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TV Review: Supernatural – “Sex and Violence”

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Wow… whoa… erm… geez… I guess that’s one approach to family therapy.

From the word "go," in the previews nonetheless, the message is that this is gonna be an angry episode. Another clue — the title, “Sex and Violence.” There’s definitely that.

Just picture my strife on Thursday evening. I didn’t get to see this one live, much to my dismay. The clock approaches 9 PM and I'm frowning, wondering if I could convince some bar owner in the sticks to put it on for me. The next day I download the episode from iTunes and luckily have lots of stuff to do at the New York Comic Con, because it takes five hours over the slow but free wireless connection to download the whole thing. Later that evening, the hubby and I huddle by the laptop and watch with anticipation.

Once we pick our jaws up off the floor, we watch again.

This week’s theme is not uncommon in the history of man. Underneath sex and violence lays mistrust, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. Put it in the Supernatural universe though and the results are downright explosive. Cathryn Humphries is no stranger to depicting the Winchester brotherly strife in her scripts and again she went deep and raw. Unlike her brilliant “Metamorphosis,” she didn’t need obvious parallels, finding the perfect antagonist to screw with needy men and bitter brothers.

There isn’t much to the plot, but a rich plot wasn’t needed for this. Four men kill the person closest to them after being wooed by strippers all with Disney princess names. It doesn’t take Bobby long to figure out this week’s bizarre creature. A siren. According to Sam, “Sirens can read minds. They see what you want the most and cloak themselves.” In other words, they know how to fuck with brothers.

The show certainly knows how to fuck with us. The mistrust starts immediately after the title roll, when Dean pretends to sleep while Sam talks to Ruby in the bathroom on his cell phone. Dean still doesn’t trust Sam, so suspicious phone calls instantly get him going. He doesn’t tip off Sam that he knows, and they’re off to Iowa on a case. Later, when Sam carelessly leaves his cell phone behind, Dean is able to confirm Sam was talking with Ruby. You know, the worst person Sam could be sneaking around with.

After some gratuitous scenes involving strippers and rock and roll, which thrills Dean to no end, Sam makes nice with a potential siren of his own, a girl doctor with all the facts. Through Sam’s little encounter with the promiscuous Cara, we find out not all women that are able to meet a man’s deepest desire are supernatural or evil. She reads him well, tapping into his desire to let loose and have passionate sex with a woman who’s fearless, sexy, and brunette. A lot like Madison, isn’t she? In the end Sam has no problem leaving without saying goodbye, and judging by the bars she hangs out in, I’m sure Cara isn’t devastated. Yep, the ideal woman.

It’s Dean who meets the evil siren, and his encounter is a stunning twist. Instead of Dean needing the perfect woman like all the other men, his desire turns out to needing the perfect brother. One who shares his taste in cars, his love for Led Zeppelin, and meets his need for loyalty and respect without argument. I wasn’t sure whether to be proud of Dean for not being shallow enough to fall for a stripper or to find him pathetic for his failing faith in Sam.

The scary part is Dean’s fury against Sam starts before he’s infected by the siren. Sure, Sam has done little to earn Dean’s loyalty, but Dean is outright cruel when he has his doubts over whether Sam slept with a siren. “First it's Madison, then Ruby, and now Cara, what is with you and banging monsters?” That’s low, even for Dean. No wonder Sam threw his phone across the room in anger. That frustration reflects everything he tried to defend to Dean in “Metamorphosis.” Dean still doesn’t believe he knows the difference between right and wrong.

Sam’s outburst isn’t surprising either, since his strong patience with Dean has been slowly cracking over the last few episodes. There’s his quick reaction to the know-it-all comment in “Family Remains,” his decision to meet Ruby and not involve Dean at the end of “Criss Angel Is A Douchebag,” and the final scene in “After School Special,” when he realizes that he hasn’t taken control of his life. All that hit a peak with that furious stare into the mirror. Dean is holding him back.

The brotherly showdown itself, even though nothing new is revealed for the audience, couldn’t have been more jaw-dropping. For them to say such things to each other so bluntly, even though they’ve been avoiding these issues, is a pretty harsh way to get things out into the open. I found the siren’s curiosity about these two to be much like the one The Trickster showed. They are learning a lesson in a cruel way, and it will define them.

Deconstructing the two final scenes sets up a world of hurt. Sure Dean is under the spell, considering he tries to kill Sam, but what he says to Sam he could have easily done while normal. Heck, he did just that in “Metamorphosis.” When Dean gets bothered enough, he won’t hold back. The true shocker of this scenario comes from Sam. He not only spells it out for Dean under no uncertain terms, but does so in the most heartless way. That is definitely not Sam, and he would never be that hurtful to Dean, no matter how angry.

Just look at the words thrown at each other. They speak for themselves:

Dean: Well, I don’t know when it happened, maybe when I was in Hell, maybe when I was staring right at you. The Sam I knew, he’s gone.

Sam: That so?

Dean: It’s not the demon blood, or the psychic crap. It’s the little stuff, the lies, the secrets.

Sam: Yeah, what secrets?

Dean: The phone calls to Ruby for one.

Sam: So I need your say-so to make a phone call?

Dean: That’s the point. You’re hiding things from me. What else aren’t you telling me?

Sam: None of your business.

Dean: See what I mean? We used to be in this together. We used to have each other’s backs.

Sam: Okay, fine. You want to know why I didn’t tell you about Ruby? And how we’re hunting down Lilith? Because you’re too weak to go after her Dean. You’re holding me back. I’m a better hunter than you are, stronger, smarter. I can take out demons you’re too scared to go near.

Dean: That’s crap.

Sam: You’re too busy sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Whining about all the souls you tortured in Hell. Boo hoo.

Ouch! Both got in their sentences of deep hurt in this episode, but considering Dean’s came when he wasn’t infected, that one bothers me the most. Plus, Sam said what some of us been thinking since the end of “Family Remains.” The gripping physical fight that ensues afterward is the culmination of the frustration and rage toward each other that has been building all season. It seemed real and believable even though they were both fueled on siren song. That reality is breached though when Dean really would have killed Sam with that axe if Bobby didn’t arrive with his dagger solution. That unsettles me, spell or not.

In the final scene, both brothers are obviously uncomfortable. Sam is mortified, while Dean is betrayed. Whatever happened between them, siren or not, pushed Dean over the edge in regards to his trust. By refusing to talk about it, telling Sam, “Yeah, we’re good,” that’s his way of saying, “I’m done talking.” The Sam he knew is not only gone, he’s dead to him. That unsettles me too.

Welcome to the setup for the rest of the season. The damage is now done, and from this point forward any shred of loyalty to each other left is compromised. I’m not going to have any nails left by the end of the season.

The Other Stuff

The red walls are back. The ones that served as a backdrop in powerful scenes in “Lazarus Rising,” “Are You There God, Its Me Dean Winchester,” and “Yellow Fever.” This time, they stand out during Sam’s long, slow walk down the hall after coming back from banging Cara. Is this foreshadowing for the path Sam is headed? Either these walls are supposed to mean something, or someone’s messing with us. I’ve learned to believe that in TV, there are no happy accidents.

Charles Beeson did another respectable job, and it’s clear now he’s in the rotation, but the more episodes I see, the more I miss Kim Manners. That’s going to take a while.

That’s one oversized meat-pounder! The better to bash her head in I guess. I’m making sure mine are small and wooden from now on.

The FBI cover this week is brilliance. They have used it so much they’re really taking it to a new level. It’s a great extension of a gimmick that’s getting a bit old. Printed up business cards, an AD to report to, and Bobby providing backup on the other line. Bobby has five phones, one for each cover! Just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more. Especially when he called them “idjits” after the call.

Great quote of the week comes from Sam this time! “If you’re a siren in '09 looking to ruin a bunch of morons, where would you set up shop?”

Dean, if you ever need someone to talk Zeppelin with, I’m available. I’ll impress you with my obscure knowledge. “This is the mystery of the quotient, upon us all a little rain must fall.”

Hear this, TPTB, I will never tire of shirtless Sammy. Thanks again for that, and who isn’t thrilled that Sera Gamble has passed on the Sam sex scene baton to someone else?

My grade, an A. Just like the last two weeks, these stand-alones may not involve angels, but man, are they pushing the character development forward. This type of development is sorely needed, and seems to be providing the necessary setup to take us through the rest of the season. I can’t wait!

In the coming weeks of hiatus, I’m going to do at least one top ten list and get back to some older episode reviews. I still have yet to do “Home” and other season one favorites. Thursday’s repeat is the fantastic “Yellow Fever.” This hiatus will be over in no time.

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About Alice Jester

  • Antoinette

    I love your “Supernatural” reviews, but I winced a little when I read this: “the promiscuous Cara.”

    It’s fairly pejorative for a woman we saw only sleep with one (fairly irresistible) guy. And I never see that term used in the fandom, or your reviews, to refer to Dean so it seems like a double standard.

  • http://www.gracenmiller.com Gracen Miller

    As always, Alice, you point out things from episode to episode that I wouldn’t have put together as eloquently as you do. Bravo! It puts a whole new spin on my thoughts and has me rethinking them for this episode. Those hurtful words…*sniffle, sniffle*…had me wanting to hug them both and try to counsel them back together. 😉

  • Elle

    Another great review Alice!

    However, I feel the need to defend Dean a little bit here:

    First, I don’t think his mistrust of Sam was unjustified or that surprising – really, it’s been building up since he found out about Sam sneaking off and using his powers with Ruby way back in Metamorphesis. They seemed to get over the sneaking out, using demonic powers, etc. in IKWYDLS when Sam explained his relationship with Ruby and Dean genuinely tried to understand (recall: Dean thanking Ruby and sorta-kinda apologizing in his Dean-way) but then here is Sam hiding stuff again. I didn’t think it was shocking or cruel what Dean said about not trusting Sam.

    On the other hand, Sam’s comments struck me as incredibly cruel and uncalled for – just plain mean. While some people may have been thinking along his lines all along, I was absolutely not on board his “Dean is a Sucky-Hunter-Mopey-Loser” train.

    The “infection” by the siren didn’t force them to say anything they weren’t already thinking about one another, so I don’t believe the fact that Sam said his piece while under the influence vs. Dean’s “sober” comment makes any difference either.

    (Predicting things being thrown at me by those who would call me “Anti-Sam” – I’m not, I love him and I understand he has his own issues and reasons for doing things. I just thought his comments were mean, where Dean was calling Sam out for slinking around with Ruby).

    Also, was I the only one yelling at the TV “He’s the siren!!!!” from the moment “Nick Monroe” started cooing about the Impala and classic rock music?

    I adored Bobby’s call centre -that was awesome!

    All in all, I LOVED this episode. Can’t wait for the final tete-a-tete; it’s bound to be incredible.

  • elle2

    I loved this episode. It took a couple watchings (and there will be more) but I do love it.

    I agree, there was terrible damage done here and while in some respects it is remniscent of Skin and Asylum…the stakes are higher now.

    I love both brothers so don’t ping me as anti-either of them but:

    Sam — way too hurtful, not only in what he said but what he did.

    Dean wasn’t wrong for calling Sam out, Sam lied and has continued to lie even after saying he was coming clean.

    HOWEVER, I don’t hate Sam and truly don’t blame him ’cause it’s not black and white here. Sam is in a no-win situation. He’s cursed with demon blood, his dad told his brother to kill him if he couldn’t save him, angels don’t want him doing it, he’s not sure he trusts Ruby and he hates demons but he’s got this demonic mojo thingy and it works…he’s saving people.

    We saw in S2 Playthings drunken despondent Sam hoping he could somehow save himself if he saved enough people. Since then Dean died (something he’ll never be able to forgive himself for — or frankly Dean for putting himself [uh, that’s both of them as ‘himself’] in that situation. And he’s becoming exactly what he never wanted to be and what caused him to leave home in the first place = obsessed with the hunt. (Parallels to John after Mary’s death)

    Everything Dean said to him was true…he has ‘banged two monsters and one woman he just met and while she turned out not to be the monster here, Dean didn’t know that at the time, nor is he accustomed to Sam ‘banging’ anybody.

    Dean needed an outlet for his fear, distrust, betrayal and yes he was cruel but understandable. Had Dean not been under his own ‘spell’ of PTSD and distrust of Sam (brought on by none other than Sam himself) Dean would never have gone that route [banging monsters that is]

    Forgiveable, absolutely, so long as the brothers would talk about it and truly try to understand.

    Dean did try to undertand, really understand Sam in IKWYDLS and we’ve seen his acceptance (reluctant but still there) of Sam’s use of his demonic juice prior to that epy in The Great Pumpkin as well as at the church scene in IKWYDLS before they had their heart to heart. So saying or acting as if Dean isn’t willing or able to understand Sam is just wrong on Sam’s part.

    Similarly, we saw in After School Special the appearance of Dean listening and hearing Sam’s issues when Sam and the bully were having their showdown at the end of the episode, as well as Dean giving Sam his reasons (and fears) for not wanting to cut the head of the snake with Sam’s tentative broaching of the subject in Criss Angel.

    To me, Sam is not giving Dean a chance. AGAIN this is not an indictment of Sam (although it reads as one) b/c Sam is under enormous pressure and is truly in a no-win situation (see earlier in this lengthy post)

    Now how about what Sam said to Dean: well, it is true. Dean is moping around and hung up on the people he tortured, to me what’s cruel is Sam’s complete unwillingness to allow Dean time to heal. 40 years! To think he’d be okay after confessing it outloud is ludicrous. However, I don’t think that’s why Sam said what he said. To me, Sam needed a way to justify his actions so he chose cruelty. To me that cruelty isn’t character assassination of Sam, to me it is showing how truly desperate and lost Sam is. [there’s that no-win situation again]

    I don’t think Sam likes for one second what he’s doing sneaking around with Ruby and hunting Lilith, especially at the loss of his brother’s trust. I think Sam lost so much more when Dean died and he’s still coming to terms with that. Anyone think Sam is also suffering PTSD? Two people similarly suffering such trauma are in no condition to take care of each other.

    While it may have seemed at the beginning of the season that Sam was ‘back to normal’ now that Dean is back from hell I believe we are seeing the opening salvo of his true torment about what those four months were to him, the devastation goes far deeper than we imagine and have yet seen.

    Again, what each brother said was entirely true and while cruel and painful in how it was brought out, ’tis better to get these things out in the open. I for one believe there is far more and far worse still to come, but heck, if John and Sam could find their way back to each other I believe Dean and Sam ultimately will be all right (hear me Kripke…Star Wars analogies aside, these two brothers better ultimately end up all right not everyone needs to become Darth Vader] as they have a much stronger bond than John and Sam ever had.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Fantastic points everyone! I honestly didn’t think I’d hear from anyone considering the review went out almost a week after the episode aired. I promise no more comic cons this year, at least during episode season!

    This one was a hard one to articulate, but believe me when I say it wasn’t an indictment of one brother over the other. They both had their reasons, they both had their harsh points, they both have their deep traumas and their actions opened up some deep layers that haven’t been exposed before. This is going to hurt for a while.

    Antoinette – Maybe I should have said the “supposedly promiscious Cara?” It was implied when she went into the bar too. This show sometimes sends hints that are intepreted in different ways.

    Hi Gracen! Something tells me the brothers will be facing more strife before being drawn together, but I like you have hope for the eventual reconciliation.

    Elle – Deans mistrust of Sam was VERY justified. On my jesterz.net site, I have some pictures with the full recap. There’s a picture of Dean after the call the Ruby. The crushed look of betrayal on his face says it all. He’s very hurt. You’re not being anti-Sam! You’re exactly right with your analysis. What Sam said was horrible, spell or not.

    elle2 – Your posts are never too long! As usual, another well worded, well thought out analysis. What you said wasn’t an indictment of either character. It was honest. I agree with every bit of it. Is Sam suffering PTSD? I’ve always thought he was a poster boy for PTSD from day one. Those traumas stick with him, whether it’s on the surface or not.

    Also on jesterz.net (in the Winchester Family Business section) is the poll on what you thought about the episode. I didn’t get that posted into this article in time. Go vote, tell me what you thought!

  • Maguie

    I read only your reviews on this season because I just became a fan during season 3 whataseason, and i love your reviews.

  • Missy

    “Now how about what Sam said to Dean: well, it is true. Dean is moping around and hung up on the people he tortured, to me what’s cruel is Sam’s complete unwillingness to allow Dean time to heal. 40 years!”

    Well said. I don’t think Dean is exactly “moping around”, since he’s spent the last month hunting nonstop in order to try and redeem himself… maybe that’s what Winchesters call moping? But he deserves at least a month to heal, as you said, and what I was struck by was the specific criticism Sam leveled. He didn’t say Dean was tormented about his own pain. He was contemptuous of Dean’s torment over the pain he inflicted on OTHERS.

    In short, he was contemptuous of Dean’s remorse, and his conscience. And that’s the really scary part, to me… that what he sees as weakness, I see (and I believe many would see) as Dean’s *goodness*, and his strength. Sam seems to believe that strength would lie in not caring whether you hurt others. Dean hasn’t been weeping about this, he’s been condemning himself harshly for it and trying to atone. The ability to own your misdeeds, recant them, and try to make things right… that is the mark of a STRONG person, not a weak one. And I’m afraid that if Sam sees admitting fault as a weakness, and if he sees making amends as moping, he’s going to go very, very far down the slippery slope.

    Nothing is as frightening as someone who’s completely convinced of their own righteousness, to the point where they abhor the idea of course-correcting, and continue barreling on into damnation.

  • elle2

    Missy,

    “In short, he was contemptuous of Dean’s remorse, and his conscience. And that’s the really scary part, to me… that what he sees as weakness, I see (and I believe many would see) as Dean’s *goodness*, and his strength. Sam seems to believe that strength would lie in not caring whether you hurt others. Dean hasn’t been weeping about this, he’s been condemning himself harshly for it and trying to atone. The ability to own your misdeeds, recant them, and try to make things right… that is the mark of a STRONG person, not a weak one. And I’m afraid that if Sam sees admitting fault as a weakness, and if he sees making amends as moping, he’s going to go very, very far down the slippery slope”

    Excellent point about Sam. To me it shows (and the writers are doing a fantastic, albeit subtle job here, of showing how far Sam has slipped and further highlighting the parallels between John and Sam — parallels born out of fear, loss, sorrow and a blind focus for revenge.

    John would have likely seen Dean as weak and certainly Dean would think John would see him as weak for cracking in hell (cracking? I’m tired, that’s the best I could come up with) and then being remorseful about it.

    This is fascinating where it’s going (and sometimes sad over the loss of who Sam was in S1 but that’s also what draws me back, this show moves forward, sometimes painfully for the characters we know and love, but it does move.

    Now, if we could only find out if it ends this season or if there is another one to come…*skitters off to go bite nails*

  • Lauren

    “I wasn’t sure whether to be proud of Dean for not being shallow enough to fall for a stripper or to find him pathetic for his failing faith in Sam.”

    Ah well, Alice, why not just call Dean “pathetic” and be done with it? It seems you really want to. It’s not like Sam is continuing with the lies and deception … let’s just blame this failing on Dean, shall we?

    “Ouch! Both got in their sentences of deep hurt in this episode, but considering Dean’s came when he wasn’t infected, that one bothers me the most.”

    Yes, well, then we might as well add “mean” to the list of Dean’s faults then. It doesn’t matter that Dean was right to be angry that Sam could have been walking right into the siren’s trap by having sex (while they’re in the middle of a job) with a stranger. And that he does indeed have a pattern for having sex with “monsters”, but whatever. So, Dean is mean. Got it.

    “That reality is breached though when Dean really would have killed Sam with that axe if Bobby didn’t arrive with his dagger solution. That unsettles me, spell or not.”

    If Sam had made it to the axe first, he would have tried to kill Dean as well. The siren ordered them to fight to the DEATH. Dean just got to a weapon first. Oh, but I forgot, we’ve already established that Dean is pathetic and mean … that’s right.

    “By refusing to talk about it, telling Sam, “Yeah, we’re good,” that’s his way of saying, “I’m done talking.” The Sam he knew is not only gone, he’s dead to him. That unsettles me too.”

    Why in the world would Dean EVER open up and talk to Sam (boo hoo!!!) again? Dean is done talking because Sam just finished telling him that he’s weak and pathetic for what he’s feeling about his experience in hell. Sam thinks he’s better in every way as a hunter and that Dean is essentially worthless to him. Sam has a goal and Dean is just this pathetic, loser standing in his way. But no, of course, it’s all Dean’s fault that SAM feels bad about what happened. Dean really can’t do anything right in your eyes, can he? *sigh*

    No offense, Alice, but I think this is the last time I’ll be reading your reviews. It seems you don’t even attempt to understand any other character except Sam (the one who’s actions we’re *supposed* to question, the one who is walking down a slippery slope, the one who’s replaced his brother with a pretty, ego-stroking DEMON).

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    No offense taken Lauren! Please remember everyone is entitled to opinions. If there’s a particular aspect of Dean’s character you think I missed, please point it out. In a 1800 word condensed review, I’m sure something was missed.

    For the record, both brothers are very flawed. Sam is hardly clean in all this. After all, he is lying to Dean and hiding things from him. Not good. Dean isn’t perfect though either, and faults are what make his character endearing to me. He’s human.

    Dean isn’t pathetic at all. He expects loyalty. Sam will never give him what he needs, no matter how much he wants it. I just found it sad that when the siren preyed on him, it used that desire against him. That is certainly not a critcism of Dean at all.

    You are right about the end. Dean shouldn’t open up to Sam. Sam hasn’t given him any reason to do so. My point was not criticizing Dean there. It was pointing out that he can’t trust Sam anymore. That’s no fault of Dean’s. If anything, Sam brought that on. It’s unsettling to me, no matter who’s at fault.

    You are also right that is Sam had the axe, he would have done in Dean. I would have said the same in reverse. It’s scary no matter which brother considered it.

    I’m sorry you took this to be a slam on Dean, because it wasn’t. Neither brother came out of this clean, and it can only get worse for their relationship from here. I think Dean acted perfectly in character and in the end I felt more sorry for him than anything.

  • Lauren

    “Dean isn’t pathetic at all. He expects loyalty. Sam will never give him what he needs, no matter how much he wants it.”

    Dean expects to be able to trust Sam … trust that Sam has his back (just like Dean has his) and trust that Sam values their partnership, and trust that Sam views him as a worthy member of their team. Dean doesn’t expect Sam to lie to him or act in ways that are detrimental to their partnership — which is exactly what Sam is doing, in my opinion.

    I doubt Sam values his partnership with Dean any longer. Sam believes that he’s stronger, smarter and better. He has special powers and he has Ruby. I think that Dean expects Sam to value what he brings to their partnership, and it’s unfortunate that apparently Sam doesn’t.

  • Em

    I don’t think Sam has shown any patience with Dean. Dean talked about Hell twice, after Sam asked him to. We know there was a full month between those two talks. If Sam already feels like Dean’s whining and boohooing when Dean’s spent such a short amount of time talking about it, then he’s showing no patience at all.

    Dean has listened to Sam talk about his problems for years. He listened to him talk time and time again about how he’s cursed and about how he has these powers and he doesn’t want to turn evil and Dean has to promise to kill him if he starts acting not like himself, if his powers make him do things(and people wonder why Dean’s not thrilled about the turn of events with Sam’s powers? This is exactly the sort of behavior Sam of Season 2 expected Dean to kill him over).

    Even last season, he listened to Sam talk about how it was all Dean’s fault Sam couldn’t save him because apparently he could only do that if Dean wanted to be saved(huh?). How Dean was leaving him alone.

    We’ve seen Dean listened to Sam when they were kids as Sam complained about this or that or about being the new kid or about being different.

    So I’m sorry I just don’t see Sam showing any patience with Dean, especially not in comparison.

    What Sam said were his feelings. The siren made him reveal them but he didn’t tell him what to say. When Dean revealed his feelings to Sam he was sad, he was hurt, he wanted his partner back. When Sam revealed his feelings to Dean he was contemptous and cruel and he didn’t want Dean as a partner. He mocked him for having a conscience. He mocked Dean for what I feel is a strength, not a weakness. And if it’s a weakness well then it’s a weakness I think Sam could do with some more of.

    I personally hope Dean never opens up his feelings to Sam again, if the very small amount that Dean has opened up has led to such strong feelings of contemp towards Dean on Sam’s part.

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Lauren – Now granted what Sam’s been feeling this season still hasn’t been well explained, but I would agree that Sam doesn’t value their partnership anymore, at least what it was. I see that behavior starting in Lazarus Rising though. We still don’t know what all Sam did in those four months to change him, but something did. It’s really sad to see Dean get so blindsided by his brother’s behavior.

    Em – Honestly, I’m not sure what’s up with Sam this season. I think he’s carrying a heavy burden alone and isn’t taking it too well. I suspect there’s more story there to tell. I’m not sure if its a lack of patience or the fact since the end of season two Sam hasn’t been openly honest with Dean on a number of things. Either way, Dean being in Hell only made it worse.

    I SO agree that Dean will never open up to Sam again. That is all Sam’s fault. I do wonder in the episodes to come if Sam will make an attempt to earn back Dean’s trust, or end up continuing down the same road he’s going consequences be damned. I’m speculating the rift is going to grow wider before it gets better. After this though, they’ll never be the same.

  • lemongrass

    Oh, it’s clear the writers wanted Sam to be the bad guy here so they purposely gave him something cruel to say while making sure Dean got off lightly. I guess only Dean’s POV is valid now, we viewers are supposed to distrust Sam and boo him from now on.

    Sam has also listened patiently to Dean for years. He has urged Dean to confide in him, wanting only to share the burden, wanting to help – ELAC, CSPWDT, Hunted. He has always responded with understanding and kind words whenever Dean was angsting about something – Devil’s Trap, Bloodlust, WIASNB, Wishful Thinking, Heaven and Hell. He never showed any anger over the deal which I think was a shitty thing for Dean to do.

    I refuse to see Sam as a bad brother. He has set aside his own pain to deal with Dean and his angst, time after time.

    I know Dean had a horrible time in hell but his confessions are hard for Sam to bear as well and clearly have been taking a toll on Sam and creating a lot of strong emotions which were twisted by the siren.

    I don’t believe the man secretly hated his mother and wanted to kill her or that the husband always had contempt for his wife for making decisions without consulting him. These are good kind people but under the siren spell, even Mother Teresa would have cracked.

    I just wish fans can see both sides of the issue.

  • strangelove

    I think you’ve missed the whole point of this episode Alice. In your desire to make Sam right and Dean wrong, you’ve truly decided to not see how horrible Sam has become. He is, in all ways, a true addict who cares nothing for anyone but his need for his powers. He is the ultimate selfish addict who will put the life of his only family in danger because he is too into himself to see the affects it’s having on his brother.

    Dean, as you mentioned, is not the shallow man you want him to be. He knows his job and knows how to multitask and keep his focus, something I’ve seen Sam fail to do repeatedly.

    Sam bitches at Dean for spilling his guts, TWICE, while Dean has spent the last two and one half years listening to Sam whine about his stupid destiny and going evil and never once did Dean even comment on that, or roll his eyes at Sam when once again Sam whined in his beer about his evil destiny and poor, poor Sam.

    I hope Dean never tells Sam anything again and I hope he makes Sam work to regain his trust. At this point, I just want Dean to leave Sam’s sorry ass behind and let Ruby have him. Sam doesn’t deserve Dean, nor should Dean have to put up with his selfish, self-centered brother any longer.

    I hope the job the angels have for Dean has nothing to do with Sam and Dean can just do what he’s supposed to do, which is not babysit his whiny brother who still thinks the world revolves around him.

    Alice, as usual, you don’t disappoint. You and BuddyTV have a great way of showing your bias for Sam and using Dean to prop Sam up, as usual.

    Dean is apparently the stronger brother, since not only does he have to prop Sam up, but also the show.

    And please, don’t try to keep excusing Sam. It’s about damn time the guy grows up. The quickest way is for Dean to stop being his brother and leave Sam to his own consequences. Since Sam doesn’t see Dean as his brother anymore anyways, maybe it will finally make Sam happy.

  • elle2

    I’m going back and watching what I think (as this is from memory) to be pivotal episodes from each season that show us Dean’s desire for family: Shadow, What is and What Should Never Be, Dream a Little Dream of Me and Sex and Violence. Each one deal with Dean (either large or small) and his desire for family.

    I also find these parallels interesting…Mary couldn’t live w/o the thought of John so as she held his lifeless body she made a deal. Now, years later John had to live w/o Mary…for the rest of his life but once he’d learned and experienced life w/o the person he loved most (Mary) and had the chance to alter the future he too made a deal so as not to live w/o someone he loved (Dean). For John however that deal came with an instantaneous payment.

    Sam never knew his mother (thus as an aside, I’m glad that thus far any deep revelations of ‘mom’ have been from Dean’s POV as he’s the one we’ve learned for a long time holds mom in a very special, high place in his heart and mind — but that’s a separate topic) Sam, never knew his mother but he did know and love Jess and her loss came with it not only the knowledge of the evil in the world (something John did not have at the time of Mary’s death — although Dean did at the time of not only his dad’s but Sam’s deaths) but he similarly [to John] had to live a long time — and still is — w/o that person.

    We saw John’s obsession w/ revenge after that loss and his ultimate payment to never endure that pain again and we’ve seen Sam’s enduring the loss of Jess and then Dean (although he tried to end his suffering at Dean’s death by trying to make a deal)

    Now for Dean, he lost his mom and was and is forever scarred by that; he lost his dad — and with that came the knowlege and guilt that he was ‘to blame’ or ‘responsible’ or most certainly the reason behind his father’s sacrifice, so that when the loss of Sam came, he made the choice that Mary and John had both made before him when faced with the loss of a person they loved dearly, he made a deal.

    Sam, dear Sam, he’s lost mom (never knew), Jess (loved dearly), dad (was just beginning to develop a relationship/understanding), and Dean and like Dean, Sam tried to make a deal to end his personal suffering but was denied. As much as Dean was selfish for making his deal to save Sam (and so was Mary and so was John) in the end, ultimately it can be argued or surmised that Sam has suffered the most as he’s lost them all and was not able to do one thing to bring them back or truly exact revenge for although Dean admits he didn’t kill YED alone, he killed YED, not Sam.

    Interesting, interesting, interesting.

    I make no actual point here other than to ramble on and present some additional parallels I see or interesting travels of the emotional upheavals for our beloved Winchesters.

  • http://bardicvoice.livejournal.com Mary (Bardicvoice)

    Sorry to be so late to your party, Alice!

    As ever, I enjoyed your review. This episode was brutal, and will have lasting and painful consequences. I do believe things will get worse before they get better for the brothers Winchester.

    I do disagree in one respect, though. I don’t think that Dean’s refusal to talk at the end indicated that Dean considered the Sam he knew not only gone, but dead to him; I don’t believe that’s happened. Yes, under the siren’s spur, Dean would have killed Sam – and then promptly killed himself, one bets, as Sam would have done had the fortunes of combat been reversed – but that much wasn’t his fault; that much was due to the siren, like every other murder. But I think that Dean’s refusal to talk so close to the event just fit his pattern, something we’ve often seen before from him, the same way that Sam’s attempt to disavow what he said (despite knowing that it was true and that he, like Dean, meant every word, even though they would likely never have expressed it quite so brutally) fit the pattern we’ve seen before from him, whenever he’s feared that something he said might have been unforgivable. I think Dean needed to put some emotional distance between the pain and addressing it in speech; he needed time to process and lick wounds. Sam, for his part, needed to try to bandage the wound he’d caused and back away from it, to allow some healing. Both of them failed miserably, and that will bite them.

    For them to talk, Sam is going to have to earn back Dean’s trust, but I’m afraid that he isn’t inclined to do that just now. I think that Sam is desperate to have it all just stop: he wants an end to losing people, to being afraid, to being doomed to a life he never chose, to being a freak. And if having it stop means doing things he knows in his heart of hearts to be wrong, things that his brother fears and abhors, well – that’s just the price, and maybe he can apologize to Dean after he knows that Dean will be safely alive to apologize to. I do think that Sam still loves Dean, but that what he sees most right now is that Dean does indeed stand in the way of Sam bringing it all to an end by using his powers and whatever else he has been up to with Ruby in the night. I think that Sam just sees himself doing what he has to in order to survive and to win, the same way he survived on his own while Dean was dead.

    I think that Dean, for his part, sees his nightmares coming true: he sees Sam estranged from him, rejecting any claim that he needs Dean, and heading down the demon-paved path to being lost in the use of unnatural powers that only promise corruption. He sees Sam becoming arrogant in his pride, becoming what his father apparently warned that he might need to hunt and to kill, and that is shattering him as surely as his memories of Hell. And just this minute, in the rawness of his pain, I think he needs to distance himself from bringing that to a head, which challenging Sam would certainly do.

    Where are we going? To where this all will hurt even more. But unlike many, I don’t believe that the things that were said cannot be weathered. As I said earlier, I believe that things will get much, much worse before they get better – but I don’t believe that anything said here was fatal to the love between the boys, or to the reestablishment of a strong relationship, including trust, between them again.

    But that’s just me …

  • http://www.jesterz.net Alice Jester

    Mary – Better late than ever! It’s great hearing from you.

    I do love your way with words! I would agree with everything you said and as usual so well put. I don’t think the relationship is irreparable, but it’s far more damaged than we were led to believe. The issues surfacing like this I think made it worse. I still have faith that Kripke will bring them together in the end, but there’s plenty more conflict to come before that happens.

    I don’t think I articulated my points in this review very well. There were some very complex aspects to explore, and I tried to do it in 1800 words. I failed. Thanks for sharing your detailed insights. I think they were far better in making the points needed.

  • http:/ Suze

    For what it’s worth I think that Mary is bang on the money with her summing up.

    Everyone is hurt and massivly pissed off and it’s going to get worse before it gets better, but it will get better – The bond between them is the whole point of the story, it will stretch and fray but it won’t break (crosses fingers nervously under desk …)

  • elle2

    I agree Suze, in the end the bond is the love between the brothers, and as we’ve seen this season, Family Remains. Kripke is basing this on many different past greats (or some not so great depends on your level of camp) but X-Files and Star Wars are two of the foundations here and both had a great heart — sometimes one if not both got a little too full of themselves [and too cute, ewoks] but all in all, the underlying story of good vs. evil and love conquering all — and love is so beyond lust and sex, is the them.

    Unless I’m going to be massively disappointed (and it could happen) all things will end up all right [damaged, frayed and a bit wiser and more experienced and scarred] but well…Family Remains.

  • http:/ Suze

    As someone else put it rather elegantly … From your keyboard to Kripke’e brain!

  • http:/ Suze

    Sod, that’ll teach me not to preview, that should be Kripke’s brain!

    PS. Totally with you on the Ewoks, and don’t get me started on Jar Jar Binks …

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