and go, “No, do this,” whenever a great plot point dropped in his lap and he ignored it.

      • do you really think that Dabb would have listened? he’s incompetent and I think that he thinks he’s God and has written Chuck as him. writers lie and and he’s an incompetent jealous hack and wouldn’t know a good plot point if it smacked him in the head and someone sat down with him with a big yellow arrow pointing it out. he has ruined our show and I can’t forgive him and I really hope that his career is over so he doesn’t ruin any other shows. sorry, not sorry, but I have no liking for him whatsoever.

      • That’s precisely why I phrased it as someone needing to have the power to say “We’re going left instead of right.” Because you’re right, there’s no way such the little egomaniacal squid would have listened to feedback on his ideas unless he were contractually obligated to run things by someone who could go, “No, turning Mary into a gaslighting narcissist who continued to hunt even after getting married and having children will destroy the boys’ origin story, not to mention the character.” The way he reacts to the fans, as if he’s the smartest guy in the entertainment industry and should be immune from criticism, and subsequently doubling down on all his awful ideas is ample evidence that he would never listen to anyone else’s input unless it was the only way to keep his job. This final season is such a middle finger to the fans, and to Jared and Jensen for DARING to ask to meet with the writers one time in 15 years. This’ll show the uppity talent to remember their place. Any show that hires Dabb after this deserves every single shitty script he gives them, though I, too, hope this is the absolute end of his career.

      • It’s a shame that there were many missed opportunities and the talent wasn’t used to capacity. It’s also the length of the run I guess , keeping it consistent and strong the whole time depends on so many factors writers, show runners and so on.

      • That’s definitely how I felt about the purgatory confession, but here I didn’t feel like Dean was putting himself down so much as feeling good about himself for having raised Sam so well – and also being able to say outright that he’s better than Sam at pool. I agree that some parts of this season have seen regression for the character, but I didn’t see this scene as that. Dean does seem less the leader this season, which also rubs me the wrong way sometimes. Particularly in the purgatory episode, it was glaring in that one, but that whole episode felt off to me. I think we’re supposed to interpret it as Dean trusting both Sam and Castiel, but at times that’s not how it comes off.

      • I think you’re right, the intended outcome was not how things looked, especially the purgatory trip, I always felt Bob Berens was a fan of the show so would love the characters the way we do. Maybe the upset of the end is affecting the writing too?

    • I’m afraid of that too, but I’m holding onto hope that’s not where we will eventually end up. Jack saving the world in the end of a show that he’s only been a character in for a very small portion of time would be a real disappointment, even if I am fond of Jack as a character.

  • My feelings on this episode are bittersweet. I loved so very, very, very much of it, but I couldn’t stop thinking of how badly I wanted Perez to be given the reins last season, and for precisely this reason. He understands the brother’s relationship, even when lines get thrown in there like “You’re better than me at everything” that are clearly Dabb’s direction on who the superior brother is (and why he sees it as a competition I will never understand, but I digress), and he may not have the longest history with the show, or always stick 100% to canon, but he TRULY understands the Winchesters. He genuinely gets Sam and Dean, that the show is about them, and the way their dynamic works. I know he co-wrote this with Glynn, who I tend to like as well, so the whole episode wasn’t completely his doing, but in his brief tenure on the show there’s only been one episode of his that I didn’t like, back in season 12, and that was largely due to having to wind in a bunch of dangling ends from the various plots going that season. His scripts are witty, focused, creative, and original, his pacing is great, he hits a fantastic balance between humor and horror (this was, after all, a HORROR show, not the fantasy it’s become), and I think the show might not be in the last season if someone like Perez were running things. Too late now to ever know.

    Anyway, I was really quite happy with this episode up until Jack’s return (I too think it’s setting him up to be the great savior) but I don’t fault Perez for that – he’s literally not running the show. This episode was a painful reminder to me of why I wish he were.

  • Liked the episode but don’t like Dean said Sam is better than him at almost everything–not true. It does seem you tend to group with the bi-bro fans who like Sam as central with Dean revolving around him.

    • That’s Dabb’s clear preference for Sam rearing its ugly head via the dialogue. I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers are obligated to mention how awesome Sam is at least once per episode, even if it makes no sense – like here. During Dabb’s era we’ve been told over and over and over again how Sam is just amazeballs at everything, while what we’re shown is that most of the time when Sam goes up against a monster he gets knocked out and/or kidnapped like a rookie. The Sam Winchester of these last four seasons with Dabb at the helm is almost unrecognizable to the Sam Winchester of season 3 who decapitated Gordon Walker with razor wire.

    • I’m a Dean girl from way back actually, he’s my favorite fictional character in the history of ever! I really saw Dean as saying that to Sam and feeling *good* about it, like any parent would. If Sam is good at things, it’s because Dean had a huge role in making him good at things, and that feels good. And Dean was very clear about knowing he’s better than Sam at playing pool too. Honestly I’ve never understood pitting the brothers against each other though, which also seems to be what some of the showrunners want to do too. They are both heroes, clearly.

      • Perhaps for some individual writers there not a diliberate intent to pit brother against brother, perhaps more how they relate to that brother. When I write I’m sure my fan fic is a bit wonky, simply because I understand Dean better, so I tend to write that pov, which is ok it’s just for me, but for an audience it’s not good and can be misread. Everyone sees things their own way anyway, even sometimes when the intent might be very simple because the show has taught to question, to look for undercurrent and subtext.

  • Great episode and great review! The dialogue and the characters rang completely true. Brilliant to see smart, courageous, heroic Winchesters!

    Also loved Dean being proud of Sam – personally I think that both brothers are better than each other at certain things, which is why they complement each other so well and make such a great team. And the line about Fortuna thinking the Winchesters’ ‘kind’ had died out was inspired and a brilliant palate-cleanser for last week’s episode. Hooray!

    And thank you Lynn for telling those of us who missed it on Twitter that the trick jump pool shot was all Jensen AND one take. The man is ridiculous. Plus, the fact that both Jared and he played the pool shots themselves, clever editing notwithstanding. Legends.

    It may be wishful thinking, but I’m gonna go out in a limb and say that I don’t think the showrunners are gonna make Jack the main saviour and Sam n Dean supporting acts. While I don’t think it’s possible to write a final season and ending to a fifteen-year long odyssey which is going to make everyone happy, I think, particularly given what happened with Game of Thrones last year they’re going to tread carefully.

    Anyway, am thrilled the boys are back! Am torn about mini-hiatus…tho I want my Winchesters, I kind of want to delay seeing them again coz we’ve only nine episodes to go, and then ….we’ll be done … and hopefully there’ll be peace 😉

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