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Thread: 8x18 "Freaks and Geeks" Discussion Thread

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    I don't get wet Bittersweettwit's Avatar
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    Default 8x18 "Freaks and Geeks" Discussion Thread

    It was inevitable that after a string of episodes I found rather enjoyable that the time would come for an episode that while not offensive I didn’t particularly enjoy. Freaks and Geeks by Adam Glass touches on the emotional fallout of Goodbye Stranger, explores the shows long running theme of whether a hunter can ever live a normal life and revisits the character of Krissy and what has happened to her since she last appeared in the season seven episode Adventures in Babysitting. Although there are some enjoyable moments between the brothers due to a badly handled MoTW and a characterisation of Dean I quite frankly found irritating I was not able to overly enjoy the episode.


    Dean: “You know the trials, what Cas said that you got what he can’t cure.”
    Sam: “Which means what exactly?”
    Dean: “I dunno you tell me are you OK?”


    Due to the nature of the case that the brothers were working on this week a large portion of the episode was spent with the two apart instead spending most of their time interacting with this week’s guest stars. However what I thought this episode accomplished was reminding the viewers of how well the brothers know each other and their ability to work in sync as even though they didn't spend the entire case side by side they were still able to effortlessly work together and get their respective tasks completed without any complications. Furthermore they were able to share their respective thoughts and insights with mutual respect shown and for those reasons alone I found the brothers interactions rather enjoyable to watch this week.

    One notable scene the brothers did share together though was the impala scene at the start of the episode and I loved that Adam Glass unlike other writers this season managed to remember the events of the preceding episode rather than brush them aside in order to fit the tone of the current episode as was the case with Robbie Thompson’s LARP and the Real Girl. Dean’s query on Sam and his ability to handle the current case for instance fits perfectly with the worry the character has been feeling since the trials began back in Trial and Error, which came to a head in last week’s episode with his refusal to allow Sam to accompany him and Castiel into the crypt to retrieve the angel tablet. Last week Dean’s refusal was probably made easier for the character as he had Castiel as back up and Meg was there to protect Sam. Although Dean allowed Sam to participate in this week’s hunt I am very curious to find out whether later down the line there will come a point where Dean will refuse to allow Sam to participate in a hunt due to health concerns even if that means Dean himself is left without any back up.

    Furthermore I found Dean’s over defensiveness when Sam turned the tables on him and started to ask about how he was feeling amusing considering the fact that to me it seemed as though Sam was mostly asking about his current physical rather than emotional state. However I also thought that his defensiveness made perfect sense within the current context after all as we know Mr Dean ‘no chick flick moments’ Winchester showed a moment of real emotional vulnerability when he was in the crypt with Castiel confessing to the angel that they were 'family' and that 'he needed him’. When you consider the fact that Dean isn’t one for sharing his feelings if he can help it is probable that he feels embarrassed about what he admitted to Castiel which explains his over-defensive and skittish response when he thinks Sam is trying to get him to open up further about his feelings. The scene then ends with what appears to be Dean realizing after Sam’s departure that he reacted more strongly than he really needed to as shown when he states in a self-disparaging manner “Good talk. Nay, great talk very healthy.”

    Aiden: “Hey, how about we start a new tradition and before each job we give each other good luck kisses.”
    Josephine: “How about I punch you in the throat instead?”


    As I went into the episode spoiled I was able to guess from the moment we first saw Krissy and Aiden making out in the car what was going to happen in that scene. However, I imagine that for an unspoiled viewer the opener would have been a nice surprise as it was a twist on the shows tendency to open MoTW episodes with the gruesome murder of a victim which the brothers would investigate later on in the episode so kudos to Adam Glass for inserting that twist on things.

    One thing I enjoyed about this episode was the dynamic between the three kids for me it felt as though there was a very natural chemistry between the three actors and they played out the various facets of their relationship in a manner that was believable; whether it was the awkward budding romance between Krissy and Aiden, Josephine teasingly ribbing Aiden on his attempts to pick up Krissy through the use of cheesy pickup lines or the concern and support they were willing to offer one another when confronted with the ‘murderer’ of their families. The line quoted above from Josephine in particular made me laugh so all in all I have to say I would be more than happy to see these three returns to the show for future appearances.

    Unfortunately though there was one aspect of the episode which ruined my enjoyment of the trio’s presence in this episode namely the attitude towards the kids and their choices Dean generally displayed throughout the episode. Don’t get me wrong I understand where Dean is coming from he doesn't want them having to make the tough decisions he’s had to make over the years, but for me Victor describes Dean’s overall demeanour in this episode best when he labels him as a “self-righteous ass”. For me his reaction was overly strong and I found his automatic assumption without any evidence (as of yet) that the kids situation with Victor was wrong and had to be put to a stop to be more than a tad hypocritical after all was the first two seasons of the shows arc not spent on the boys working on getting their revenge on the thing that killed their mother? Dean should be able to respect better than anyone the need these kids are feeling to avenge their loved ones not looking down on them in a condescending manner.

    Furthermore considering the fact that it was in the last Adam Glass penned episode As Time Goes By that we see Dean defending John and his choice of lifestyle for them growing up as at least they were all still together Dean’s automatic dismissal (before even getting evidence of Victor’s dodgy dealing) of their living conditions and insistence on breaking them apart does not sit well with me. Still it appears that this writing of Dean was intentional as highlighted through the words of Victor and the fact that in his final scene with Krissy Dean manages to redeem himself, finally reaching a point where rather than treating the trio in a condescending manner he is able to support them and their choices even ensuring that they get any help they may need in future by getting Garth to check up on them. That was definitely a lovely final scene between Dean and Krissy and mostly made up for his otherwise grating attitude towards the trio throughout the episode.

    Sam: “Maybe they can do it right, maybe they can hunt and have a real life.”
    Dean: “You know that’s not true.”
    Sam: “Why because it didn’t work for us?”
    Dean: “Because it doesn’t work for anybody.”


    As the discussion between the brothers above illustrates this episode once more returns to the theme that has been a source of contention between the brothers all season namely whether it is possible for a hunter to return to living a normal life after spending time in that world, or in the case of Victor and his kids whether it is possible to juggle between living the hunting life while remaining a firm part of the ‘normal’ world around them. The episode seems to give examples which could be used to strength both sides of the argument for instance the murder of Krissy’s father a hunter who quit the life when we last saw him in Adventures in Babysitting by the vampire in the blue van could certainly be seen as an indication that it is not truly possible to get away from hunting and that any attempts to do so and ‘grow soft’ will only get you killed. Of course this is not the shows first time to suggest such a thing in fact as we know from In the Beginning despite her best attempts the Winchester’s own mother was never able to get away from the hunting environment she had been raised in. However it also offers hope through the decision of Krissy & co at the end that they would not go out actively hunting, but presumably keep themselves well enough trained that if something did come up they would be able to handle it.

    What I also enjoyed about this week’s case was that it once more quite clearly highlighted the brother’s different positions on this issue. On the one hand you have Dean who completely dismisses the hope that Victor might achieve with these kids what their dad never could for them a life where while yes they may have their feet dipped into the hunting world they are also able to have things resembling normalcy such as a home and friends. On the other hand you have Sam who wants to believe such a thing is possible which fits perfectly with the mind-set he has gained from his year living with Amelia, furthermore I imagine the current case brought up old wounds for the younger Winchester. After all while there is no denying that Sam loves Dean and John it was clear from the shows beginning that he felt deep resentment towards John and possibly to a much lesser extent Dean for the things such as a real home and friends he missed growing up due to their lifestyle. Thus of course it makes sense to me that he would have found the idea set up something of a novelty, it was probably for Sam the ideal childhood he never had one where while the family were still hunting he also wasn't denied the normality he has always so desperately craved.

    Victor: “Because the next generation of hunters has to be better….”
    Sam: “Better than what?”
    Victor: “Better than us. Come on guys I know your friends... Martin was insane and somebody obviously dropped Garth on his head when he was a baby and I know you two loved that Bobby guy, but he was a barely functional alcoholic.”


    The motivations behind this week’s case raise mixed feelings in me, on the one hand I can appreciate why Victor acted in the way he did with all of the crap that has happened over the years in particular the Leviathans he became panicked, terrified that without something being done about it the next generation of hunters would not be up to the task in the way the Winchesters have proven themselves to be. I can appreciate where he was coming from although of course I do not approve of the means he used to manipulate his ‘dream team’ into entering the hunting world…

    The motives of his vampire partner on the other hand I do not get at least not within the context of the current season, last season it would have made much more sense. The Leviathans were loose on the world and as we know until There Will Be Blood the alpha vampire considered himself an ally of theirs. Therefore in such a context having a particularly self-aware vampire go against the orders of his alpha would have made been an intriguing story-line point. Furthermore his joining forces with a hunter wishing to bring about a stronger next generation could be justified as the actions of a desperate man allying with those he’d usually consider an enemy in the face of a common and even greater foe. This season however with the Leviathan threat now extinct and the status quo more or less re-established based on the information we were given there was no real motivation offered for the blue van vampires action which leaves me with the opinion that this case was written in a rather sloppy manner lowering my opinion of the entire episode.

    To give the episode some credit I thought that the scene where Krissy shot empty bullets at Victor and condemned him to living “All alone with himself… No family, no friends” was powerful and it served as reminder of what it is that makes the boys so successful as hunters and able to carry on even after all the crap they’ve been through over the years namely that they've always had family, they have always had each other and the people such as Bobby and Castiel who have become a part of their extended family to support them and give them the strength to keep going even when they are feeling at their lowest.

    Other Notes
    I felt sorry for the sheriff when Dean got authoritative with him and thought the actor pulled off the character indecision in regards to whether he ought to follow Dean’s orders or not rather well. I also really enjoyed that like last week’s episode the show remembered its history and made use of the Campbell family cure introduced back in Live Free or Twihard. On a random note I know the purpose was to show how out classed the kids are by Dean due to his superior hunting experience, but realistically considering the fact that they aren't exactly trigger shy regular kids the most realistic outcome of his dismantling Aiden’s gun would have been him getting shot in a non-fatal capacity by Josephine and Krissy rather than having them stand there dumbly after all even Dean wouldn't have been able to dismantle three guns in the time it takes to make a shot. On the other hand I got a pretty good laugh out of the look on Aiden’s face when Dean turned the conventional fatherly warning around by stating that it wouldn't be him to kill Aiden if he did something to kill Krissy, but reminded him that Krissy was more than capable of killing him herself. I am now going to finish this review with a question, Dean mentioned to Sam at the end that they need to close the gates of hell to make life better for the trio… As far as I’m aware the Hell Gate only destroys demon which they haven’t been dealing with… Has the show stated somewhere and I've forgotten that closing the gates to hell gets rid of other supernatural menaces such as ghosts and vampires as well?
    Last edited by Bittersweettwit; 30-03-13 at 08:08 PM.
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    Freaks and Geeks, by courtesy of Adam Glass, is a pretty standard standalone episode that mainly explores the theme of child-hunters, and as such it obviously offers a lot of parallels to Sam and Deanís childhood experiences. I like the episode well enough, but since I find it really difficult to warm up to the guest characters Ė and they are clearly the main focus of the episode Ė my enjoyment of the episode is somewhat limited. Moreover, some of the finer points in Sam and Deanís characterisation bother me, at least to some extent. Overall, I am more or less indifferent to Freaks and Geeks; it does not stand out, but it is not a horrible episode either.

    Sam: "Iím fine. Are you okay?"
    Dean: "Me?"
    Sam: "Yeah, Cas dinged you up pretty good."
    Dean: "And?"
    Sam: "And, I just want to make sure youíre okay."
    Dean: "What, like, my feelings?"


    Freaks and Geeks is not a brother centric episode Ė the focus is more on the guest characters and Sam and Deanís interaction with them Ė but at least their dynamic is very enjoyable. Their usual smooth teamwork is in place; they easily negotiate their way through minor disagreements and handle their respective part of the case work competently. Well, apart from Sam allowing Seth and Victor to overpower him, obviously, but maybe we can attribute that to the fact that Sam is not quite on top of his game at the moment. Speaking of, Sam and Deanís opening conversation provides nice continuity to last weekís episode, where Sam promised Dean to be honest from now on where the physical side-effects of the trials are concerned. Dean openly voices his concern that Sam might not be up for a hunt and gives Sam the option to withdraw, but he also easily accepts Samís reassurance that he is okay to work the case; he obviously trusts Samís ability to correctly assess his condition and tell him the truth. I do expect, though, that Samís illness will affect their ability to hunt without additional backup further down the line, and I am curious to see how the brothers will handle that.

    However, when Sam returns his brotherís concern, Dean shuts him down, and I admit I am rather frustrated with his reaction. Now, it is not exactly news that the writers like to fall back on a S1 characterisation for the brothers this season, which would be fine in and of itself, if their approach was a bit more nuanced. I mean, yes, back in the Pilot Dean expressed a dislike for 'chick flick moments', but throughout the show it has been well established that, despite his vehement protestations to the contrary, Dean is actually more likely to open up about his emotional state than Sam is. Samís introvert nature often keeps him from initiating closer contact with people, while Deanís social nature and ability to personally connect with people often motivate him to share intimate thoughts and feelings, not only with those close to him, like Bobby or Sam, but also with fellow hunters or even random people they meet on their travels. So, Deanís exaggerated evasive manoeuvre when Sam asks him how he feels seems entirely unnecessary. I find this particularly irritating because, just last episode, Dean asked Sam to be honest with him about his physical condition, so his refusal to reciprocate and offer Sam some simple honesty about his emotional well-being comes off as immature, if not offensive. I am aware that Deanís protective instincts often motivate him to hide his own hurt and vulnerability from Sam, particularly when Sam himself is in emotional/physical distress, but, just once, I would like for Dean to offer emotional honesty to Sam before he is at his breaking point or Sam pushes and pushes till he gives. Because, ultimately, Deanís emotional hurt can be just as crippling to them as a team as Samís physical hurt.

    Similarly, I am getting tired of the recurring emphasis on Samís desire for a normal life. I mean, it was bad enough when the writers returned to Samís main S1 motif at the beginning of S8 without offering a reasonable in-canon explanation, as if the six years of character development in between never happened, but I (somewhat) accepted it as an awkward attempt to lead up to the Men of Letters storyline and its pay-off for Samís long-term arc. Samís choice to leave Amelia and his dream of a normal life behind, only to unexpectedly find personal fulfilment in his heritage as a Man of Letters, not only delivered a deeply satisfactory turn in his story, but also should have put the 'hunting versus a normal life' issue to rest once and for all. However, the fact that the writers keep coming back to Samís supposedly normal life with Amelia (Goodbye Stranger) and continue to emphasise Samís desire to leave hunting for good, like they do at the end of Freaks and Geeks, really undermines said development to a great extent. Moreover, I feel suspicious of the writersí motives for repeatedly bringing the topic up again. I know there is some speculation in fandom that the writers plan on returning (a possibly pregnant) Amelia to Samís life, and for once I cannot write it off as an entirely irrational fear on fandomís part, especially given the many references to Sam and fatherhood in this weekís episode. Sadly, I cannot say with any certainty that I would put it past these writers to actually go there, and that makes me even warier of every mention of Samís desire for a normal life.

    Dean: "Theyíre kids. They shouldnít be hunting at all. You have got to break this up right now."
    Victor: "When I found them they were lost. Confused. Angry. I gave them family and purpose. And you want to take that all away? Why?"
    Sam: "So they donít get killed."


    The story of Freaks and Geeks addresses one of the showís main recurring themes, namely if children should be brought up as hunters and if it is possible to reconcile hunting with a normal life. Now, even though I obviously disapprove of Victorís methods of 'acquiring' his family, I think his basic approach to parenting as a hunter, namely providing children with a stable home, an education and a family life, while at the same time preparing them for the supernatural dangers that exist in their world, does have its merits. In fact, we have seen other hunters with children who used a similar approach, like the Campbells, for example, who raised Mary as a hunter, but still lived a perfectly normal suburban life, or Steve Wandell, who gave his daughter a normal home and sent her to college, or the Harvelles, who provided Jo with a stable environment at the Roadhouse and made sure that she acquired a solid school education. John Winchesterís decision to raise his children on the road and train them as warriors was certainly not the only, or even the most common, parenting choice for hunters. However, John at least brought his sons up as capable hunters, something that cannot be said about Victor. I mean, even if we put Victorís obvious mental instability aside, he is an exceptionally inept teacher for a future generation of hunters. He may brag about his ragtag team of young hunters and their exceptional skills, but ultimately the entire set-up of his operation is designed to stifle their development and keep them at an amateur level.

    As Dean rightly points out after having seen Krissy, Aiden and Josephine in action, they are poorly trained and obviously too young and inexperienced to go on hunts by themselves. I mean, they do their little bait-and-kill routine right in front of a surveillance camera; they fail to notice Sethís blue van trailing after them; they kill a vampire on the open street, right across a motel, and then wrap up the dead body as if they have all the time in the world, even though the paramedics they called in for the victim should be there any minute. They also lack the knowledge and experience to recognise typical behavioural patterns of vampires or the different stages of vampirism, a skill that would have told them right away that Victor was lying to them. So, Victor may claim that he gives his young protťgťes everything they need, but he purposefully puts them in danger by feeding them false information and pitting them against weak, disoriented newly-turned vampires, thus boosting the kidsí egos and giving them a false sense of security. This shows particularly in Krissyís overly self-assertive attitude, and not in a good way. Now, given her personal situation and young age, Krissyís defiant, know-it-all manner is understandable Ė she already displayed similar character traits in Adventures in Babysitting Ė but it really highlights that she needs thoughtful guidance or she will get herself killed sooner rather than later. However, I do like the way Krissyís youthful impetuousness is set against Sam and Deanís (life) experience. The brothers teach Krissy and her friends more about hunting in a few days than Victor did in a year, and this recurring motif of Sam and Dean as seasoned hunters, who bestow their extensive knowledge on others, is something I really enjoy this season.

    Anyway, I also think Victorís assessment of the current generation of hunters as incapable and weak is faulty and mostly likely rooted in his inability to cope with the loss of his family; he needs to rationalise the death of his wife and kids somehow, and the incompetence of hunters where dealing with the supernatural threat is concerned is as good an explanation as any I guess. Of course, the huntersí community harbours its fair share of incompetents and sociopaths, but for every Ricky, Travis, Martin or Gordon, there is also a Bobby, Rufus, Ellen or Jo, and Sam and Dean themselves are fine examples of what their generation of hunters is able to achieve. It is also important to keep in mind that the current generation of hunters faced particularly difficult and unique circumstances. The apocalypse and its aftermath brought angels, Lucifer and the four horsemen, Eveís monster armies and leviathans into the world Ė ancient supernatural creatures no other generation of hunters ever had to deal with and that left them outnumbered and hugely outmatched. Heck, prior to the events leading up to the apocalypse, even the sighting of demons was a rare occurrence, as we learned from Bobby in Devilís Trap. There is simply no way the huntersí community at large could have foreseen such an unexpected change in the distribution of power between hunters and monsters. So condemning hunters as weak, personally and/or professionally, is obviously a gross misjudgement on Victorís part.

    Sam: "Maybe they can do it right, maybe they can hunt and have a real life."
    Dean: "You know thatís not true."
    Sam: "Why because it didnít work for us?"
    Dean: "Because it doesnít work for anybody."


    Sam and Deanís different reactions to Victorís new 'family model' feel pretty much in character, as they both draw on their own different experiences/motivations. As a teenager, Sam hated the itinerant lifestyle John forced on them; it not only interfered with his desire to have a normal life, but also with his pursuit of his academic interests, so it makes sense that he would consider Victorís parenting model as a workable alternative to their own upbringing. Dean, on the other hand, never truly believed that it is possible to reconcile hunting and a normal life, not even when he was younger, and as an adult he learned the hard way that the attempt to live in both worlds is bound to fail. Moreover, throughout the years, Dean consistently objected to raising kids in the life. In No Exit, for example, he urged Jo to listen to her mother and choose a different path life; in Jump the Shark he opposed Samís suggestion to train Adam as a hunter and wanted him to return to medical school instead, and when he was living with Lisa and Ben, he strongly discouraged Ben from following in his footsteps. Dean stopped being a child when he was four year old, he is self-aware enough to have admitted as much in Defending Your Life, and subsequently protecting the childhood and innocence of others has always been a personal priority for Dean Ė and that clearly resonates in the various lessons he tries to teach Krissy and her friends.

    Now, at first glance, Dean telling Krissy that hunting is not about taking revenge may come off as hypocritical, considering the Winchestersí life-long quest for Maryís killer, but it is actually in keeping with his general attitude towards revenge. Sure, John and Sam were out for revenge in the aftermath of Mary and Jessicaís respective deaths, but Dean always argued that revenge is not worth it, if it gets either one of them killed. For Dean, hunting has always been about saving people first and foremost; killing Azazel never had priority for him. The only time Dean ever allowed his actions to be driven by revenge was in the aftermath of Bobbyís death, and it resulted in his personal vendetta against Dick Roman. But even then, the initial impulse faded as quickly as it appeared. Similarly, Deanís statement that they do not kill people may sound ludicrous, given that he and Sam kill people all the time Ė from innocent possession victims, who do not even register for the brothers anymore, to humans who turned to the supernatural as a means of gaining power and cannot be reformed. However, the fact that he instantly amends his statement and tells Krissy that she does not kill people, clearly shows that he is quite aware of his own double standards and that his original statement was made for Krissyís benefit, to protect what little innocence she has left. It also suggests to me that, once he had taken care of the kids, Dean would have killed Victor anyway, had he not taken his own life.

    That being said, I feel that, just like with their opening conversation in the car, the brothersí characterisation here leans too heavily on their positions from the earlier seasons. It is not that I think the writers should not draw on past points in the brothersí characterisation, but their personal history should tangibly influence the tone and extent of it. For example, moments like the one where Dean tells Krissy that hunting is not about killing does not seem to factor in Deanís recent history in purgatory at all. I mean, at the beginning of the season, when Dean returned from purgatory, his moral boundaries had been further eroded and the darker aspects of his personality had been heightened drastically, not least because hunting in purgatory actually was all about killing. So while Deanís statement to Krissy is perfectly in keeping with his past position, it is a strange notion for a man who spent his last year in purgatory. Now, obviously we can argue that Dean simply draws on his own experience and motivation as a young hunter for Krissyís benefit, regardless of his own current position on the matter, but still. I really would have liked to see him struggle somewhat to remember/access that part of himself. The moment just really serves as a harsh reminder of the fact that the writers made no effort whatsoever to explore the trauma Dean sustained in purgatory and his recovery thereof. As much as I love having the old Dean back, I feel that we have little knowledge of when and how he turned a corner this season.

    What else is noteworthy:

    (1) I admit, I was a tad puzzled when Dean told Sam that maybe Krissy and her group could stop hunting and have a normal life once the gates of hell are closed. I mean, while I appreciate the sentiment behind the thought, namely that securing a better future for the next generation of hunters is an additional motivation for Sam and Dean to close the hell gates, there are plenty of other monsters that roam the earth. Hunters will still be needed to dispatch of the wide variety of spirits and shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, fairies, witches and alike. As I said before, considering that prior to the apocalypse demons were pretty rare as well, and hunters were still largely outnumbered by supernatural creatures, there is really no reason to assume that hunters will become obsolete any time soon. In that context, I was similarly surprised at Crowleyís statement in Goodbye Stranger that closing the gates of hell will kill all demons. I am not sure if he said that just for dramatic effect or if he was being literal. And if the latter is the case, why is that, exactly? As far as I am aware, only few demon can presently escape from hell, so the majority of them is stuck there for eternity to 'live' a miserable existence anyway, so it should have no influence whatsoever on them, if the gates of hell are open or close.

    (2) In the end, the question remains why the vampire Seth would work together with Victor in order to 'create' more hunters. I can see two possible scenarios. Firstly, as Dean suggests, it could be a simple trade between Seth and Victor, i.e. Victor grants the vampire free food and protection from hunters in exchange for his services. Secondly, since Victor mentions the leviathans himself, I think it is possible that Seth and Victor met during the end stage of the leviathan occupation, when humans had become a poisonous food source for the vampires due to the leviathansí experiments with corn-syrup. Maybe Victor purposefully helped Seth to survive, thus indebting the vampire to him and motivating Seth to work together with him. Either way, I wished the writers would have given us a little more insight into this unusual partnership.

    In conclusion: Freaks and Geeks is one of those curious episodes that I liked well enough when I was watching it and that did not trigger particularly strong opinions on my part, but once I started writing about it, I found that there are a lot of things that left me with a feeling of discontent. I still think it is an okay episode, but it further illustrates the lack of nuances in the brothersí characterisation, as well as general continuity, this year. While I certainly think that the characterisation for Sam and Dean has greatly improved in the second half of the season and that the writers had some truly inspired ideas lately, I still do not feel that S8 will ever amount to anything resembling a coherent story, and I find that really regrettable.

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    I don't get wet Bittersweettwit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galathea View Post
    However, when Sam returns his brotherís concern, Dean shuts him down, and I admit I am rather frustrated with his reaction. Now, it is not exactly news that the writers like to fall back on a S1 characterisation for the brothers this season, which would be fine in and of itself, if their approach was a bit more nuanced. I mean, yes, back in the Pilot Dean expressed a dislike for 'chick flick moments', but throughout the show it has been well established that, despite his vehement protestations to the contrary, Dean is actually more likely to open up about his emotional state than Sam is.
    I personally took Dean's overreaction as a mixture of embarrassment and wanting to continue to play the big brother to Sam... In Goodbye Stranger during the crypt scene with Castiel Dean showed a real moment of what he probably sees as emotional 'weakness' by admitting to Castiel that he needs him and his friendship in his life. For Dean in my opinion I think it's one thing to admit such a thing about Sam, but for anyone else I think it would be perfectly in character for Dean to find admitting to such a thing embarrassing! Then there's also the fact that I think to an extent that Dean still views Sam as the little brother he has to protect, the little brother he has to remain strong for especially in times when Sam himself is in trouble. So again I think that accounts for the fact that Dean would not want to talk about a moment where he showed what I imagine was probably in Dean's eyes 'weaknesses'. I also think it's this need to protect and remain strong for Sam that makes it generally easier for Dean to open up to the likes of Charlie or Bobby than to Sam himself.

    Similarly, I am getting tired of the recurring emphasis on Samís desire for a normal life. I mean, it was bad enough when the writers returned to Samís main S1 motif at the beginning of S8 without offering a reasonable in-canon explanation, as if the six years of character development in between never happened, but I (somewhat) accepted it as an awkward attempt to lead up to the Men of Letters storyline and its pay-off for Samís long-term arc. Samís choice to leave Amelia and his dream of a normal life behind, only to unexpectedly find personal fulfilment in his heritage as a Man of Letters, not only delivered a deeply satisfactory turn in his story, but also should have put the 'hunting versus a normal life' issue to rest once and for all. However, the fact that the writers keep coming back to Samís supposedly normal life with Amelia (Goodbye Stranger) and continue to emphasise Samís desire to leave hunting for good, like they do at the end of Freaks and Geeks, really undermines said development to a great extent.
    Hmm I'm actually quite the opposite (surprise surprise) and see Sam's wish for a normal life as apart of who the character is and a sign that he is in a much more positive and hopeful frame of mind than he has been in previous seasons. After all during season four for instance when Sam was in my opinion most adamant that a hunting life was impossible for him because different rules applied to him and Dean Sam was at his darkest and his most depressed. He was at that point in the show driven with lust for power, revenge and saw things in rather bleak terms... I see his return to wanting a normal sign as a sign of a healthier and more hopeful mind-set that having that year to rest and rejuvenate with Amelia has left him with

    However, John at least brought his sons up as capable hunters, something that cannot be said about Victor. I mean, even if we put Victorís obvious mental instability aside, he is an exceptionally inept teacher for a future generation of hunters. He may brag about his ragtag team of young hunters and their exceptional skills, but ultimately the entire set-up of his operation is designed to stifle their development and keep them at an amateur level.
    Indeed although I think to be fair apart of the issue also was more to do with the fact that Victor let these kids actively hunt far too early rather than he was necessarily overall incompetent in comparison to John in raising these kids to be hunters. After all in Pilot much to Dean's disgruntlement Sam expresses surprise at the idea that John lets Dean hunt on his own now which suggests that such a thing still did not occur when Sam left them for Stanford when Dean was twenty two (?). Therefore it's quite possible that Sam and Dean would not have been any more equipped than these kids were at their age to actively hunt on their own! Only in this particular area John happened to show more sense than Victor

    Similarly, Deanís statement that they do not kill people may sound ludicrous, given that he and Sam kill people all the time Ė from innocent possession victims, who do not even register for the brothers anymore, to humans who turned to the supernatural as a means of gaining power and cannot be reformed. However, the fact that he instantly amends his statement and tells Krissy that she does not kill people, clearly shows that he is quite aware of his own double standards and that his original statement was made for Krissyís benefit, to protect what little innocence she has left.
    This I agree with! In fact until Dean had the decency to amend his statement I was actually laughing when I heard him say the 'We don't kill people' line when we know how far from the case that actually was So kudos to Dean for acknowledging that double-standard.

    (1) I admit, I was a tad puzzled when Dean told Sam that maybe Krissy and her group could stop hunting and have a normal life once the gates of hell are closed. I mean, while I appreciate the sentiment behind the thought, namely that securing a better future for the next generation of hunters is an additional motivation for Sam and Dean to close the hell gates, there are plenty of other monsters that roam the earth. Hunters will still be needed to dispatch of the wide variety of spirits and shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, fairies, witches and alike. As I said before, considering that prior to the apocalypse demons were pretty rare as well, and hunters were still largely outnumbered by supernatural creatures, there is really no reason to assume that hunters will become obsolete any time soon. In that context, I was similarly surprised at Crowleyís statement in Goodbye Stranger that closing the gates of hell will kill all demons. I am not sure if he said that just for dramatic effect or if he was being literal. And if the latter is the case, why is that, exactly? As far as I am aware, only few demon can presently escape from hell, so the majority of them is stuck there for eternity to 'live' a miserable existence anyway, so it should have no influence whatsoever on them, if the gates of hell are open or close.
    This is actually something I had an issue with as well and I think I mentioned it in my own review if I remember right... Since not much is known about the demon tablet other than what Kevin is translating I hope that the words of Dean this week and Crowley in Goodbye Stranger are merely speculation on the characters part rather than a sloppy attempt on the writers part to add extra powers to the tablet without a proper in-text explanation.

    (2) In the end, the question remains why the vampire Seth would work together with Victor in order to 'create' more hunters. I can see two possible scenarios. Firstly, as Dean suggests, it could be a simple trade between Seth and Victor, i.e. Victor grants the vampire free food and protection from hunters in exchange for his services. Secondly, since Victor mentions the leviathans himself, I think it is possible that Seth and Victor met during the end stage of the leviathan occupation, when humans had become a poisonous food source for the vampires due to the leviathansí experiments with corn-syrup. Maybe Victor purposefully helped Seth to survive, thus indebting the vampire to him and motivating Seth to work together with him. Either way, I wished the writers would have given us a little more insight into this unusual partnership.
    I like that idea of the vampire somehow feeling indebted to Victor although considering how non-repentant he was at the killings he performed I'm not sure how much of a man of honor such a vampire could be trusted to act as, he was certainly no Benny after all! This was actually one of my biggest gripes with the episode I think this team up would have been rather fascinating to explore back in season seven during the height of the Levithian problem but in the current context it doesn't work at all for me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bittersweettwit View Post
    I personally took Dean's overreaction as a mixture of embarrassment and wanting to continue to play the big brother to Sam... In Goodbye Stranger during the crypt scene with Castiel Dean showed a real moment of what he probably sees as emotional 'weakness' by admitting to Castiel that he needs him and his friendship in his life. For Dean in my opinion I think it's one thing to admit such a thing about Sam, but for anyone else I think it would be perfectly in character for Dean to find admitting to such a thing embarrassing! Then there's also the fact that I think to an extent that Dean still views Sam as the little brother he has to protect, the little brother he has to remain strong for especially in times when Sam himself is in trouble. So again I think that accounts for the fact that Dean would not want to talk about a moment where he showed what I imagine was probably in Dean's eyes 'weaknesses'. I also think it's this need to protect and remain strong for Sam that makes it generally easier for Dean to open up to the likes of Charlie or Bobby than to Sam himself.
    I am quite aware of Dean's various motives for not talking to Sam about his feelings sometimes, but I am growing really tired of it. It was appropriate, characterisation-wise, in the first 3 or 4 seasons, but not anymore. Sam has seen Dean at his best and at his worst. The illusion that his big brother is an unbreakable stronghold is long gone and they both know it. And from the way Sam formulated the question, it is clear that Dean already talked to Sam about at least some of the things that went on between him and Castiel, so really, was it too much to ask for him to say: 'Hey, I am okay' or 'I am not okay yet, but I will be.' Sam asked him a very simple question. Plus, his reaction just feels hypocritical given that Dean asked for Sam's honesty just last episode.

    You know, in earlier seasons, this would have gone completely differently. Sam would ask, Dean would evade, the episode plot would explore the theme and at the end Sam and Dean would find a way to talk about it. It's a tried and true episode structure that worked for the earlier seasons. Here I just felt it was a nod to Dean's funny one-liner in the Pilot at the expense of characterisation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bittersweettwit View Post
    Hmm I'm actually quite the opposite (surprise surprise) and see Sam's wish for a normal life as apart of who the character is and a sign that he is in a much more positive and hopeful frame of mind than he has been in previous seasons. After all during season four for instance when Sam was in my opinion most adamant that a hunting life was impossible for him because different rules applied to him and Dean Sam was at his darkest and his most depressed. He was at that point in the show driven with lust for power, revenge and saw things in rather bleak terms... I see his return to wanting a normal sign as a sign of a healthier and more hopeful mind-set that having that year to rest and rejuvenate with Amelia has left him with
    Well, I just feel that Sam's opinion on the matter is all over the map this season. It is not like his relationship with Amelia was actually normal - ultimately, the woman didn't even know who Sam was - and episodes like Hunteri Heroici emphasised how awkward Sam felt in his new life. So the writers' tendency to hold up Sam's time with Amelia as the paragon of a normal life is just ludicrous. And as I said before, the constant emphasis on Sam still wanting a normal life really diminishes what the Men of Letters storyline did for his character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by galathea View Post
    I am quite aware of Dean's various motives for not talking to Sam about his feelings sometimes, but I am growing really tired of it. It was appropriate, characterisation-wise, in the first 3 or 4 seasons, but not anymore. Sam has seen Dean at his best and at his worst. The illusion that his big brother is an unbreakable stronghold is long gone and they both know it. And from the way Sam formulated the question, it is clear that Dean already talked to Sam about at least some of the things that went on between him and Castiel, so really, was it too much to ask for him to say: 'Hey, I am okay' or 'I am not okay yet, but I will be.' Sam asked him a very simple question. Plus, his reaction just feels hypocritical given that Dean asked for Sam's honesty just last episode.
    I agree entirely that Dean's reaction was not appropriate and over-exaggerated hell I think Dean himself would agree with you on this one hence his self-disparaging "Good talk, nay great talk. Very healthy!." commentary at the end of the scene. Sadly I think though that the 'caretaker' the 'gotta remain strong for Sammy when he's in trouble' instincts are far too ingrained for Dean to ever truly be able to move past them! That's apart of the reason why in my opinion Dean needs the likes of Bobby and Castiel in his life he needs people that he can just share his worries with, without having to worry about feeling weak or letting them down the way he will it seems always sub-consciously at the very least when it comes to Sam.

    Well, I just feel that Sam's opinion on the matter is all over the map this season. It is not like his relationship with Amelia was actually normal - ultimately, the woman didn't even know who Sam was - and episodes like Hunteri Heroici emphasised how awkward Sam felt in his new life. So the writers' tendency to hold up Sam's time with Amelia as the paragon of a normal life is just ludicrous. And as I said before, the constant emphasis on Sam still wanting a normal life really diminishes what the Men of Letters storyline did for his character.
    I know you're going to hate me for saying this but I think the problem comes down to the fact that having Dean alone in his life is simply not enough for Sam he is never in my opinion going to be truly happy out in the road hunting whether it's in a hunter or man of letters capacity to be truly happy Sam needs what he has always wanted a chance to live something of a normal life with possibly wife and kids. On the other hand Sam is never going to be truly happy without Dean in his life which I think is largely what accounts for the awkwardness he felt during his year with Amelia despite from his own words being genuinely happy... In my opinion for Sam to be truly happy he needs Dean in his life, but he also needs to have just that a life of his own with a job and someone to care for... Hunting and Dean alone are just not enough for Sam in my opinion.

    Until this season I probably would have said on the other hand it probably would have been enough for Dean, but in my opinion what the Cas and Benny friendships this season are showing is that Dean is now developing as a person enough that it is no longer enough for him either. While he would be content hunting I think he also needs other connections beyond Sam in his life people that he can be friends with also. Again sorry I know you must hate me for saying this
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bittersweettwit View Post
    I know you're going to hate me for saying this but I think the problem comes down to the fact that having Dean alone in his life is simply not enough for Sam he is never in my opinion going to be truly happy out in the road hunting whether it's in a hunter or man of letters capacity to be truly happy Sam needs what he has always wanted a chance to live something of a normal life with possibly wife and kids. On the other hand Sam is never going to be truly happy without Dean in his life which I think is largely what accounts for the awkwardness he felt during his year with Amelia despite from his own words being genuinely happy... In my opinion for Sam to be truly happy he needs Dean in his life, but he also needs to have just that a life of his own with a job and someone to care for... Hunting and Dean alone are just not enough for Sam in my opinion.

    Until this season I probably would have said on the other hand it probably would have been enough for Dean, but in my opinion what the Cas and Benny friendships this season are showing is that Dean is now developing as a person enough that it is no longer enough for him either. While he would be content hunting I think he also needs other connections beyond Sam in his life people that he can be friends with also. Again sorry I know you must hate me for saying this
    ROFL I don't hate people for having a different opinion than I do. I think that, unlike most people, Sam and Dean can live quite contently if it is just the two of them. Mostly because they simply don't know differently; they spent most of their lives dependent on only each other. However, that doesn't mean I think that they should live like that. Personally, I think that Sam and Dean need other people in their lives; it will take the constant pressure of always being everything for their respective brother off and thus result in a more harmonious relationship; it will allow them to be emotionally more stable and live a fuller life. I want that for them!

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    Quote Originally Posted by galathea View Post
    ROFL I don't hate people for having a different opinion than I do. I think that, unlike most people, Sam and Dean can live quite contently if it is just the two of them. Mostly because they simply don't know differently; they spent most of their lives dependent on only each other. However, that doesn't mean I think that they should live like that. Personally, I think that Sam and Dean need other people in their lives; it will take the constant pressure of always being everything for their respective brother off and thus result in a more harmonious relationship; it will allow them to be emotionally more stable and live a fuller life. I want that for them!
    Well I agree with all of that and I even agree they can live with one another but the point I was making was that while I think that they can physically live with just the two of them, I don't think either of them would ever be truly happy doing so. I think that's in some ways been a theme of this season whether it's showing Dean making deep outside connections i.e. Castiel and Benny or Sam's desire to live a normal life outside hunting.

    I honestly don't find Sam's continued wish to continue to live a normal life all that discontinuous from the first half of the season either after all in my opinion even when they reunited back in Torn and Frayed there was a strong sense that Sam was rejoining the hunting life fully out of a sense of obligation not because he suddenly changed his mind and had a revelation that he'd be at his happiest hunting with Dean rather than settling down with Amelia
    Last edited by Bittersweettwit; 04-04-13 at 03:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bittersweettwit View Post
    in my opinion even when they reunited back in Torn and Frayed there was a strong sense that Sam was rejoining the hunting life fully out of a sense of obligation not because he suddenly changed his mind and had a revelation that he'd be at his happiest hunting with Dean rather than settling down with Amelia
    But I never claimed anything to the contrary. My point was that Sam always believed that he could only find true self-fulfilment outside of hunting, a belief that manifested in his strive for a normal life. So when he decided to leave his dream of a normal life behind out of a sense of obligation (Torn and Frayed), he was of course not happy about it. However, then he discovered his heritage as a Man of Letters and I interpreted the enthusiasm and satisfaction with which he settled into his heritage as a turning point for Sam. A point at which he realised that there is a place for him in the world that is part of Dean's hunting world, but also a part of the academic world he so clearly desires to be a part of. I thought this was an ingenious twist that allowed Sam to have the best of both worlds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by galathea View Post
    But I never claimed anything to the contrary. My point was that Sam always believed that he could only find true self-fulfilment outside of hunting, a belief that manifested in his strive for a normal life. So when he decided to leave his dream of a normal life behind out of a sense of obligation (Torn and Frayed), he was of course not happy about it. However, then he discovered his heritage as a Man of Letters and I interpreted the enthusiasm and satisfaction with which he settled into his heritage as a turning point for Sam. A point at which he realised that there is a place for him in the world that is part of Dean's hunting world, but also a part of the academic world he so clearly desires to be a part of. I thought this was an ingenious twist that allowed Sam to have the best of both worlds.
    Ah but that still isn't enough to give Sam another thing which he has seemingly always wanted namely another half (in a romantic sense) to settle down with, and I know you could say hunting doesn't rule out another half he could date another hunter for instance. But I think after all their losses Sam would immediately rule such a relationship out while actively hunting. And who can blame him after all pretty much every hunting couple he has ever known (John and Mary, Ellen and William Harvelle, Issac and Tamara from The Magnificent Seven) have all ended with at least one dead due to the life. The evidence that Sam wants this? Well in my opinion his wish for such a partnership is shown in the fact that in both instances where Sam has deserted the hunting life long-term i.e. Stanford and the year between seasons five and six he has made an emotional connection with someone he claimed to love Jessica and Amelia .

    At any rate I think this is just an issue where we have some things in common but we also differ at points
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bittersweettwit View Post
    Ah but that still isn't enough to give Sam another thing which he has seemingly always wanted namely another half (in a romantic sense) to settle down with, and I know you could say hunting doesn't rule out another half he could date another hunter for instance. But I think after all their losses Sam would immediately rule such a relationship out while actively hunting. And who can blame him after all pretty much every hunting couple he has ever known (John and Mary, Ellen and William Harvelle, Issac and Tamara from The Magnificent Seven) have all ended with at least one dead due to the life. The evidence that Sam wants this? Well in my opinion his wish for such a partnership is shown in the fact that in both instances where Sam has deserted the hunting life long-term i.e. Stanford and the year between seasons five and six he has made an emotional connection with someone he claimed to love Jessica and Amelia .

    At any rate I think this is just an issue where we have some things in common but we also differ at points
    Oh, I agree. I think Sam wants a relationship. I also think Dean wants a relationship, even if he doesn't allow himself to dream of it anymore since things came crashing down with Lisa. The fact that Sam was somewhat open to the idea of a 'hunting family' as presented in Freaks and Geeks suggests to me that maybe at some point he (and Dean) could make an effort to try again. Once the gates of heaven and hell are closed and demons and angels are banned from earth, there is only 'normal' monster activity left and experienced hunters like Sam and Dean should be able to handle that easily. At that point it should be possible for both of them to combine a 'normal life' and hunting.

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