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3x05 Bedtime Stories

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  • 3x05 Bedtime Stories

    Is it just me or does it seem like Sam and Dean are barely in the episodes these days?

    A nice little tale though with a lot of of big leaps to go from two random murders to fairie tales to omg! random coma girl trying to say step-mom hurt her to EEEP! dad literally pulling the plug. Not to say I wasn't at least engaged trying to wrap my mind around the tangent and nonlinear conclusions. And, well, they had me from the moment we saw the adorable toad!

    I knew the crossroad scene was coming this season, but I didn't know it was in this episode until I saw Sandra McCoy's name in the credits. And then I was utterly baffled at how crossroad's demon worked in with the fairie tale angle. So I was a bit disappointed that the scene was actually just attached to the end rather than a woven in part of the story.

    But I did enjoy Sam at the crossroads. I like that there are more insidious characters working behind the scenes. But I HATE talk about Demon Bureacracy and Demon economy. Red tape and rules and the crossroad's demon just being a dutiful employee make me cringe.

    I am extremely glad that Sam didn't believe the demon at her word and shot her just to make sure it wouldn't save Dean. She was too arrogant and nonchalant about Sam's threats to be trusted.

    Though as soon as I wished it and saw he was going to do it, I remembered there was an innocent girl and was screaming "NOOOOOOooooooooooo" at the tv. I am astonished at how Sam has no real hesitation about killing another human to save Dean. Would that girl even have been possessed if Sam hadn't summoned the demon? Though maybe she was already picked by the demon unless dark haired girls in black cocktail dresses typically hang out in woods near abandoned crossroads.

    Finally, I have to say how much I disliked season 2. Each of the crossroad demon's words about Dean was a twisting dagger in my heart knowing that only the existence of the last season made those statements true. I miss the first season where Dean was the well adjusted person and Sam was the one with the ball of issues and angst with its own zip code. It's disappointing the show decided to permanently flip the characters like that. A brief walk in another's shoes makes a lesson better learned and your own shoes more appreciated.

    This season feels emotionally disconnected. The brothers have almost zero downtime or normal personal interaction. We really only see them arguing about the deal or methodically investigating the case. The show has always been about personal relationships of the people they save and their own. I'm not feeling that this season.

    And the intro of Ruby and Bela are not to blame. In fact I think they have barely been in episodes and have added to both the levity and deeper meaning of the show. Ruby particularly. I'd say it was cool the crossroad's demon knew her, but knowing Ruby's a demon it's not that big a shocker considering how gossipy the crossroad's demon has show herself in episodes prior.

    Not to say I didn't enjoy the episode. I'm just randomly commenting on how this season, most episodes really haven't left me with that OMG! I have to see it again feeling. (Episode two excluded. ) I think the inevitable death and darkness swallowing the Winchesters and pounding their determination into nothing is what bothers me. Just not my world view. I miss the intrinsic hope and need to try for a better tomorrow sentiment of the first season. Blame it on me being an optimistic person. But I simply don't believe that just because things are bad in your life that you accept the world at that value.

    I'm ready for Dean to get his head out of his ass and realize that if he dies that he's leaving Sam to go evil like Dad said he would. Dean's not doing anyone any favors continuing with this negative attitude. It was fun before with him indulging and romancing death. However, it's now just a slow march to the end and acting like a martyr only puts more burden on Sam until then.

    Lydia made the punch!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
    I miss the intrinsic hope and need to try for a better tomorrow sentiment of the first season. Blame it on me being an optimistic person. But I simply don't believe that just because things are bad in your life that you accept the world at that value.
    But things have changed so much since the first season. Then they were two brothers looking for their father and both still had hope that a) they would find him and b) they would, together, track down the demon that killed their mother and because of this become a close-knit family again.

    Well, that didn't really happen did it - they found their father in time to see him die and killed the demon that killed their mother only to unleash a whole slew of others on the world. I totally understand that their optimism is a little short (especially for Sam, who would end up alone at the end of Dean's deal)

    I'm ready for Dean to get his head out of his ass and realize that if he dies that he's leaving Sam to go evil like Dad said he would.
    I hadn't really considered what would happen to Sam if Dean did die, and it's a good point that you make about him turning evil. And now I think that Sam is aware that Dean is part of the reason he hasn't gone darkside, and is very concerned about what would happen to him if that support stucture was taken away. Sam is in this for just as selfish reasons as Dean did the deal in the first place. These boys NEED each other, because they have no-one else.

    I do believe that the reason they seem so distant is because Sam's being a typical man and hasn't really shared his feelings about the loss of Dean. However, Dean has made it blatantly clear to Sam that he didn't want to live without him (if just making the damn deal wasn't enough he also told him). Sam has always played to Dean that he didn't want the life anyway and could go back to being "normal" any time he wanted. That's all changed now and I don't think Dean really understands that. Dean thinks his death would give Sam the chance to go back to his "normal" life, but Sam knows that's no longer an option.

    I'm happy that these things will eventually come to light if things stay on the same track, but I'm concerned about how far this will push Sam down the dark path before Dean gets involved. I would like to think that it will be Bobby that drags Dean to his senses. First, though they all need to stop kidding themselves about what Sam is doing now. At the end of Sin City, it was clear that neither Dean or Bobby totally believed that Sam was fine, and they need to discuss how to save him rather than bury their head in the sand about the whole issue.

    In my mind Sam has definitely changed - he's much more cold hearted than in the previous two seasons. How much of that is the effect of hunting in a war and the death of his father rather than Sam coming back "wrong" is hard to say, but I'm fairly hopeful that it is the former. Dean has gone through the same things but has found a loophole to allow him to forget about the pain. Sam doesn't have that "get out of jail free" attitude, because all he can see is a life alone (not unlike Dean at the end of the last season) and he is imploding with the pressure. The ONLY person that can bring him back from that is Dean, and I agree that it is high time that he starts to realise that.

    I kinda went off the point a bit there and haven't really discussed the episode at all (Which was ok, but nothing special other than the conversation about letting Dean go (made me teary!), and the meeting with the crossroads demon. It was nice to see the boys deal with a spirit again though)
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    • #3
      I have no idea, but I wonder if maybe there's some way that Sam is holding the contract and doesn't even know it. He is the intended uber-leader of the demonic army, right?

      I tend to think Crossroads must have been telling the truth about the contract, since she seemed genuinely surprised that Sam killed her (although I figured he would -- shame, though, I love me some Sandra McCoy). Although I didn't get the impression he was killing her just to see if it broke the deal, but really just out of pique, which is far scarier for the character, really. He killed her with the capriciousness one usually sees a villain kill someone that didn't give them information or a minion that had failed in some task.

      Good episode. I can't decide if I liked it better here, or when it was called "Nightmares" (Buffy 1.10), but it was a very cool little mystery and suspense kind of thing. It actually would have been a pretty cool movie idea.

      Another question, which shall launch forth a thousand slashfics, if Sam did come back wrong, does he start sleeping with Spike?
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      • #4
        Heh, just shortly because I will probably be not able to write a full review until later this weekend ...

        Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
        Is it just me or does it seem like Sam and Dean are barely in the episodes these days?
        It's funny, because I think this was the first episode this season where we had no recurring characters and just Sam and Dean alone working case together, snarky and angsty. Just like a common S1 episode. I actually really loved that.

        Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
        Finally, I have to say how much I disliked season 2. Each of the crossroad demon's words about Dean was a twisting dagger in my heart knowing that only the existence of the last season made those statements true. I miss the first season where Dean was the well adjusted person and Sam was the one with the ball of issues and angst with its own zip code. It's disappointing the show decided to permanently flip the characters like that. A brief walk in another's shoes makes a lesson better learned and your own shoes more appreciated.
        Uhm I don't really think so. Most everything the demon said about Dean would've fit with him for both previous seasons: S1 Dean is messy and sloppy at times hey that's what most people are, Sam's not less so. He bosses Sam around, 'cause that's what elder brothers do. Dean was always in need of his family, they practically established that with the Pilot. Desperate and broken, yeah John's and Sam's death did that to him last season and no matter how well adjusted Dean is, I find that very plausible. I don't feel the show flipped both characters, it's not as if Sam has no issues anymore.

        Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
        This season feels emotionally disconnected. The brothers have almost zero downtime or normal personal interaction. We really only see them arguing about the deal or methodically investigating the case. The show has always been about personal relationships of the people they save and their own. I'm not feeling that this season.
        I think that's the point so far, that this is the first season where both brothers are on a different page and trying to keep their personal agendas as far as possible away from their sibling and hence result in being spatially further apart. But every argument they have shows just how desperately close they are emotionally. They are in a heavy mess of love and guilt and desperation and if you see the devastated and bleak look in Sam's eyes when Dean asks him to let him go, you know exactly where Sam's headspace is at the moment. It's like John Winchester all over again.

        Apart from the first two episodes I actually feel a lot more connected since 3.03. LOL I find it endlessly funny how much of an opposite we both are!

        Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
        I'm ready for Dean to get his head out of his ass and realize that if he dies that he's leaving Sam to go evil like Dad said he would. Dean's not doing anyone any favors continuing with this negative attitude. It was fun before with him indulging and romancing death. However, it's now just a slow march to the end and acting like a martyr only puts more burden on Sam until then.
        I think Dean honestly thought that it would be easier for Sam to let him go than vice versa. He considered him saved. He is slowly coming around to see how it destroys Sam (and Sam doesn't even give him a full inside scope of how he feels) and I think sooner rather than later that will change his approach. I think the only person who will be able to keep Sam from going over the brink is Dean, he's not done saving him and personally I can't wait to see him step up to that task.

        Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
        I miss the intrinsic hope and need to try for a better tomorrow sentiment of the first season. Blame it on me being an optimistic person. But I simply don't believe that just because things are bad in your life that you accept the world at that value.
        Personally I still think that this sentiment is true for the show, I think that the core of the show is hope and love and that while it will possibly become very dark and desperate somewhere along the road, it will come around to a positive and optimistic end.

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        • #5
          There's a reason why I usually watch SN twice before even thinking about posting. The show always has elements which elucidate themselves with already knowing how the story goes. (As well as I have a tendency to miss things because I'm thinking about something else just said on the program.)

          So second time around was much better. The three little pigs were cute particularily with them mentioning a gust of wind would blow them over. And then the survivor mistakenly believing the attacker had a coyote tattoo instead of a wolf. Clever. (I was too busy Wile E. Coyote 1st time) I also liked how the doctor's reading of the fairie tale included the woodsman using a pair of scissors and then Dean grabbed the scissors rather than the more wicked looking knitting needles.

          I guess in my horror of the dad being so easily convinced to pull the plug on his daughter I missed the crucial connector of the story. I thought Dean just pigheaded when he told Sam the doctor had good advice. When instead Dean is just missing the obvious. Dean is the one keeping his loved one alive by unnatural means. Dean is the one who is going to have to take back that deal and let Sammy go. Sammy's rage and frustration is building and with the destiny they allude to, he could easily end up being a danger to innocents just like Callie was. So all in all, the story worked well.

          I'm really surprised this didn't jump out at me at first since I had already been wondering before if it was possible that all of this we have seen since Sam's death was just a hallucination of a Dean gone mad with grief or his metaphorical personal descent into hell. This all started with me trying to rationalize why we have this colorful rather than the desaturized film. Dean saw in technicolor in his WIAWSNB dream so I was applying that principle. (Don't worry, I know the show wouldn't cheat viewers by taking it all back).

          Though you have to notice certain elements: the epic, elevated stakes (TM7), fantasies come true (TKAA), absurdity (BDIBR), I could go on. These are all often indicators that what is happening is not real and could be a dream.

          Anyway, my point is, things haven't felt as real and tangible this season as they did in early seasons. Which is in part due to how little I feel that Sam, Dean, and Sam'n'Dean have been the focus of the episodes.

          Let me clarify my opening statement of my first post. I over generalized when I said Sam and Dean are barely in the episodes. I actually meant several things. One is that Sam and Dean don't share many scenes together as if Jared and Jensen aren't even scheduled to be on the set together. And when they were in scenes in this episode, they were usually in "character" as officers and really just listening to the other characters give exposition. I miss them acting and reacting to each other as Winchesters. I also think the MOTW players get a lot more face time.

          Don't misunderstand me, I loved the little we got, but the scenes with just Dean fighting or just Sam going off on a late night crossroad rendevous brings home the idea that the show is doing all it can to stretch out the free time of the actors. And if it already feels this disconnected in Season 3 and at a beginning of a season when burn out should be the least for actors has me fearful for later.

          This type of filming is where my feeling of emotional disconnection comes from. I understand that the boys are going to be separated because of their divurgent goals. And I know they've done plenty of separate things before. But it usually feels that they have plenty of shared scenes.

          In addition, I feel like a lot of the dialogue and pop culture references in this episode were particularily weak, vanilla, and basically going through the motions. Plant & Page...though at least Dean was Robert Plant and Sam was the mysterious guitar player.

          Or how Dean is utterly clueless about fairy tales. He didn't live in a bubble. Though Sam's detailed Disney version Cinderella was definitely more than I'd expect out of Dean. (Sam did date Jessica for a year and I'm sure she made him watch some Disney). But garrrhhh, how can Dean mention he watched a porn flick and not even have an extremely lame title to tell us. Did the writer's strike early or what?

          I was also disappointed in just the general banter not having real quotables or delivery whether original to the show or at least borrowed from elsewhere.


          Originally posted by galathea
          Uhm I don't really think so. Most everything the demon said about Dean would've fit with him for both previous seasons...
          Okay, you're right. I apparently couldn't hear anything after the first statement I was raging so hard. Need to remember to keep my blood pressure in check next time. I do have a lot of pent up ranting that I have no one to verbally rant to like I had while watching S1.

          I'm the eldest of three so I don't really grasp the younger sibling side of competitiveness. I know why I compete with my younger siblings, I'm older and therefore expected to be better. Completely unmalicious, just a fear of failure. I don't know what it's like to try to escape an older sibling's shadow or however.

          Paired with the fact I'd atypically sided with Sam during this episode, hearing the bile and venom of the crossroads demon giving a voice to what Sam was feeling threw me out of my comfort zone. It's like, "Surely Sam doesn't feel like that...wait, maybe he does have that in him somewhere. I don't have any real experience to draw upon. Aaack, I hope haven't been ignoring those own feelings in my younger siblings." Which now I'm feeling a lot of personal regret.

          Anyway, I just have felt that the show tone has been on a downslope of despair and pessimism since the end of IMTOD. This was just one more roadmarker on the way down. There wasn't anything intrinsically wrong here to complain about. My issues lay elsewhere.

          Originally posted by ciderdrinker View Post
          But things have changed so much since the first season. Then they were two brothers looking for their father and both still had hope that a) they would find him and b) they would, together, track down the demon that killed their mother and because of this become a close-knit family again.

          Well, that didn't really happen did it - they found their father in time to see him die and killed the demon that killed their mother only to unleash a whole slew of others on the world. I totally understand that their optimism is a little short (especially for Sam, who would end up alone at the end of Dean's deal)
          Yeah, I understand things have changed. And Dad's death has to have shaken their world in a way they never expected. But SN as a real world analogy, parents do die and you have to come to grips and move on. Your life isn't over and your parents would be heartbroken to know that you can't live your own life because of sorrow for the loss of theirs.

          S1 emphasized Dean wanted a family. Yes, he wanted Sam and John together as a part, but the show projected Dean as someone who also wanted to be a father as respected as much as he felt about his own dad. Then he just throws that hope out the window in Kids are Alright. I think the show is selling Dean short by having him so blind to possible opportunities, options and hopes.

          I've always believed that Dean felt it important to be like Dad, if not better. Giving up is not John Winchester. So not only is Dean breaking his parents' hearts, he's failing himself.


          Originally posted by galathea
          Personally I still think that this sentiment is true for the show, I think that the core of the show is hope and love and that while it will possibly become very dark and desperate somewhere along the road, it will come around to a positive and optimistic end.
          That cheers me up to hear that from you. I guess I'm gunshy from how BTVS pretty much spiraled down into unending despair. I would really hate for the show to just continue to beat down the characters and not let them rise up again. I think lows need to be accompanied by highs or the lows lose their sense of tragedy.

          Originally posted by ciderdrinker
          I hadn't really considered what would happen to Sam if Dean did die, and it's a good point that you make about him turning evil. And now I think that Sam is aware that Dean is part of the reason he hasn't gone darkside, and is very concerned about what would happen to him if that support stucture was taken away. Sam is in this for just as selfish reasons as Dean did the deal in the first place. These boys NEED each other, because they have no-one else.
          That's interesting about Sam selfishly wanting to keep Dean so he doesn't go evil. I always thought of Sam as wanting to prove himself as capable as Dean by saving him.

          First, though they all need to stop kidding themselves about what Sam is doing now. At the end of Sin City, it was clear that neither Dean or Bobby totally believed that Sam was fine, and they need to discuss how to save him rather than bury their head in the sand about the whole issue.
          That's been one of my greatest peeves. Since Dad died, the Winchesters just dawdle and ignore the problem at hand busying themselves with other jobs. That type of inaction infuriates me to no end. Right now they have a little time but they are just wasting it, kinda hoping things will just work themselves out. And I've long wondered if if it's just a coincidence how the 1st episode after Dad died began with a song about time running out. But 26 episodes is a bit too long for a single mentality to prevail.

          In my mind Sam has definitely changed - he's much more cold hearted than in the previous two seasons. How much of that is the effect of hunting in a war and the death of his father rather than Sam coming back "wrong" is hard to say, but I'm fairly hopeful that it is the former.
          I really think the demons are full of it. I don't think something hijacked Sam and rode back here. I do think that something already in Sam might have awoken or that negativity and fear is going to self fulfill itself.

          Dean has gone through the same things but has found a loophole to allow him to forget about the pain. Sam doesn't have that "get out of jail free" attitude, because all he can see is a life alone (not unlike Dean at the end of the last season) and he is imploding with the pressure. The ONLY person that can bring him back from that is Dean, and I agree that it is high time that he starts to realise that.

          I kinda went off the point a bit there and haven't really discussed the episode at all (Which was ok, but nothing special other than the conversation about letting Dean go (made me teary!), and the meeting with the crossroads demon. It was nice to see the boys deal with a spirit again though)
          Sorry, I went off topic first...blame me!

          Lydia made the punch!

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          • #6
            Last season I really hoped that they give Cathryn Humphris more to do, since I really appreciate her writing very much, she always writes a good mix between brother/family angst and casefile and Bedtime Stories is no exception. This was the first episode this season where no recurring characters appeared and we just had the brothers, working a case together, snarky and angsty, with the ongoing seasonal plotlines chiming in and nicely vibrating throughout the MotW. It had a classic S1 feeling for me in that regard and I loved that.

            Kyle: He killed my brothers. How would you feel?
            Sam: Can't imagine anything worse!


            Admittedly I never care much about the MotW plots, unless it parallels or reflects on the brother's relationship or other internal character struggles and Bedtime Stories obviously worked that angle rather well. From the abundance of available fairytales they mostly focused on stories that dealt with siblings loss, survivor's guilt and letting go of loved one's. The brother who helplessly had to watch his two siblings die a horrible death by a 'wolf' (Dean and the hellhounds come to mind) and dealing with the guilt of being the sole survivor of that encounter made an excellent mirror for Sam's situation. As was the sister who had to watch her brother (unless they were meant to be a married couple, but I tend to think that they stuck to the original tale, just like with the others) being stabbed to death, his hedonistic tendencies being a fatal weakness in the end (Dean & Pie anyone?! *lol*).

            The snow white tale worked rather nicely as a parallel for Sam as well. The father, who kept the spirit of his daughter around through his love for her and his dependence on her as she was all he had left of his family and Callie's anger about the injustice of her state, subsequently turning her spirit into an angry, murderous creature, mirrors how Dean's deal to keep Sam alive and refusing to listen to Sam's suggestions, slowly seems to push Sam into more and more anger-driven behaviour. To be able to let a loved one go relates not only to Sam but also to Dean, as both proved time and again, that that's not an option as far as the other one is concerned. So, all these fairytales resonated nicely with Sam and Dean on different emotional levels and I found that very compelling about the episode.

            But on to the beginning: I loved the opening argument between Sam and Dean in the car, mostly because I feel that as long as they talk about it, even if it is in a fight, there's always a possibility of actual dialogue as well. I love that Sam is sharing his ideas with Dean, not at all hiding his efforts to save his brother anymore, until Dean shuts him down. The argument is heated, tense and the emotions are lying raw. It's a futile argument, since both of them won't give, can't give in. They come from opposite sides onto the same problem and there can't be a conciliation between both approaches, because either way one of them is going to pay the price and the other one won't allow for that.

            It's funny that Sam tries to cut off the argument with stating that Dean isn't John, barking out orders and expecting Sam to follow them without second guessing his decisions, since Sam never allowed John any authority over his life anyways, while it was always more likely that he followed Dean's suggestions. So while this remark is bellowed out in the heat of the moment, it's only designed to hurt Dean where he can be hit the easiest, in his conviction that it had been better if John survived and he was dead.

            The opening argument kind of foreshadowed the ending of the episode, as Sam is intent on killing the demon if she isn't willing to set Dean free and from the get go he gives no thought to the girl that the demon possesses and neither does Dean, or at least he doesn't throw that thought back to Sam, although just last episode he was openly concerned about Sam's lack of empathy towards the victims. So Dean either considers the suggestion to kill the demon out of the question anyways or he shies away from an open discussion about that point, in order to avoid the question if something's wrong with Sam. Anyways, Sam more or less openly admits to be willing to kill an innocent human for Dean to be safe, which pushes his ?I'd do anything for you.' from Shadow and AHBL II to a terrifying and distinct new level.

            Dean's understandable unwillingness to act on if's and maybe's, effectively shutting his brother down, pushes Sam farther and farther, without Dean realising that. While he may notice changes in Sam and allocate them to his nibbling fears about Sam's ?wrongness', I don't think he is ready to admit or see yet, how much his own behaviour plays a factor in these changes, because if he would, the feeling of being liberated would pretty much vanish with it. I doubt though that Dean will be able to hold this selective blindness in that regard for much longer.

            Sam's headspace is getting darker and darker this season. He more and more reminds me of John Winchester, so obsessed and desperate over saving Dean from the deal, that he looses all perspective on the costs and what hurts the most about this character development is, that even though Dean's pact was selfish, it was ultimately a sacrifice made out of love and the fact that this sacrifice pushes Sam into a position that threatens to destroy him more than the YED could ever achieve, that just saddens me to no end.

            The awkward silence and hurt that followed the discussion when Dean tries to brush over it and just resume their usual exchange about the case was painful to watch. I love though how Sam's voice drops and he is visibly subdued when he ponders the possibility of dealing with a werewolf case, I think that's more owed to the fact that the memory of Madison just had to pop into his mind at that instance, rather than to his argument with Dean.

            Sam: Is that what you want me to do Dean? Just let you go?

            The desperate, hurt and utterly bleak look in Sam's eyes when Dean indirectly tells him to let him go really killed me. And I have to just emphasize again how much Jensen and Jared can convey in one silent look shared between them. We know that Dean is afraid of what awaits him and I do think that part of him wants Sam to save him, if he could only be sure that no harm would come to his brother if he did so, but since he sees no way out, he has to convince Sam to let him go, no matter his own feelings. When he walks down that dark hospital corridor, away from Sam, it was kind of reminiscent of In My Time Of Dying with Sam staring down the empty corridor after he nearly lost Dean.

            But Sam just isn't willing to give into this, wasn't in Faith or IMTOD and isn't now either, so he just does what he does best, sneaking out on Dean and confronting the crossroads demon on his own. First off, I have to say, that even if Sandra McCoy did get the role without Jared's involvement, I really think she didn't work at all as the crossroads demon. All former demon incarnations were bitchy, seductive and sarcastic, a mixture between cold, arrogant and amused and McCoy just didn't get that attitude across, she was just too sweet and I honestly think her acting was mediocre to say the least. The chemistry between her and Jared just didn't work, if you compare it to Dean and the crossroad demon encounters, so maybe this was a case where close personal relationship did hinder the onscreen interaction.

            Anyways, the demon trying to taunt Sam with secretly wanting Dean gone was a nice exchange, neatly tapping into this season's plotline of sowing the seeds of doubt, whispering lies and half-truths into people's ears in order to turn them against everything they believe in. Of course Dean has his flaws and we have seen in the past that they are both going on each others nerves constantly, but that doesn't mean that they don't love and appreciate each other. Yet, throwing all of Dean's flaws into Sam's face, amplifying thoughts and emotions he surely had of his brother more than once, after he just had a huge confrontation with Dean and probably isn't too happy with him, can serve to throw Sam off his focus.

            I guess the concept of loving someone despite their flaws is incomprehensible for demons, the self sacrificing nature of humans was mocked by demons before in this show. Just like with Dean the demon tries to attack what it perceives as the weak spot in Sam's defences and reflect it back on to him, but it's doubtful that she grasps that by degrading Dean she is more likely to get a hardened stance out of Sam. The exchange was also interesting because just like in Sin City the demon tried to insinuate that Sam is stronger without Dean, destined for greater things, if he would only step up to his possibilities. It's very well possible that the demons perceive Dean as the only barrier standing between Sam and his purpose and hence try to undermine his position whenever they can.

            As expected, the deal would stand, no matter if the crossroads demon dies or not, since she isn't the actual holder of the contract. That's an interesting point, because she obviously had no troubles to call off Evan Hudson's deal in Crossroad Blues without consulting her ?boss', so it stands to reason that there's special interest in Dean's deal coming to terms on the demon's side. She also mentioned in AHBL II to Dean that she could get into a lot of trouble for making that deal and did it anyways, implying that she has to answer to someone else for her actions. Since the YED hardly would've complained about the deal and her ?boss' obviously is quite happy to get his hands on Dean's soul, the question remains, which demon faction she opposed with that deal.

            As to who her mysterious boss is: Since the YED is dead and Ruby seems to be an outcast amongst the demons, I guess it is either a new opponent, that we didn't get to know yet or someone we already encountered, who is disguised as a human. It is entirely possible though that if Sam would decide to take his leadership role he would be able to ?outrank' the hierarchy and save Dean by claiming the contract by authority. Again I am worried, that in the end Dean's deal may force Sam into a role, the YED failed to force onto him. Lots of speculations are going around in my head at the moment, I just hope they don't go to extremes with the characters.

            While I did see it coming that Sam would shoot the demon anyways, be it to test if she lied to him or not, be it out of rage and hate, I still was shocked to actually see him do it. He's at a stage where he doesn't control his actions anymore where anything demonic is involved and that scares me to death. At the moment there is nothing and nobody who seems to be able to hold Sam back and I think only Dean would be able to reach his brother and keep him from going down further the slippery slope of darkness. Sam might be in need of saving after all still, I hope Dean comes to that realisation in time.

            I have never been a fan of the evil!Sam storyline because I think it will effectively bring down the brother's dynamics and changes the character into something I don't like nor appreciate for storytelling reasons. What made Born Under A Bad Sign so amazing was that Sam was possessed and not evil, keeping the character integrity intact, while giving Jared the possibility to play the villain of the episode and it worked beautifully.

            Though Dean usually is the hot tempered one in the brother's duo, Sam was also always a character who showed a tendency for anger and it seems that he is consumed with it at the moment. Back in Wendigo Dean pointed out to Sam that over the long haul the anger over Jessica's death will kill him, but then he had Dean to work with him through it, now he feels more or less alone and that's worrying. How many more questionable actions can they put on Sam until they break that character? I hope, I never find out!

            Other things to notice:
            There's a serious screw-up with the timeline in this, since Dean mentions it's close to Halloween which would set this episode into October/November, but since Sin City was set 2 months after Wyoming that would hardly be possible, given that they supposedly opened the gate around April/May. I usually don't pay attention to the dates *lol*, but that was irritating, even for me.

            I find it funny that Sam knew all fairytales, while Dean seemed to be oblivious of them (well, apart from the porn-y movie versions of course *g*), since I would've guessed that it was Dean who read the fairytales to Sammy in the first place, when he was a child. Anyways, Sam coming to the conclusion from the evidence that they deal with fairytale trances was kind of far-fetched *lol* but well, I won't be nitpicky.

            In conclusion: All in all I loved this episode, but then, there was brother angst in spades, which always manages to capture me like nothing else in the show, so that wasn't exactly surprising. The storyline around Sam continues to worry me and I hope they will bring at least some kind of resolution to it soon, to give me some peace of mind. Sorry if this only adds up to incoherent ramblings this time, but I am tired and my brain isn't cooperating that much at the moment. *lol*
            galathea
            Roadie
            Last edited by galathea; 03-11-07, 03:27 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
              Yeah, I understand things have changed. And Dad's death has to have shaken their world in a way they never expected. But SN as a real world analogy, parents do die and you have to come to grips and move on. Your life isn't over and your parents would be heartbroken to know that you can't live your own life because of sorrow for the loss of theirs.
              In what way are they not living their own lives? Sure they are doing what their Dad always wanted them to do and not choosing a different path, but they have also seen that it is something worth doing. As Dean very poignantly realised in WIAWSNB if they weren't around there would be a lot of people dead. The thing about grief is that it changes you perspectives. You become a little harder of course, because of the experience, but also you can see much more the fragility of life. It affects people different ways, and takes a long time for the emotional scars to heal, even if outwardly everything is ok. I believe that Dean is still denying the pain he feels about John's death and holding it all inside. Sam however, put it all on display at first, and that's kinda emptied him out - making himself much much harder. He's scared about feeling the same way if Dean dies and protecting himself from that pain by blocking out any emotion.

              Somewhere in that ramble I was getting to the point that it's all natural after the loss of a loved one, and they are living their lives, but with different perspectives, and I really don't think that John would be disappointed in his boys

              S1 emphasized Dean wanted a family. Yes, he wanted Sam and John together as a part, but the show projected Dean as someone who also wanted to be a father as respected as much as he felt about his own dad. Then he just throws that hope out the window in Kids are Alright. I think the show is selling Dean short by having him so blind to possible opportunities, options and hopes.

              I've always believed that Dean felt it important to be like Dad, if not better. Giving up is not John Winchester. So not only is Dean breaking his parents' hearts, he's failing himself.
              But now Dean has made this huge decision to give up himself for his brother. He made a "fatherly" decision. Maybe he is regretting it deep down, but realises that's the cost of having his brother back even if he only has one year with him. Dean doesn't feel there's any point in having hope for his future - to him it's a done deal. It's not giving up to him - it's paying for the consequentions of your actions.

              That's interesting about Sam selfishly wanting to keep Dean so he doesn't go evil. I always thought of Sam as wanting to prove himself as capable as Dean by saving him.
              Yes that too, but it's deeper than that. I am a younger sibling and I feel a lot of afinity with Sam's feelings towards his big brother. Like Sam, I'm the more academic/intelligent than my older sister, but she falls much more into my parents ideals and therefore seen as the more successful, leaving me with some partial resentment and a feeling of superiority towards her which I feel very guilty about and couldn't possibly vocalise to the family. Sam knows he's smarter than Dean, and I don't think for one minute that he hasn't thought about how getting Dean out of the deal would elevate his standing between them. I'd imagine that Sam would expect Dean to be pathetically thankful to Sam for saving him, and is frustrated that Dean is not showing any of those signs. He is conflicted about it - he knows it's the right thing to do, but his reasons for it are not pure. He's, possibly, wondered if he should carry on and let Dean go, but his own agenda is clouding his judgement. Siblings are competive like you said, and Sam's all about the selfish reasons. Then again, when it comes down to it - saving someone's life means that you don't have to go through the pain of losing them, so it's always a bit selfish.

              I guess I'm gunshy from how BTVS pretty much spiraled down into unending despair. I would really hate for the show to just continue to beat down the characters and not let them rise up again. I think lows need to be accompanied by highs or the lows lose their sense of tragedy.
              I agree, but at the moment I'm not worried. The despair has to be there because of the over-hanging threat of Dean's death and the army of demons, but I can see a light through the gloom. By the end of the season Sam will get Dean out of the deal and they will find a way to fight the demons on a bigger scale. Ooh, a sprinkler full of Holy Water on the roof of the Impala and speakers at full volume saying the incantations, with the boys just driving through the streets of the 17 cities could do the trick! (Joke!)
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              Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                Good episode. I can't decide if I liked it better here, or when it was called "Nightmares" (Buffy 1.10), but it was a very cool little mystery and suspense kind of thing. It actually would have been a pretty cool movie idea.
                I said the same thing to my husband as I watched it...as soon as I saw the girl in the bed I said, oh lord they're ripping off Nightmares...

                I didn't particularly like this episode all too much...it was a bit too predictable and cliché for my taste. I mean, as soon as I saw the apple, I literally said out loud how the episode was going to go and end... Pretty boring.

                Again, the ending with the crossroads demon was predictable as well...Sam's losing his 'goodness' kills the innocent along with the demon, blah blah blah...I mean come on, we're only in to the 5th episode...did anyone really think it would be that easy to get Dean out of the deal? Nope...it'll totally be dragged out until the end of the season.

                Kinda a let down this week after the last two awesome episodes...but you'll have that I suppose...didn't see the previews for next week, but hopefully it'll pick back up...
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LRae12 View Post
                  I said the same thing to my husband as I watched it...as soon as I saw the girl in the bed I said, oh lord they're ripping off Nightmares...
                  I was thinking more along the lines of 3.04 of Smallville "Slumber" where the chick had been in the coma for 6 years and it was her uncle keeping her asleep while she made bad things happen around her. It felt like a complete rip of that to me. I never thought of Nightmares tbh, although I guess I should have seen the connection!

                  Soz, thought I'd just throw that in,
                  SJ
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                    Let me clarify my opening statement of my first post. I over generalized when I said Sam and Dean are barely in the episodes. I actually meant several things. One is that Sam and Dean don't share many scenes together as if Jared and Jensen aren't even scheduled to be on the set together. And when they were in scenes in this episode, they were usually in "character" as officers and really just listening to the other characters give exposition. I miss them acting and reacting to each other as Winchesters. I also think the MOTW players get a lot more face time.

                    Don't misunderstand me, I loved the little we got, but the scenes with just Dean fighting or just Sam going off on a late night crossroad rendevous brings home the idea that the show is doing all it can to stretch out the free time of the actors. And if it already feels this disconnected in Season 3 and at a beginning of a season when burn out should be the least for actors has me fearful for later.

                    This type of filming is where my feeling of emotional disconnection comes from. I understand that the boys are going to be separated because of their divurgent goals. And I know they've done plenty of separate things before. But it usually feels that they have plenty of shared scenes.
                    I agree with you on this, but well, I was actually predicting this to an extent all hiatus long. I knew, that the expanding of the SN world would inevitably lead to less screentime for Sam and Dean as characters and together as a team. The first two seasons (and especially S2) narrowed down the focus so intently on Sam and Dean, with only the MotW characters to interact most of the time with them (even John, the Roadhouse crew, Bobby, Meg were only in 3-4 episodes after all), that going from that intensity to what we have now feels like a different viewing experience in terms of character connection.

                    Take Bad Day At Black Rock for example: You have the Gordon, Kubrick & Creedy plotline, the Grossman, Wayne & Bela plotline and Sam and Dean & Bobby in the middle of it all. That's 9 (!!) characters one episode focuses on, there isn't a single S1 or S2 episode where that is the case (not even AHBL I with all the psychic kids in it). All S3 episodes so far have expanded storylines and characters so much that the time left for normal Sam and Dean relationship stuff, that is independent from the plotlines, is non-existent. Even the usual last scene with Sam and Dean together, driving off into the night, we only got in 1 out of 5 episodes so far, while that was a very rare occasion in S1 and 2. Add to that the character plotlines that force Sam and Dean on a different agenda and pair them off with their respective adversaries, Bela and Ruby, and you have a serious decrease in Sam'n'Dean scenes for time and plot reasons.

                    We had Sam and Dean go separate ways (like fighting, talking with victims, interacting with side characters alone) in S1 and S2 as well, but since the surrounding context was very Sam'n'Dean heavy it never felt as disconnective as it feels now at times and I admit that I have a lot of troubles adjusting to that, since my love for the show thrives on the relationship of the boys.

                    Don't get me wrong, I think they do a great job with S3 in regard to opening up the plotlines and bringing in new characters after they effectively brought most driving forces from S1 and S2 to a conclusion in the S2 finale. The mytharc is more exciting as it ever was, but it embedded the intimate Winchester family drama in a much bigger context and that means zooming back to a wider angle so to speak. So yeah, S3 definitely feels different than its previous seasons and I do miss the extensive Sam'n'Dean time from before, but I guess I'll get used to it as long as we get at least some brother scenes each episode and I hope that as soon as the plotline allows Sam and Dean to get on the same page again, there will be an increase of brotherly interaction!

                    Oh and we all know that Jensen and Jared are probably two of the hardest working tv actors in the business at the moment. They work insane hours under heavy conditions and I don't begrudge them wanting to lift that pressure on them at least a bit.
                    galathea
                    Roadie
                    Last edited by galathea; 04-11-07, 02:03 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I hate to say it but this was the first episode this season that I did not enjoy that much. The episode focused way too heavily on the MOTW for my taste and since I found the MOTW pretty boring and predictable, I also found the ep not that interesting.

                      Originally posted by slaycandy View Post
                      I was thinking more along the lines of 3.04 of Smallville "Slumber" where the chick had been in the coma for 6 years and it was her uncle keeping her asleep while she made bad things happen around her. It felt like a complete rip of that to me.
                      Thank you! I knew this ep reminded me of something I had seen on Smallville before but I couldn't remember in which ep so thanks for clearing that up!

                      In contrast to Lyn, I adored season 2. It was season 2 that turned me into an SN fan, whereas I still have my issues with season 1. And IMO this week's episode had a touch of s1 to it with its heavy focus on the MOTW, which is probably why I did not like it as much. Plus I adored "Sin City" and it has happened to me again and again with SN that if I really like one episode, I don't like the ep following much. Oh well, being let down by one episode is not the end of the world.

                      Anyway, there were still a few things that I liked in this week's episode. First off, the scene between the brothers arguing in the car. I'm glad that the boys are at least talking openly about their disagreement re Dean's situation. I can perfectly understand Sam's frustration with Dean but I can also understand that Dean has come to terms with his situation (well more or less), that he finds it liberating (as he said to Casey in "Sin City") and maybe also that he doesn't want to get his and Sam's hopes up regarding a way out.

                      Another thing I liked is how the MOTW partly tied in with the brothers' relationship and their current situation. For example during the following dialogue:

                      Kyle: "This guy killed my brothers. How would you feel?"
                      Sam: "I can't imagine anything worse."

                      The way Sam said it and the look of despair on his face, plus the little glance Dean shot at Sam, it was just very sad!

                      I also loved the conversation between the boys at the hospital towards the end of the ep, it was one of the (few) highlights in this ep for me!

                      Dean: "You know what he said, some good advice."
                      Sam: "Is that what you want me to do, Dean? Just let you go?"

                      Dean's look which affirmed Sam's question and Sam's look of hurt and despair moved me immensely, that scene was so full of emotions and so lovely acted by both Jared and Jensen!

                      Another highlight and one of the few scenes that had me on the edge of my seat in this ep was the last scene between Sam and the Crossroads Demon. It was interesting that the Crossroads Demon knows Ruby but then again I guess demons talk and know what's going on in their "community". I was fascinated by the conversation between the Crossroads Demon and Sam, it brought up many interesting questions and issues.

                      Crossroads Demon: "Aren't you tired of cleaning up Dean's messes? Of dealing with that broken psyche of his? Aren't you tired of being bossed around like a snot-nosed little brother? You're stronger than Dean, you're better than him."

                      Sam: "Watch your mouth."

                      Crossroads Demon: "Admit it, you're here going through the motions. But the truth is you'd be a tiny bit relieved when he is gone."

                      Sam: "Shut up."

                      Crossroads Demon: "No more desperate, slobby, needy Dean. You can finally be free."

                      Sam: "I said, shut up."

                      Crossroads Demon: "Huh, does protest too much if you ask me."

                      At first, I was like what is the Crossroads Demon talking about, Sam would never think that. But then I thought about it some more and it does kinda make sense. On the other hand, I do think that Sam really wants to save his brother, it might just not be for unselfish reasons only. Because if Dean is gone from his life, who will be there to stop Sam from plunging into darkness head-on? Without Dean as his conscience, it would be very tempting for Sam to give in and maybe assume his role as Demon King. So I think Sam has many different reasons for wanting to save Dean and some of them may be selfish. And he may also feel a bit ambivalent towards his brother in general, as the Crossroads Demon suggested. I honestly wouldn't want to be Sam right now, his life is more complicated than ever.

                      So we learn that killing the Crossroads Demon with the Colt won't release Dean from his deal, which of course makes sense because it could not have been that easy to save Dean. Plus it would have been very disappointing if Sam had managed to free Dean so easily and so quickly. It was also interesting to learn that the Crossroads Demon has a boss and that said boss wants Dean's soul and won't release him from the deal. Another nice little puzzle to be added to the mythology of the show.

                      So Sam learns that killing the Crossroads Demon won't help Dean but shoots the Crossroads Demon anyway and thereby kills the human it was possessing. It is really scary how quickly Sam is prepared to kill people these days, how far he is willing to go in order to save his brother, in every new episode his descent into darkness is explored further. In "Sin City" Sam was still quite upset about killing two humans but in this week's episode he appeared very cold when he killed another human possessed by a demon. Okay I get that he feels especially angry towards the Crossroads Demon but still s1 and even s2 Sam wouldn't have done that. The arguments for Sam having come back wrong keep adding up.

                      On a side note: I have to say I found it quite twisted (in a good way) that Jared had to shoot his real life girlfriend, Sandra McCoy. I wonder who came up with that idea, if it was Jared himself or somebody else.

                      So on the whole I was rather let down by this episode but hey not every episode can be great and I'm looking forward to a hopefully better episode next week.

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