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Thread: 9.07 "Bad Boys" episode discussion

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    Bad Boy Lover Cori's Avatar
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    Default 9.07 "Bad Boys" episode discussion

    It figures that I would love an episode with that title! Definitely my favourite episode of the season so far, the first one this season that made me cry (which is always a good indicator that an episode moves me and touches me on a personal level) and the first Supernatural episode in a very long time that I actually rewatched! This is exactly what I want from a Supernatural episode: some Sam and Dean feels and brotherly bonding, Weechester flashbacks, an old-fashioned haunting, seeing Dean bond with kids (how cute was it when Dean taught Timmy to shake hands properly or when Timmy hugged Dean after his mother moved on from being a ghost) and no angel mess (including no Zeke)! In fact, this episode made me feel so nostalgic for the good old times of the show, back in the early seasons when the show actually focused on the brothers and their story. So on the one hand, this episode made me a bit sad that there are hardly any episodes like this anymore because nowadays the show gets so bogged down by the angel storylines. But on the other hand, this episode made me squee because I find it pretty remarkable that even in its ninth season the show still manages to create gems like this. Man, it sure feels nice to rave about the show again for once instead of being constantly disappointed!

    I donít know about you guys but I was pretty impressed with the actor playing young Dean. He got some of Deanís (and Jensenís) mannerisms exactly right and conveyed so much in his acting (his longing to stay at Sonnyís place, how he felt about his father, etc.). I didnít necessarily buy that this was supposed to be Dean at 16 because IMO the actor looked younger but he did such a good job that I chose to ignore that. I loved that young Dean was doing so well at school and was a wrestling champion. I really liked Sonny and the way he cared for and supported Dean. His life story was also pretty interesting: an ex-con who did his time and now gives back to the community by running the boysí home. Sonny telling young Dean that he was proud of him was so nice to hear, especially knowing that itís not something that Dean got to hear a lot, particularly not from his father.

    Letís talk about John Winchester for a minute. Most of you guys know that I really donít like John and his particular style of parenting and unfortunately, this episode did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion. When Dean said at the beginning of the episode that none of this (Dean being stuck in the boysí home) was Dadís fault, that made me roll my eyes so hard. Here Dean goes again, defending his father! I really wish that the writers werenít so wishy-washy when it comes to Deanís feelings about his father. In one episode he is full of resentment about John and in the next he defends him again. I get that Deanís feelings about his father are ambivalent but this back and forth doesnít do his character any favours IMO. What kind of father says ďlet him rot in jailĒ about his own son? I get that Dean made a mistake by gambling away the boysí food money and then by resorting to stealing (more that he could feed Sammy than himself, I reckon). But geez he was still a kid, kids make mistakes! Of course that argument doesnít fly in John Winchesterís world. I have to say I was also rather shocked to hear Dean utter the following lines:

    Dean: ď"Nobody bad touched me, burned me with their smokes, or beat me with a metal hangeróI call that a win."

    Wow what a description of abuse right there! Now I of course wondered whether Dean was just speaking in general or from personal experience. It made me wonder how badly exactly John Winchester treated his boys and what else they had to suffer during their sucky childhood.

    Of course growing up the way he did, itís no wonder that young Dean didnít want to be a hunter but, as he told Robin, wanted to be a rock star or a mechanic. Hearing young Dean say that made me feel so sad for him, considering how his life turned out. Also, his line ďbecause after you fix the cars and they drive away, they aren't your problem anymoreĒ was very telling. He was definitely not talking about cars in this instance.

    What did you guys make of Deanís ďSometimes youíre gonna have to do whatís best for you even if itís gonna hurt the people you loveĒ? I guess you could argue that was Deanís reasoning for letting Zeke possess his brother.

    I have to say, I enjoyed Dean and Robinís teenage romance, I thought it was pretty sweet. Too bad it had to end the way it did, with John Winchester turning up and once again ruining everything for Dean. But I guess at the end of the day it was more Deanís love for Sam and his need and duty to be there for his brother that made him go back to his family, even if he had a great time at Sonnyís and it was one of the few times in his life when he was genuinely happy. I loved that Sam picked up on that and told Dean so.

    Speaking of Sam: I loved how he was shown throughout the episode figuring things about his big brother that he never knew, such as Dean being a wrestling champion, etc. I loved how he figured out which bed used to be Deanís because of the carving on the bed post and how he peeled away the stickers until he found Deanís name. Samís teasing smile after Robin was (understandably) distant towards Dean at the diner reminded me of a similar situation we saw in ďRoute 666Ē back in season 1. It was nice to see this good-natured brotherly teasing again, I have missed that lately. Considering that, it made me feel sad that Dean still felt the need to lie to Sam at the end when Sam rightly told him that it appeared that Dean had had one of the best times of his life at Sonnyís and Dean denied it and said it never felt right. It is so frustrating to me that Dean deems it necessary to keep up this faÁade of the tough hunter and doesnít let his brother in. Deanís such a complex character, what you see on the outside does not match what is on the inside. Of course Iím intrigued and endlessly fascinated by this dichotomy, but in this instance I found it very frustrating and wished that Dean had reacted differently. Luckily, Sam knows his brother well so I think he knew that Dean was full of shit when he said he couldnít wait to get out of Sonnyís place. Which is of course also the reason why Sam thanked Dean in the last scene for always being there for him. Because Sam understood how much Dean had to give up in his life in order to take care of his brother and always putting him first. Even if Dean kept up the faÁade and did not accept Samís thanks, Iím still glad that Sam said it and hopefully it registered in the part of Dean deep down that he keeps so carefully hidden.

    So this episode was completely my cup of tea and I was positively surprised that such an excellent episode could be created in the Jeremy Carver era. Of course Adam Glass has written other episodes that I have enjoyed (such as ďTwo and a Half MenĒ, ďDefending Your LifeĒ, ĒSouthern ComfortĒ or ďAs Time Goes ByĒ) but for me personally ďBad BoysĒ is his finest episode yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    I don’t know about you guys but I was pretty impressed with the actor playing young Dean. He got some of Dean’s (and Jensen’s) mannerisms exactly right and conveyed so much in his acting (his longing to stay at Sonny’s place, how he felt about his father, etc.).
    Apparently, Dylan Everett watched the first 5 seasons of Supernatural in one massive marathon before filming the episode and diligently studied Jensen's acting as Dean to be able to imitate him. That's dedication for such a young actor. I wished the TPTB would force some of their writers to be this diligent!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    I didn’t necessarily buy that this was supposed to be Dean at 16 because IMO the actor looked younger but he did such a good job that I chose to ignore that.
    According to Adam Glass, the episode was written and filmed with a 14 yr old Dean in mind, which would have fitted the narrative a lot better, I think. But after seeing Dylan on screen, the crew concluded that he appeared older than 14 and hence changed his age in post-production to 16. I really wished they would have kept the original age.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    What did you guys make of Dean’s “Sometimes you’re gonna have to do what’s best for you even if it’s gonna hurt the people you love”? I guess you could argue that was Dean’s reasoning for letting Zeke possess his brother.
    For me, that statement works on two levels: a) Over the years, Dean has often shown an inability to move past his own hurt and consider the validity of Sam's perspective, whenever Sam expressed/acted on desires that put his own well-being/happiness over Dean's, and I find it heartening that Dean may finally develop an understanding for Sam's motivation without resenting him for it. b) I indeed think the statement refers to Dean's motivation for allowing Ezekiel to possess Sam. It is an admittance of the fact that he did it for solely selfish purposes, and while I am still extremely uncomfortable with Dean's actions, I do appreciate that he has enough self-awareness to concede that, for once, he took something for himself at the expense of Sam's well-being. It does not at all justify what he did, but it at least makes his motivations more transparent.

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    Bad Boy Lover Cori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galathea View Post
    Apparently, Dylan Everett watched the first 5 seasons of Supernatural in one massive marathon before filming the episode and diligently studied Jensen's acting as Dean to be able to imitate him. That's dedication for such a young actor. I wished the TPTB would force some of their writers to be this diligent!
    Wow that's great commitment indeed! Well it paid off, Dylan Everett did a great job.

    According to Adam Glass, the episode was written and filmed with a 14 yr old Dean in mind, which would have fitted the narrative a lot better, I think. But after seeing Dylan on screen, the crew concluded that he appeared older than 14 and hence changed his age in post-production to 16. I really wished they would have kept the original age.
    Yeah me too, that would have made a lot more sense. Also, if Dean was 16, wasn't young Sammy a bit too old to be playing with airplanes? I don't get why the crew thought that Dylan Everett looked older than 14.

    For me, that statement works on two levels: a) Over the years, Dean has often shown an inability to move past his own hurt and consider the validity of Sam's perspective, whenever Sam expressed/acted on desires that put his own well-being/happiness over Dean's, and I find it heartening that Dean may finally develop an understanding for Sam's motivation without resenting him for it.
    Aww that's a beautiful interpretation! I immediately thought of the whole Zeke mess when Dean said this line but this interpretation of course works as well.

    b) I indeed think the statement refers to Dean's motivation for allowing Ezekiel to possess Sam. It is an admittance of the fact that he did it for solely selfish purposes, and while I am still extremely uncomfortable with Dean's actions, I do appreciate that he has enough self-awareness to concede that, for once, he took something for himself at the expense of Sam's well-being. It does not at all justify what he did, but it at least makes his motivations more transparent.
    I totally agree! It's rare hearing Dean admit that he did something for selfish reasons and not for the benefit of Sam so hopefully this self-awareness is a good first step. I wish Dean would first admit to himself that he did something wrong when he let Zeke possess Sam and then finally tell Sam the truth. I don't know how much longer I can stomach seeing Dean lie to Sam and Sam being in the dark. Plus Dean becomes more and more obvious with his questions, such as in this episode when he asked Sam if everyone was okay with going to the Catskills. It's starting to get ridiculous that Sam doesn't get suspicious. Dean is acting so suspicious and obvious these days that I'm starting to think he wants to get found out. He is afraid to tell Sam but maybe he wouldn't mind so much if Sam figured it out for himself because then he could finally stop lying to his brother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    Plus Dean becomes more and more obvious with his questions, such as in this episode when he asked Sam if everyone was okay with going to the Catskills. It's starting to get ridiculous that Sam doesn't get suspicious.
    Well, the thing is, we know for a fact that Ezekiel has no qualms changing Sam's memories in order to prevent him from becoming aware of his presence. It is entirely possible that the angel either erases or modifies Sam's memory/perception of Dean's behaviour, whenever he perceives it as a threat to his continued existence within Sam. The influence Ezekiel has on all aspects of Sam's consciousness is very difficult to determine at this point, since we didn't get a single episode with a Sam-centric perspective yet. I really wished the writers would give us more insight into how (or if) Sam's sense of self is impacted by Ezekiel.

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    I agree totally that this is the first episode I've really enjoyed for a long time, and it is absolutely because of the lack of angels. I've hated the angels story line since the very beginning. Partly I hate the way the angels are depicted (except the shadow wings, which are awesome) and partly I hate that once they were introduced they totally took over the show. Aside from the leviathans, they're my least favorite story arc- and they just never go away. It would have been SO easy for the spell Metatron was doing to work and seal angels in Heaven to be rid of the whole angels mess, and I will never understand why the writers instead decided to do the exact opposite. I know people love Castiel, but Metatron still could have taken his grace for the spell so he'd still be on the show.

    I also agree that 14 would have been a better age for Dean to be in this episode- he was supposed to be experiencing his first kiss and seemed to be preparing for his first date. That doesn't really jibe with the confident, womanizing high school Dean we saw in another high school flash back (where Sam stood up to a bully and young Dean was dating Caroline from The Vampire Diaries).

    This episode really did make me nostalgic for the simpler story lines and the focus being on the brothers and how their hunting life affected who they became. It provides a nice insight to Dean's psyche on the importance of his family and especially Sam, which hints at the rejection and hurt he must have felt when the older Sam tried so hard to reject their hunting life- to Dean, that must have felt like rejecting him personally after Dean decided to sacrifice his own dreams of a normal life for Sam.

    I think Dean should have told Sam about Ezekiel quite awhile ago; I don't really think that Sam would eject Ezekiel if it means he'll die pretty much immediately. I don't think that's where Sam is right now mentally- he seems pretty happy to be alive at the moment. I'm sure he'll be furious that Dean did what he did, but it's not like he's going to be LESS furious when he finds out that not only did it happen but there's been a hitchhiker in his body for weeks and weeks. Creepy! Also, the whole plot feels so contrived. Why would it take so long for an angel to heal Sam? We've seen Cas bring people back from being actually dead several times, and that didn't take weeks of recovery time. They've gone way out of the way to create a scenario that will bring tensions between Dean and Sam because the writers just don't seem to understand how to continue the show without regurgitating the same issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregor View Post
    Also, the whole plot feels so contrived. Why would it take so long for an angel to heal Sam? We've seen Cas bring people back from being actually dead several times, and that didn't take weeks of recovery time.
    Back in Goodbye Stranger, Castiel pointed out to Sam and Dean that he is unable to heal Sam from his trial related sickness, because Sam's body is affected on a sub-atomic level (whatever that may mean). The obvious conclusion is that Ezekiel could not heal Sam either, at least not by conventional 'anglic' means, hence the whole 'healing from the inside' proposition. So, the writers actually did establish that healing Sam is not a simple task, even for an angel.

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    Yeah, that's true. But it still feels forced, like they were sitting around the writing room saying "It's Sam's turn to be mad at Dean this season, what could Dean do that would really make him mad?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregor View Post
    Yeah, that's true. But it still feels forced, like they were sitting around the writing room saying "It's Sam's turn to be mad at Dean this season, what could Dean do that would really make him mad?"
    Well, nobody denies that, narratively, the writers are running in circles. Carver's reign is unimaginative, repetitive and largely destructive to past canon. Personally, I just pick the moments I enjoy and ignore the rest at this point. Although I will say that 'being mad' would be a rather mild reaction on Sam's part. I think what Dean did to Sam is so horrible - especially considering his personal past - that I am not sure I could forgive it if I were Sam.
    Last edited by galathea; 23-11-13 at 07:58 PM.

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    How do these people Dean hasn't seen in years have his current phone number?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini9857 View Post
    How do these people Dean hasn't seen in years have his current phone number?
    Dean specifically mentions at the beginning of the episode that he gave Sonny his number at the Batcave, which implies that he stayed in contact with him after he left the home.

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