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Supernatural – Episode 9.16 – The Gripe Review

22 Mar 2014

Welcome to another Gripe Review brought to you by Tessa the resident griper.

This week things heated up in Supernatural land. We finally got our mythology for this season, and it revolves around defeating Abaddon, the Knight of Hell, the queen of evil, the devil that should be stopped at all costs because…because…she wrecked the Impala I guess.

So let me get this straight, even though it was this guy:

who cornered Dean, lied to him about his identity, possessed Sam, kicked Castiel out of the bunker, used Sam’s body to kill Kevin, and most recently, teamed up with Metatron, this:

is who they are going after?


I suppose there is less harm in Crowley being the king of hell as opposed to Abaddon, because if we put their sins on a scale Abaddon’s are far greater than Crowley’s. She killed the entire clique of Men of Letters and she…um…she...wrecked the Impala. Yes. That's it. How dare she wreck the Impala?!

Let’s get to the gripes.

Gripe #1: Oh Crowley, the way they wrote thee

Crowley was a charming oddball when he first burst onto our screens. He lived in a mansion, had a tailor whom he cared about, and was sassy with the Winchesters. On top of that he had no problem kissing men, and seemed to quite enjoy kissing Bobby, leading the fandom to suspect him batting for the same sex team.

I always suspected what brought on Crowley’s popularity (aside from Mark Shepard’s excellent performance) was how different he was from, not just the run-of-the-mill demons on the show, but males in general. He didn't chase skirt, didn't mourn the loss of a loved one, nor was he ever reformed through his love for a girlfriend. In fact he didn't care much about anything other than benefiting as much as possible from every situation, and that made him unique.

In that sense he was like Castiel, who also seemed to have focuses other than sex, women or love.

Then Carver came along and changed both of them.

I already talked at length about Castiel’s failed human experiment in previous reviews. What pained me watching this episode was seeing the same thing happen to Crowley. At the start of the episode they saddled him with a PG-13 vixen, who was there purely for fanservice. All of a sudden he was like every other male on the show, obsessed with sex and booze. We already had this trope with Dean, Gabriel, Balthazar, Soulless Sam, and Human Castiel. Suddenly Crowley was no longer special, he was like everyone else.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, they also gave him some of Human Cas’ stooge traits, i.e. the Stupid Bug. His fumbling with the vending machine reminded me of Human Cas' troubles with the Slurpee machine. I wished I understood the connection between humanity and this kind of mental challenge.

Gripe #2: Hypocrisy alert!

“Look me in the eye and tell me you’re not working with Crowley!”

That was the accusation Dean threw at Castiel back in season 6. Yet when you look closely, back then Castiel was doing the same thing the Winchesters are doing now. He was using Crowley to achieve a goal. And his goal wasn't less noble than Sam and Dean’s current objective. He wanted to stop Raphael from destroying the world he and the Winchesters had fought so hard to save.

If the writers had put a little more thought in the dialogue back then they could have saved the show from this double standard. Instead of accusing Castiel of teaming up with Crowley Dean could have admonished him for lying to them, letting Crowley boss them around like his lackeys, hiding the truth about Sam’s soul from them. Any of those would have been better than “We don't go out and make another deal with the Devil” which would make Sam and Dean look like giant bigots when they turn around and do the same thing three seasons later.

How is this a gripe for season 9? Because even though this elephant exists in the room the writers don’t bother to talk about it. One line from Sam or Dean would have sufficed, one sentence about the irony of their situation paralleling Castiel’s back then and the matter would have been put to rest. But from what I have seen so far, I doubt many of the current writers (or the show runner) remember what happened in the previous seasons, let alone care about its consistency or fairness with regards to new material.

Gripe #3: Where is Castiel?

Speaking of Castiel, where is he? Why is no one wondering where he went or what he is doing? If he doesn't matter to the other major players of the story why the heck is he even on this show?

I could ignore his universal absence in an episode revolving around Garth or Kevin or the Ghostfacers. But now we’re in mythology territory and the Winchesters seem to have found their goal for the season (as much as that goal seems out of step with what came earlier,) and Castiel is nowhere to be found. This bothers me greatly not just because I like him, but because his story now becomes an obstacle instead of a part of the main plot. If the show plans to make the rest of the season about The Mark of Cain and defeating Abaddon, then Castiel in his current function will be a distraction. No one would want to hear more about the irrelevant angel scuffle when it doesn’t involve 2/3rd of the main cast.

A smart show runner would have found a way to involve all the players in the same plot, so that each character’s existence had a purpose on the show. Since I have no faith in this show runner or his group of writers to even bring the stories together I don’t see a resolution in sight and, as a result, I fear Castiel, Metatron, Gadreel and all the rest of the angels and their drama have become pointless.

Gripe #4: 26:12

That is the exact amount of time that passed before something important happened in the episode. Before this time the only thing the characters did was talk.

Sam and Dean talked to each other, to Snookie (Really? Why?) to Crowley, to an antique dealer who had the Blade, to a cop who promoted Windows 8, and to a cougar who was also a museum director. The most exciting event in that long segment was a couple of security guards getting possessed and killed, which is how a Supernatural episode usually starts. I don’t understand why things on the show require so much talk. Couldn’t we make finding the Demon Blade a little more interesting, or a little less complicated so we could get to the more interesting second half of the episode faster?

Gripe #5: Oh Magnus, the way they wrote thee

As said, at 26:12 something magical happens, and we are transported to a secret hideout in a parallel universe. Immediately I’m at the edge of my seat, eager to see all the wonders of this new setting, most specifically who or what Magnus is.

And then we see Magnus, and he is yet another guy in a suit who talks a lot.

Seriously, that was the most exciting they could make this guy and his scenes? Sitting in a chair talking? Tying the Winchesters up and talking some more? As if no other villain has done that before. If there was a debate between the bad guys on the show about the most overused torment they have visited on the Winchesters the competition would be between throwing them at objects and tying them up and talking their ears off.

I usually don’t care much about cliché executions of villain plots. But somehow I put a lot of faith in Magnus - perhaps because he wasn’t just an ordinary bad guy but a Man of Letters – and was really crushed when he turned out the same as everyone else. Full of talk, little action.

And what about his hideout, where he supposedly had a collection of monsters he called his zoo? Where was that? Wouldn't it have been nice to see something of it, like a room full of cages, or a lab full of containers with creatures suspended in glowing fluids? I know that too is done to death but anything would have been better than two vampires and a shape-shifter attacking the intruders and dying in T-0.5 seconds.

Gripe #6: Oh Sam, the way they wrote thee

I said this last time, sometimes I hate the way the writers write my favorite characters because it lessens my fondness of them. It comes either from laziness, or incompetence. The writers don’t take the time to give the characters words and actions that go with their established personality traits and the characters become OOC.

Sam has been a lot of things in the past, but a jerk and an idiot weren't it. The way Sam behaved at the end of the episode was arguably both. First he holds the blade in his own hand, when he knows Dean is the only one who can use it. Then he tells Dean – in perfect detail, not just hints and gestures – what they should do with Crowley now that they “got the blade.” Meanwhile Crowley is standing two steps behind him. They might as well had him turn around and tell Crowley, “Dude, you’re now useless to us so we’re going to kill you?” What did he think Crowley would do?

Aside from that, didn't Crowley just save both their hides? I know they have no reason to care for the guy and more than enough reasons to kill him, but couldn’t they make an exception just this once? I’d like to think there is a secret code of honor among hunters that excludes demons who risk their lives to save them. It befits Sam and Dean to be that noble.

If I had written the scene, I would have made Sam and Dean hesitate about killing Crowley. He had just rescued them from Magnus and the debt they felt because of that act conflicted with their common sense. I would have made that the weakness which lost them the blade, honor instead of sheer stupidity. Perhaps one could still blame them for not acting fast and securing their advantage, but at least it would be gallant and produce respect in the audience instead of eye roll.

In closing, I'd like to add that I fear Carver is doing the same thing this season that he did in season 8. Once again the first half of the season might have little to do with the second half. Now that we have Abaddon as the main Winchester concern, and the Mark of Cain/Blade as their weapon of choice, I could picture all their attention being on that. Yet we spent more than 11 episodes on Gadreel and what an evil SOB he was, to the point of actively despising him. Compared to him Abaddon is a champ. True she is capable of great destruction and must be stopped, but we don’t have any personal vendetta against her, nothing we have experienced firsthand, and that is one of the most important things when creating a villain: to give the audience an opportunity to feel their vileness.

The only reason I didn’t include this in the gripes is because I’m still waiting to see what they plan to do with these two seemingly disjointed stories. How would they resolve making the Winchesters’ main concern a lying, scheming, evil angel for the first half of the season then turn them around in the second half and point them toward Abaddon. Hopefully there’s a good explanation behind it all which we will soon find out.

As always, your comments and opinions are most welcome.



  1. Each characters storyline have become so incoherent,castiel merely a distraction,sam and dean's brotherly love completely destroyed,it's like they don't even recognise each other's views.thay have become so distant.All the things that i loved is vanishing one by one.crowley was one decent character left,now the writers are destroying it too.So frustating to see a show you hold so dear in your heart suffer so badly creatively!!

  2. Thanks for the comment. I know. When I was watching Crowley punch and kick that vending machine I was yelling at my screen, "He is not dumb. Why are you making him dumb?"

    And the PG-13 sex...bleh!

  3. I understand #2 the Hypocrisy Alert, but it's nothing new. We had Dean banging on Sam in season five while he was trusting Crowley to be honestly helping defeat Lucifer. We then had Dean trusting Meg, who killed Pastor Jim, Caleb, Jo and Ellen and who helped kidnap John so he could be possessed by Azazel. Now he is back to working with Crowley after Crowley killed Tommy, the cupcake lady and Sarah and after he continued to hold Mrs. Tran hostage AFTER he had been partly cured. And this is after beating on Sam throughout season eight about Ruby when SHE NEVER KILLED ANYBODY THEY LOVED. Yes, she was using Sam. Yes, it had the worst possible ending, but that wasn't predictable. So for me that hypocrisy boat sailed a long time ago.

  4. While the MoC is all the talk, and I appreciated the show finally addressing that, I have great reservations about how the rest of the nine episodes play out -- well, eight episodes if the spin-off episode is ignored, because that won't have anything to do with the SPN stories this season. Carver said this in a recent interview ( "JC: Well, we have a lot on our plates. I can tell you this: we’re going to pretty much deal with all of it. How we get rid of Abaddon; how we get rid of Metatron; how do we get the angels back into heaven, once and for all; is Crowley redeemable or not? And most importantly, how do the brothers find a way to repair their ruptured bond? There’s a lot on the plate, and it all gets dealt with one way or the other." .... and Carver is talking about THIS season! No way.
    How can that all be dealt with in a satisfactory way? It can't. It will be just like S8. Plotting, pacing and story structure remains a major problem with the show these days.
    My feelings about Crowley are exactly as you state, despite my appreciation for Mark Sheppard's work. It rubs me wrong that Sam and Dean are made so stupid to play up a support character's story. Viewers just don't forget Sarah, the kids in Wendigo, Crowley using Cas, almost killing Jodi Mills, or Meg saying, "Crowley is always the problem." I think I am going to be really disappointed to see that Crowley plays Dean and all of Dean's hunter instincts, spidey senses, and intelligence as a hunter are put aside. I'm already wondering how these two guys have stayed alive all this time.
    I liked the Gadreel story, but I think that one is pretty well forgotten. I don't find the Metatron story interesting at all -- he's just a slime. I liked evil Abaddon, but her story wasn't developed, and it's pretty obvious that she will die and Crowley will live to see another day. No tension there.
    I am interested to see JA perform the MoC story. He's did excellent work in this episode, but I don't like tit-for-tat storytelling. It's the laziest way to write and not creative at all. Sam hooked on the power of demon blood, Dean hooked on the power of the Blade, Ruby uses Sam, Crowley uses Dean, one brother saves the other brother and in doing so, show their enduring love for each other.
    My show could be so much better with a little interest and effort on the writers' part. They better thank their lucky stars that they have the J2s to keep them afloat.

  5. Yes to all of that. I agree that it's been there all the time. But at least those were different demons and different circumstances and one could argue those differences perhaps. What got me this time was that it was the same damn demon and almost identical circumstances yet the same guys who berated Castiel for working with him in season 6 are now doing the same thing. So what is it then? Is working with Crowley a bad thing or a good thing? Or is it only wrong when someone else does it and doesn't tell the Winchesters?

  6. Wow your gripe about Sam being a jerk and an idiot because he held the blade and wanted to do away with Crowley? Just wow! I think that is possibly the lamest anti Sam argument ever.

  7. My show could be so much better with a little interest and effort on the writers' part. They better thank their lucky stars that they have the J2s to keep them afloat.

    All the truth about the current state of Supernatural summarized in one statement.

    I personally have no fate that JC will be able to wrap things up the way he claims he would, at least not in a way that would be satisfactory. The stories are too disjointed. Sam and Dean are too much at odds. Castiel isn't seen or mentioned in a long time. The angel story isn't even on the Winchesters' radar and Crowley's redemption is only shown as losing himself in sex and booze and acting like an imbecile. As I said in the review, I fear a repeat of season 8. A few characters will be killed off with no closure to their stories, others will be redeemed through the power of love, and Dean most likely will go super saiyan at the end and brought down to earth by Sam who abruptly forgets he was angry at him for the better part of the season. Either that or Dean going crazy will provide the cliffhanger for season 10 ala Castiel and season 7.

  8. Read the gripe again. It's not anti-Sam. I gripe about the way the writers wrote him (check out the title) and provide an alternative that would not have made him (and Dean too) look like douche bags and idiots. That's how I see Sam and Dean. I don't have to swallow every BS these writers make them do and think it's fair just because I like them.

  9. YES, YES, YES to everything you wrote. I saw the writers names and just groaned. Can't stand them. They need to find another line of work. What I did like was that Sam and Dean acted pretty normal around each other the whole time, Sam talking Dean down when he held the blade, and Dean hugging the impala after it had been keyed. I guess that's better than nothing!

  10. Yes, the only redeeming quality of this episode was Sam and Dean not going back to that stupid fight. I still couldn't give the writers credit for that because it's still a big continuity error. The fact that I appreciated it kept me from including it in the gripes though.

  11. and may i add how they kill Mangus and just...leave. the mansion. with all those 'monsters' trapped there, in cages, to starve. nice. and all those books and magic ingrediens. so many potential resources. shouldn't they...i don't through some stuff to get anything useful?

  12. I fast forwarded through much of the first part. As for Crowley and the candy, I believe they were just going for a moment of levity, like they generally use Dean for, but since he can't be in that place, they sacrificed Crowley instead.

  13. Them having no indication of fighting and being estranged threw me for a complete loop throughout the whole episode. I kept looking for signs that everything between them was in the background, and I saw none of that. I found the lack of continuity really confusing, especially having read an interview with JA that said the brothers were still apart in 9.20.
    Yeah, the Nepotism Duo. The only thing I can say is that I found this was the best effort they have ever put in.

  14. You know, maybe it is just me, but I thought Sam was weird throughout the whole episode, and I haven't put my finger on why. Maybe it was the continuity thing that made me think that.

  15. A great review like always. I guess Abaddon is killing people who made deals sooner...but then if they'd closed the gates of Hell that wouldn't even be a problem. It's funny they remember Abaddon killed Henry. While ignoring that Crowley killed Sarah and a bunch of other people they'd saved, tortured Kevin and his mother. Had Bobby's soul in Hell and was planning to use the Demon Tablet to o exactly what Abaddon is doing. But somehow the woman demon is worse.

    I agree Metatron should be a bigger concern. Souls stuck in the Veil means in the end more ghost activity and the balance is going to be seriously skewed sooner or later. Plus unlike Abaddon, Gadreel and in turn Metatron now know where their not-really secret hideout is.

    I don't have anything else to add to the gripes because they're pretty spot on. Crowley's writing, specially at the beginning of the episode made me wish the show would just kill him before they ruin the character more. The fact that this is the image the writers get when they think what being human means makes me shake my head. remember the days when being human meant free will? Never giving up and accepting "destiny" or the status quo? Now it means being an useless idiot who's only interested in sex, food and alcohol.

  16. I completely agree with you about the way they WROTE Sam. I mean, to incite Dean to kill Crowley WITHIN Crowley's hearing??? That is just horrible writing and an insult to all the characters.
    I'm not saying don't kill Crowley, give him a pass or anything like that. I'm just saying talking about it within his hearing range . . . NOT smart. And, the worse part is that they actually had written Sam being smart most of the time.
    This part was, for me, the worse part of the entire episode.

  17. I believe they did that (wrote them as normal) because the entire time they were on a job, finding Crowley, finding the First Blade. There were still scenes where you could tell Sam was out of patience with Dean, like each time he talked about killing Crowley. To me, each time seemed a test for Dean, which could have several reasons for (i.e, Ruby) but could also have to do with the whole "we don't see things the same way anymore" thing, making sure that Dean did see things the same way.

  18. The only viable reason, storywise, I got for them swapping Abaddon for Gadreel was at the point Crowley went to Dean, Dean was at a place where he wanted to hurt something and his preferred target was more in the wind than the one Crowley offered. Apart from that there isn't much of a reason.

    As for where is Cas. Well if Cas saw the mark I'm guessing he'd know what it would do to Dean and Sam would have been told to drop the rift right then and there because Dean was in trouble. Without Cas, they can stretch out the whole thing out.

  19. It didn’t bother me that Sam was holding the blade. He had to because Dean couldn’t handle the blade’s power. However, they had Sam check the trunk and announce that the warding kept the demons out so why not put the blade immediately in a safe place?

  20. That is a very good point.

  21. It wasn't so much dramatic as pointing out that the fault was with the writers and not a dig at Sam, personally. And the WITHIN part was incredulity, not drama.

  22. Well Sam was pretty clear in episode 2 that he wanted Crowley dead. When he asked why Crowley was alive Dean said he asked himself what would Sam do and Sam responded stab him in the head. So we're more talking Dean's hypocrisy.

    You may say that Sam could sneak behind Dean's back and kill Crowley, but that isn't Sam's style. He doesn't tell Dean he won't kill someone and then go kill them. Sam has deferred to Dean's judgement before and he still is. So I'm not calling Sam hypocritical. I also think it goes to his talking about killing Crowley when he did. He wants to know if Dean is willing to kill Crowley and the answer is maybe, IMHO.

  23. I think Dean is willing to kill Crowley. For him, it's more of a matter of when, which doesn't make it right, I know and I think Dean knows. But I think Dean's hesitation comes from wondering if they still need him for anything. Which again, isn't right but I do believe that's where his mind set is right now. We all know Crowley's going to be a problem until there is no more Crowley.

  24. Good point. I've wondered why no one has called Cas about this yet and your reasoning makes the most sense.

  25. Think it is the idea to stretch out the rift. Both they would have to explain themselves to Cas why they are hanging on to the petty stuff while other things are going on.

    Though you'd also think Cas would be calling Sam out about why Sam hadn't been doing more to find out about the mark when his brother was obviously about to fall off the rails.

  26. Actually, there are only 7 episodes, 6 without Bloodlines. There really isn't much time to bring all these barely developed story lines together and give them any sort of meaningful conclusion.

  27. If Revolution does get cancelled (which would of course suck), do we think that there is any chance that Kripke could come back and clean up Carver's mess?

  28. I doubt that would happen, even if Revolution gets cancelled. There's a lot of behind the scene politics involved, and Being Human is already cancelled so where would Carver go?

  29. I really like your theory about Cas, fazziemodo. He would definitely ask about the mark and then tell the brothers to stow their crap and work together to save Dean. That would be what a reasonable writer would make him/them do. But with these writers, I wouldn't be surprised if they have the brothers act normal around him (like they did this episode,) and have him totally miss the mark.

  30. I agree that as far as quality goes it was one of the better episodes of the season. I had much bigger hopes for it though, reading the description and knowing it would be delving into the MOL mythology, so I was a bit more disappointed. I liked Magnus and the actor who played him. I just think they could have done so much more with him and really made him wow us. Of course I knew they would kill him off. They already have enough player in the field (Crowley, Metatron, Abaddon, Gadreel.) I couldn't see them adding a new one to the mix.

    And I agree that losing the blade made the whole episode pointless, but I chalked it up to Crowley pulling one over the boys. It just irked me that it happened the way it did. They had such a great opportunity for the brothers to shine and instead they made them act like petty idiots.

  31. Far far away from Supernatural hopefully.

  32. emember the days when being human meant free will? Never giving up and accepting "destiny" or the status quo? Now it means being an useless idiot who's only interested in sex, food and alcohol.

    Yes, those were the good old days. I also remember the show had some values and ideas it cherished, and not treated everything as comedy fodder.

  33. That would have made so much more sense. Put your precious weapon in a place where the big bad demon standing next to you cannot get to it, and don't talk about your plans in front of him.

  34. I am wondering if Sam was being affected by the blade.

    I sincerely hope that's the case because the Sam Winchester I know wouldn't tell Dean to off a guy right in front of him and not even consider the fact that said guy just saved both their lives.

  35. I know it's just my opinion

    No you're not. I'm of the same opinion. There's a lot that needs to be treated in order to repair their relationship and one flowery speech at the end won't do it. We've had enough of them in the past (The T&E one being the worst because none of it proved to be true.)

    What I get from your post is that you want the issue to be resolved on both sides, not just Sam's. Sure he's the one currently angry but Dean needs a lot of help too. They are both broken, Dean more so than Sam. It just seems too much for these writers to take on considering the amount of plot they have to stitch together for the end of the season, so if they leave it for the next season I wouldn't mind, as long as it's handled well.

    One thing I hope they won't do is to throw Dean into peril due to the mark's effects and then have Sam save him, making Dean eternally grateful to his brother who despite the anger he felt for Dean, and the belief that they shouldn't save each other, still did the noble thing and rescued him. That would be too much disservice to Dean's character.

  36. I be thank god if Kripke come back and fix this Fucked-up show right now it be great but it just a pipe dream right now.

  37. I also feel the end to point out Dean was the first one to work with Crowley, back in season 5, in order to find Death, they even captured Brady together in episode 20, before finding Death together in episode 21. That's what always bugged me about 6x20.
    And now of course, as with 9x11 "First Born", Dean does the same thing he yelled at Cas for.

    There is very little I dislike more than Cas' "Human arc" I felt that was borderline OOC; and as for the two separate plots for the Angels, and for Hell, I have less hope for a good wrap-up with every episode. I'm sure one will end up getting the short end of the stick, or attempting to write them both out separately will end up with neither reaching their full potential.

    The only thing I have to disagree with, is Sam's obviousness when saying they should get rid of Crowley. Winchester logic has never been about being subtle. These guys walk around talking about demons, angels, Hell, and everything else, often quite loud. Often they just turn around in order to talk about theories with on a case, instead of leaving the room.

    As for Crowley and the vending machine, I kinda thought he was still a bit drugged from the human blood.

  38. Tracie Ilima Pruitt23 March 2014 at 02:07

    Not Sam's style? Really? If I remember correctly he tried to kill Benny with that other Hunter for no other reason than blind jealousy! Even left his dear brother unconscious and tied up! I guess he hatedBenny for being a real bbrother to Dean in purgatory while Sam was playing house with the vet. Btw, I hate what they have done to Sams character! He was so cute and always backed his brother up. Watched the pilot a few days ago and practically cried at how much things have changed. :'(

  39. It's not a matter of killing or not killing Crowley. My understanding was both Sam and Dean wanted to use him to get the blade, then kill him, which is a fine plan. My problem is that it's the same plan Castiel had when he wanted to get the purgatory souls to defeat Raphael. He too back stabbed Crowley in the end. He didn't kill him I guess because he wanted to add insult to his brother's injury by letting "the demon" go.

    So we have:

    Castiel temp teaming up with Crowley -> to get the purgatory souls -> to defeat Raphael

    Sam&Dean temp teaming up with Crowley -> to get the First Blade -> To defeat Abaddon

    Yet the first was depicted as the most vile betrayal one character could commit while the second is considered par course, by the same guys who called the first guy on his supposed vile actions.

  40. Cas working with Crowley in season six meant he was helping Crowley use Sam's soul as a bargaining chip to get Sam and Dean to help get the alphas. It meant Cas PRETENDED to KILL Crowley to cover for Crowley when they found out Crowley had no intention of returning Sam's soul. Working with Crowley in season six had bad things happening to SAM and DEAN and had Cas using them as tools through Crowley. It was very different from working with Crowley in season five or even now when they aren't using Crowley to hurt friends. Big, Big difference.

    It has nothing to do with Cas planning to double cross Crowley. It has to do with the immediate and personal effect that Cas working with Crowley had on Sam and Dean. It's not that it's the same demon, it's who is being hurt by working with that demon.

  41. Sam went after Benny only after a vampire started killing people in the town that Benny had settled in. He didn't go behind Dean's back. He gave Dean the chance to talk to Benny. Dean refused to let Sam meet Benny and let Benny convince Sam that he was innocent. After Benny murdered Martin, Sam did not sneak out, find Benny and try to kill him. Sam had actual reasons to think Benny was killing people and "Benny says there's another vampire doing the killing, but he doesn't know where he is, so I can't show him to you" isn't a great alibi.

    Dean was a way for Benny to GET OUT OF PURGATORY, nothing more. Dean didn't call Benny for help until he needed Sam out of Purgatory. Dean talked him up to Sam, but really didn't act like he cared if he saw Benny again. Dean knew Benny for one year, when they needed each other. Benny didn't have time to let Dean down. I'm not impressed.

  42. Given that they were renewed for season 10, it's a safe bet somethings will come to a conclusion and somethings will not.

  43. Well, you could say when Sam and Dean worked with Crowley they were trying to stop the Apocalypse. Cas and Crowley were trying to crack open Purgatory for power. And Crowley already proved himself to be distrustful by not giving Bobby his soul back and forcing Sam and Dean to work for him. Dean working with Crowley now to stop Abaddon is him cleaning up a mess he pretty much created. Sam and Dean kidnapped him and left a void in Hell for Abaddon to fill in.

    And Crowley was totally still tainted with humanity when he was going for the candy.

  44. It gets dealt with one way or another, doesn't necessarily mean it all gets resolved. Carver has also said, since they have a season 10, they can leave a few threads hanging.

  45. Well, you could say when Sam and Dean worked with Crowley they were trying to stop the Apocalypse. Cas and Crowley were trying to crack open Purgatory for power.

    Incorrect. Cas was trying to stop the second Apocalypse as promised by Raphael. Crowley was looking for power.

    Dean working with Crowley now to stop Abaddon is him cleaning up a mess he pretty much created.

    What mess, which who created? Are you talking about Dean letting Gadreel possess Sam? Cause I can't see stopping Abaddon having to do much with that mess.

  46. It has nothing to do with Cas planning to double cross Crowley. It has to do with the immediate and personal effect that Cas working with Crowley had on Sam and Dean.

    That's why I said they should have addressed those immediate and personal effects, as is pointed out in the review. Dean should have accused Cas of pretending to kill Crowley, of letting Crowley run them around like his dogs, of obstructing his search for a way to retrieve Sam's soul. Out of all that the writers chose "you worked with Crowley," and "We don't make deals with demons," blanket statement they should have known would eventually bite them in the back.

    Besides, if Cas was around, do you think Sam and Dean would have told him about working with Crowley, even if it affected him in some way. I'd like to think they would but the writers seem to have different ideas since they made Dean throw Cas out of the bunker without telling him it was Gadreel forcing him to do it.

  47. Which was the point of cracking open Purgatory to get more power for the war. It was still a much more dangerous and stupid thing than either of the instance where Sam and Dean work/ed with Crowley.

    I thought I said it fairly well, they kidnapped the king of Hell, and left a power vacuum for someone like Abaddon to come in and take control, and bring Hell on Earth.

  48. remember the days when being human meant free will? Never giving up and accepting "destiny" or the status quo?

    Not really. They've never written that for supernatural beings who turn human. Remember when Cas turned human in season 5? They had comic relief drunk scenes and the characters treated him like a burden.

    And the whole point of season 5 mostly seemed to be that Sam had to accept his destiny - his destiny to become Lucifer and kill himself.

  49. Kripke caused most of this in the first place - the poor pacing, the butchery of Sam and Dean's relationship, the inconsistent quality, etc. I'd rather he not come back. All we'd really get is a lot of jokes about Dean being gay or Sam and Dean being gay.

  50. I don't think they were making Crowley dumb. He was pretty smart throughout the episode. They've always used all the characters for jokes, from the start of the show. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

  51. What I wondered about cougar museum curator opening hitting on Dean was that THEN Magnus appeared to openly hit on Dean (that "companion" offer was so creepy; he had a zoo of will-drained creatures but he admitted to being "lonely" and what about it big guy? Creepy) so could the mark of cain make Dean shine as slutty?
    Other gripes are on point for me but I hadn't thought of: mark of cain affecting Sam to have Dean kill Crowley. I could tell the idea occurred to Dean he SAID it occurred to himself but he did not think it was the time.
    Killing Abaddon before resolving Metatron/Gadreel: she said she wanted to possess Dean. They have not met since Episode 2 and Dean has to be aware of that. For all of his faults (and they are numerous and MOST have already been mentioned I'll just add Dean's words from Survival of the Fittest: Crowley will always find a way to bone you. So when they deal with him they know he has already withheld information that thus enables him to benefit over them.) Crowley never threatened to burn off Dean's anti-possession tattoo and just take him. I think for once Show wants Castiel to clean up his own mess (Metatron) and have SOME angels not be dicks. I was upset when Bart killed the pacifist angel I wish Castiel had intervened THEN and killed Bart. I think killing in defense of another harmless being is MORE admirable that killing because Bart tried to kill Castiel. Non-violence IS a hard row to hoe; Castiel has never been a pacifist here he was portrayed as someone who was tired of all the angel-killing.
    I think Crowley was truly off the human blood but that sure didn't take long did it?

  52. I agree with all your points Peter. I thought it was a decent episode as well; better than I expected considering I'm not usually a fan of the writers. It would be nice if they showed Abaddon as being more of a threat than Crowley. I believe she is, but they haven't shown it onscreen.

  53. I agree a lot of the issues can be traced back to Kripke. It's like when the writers strike hit and he had to tweak the show because he didn't get the episodes to credibly make Sam go darkside saving Dean he never was able to make things come together and Sam's POV got sacrificed to make the plot work. I didn't quite buy that they didn't have time to make Sam go darkside, they had at least 4 episodes to write, they could have speeded up and actually focused on Sam, but the decision to not have him use his powers and save Dean and instead have Sam's story in the background for season four was a huge disservice to Sam's character, IMHO>

  54. Agreed. I'd expected crap with a few decent moments. I got some of what I'd expected (bad pacing, a lot of dead ladies, a lot of hetero stuff for no real reason), and I agree with some of Tessa Marlene's points, but it was better than I'd anticipated. I actually thought, other than the part where he spoke about killing Crowley right in front of him, that this was one of the better Sam characterizations this season. Wanting Crowley dead was, to me, 100% in character, and it was nice to see that Sam back instead of Sam just being passive. He also seemed to be more active in wanting to help Dean and not as likely to just be there for brother angst/pouting/etc. It was a pleasant surprise.

  55. I also had a tough time buying that. They had time for lots of "comedy" ickiness (like an old woman hitting on Sam so we could make fun of her), and for things like Bela, whom I liked, but who was blatantly grafted onto the show and who had nothing to do with the storyline in the end. I think they just didn't know how to write Sam taking that path. The moments they tried, like Sam killing the crossroads demon, just didn't work, because oh he was bad, he was so bad, but then he'd mostly just be Sam again for long stretches of time. It was tell-not-show.

    And season 4 was way too much about brother tension, instead of about what Sam was feeling and thinking. The character paid a horrible price as a result.

    Overall season 4 was certainly better than season 9, but in terms of a darkside story, they've spent far more time on Dean's gradual isolation and decay than they did with Sam. And I'm not sure Kripke would have done that. I think he would have just had a few closeups of Dean in tears as some random CCR song played in the background.

    There's a lot I do miss about Kripke, especially seasons 1-2 Kripke - the female characters (like Ellen or Kathleen Hudak), the balance of humor and drama, the heart. But I think most of that was already on the wane in his last few years.

    Do I wish they'd have him back to help with Sam, to help with individual episode quality, etc.? Yes. Do I want him to "save" the show? No. I just don't think he could. We're past the point of Sam and Dean staring at each other in awe as sorrowful classic rock plays. We passed that point when he had them become so physically and verbally abusive to one another and chose to never, ever address it.

  56. I agree that season five should have been about addressing the abuse. I
    do have a faint hope that Carver is actually trying to do that in this
    season. Unfortunately the first half of season 8 was son bereft of Sam
    POV that it drove many fans farther away from Sam. I think there is a
    story to be told about Dean's need to control and keep Sam and Sam's
    need to be an autonomous person. It keeps peeking out this season. The
    individual writers are not quite good enough to handle the nuances,
    however. I wish we had some of the heavy hitter writers (Raelle Tucker,
    Ben Edlund, even Sera Gamble and Kripke) back penning some of these
    episodes. Maybe they could bring a fuller view of Sam and even Cas. At
    least Gamble might have mentioned and hopefully dealt with some of the
    sexual consent issues that have made me uncomfortable this season. She
    did care about that previously, even when the other writers did not.

  57. We still don't know the repercussions of using the First Blade and the Mark of Cain. When Cas was trying to get the purgatory souls we didn't know about the Leviathans. All we knew was that souls were like energy cells, and he needed them to defeat Raphael. That's why working with Crowley was made to be his big sin. Sam and Dean only later found out what a stupid and dangerous act it was to open Purgatory, when it was already too late.

    Again, I'm not discussing the details of whose actions was worse than whose. I'm only pointing out a flaw in dialogue where the Winchesters accused Castiel of working with Crowley, when they in fact had done it before and did it again after. It is worse this time because there's the Mark of Cain which, like the purgatory souls, could have massive side effects. So in a way they are paralleling Cas' mistake in season 6 and with the same guy who led to his downfall back then.

  58. Gripe2: Hipocrisy is not something new, ESPECIALLY with Dean! Remember Season 5? Everyone blamed Sam for Armagheddon, but almost NO ONE, not even Dean himself ever said it's his fault too! Because as we've been told, Dean is the one who started it when he butchered souls in Hell! Cas was given too much of a hard time. Sure, the circumstances were different: Dean was tortured, while Sam had a CHOICE in not following Ruby, but the bottom line is, Dean was responsible too!

    Gripe3: I think Castiel is gathering his army to up against Metatron & Gadreel, we've got 2 main plots now: the demon plot of Abaddon & the angel plot with Metatron. The second, fell sadly, but I hope somehow they will tie the 2 stories.

    Gripe 5&6: I'm ok with Magnus, I actually digged him, the thing is there was little time and they did what they could with him in one episode, which is short anyway (40 mins). The problem though is, that they waste too much time with fillers like the Ghostfacers episode or Garth's episode! I would have preffered if Abaddon got more screen time. And about Sam, one thing I liked is that FINALLY, he is keen on finishing off a demon that has betrayed them countless times! I honestly cannot blame the way they wrote Sam, he has every right to be pissed at Dean for lying to him (AGAIN) and he is totally right about killing Crowley, because as soon as Crowley's interests are served, he will screw the boys up once again!

    About Abaddon: I like the actress who plays this demon and I think the character has potential, but it feels that they are wasting both Abaddon & Metatron, we haven't seen her do much like you mentioned, she hardly appeared so far and always do some talking. I suppose handling 2 stories is not such a good idea and top of this all, we've got some pointless fillers.

    While I am glad Sarah Gamble got departed (I was totally let down by season 6 & 7, 6 was a mess, 7 with leviathans was a joke!), I still think Carver & Co. have a lot to improve! I do feel S8 & 9 were a step up, but there are many wrong things in them too.

  59. I felt like that about the Campbell library - and Bobby's stash of stuff - not to mention all of the places John had stuff stashed.
    But letting the monsters starve to death is particularly awful. At least the last time they got to Crowley's dungeon where he was experimenting on monsters, they had Castiel give them a clean death. You'd think after they've both spent time as near-demon and Dean as a vampire that they'd have some compassion. What if it were Benny in there?

  60. I wholeheartedly agree with this. Personally, at this stage of the game, I think they each need to solve their own problems. Having Sam rush in to save Dean will be way too predictable and, as you say, will be a disservice to Dean's character.

  61. I agree with you about the scriptwriters the show is lacking (I think Tucker and Gamble molded the first season into what it would become...). And about Sam. They just won't give Sam a POV and I'm not sure they ever will.

  62. Great review, thanks.
    I agree w/ you, but my gripes about #5 & 6 are other things:

    #5 - Magnus was a great character, I believe most of it was b/c of the excellent job of the actor, he was really captivating. My gripe is how easily they killed such a great villain and brain. It was stupid from Magnus and a total wasted potential for the show. They just introduced some ultra super fantastic aspect of MoL to leave it at the end. At least I hope they return to the fortress in the future.

    #6 - Oh well, throughout the series we've seen enough of stupid occasions to get common for me, what bothers me is that losing the Blade made the whole episode pointless. It was an idiotic suspense, at the end they couldn't even keep the blade, and what do you mean until finding Abaddon? She's not hiding, all you need to do is to call her!

    I have some other gripes, but firstly I must say It was a good episode, back to the main plot at last. I liked it. Though it was more entertaining than anything plot-worthy, like you said, at the end I felt most of it was wasted;

    1. We still couldn't find out much about the Blade or the MoC, we knew it had some effects and here we saw it had 'some' effects, but what was it exactly?! Suspense much?! Jensen's recent interviews were more informative. Carver said they're going to resolve everything! Is it really wise to cram all the important stuff in the last 3 episodes?! Is it the way you run a 23-episode season?

    2. Like you said, Crowley's character was kinda ruined here, too much time wasted on that Lola demon, and what was w/ this insistence to show his overload attention and may I say 'love' toward Sam?!

    3. Okay, another excellent job w/ breaking the consistency here, did the brothers seem 'not brothers' to anyone? Dean who was going on a case alone in previous ep, was talking about Crowley to Sam and even playing his voice mail for him, and Sam was openly amused by Dean being hit on and smiling to his face! I like to think it's the start of the road of reconciliation (b/c I strongly believe it should be gradual and not a confusing mushy little dialogue in the final), but I'm afraid it's wishful thinking! Anyway, the 'truce' here was welcomed by me.

    Guess I'm complaining too much, lol. I think I just had too much expectations, I'm just glad it wasn't a pointless MOTW and hope to see more about the Mark&Blade soon.

  63. "Dean going crazy will provide the cliffhanger for season 10 ala Castiel and season 7."
    I know I'm in the minority but I'm leaning more toward this scenario. We've been subjected to too many last minute (or last 10 minutes) brotherly love speeches, only to have this same strife to come back at us. The end speech of T&E still sticks in my craw because it rang so "false", to me.
    These boys need some rebuilding on their relationship or they will keep doing the same thing over and over, and I, for one, am tired of it. So if they don't start rebuilding this relationship before the season finale, they need to carry it over.
    Yes, I know, I'm not popular for saying it but, as much darkness and in security as Dean has, a single speech at the end shouldn't keep Dean from the brink. I still remember Azazel telling Dean in S1, "They don't love you. Not the way you love them." I think Sam's tough love speech in the end of "The Purge" reinforced this, in Dean's mind. That, on top of Dean's own insecurities, what Dean already thinks of himself, a murder, worthy of Cain's mark and what he did after he broke in Hell, I know it's just my opinion but I'm not buying a "heart-wrenching" speech at the end by Sam, no matter how well Jared does them (and he does). I'm not buying it and it won't stop it from happening again. So, at least, have them fix this once and for all so that we don't have another whole season of this.
    I AM happy that they did have Sam save Dean and then Dean save Sam this episode which showed how they can have an equal relationship. They also have shown how much Sam does care in previous episodes despite their stagnant feud. It gives some hope but not enough for a firm resolution.
    Mainly, I'm tired of this strife coming up, whether it's from Sam or Dean's side. Just have the brothers resolve this completely so they can continue hunting together on equal terms.

  64. I did not take it that dramatically.

  65. Are Metatron and Gadreel still doing anything? I mean they teamed up to be all evil angel like and we haven't seen them since. That bugs me.

  66. When I first watched the scene I felt the same as you, that Sam was being unbelievably stupid. Re-watching it, I am wondering if Sam was being affected by the blade. Perhaps that is what we were supposed to believe, but due to bad writing/directing/acting it was not at all clear (which would be par for the course this season).

    Only Dean can use the First Blade to kill a Knight of Hell, but that doesn't mean that its evil can't affect other people holding it.

  67. I'm just going to add my two cents in here about Cas and Crowley. Carver, so far this season, has concentrated on developing Cas and Crowley's characters more -- I would say even more than the Winchesters', since I don't expect to see much character growth or change this season. Cas and Crowley's characters were both created as foils to the Winchesters. As a viewer, I have no need to know more about them.
    I know the reason behind this is because we will have those two characters until the show ends, but keep them as foils, not a varied version of a character every season. Crowley started as a gay crossroads demon. I buy into him becoming the King of Hell, because he always was a clever, crafty character, but I don't need to see Crowley practice his humanity or rebuild a relationship with his kid.
    Cas was a really interesting angel in S4. I don't need to see Comic!Cas, Druggie!Cas, Bad!Cas, God!Cas, Crazy!Cas, Penitent!Cas, Human!Cas, or Reluctant!Angel!Leader!Cas. (Next year I expect ManPain!Cas). Cas works when he is a support character to the Winchesters -- but not a Fix-It-All Bobby 3.0 Cas.
    That is my problem with both these two characters. They are support characters and should support whatever the Winchesters are doing (the story) and support the Winchester characterization (i.e., be part of whatever the Winchesters growth as characters is planned). Neither need their own separate story apart from the Winchesters.
    I hope I explained that clearly.


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