Supernatural 8.08 Review: Hunteri Hilarious

Hello my fellow Supernatural Junkies! I hope that everyone had a really nice Thanksgiving holiday. I know I did. The only downside was, of course, no new Supernatural. So I was quite anxious for my favorite show to return this week, and it certainly came back with a bang. Literally. The word BANG! came out of Dean’s gun on flag. HA! ‘Hunteri Heroici’ was an extremely different episode, even for this show. One of the things I’ve always loved about Supernatural is their willingness to step outside the box and kind of push the boundaries. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This time, I think it worked wonderfully. I absolutely LOVED this episode. It had a perfect blend of humor (Cas interrogating a cat and then the cat calling him a dumbass; I mean c’mon, that’s hilarious!) and drama. I was kind of surprised that Andrew Dabb delivered such a wonderful episode because usually his (and Daniel Loflin’s) episodes are hit or miss. This was Dabb’s first solo writing credit on the show, and it was definitely a hit. He did a really good job with the pacing which is something that normally feels off about his and Loflin’s episodes. But kudos to him for writing a very good episode. That last fight at the bank alone was worth the price of admission. There were a lot of great things about this episode, but two things really jumped out at me.

First, the brief conversation between Dean and Cas was heartbreaking and wonderfully acted by Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins. It showed a different dynamic in the Dean/Cas relationship. I could be wrong, but I don’t recall Dean ever asking Cas to talk to him. I think Dean always kind of assumed that if Cas had something to say, he would just say it. But Dean above all others should know that’s not generally how people operate when they’re burdened with a metric ton of guilt. I don’t think Dean really understood until that conversation just how deeply Cas feels about what he did. And truth be told, no matter how many lives Cas saves or how much good he does going forward, I don’t think he’ll ever really forgive himself for what he did as God!Cas. I think it was important for him to verbalize his feelings though, and who else could he share his pain with other than Dean? Dean is not only Cas’s best friend, he’s also one of the few people that can truly understand doing something that you’re so ashamed of that you spend the rest of your life trying to atone for it. This conversation also showed a different side of Dean. For most of his life Dean has carried around so much guilt about things that aren’t his fault that he’s literally been crushed by it. Now, however, it seems that he’s taken Cas’s message of last week to heart. Dean might finally be beginning to understand and accept that every bad thing that happens isn’t his fault and it ain’t his to carry. He’s in a much better place emotionally to try to help Cas deal with his guilt over causing so much destruction. I really liked that when Cas opened up to Dean, Dean didn’t try to offer solutions or words of wisdom to Cas; he just listened. Sometimes that’s all you really need your friends to do; just listen.

Second, that ending. I’ve heard the theory floating around on the internet that Sam’s past year is all an illusion because he suffered a complete mental break after Dean disappeared. Prior to last night’s episode, I didn’t really give any thought to that because it seemed a bit far-fetched (even for this show). However, there are several things about this episode that I think may lend some credence to that theory. (1)Sam seemed to know way too much about taking refuge inside your own mind. I don’t think it had anything to do with his hellucinations because those were most certainly not pleasant for him. But he seemed really happy with Amelia and it seems that he felt safe. That is what Sam always wanted. Going all the way back to the Pilot, Sam never said he wanted normal; he wanted safe. That’s what he had with Amelia. Sam seemed to truly understand why Fred would want to stay in the safe world he created in his head perhaps because that’s what Sam had done? (2)The conversation that Sam had with Amelia’s father seemed rather odd. It seemed more than just a concerned father looking out for his daughter. It seemed like someone (or something) was telling Sam that hiding there wasn’t going to help him. The father seemed too, I don’t know, on the nose. (3)The way that Don all of a sudden turned up not dead. If the theory is correct that Amelia and all of that isn’t real, then when she said that “Don” wasn’t dead, that could’ve been Sam’s mind saying that “Dean” isn’t dead. But if that’s the case, how would Sam, even subconsciously, know that? Someone (or something) would have to tell him. Which leads me to my (current) theory.

Perhaps the angels did infiltrate Sam’s mind. If we go with the theory that Sam did indeed suffer a total mental break, then he would’ve been out of commission, and judging from Naomi’s interest in Sam and Dean’s quest for the tablets, she needed him back in the game. To what end, I’m not sure yet. But perhaps the angels infiltrated his mind in a different way. What if Sam didn’t actually break? What if he did actually have that time with Amelia, but it was all an angelic creation? We’ve seen the angels totally create a reality for the Boys before in S4 ‘It’s a Terrible Life.’ In that reality they had memories that were obviously not real. Zachariah was also a part of that false reality. He was playing a role and waiting for the right moment to reveal the truth to Dean. And although we don’t know the extent of Naomi’s abilities, we’ve seen that she can manipulate Castiel’s mind and memories, so why wouldn’t she be able to do that to Sam as well? It would explain how, if Sam had really suffered a mental break and was hiding out in his head, she would be able to tell him that Dean is alive. It would also explain why Amelia’s dad was so stuck on Sam and Amelia not living in a dream world. But if Naomi did infiltrate Sam’s mind at that time and plant those memories, the question still remains why? What’s the endgame? That ending also raised more questions: If Sam did not actually break, why plant the memories of that year at all? How much time elapsed between Amelia finding out that Don wasn’t dead and Sam leaving? Why did Sam leave like that? Who was that outside the house? So many questions!

I really want to find out whether Sam’s past year is all straightforward or whether there is something a bit more nefarious going on here. Jeremy Carver did say that we were going to be playing with perception this year, and we’ve already seen that Dean’s perception of his Purgatory escape was very skewed. Maybe Sam’s perception of his past year is also just as skewed. We’ll just have to wait to find out. One thing I did appreciate about the Sam/Amelia flashbacks is that Amelia seemed MUCH less bitchy than she has in the past. She was much more relateable. I still don’t think Lianne Balaban and Jared Padalecki have all that much chemistry though. It was better than in past flashbacks, but still kind of meh. Like I said though, LOVED this episode. I can’t believe we’re already almost to the mid-season hiatus, but I am loving S8 so far.

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