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TV Review: ‘Supernatural’ – ‘Devil May Care’

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I’m so delighted with Supernatural right now, I’m doing the happy dance. Considering my reservations last season, I’ve been cautiously enjoying season nine, but with “Devil May Care,” I’m throwing caution to the winds. Season nine is firing on all cylinders and it’s only two episodes in. Mr. Dabb, you are officially chained to the Supernatural writing room. I don’t want to hear any nonsense about leaving to do a spin off. We need you.

“Devil May Care” continues to set up the character arcs and season themes introduced last week, and it does so while weaving together the various stories seamlessly. This episode had none of the jerkiness found in the premiere. Every scene fit and the story flowed. That may be in part because the story had fewer locations, tones and paces to juggle, as Castiel did not appear this week.

This episode focused on revealing different characters’ needs and how they satisfy them. Abbadon wants to be Queen of Hell and quickly organizes a ruthless army to stage a coup. Crowley wants to keep his crown and launches his long game as he uses words to ensnare, torture and manipulate Kevin. Kevin wants his family back. Dean wants to believe his continuing lies to his brother are the right thing and Ezekiel wants to protect Sam.

Sam fights for his life.Sam remains the wild card. Sam’s needs have been all over the place since the beginning of last season. In the Amelia arc, he told Dean he just wanted to leave hunting and live the normal life he tried to have at Stanford. In “Trial and Error,” he told his brother he wanted to show him how to live with hope. In “The Great Escapist,” he was in tears at the thought of being cleansed of the taint of demon blood, and in “Sacrifice,” he thought he was so flawed he deserved to die.

Sam has layers he even hides from himself, and I think those hidden truths are going to prove very important when the brothers finally have to deal with the possession consent issue. Last episode, Sam’s processing of his impending death led him to decide he was ready to move on from his life.

The upside of his talk with Death, whether real or imagined or a little of both, was he was finally allowed himself to hear that he has done enough good to be proud of who he is. That’s huge for Sam. The downside is he didn’t see a way to live with that knowledge.

Given that just hours earlier he felt he didn’t deserve to live, I can’t help but wonder if Sam’s distorted thinking had really disappeared when he said he was ready to die. And if it hadn’t, if he wasn’t really in that calm place of acceptance he projected, then the issue of consent is especially murky and problematic.

No one would argue in the normal course of things, Sam should be the one to make decisions about accepting possession. Indeed, it’s built into the process that angels need consent. But there are very few black and white issues. If Sam’s death wish was actually based on his emotional damage and guilt, then did Dean have the right to overrule his distorted thinking and save his life? The bar for an involuntary hold is the patient must be a danger to others or to himself. Clearly, Sam was a danger to himself—but why is key to this exploration of consent.

Ezekiel tells Dean Sam knows his brother talked him out of dying to complete the trials because he loves Sam. And that’s something Dean needs to hear. But Sam reveals something even more important: he so appreciates being surrounded by family and friends, he’s happier than he can remember being in a very long time—perhaps ever. He’s happier than he was with Amelia, perhaps because he hasn’t had to run away from anything or deny who he is.

I think it’s clear Ezekiel’s possession has something to do with Sam’s happiness. Is he in some metaphysical way drugging Sam, so this happiness is not organic? Or is he healing Sam from the inside out not only physically but also emotionally? If so, does that impact the enormity of Dean’s manipulation of his brother? If we had a beloved family member damaged to the point of wanting to die, would we take the chance to heal him or her from the inside?

I don’t think the situation will resolve into an easy answer. Lack of consent is a huge issue and Sam will feel betrayed. Dean is already uneasy and knows he should be talking things over with Sam, not Ezekiel. The situation is complex and therefore very interesting.

Kevin confronts CrowleyThe supporting players’ needs and dilemmas are also interesting. Crowley’s scene with Kevin recalls Ben Edlund’s “On the Head of a Pin” in all the right ways. Supernatural’s villains work best when they have a personal relationship with the Winchesters or their allies, so their scenes are layered with different power differentials. In Edlund’s episode, Dean tortured Alastair for knowledge and was devastated by what he learned.

In “Devil May Care,” Kevin responds to Crowley’s verbal prods by grabbing the nearest blunt instrument to vent his hurt and rage. Crowley then takes those emotions and tries to manipulate Kevin into distrusting Sam and Dean, arguing that the Winchesters use people until they have no further value and then abandon them, usually to their death.

It’s true that Winchester allies tend not to live long lives and it’s also true Dean was prepared to kill Mrs. Tran in order to kill Crowley. Kevin is tired and grieving his mother’s death. He wants his family back. Fortunately, he’s not prepared to release his tormenter, but he does pack up his backpack and head determinedly for the door, just as Dean tracks him down.

The scene between the two of them is very moving, as Dean tells Kevin he has to face he has lost his mother, but he’s not alone. Dean has the same need for family, and as far as he’s concerned Kevin is family, someone he will die to protect. Kevin finally gets a look past the gruff and tough warrior to see the man whose ability to love helped stop the Apocalypse. And that’s enough to persuade him to stay.

Last year, I felt Dean’s writing was unbalanced in the second half of the season. He had the love and support for his brother I expected, but somehow those emotions came at the expense of his agency in the story. But this episode got the balance right.

Dean’s love and desire to protect are clearly in view, but so are his leadership and hunting skills. This Dean is not cheering Sam on from the sidelines. He’s on the battlefield, juggling hunting goals with relationship issues, spitting insults at Abbadon, but also opening up to Kevin. This Dean is dynamic.

Abbadon and DeanSpeaking of Abbadon and Dean, their scene together almost melted the screen. The demon knight is riveting as she purrs into Dean’s ear how much she wants his body, caressing his hair as she details the terrible things she will make him do. Dean dishes out his usual give ‘em hell attitude, but the demon holds the upper hand until Ezekiel makes his entrance. I know this scene left me wanting more, just as EzekielSam leaves me wanting more.

The whole episode left me wanting more. Thank you, Andrew Dabb. Thank you, Jeremy Carver, for taking what worked last season and fixing what didn’t.

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About Gerry Weaver

  • Ginger

    100% agree with everything you’ve brought up. After another year of what was done to Dean last year, I had decided just to quit the show, but at the last minute, decided to buy in for one episode. I liked what Carver did with both Sam and Dean in the premiere, so gave it another chance. Giving Dean agency, dropping the apron and making him a top-shelf hunter has me hooked. I’ve also waited a long time hoping to like Sam again. I like this Sam. I’m in…unless they pick that apron up off the floor again.
    God, that Abaddon/Dean scene! That was one of the best sexy scenes I’ve seen on TV. I want more of those two….and Zeke’s wings…loved that.
    Kudos to Carver, Guy Bee, and Serge. The story is good, the shots were great, and Serge’s lighting was awesome. In fact, the whole production crew continues to deliver every week. Go Team Supernatural.
    And hasn’t JA’s performances been top notch in these two episodes? You can absolutely ‘see’ what Dean is feeling just by JA’s facial expressions and body language. Oh, and I want to see more Tahmoh Penikett, too.

    • Gerry

      Hi Ginger! Yes, I totally agree. Jensen Ackles has been in fine form, conveying Dean’s combined guilt and relief subtly but unmistakeably. His shoulders have spoken volumes. Jared has also been nailing Ezekiel, so no wonder the show feels so rich.

      And another yes to the Abbadon/Dean scene! I love how she took Dean’s sarcasm and turned it on him, playing with his hair, caressing his chest – all while being so very very bad. This is how a femme fatale should be written.

      I know what you mean about the apron–although I had no issue at all with Dean nesting or cooking as a character trait. I think he cooked for Sam when they were growing up and he is used to creating a sense of home for his brother. We saw that in Supernatural Christmas. That’s part of who he is.

      But when the writing constrained his role to only that for half a season, that didn’t feel like good writing to me. Dean is also a leader and a warrior–the pull between his differing traits and skill sets are part of his personal arc, and I’m glad to see dynamic Dean back.

      • Ginger

        An interesting point about Sam/Zeke to me is that, as I understand it, JP performed for 9.02 before Tahmoh Penikett filmed the premiere, and TP viewed JP’s performance before filming. Yet, here in 9.02, when I see Sam/Zeke, I absolutely still see TP behind the veil. To leave that strong of an impression, I think, is a sign of some fine acting on TP’s part.
        I do agree that JP is doing a very good job with Sam/Zeke. I didn’t mention that in my post, because I’m not one that feels It necessary to pass out a compliment to both actors when I’m making a point…my point being that JA, now that he has something to work with again, has giving stellar performances these first two episodes.
        What I enjoyed in the Abaddon/Dean scene was that the two characters were well-matched. Abaddon was definitely ‘on top’ in a manner of speaking, and Dean was in deep trouble. Dabb had Dean right in character in that Dean did what Dean does when cornered — he snarked and waited for an opening. As soon as Sam/Zeke showed up, Dean; on a dime, turned the tables on her, proclaiming they brought angel back-up. Always clever, Abaddon threw Dean into a window and made her escape. This, to me, shows how well-matched these two adversaries are, and I hope the show recognizes and takes advantage of that powerful pairing.

        • Gerry

          That’s exactly what I thought about Tahmoh, too–that he captured so finely what Jared did. I hope we see a lot of him throughout the season.

          I agree Abaddon and Dean are well matched and that makes for good drama. I also love that Abaddon is the kind of villain who wants to get up close and personal with the boys, unlike season seven’s Dick Roman. Abbadon’s one scene with Dean was more interesting than anything the Leviathans did and that’s not because of JPS–he did everything that could be done with that character. It’s because he was never allowed to go toe to toe with boys over anything.

          I can’t wait to see how the power swirls around Abbadon/Dean/Crowley and whether Abbadon’s desire for Dean’s vessel will really colour how things play out between them. I wonder whether we’ll see Sam/Ezekiel/Dean/Cas as another thread. This season could be an embarrassment of riches.

          • sharonally

            I think Jared deserves credit for creating Ezekiel from scratch so that Tamoh had something to work with do you not think and not just praise the actor who was given the character by someone else. . And while I understand the need to see Dean a certain way .I do actually hope that the consent issue is dealt with in a

            way that allows Sam to actually be unhappy with what Dean did, without be slammed for those feelings. There is always a danger with this that because we see these situations from Dean’s pov that a wave of feelings for Dean clouds the actual action behind what happened to Sam. I saw it with the deal and my concern is we see the same thing again.

            Sam and Ezekiel are not the same person they just share the same body without one knowing the other exists . And I am hoping that Ezekiel is what it says on the box it also seems the writers are going with creating a relationship between the two with Sam the unknowing partner in it all .

            I find it interesting with the brothers what is seen has acceptable and what is not by the fandom and how while last year Sam was not allowed to look or save Dean and it being justified by the writers with some vague promise which clearly only apply’s to Sam and how this season Dean is allowed to go that extra mile for Sam even if the ‘save ‘ was morally dubious at best .I hope in all of this that Sam doesnt get lost in Dean’s overwhelming need to save at all costs.

            But just for the record I have much perferred the first two episodes than last year but I just have concerns. Thank you for the review Gerry .

          • Gerry

            Hi Sharonally! Thanks so much for stopping by to comment. I think we have a lot of common ground on our reading of the arc, starting with how great a job Jared is doing. It may have been lost in my comments (because I tend to be a touch on the wordy side), but I said above, “Jared has also been nailing Ezekiel, so no wonder the show feels so rich.”

            I am really happy so far with how the consent issue has been playing out because I don’t think any of the moral dubiousness is being swept under the rug. Despite having Ezekiel reassure Dean about the rightness of his action, Dean is clearly struggling with what he did and knows he should be talking to Sam, not Ezekiel. That his own need to have Sam in his life was one of his motivations is on the table and while I understand that feeling, Sam is most definitely allowed to think his own feelings should be the bottom line. I have no doubt he will be allowed to express that when the time comes.

            However, I also love that Sam inadvertently does add to the conversation when he tells Dean he feels better than he has in perhaps his whole life, and he appreciates the family and friends he sees around him.

            I think that resonates really well with last season when Sam admitted he has always felt tainted and unhappy in his own skin. Considering Sam felt so flawed he thought he didn’t deserve to live just minutes before he fell into the coma, I find it a little bit of a stretch to think Dean’s talking him down off the ledge completely healed all that trauma, even if what he said was what Sam needed to hear.

            And that makes me suspicious of accepting Sam’s zenlike acceptance of death at face value. To me, it looked like Death came because Sam at some level called rather than because it was Sam’s appointed time to go. His attitude was completely different than Bobby’s and Dean’s reapers, who themselves tried to persuade their targets they had to leave.

            Instead, Death allows Dean/Ezekiel to talk to Sam and says it’s up to Sam whether it is his time or not. He seemed to feel there was a discussion to be had.

            The model of nonconsentual possession that most resonates for me with this arc so far (and I admit it is early days) is a medical one–when do you have the right to make a decision on behalf of another person when they may be too ill or damaged to be thinking clearly? There are times when we have to make those kinds of decisions and they are never clear cut or easy. Guilt and anger frequently play their part.

            I really love that this arc makes me feel for both Sam and Dean. I understand both of their concerns and feelings. I don’t think there’s one clear answer on the best thing to have done.

            A big difference for me between Sam’s first season arc and this arc is the writers did not set up Sam’s state of mind when he made such a huge decision as to not look for Dean. It made little character sense to me within the show and just as little sense given my life experience with a loss without explanation or body. Those circumstances make it extremely hard to let go, not easy, as there is room for hope. I needed more to feel I understood Sam and I thought it was odd not to be given it.

            So, I’m with you on enjoying the opening to this season more than last! Thanks again for your comments.

          • sharonally

            But thats the difference though , because this is seen through Dean , we are allowed to feel what he does and therefore look at his decisions in a more open light. Who are we suppose to feel more for here Dean who made that decision and therefore the justifications that will follow that by fandom or Sam the one not allowed autonomy over his own life and who’s free will is denied .

            I just feel we have been here before in others making decisions and actions where Sam is concerned .

          • Gerry

            I hear what you’re saying and I think you are right on the money that Sam’s autonomy is a crucial part of the story.

            I think in the past when it comes down to it, Dean has always seen taking care of Sam as doing what Sam feels he needs. It’s always a circuitous road to get there, because he is big brother/parental figure and letting go is not something he does easily. That’s part of their relationship. But when Sam needed to prove he could control his own destiny and not be part of the evil he was fated to be, Dean realized he had to let Sam go to truly protect him, and he did. He supported Sam’s leap into the pit.

            He was very hurt Sam didn’t look for him, but when Sam told him how much he loved his life he’d built, he realized the most dangerous thing for Sam was having one foot in each life and that would lead to him being killed. So to protect Sam, he had to be willing to let him go, and that’s what he told Sam.

            So this time, I’m willing to follow this story through and see on what terms the brothers fight this out. I don’t think Dean will ignore Sam’s feelings of autonomy, even though he’s decided to override them. But what exactly drove Sam to call Death to him is important. If Sam had refused to stop doing the trials because he felt he was a failure as a human being and just let people down over and over, I would have thought that was a terrible way for Sam to exit the story. If he called Death to him because those feelings are still operating in him, then I think there’s a reason Death allowed Sam to have a choice in whether to go and allowed Ezekiel to present Dean’s argument.

            In the end, though, I agree with you that Sam has to make the call whether he wants to go on living. I expect we’ll get to see Sam doing some wrestling with that question himself, once he knows the full score, since the writers have shown him feeling better about his life now that he’s healing.

          • sharonally

            Thanks for the reply. I hold off on ‘Sam feeling better about his life’ when being possessed by a angel’s influences . It will depend of whether the writers actually delve into Sam or whether this is about Dean’s reactions and feelings.

            My concern is the lack of creating relationships for Sam and by giving him this co-existence with Ezekiel it is a very one-sided situation .

          • Ginger

            I will offer a different perspective, with no intention of arguing or trying to change your mind, but simply to share how I view what may be happening (what I hope is happening) with Sam this season.
            I don’t feel Sam has been a viable character with his own agency since the end of his 5-year arc at S5.  I think that’s why we’ve seen different variations of Sam since then.  What I hope is happening with Sam this season, with Zeke healing him from the inside, is that Sam is being reset as a character.
            Julian Richings and JA both confirmed at the Toronto Con that Death was in Sam’s head and that Zeke was appearing as Dean, but telling him what he knew Dean would say to Sam.  At least, that was their interpretations of the scenes.  I think this is important in showing that Sam didn’t just immediately start thinking straight when he fell into the coma and that his choosing to die wasn’t a choice made with a clear head.  As soon as Zeke showed up as Dean and gave Sam hope, he chose hope; i.e., Dean.
            I think, and I sure hope, that the plan as the season goes forward and Zeke heals Sam both physically and mentally, or at least physically so that he is thinking straight, that we see the real Sam emerge — the one that we would have known all along if he had not been tainted by demon blood and a dark destiny.  In other words, I am hoping that Carver is resetting Sam’s character so that he again is a viable character with agency.
            I also think that it’s pretty insignificant that Sam doesn’t have recurring characters on the show that he ‘bonds’ with.  Sam has always been secretive and into himself, as we have seen repeatedly in the show from the times that he was young (the Thanksgiving dinner), making his personal choices (After School Special) and even with Jessica and *cough* Amelia.  Sam has always depended on only Dean, even when he was trying to run away from himself to figure out who he really was.  And that dependency on Dean, feeling guilty about letting Dean down repeatedly, was front and center during last season.  He wants to be the center of Dean’s attention, but he wants to find out who he really is at the same time.
            I am hoping that is what Carver is doing this season — that each brother grows into their own person (as I think Dean has done a pretty good job of) and that the ‘choosing each other’ is what they continue to do…because they are family and that’s what the show is about.

          • Gerry

            Ginger, I too think part of what this arc is exploring is what Sam will choose when he is well, and that his feelings of being a flawed human being expressed in the finale had not disappeared when he fell into the coma. He called Death to him, but at some level he was still looking for hope. I think Sam will eventually have to ask himself if he was really prepared to die if there was an option to live. I think Carver said this season would be about self-definition and people choosing who they were. Cas will have to choose between being an angel and being human. I suspect Sam will have to choose whether he wants to live or die once he knows the truth. I”m not sure what Dean’s choice will be yet. Perhaps it will be to face that he can live without Sam, even if he doesn’t want to. The brothers chose each other in last season’s finale, but Carver appears to still be exploring what that actually means.

            I hope we do revisit the issue of what Sam feels he needs from Dean. He wants to separate from him, but at the same time remain the centre of Dean’s life. There is a tension there that at some point has be explored. Just as Dean wants to protect Sam, but sometimes that need overwrites what Sam actually needs, and there’s a tension there. We really need to know what Sam actually needs. Is it death? Or a way forward where he feels comfortable in his own skin?

          • roxi

            Nothing is ever about Dean, from what I can see. Sam is the one who always has the main importance and the main role in the story, so I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Even this story, although Dean has to deal with the consequences, is in the end still about Sam.

          • sharonally

            Thats fine if that is how you see the show. I happen to disagree because alot is about Dean ,and seen through Dean. Sam may get the ‘sl’ if that is how it is seen but he does not get the storytelling . How is Sam being possessed through a dubious consent a good thing for Sam , how is Dean from the premiere and last week missing out . Because he must have the mytharc to be important otherwise he is not. That is something I have never agreed with,and importance requires more than having your motivations and pov hidden to move a story forward.

            Sam might have the broken wings this season but it is not Sam it is a different character and how much we see it from Sam’s pov is debatable , so while I understand that having the mytharc is seen has something great it has never done very much for Sam has a individual or has a character.

            If they gave Dean that role , do you honestly think they would write him like Sam ? that he would not continue to get the pov he does now . It is not a attractive prospect for me as a Sam fan which is why even though I find Sam’s storytelling lacking at times that he does gets these sl’s .

            But I am not going to stop anybody seeing the show their way I just simply for me Dean has not lacked importance in the way some think or that being given a mytharc is the only thing that can give him that importance.
            The brothers roles are established Sam is the plot character and Dean is the heart and pov character who we understand and see the show through his eyes .

          • roxi

            I think that, once again, Jared, who I think is great understand, gets yet another great opportunity to display his talents by playing a duel role. What does Jensen ever get except the same thing over and over; to exist for and worry about Sam?No meaty acting challenges there, they always all go to Jared. And I don’t think that this is a great arc for Dean. He has been placed in a position of doing a very wrong thing because he was desperate and impulsive and didn’t think it through, something that has turned many fans against him. while Sam has all the sympathy because something was done to HIM. How any of that is about Dean is beyond me. Even Cas fans are going to turn against after tonight’s episode, they have already said so.
            Being the “heart” is NOT a story arc, it’s a character trait, much like Sam’s book smarts. Being the center of every storyline, as Sam has always been, is. It would be nice if the SPN PTB took as much interest in the character of Dean as they always have with Sam. We have been told in the narrative by many characters over the years how important and vital to everything Sam is, even in the S9 premiere all we got was how herocic and wonderful and deserved a peaceful death which only made Dean’s actions make him look so much worse by comparison. At the same time, Dean has always been told by the same characters how small,insignificant, and unimportant he is and even Death told him only Sam could save the world and Dean’s only role would be to get out of his way. So as a Sam fan, it seems to me you should be pleased, I would be if Dean was told to be as much as Sam is I would be.

          • Gerry

            Hi Roxi! I think there are occasions when the writers struggle to balance out the story telling. For me, it was season 8, when in the first half, we got no insight into Sam and in the second half Dean had no agency.

            However, for me, this season has had excellent balance. Dean has goals and desires and for better or worse, he’s made decisions. He’s dynamic in a way he wasn’t in the second half of last season.

            And the set up of this story means we’re going to get the kind of insight on Sam we often lack, because he’s going to have to balance the overriding of his consent with the benefits of being healed–or so it looks for now, anyway.

            I don’t agree that Jensen Ackles needs to have a possession role to act to show his skill as an actor. I think there are many instances where reviewers have noted his ability to portray Dean’s emotions and motivations anchor the show and give the story lines a believability that is sometimes a bit of a stretch.

            I think it’s important for the story for Dean to remain human and show how human love and perseverance can change the world. That’s been his role in the story since the beginning, while Sam’s has been to show the pain of being chosen for something he doesn’t want and how difficult it is for him to change fate and be the person he wants to be. In some ways, it’s a showier role, but it’s not a meatier role than Dean’s.

            Both characters at times have made controversial decisions that cause discussion–that’s not the mark of poor drama or writing. The main criteria I have is: do I believe the character would make that decision? if the answer is yes, then I sit back for the ride, because I’ve enjoyed it so far.

            Hopefully, as the arc plays out, you’ll see why the writers decides to take Dean where they did. I think this season is going to be a season of the characters deciding who they really are. I think Sam, Dean and Cas will have some hard choices to make–and maybe Dean just went first.

          • roxi

            I’ve seen no such positive comments on Jensen’s acting from reviewers, meanwhile, review after review raves about Jared’s Sam/Zeke acting.
            I don’t think Jensen needs a possession arc to be important. He just needs to matter to the overall story and I’m sorry, except for currently, Sam could be/do all the things we’ve ever saw him do with Dean not even being there. And I also disagree that we never get Sam’s pov. What was the first and 8th season all about? Sam wanting out of hunting and wanting a normal life. We also know Sam loves dogs, ran away from home to get away from John’s control, we know how he feels about having demon blood and being different, etc. and we also have a good idea about what he eventually wants. But what does Dean want? What are his desires outside of living, breathing, and dying for Sam? When is HE gonna matter most in the world to somebody, anybody? When is somebody gonna take care of HIM? People complain because he has ONE real friend outside of Sam, Cas. Sam gets EVERYTHING else, but Dean can’t have this one thing.
            And Dean’s “profound bond ” with Cas is also being destroyed now by Carver and Singer so he won’t even have that. Cas fans have stated how they will turn against him after this episode and never forgive him.
            And of course all of this is always seen, very incorrectly, seen as somehow hating/disliking Sam. It’s not. I love Sam too. I’m just tired of what I and many see as long standing favoritism towards his character.

          • Gerry

            Hi Roxi, Jared is deservedly getting lots of praise for Ezekiel, but Jensen is still being noticed for his scenes. Besides the way he’s portraying Dean’s guilt, the chemistry between Dean and Abbadon was off the chart in their scene. I think we’re going to see more and more what Dean’s secret means not only to Sam but to the new world order that’s forming. I doubt Ezekiel has revealed all that he is. There’s a lot of hints being dropped there’s things Dean doesn’t know yet. To me, he is now satisfyingly important to the development of the arc.

            Last season, I felt Sam’s reasons for not looking for Dean were very poorly motivated and explored, and then his reasons for recommitting to being a hunter were poorly motivated and explored. The whole arc was unsuccessful for me. So, I’m much happier with where things are now.

            Episodes like “I’m No Angel” are meant to stir fans’ emotions. I expect we’ll get a lot more exploration of Sam, Dean and Cas and we’ll all stay on the ride. (-: The story is not done. Dean is working as hard as he can to keep his family together. He saved Sam by dubious means and he saved Cas by dubious means, but he did save them.

            I have no doubt Cas will understand, perhaps right away, perhaps in time, as Sam will work through his feelings about the possession in time. It’s not like Dean has lots of options and it’s not like Cas and Sam haven’t made poor decisions of their own or been caught between a rock and a hard place.

          • roxi

            Sam, again, is always allowed to be angry or unhappy with Dean. I feel it is the opposite, that Dean is never allowed to be angry at Sam even when he has perfectly good reason. After Sam betrayed him in favor of Ruby, Bobby was putting him down for having the audacity to be pissed and hurt about it. And in the first half of season 5, the writers clearly tried to paint Dean as unreasonably miffed when he had every reason to be. Same with season 8. Dean had every right to be hurt that Sam just forgot about him and didn’t even bother to look for him. But first they tried to portray Dean as an unforgiving jerk and then Dean just went back to being all loving and all about Sam, as always.
            Sam will (understandably) be very upset when he finds out what Dean did to save him , and I don’t even blame him for that. But unlike for Dean, I’m sure nobody will be saying to him “boo hoo princess, deal with it, he’s your brother”. No, I’m sure Cas, Charlie, Kevin, and everybody else will be telling Sam how he has every right to be angry while telling Dean how awful a person he is.

          • Ginger

            Gerry:  I have tried for days to go back to your review and read other comments.  All I get is a red page with titles:  “Hot Topics”  etc, but when I click on the topic, I get another red page.  Can you tell me how to get back to the full article?

          • Gerry

            Ginger, for some reason this comment took a long time to post. I’m not sure what the problem was with loading the story–are you able to read comments yet? I’ll check with the site’s editor to see if there were any site issues.

          • Ginger

            I can only read a few words of other’s comments on the red page, and only mine and your comments on Disqus, which shows up in my email.  I can’t access the full article and; therefore, can’t see the comments.  When I click on your article when I do an engine search for your full review, I get the red page only and cannot access the article.  If I could get to the full article, I could read everyone’s comments.

          • Gerry

            Oh my goodness. Well, that’s not the way it’s supposed to work. I’ve already sent a query in, but I’ll forward your full explanation so the techies know what you’re experiencing. I really appreciate that you’d like to read and I hope join the conversation.

          • Ginger

            Thanks for your help.  I love your reviews.  I find them unbiased and analytical, especially on the story points.  I also like to hear what other fans think and what they are taking from the show.

          • Gerry

            Thank you. I love the show and I love analyzing stories, so I really enjoy doing the reviews. I also really love having conversations about the show, whatever people’s viewpoint is. I hope to get this page loading issue looked after soon. (-:

          • Ginger

            Oh, I should also mention so your techies will know; I use Windows 8, if that makes any difference.

      • kaystiel

        I felt last season balanced Dean, the thing about him that’s been compelling is that he isn’t just action man, but a truly compassionate and caring individual who loves deeply, taking care of Sam, giving comfort where he can, finding a home at last, all ground him and give him something to keep fighting for – what was uneven last season was the mytharc, leaving the trials for weak monster of the week episodes that served as pilots of spinoffs (withonly one of merit, Ben Edlund’s Everyone Hates Hitler)

        • Gerry

          Hi Kaystiel! I agree that Dean has always been a deeply compassionate and caring man–that’s been evident throughout the series. But to my mind, until the last half of season eight, he was at the same time also very active in the over all story. In season five, for example, he and Sam both took on the Horseman. Dean also had to decide what he would do about Zachariah and Michael–his decision about being a vessel was integral to the over all story. He was the leader who gathered the resistance to the Apocalypse. And none of that meant he wasn’t also the brother whose love for Sam was the one thing Lucifer could not control.

          In the last half of season eight, Dean has nothing at all to do with moving the myth arc forward. I think to try and balance that, the writers gave Dean the main role in the stand alones, so that guest stars interacted almost exclusively with Dean, giving Sam no much needed character exploration. And I agree with you that meant the stand alones were mostly weak, though I think LARP and Pac-Man Fever were enjoyable.

          I’m really enjoying the well-rounded way Dean’s been this season. He’s both the man who will do anything to keep Sam alive and the man who takes charge of the team when they take on Abbadon. He can trash talk Abbadon and give a fatherly talk to Kevin.

          We all look for different things, though and I’m glad Dean’s care for Sam worked so well for you last season. Are you enjoying this season so far?

    • castiel’s cat

      Agree with you 100%! I am really loving the Dean we have seen this year and his new bromance. OMG Abaddon and Dean are smoking hot .

  • kaystiel

    While the scenes with Dean, Sam, Kevin, Crowley and Abbadon held interest, particularly on the theme of possession (Zeke possesses Sam’s body, Abbadon wants to possess Dean’s, Crowley taunts Kevin that Dean and Sam only care about him as a possession) the third tier characters, hunters Irv and Tracey were clumsily written in (and clumsily written out) as Irv didn’t merit a mention after his abrupt death, or get a hunter’s burial (with Dean gleefully wanting to celebrate buy going on a junk-food run – even though Abbadon got away) Tracey was the barest whisp of a character, and to have her snark at Sam (because he let Lucifer out of the cage) just came off as petulant, and to the viewers, Lucifer is old news, there have been many big-bads since that point, Sam’s paid for that with 100 years in the Cage and being without a soul for another year. When needed Tracey did not prove herself as a hunter, and then disappears without a further mention somewhere between ghost town and the bunker. You can’t get sloppy show, this cast and crew deserves better.

    • Gerry

      I didn’t love the way the characters were handled, but I didn’t think they harmed the episode, either. I think Tracy’s anger at Sam was believable and I really like the callbacks to the Winchesters’ history that illuminate the present. To me, Tracy was there to remind us Sam has a lot of scars, so we can both appreciate why he may have been willing to let go and that Ezekiel’s possession may be both problematic and helpful at the same time. There have been other Big Bads, but nothing that tops Sam letting Lucifer out of the cage because he’s addicted to demon blood. I think Tracy was also there to show us Dean has let go of his anger about Ruby and therefore is able to help Sam in a way he wasn’t last year.

      In terms of disappearing before the bunker, I was never expecting Dean to take her back to the Batcave–why would he? It makes sense to me he would drop her off at some place convenient for her to pick up her life. She was, as you say, a third tier character. It made more story sense to concentrate the final scene on Kevin.

      Irv was dismissed rather easily, but then again, we know where the Winchesters have been for last eight years, and it wasn’t with Irv, so he’s a friend, but not a close one. The Winchesters are battle hardened enough, I didn’t need to see them react emotionally to Irv’s death, but a line or two about him wouldn’t have come amiss.

      The biggest issue I see with this season is how many stories the writers are trying to service and integrate. I think we’ll be lucky if the only bumps are characters like Irv not getting a proper send off.

      • castiel’s cat

        Why couldn’t Tracey’s comments serve to remind us and Sam that he has a lot of atonement to do because a lot of people suffered as a result of his selfish actions. Last season emphasized the wrongs Sam did to Dean. Perhaps this season Sam needs to acknowledge the wrongs he did on others because he wanted to be powerful and strong, stronger than Dean .

        • Gerry

          I think Sam jumping into the Cage with Lucifer to save the world counts as a lot of atonement. As Dean said, all of them have done things for what they thought were the right reasons and had it all go sideways.

          • castiel’s cat

            I disagree. Sam rightly closed a door that he sshouldn’t have opened. Sam suffering in no way makes up for the multitude of lives lost. People died and their families and friends suffered. I think the sooner Sam holds himself accountable , the sooner he might become a likeable character. Especially . when Dean and Castiel hold themselvesaaccountable for far more than Sam. I agree wholeheartedly with Ginger that Sam as a character is a big fail, which is why he has gotten shiny new storylines every season. I hope Carver is rehabilitating the ccharacter.IMO a big part of this has to be admitting what he has done, the effects of his actions on others, and trying to atone for the pain he has caused. The fact that he is the only one not compelled to help others, or feel responsibility for others makes Sam shallow, stunted and unlikeable to some. He needs a serious reboot. A big part of me hopes Zeke never leaves because I like a Sam that is actually nice to Dean.

          • Gerry

            Each to their own. I think Sam’s sacrifice was an incredible ending to the Apocalypse story line. (-: Given that Cas first brought Leviathan’s into the world and then allowed Metatron to take over heaven, and Dean tortured souls in hell and now has allowed Sam to be possessed, there’s no lack of things all of them have to find forgiveness for. Mileage may vary.

          • castiel’s cat

            Dean was dead and the souls he tortured were dead. There is no comparison. At any rate he felt guilty and continues to feel guilty for every mistake. As does Castiel. in contrast Sam buries his guilt and takes it out on others, like Benny.

          • Gerry

            Let’s agree to disagree on this one. (-:

          • Ginger

            I like Sam/Zeke, too; a whole lot better than I’ve liked Sam since S4. I hope he sticks around for a very long time.
            After last night’s episode, I am a bit worried that they are continuing Sam’s rehabilitation by having Dean be the screw-up now and disappointing family and friends. I got the feeling that Sam/Zeke is isolating Dean from Sam and Cas. That could be interesting, if they plan on aligning Dean with the angel storyline or having him go dark. On the other hand, based on how SPN has gone the last two years and with last night’s episode, it could just be swapping Sam’s story with Dean and going down the Yellow Brick Road once again. *sigh*
            I hope there is a better plan than that for this season.

          • castiel’s cat

            Yeesh! lastnnight’s episode is best forgotten. I don’t trust anything that they write. Having Dean go dark won’t fix Sam. I think Carver knows that. However, Dean going dark or making mistakes in its own right could be fun. Ezekiel clearly has his own agenda… that said I think he is very into Dean and doesn’t want to hurt him. It seemed like he healed/resurrectedCas because Dean was in pain.

          • Ginger

            One thing I have very much liked in JA’s performances in all three of the S9 episodes is that he is bringing back snapshots of S1 and S2 Dean. One example from last night’s episode that I loved was when the Winchesters were interviewing the homeless guy and Dean showed his impatience and turned it over to Sam. It reminded me of his portrayal of impatient Dean in Phantom Traveler when he was interviewing the kid in the institution about the plane.
            I liked S1 and S2 Dean and how JA brought out the playful and the potential to be dark and ruthless. That side showed up in the reaper torture scene.
            What I would very much like to see in this season when Sam finds out (and with Cas, too) is for Dean just to own up to the choices he makes with a, “Yeah, I made those calls. I would again. Done deal. Move on.”

          • castiel’s cat

            I agree with you. I see hints of season 8 myself too. What’s one more nightmare/when is decapitation not my thing. The abrupt brutality and take charge attitude are a double edged sword. I love a strong, badass Dean but for him it’s the road to darkness, his road to darkness.

          • Ginger

            Surprisingly, I’m seeing Zeke as a possibility for the show to examine Dean’s road to darkness, in lieu of Sam kind-of, sort-of, not being here. Zeke strikes me as a real warrior angel who has possibly been out of Heaven for a very long time. Dean, being a human and a warrior, and Zeke teaming up to fight the dick angels while Zeke explores what humans are all about — kind of a parallel story to Cas learning about humans.
            It would be a B-plot, of course, but I think it would make for a very interesting story. Carver is the only writer they have that could pull something like that off, so it won’t happen.

          • castiel’s cat

            I agree about the parallels between Zeke and Dean. I think they are drawn to each other in a way that is different than the brotherly bond or Destial. Zeke may be a better fit for Dean than Benny was, and I loved those two together.

          • Ginger

            Good point. A vampire was a problem, but Dean has always been aligned with the angels and their storylines. I’d love for them to keep Tahmoh Penikett around, but I can see them saying the same thing about him as they did Cas — a Mr. Fix All. *sigh* They always kill off every character I like and keep the ones I don’t. I’m still in mourning over Rufus.