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Supernatural‘s Seventh Season Check-Up

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Supernatural’s seventh season is now well underway, and it’s provoked different reactions amongst its fans. AOL’s TV critic, Mo Ryan, wrote an essay of her concerns with the writing of this season. I have a very different feel for this season and what the show has offered me over the years. So, I decided to add to the conversation about the current quality of Supernatural’s writing.

Supernatural season sevenAs my review of “The Girl Next Door” and “Defending Your Life” showed, I’m enjoying the heck out of season seven. Not only do I not think Dean’s decision to kill the monster Amy or his drinking problem are out of character or poorly supported, I think Dean’s actions are the inevitable result of the last six seasons, particularly last season.

Dean’s character has always had difficulty handling grief and loss. He couldn’t talk about losing his father, he couldn’t talk about his guilt about hell and now he can’t talk about losing Castiel or his fear that he might lose Sam because he can’t help Sam fight his soul damage. He’s not talking about losing Lisa and Ben, either, and all this not talking is pushing him to the edge of his ability to cope. One of the most striking pieces of characterization I noticed in “Defending Your Life” is how exhausted Dean is. To my eyes, far from the Winchesters feeling simplistic, Ackles is conveying volumes about Dean’s state of mind.

The man is tired to his bones, existentially tired, and he’s losing the willingness to fight the pull of the bottle, something he’s always turned to, as his dad did before him. I think Dean’s condition has been building for seasons and this kind of story development is what I love about Supernatural. Everything that happens in the story matters.

Jensen Ackles as Dean WinchesterIt matters that Dean had no childhood because he was almost simultaneously made into both Sam’s caretaker and a hunter when he was very young. He’s always had less willingness to negotiate the grey areas than Sam, but then he’s always been afraid of disappointing his father in the two very different responsibilities he was given. Gray areas to Dean feel like failure, rather than offering hope the way they always have to Sam. The difference in the brothers’ attitudes has been there since season one and is important again this season.

Does that make Supernatural repetitive? Not to me. I think it points to character integrity and continuity. I would find it a cop out if the writers never dealt with Dean’s use of alcohol. I would find it lazy writing if he and Sam had exactly the same attitude toward killing monsters. I think it would be a waste of dramatic potential to never switch Dean and Sam’s usual roles, so that Sam worries about Dean’s psyche. I don’t think the switch means that Sam will have no repercussions from the broken wall in his mind. I do like he unexpectedly gained some strength from what didn’t kill him, despite all the warnings in season six.

One point I agree on with Ryan is that I watch for hope. I want the boys to find their way to a place they can find some happiness. They’ve gone through such despair and pain, they’ve earned it. But it has to be the end game for the series. They can’t find it too early. The journey is still underway and has always centered on what they need from each other to keep going. Solving that tension would take away much of what has successfully driven the show. Last season had some problems with diluting that focus.

Season six was controversial in many ways, and I had some issues with the structure. I think Sam and Dean and Castiel had separate story lines for too much of the time, and I had little interest in spending so much time with the Campbells. I would have much rather had Castiel’s story more grounded in Sam and Dean’s. Sam, Dean Castiel and Bobby are the characters I care most about, the ones I want to know more about.

I still think season six offered up a lot of goodies, particularly in what can now be set up for the boys. I think Sam had to finally face his worst fear of himself, because that plot bunny has had so much exploration over the seasons. I think Dean needed to take a chance on a different kind of life, so he could face he’ll never have a typical family, that his life with Ben and Lisa was doomed before Sam ever set foot back on earth. He’s been forged in a different fire and there’s no going back.

Season six brought some issues into the open so the boys can face some hard facts. There are some things they will never have. Being a Winchester is not something either brother can put down. However, I don’t take that to mean there is no hope for any happiness. I just think the happiness will look very different from what Sam and Dean have held onto as their ideals and the first step to recognizing that was to try for and lose the ideals.

This season, I am invested in Dean finding a way through his depression. I am invested in Sam finding a way through his inevitable anger to offering his brother help. And I’m invested in both of them getting the Leviathans back into purgatory. I don’t see a lack of stakes in defeating the Leviathans, though I do agree it is time to get another sense of their danger.

Misha Collins as CastielI’m also invested in Castiel. I adore the character, both as an individual and for what he brings to the brothers. I want to see how Dean handles not forgiving Cas when he asked at the end of season six. I want to see how Cas and Sam deal with each other now that they have such a history. And I just love the way Misha Collins brings this otherworldly character to life.

So, I have sympathy for anyone who is missing him this season. But I can see why the writers wanted to get him off the playing board for a while. The angel story line needed to end. It had come to a satisfying conclusion and the show has to to get back to a better mix of mythology and self-contained monster hunting episodes. Cas is too powerful simply to continue his role in the brothers’ lives, post-nonApocalypse.

Sam and Dean cannot have an angel on call whenever they need help. Cas would take the tension out of his episodes, because without the war in heaven, he has no obstacles to fight. He also needs to be temporarily out of the way so Sam and Dean can reforge their partnership after the schisms of season six. Their bond is the core of the show. I miss Cas, but I know why he’s gone.

That doesn’t mean he needs to stay gone. I have had little issue with the many deaths over the years. Supernatural’s world is a dark but rich one. No one is safe—we knew that when John died. Sad as those casualties have been, I would for example never take back the impact of Ellen and Jo’s deaths. Nor would I take away the knowledge that Cas’s version of an involved God was a vengeful Old Testament God, even though Balthazar was a victim of Cas’ hubris. The exploration of an absent God was an interesting story element for several seasons. But I do want Cas to return from the dead.

Unlike characters like Lucifer and Crowley, both of whom are excellent, I care about Castiel when he’s absent. I want to know he is safe. I want him to resolve his problems with Dean. I think it would be a mistake to permanently write out a character who resonates with so much of the audience. But I can wait for the writers to find a good way to re-introduce him, so he works with the angel-free story line and can play off both Sam and Dean.

Dean And JoMy acceptance of Castiel’s absence may be one reason I am appreciating the current season. I’m not resenting the story going on without him overtly being mentioned. Dean’s nightmares and drinking show me Cas has not been forgotten. I think this show’s history is to follow up on important elements, so I’m willing to sit back and trust the writers are going somewhere worthwhile. With scenes like the one between Dean and Jo in “Defending Your Life,” I think Supernatural still delivers the goods.

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About Gerry Weaver

  • Daisy

    This show definitely has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, the main characters and the most important secondary characters–I speak specifically of the Winchester brothers, Castiel, Bobby, Gabriel, Meg, Ellen and Jo (RIP), Crowley, Balthazar, and Lucifer–are incredibly well drawn and acted. This show could focus more on character development and the characters’ interactions, and it would be a winner. On the downside, the “supernatural” plot often sucks. For instance, last week’s episode was one of the worst ever. And yet, there are episodes like Changing Channels and Mystery Spot and Lazarus Rising and All Hell Breaks Loose Part I/II and Swan Song and The Man Who Would be King and Hello Cruel World. I wish it was always awesome. At least, Sam and Dean are always awesome, even if the episode’s plot sucks……

  • Laurian

    I must say, i very much agree with what you have said. Dean is totally at the end of his teather, he has had enough, while Sam seems to be somewhat rejuvinated. I have a feeling it may all come crashing down at some point, but for now the upswing in Sam’s personality is a refreshing counterpart to Dean’s deepening depression. I also think it was time for Cas to go, no matter how good the character was. I am really enjoying the season, and am looking forward to seeing its direction.

  • Gerry

    Daisy and Laurian, hi! Thanks for reading and your thoughtful comments.

    Daisy, I think you have a point about what is consistently good about Supernatural: the characters. I’m actually loving the interactions this season, so I think the balance there is good. Sam trying not to badger Dean while knowing his brother is hiding something, Dean showing a level of exhaustion he’s never had before while pretending he’s fine to Sam–I think it’s all leading somewhere and is true to what the characters have gone through.

    The specific episode plots aren’t all equally successful, but I think the show tries for and often hits a variety of tones. Supernatural can be funny, scary, gory, moving–and the best eps hit all of them together. I’m with you on hoping we get a high percentage of eps that hit the combination.

    Laurian, I agree–it’s such a departure for Dean to find it hard to get the energy to finish up a case–and since it was finishing up a case that led to his decision to kill Amy, I think the exhaustion is much more than physical. Dean will have to face Sam or he won’t be able to function.

    I miss Cas very much, but I know he has to find a different reason for being in the show. Something has to constrain his ability to help the Winchesters on demand.

    On the other hand, there also have to be characters the brothers and we care about. On a show where supporting characters fall like flies, the writers have to keep a few to develop interesting relationships with the boys. Bobby is a father figure, he can’t hit every note.

  • You and I are very much on the same page when it comes to our enjoyment of this season. I’ve been loving it and have been surprised by much of the criticism I’ve read.

    I’m not convinced, however, it will be easy to have Cas continue on as a supporting or even part-time character. It’s not that I hate the character, because I truly don’t. But you hit the nail on the head when you said having him in an ep automatically lessens the tension–we’ve seen way too many last minute saves of the Winchesters by Cas’ intervention. When you know he’s there, basically at their beck and call, it certainly doesn’t make you fear for Sam and Dean’s safety.

    There’s no purpose for a holy angel to hang out with a couple of mortals, not even ones he cares for. We’ve done the heavenly story–twice. I honestly don’t believe there’s much more for us to explore there. So while I feel for those fans who miss him, I’m not among them.

    Thanks for your thoughtful commentary.

  • debbiel

    Excellent analysis of a season that I am very much enjoying. I agree, especially, with Dean’s weariness and the fact that this show has enormous continuity and never gives us any easy answers. I am definitely hoping we have not seen the end of Sam’s wall – that seems way TOO easy – but everything else has seemed almost new and refreshing. It’s been way too long since we saw Sam and Dean not angry with each other.

    I hope either you or someone else will link this review over at Ryan’s article, just as a counter-balance.

  • Louisa

    WRT dei ex machinas, when the show wants one it’ll magic one up, like it did with Bobby’s amazing photocopied library (and surprise, surprise, he’s still just a phonecall away) and the witches who can suddenly incapacitate leviathans. At this rate, Cas could have stayed but they could have had his powers not work against leviathans. And at least then the exhausted “just the brothers bickering” dynamic wouldn’t be driving more viewers away than it is keeping them around.

  • Gerry

    Hi Ancasta, I’m glad you are enjoying the season, too. On the Castiel question, I agree that he can’t be an angel on call. But I think he serves the purpose of a meaningful Winchester relationship as well, and that can’t be easily replaced. I miss him, I just want him to find a new dynamic with the boys. And it won’t be easy, because, well, he’s an angel.

    Debbiel, thanks so much. I too am enjoying the brothers trying to take care of each other, despite not really knowing how. And yeah, I agree that I hope we haven’t seen the end of Sam’s wall. I’m not worried, though–I’m pretty sure we haven’t. What I love is that even though Sam does have the predicted damage, he got some unpredicted strength from surviving the initial tear down. I think Sam and Dean will end up needing their strength this season.

    Hi Louisa, thanks for commenting. I am a Cas fan, too, and I understand about missing him. I have an ear cocked every episode for mentions, hints, whatever of him.

    I think you have a valid point about the writers needing to figure out how Sam and Dean will take down their enemies, rather than rely on guest stars all the time. I didn’t mind Don helping, because James Marsters was an awesome guest star, but it can’t be a habit.

    However, I still think the writers have to remove Cas from the gameboard long enough to allow some resetting of how he functions and how Sam and Dean function as a pair.

    You probably picked up that I don’t find Sam and Dean’s relationship exhausted :-). I don’t imagine the focus on the Winchesters’ relationship is going away, as they are the core of the show. Also, the viewers this season are holding steady. The numbers are pretty well the same, week to week, and they’re good enough for renewal.

  • trackerem

    i totally agree! i didn’t love this ep, i enjoyed it though. dean is totally being who dean is, someone who murders things for a profession.i also things need to come to a head so to speak. loving the season!

  • Sheri

    This is the best analysis I have read about S7. I agree with everything, except Cas returning. I liked Cas okay; S4 scary angel especially; S5 comic Cas just okay, but I did enjoy the relationship between Cas and Dean; S6 brother Winchester, not at all. Sam became the mute third brother whenever Cas was in the scenes. So, yeah, I’m done with the all things angel. I would like, however, for the (male, please) hunter community to be expanded and think killing Rufus was a very big mistake because of that (Ellen, too, but not Jo). He was a fun character that didn’t take over the show…a human that actually helped in the hunt.

    Thanks for a thoughtful review. Sam and Dean do need to get back to functioning as a team. I’m ready to get back to the Levi, which I find an interesting storyline if it is executed properly.

  • tina

    I have lie the Leviathans. But we will have to disagree about how they are writing Sam.and there idea of his hell . But I hve learnt not to get too invested in Sams sls . I have had very little problem with Dean and think it is be handled while not peretly it hasnt been terrible either .

    Overall I have enjoyed season 7

  • Percysowner

    I too think Castiel has reached sell by date in the Supernatural universe. I don’t see how the friendship can come back after destroying Sam’s wall. Even the fact that Sam is coping doesn’t change the fact that Castiel WANTED to break Sam permanently and believed he was breaking Sam permanently. I also agree with Sherri that the scenes with Castiel turned Sam into wallpaper once Sam got his soul back.

    I would like some additional recurring characters to broaden the world, just not Castiel. Other than that, I agree with your column

  • trackerem

    love this! i agree totally! thanks for the articulation!

  • kelios

    I agree with most of what you said, except I have zero interest in Cas or his storyline and I would have loved more input about the Campbells. They are a part of Sam and Dean’s history and could have made fantastic allies–much less overpowering than Castiel or the other angels and more interesting for being human. The angel storyline is over and I for one would like it to stay that way.

  • Ingrid

    “might lose Sam because he can’t help Sam fight his soul damage”

    He sure can, since Dean has gone through the same thing. It’s easy to forget Dean’s been to hell also, since Gamble seems to want the fans to forget, but the fact is that Dean has gone through hell and his soul was damaged, more than Sam’s, because Dena started to become what he hated the most. So if anyone can help Sam, it certainly is Dean.

    Also, Cas and Dean have a bond that Sam can never share, and I wish the show would explore that, instead of continuing to give to Sam what was Dean’s and giving Dean nothing in return.

  • Gerry, thank you so much for your article. I was like FINALLY, a critic gets it!

    Dean feels crap about everything — from friends’ deaths to not being able to save everyone — there is always something eating in him, that’s him. When something bad happened, he feels responsible, it’s always his bad. If Amy Pond kills again, it’s on him. If Sam goes dark side, it’s on him. The Hero syndrome. Dean is a hero.

    Love your stuff!


  • Diane

    I loved this analysis! It hit on almost everything I’ve been thinking. The buildup of whatever is happening with Dean has kept me intrigued and I cannot wait to see the outcome and resolution. Sam’s wall is there, we at least get reminded of it, so I’m looking forward to that outcome as well. I also loved Castiel but realized it was necessary for him not to be on call 24/7. Thanks!

  • Gerry – Thank you so much for this positive and insightful look at Season 7. I have been pretty frustrated and saddened by what I’ve read from other bloggers and fans of the show about this season so far. There has been so much negativity and (what I believe to be) unfair judgement. I truly believe that this is a show about two brothers and how they live with each other in the world they were born into. I love all of the satelite characters but to me Sam and Dean are the core and as long as that is working the show is extraordinary. Dean’s struggle this year has been both painful and wonderful to watch and I love the surprise of Sam’s strength. I really can’t wait to see what happens next. Thanks again for a fantastic article. I hope you are able to change some doubting and discouraged minds.

  • Susie

    Thanks so much for an articulate, even-handed analysis emphasizing mostly what is so positive about this wonderful show, Gerry. I have loved every season and am completely incredulous at the negativity that seems to permeate so many blogs. I rarely read any comments online anymore. They make me sad and angry. But I followed a link to your article trusting when it said it was a positive blog. I wasn’t disappointed.

  • JessK

    Must admit, I’m curious to know what a supporter of this drivel would have to say about the most recent episode, in which attempted rape is apparently hilarious and fangirls are clearly ugly, psychotic losers?

    Never mind the character assassinations, the excusing of Dean’s cold-blooded murder of Amy (and threats to an as yet innocent child – anyone else having Jump the Shark flashbacks?) with a handwave-y apology from Sam, the never-ending hypocrisy, the utter incapability of the show to maintain continuity or conclude storylines in a satisfactory manner (so Cas died – that’s not going to make the entirety of S6 go away, are we supposed to believe the angels are just sitting on their hands waiting for someone else to take charge now?) now we have whole new extremes of misogyny and rape jokes to deal with.

    Frankly, this show has issues far beyond the abysmal writing that has plagued it since S5. Far too long have I ignored the misogyny and the race!fail because I liked the main characters. With the Winchesters and Castiel, I cared too much about them to not watch the show. Then when I started to dislike where the Winchesters were headed, I continued to tune in because I loved Castiel and many of the guest stars (Marksha, Mark Sheppard, Richard Speight Jr, to name but a few). I endured the poor writing for their sakes, but with Crowley now the sole survivor of what was once the best supporting cast on tv, there is just not enough reason left for me to stay. I lost faith in the writers around about 5.22, but their recent idiocy has made me lose what little hope I had that they might someday regain their old standards. Sadly, this article was not enough to restore it.

  • Trishy

    Perfect. Just perfect. Thank you, you have written all the things I have been thinking and couldn’t properly verbalise. I have so much faith in Sera Gamble, all of the writers and the whole cast and crew of this show. I will continue traveling with them wherever they want to take me and I will continue to thoroughly enjoy the ride.

  • JessK

    Also wished to point out: Castiel did not have to be so callously dismissed and forgotten in order for him to be removed from the board.

    Castiel won his war. By ultimately unscrupulous means, but as amply demonstrated in 6.20, he had little choice. He could have returned to Heaven to take care of everything up there and warned Sam and Dean he wouldn’t/couldn’t return until he could be sure everything was in order and there was absolutely no risk of angels trying to set Michael and Lucifer free. Presto: one vanished angel, isolated Winchesters, no questions over what Heaven is doing in all this (we saw Crowley approach the Leviathans, why haven’t any angels tried to ally with/stop them?) Cas-haters thrilled that he’s off-screen, Cas fans thrilled he’s alive and well and the door is open for a potential reappearance someday.

  • skepticalinquirer

    Misha Collins is guesting on Ringer and has basically said he has NOT been contacted about being on the show again. So please stop repeating the idea because it’s not going to happen.

    As for Castiel being too helpful, I nominate Bobby as being too helpful if anything. Bobby is even more of a crutch than Castiel ever was.

    As for any progress, I’ve seen people boast how happy they are how mired in despair and unable to change the brothers are and think that it’s some cool artistic statement. Sadly, I think Sera is one of them.

  • Jilly

    I absolutely agree with everything you’ve said. I’ve always been fascinated by the nuances of the brother relationship – the ebb and flow is one of the main reasons I’m still completely hooked after more than 6 seasons. There have been episodes I haven’t liked as much as others, but there’s always something to like.
    I too am relieved that the angel storyline has come to an end, for precisely the same reasons you’ve given.
    I appreciate your positivity – I think many fans of the show are so passionately involved (not a bad thing at all) that they forget to just sit back and enjoy the show, (I know I’ve been guilty of that from time to time) and the negativity creeps in.

  • Annie

    Interesting analysis. I agree with some parts bit not with everything.
    I don’t get how there should be a chance to happiness but in the same time Dean has to face he won’t never have a real family. I think what Dean had with Lisa and Ben was a real family and the only thing that ruined it was the fact Dean didn’t know about Sam’s come back.
    As for Cas, I think getting rid of him was a big mistake. He doesn’t need to be explored as an angel but as a friend. Dean has to have someone outside of Sam to be friends with. Right now they’re setting up Dean to open up about his problems but to whom he has to open up? To Sam? After s4 fiasco? Who will believe in it?

  • geordiegirl1967

    Great article, but I needed no convincing. I am loving s7. I liked Cas, but I don’t miss him at all. I am loving the focus back on the brothers.

    Laura Prudolm (AOL) has tweeted a link to this article which is how I found it. I am pleased she did because she and Mo Ryan have been critical this season and have been portraying their disquiet as if it is a generally held view. I think this is misrepresenting the fandom, and have been finding it increasingly frustrating.

    I think most are loving this season.

  • bjxmas

    Thank you for this well thought out and hopeful article. I totally agree, the writers and the actors are still telling an amazing story, one layered and full of silent tells. I love that every season of Supernatural feels different and yet it remains true to its core elements. I have loved every season, for different reasons, and each season has brought us some brilliant episodes!

    No other show or characters have so completely owned my soul and ignited my passion. The changes Sam and Dean have shown are the natural progression of their lives, and are consistent with what we learned about them in S1. They are now richer characters, weighed down further by all their trials. I can’t wait to see what lies down the road for them. They and the writers can never go back, the Winchesters must journey onward growing and evolving.

    I like that not-knowing, love that each new episode could veer into comedy or heavy drama or ricochet between both in the span of an hour. What I do know is it will always be entertaining and I’ll always come away with those special moments that reveal a little more of the men we’ve come to love.

    I too miss Cas and await his return, but just as when John or so many others died, his passing left an imprint on the boys. It is true, Dean has always had trouble dealing with loss and talking about his psychic wounds. His bond with Cas was epic and the loss is obviously wearing on him. Seeing how Jensen Ackles portrays that is mesmerizing. I cannot wait to see how he comes to terms with that loss.

    Thank you for voicing what so many of us feel. Sometimes the negativity and the feeling that fans want to dictate the direction of the show becomes so frustrating because it is simply a very vocal segment of the fanbase. I will always love and support Supernatural and its writers, they do a great job and give Jensen and Jared so much awesome material.

    Now, if only we could get Baby back for Dean, then he would be in good shape to really tackle his demons.

    Thanks again, B.J.

  • cem

    I applaud your positive outlook. Sadly, I no longer have the same. I’m going to have to disagree with the majority of your points.

    Sam and Dean have had seven season to get their act together and each time strides are made in that direction, there’s another setback, another lie or action that puts them back at square one. The writers are going to play their relationship the same as always: a source of cheap angst.

    The angel storyline was dropped as quickly as possible to make way for MotW. What? Are they just going to chill out in heaven? I’m guessing the ones that are left are the ones that followed Castiel, and if so, they fought for free will. So why aren’t they using it? What happens when they do? For good or bad, they’re still there but apparently forgotten.

    And since when was Castiel a storyline that needed to end? Last I heard he was family. Last I heard family didn’t end with blood. I know he made some heinous mistakes, it was heartbreaking to see him make them, but I would have liked for him to get the chance to make up for it. Even if they never forgave him, I wanted a chance.

    His ‘death’ was one of the most shoddy, underwhelming moments of television I’ve ever witnessed. It lacked any emotional payoff, no punch, no redemption. And for an event that was supposed to be the season kickoff, I think that’s pretty telling of where we’re going.

    I’m glad that people like this season but I’m not one of them. Maybe it’s a slow build towards something better but I don’t trust the writers. I don’t care for the direction or the plot or the season one vibe. I think I’ll step back for the rest of the season, maybe it’ll make sense at the end.

  • stacey

    Thank you. I’ve been trying to articulate exactly what you just said. It hasn’t come out right every single time I say something. Sometimes it comes out like miss suzie sunshine, and other times it comes out sounding like I don’t like the current direction. SIGH. Yes. This is exactly what I’m thinking about this season! Go you! Good writing!

  • Judy

    I too am enjoying this season. I find it very frustrating to find any positive thoughts on this season. I am glad that I found them though. I know there is a lot of anger about Castiel and I that is becoming the loudest voice, that I am starting to resent him. I don’t want to resent Castiel, but the people going on about as if he was the most important character on the show has been annoying to say the least. The fact that I finally found a review that states they understand why Castiel had to go, is refreshing.

  • muse

    I agree with skepticalinqurier. I do not believe Castiel is coming back, nor were there ever plans for him to return.

    I think Gamble has been lying through her teeth on that issue and I actually feel bad for the people who still believe anything this showrunner says because they are going to be disappointed. Or maybe not, since it seems for some people, the show can do no wrong regardless of how many times it blatantly deceives or skewers its fans.

    I also feel that loving this season really is contingent on being primarily a Sam fan of the kind of fan that is prefers Dean’s role to only be that of a foil to Sam.

    The set up is that Sam has suffered more than anyone ever and yet is so much stronger than his pathetic, needy brother who has to turn to alcohol and is too stubborn to take all the help being offered to him. When said-help is not off sulking somewhere because he didn’t get his way, of course.

    And of course, that help was never forthcoming when Dean was actually suffering PTSD after he was first resurrected, but I don’t think we’re supposed to remember Dean actually went to Hell in the first place. I highly doubt there will be any acknowledgement of how much support Sam has always had compared to Dean, no matter how horribly Sam betrays his brother.

    Regardless, I could get behind them finally dealing with Dean’s PTSD if it didn’t feel like the only reason Dean is suddenly on this alcoholic downward spiral now is to show the contrast with Sam’s so-called strength.

    I am also sick of Dean having to learn the lesson of how much stronger and better Sam is, only to have that lesson stripped away when it is time for Sam to become the woobie that everyone must worry and fuss over. Is it any wonder Dean doesn’t believe he can leave Sam to his own devices when the guy can’t even go camping without being roofied or losing his soul or hooking up with a demon/monster.

    Dean gave a nice speech at the end of this episode but it rang pretty hollow to anyone who knows how this show works and knows that Sam’s hallucinations will be back in a big way for sweeps and Dean will once again be stuck taking care of Sam, just like he was this past episode. At least Sam, for once, acknowledged that having Dean around once in a while was actually of some use rather than acting like he can barely tolerate his brother, which was his default mode for this entire season even before the Amy mess.

    I am also deeply repulsed by the idea that Sam does not feel any guilt for his actions from season 6. His actions as soulless Sam led to the reason why Dean decided he could never have a normal family and Sam has never, ever even acknowledged that, let alone apologized for it. So all this malarkey and screeching about betrayal because Dean killed his former crush just makes Sam look like the most self-absorbed hypocrite on TV.

    So far, this season feels like it has no focus and very little heart or fun. I do not count the insulting caricature that is Becky Rosen, as fun.

    I feel like everyone is just going through the motions and it is clear that Jim Beaver’s role has been beefed up to give the Js more time off. Which is fine, except Gamble claimed this season was about getting back to the just the brothers which is why Cas had to go. Yet I feel like Bobby and the guest stars are being given more airtime than the boys, which makes yet another lie of these claims.

  • Mark

    I disagree.
    This season is killing everything I enjoyed about the show. Sam and Dean turned into characters I can no longer sympathize with; they used to try and protect people, now they turn they backs on their own friends and family. I find the brothers new-found hypocrisy stomach-turning, the lack of coherent storyline utterly boring, and the moral message of the show profoundly disturbing.
    The show claims to have returned to its roots – but whoever has the audacity to say it needs to re-watch early seasons paying attention to things other than the main leads perky backsides and soulful puppy eyes.

  • skepticalinquirer

    I’m pretty sick of forcing Dean to be “all about Sam” since Sam is pretty much “all about Sam” as well. Why should I care about a duo that only cares about itself whether it’s because everybody else is dead or its own inclination?

    The problem with trying to return its beginning or its “roots” is that you can’t go home again and I sure as heck would never have started watching if I thought Dean would still be stuck in the same position as he started with except he’s now Sam’s tin soldier instead of being his own man with people respecting him as a man in and of himself. I sure as heck didn’t expect the show to continue pimping the idea that Dean never having anything of his own and still being considered a moron by 99% of the people in that universe being the end all be all of this series.

  • kerinda

    I like season 7 but what I do not like and what I am hating is dean and that is I killed a woman that had a kid ok an that kid seen happen ok can you guys get how heartless that is. The cry me a river dean is is really making me mad at this show. I think the sam thing is ok but I kind like what? about I am waiting for something big to happen at the end of the season with that. OK so I was reading that someone said something about deans time is hell vs sams time there you are so wrong about it dean time was 4 month thats like 40 years or something and he came kind of ok sam soul has been in there a year and a half so how many month is get it right ok that was far worst ever. I do not miss cas at all and that all I have to say about that.

  • Maria

    “Castiel WANTED to break Sam permanently and believed he was breaking Sam permanently.”

    That’s not true, percysowner. At the point Castiel broke Sam’s wall he intended fixing Sam. He didn’t because the souls corrupted him.

    “the scenes with Castiel turned Sam into wallpaper once Sam got his soul back.”

    That’s nothing to do with Castiel as a character. It’s more to do with the fact Collins is a far better actor than Padalecki and his chemistry with Ackles knocked everyone else off the screen. Most producers would kill for that kind of chemistry. It’s madness that Gamble’s pro-Sam agenda blinded her to the fact losing Collins would – and most definitely has – damaged the show’s ratings.

  • Cindy

    I loved Cas as Dean’s angel and no matter what reason Sera Gamble gave, I think they got rid of him because he was too much of a threat to the Dean/Sam dynamic. There was no reason that they couldn’t have de-powered him and kept him around as a recurring character, IMO. I’m okay with ths season because so far it seems that they are finally exploring all that hurt, anger, and guilt Dean has kept pushing down inside himself for most of his life. I hope they’re not done with it yet because I’m dreading Sam’s worst hell ever coming back. I hate that it swallowed up every other storyline on the show last season and I hate that these writers have tried to make one brother’s hell seem worse than the other’s(how disrespectful of Dean’s pain) and I’m dreading it coming back because it will probably make Sam the big hero of the big story again and they will push Dean to the side when it comes to the big story again as they did at the end of S5 with the demon blood addiction making Sam the one to be the center of all the attention and action. I hated that so much and I’m worried that they will do this again and I really can’t help feeling what I feel and what I feel is that the show lost it’s sense of balance as regards the brother’s importance to the big story after it seemed like they had just found it in S4. I think Dean should be of more importance to the big story than just having him be there to care for and about Sam; and I hope Dean’s current storyline in S7 will lead into giving him that in the second half. They can do whatever the heck they want with Sam’s hell pain, if they would just let Dean have the same type of importance to the big story that Sam has had in them in the last two season finales.

  • Louise

    “I think most are loving this season.”
    I disagree and I don’t think it’s appropriate to speak for others.
    I’m seeing many people- bloggers, critics and normally positive fans-expressing many serious and valid concerns about the quality of the writing since Gamble took over from Kripke. I think as a whole the discontent has grown large enough the showrunners would do well to heed it.

    “…the scenes with Castiel turned Sam into wallpaper once Sam got his soul back.”
    I think that would be Padalecki’s fault for not having enough screen presence to hold his own with the superior actors he works with, and Collins should not be held responsible for Padalecki’s shortcomings.

  • skepticalinquirer

    If Castiel turned Sam into wallpaper then maybe they should’ve stuck with Castiel rather than Sam because giving people an overdose of wallpaper guy isn’t helping the show.

    I also resent that the show apparently convinced viewers that Dean killing a monster that ate people to be a capital crime when killing monsters to keep them from eating people is what they DO, both of them.

  • Amy

    Thanks so much for writing this. I’ve been deeply disturbed by some of the criticism this season has been receiving and by what I see as a fundamental lack of understanding of the journey of these characters. You have hit the nail on the head in relation to the honesty and consistency in the depiction of Sam and Dean Winchester and that this is not repetition but character integrity. This season, the struggle for both brothers to find their place, individually and as the duo they have always been is compelling. Their journey has always been compelling and this has not lessened with the seasons but only increased in intensity. Thank you so much for sharing your well thought out and balanced view.

  • Van

    I am not hating season seven, although I do feel a few of the latest eps have been a little weak. I for one find the Campbells’ a skeevy bunch, and hope we will waste no more time on them. After Grandpa asked Dean what exactly they were supposed to mean to him, (well, gee, Gramps, we are your GRANDCHILDREN, for f–k’s sake! Why doesn’t that matter to you?!) And I frankly found all of season six with Dean’s mock family a strict bore. Dean is a weary character, as he should be by now, with so much loss behind him, and both brothers’ are undoubetedly suffering post traumatic stress from what they have both been through. I know the male fans consider that kind of statement girly and over-analyzing, but apparently the writers do not, and that is actually half-decent thinking on their part. These boy both have so much on their plate, it’s time the strain started to show a litle. I would love a twist like finding out one or both of the Boys was actually a possessed vessel. I am an older fan, with a life, and do not engage in the analysis of every frame of the show for secret clues. I just hope the show ends well, in the next season or two. And while i do miss Misha Collins, you make an excellent point in the above article about his becoming an anti-catalyst for forward drama in the storyline. I do think he could successfully be brought back as a “Man without a country” type, excomunicated from Heaven, but not damned to Hell as long as he works with the brothers, sans most of his angelic powers. Anyhow, keep up the good reviews!

  • Gerry

    Thank you all for your comments! I really enjoy all the analysis from all sides.

    I’m enjoying the season very much. The killing of Amy was meant to be a shocking moment, but to me, it fits in very well with what we’ve always known about the Winchesters: they hunt monsters.

    The writers took a chance and showed us a hunt from the monster’s point of view. Amy was a sympathetic monster–but all the monsters over the seasons have had a point of view. Everyone is the hero of his own story.

    To me, the fact remains that she was on a killing spree because her son needed fresh kill to be healthy. Carrion is not their natural diet. The next time the son was sick, Amy would be hunting again. I know I wouldn’t want to live next door to them during flu season. I wouldn’t allow my kid to be fed to Amy’s kid so he could be healthy. Dean was doing what had to be done.

    The real issue was the lie and that’s what’s playing out now between the boys.

    We’ll see what happens with Castiel. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a return for him of some kind, especially now that Crowley has re-entered the story.

  • Jennifer

    I love this show. That being said, what is going on with season seven? I was worried when Kripke left but they really pulled off an amazing sixth season, so what’s happened?
    Is it the new brighter lighting? The crappy generic music? I was never a big fan of Led Zepplin and AC/DC but I’ve come to love the origionallity and yes, even the music. Is it the “going-no-where” plot lines? I want my supernatural back. Not this crappy toned down version.

  • tom

    Supernatural season 7 is disappointing. It sucks a**. Its so horrible. Im movin on

  • Gerry

    Sorry you feel that way. I’m enjoying the emotional exploration the writers are doing this year with Sam and Dean. Season seven hasn’t been perfect, but no season was. Perfection is hard to achieve.

    Different strokes for different folks! Some people hated season six, yet Jennifer really liked it. I think the Leviathan arc will unfold over two seasons and this season has been more about Sam vs Sam and Dean vs Dean. I love that this show explores the consequences of living their life.

    That said, there have been a couple of dud episodes (Time for a Wedding didn’t work, for example) and the story lines have been a bit abrupt in how they weave in and out of the show. The actual story lines themselves, though, for me have been excellent.