11.11 Into the Mystic written by Robbie Thompson
I was really upset by what happened to the baby. I just can’t handle scenes like that…
Very effective voiceover of Lucifer taunting Sam as Sam is trying to sleep, reminding Sam he failed to look for Dean when his brother was in Purgatory…I had forgotten that part. As good as an angsty fic…
Oh crap, we know about Casifer but they don’t! My thought as they toss out a casual line about not hearing from him but he’s probably fine…
Sam admits that he’s not okay—Winchester honesty?!? How bad must Sam be feeling to say that to Dean, and tell his brother that seeing Lucifer has “brought up stuff, stuff I thought I forgot about.” And Dean doesn’t shut him down, actually asks if Sam wants to talk about it…which he doesn’t…
Been a while since we’ve had a simple gravedigging for a salt-n-burn, and we get a beautiful shot of Sam lit by the flames, thank you, director!
Nice example of the writer taking the time to provide internal logic to the story: when they start the case Dean says it’s in their backyard, just 15 minutes away. So when they need to separate the boys so Sam can be trapped by Eileen, it’s very believable for Dean to say he doesn’t have gold blades in the car, he’ll just run to the bunker and get some.
Nice job with Eileen through the whole episode—competent female hunter with a very matter-of-fact handling of her disability. And lovely tie of her father to the Men of Letters—more attention to detail!
And Casifer is there…Very creepy how Casifer mimics Cas’ mannerisms and voice, and frustrating that we know it’s fake but Dean doesn’t…So Dean admits he’s attracted to Amara, doesn’t want to be, but can’t fight it. We see Casifer filing that away for future use even while we see Dean’s distress at not being able to control the connection. He doesn’t want to be bound to her, knows it’s wrong…
Okay, here’s where they lost me a little—Mildred is the most vulnerable person in the whole retirement community because she has atrial fibrillation? That’s the most serious medical condition in the whole place, everyone else is the picture of health? There are so many more serious medical problems they could have given her to make her the most obvious next victim. (I think it bothers me more when there’s a dumb plothole in the middle of a really good episode than when the whole episode is illogical.)
Again Robbie Thompson gives us the dialog we’ve been wanting, Sam telling Eileen “Yeah, I wouldn't do this without my brother. He's had my back every step of the way, even when I let him down.” Then Mildred gives Dean a pep talk on the secret to a long and happy life being to follow your heart.
The banshee attacks Dean and Sam goes to help him instead of using the Celtic ward to trap it…And it’s Eileen and Mildred who save the day! Nice!
As the boys leave, Mildred says she can tell Dean has someone special, which he denies, but in view of what he confessed to Casifer, I assume we’re supposed to interpret that as his connection to Amara. Although I do remember when first seeing it, that I first thought his someone special was Sam and then I thought of Amara because it fit the mytharc of the season.
Then we get the highlight of the episode for me, Sam acknowledging his mistake while Dean was in Purgatory: “I should have looked for you. When you were in Purgatory, I should have turned over every stone, but I didn't, I stopped. And I've never forgiven myself for it.” Thing is, it felt to me like an apology from the writers to the fans: yes, we should have had Sam look for Dean, we screwed up 3 years ago, that wasn’t in keeping with what the brothers do. And Dean tells Sam to let it go—and show asks us to forgive and let it pass.
I may be the only fan who took it that way, but it felt like the screw up at the start of season 8 was finally acknowledged as a mistake. I mean, how many of us did not recognize that Sam Winchester?
Then a new thing—Sam’s treasure box! I don’t know if they knew it at the time, but its existence does allow some wiggle room for the question of where did Sam keep the amulet for the last 6 years? And how cool to see the fake amulet from Fan Fiction in it! Wonder what else we would find in there?
And the episode ends with Dean unable to sleep and Sam able to relax at last—the opposite of how they were at the start. (Chalk up another ‘Jensen’s face says more than words’ heartbreaking moment…)
11.12 Don’t You Forget about Me written by Nancy Won
Come on, CW, give us our Wayward Daughters spinoff!
More than a monster-driven episode, this was an exploration of ‘family don’t end with blood.’ Jody with Claire and Alex, Jody with Sam and Dean, Dean with Claire…All the scenes that showed how they cared about each other—how lovely to see the boys have friends!
As soon as Alex tries to tell her boyfriend that she’s done bad things and he blows it off, I knew he was the monster…
Nice shade of gray thrown in with the head vampire, that he had been trying to help Alex and his decency ended up getting him turned.
My only quibble, and I am probably in the minority, was Sam and Dean’s behavior during the dinner scene—the aggressively overreacting to the food. Dean’s proven he can cook—he’s served Sam an awesome burger at least once that I recall…It could be that chicken and potatoes is not something in Dean’s repertoire, so I understand their enthusiasm, but Sam was eating with the food-hanging-out-of-his-mouth wild abandon that is Dean’s trademark, I’ve never seen Sam with such poor table manners.
I have to add that the vamp taking out Jody was brutal, I was shocked, almost felt ill watching it…
And we get not one, but two unforgettable lines from the episode: Hey, if we can't talk about it, we shouldn't be doing it, right? and As long as everyone wears a condom, we'll be fine.
11.13 Love Hurts written by Charmelo and Snyder
Another solid episode—show is on a roll!!!
Poor Staci getting her heart punched out—ewww!
Dean hungover after his Valentine’s Day debauchery—ewww again!
Boys in suits with overcoats, on the other hand—yum!
Another case where the perpetrator ends up in the gray area—Melissa didn’t mean to kill her husband and Staci, and yet she was looking for an easy fix to an admittedly ugly problem. I was impressed that she was smart enough to head directly to Sam and Dean when her dead husband showed up though—she wasn’t stupid.
This episode had delightfully smart Winchesters—Dean slipping Melissa the silver pen to test her for shapeshifter, Sam figuring out the curse, witch-killing bullets, and then there was Dean being the big damn hero again by kissing Melissa to save her from the curse. And Sam’s frustrated reaction, which Dean totally blows off because it doesn’t matter if the monster comes after him, Melissa is safe.
Love that Dean was so surprised at winning ‘rock, paper, scissors’ that it doesn’t register that Sam is still taking the upstairs like he called for before they threw down!
Again Dean shows his smarts by realizing right away that is not really Amara in the basement with him. And damn, Sam cut it really close in stabbing the heart just as Dean was about to lose his!
The end scene in the motel was a total surprise—Dean was honest, he told Sam he’d seen Amara as his deepest desire. Sam correctly reads that Dean feels that he’s to blame for feeling attracted and it was so gratifying to hear Sam say exactly the right thing, that Dean didn’t stand a chance against the sister of God choosing him! Dean admits how torn he is, he wants to kill the Darkness—but when he is near her he is under her binding—and Sam says he’ll take care of it.
One of the best conversations under duress they’ve ever had—and just a couple episodes ago we had Sam’s apology for abandoning Dean in Purgatory—could it be the Winchesters are finally learning how to talk to each other?!?
11.14 The Vessel written by Robert Berens
A stunning episode. Upon rewatch, I have to put this in my top 15, the script is so tight and the presentation so riveting!
Delphine was awesome from scene one, she is another one-episode character with so much depth she is unforgettable.
The sense of urgency in the entire episode—when caught, Dean doesn’t try to deflect or rag the captain as is his usual modus operandi—he is straightforwardly serious with the preposterous truth. There was no down time in this episode.
And the production values—the bridge of the sub as it’s under attack and they’re diving—it was like watching a movie!
Going back to Delphine—her calm acceptance of Dean’s wild story, her willingness to die to help the Men of Letters save the world in the future based on the brief conversation she has with Dean—watching the impact her heroism had on Dean…
Even the interaction with the seaman who was guarding Dean and Delphine—it was a tragedy to meet such a decent man and watch him realize he was going to die shortly, and he just wants to know how long till the war is won…
Then there’s Sam and Casifer in the bunker, the anxiety of watching Sam still unaware that is not Cas, seeing the hints that Sam isn’t noticing until Lucifer gets tired of playacting and reveals who he is and he is killing Sam and I remember being terrified watching it the first time, but Cas fights the devil down to save Sam—yes!—but then Cas says only Lucifer can retrieve Dean, he has to let the devil back…
Then Dean is back in the bunker and Lucifer is unmasked to him and talk about from the frying pan to the fire—but Sam pulls off an angel-banishing sigil and I can finally take a breath!
And the solemnness of the final scene, Dean’s ache that it was all for nothing compounded with what has happened to Cas…tied to the final mention of the fate of the German ship, showing that the time loop was as it was meant to be, nothing Dean did mattered…
I have to add that upon the rewatch I actually appreciated Crowley. Even as he was accepting Casifer’s humiliation and punishment you could tell that he was not broken. Casifer accuses him of still having a whiff of defiance and Crowley owns it, and when he’s asked why he observes that if Lucifer could take down Amara he’d be out there doing it, not hiding. Very briefly, even though I am not a Crowley fan, I had to admire his backbone.