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TV Review: Supernatural – “I Believe The Children Are Our Future”

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Hammering out a coherent review for “I Believe The Children Are Our Future” has turned out to be quite a demanding task. Sure, the incessant needs of my family contributed, but it was also due to trying to judge this one fairly. As far as emotional impact, this episode is a big winner. However, in breaking things down, those little nagging thoughts that got pushed aside by my initial “Tragic kid story, what’s the issue?” reaction were allowed to eventually surface. When they did, that blew my initial review all to hell.

First, I offer an apology for missing last week’s review. While I didn't mind "Fallen Idols," it was so light there really wasn't that much to say. The review I attempted didn’t measure up to what I’ve done so far. However, the impact of that episode really showed in this week's installment, so “Fallen Idols” did have some merit after all. The brothers have aired all their grievances and are moving on.

That shift in the brotherly relationship brings many bonus highlights to this episode. It’s so wonderful to see them working well together again. They are a team, both on equal ground and not an ounce of resentment between them. Everything they are doing feels so right, so in sync. I'm wracking my brain trying to remember the last time they were this together. Late season two comes to mind. The training wheels are indeed off. They are even back to their old sibling rivalry ways, aka Dean pushing Sam’s buttons. The classic bitchfaces from Sam make a glorious return, causing me to squee a bit. I especially enjoy Dean testing out the previously lethal joy buzzer on his agitated brother based on a “hunch.” The brotherly ribbing is back! Oh, I missed it.

Granted such brotherly fun can't exist without the right set of circumstances. Like itching powder that makes a babysitter scratch her brains out. A harmless joy buzzer that electrocutes someone. A dad who tells his daughter about the tooth fairy and…shiver…I can't go there. Let's just say I'm in for a sleepless night next time one of my kids loses a tooth. I guess Kripke and company can cross tooth fairy off the "Things To Ruin" list.

This show thrives in knowing that the abnormal is prime fodder for a few laughs, especially with Dean. When Dean uses safety goggles and long rubber gloves to flash cook a ham with the cursed joy buzzer, he truly becomes Mr. Wizard. How about Dean eating the entire ham within a day since they didn't have a fridge, much to the ire of Sam? Dean melting a rubber chicken with that same toy, freaking out the novelty store manager? No, the best is Dean's picture perfect recreation of a face that "froze that way."

Oh, but the real fall on the floor moment comes from Sam's reveal that all this strangeness is happening in a geographical hot zone. It occurs to Dean they're staying within that zone. Why? His palm is hairy. With one exasperated reaction Sam makes an awkward situation outright hilarious. "You know you could go blind from that too." They went there! Whacking off humor finally made it to this show. That's just as funny as "master of your domain." Dean’s smirk is priceless after getting a warning from his uptight little brother not to use his razor.

However, what started as a quirky story about old wives tales coming true goes dark fast and next thing we know we're embroiled deep in the mytharc. Once Sam and Dean find Jesse, the boy in the center of all this, Sam discovers the boy is adopted (more on that soon). Finding the birth mother, Julia, is when the episode takes a real heartbreaking turn. She was possessed for nine months and impregnated by a demon, thus giving birth to a half human, half demon child. The scene in which she tells about the birth, complete with grueling flashbacks, is a stunner. Ever Carradine emotes the trauma that plagues this woman to this day so well. The scene is enhanced by Sam and Dean sympathetically listening in the background. At that moment they are all sharing a connection, as if they're reliving their demonic horrors at once.

Enter Castiel, who definitely ruffled some feathers this week. I get it, the angel has had it rough lately. He has to act on his own and he hasn't quite figured out the best way to do that yet. But he does know that Jesse is the Antichrist and powerful enough to destroy all the hosts in Heaven, aka the angels. When his plan to kill Jesse is met with objection by both Sam and Dean, the scene is set for a drama I've been dying to see for a while now, the Sam and Castiel confrontation. Sam points out they're the good guys and won't kill children. Castiel brings up that Sam wouldn’t have a problem with that a year ago. Sam thinks that by telling the child the truth he’ll make the right choices. Castiel stares into Sam’s eyes with a steely glare that twists that knife of guilt that's been in Sam's gut all season. “You didn’t. And I can’t take that chance.”

From there, everything spirals out of control, the way a Supernatural plot often does. Castiel is off to kill the child, while Julia is possessed by the demon that impregnated her now that she knows where Jesse is. Here is where we find out how powerful Jesse is in the best possible way, because in fear of being harmed he turns Cas into a miniature action figure, complete with kung fu grip for the miniature knife. That prompts cries throughout the fandom, each fan wanting a mini Castiel of their very own. At this point, this just can’t get weirder. Even Sam and Dean, who have seen it all, are pretty blown away by this.

From here on out, its pure rip-your-guts-out drama. Dean does his best to spare Jesse some serious trauma and tells him his powers are because he's a superhero. They need to take him somewhere for training. The boy seems to be buying into it until the demon-in- birth-mother-meatsuit arrives, disabling Sam and Dean with the TK toss against the wall.

This scene is an acting extravaganza. Not only is Ever Carradine great in switching gears to the brutally honest demon, but Gattlin Griffith as the young boy learning the harsh truth that he's half human, half demon is amazing. The portrayal of a child’s innocence lost at that moment is very moving. What's even more moving is how Jesse chooses to hear Sam's version of the story, as if he intuitively knows that Sam too has a special connection in all this. Jared's interaction with Gattlin heightens this already emotionally powerful scene, for Sam believes this boy can make the right choices, especially since he didn't. Sure, Sam's appeal comes across as a bit heavy-handed for some, but for me it works. I’m an infamous softy for Sam pain, though.

So if that wasn't enough, after the boy sends the demon away now Dean joins the fold and this part is the most heart-wrenching. Jared, Jensen, and Gattlin just kill this. The brothers come clean with Jesse in the most sensitive way, with tender honesty about his parents being in danger and the sacrifices they've had to make in their lives, including watching their dad die. Their talk forces this child to grow up in a hurry, even if the truth is what the boy wanted. He must decide what to do next.

Jesse ultimately makes the hard decision to leave alone, restoring everyone back in the town to the way they were, including Castiel. With this new development, i.e. the Antichrist as an 11-year-old boy wandering the earth alone and undetectable, a whole new realm of possibilities have just opened up. Chances are very strong we’ll be seeing more of Jesse in the future.

There Are Some Plot Holes

Oh yes, there are a few plot holes. First, let's break down the fact that there is an Antichrist as part of the mythology now. Anyone who knows apocalyptic prophecy accepts one must exist. I've heard the outcries though, how can he be a demon spawn from a virgin birth, why aren't there more kids like this then, how can he be this powerful? In my quick research of what the Antichrist is supposed to be, even pulling out my dusty bible, there are very few clear definitions out there. Nobody really agrees on who or what he's supposed to be. There isn't even clear evidence that its one person. One translation has the Antichrist as "son of perdition" but that to me doesn't mean son of The Devil. So, half human, half demon makes sense to me. There's even a vague mention of many Antichrists in the Bible, but one powerful one emerges.

It's already been established on this show a few times, especially last season, that the current Christian bible is the "just for tourists" version. Other translations exist, and judging by the Old Testament type angel Castiel is, his knowledge comes from more ancient sources. “Your bible gets more wrong than it gets right.” That’s a free pass there to give the writers plenty more latitude with their story development. No matter what the origin, the purpose of the Antichrist is to oppose Christ. This is where the possibilities get fascinating. Now that Jesse's alone in the world, how fast will it take for that lost innocence be turned? Will he indeed make the wrong choices like Sam and fall into the hands of Lucifer? That might be too simple an analysis for such a huge biblical concept, but it's all I've got for now.

How did Sam find the adoption records and birth mother so easily? Couldn't a demon have done that? I won't harp on the point though, since it's already been pointed out so eloquently in other reviews (thanks Mo!). If anything, I'm having problems with Sam going back to getting pinned to walls by demons. You know, I’m fine with him not having those demon powers anymore, but if the death ray of white light bounces off of him how does the TK toss from a lower level demon work on him? I know, he's not that powerful anymore but after Alastair couldn't throw Sam with his mind I had hoped we'd turned a corner. I would have liked it better if the demon couldn’t do anything to Sam but kept him back by threatening Dean and the boy. Ah well, I’m splitting hairs again. Creative license wins.

Despite the nitpicks, I'm adoring the character development this season, especially Sam. He's truly broken up over what he did and it’s going to dog him forever. But to still maintain enough hope that a child in a somewhat similar circumstance will make different choices than he did? Most would be cynical or doubtful. It’s shocking he has any hope left. What we are seeing is season two Sam. Boy, did I miss him.

Oh, but Dean is having some adorable man pain, too. There’s nothing like taking part in destroying the innocence of a child to bring back some awful childhood memories. At least he managed to keep Sam in the dark for a while. We often forget the burdens Dean had to bear at such a young age and we got that reminder watching him fruitlessly try to spare Jesse from the same fate with that Superman story. His speech to Sam at the end wishing that their dad lied to him really got to me. That’s the first time we’ve seen such regret in Dean, but somehow we sensed it was there all along.

As for Castiel, I'm still giving this fallen angel a pass for now. Not much has been put into his development so far this season but being alone in the world isn't doing his character many favors. He hasn't owned up to his role in starting the apocalypse but I think once his human side takes over a bit more, he will. Even Dean defended him to Jesse, calling Cas confused. He is indeed. What he needs right now is Anna, in more ways than one. Yes, I’m still pushing for that ship.

Other Things Noticed

Agents Page and Plant? Again? It's time to retire the Zeppelin aliases. Look I dig Zeppelin just as much as everyone, but they were never into overexposure. How about something slightly more modern, like Cobain and Vedder?

Alliance, Nebraska. That brought a smile to my face. That’s the home of nearby Carhenge. My relatives came all the way from England one time and while driving through America's heartland saw this marvel. They thought it was better than the real one.

I loved the old glory motel room motif. Too bad not enough of that room got highlighted. I personally loved the flag pillow and the flag room divider with worn planks for the stripes. I’m not a fan of this motif in my house but seeing it in an episode about the Antichrist, it so worked for me.

Normally I give a grade on these episodes, but this time I defer. This seems like a big setup episode for what's to come. I'd rather grade it in hindsight after some more drama has played out. As for this week, it's a repeat of the season premiere. Whew, I think we can all use a small break. In the meantime, I'm brushing up on my theology.

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About Alice Jester

  • jasminka

    Hi Andrea,

    you’re so sweet, thanks a lot!

    Just finishing up my working day here and thought I’d take a look at this site, so nice to hear from you!

    Those brother-moments you mention have also moved me a lot – in particular the minute when Dean actually called Sam a monster … I always thought that to be ultimate weapon against his brother. And considering his face and the devastated look in his eyes – he knew it, too, but decided to say it anyway. And Sam’s shock at realizing what his brother was thinking, even before Dean actually uttered the word, was heartbreaking. I suppose so many emotions culminated in the moment he lunged at Dean – fear, disappointment, shock, being powerful via demon-blood, objection, a notion of having lost his brother’s love, and probably so much more… And, I guess, the same hold true for Dean. They would have never hurt each other the way they have, had they not been so close and loving, and they wanted the other to be safe. However, their actions took them on strange paths…

    Dean had a very fine instinct about Ruby, even in Season 3, and I loved him for detecting the foulness of the bitch early on, but Sam didn’t listen. And Dean didn’t find the right words to convince him. We know now that Ruby embodied the kind of painful temptation Sam needed to get away from Dean.
    Supposedly, he felt he had grown up during those horrific months without Dean and couldn’t go back to his place as younger brother who looked up to Dean without question or doubt anymore. Much like in Mystery Spot, where we met a completely different Sam, a Sam who surfaced again after Dean’s death, torn, desperate, frantic, bent on revenge. He couldn’t go back.
    I think the brothers finally begin to see their own shares in their personal mess and are stepping back from accusing one another, but beginning to really understand… and perhaps accept each others’ reasons, however debatable those might be.

    I’m very curious to see where the writers are going to lead the Winchesters from here…
    Much like you, I’m happy to have discovered this show and thereby have been able to enjoy two of the most talented actors on screens today and have so much fun with it all. If we all hope for Jared and Jensen to be fortunate in their careers and their personal lives, maybe – according to SPN lore – our good thoughts will serve as good wishes and make everything they desire possible for them. Who knows…?
    I will be following their future exploits as a loyal fan and enjoy whatever they will wish to offer to their audience. I guess, whatever they will be doing… I’ll probably find you there, too…. And maybe someone, like our dear, smart and thoughtprovoking Alice Jester, will write blogs about those future projects and we will meet again there… But for the time being, I’m quite happy to exchange opinions (and the occasional sigh… because, yes, we love this show…) here with you and the other level-headed fans that come to this site.

    Best wishes always, Jas

  • Andrea

    Hi, Jas
    I’ve just seen your last message. It’s a shame you couldn’t sleep but lucky us that have the chance to read some more of your awesome comments. 🙂

    Yes, I’m sure we’ll see our boys closely together again, both physically and emotionally. Not like before, I’m well aware of that, but together all the same. A love refined by fire – I guess there’s some saying of this sort in the Bible.

    You’re so right when you say that even their displays of rage reflect the bond between them. In Metamorphosis, Dean was angry at Sam to the point of punching him. But that was precisely because he, Dean, was so scared about what would become of his little brother if he proceeded in that dark road. Likewise, in WTLB Sam was so desperate for Dean’s approval and love that – being emotionally wrecked – he almost strangled his brother for calling him a monster. And these are only a few examples.

    It’s very interesting everything you said about the illusion of perfection and the little imperfections of people we admire or care about. I get your point and I feel the same. Don’t fear to sound strange!

    As for Jared and Jensen, if SPN really comes to its end this eseason, I wish them the best of luck with their future projects. I’m thankful to them for all the wonderful moments I had as a viewer because of their talent and charisma.

    Take care,


  • Jasminka

    Hi Andrea,
    it’s one of those nights I cannot sleep and thought I take a look at the www, so … it’s me again…
    You see, I do think that those signs of affection you miss so much will be back. In fact, the Winchesters have never stopped loving each other. They would not be so receptive to and affected by the other one’s remarks, which have led to so many misunderstandings during season four (and even before), and they still do produce situations that can be interpreted in multiple ways.

    I believe we are the most vulnerable when we love.
    And Dean and Sam have always been close. Even their anger would weld them together, there is hardly anything more passionate in a relationship than butting heads and venting your rage (and, of course, I am not talking slash here). Had they not been close, one would not be able to feel so heavily disappointed or let down by the other.

    Don’t lose hope, Andrea, I’m sure that Kripke will give us back the brothers we loved from season one (bearing in mind, though, that they are not the same men anymore due to what they lived through, but their emotional depth has not changed).

    And furthermore…. You don’t have to be afraid to sound shallow for liking the leads’ looks. To my mind it’s refreshingly honest.
    And it is a part of show biz as well, a part of the illusion we love about the magic of movies or tv-shows…

    I think the only important thing really is one’s capability of differentiating between fantasy and reality … to be able to see that Sam and Dean are not Jared and Jensen, and that, even though one might fall in love with a fictional character, one is not going home with Jensen or Jared. Different spheres. Different lives.
    Why deny the obvious good looks of the guys? Those are … well, for me… not in the centre of the show’s appeal, but a part of it. But I’ve already said something about that…

    To my knowledge, good looks can serve as blessing and curse. I bet after being in this biz for a while now, Jensen and Jared have experienced both sides of that double-edged sword.
    It is, after all, a pretty merciless business that tries to produce the illusion of perfection.., when, again from my personal point of view, the little imperfections I discover with people I meet or with actors I like are the truly attractive features. That’s what I love… imperfections… However strange that might be.

    Good night, take care, Jas

  • Andrea

    Hi Jas

    Definitely sign me in to have Sam’s powers/visions back. I loved them and thought they were a great element in the story. I also loved the way Dean used to react to them, so attentive and concerned. I miss badly the brotherly signs of affection of seasons 1 and 2, which is an aspect that has always attracted me to the show.

    I’ve been thinking of Sam’s arc in season 5. I believe it’s agreed that his line this season is redemption. I wonder what shape this redemption will take. Even though he meant well, his powers so far have been misdirected. What if now he uses them to a real “good” purpose. I mean, if his powers helped release Lucifer before, they might undo that now, sending Lucife back to Hell. Don’t ask me how, though! I didn’t go that far.

    I usually save my appreciation of the boys’ looks ofr a few occasions for fear of sounding shallow. Yet, they ARE gorgeous and I would hardly be a woman if I were immune to their charms! 😀 But yes, a great part of their appeal is the brains, wit, and sense of humour and the way they express those qualities. Also, I doubt Supernatural would be so loved if there weren’t a compelling plot and strong acting behind the looks of its leads.

    Finally, I wanna say that I love posting and reading comments in this site. I see we are either Samgirls who love Dean or Deangirls who love Sam. Or simply show lovers. That’s why it’s possible to keep an inteligent and respectful conversation here, with no one calling you a Dean hater or a Sam hater. I feel insulted and frustrated everytime I hear that. Congratulations Alice, Jas, and all the other posters. You are the truest fans.

    Best Wishes,


  • Jasminka

    Alice, hello,
    Thank you!!
    I keep thinking about a possible season six story arc… being not sure what to think, actually. I miss Sam’s visions, too. Acting-wise there are so many options to show his talent, we’ve seen that before, and Jared played it all out beautifully… Miss that. But I hope to see some more of that… Maybe if enough of us hope for Sam’s powers to return, we can make it happen…? In season two thoughts brought a ghost to life… Learn from the best…
    Love, Jas

    Andrea, hi,
    sorry, I somehow overlooked your last comment… yet after reading it I have to say… it’s sweet. I always love it when someone likes to admit that they like the charm and good looks of the show’s leads. We often talk about various aspects of the show, analyze the storyline, etc., but we rarely (at least on this site) rave about how gorgeous the guys are. I don’t know why. It certainly isn’t necessary to love the show, but the occasional sigh is nice… And yes, just like you, (and to quote season three Ruby here) ‘I love a tall man’. I’m not short myself, so ‘tall’ is kind of required.
    Personally, if I find beauty combined with brains and humour and esprit … I’m hooked. Good looks alone get pretty boring after a while. But that’s just me.

    And I’m touched to see that Jared and Jensen (apart from being some of the most handsome and ludicrously talented actors I’ve seen on tv in a long time) apparently possess a lot of wit, too, judging from what I’ve read about their comments on cons and in interviews. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to a supernatural con, yet.
    I love wordplay, and they seem to be masters in that area (there is a mtv special on ‘you tube’ about the production of House Of Wax in which Jared comments on a cast member’s dog, which is hilarious and incredibly witty. If you like, check it out. Or… an interview Jensen gave (concerning My Bloody Valentine) on a talk show, I think it was Chelsea Lately (not sure though) responding to a conversation he overheard on opening night, funny and bright, really).
    And their astuteness comes through in each scene, when in character… that it something you can hardly act. It comes across via eyes, voice, body language.

    So, a big thank you to the production team is in order for providing us with a show that offers a tremendously moving story, a fantastic set design, fascinating locations and some of the best acting talents assembled on tv today, from Jensen, Jared, Jim, Misha… to the guest stars…. Cheers to them all!
    Be well & happy, Jas

  • Jasminka

    Hi Donna,
    you’re right, no throwing stones. Just asking questions.
    Actually, I don’t think that Castiel might have admitted e.g. his letting out of Sam off-camera. From what we know of the Winchesters’ nature and how they might react to such a disclosure… I think it is too big a deal to not use it in the show, since it might give the storyline some more kick (though it doesn’t really need that… it’s already compelling and moving…).

    I can’t wait to find out what the writers have in store for Castiel’s journey, Alice. I trust them to give us a hell of a ride (this time: no pun intended, really).

    From what I’ve read on the www, there is also a lot of ‘Castiel-bashing’ going on, and someone I know has been up in arms against this show, because … according to this particular person … the show was hitting blasphemy big time from last season on… Actually, I’ve heard the kind of fundamentalist arguments that seemed to block out all reason. No room for discussion at all. I was somewhat shocked that, even though we live in the 21st century, I was talking to a person who would have probably send people to burn at the stake in the Middle Ages. Some people apparently try to save some brain tissue by putting it to use as little as possible… the seed of all intolerance, is it not?
    Best wishes, Jas

  • Donna – I agree, no throwing stones. At least not yet. I think Castiel has quite a journey ahead.

  • Donna

    I would like to add one small comment and it is actually a nitpick directed at the show.
    Even though we have not seen Castiel admit to any culpability doesn’t mean he hasn’t. Sam apparently learned off-camera that Dean broke the first seal, so it’s just as reasonable to assume Castiel has admitted his mistakes as well.
    No-one should be throwing stones here because they’re all living in the same glass house.

  • Wow, so many great comments to catch up on!

    That’s the problem with a 2000 word review. Points are made, but it’s hard to really elaborate on things. While I saw a lot of the brotherly comraderie that existed in season two, I do not believe all is perfect with them yet. There’s still way to much baggage and as Sharon so wonderfully put, neither of them have developed sufficient communication/coping skills. After all, look at who their dad was! No, if anything, they are headed in the right direction on the path to healing.

    I still stand behind my joy buzzer analysis! It’s nothing more than Dean going back to doing stuff to get a rise out of Sam. It worked! Still, everyone gave good reasons why you saw otherwise.

    Jas – Thanks again for your amazing analysis. I adore your faith that Sam’s powers aren’t gone. I don’t believe they are either but I also wonder if we’ll see them at all this season. Maybe that’s a season six arc, they come back unexplained. I’d personally like to see the psychic visions come back again.

    Huppy – Thanks for the continuity error! That’s something I’ll definitely point out when I do the full recap for my site. I too usually catch things like that when watching carefully, but I didn’t notice that this time.

    Sharon – Jensen and Jared aren’t happy with the fans that pit their characters and them against one another. They’ve learned throughout the years just to tune it out though. The crazies do bother them at times though.

    Yes, I thought this episode was better than Fallen Idols. I didn’t hate Fallen Idols, but there was not much to it other than me enjoying Paris Hilton play along with the joke.

    Thanks for the great comments everyone!

  • Huppy

    Alice, great to read your review, and also the interesting comments posted.

    I am not real thrilled with a child AntiChrist, who has so much power that he basically could dictate the future of humans, angels, and demons. If he is so powerful and possibly leaning towards evil, why haven’t the demons produced more demon spawn?

    Well, I will have to see how this storyline goes.

    One funny continuity error that I noticed on my second viewing: In their rush to get to Jesse’s house to stop Castiel from killing him, Sam and Dean have time to change their clothes! LOL

  • Jasminka

    Hello Sharon,
    I understand that the way our dear Winchesters behave might seem nerve-wracking with all that ambivalence and the being-prepared-to-sacrifice-themselves.

    However, I’d like to offer this: we witnessed in season three (especially in Dream A Little Dream Of Me) how Dean gained self-esteem and decided that he didn’t deserve to go to Hell, and that ‘dad was an obsessed bastard’. It took him nearly three seasons to get there.
    I was happy for him and thought … finally you’re beginning to see the incredible man of integrity, honour and strength we (the audience) have seen from the very beginning.
    But then he went to hell. For four decades he had to bear torture beyond human imagination (thirty years being tied to a rack and having Alistair and Co. have their way with him, and ten years of doing the torturing himself… which for a man of his nature must have been equally horrific, but despair made him do it. He just couldn’t bear the pain any more, and who could blame him?)… Before that he experienced his mother’s death, that his dad went to hell for his sake, he saw Sam die… That string of traumatic events left him scarred for life…

    A person who survives that sort of stuff will behave inconsistently, erratically, he will be confident one moment and totally insecure the next.
    It’s a psychological fact that’s being very nicely played out by the writers (even more so by the awesome actors who get into Sam’s and Dean’s skin every day… wow…).
    Sam’s wounds are also there. They will never be the men we encountered in episode one. But they still have the chance to move on and learn to communicate differently (well, keeping your mouth shut has always been a Winchester way, they learned it from childhood on).

    After all, they survived so far, which indicates a huge amount of personal strength. I for one trust the writers to provide us with a fantastic storyline that will take account of all the brothers had to live through, and I think that in the end Kripke will keep his promise… to bring Sam and Dean back together again.

    All my best, Jas

  • Sharon

    As to the Sam vs. Dean crap, all I can think about when I read those comments is that Jensen and Jared would never be happy with that. The guys are absolute best friends (I’ve been to a Con and have seen them interact and it’s a beautiful thing – in a GUY/normal way)…and the two of them both work so hard to bring us this show we love. I think “fans” who diss one or the other aren’t really fans. If they were, they wouldn’t think of saying the things they say, knowing that Jared and Jensen would never approve.

  • Sharon

    Alice – great review as always. Jasminka, Andrea, and everyone else: WHEW! I’m so glad to see some Sam love (or at least no hate). It does seem that people (“fans”) have decided that you MUST hate Dean if you love Sam, and that simply isn’t true. *SIGH*

    Although initially I laughed when Dean poked Sam with the buzzer, after watching this ep a couple of more times, I began to see that act as passive-aggressive. I think the boys are treading water, so to speak, and still do not fully trust each other. Dean especially does not trust Sam and is probably still mad as hell at him (with good reason, for the most part), and I’m wondering how and when Dean will finally let that anger out. It seems that right now Dean is mostly fearful for himself, for Sam and for the world and is – once again – putting himself last on his list of priorities for the greater good. Which, although admirable and honorable, will not work in the end. He IS, after all, only human and people can only bury their feelings for so long before it gets really ugly. I feel desperately sorry for Dean but I do wish the writers would stop already – give the man some self-esteem and stop having him be bitchy/moody/obstinate one episode and self-sacrificing and humble in another.

    As for Sam, I believe he is trying his darndest to get on that road to redemption and wants so badly to be with Dean, his only remaining family, to see the war through to the end. But it’s like the blind leading the blind. Neither of them has developed sufficient communication/coping skills. They hide and bury.

    I’m just sitting by, waiting for the ramifications of it all. I do wish that the boys would just go on and say what needs to be said/do what needs to be done (without any evil/supernatural influence) and then go on and do their jobs. Send the devil back to hell/destroy him, whatever it takes, and then get on with their lives!

  • Andrea

    Nitewoman! It’s funny that you say that. 🙂 Actually I always thought of Dean as a dear and very attractive cousin who all my friends want to date. But Sam was my man from the very beginning. Maybe I have a thing for very tall guys, especially if they are very tall guys with something boyish about them. Or it could be the dimples – I can’t resist dimples – the devasting smile or the puppy dog eyes. Or the way his fair falls over his face. But above all, like Jas pointed out, I guess it was the mystery about him. You feel there’s something hidden in there that you want to discover. Whatever! Jared and Jensen are a couple of the most handsome and talented actors on television in a very long time, and Show was incredibly fortunate to grab them. The pairing of their different “beauties” and characteristics is what makes Supernatural so appealing.

  • Jasminka

    Hi Andrea,
    thanks so much for your feedback… I guess my ‘soft spot’ for Sam was there from episode one, the troubled souls always get to me… Dean is just as troubled, of course, in a different manner, though, and it seems to me that people perceived Dean to be the hero of the show, the more likeable character with his Han-Solo-swagger and the cocky attitude (apart from being a gorgeous guy), Sam’s ‘beauty’, as you call it, needed to be discovered, as there were secrets about him that made it difficult for some to like him. As for me, I was always in Sam’s corner, although I never liked Dean less. I would have loved to have brothers like that.

    I don’t think Sam’s powers are gone. As Ruby also said ‘you didn’t need the feather to fly, you had it in you the whole time’ … Sam has still demon blood pumping through his veins (from childhood on), Azazel made sure of that (though I sometimes wondered how the blood Sam was fed with got from his stomach into his bloodstream, well perhaps demon blood does that). I’m curious to find out what the writers have in mind, and some theories are forming in my head. I don’t think they have forgotten about that. We still have sixteen episodes to go, plenty of opportunities to get behind the ‘power-story’ of Sam…

    Have a good time, and keep coming back, Andrea!

    Sharilyn, hello,
    don’t worry, there are plenty of fans out there who love Sam. The ‘bashers’ cry out with a strong voice, I wonder why they feel the necessity to do that… Maybe, because, deep inside they might feel that they are not entirely right?
    Best wishes!

    Hi Nitewoman,
    Thank you for your kind words!
    I’m equally pissed about the ongoing Sam vs. Dean debate, in fact I won’t pay much attention to it anymore. Why chafe nerves and waste energy on so dumb a question. Luckily, we don’t have to choose a character to love the show. The brothers are like two sides of the same coin. They complement each other. How often have we seen them in situations when one was hot blooded and the other the voice of reason…
    A friend recently asked me, if I had to choose, who would be the Winchester of my choice, and I have to admit … it boils down to Sam. In terms of looks and nature he would be the one to ‘float my boat’, as you call it. And just as you… I also love Dean. I would trust him with my life in a second. If the world was coming to an end, both Winchesters would be the kind of guys you wanted to have by your side.
    You’re absolutely right, this show would not be the high quality show with only one brother. It would be a completely different story. And we love it just the way it is… Isn’t that great?!

    Take care, Jas

  • This was an ok episode for me the first time I saw it. After viewing it again it’s kinda grown on me. There were some funny moments and comments in this plus it propelled the season’s arc a little further. Really good brotherly moments too. It was nice to see the brothers working together and acting like the good old days. This is by no means to say that their relationship is all fixed. Again not by a long shot, there is still a lot of issues to be dealt with but at the moment it appears Dean and Sam still have “their training wheels on” and dealing with MOTW.

    That’s how I started my review, which isn’t anywhere close to the wonderful job you did Alice, you have an eloquent way of writing and I loved what you said, don’t agree on all points but on most I do. And Jas your comment were as eloquent as Alice’s. I loved everything you said about the boys. This crazy war on the internet and fandom about Sam and Dean really pisses me off. They are both wonderful characters together or apart, and Jared and Jensen are awesome. Now I am a Dean Lady…he’s the kind of guy in looks & attitude that floats my boat. BUT I love Sam just as much, just in a different way…he would be like my brother hehe. I have never seen SPN as a contest between who gets more story, more lines, more whatever. SPN would be nowhere without BOTH.
    Thanks for a most enjoyable read.

  • Sharilyn

    Finally! I could weep with gratitude to Jas and Andrea for loving and ‘getting’ Sam and his character; I have been heart sick for ages now over all the Sam hate and bashing going on in this fandom. So thank you, thank you, I am NOT ALONE in my love for and my defense of Sam, hooray!! And this was a good review, Alice, of an episode that WAS better than 5.05 but which still fell short imo, sigh.

  • Andrea

    Alice, thanks for another great review. You’re one of the few reviewers whose reviews I always look forward to reading.
    And Jas! What a wonderful analysis. It just made my day, really. Like you, I have a soft spot for Sam. I quit reading comments in most sites precisely because I can’t have any more Sam bashing. It’s a shame that people fail to perceive the character’s beauty – and I don’t mean physical beauty, even though there is much to appreciate on that area too. All the episodes you named are wonderful, but especially I Know What You Did Last Summer and – most of all – When the Levee Breaks. What Jared did with Sam in that episode was downright fantastic. It’s easily one of my top 10 Sam episodes, not to say series episodes. I’m so grateful there are people like you who love Sam as I do.
    As for the brotherly relationship, I agree with you that they are trying, but things are far from perfect for now. I particularly disliked – and here I disagree with Alice – the scene where Dean tested the joybuzzer on Sam. Perhaps it was the writers’ idea of a joke but I didn’t find it funny. It was very risky and Sam could have been seriously hurt. The Dean from old times would rather have his hand cut off than risking to harm his brother. I know these are not old times anymore and Dean is still hurting, but being careless about his brother’s safety is another thing. It just didn’t feel right to me.
    So things are not that smooth yet, but I suppose it’s too early for this. Kripke promised us that their bond will re-emerge stronger than ever, so it’s something to wait for!
    About Sam’s powers, I’ve just rewatched Lucifer Rising and I understand from what Ruby said that the powers were gone after he finished Lilith. Isn’t that so?
    Finally, regarding Castiel, I really hope for Show’s credibility and for the character’s as well that his responsibility in the events is dealt with in future episodes. His constant blaming of the brothers is really bothering me, as everybody knows he was involved. So what are the writers thinking? I hope there is some purpose here and that Show doesn’t choose to sweep it under the rug.

    Best Wishes for everyone,


  • alysha

    Loved the review!

    I was really bothered by Sam being pinned to the wall by a low ranking demon when Alastair couldn’t move him and Lillith’s demon ray never worked (he wasn’t even on the blood then). Anyway, my consolation to this is that Sam is very much in denial.

    Sam doesn’t believe in the powers, so they don’t work. Rather like the situation Jesse is in. When Jesse believes the joybuzzer kills, no belief, harmless toy.

    Ever Carradine and Gattlin Griffith were amazing guest stars this week.

    I agree with you that this feels like a big set up for things to come.

  • Jasminka

    Alice, hi,
    Thanks so much for another multilayered review!! Touched me in many ways. Your reviews always do, actually.

    This is an episode that provided us with so many aspects I have trouble sorting them all out, and it has so many references to pop culture in it: good old Stephen King’s Firestarter, Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, a dash of the X-Men’s super-telekinetic-power-plant Phoenix (in a male version here and a nice ironic nod to Patrick Stewart’s incredible performance as the professor), and Darth Vader’s suffocation thing, a true classic, and … of course … the Omen, one of my personal favourite horror movies. Kind of established my fear of creepy children. Was it not Coppola who said ‘when making a film, steal from the best’? … and why not, since the production team are making a mini-horror-movie every week? Wonderful Supernatural-version of virgin birth, as an entrée to The End of Days? Gabriel Byrne, anyone? He was a great devil, too.

    There were also so many hilarious moments there: Dean’s ‘frozen face’, his hairy palms (come on, a guy who’s on the road twenty-four-seven needs to get his rocks off somehow, and when was the last time the boys actually had sex? It was great, yes Alice, that Supernatural finally went there. And why not? It’s commonplace, isn’t it?), the electrocution of the ham, thereby providing the always hungry Dean with several days of food, the whoopee cushion (of which I first thought they would put it under Sam, as an in-joke referring to the flatulence poor Jared has become known for via the gag reels (still wonder, if he is so happy about that fact being publicly known)… and, again, we are shown how great Jensen and Jared work with kids.
    But, I’m rambling… probably because I wish to avoid to look at the episode closely, since…

    … all is not well on planet Winchester.

    And here is a point I disagree with you, Alice. Of course, they are hunting together, and maybe all they wish for at this moment (as we, the audience do) is this case to be ‘like the good old days: Honest-to-Goodness monster hunt. About time the Winchesters got back to tackling a straightforward, black-and-white case’ to quote Dean from ‘Monster Movie’.
    Right now the good old days are still about as impossible to reach as…let’s say … the moon?

    They are trying to be in sync, as you call it, but the little signs of bitterness and soft belligerence (albeit wrapped in cotton, though still perceptible) are there: Sam only tolerating with difficulty Dean’s constant eating of the electrocuted ham, or his flirting with the occasional hot nurse (and it is not the typical fun born scoulding we’ve seen them exchange in the early seasons, there is an edge to it), and Sam’s slightly over-polite reaction and introduction of himself to Jesse (which one could read as a message to Dean ‘In contrast to you, I know how to behave.’) And then … Dean touching Sam with the buzzer ‘on a hunch’ and thereby putting Sam’s life in danger over a theory he had. Sam’s angry reaction was absolutely logical to me. This kind of moments happened before, but now, with the heavy history in the back, an instant like this is not exactly to be taken lightly… And I’d be the first one here to cry out ‘Yes, finally’ if they got back to being the loving Winchester brothers I began to care for from episode one.

    There are many more little indications of this kind of passive aggression. They are both trying to get back to normal, but they are not succeeding by far as of yet.
    Both are hurt. Both are somewhat angry, probably still disappointed to some extend, even after all those heartfelt apologies (they don’t make it easy for one another to get back to normal, but then again: I doubt that is possible. After all they’ve been through, they are different men) but they don’t voice whatever they still might have to say.
    Instead, they say or do something with a slight touch of venom, but there are several messages hidden there. I doubt that they have gotten it all out.

    From my point finding the subliminal aggression between the brothers is actually not a bad sign. They are trying to get closer. They just don’t really know how to do it. And from where they are standing, it is a next to impossible task, like crossing an ocean without the means necessary. They are so afraid of making the same mistakes again, of disappointing each other again, that they seem to be getting more confused than they already have been, hence the tension between them that we so painfully are made aware of.

    Taken from the Latin stem of the word aggression, which is aggredi: to approach, to attempt, to seize opportunity (and of course to attack), the brothers are doing exactly that: they attempt to find the place they seemingly lost along the way: the unconditional trust and love that was always there, and the fun involved.
    We know that they love each other. That love they have never lost. But after all they experienced, loving each other has become a hard task. Being at ease with each other is equally hard.

    And, well, Dean carries the knowledge carved into his soul that Sam said Yes in one version of the future.
    From what we know of the man, he surely does not take it lightly. My guess is that the words Sam/Lucifer spoke to him eat away at Dean in every sleep’s nightmares. Again he is alone with it. Clinging desperately to the man he used to be … however, the guy who thought about food, sex and his car is not there anymore. He left him in the pit, a fact Sam sensed early on, which resulted in his endeavor to protect him (thereby taking the dark path to his own doom).

    Of course, these are facets that will always belong to Dean, but not in the way he might want them to. Life was easier when he didn’t know about the apocalypse and his destiny as an angel condom. Life had a different meaning before he endured decades of torture. Courage, deary…

    My heart bleeds for Sam as well (okay, this sounds corny, but what the hell…? As you might have noticed, I do have a soft spot for Sam.). Castiel is injustly very harsh on Sam here, too harsh for my taste.
    And it is interesting how the two somewhat switched places: Sam is trying to be more reasonable, while Cas is willing to do anything now. Fascinating what despair does to angels. He does not show doubts (at least not at first), and why should he? According to scripture angels did ‘nuke’ whole cities, like Sodom, and I bet there were thousands of children in it (I think Uriel did that, by the way, maybe that’s what Cas was referring to when he called Uriel a ‘specialist’ in the Halloween-Episode). We know that angels are not to be toyed with… but, in this case, they are turned into action figures by an adorable little boy. Love the irony!!

    How much Sam needs absolution is obvious throughout the episode. He needs it badly. Sam is still dying inside. Oh, sweetie…
    He is still unable to find redemption (or forgiveness for himself) … then at least he will do anything so Jesse might be saved from a soul in torment. Sam’s soul must be a battlefield of whips lashing out against himself. He hasn’t stopped punishing himself. How could he?
    It actually needs a lot of balls to face your own mistakes and own up to them. And it is not done in an episode’s time (since the show is proceeding organically, it will take the brothers some more time to redefine their relationship, and we will have to bear with them).

    From his point of view, Sam made the right, the only possible decision … come on, Cas. Speaking of balls… on which hook did you leave the pair you grew in season four?
    Didn’t you let Sam out? (I don’t think the writers have forgotten about that little fact. I wonder what they are up to … just imagine, when the truth about how Sam got out of the panic room will be on the table… or the faux phone message Sam ‘received’ from Dean which sent him over the edge and made him take that final step when he was still hesitating …we don’t know yet whether that message was Ruby’s doing or Heaven-sent… And our great young actors Jensen and Jared will have a field day.)

    Cas, didn’t you collaborate with Zachariah before you understood what was happening and decided to help Dean? Had Sam … or Dean … known earlier what the killing of Lilith would mean, they would have decided differently. Of course.
    Don’t get me wrong: I really like the character of Castiel. I love his ambivalence. Old testament-angel with a soul? He has become a multi-layered guy, and that’s always interesting. He adds a lot to the show. And Misha Collins brings all this perfectly across and still leaves a lot to interpretation, you can love him, hate him, condemn him, defend him… not easy to for an actor to do. Hail Misha, getting better by the minute…

    I am aware (and being made so by some interesting comments on your site TheWinchesterFamilyBusiness and in your intriguing, well-composed article there, Alice) of the Sam-bashing that’s going on the www. Again, and even more after this episode.

    All those people who keep demanding Sam to stop ‘whining’ (check it out on Alice’s website mentioned above) clearly haven’t understood the character. They should put their dvds to good use and check on some Sam-defining episodes to … perhaps … finally get this man.
    Take a look at Season 1 Provenance, Season 2 Croatoan, Houses of the Holy, Born Under A Bad Sign, especially Heart (and, come on folks, not only because of that love scene), Season 3 Fresh Blood, of course: Mystery Spot, Time Is On My Side, Season 4 Metamorphosis, and the brilliant I Know What You Did Last Summer, as well as the utterly revealing When The Levee Breaks.
    Perhaps then you will find out that Sam is no whiner. From his viewpoint, Sam had no choice: Kill Lilith and stop the apocalypse. Thereby save his brother and shoulder all the weight (and the blame he knew Dean would have to lay on him). Yes, I’m took the role of advocatus diaboli here, I guess (and after seeing Sam in his Lucifer outfit, well, wasn’t hard to do … and here she smiles….)

    Whenever we are faced with a decision we have to make, we can only assess the possible damage or success from the standpoint we’re at in the moment of deciding. We always strive to make the right decision, don’t we?, but we can only make it weighing up the various possibilities. We don’t know (unless we are psychic, and, hey, who of us is?) whether our decisions will prove to be right or failures. No one can know that.

    And Sam, for certain, did not know! He was convinced he needed to kill Lilith, and he was ready to lay down his life in order to do it. He was scared as hell, but he did it anyway.

    That was as heroic a deed as it gets. And Sam is paying for it. All of it is haunting him, and he presumes it will haunt him for the rest of his life. He is speaking of himself of course when trying to explain to Jesse the importance of choosing good instead of evil. And he is able to reach out to the little half-breed … the boy sens the demon away and releases the Winchesters from their short existence as stunning tapestry. Then he is gone, innocence lost in a heartbeat.

    You’re absolutely right Alice.

    That was as moving as one could watch. Poor lad. Where do they find these astonishing children who act award worthy? He might come back from Australia (presuming he went there, as his poster indicated) as a sweet young surfer boy…
    Knowing Kripke & Co, this is not the last we’ve seen from Jesse. Now the speculations begin – will the boy fight for the forces of light or of darkness? I feel a nice game of chess coming on….

    So, I guess, this turned out to be a comment and a plea for Sam… Sometimes these episodes confuse me with all that heart-wrenching aspects… I didn’t touch on the somewhat inconsistent aspects of this episode, here, you pointed them out beautifully.
    I’m kind of grateful for this short break, but even more curious about the coming episodes. The break will allow me to take care of more important things I like to put at the bottom of my to-do-list when Supernatural is on air… Someone will be happy about that.

    Thanks a lot for bearing with me, guys, Blessings, Jas