Supernatural 8.10 Review: Torn and Frayed Indeed

SPN Torn and Frayed

Welcome back from winter Hellatus my fellow Supernatural junkies! I have a lot to say about Supernatural’s January return, so let’s get right to it. Torn and frayed definitely sums up the current state of the Winchester brothers’  relationship. Let me start off by saying that I have mixed feelings about this episode. It wasn’t the writing. Jenny Klein’s script moved along at a decent clip and there were little bits of humor thrown in to balance out the overall heaviness of the episode. I have no complaints there.  Robert Singer is also one of my favorite SPN directors, so I have no complaints there either. My problem is with the characterization of Sam and Dean. I don’t feel like either of them is behaving the way that 8 and a half seasons says that they would be. I’ve read some reviews arguing that this episode shows that the Boys are learning to compromise, but I don’t see very much compromise here. But let me not get ahead of myself. This is going to be a long one. You have been warned.

Torn and Frayed

Let’s start with Sam because he’s frustrating me the most right now. This episode picks up right where ‘Citizen Fang’ left off. Sam is still in Texas after having dropped everything and run there because of the fake 911 from Amelia that Dean sent out.  Sam is still (quite understandably) upset that Dean did that to him. When Dean showed up at Sam’s motel, Dean tried to calmly explain what happened with Benny to Sam. Dean tried to explain that he wasn’t trying to hurt Sam with that Amelia text, but he needed Sam to back off.  He’d already tried reasoning with Sam. He’d already tried talking to him, and Sam absolutely refused to listen. Dean knew that if Benny and Sam met up, one of the two people that he cares about was going to get killed and he didn’t want that. So he did the only thing he felt like he could do at that moment. He emotionally manipulated Sam to get him out of harm’s way and to protect Benny. I’m not saying that Dean was right to send that text because he wasn’t. It was low-down and dirty, and although I don’t think Dean considered the emotional state it would put Sam into, he should’ve. They have both lost so much, and Dean should’ve known that if he sent a distress call from Amelia that Sam’s mind would immediately jump to the worst possible outcome. But Sam really frustrated me during that discussion in Texas. He still wasn’t listening to Dean, but on top of that, he accepted zero responsibility for his part in the events leading up to their current predicament. Sam is the one that started the ball rolling on everything that happened in ‘Citizen Fang.’ He’s the one that sent a mentally unstable person out on a hunt. And although Sam didn’t call it a hunt, that’s exactly what it was. Sam is the one that refused to trust Dean’s judgment. Martin died because Sam sent him after Benny. And why? What had Benny done (other than be a vampire) that would be cause for alarm? Had he killed anyone? Maimed anyone? Had Benny done anything other than keep his head down and try to live a quiet life? No. Sam’s unrelenting desire to go after Benny makes absolutely no sense given his history. Sam (correctly) pointed out that he doesn’t know Benny and has no reason to trust him. That’s valid and I get that. But he didn’t have to trust Benny. He needed to trust Dean, and that’s all that Dean was asking. As many times as Sam has asked the same from Dean, and Dean has done it, you would think that Sam would be able to trust Dean this one time. But like so many arguments before, Sam didn’t accept his role in their situation. His whole argument was that Dean was wrong for sending him that text about Amelia. Dean was wrong for saying that a vampire was the victim. Dean was wrong. At no point did Sam even acknowledge that he was wrong for putting Martin on Benny in the first place. At no point did Sam acknowledge that he was wrong for not trusting Dean. At no point did Sam take any responsibility for anything. Part of growing up and maturing is learning to accept your part of the blame when things go wrong in a relationship. Sam hasn’t done that. At all. He still pouts, issues ultimatums, and threatens to abandon Dean whenever he gets angry with him. That’s not moving the character forward and it’s making it increasingly difficult to sympathize with him or even see things from his point of view.  In seasons past, I was able to at least understand why Sam is doing the things he was doing. Be it working with Ruby, hiding the fact that he’s working with Ruby from Dean, drinking demon blood, etc. I didn’t agree with those choices, but at least I understood them. I was able to see how he arrived at that choice and it sort of made sense. I cannot say the same about Sam this season and that’s what’s frustrating me. I do not understand why Sam has refused to trust Dean at all. I do not understand why Sam was so gung-ho to go after Benny. I cannot understand Sam at all.

Torn and Frayed   Now let’s talk about Dean. I’m more confused by Dean than I am frustrated by him. There are a couple of things that feel off about Dean. His decision to ditch Benny at the end of the episode doesn’t fit with Dean’s character at all. One of the things I’ve always loved about Dean is his loyalty. He doesn’t let people into his circle easily, but once you’re there, you’re there for life. He will move heaven and earth for you. That’s why I’m having such a problem with how the Dean/Benny relationship ended. Benny and Dean mean too much to each other for Dean to abandon him like that. Especially since Benny called Dean needing help. Dean doesn’t just abandon people like that. He’s never done that. It could be argued that Dean severed ties with Benny because he was presented a choice between Sam and Benny. Historically, whenever Dean’s forced to choose between Sam and anyone else, he always chooses Sam. But even so, it just seems odd for Dean to claim that Benny is the only person who’s never let him down and then for Dean to leave Benny twisting in the wind alone. I think maybe a part of Dean knew that he and Benny weren’t going to be able to maintain the type of relationship topside that they had while they were in Purgatory. And that would make sense, but it doesn’t sit right that Dean would leave Benny to fend for himself. In addition to the Benny thing, it seems off that Dean was so hard against working with Sam. I can understand that Dean was frustrated by Sam’s refusal to listen to him, and I think Dean was probably still even a bit angry at Sam’s refusal to trust him about Benny. But after the events of ‘The End’ in S5, Dean came to the conclusion that he and Sam needed each other. Granted, they’ve both been through a (whole) lot since that episode, but still. Dean knows that they need each other and whatever their current problems may be, walking away from each other is not going to make either of them any better. It could be argued that Dean was so adamant about not working with Sam because he figured Sam didn’t want to be on the job anyway. That’s valid. If someone doesn’t want to be somewhere, you can’t force it upon them. But I think Dean felt more like Sam was pushing him away than he was pushing away from the job. That goes to what Dean said at the end of the episode about not being able to separate himself from the job. Although Sam has never really said that he didn’t want to be with Dean, he has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t really want to be on the job. But to Dean, saying that you don’t want to be on the job is saying that you don’t want him in your life. I’m not saying it’s logical but it’s how Dean’s mind works.

The end of the episode was one of the saddest episode endings I’ve seen from this show in a very long time. Yes, Sam and Dean are back together, but at what cost and why? Is it because that’s how each of them wants it or is it because they feel like they have no other choice? It seemed to me it was more the former. Both of them gave up a relationship that means a lot to them so they could come back together, but I don’t see how that solves any of their problems. Sam giving up Amelia didn’t feel like he was choosing Dean (and by extension the hunting life) so much as he was doing it to keep Amelia safe. Sam’s primary argument to Dean about why Dean shouldn’t have sent that 911 back in ‘Citizen Fang’ was that he thought something awful had happened to Amelia. I can understand why Sam’s mind went there. Every woman that he’s ever loved and/or slept with (excluding that time he was a soulless manwhore) has died. Sam didn’t want anything to happen to Amelia, and the best way to do that is to keep her out of his life. In addition to that, Amelia was married to Don. If Sam had gone back to her, he would’ve been “the other man” in Amelia’s life. They never would’ve been able to really live a full life together. So, while I think Sam did want to help Dean figure out what is going on with Cas, find the tablets, etc. It just felt like he didn’t want to be the one that came between Amelia and Don. I felt like Sam resigned himself to a life of hunting moreso than he chose Dean. I’m not minimizing Sam’s sacrifice. When he chose not to go back to Amelia, he gave up what was probably his last chance at any kind of happiness outside the life. That is certainly no small thing. But Dean giving up his relationship with Benny packed more of an emotional punch. Let me just say right off the bat that I have a problem with Sam issuing Dean an ultimatum about Benny. Sam doesn’t trust Benny, and that’s fine, but after all that they’ve been through and all that Dean has done for Sam, Sam should trust Dean. Sam knows Dean and he knows that Dean doesn’t just hand out his trust and loyalty like Halloween candy. If Dean trusts Benny, vampire or not, then Sam should stop and consider that perhaps there’s more to Benny than meets the eye. Sam has made no effort to really understand from Dean’s point of view why Benny means so much to him. That’s a large part of the problem. He doesn’t understand Dean and Benny’s relationship and all he can see is that Dean is friends with a monster. I had a conversation with Clarissa who reviews Supernatural for TVOvermind.com, and she argued that Dean had no right to ask Sam to trust him (Dean) about Benny because Benny is a wildcard. Dean cannot control Benny and thus, Benny is dangerous and Sam is right to refuse to trust Dean about him. That’s valid and I understand her argument. However, my counterargument to that is that in the past, Sam has asked Dean to trust him despite the fact that Sam was playing with a wildcard too. I’m speaking specifically about the Ruby situation. Sam asked Dean to trust him about Ruby and despite every fiber in Dean’s body telling him that Ruby was bad news, Dean followed Sam’s lead on that one. That’s all Dean is asking for here, but Sam refuses to follow Dean’s lead about Benny. I’ve already talked about why I feel like Dean ditching Benny doesn’t fit with who Dean is, so I won’t rehash that. But I felt a much deeper sadness from Dean when he said good-bye to Benny than I felt from Sam deciding not to return to Amelia. The problem with how this episode ended is the complete lack of joy. Yes, Sam and Dean are back together. Yes, the fighting about Benny and Amelia is (in theory) over. But neither Sam nor Dean looked particularly happy about any of it. They actually looked pretty miserable. They looked like two people who had resigned themselves to the idea that the only thing they’ll ever have in this life is each other. It is a sad, claustrophobic world they have created for themselves.

SPN Torn and Frayed 3I feel pretty bad for Cas at this point too. He’s already got guilt coming out of his pores because of all the stuff he did when he was God!Cas. Now added to that is the fact that he’s killed another friend. Granted, he’s being mind-controlled right now, but I have a feeling he’s still going to blame himself about it. Cas has been through the ringer almost just as much as the Winchester boys, and I really would like for him to get a little peace. It’s tough to see a guy who’s just trying to atone for his past sins be used as a pawn by more powerful, nefarious forces. Speaking of, I think I’m kind of getting an idea of who Naomi is. I think she’s the Crowley of heaven. We’ve already seen that she seems like she’s in charge of some secret area of heaven. Or maybe she’s just the one in charge now. When Samadriel was in trouble, she’s the one he was calling. So maybe she’s like the queen of heaven now. We’ve also seen that she’s pretty cold and isn’t above manipulation. I have a feeling that the flashes that Castiel was having of her doing the same thing to him that Crowley was doing to Samadriel means that she’s been torturing Cas too. That would explain why she’s able to mind-control him. She got into his operating system and modified it so she can control him. My question though is why? What does she have to gain from manipulating Castiel? Why can’t she do her own dirty work? Why doesn’t she want him to remember that he’s meeting with her? So many questions about her. I really don’t like that Cas is (once again) being manipulated by heaven. It would seem that out of all those angels, there would be more than just a handful who are truly good guys. I don’t think Cas is going to take it well when it’s finally revealed what Naomi is doing to him. And I don’t think the Winchesters are going to take it well either that heaven is manipulating Cas and, by extension, them again. I don’t think Cas is going to hide it from the Boys once he figures out what Naomi is doing to him. At least I hope he doesn’t. They have worked hard to rebuild the Winchesters’ and Cas’s friendship, and it would be awful if the Boys’ only other remaining friend gets taken away from them.

One thing I will say that I am absolutely ecstatic about is that the Sam/Amelia storyline seems to be done. I am REALLY glad that she’s gone and I hope she never comes back. I wanted to like Amelia. I really did. Supernatural has a history of writing some very awesome female characters, and I was looking for Amelia to fall into that category. Alas, she was a shallow, snarky, condescending person that added absolutely nothing to the Supernatural universe. She didn’t help reveal anything new about Sam’s character, and she seemed to serve only as a plot device to show what Sam was doing for the entire year and to create friction between Sam and Dean. Many in the fandom argue that a “normal” woman has no place in the Supernatural universe, and that’s a valid argument. But I feel like if the character is written well, even if she is a “normal” woman, she can still add something to the overall story. Amelia did not do that. At all. Her character actually slowed down the pace of every single episode she was in. I needed the Sam/Amelia storyline to better explain why Sam would ditch hunting for her. It didn’t. I needed the Sam/Amelia storyline to explain why Sam believes he loves her. It didn’t. I needed the Sam/Amelia storyline to explain how Amelia went from the snarky, condescending person that guilt-tripped Sam into taking a dog home to the woman that Sam would drop a job and go running to when she called. It didn’t. I needed to Sam/Amelia storyline to show me why I should care about Amelia at all. It didn’t. As a character, Amelia fell absolutely flat and I hope we never have to deal with her again.

From everything that I’ve said, it would sound like I really didn’t enjoy this episode. But that’s not true. I’m just disappointed that the Winchester world isn’t expanding. I’ve said this many times, but the main characters need really good, regular supporting characters. The supporting characters help to peel back the layers of the main characters, but only if they’re given enough time to develop a real relationship with the main characters. That’s why I loved Benny so much. We got enough time with him and Dean to really get a grasp of that relationship and reveal more about Dean. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Amelia. I really enjoyed the fact that the Winchester in-fighting seems to be over. I don’t think it’s completely done yet though because they haven’t really dealt with their problems. They have each agreed to let go of the thing that was causing the latest dust-up, but the underlying lack of communication is still there. Although I don’t like the fighting, at least it felt more organic to the story than some of the past Winchester fights. So there’s that at least. I still think there’s a big knock-down, drag-out fight to come, but maybe that’s just me. This episode just left me feeling sad for my Boys. I want them to truly fix their relationship and I want them to choose to continue fighting together because that’s what both of them want. I want them to realize that it’s ok to want different things out of life and wanting that doesn’t mean that you’ve abandoned your family or your responsibilities. I guess they’ve taken some steps down that road, but I still feel like there’s a long way to go yet.

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.

My Hopes for Season 8

Hey y’all! I hope that everyone had a happy and safe Labor Day weekend. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I will be attending the Salute to Supernatural Convention in Dallas in two weeks. I am ridiculously excited about it for so many reasons. The first is of course getting to chat with J2, Misha, and the bunch. But also, I’m going to get to see some members of my Supernatural family that I haven’t seen in a while. Really looking forward to it. 🙂 As I’ve been thinking about what I want to ask the Boys if I get the opportunity, I started thinking about my hopes for season 8. Here they are in no particular order:

1. I hope Dean’s Purgatory storyline is handled well. We all know that Jensen Ackles is a phenomenal actor and if he’s given good material he will make it great. And let’s be honest, even if he’s given not so good material he still makes it good. But I’m hoping that his Purgatory story is handled in greater detail than his Hell experience was handled. I think Jensen did a great job throughout the course of S4 showing, in little ways, how Hell was affecting Dean. His body language was different, he drank a whole lot more than normal (for him anyway), and the weight of what he’d done and what was done to him started showing. But the show actually only really addressed it directly twice; once in Wishful Thinking when Sam tried to get Dean to talk to him and then once in Heaven and Hell when Dean finally broke down and told Sam what happened in Hell. And just as an aside, Jensen TOTALLY knocked that scene out of the park. It makes me tear up every time I watch it. But other than that, the audience had to fill in the blanks. On the one hand, that works because my imagination of being tortured in Hell can run in all kinds of directions. And as long as SPN doesn’t show me any differently, I can let my mind believe all of those things happened to Dean. But on the other hand, I need the show to realize that Dean’s Hell experience is important in shaping who he is and that should be explored more thoroughly. As far as Dean’s Purgatory experience, I want the show to actually show me what Dean had to go through there. I want to see him having to fight for his life. I want to see him find the fire in his gut that he been all but gone for the last 2 seasons. I want to see what happened between Dean and Cas in Purgatory. I want to see Dean come face to face with some of the monsters he’s put down over the years. I want to see how all of that is going to change him after he gets out. I want to know what he thinks about it. How he feels about it. I want to see how that experience is going to shape the brothers’ relationship. Basically, I want this part of the story to flesh out Dean’s character in a way that we haven’t seen pretty much since S5.

2. Speaking of Cas, I hope that Dean and Cas are able to repair their relationship. One of the aspects I’ve enjoyed the most about SPN over the last few seasons is watching the evolution of Dean and Cas’ relationship. They have a great many things in common, and I was excited for Dean to get someone besides Sam that he could lean on and trust. One of the realities of being a hunter is that it tends to be a pretty solitary life. If you have a partner, they’re pretty much the only person if your life. Sure you meet people on the job, but you never get to stay. In the beginning, Sam had people other than Dean in his life because he (Sam) had walked away from hunting to go to school. For a time he had sustained friendships and of course a serious romantic relationship with Jessica. Of course, as he got back into the hunting life, he had to let those relationships go. But for a time, he had them. Dean has never really had anyone outside of Sam…until Cas. In Cas Dean found a kindred spirit in a manner of speaking. No, Cas isn’t human. But he and Dean both know what it is to follow orders and be a good soldier/son. They know what it is to feel the massive disappointment that results when your father lets you down. They know what it means to be confront with the choice to either continue following orders or follow your gut and do what feels right. They know what it is to suffer the consequences of making that decision. So for me, their friendship and subsequent brotherhood was inevitable. I was really kind of disappointed when TPTB decided to make Cas the Big Bad of S6, but I think it solidified Cas’ position as the newest Winchester. Of course, Cas lied to Dean and broke his heart in ways that few others can, but I think it it had just been that, Dean would’ve been able to forgive Cas relatively quickly. However, Cas did something much worse than that. He committed the greatest of all sins–he hurt Sam. For Dean, there’s really nothing worse than that. It was true to character for Dean to refuse to forgive Cas quickly. I think Dean does want to forgive Cas, but he’s going to need some time. And he’s going to need Cas to not be nuts. He needs to be able to talk to Cas about this, and he can’t do that while Cas is crazy. I’m interested to see how Purgatory helps, or hinders, the process for these two characters.

3. I hope the Boys’ relationship stays on solid footing. SPN works best when the focus of the story is Sam and Dean’s relationship. S4 is one of my favorites because even though a lot happened in that season, the real focus of the season was the crumbling relationship between Sam and Dean. The lying and omissions created a gulf between them that filled up with all of the things they needed to say, but wouldn’t. All of that suspicion, mistrust, disappointment, and anger culminated in Sam letting Lucifer out of the box. Well, that, and few other things that were out of their control. The point is, S4 and S5 couldn’t have happened without Sam and Dean. It wasn’t just that their relationship was central to the plot, THEY were central to the plot. S6 wasn’t that way. The brother relationship wasn’t central at all. Partly because we spent the first half of the season without Sam and partly because the main arcs of the season were happening completely independently of Sam and Dean’s journey. Sam and Dean could’ve been absent for the entirety of S6 and it wouldn’t have mattered plot wise. S7 did a much better job with the brother relationship (excluding that drummed up drama over the Amy killing) and S7 felt more like the SPN I know and love. I’m hoping that the writers remember how important it is for the heart of the show to be Sam and Dean’s relationship. I hope we don’t lose 7 years worth of character growth too. Jeremy Carver has always done a great job with the brothers’ relationship, and I have faith he’s going to do a good job this time around too. That’s not to say that I want Sam and Dean’s relationship to be the ONLY relationship we focus on. That would get really old really fast. I just think it needs to be the heart of the season.  Sam and Dean need to matter to the overall season arc.

4. I hope we get to repopulate the Winchester universe. One of my major complaints about the last few seasons (and I’ve mentioned this before) is how desolate the Winchester universe has become. TPTB seem to keep trying to remind us that hunting is dangerous, so they keep killing everyone. Seven seasons in, I’m pretty sure we’re all clear that hunting is dangerous. We get it. You don’t need to keep killing everyone the Winchesters meet to drive home that point. Colorful, recurring, supporting characters are necessary to a good story. Take Bobby for example. In addition to adding layers to Sam and Dean, Bobby added a great deal to the SPN universe as a whole. We got to spend time with him. We got to know him. We got to care about him. We got to see what he brought to the table. He was a fully realized character. Why? Because he didn’t get killed off after an episode or two. Sam and Dean need more ties to the world. They need more people that they care about. They need to have some investment in the world other than trying to save it simply because they don’t feel like they can do anything else. Supporting characters provide that and they also help to reveal more about the heroes. I want more Felicia Day and DJ Qualls. I want more regular, recurring guest stars that are going to add to the universe.

Well, that’s pretty much it. I, of course, always hope that we’ll get great writing and some good laughs thrown in. But the 4 things I mentioned above are the primary things I hoping for this season. What about you? What are your hopes for S8? I’m interested to hear some other ideas. That’s all for now friends. I’ll try to post and/or tweet things from the SPN Con in Dallas in two weeks too. So stay tuned for that. Until next time, peace, love, and joy to all. 🙂

How do you feel about angels?…

The necessity of angels to the SPN storyline is a point of division within the fandom. I’m well aware of this fact. I’m still going to tackle this subject though because, well, I can. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was overjoyed when I found out that season 4 was going to introduce angels. I thought ‘Finally! Sam and Dean can get some help from the good guys!’ Needless to say, I was supremely disappointed when the angels were revealed to be manipulative, petty, sadistic jerks. They’re worse than demons. Well, most of them are. Then there was Castiel. I can’t say that I liked Cas from the start, but he did grow on me. I liked the fact that he really tried to understand humans. Dean in particular. Most of the angels referred to humans using derogatory terms, but Cas referred to humans as works of art. Although he didn’t understand them, he still understood their uniqueness. Gabriel was another angel who understood the value of humans. He understood that although we’re not perfect, we generally try to do better and leave the world a better place than we found it. My hope was that all of the angels would be more like Cas and Gabriel. Alas, most of them were like Zachariah, Uriel, and Lucifer. They hated humans and took great delight in toying with them. Despite my general disappointment with the angels, I still believe they were an interesting addition to the SPN mythology. Especially when we found out that Sam and Dean were the vessels for Lucifer and Michael respectively. It shed a new light on John’s S2 statement about Dean having to kill Sam. The angel problem added layers to our heroes and made for some very interesting drama. Swan Song is still, in my opinion, one of the best hours of SPN they’ve ever done.

Then came…season 6. Sigh. Season 6 was a mess of dropped storylines, a non-cohesive story, a heavenly civil war that took place almost entirely off-screen, less than impressive monsters (with the exception of the Alpha Vamp), the creepy Campbell clan, and a Sam and Dean that were so far removed from the heart of the story that SPN became almost unrecognizable. There were a handful of good episodes (Frontierland and The Man Who Would Be King come to mind) but for the most part, season 6 was a hot mess. My opinion is and has always been that season 6 suffered so badly because of the angels. The fandom fell in love with Castiel and Misha Collins. And honestly, I can’t blame us. Castiel broke ranks and sacrificed everything for the Winchesters. In a world where the angels were causing nothing but pain and strife for the Boys, Castiel chose to stand with and fight for the Winchesters. His character added a great deal to the Winchester universe. Namely, the relationship that developed between Cas and Dean. Dean has never really had any real relationships outside of Sam and Bobby. It was important for him to have someone outside of them that he could confide in and trust. It makes sense that it was Cas since they were kindred souls, if you will. Dean and Cas have a great deal in common. They both were loyal to an absent father. They both blindly followed orders. They were both faced with a choice to either follow orders or do what they felt was right; they chose to do what they thought was right. They both made horrible decisions in the name of trying to do what they thought was right. They were both betrayed and/or disappointed in a big way by someone they loved.  Dean didn’t have very many people he could turn to who truly understood that and Cas didn’t have anyone but Dean. I have really enjoyed watching the evolution of Dean and Castiel’s relationship. Add to that the fact that Misha Collins is awesome. In addition to being a fantastic actor, Misha is hilarious, has great chemistry with Jensen and Jared, and he’s a really sweet guy. Understandably, TPTB wanted to keep him around. But his (and all the angels’) inclusion in the overall season 6 story marginalized Sam and Dean in a massive way. The story (such as it was) really could’ve happened without Sam and Dean at all. It was about halfway through season 6 that I thought to myself ‘why are the angels still here? They need to go.’

The angels were better used in season 7. They were hardly in the season. That is as it should be. The story was able to focus on Sam and Dean again. But I’m glad they aren’t gone entirely. The primary reason I’m glad they aren’t gone altogether is that Cas and Dean need to repair their relationship. Dean loves Cas which is why Cas’s betrayal hurt him so deeply. It was true to character for Dean not to forgive him right off. Cas committed the number 1 sin of hurting Sam, after all. I would’ve been disappointed if Dean had forgiven Cas quickly. But Dean wants to forgive Cas. And Cas wants to be forgiven. They took steps down that road at the end of season 7, but they still have a long way to go. I’m interested to see what effect their time in Purgatory will have on their relationship. Based on some of the things Jeremy Carver said at Comic Con, the angels are going to play a major role in season 8. My hope is that the angels as a whole aren’t too front and center, but I do hope we get to watch Dean and Cas rebuild what was broken.

Well, there you have it folks. A few of my thoughts on season 6 and a tiny bit of my thoughts on the angels. I’m keeping an open mind about season 8. I have faith that Jeremy Carver has something good in store for us. I’m encouraged by his comments at Comic Con that he’s got a plan for several more seasons. It’s such a relief to hear that the showrunner actually has a plan. Fingers crossed it’s a good plan. That’s all for now. Until next time: peace, love, and joy to all. 🙂