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Episode 4x01 - Lazarus Rising

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  • Episode 4x01 - Lazarus Rising

    Wow, it's the day of the episode and nobody's even opened a discussion thread yet?

    Ok, here's what TitanTV lists as tonight's episode description:

    Spoiler:
    In the fourth-season opener, Dean has been freed from Hell and reunites with Sam and Bobby, but the three don't know how he returned. Bobby: Jim Beaver.
    Cast & Credits: Jared Padalecki, Jim Beaver, Jensen Ackles
    sigpic

  • #2
    Originally posted by LRae12 View Post
    Wow, it's the day of the episode and nobody's even opened a discussion thread yet?
    Because there's nothing to discuss yet! We talked about the episode already in the spoiler thread mostly. So the burning questions are ...

    What song will they choose for the opening recap this season?!
    What will the new title card look like?
    Will they be back to the old cinematography or kept the S3 one?

    Anyway, I wish all you Americans a great evening with Supernatural! *is envious*

    Comment


    • #3
      YAY! Dean is outta hell! It's quite a puzzler. I like the idea of angels being introduced, but I'm fairly a disbeliever that this is the whole truth or even any truth. Anything I'm point blank told by an unknown, I take with a bag of rocksalt. Angels possess people? That's a bit creepy. And the shadowy wings were definitely not glorious and instead sinister. And the show now says there is a God. All a lot of stuff that was alluded to earlier that is finally being spoken into canon. Definitely look forward to see how this plays out.

      Anyone got a good spelling on the angel's name? My closed captioning spelled it different than how I thought the name was spelled in earlier casting spoilers.

      The most striking moment for me was Dean standing by his grave with his shadow standing so humble and unassuming.

      Second most was Sam forcing a demon out of a person's body. Eeek. He mentioned he was saving people from demons, but I'll feel a lot better when he pulls this trick and we see a person actually alive. I'm half afraid he might be killing people and just thinking that the demon had already killed the person.

      Wait, I take it back, the reveal that Sam had LIED to Dean's face about Ruby was 2nd most shocking. Sam LIED. To DEAN. Not mislead, or white lies, but a lie to protect himself and keep Dean from finding out that he was up to something. btw, I couldn't quite tell, was the Ruby girl, the same girl as in the hotel? If so, well, there are no words.

      Okay, that's about all I have in me for tonight.

      Lydia made the punch!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post

        Wait, I take it back, the reveal that Sam had LIED to Dean's face about Ruby was 2nd most shocking. Sam LIED. To DEAN. Not mislead, or white lies, but a lie to protect himself and keep Dean from finding out that he was up to something. btw, I couldn't quite tell, was the Ruby girl, the same girl as in the hotel? If so, well, there are no words.
        1. Yeah don't forget he also lied about the "ESP crap" when Dean point blank asked if he had been using it. Seems Sam is hiding/lying about a lot.

        2. Yeah, 'twas the same girl. Which is weird to think that Sam is basically sleeping with a demon, even if it a demon who "remembers what it's like to be human." I mean, we still don't know a lot about Ruby. And how much trust we can place in her.

        Anyway, I enjoyed it. I actually forgot it was premiering tonight until I saw my DVR had recorded it. It came on hours it was supposed to because of a baseball game or some such nonsense. But I do like the idea of God being brought up. It opens up some interesting storytelling ideas...to see what each side is striving for would be cool. For three seasons we know there are bad things out there. But do they really want. And if there is a hell, there has to a heaven too, methinks.

        Okay, me done. It is officially my birthday now. woo!
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        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jenni Lou View Post
          1. Yeah don't forget he also lied about the "ESP crap" when Dean point blank asked if he had been using it. Seems Sam is hiding/lying about a lot.
          True! Though as far as lies, I'd call that a half lie since he might be lying to himself that the power isn't related to "ESP crap". Sam hasn't always told the complete truth and kept things to himself, but...

          Lying about Ruby's whereabouts is a bold face lie and really stuns me about Sam's character.

          2. Yeah, 'twas the same girl. Which is weird to think that Sam is basically sleeping with a demon, even if it a demon who "remembers what it's like to be human." I mean, we still don't know a lot about Ruby. And how much trust we can place in her.
          It seems that Ruby is getting all she wanted. Sam's using his powers under her direction, and maybe even her consort. Which...

          Ohmigod. I could have sworn that Ruby and the girl in the hotel room were the same. It’s just so mindblowing a concept, I can’t seem to believe it. It's nice that you saw it the same way.

          Whoa.

          Lydia made the punch!

          Comment


          • #6
            I don't watch the show but I thought you guys would like to know that this episode was the highest rated of the series since it moved to the CW network. From Marc Berman:

            The season-premiere of lead-out Supernatural, meanwhile, rose to a series-high in total viewers (#5, 3.96 million; A18-49: #4, 1.8/ 6), adults 18-49 (#5, 1.7/ 5), women 18-49 (1.8/ 5) and men 18-49 (1.6/ 5). Comparatively, Supernatural grew from its year-ago season-opener by 33 percent in total viewers and as much as 84 percent among women 18-49.
            Although it will have much greater competition next week and the figures will drop slightly, it's still great to see such numbers for a show that is in its fourth season. Hope this good streak will continue throughout the season.
            Banner and avatar by Nina

            Comment


            • #7
              That's really great news to hear it got so many viewers, thanks for posting Ameer! And it seems to have about a 90% retention rate out of Smallville so that is also very good news.

              Supernatural had a healthy amount of press immediately following the S3 finale and this summer about sending Dean to hell. So I think a lot of people wanted to see how the premiere got him back into action. I have been hoping all summer that this coverage would result in increased ratings.

              Unfortunately ratings always fall after the premiere particularly if there is no advertising or print media devoted to it. Since there has been minimal articles on SN return it gives me pride that the fans of the show are able to get a rating this high. However, I wouldn't be too worried if subsequent episodes gradually get lower as the transient viewers trail off.

              Not to mention I believe all of CW's advertising budget had to go to putting 90210 and Gossip Girl on two consecutive EW magazine covers. Extremely interesting to point out that the CW has never had a show on its cover. And I couldn't name the last time UPN or WB had a show make EW's cover. Maybe Buffy when the news broke that it was ending.

              Anyway, I really can't wait for some more people to post reactions to the episode!

              Lydia made the punch!

              Comment


              • #8
                The viewing figures are amazing - but apparently, the show was pre-empted in Chicago, so the final figure is likely to go down a little once that is factored in.

                Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                Anyway, I really can't wait for some more people to post reactions to the episode!
                Well, if you insist. I wrote reams and reams and reams for my LJ, because this has been a less-than-stellar week and I needed the distraction today. I was going to wait till tomorrow and cut it down to post here, but maybe I'll just post the lot and let you all wade through it (or not, as you please ).

                Really...I intended to just scribble down a few thoughts as first reaction...but my brain had other ideas, and once the meta started it just never seemed to end! Read on if you dare.

                "We have a pile of questions and no shovel."

                Okay, first thought: whoa. And whoa. And…WHOA. Awesome. Intense. Intriguing. Just…whoa. Mytharcical whoa.

                Lots of thinky thoughts coming out of this one! Already. Overriding the meep and squee, even! Please bear with me while I think aloud for a moment…

                A little Bible study. The Book of John tells the story of Lazarus, a friend of Jesus Christ, who lived in a town called Bethany. One day, John tells us, Lazarus became seriously ill, and his sisters Mary and Martha immediately sent word to Jesus, believing he could heal their brother. However, Jesus delayed setting out for Bethany for two full days, and when at last he reached the home of his friend, Lazarus was already dead and buried. "If you had been here, my brother would not have died," Mary chided, and Jesus wept. Deeply moved, he ordered the stone be rolled away from the tomb and then called to the dead man to come out. And Lazarus walked out of the tomb alive, still wearing his burial shroud.

                "I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition."

                So, this episode is called 'Lazarus Rising', for fairly obvious reasons. The parallels between the story of Lazarus and Dean's experience are striking. Lazarus had sisters who loved him and wanted him to live. Dean has a brother who loves him and wants him to live. Lazarus, having had his life restored, walked out of his tomb unaided. Dean, having had his life restored, climbed out of his grave unaided. Each had his life restored by an outside agent: Jesus brought Lazarus back to life as a demonstration of his Godhood, and Dean…? Well, if we take this episode at face value, it seems that Dean was brought back to life by an angel because God has a job for him to do. A modern day miracle.

                Now, I'm always rather uncomfortable whenever a TV show (or film) starts to play around with Christian theology. Or any other kind of religious theology, for that matter, just that Christianity is the one I know best. But let's face it: Supernatural has been heading in this direction for quite some time now, so this development really shouldn't be that much of a surprise, when you stop and think about it. And yet it comes completely out of left field and leaves absolutely everyone gasping.

                But is everything quite what it seems? Well, that remains to be seen. Is Castiel genuine, is he twisting the truth, or is he outright lying? On this show, it is never safe to take anything at face value, that much experience has taught us, so we shall have to share Dean's scepticism, at least until further evidence is forthcoming.

                For now, though, let us look back. In Faith, way back in season one when Dean had his very first miraculous healing, the captive reaper was controlled by Sue Ann – but it was the genuinely devout Roy le Grange who chose Dean, out of all the needy people in his tent that day, to be healed. "A young man with an important purpose. A job to do. And it isn't finished," was how he described Dean, when called upon to explain his decision. "Because God commanded it. Because we have work for you," is how Castiel explains Dean's resurrection in this episode. Same song, different verse – or is Castiel simply employing a line he thinks likely to convince Dean? Is he really doing God's will, or has he struck out on his own, for whatever reason?

                We could also look back to Houses of the Holy, in season two. "I like to think of them as more loving than wrathful," Father Reynolds rather hopefully said, before agreeing with Sam that Scripture in fact describes angels more as God's warriors. And we all remember that the 'angel' of that episode turned out to be merely a misguided spirit. Traditionally, we remember, the devil began life as an angel, cast out of heaven for refusing to bow to man – the demon Casey told Dean that story in Sin City last season. So far, the pieces are all fitting together. But whether the picture they make will eventually resemble the story Castiel is telling…well, only time will tell.

                Castiel is kind of cool; the actor does a really good job, coming across as wonderfully ambiguous. But there is certainly nothing benign about him. He might not kill Bobby – there'd be no forgiveness for that! – but he does blind Pamela, however inadvertently, and seems to have no compunction whatsoever killing human hosts just for the sake of putting the frighteners on those demons that Sam follows to town. Also…angels can possess people? Like demons? Well, if the devil started out as an angel, cast out of heaven, that figures, I suppose. I like that Dean takes this as a black mark against the so-called angel. Claiming consent is all well and good, but Castiel still allowed the host body to be stabbed through the heart – it's a very fine line to be treading, that kind of power. If he really is an angel, he certainly seems more in line with the wrathful Old Testament variety than the loving and peaceful version seen singing praises (although still terrifying folk) in the New! So for now, the jury remains out.


                Dean
                "Whatever this is, whatever it wants, it's after me. That much we know, right? I've got no place to hide. I can either get caught with my pants down again, or we can make our stand."


                Dean's return from the dead is a wonderful mystery with which to open the new season – so much more effective than the oh-so lame seven deadly sins last year! The tension that inevitably results from this mystery is really, really well done, affecting each character differently. And lo! it is all so, so good.

                Man, I love the opening sequence of Dean waking up in his coffin. First with the flashes of bloody eyes and screaming – flashes of hell, way more effective than anything graphic could be – and then gasping awake, struggling to breathe, having to fight his way out of the coffin. I love that of course he gets a face full of soil as he shoves the lid open, but has no choice but to keep going, keep digging his way up, air running out and all. It's been done before, obviously, the concept of digging his way out of his grave, but still very effectively pulled off here. And whoa, the flattened trees circling the grave. When we know, from past experience, just how much Dean knows what a tremendously bad sign that is.

                I really love that Dean is so hoarse when he first wakes up, and it takes quite some time for his thrashed voice to recover – he still sounds husky when he reaches Bobby's. Could be because he's been dead for four months, voice box unused…or it could be because he's been in hell screaming in agony for four months, voice over-used. It's a really nice touch, added to how the first thing he does when he finds the gas station is chug back a bottle of water. He's been walking in the hot sun for some time; he's been rotting in the ground for some months; he's been burning in hell for some months: whichever way you look at it, he needs that water!

                I can't help wondering why Sam picked that particular place to bury him, I must admit. He died in Indiana. So why take him to Illinois for burial? Random? Or not? Curious.

                Okay, continuing the saga of love for this opening sequence, I love that we have a date, right off the bat – 18 September 2008. Dean's been dead for four months, we are told. And this fits my timeline perfectly! I love that Dean checks his body for scars, because the last thing he remembers is being ripped to shreds by a hellhound. The scars are gone, unlike the last two occasions – both Dean and Sam still bore the scars of their fatal wounds for a while after the demonic deals that saved their lives in season two. Interesting.

                I'm so happy that Team Supernatural remembered Dean's tattoo! And it is intact! Oh, but the handprint brands are way ominous, nicely setting up the mystery that runs right through the episode: who was it that pulled Dean out of hell, and why? By the end of the episode we have an answer to the first part of that question, but the second is likely to take rather more explaining before all is fully understood.

                Dean doesn't remember hell, yet, and I love that Sam can't resist asking and is so relieved to hear of the memory blank. But he's already having flashes of memory – and boy, those are way creepier than any full-on representation of torture could ever be, so I hope the show continues to keep it vague, for viewers at least, however much Dean begins to recall – so it seems safe to say that there is returning memory, trauma and angst still to come in that department.

                "So you get to just stroll out of the pit, huh? Tell me – what makes you so special?"
                "I like to think it's because of my perky nipples."


                Heh. So, the demon doesn't believe that Dean doesn't know, and Dean doesn't believe that the demon doesn't know – it all adds up to a tangled web of mystery and tension. "You don't know who cut me loose…and you're just as spooked as we are. […] Whoever it was, they want me out. And they're a lot stronger than you."

                It's fascinating to see how right he is – no matter the provocation, and in contrast to her threats, the demon doesn't lift a finger against him, and neither do either of her companions. They're scared. Curiouser and curiouser! How long can this last, I wonder – surely Dean can't possibly get through the entire season with the demon population of the world too scared to touch him. It'll be interesting to see how this develops.

                But I wonder: is Lilith going to be pissed that her prize has been stolen, or does she maybe have rather more pressing matters on her mind and has long since ceased to care about the fact that Dean Winchester sold his soul to her fair and square? One thing's for sure: there are a hell of a lot of conflicting forces in play now. The writing team have certainly got their hands full pulling all those miscellaneous threads together.

                I really love that having been so steely and confident while facing off with the demon, Dean is so relieved when they get outside. He's very good at appearing more confident than he really is, and I like having tiny moments that demonstrate this. It is great to see how very much on form he is in this episode – he was so badly beaten down by the events of seasons two and three, but seems to have come through it all stronger than ever. However worried he is about what happened, and however traumatic his returning memories might be, he seems to believe in himself now in a way we haven't seen since the early days of season one. I just hope that this self-belief will continue to grow rather than withering away once more.

                "This is your problem, Dean. You have no faith."

                Still, Dean might believe in himself a little more these days, but that doesn't mean a statement like "I'm an angel of the Lord" is going to go over well. Dean does not believe in angels and he doesn't want to believe in angels, because he has seen too much evil going unchecked. It's a solid, consistent character point…one that has been reiterated often enough that hindsight says maybe it should have been obvious that such disbelief would be more seriously challenged at some point, whatever Kripke might have said about not delving into angelic mythology on the show! So if Castiel is for real, Dean is going to take a hell of a lot of convincing that there is a good reason for that lack of divine intervention – and an even better reason for stepping in now.

                Man, it's creepy to see the EVP and whatnot following Dean around, though; no wonder he's so very spooked. No coincidence, of course, that the moment he is alone – for the first time since he reached Bobby – the 'angel' tries to contact him again, resulting in a lot of broken glass and bleeding ears. Scary stuff, and I really like that Castiel admits to making a mistake there. "Certain people, special people, can perceive my true visage. I thought you would be one of them. I was wrong."

                Kinda makes me wonder if maybe Sam will turn out to be one of those special people able to look upon that true visage? Because Sam's always had his super specialness going for him, whereas Dean's selling point has always been that he isn't special. So will Sam's psychic mojo and/or demon blood be a plus or minus in this regard, I wonder?

                Anyway, the point is that, whatever he is, Castiel is not all-knowing. I really like that he seems to be figuring Dean out throughout their conversation, as if he was given a name and task but not much else to go on. It all adds to the impression of him as foot soldier rather than puppet-master. And, given the power this foot soldier has already demonstrated…whoa is that a scary thought!

                Also, those shadowy crow's wings? Wicked!

                "Why would an angel rescue me from hell?"
                "Good things do happen, Dean."
                "Not in my experience."
                "What's the matter? You don't think you deserve to be saved."
                "Why'd you do it?"
                "Because God commanded it. Because we have work for you."

                Yeah, somehow, this being Supernatural, that is not comforting at all!


                Sam
                "I don't know if what I'm doing is right. […] But what I do know is I'm saving people. Stopping demons. And that feels good. I wanna keep going."

                If Castiel is for real, if Dean has been brought back from hell by divine intervention, then surely the reason why has to revolve around Sam. It's all about Sam – it's always been all about Sam. Dean's whole life has revolved around his little brother, and so did his death, so why should his resurrection be any different? One thing that seems clear from this episode is that Sammy is in a very bad place indeed right now, hardly surprising after everything he's been through, sliding down a very slippery slope toward possible damnation. And if it does turn out that he is heading toward his intended role as 'anti-Christ', leader of a demon army, without even realising it, the cosmic scales tilting a little too far in favour of evil…well, then, maybe that's a very good reason for a little divine intervention, bringing back the one person who stands any chance of redeeming him.

                It's possible. But it is just one theory among many possible theories, and only time will tell.

                Sam's role in this episode is really rather low-key and subdued, and that fits well with his conflicted state of mind. Oh man, his face when he sees Dean for the first time is just perfect – absolute shock and devastation and disbelief. And the confrontation is perfect – Sam not believing that it is Dean, Dean believing that Sam did something to bring him back…

                "So, what – now I'm off the hook and you're on, is that it? You're some demon's bitch-boy? I didn't want to be saved like this."
                "Look, Dean, I wish I had done it. All right?"
                "There's no other way that this could have gone down – now tell the truth!"
                "I tried everything, that's the truth. I tried opening the devil's gate. Hell, I tried to bargain, Dean, but no demon would deal. All right? You were rotting in hell. For months. For months. And I couldn't stop it. So I'm sorry it wasn't me, all right? Dean, I'm sorry."
                "It's okay, Sammy. You don't have to apologise. I believe you."

                Oh, boys.

                It should be the single best moment of Sam's life, receiving such a miracle…but nothing is ever that simple. Sam loves his brother more than anything. He wanted him back, wanted him out of hell and out of pain. But he had conceded defeat. He'd accepted that Dean was gone for good and he'd moved on – moved on in ways that he knew Dean wouldn't approve of. As a result, having Dean back in his life can't be clean and simple. There is relief and there is delight and there is joy, but there is also guilt and deception and awkwardness and tension. And that's how it should be – for Dean's death to have its full meaning, there has to be payoff. On this show, life does not come cheap – there is always a price to be paid. Right now, the price being paid by the Winchesters for Dean's resurrection is the fracture of the intensely close bond he and his brother had shared.

                "What don't I know about that kid?" Dean says of Sam to Bobby. Good question. Dean knows Sam inside out, can predict which alias he'll be using – Wedge Antilles? Oh, Sam – but at the same time, he no longer knows his brother at all. They have been apart for four months, four months that Dean currently has no recollection of but that Sam had to live through, every agonising moment, and it changed him. No question. It just remains to be seen how long it will take Dean to realise just how much his brother has changed. How long it will take for the gloss of Dean's return to wear off and grim reality begin to set in.

                "What did it cost?"
                "The girl? I don't pay, Dean."

                Well, the girl in the motel room should be Dean's first clue that Sam isn't quite the brother he left behind – Sam never used to bring girls home when Dean was alive! Sam's reaction is adorable, once he's over the shock of Dean being alive – pure teenager whose parents have sprung him with a girl in his room, squirming and trying to tell himself not to be embarrassed…. But then there's the reveal that this wasn't just a random girl after all. It was Ruby – definitely the same girl, right? And that changes everything.

                For one thing…well, the obvious implication of the scantily clad girl in Sam's room is that he is sleeping with her. Fair enough if it is just a girl he brought home from a bar someplace, two consenting adults and all. But Ruby is a demon. She might consent, but the girl whose body she is using can't. Would Sam really do that? Because that is dark. Wrong.

                So maybe they are just sharing a motel room, then, living together just as Sam and Dean have always lived together on the road. More convenient for them both. Either way, it implies very clearly just how comfortable Sam has become with her – Dean left a massive hole in his life, and Ruby was well placed to slide in and fill it, whispering seductive comfort in his ear, maybe encouraging him to cut off all contact with Bobby, who was the closest thing he had left to family. And that's troubling.

                It's also troubling because Sam lies outright to Dean's face about Ruby. He lies by omission when she is in the room, Ruby acting dumb to reinforce the impression that she is a casual conquest and Sam playing along without so much as blinking. And he lies again later, when Dean asks what happened to Ruby and Sam tells him she is dead. It is scary how good of a liar he is, and that Dean absolutely cannot tell. Ruby clearly has Sam's ear, and a lot more of his trust than he is prepared to admit, even to himself. And I still don't trust her intentions in the slightest.

                It is troubling to see Sam brushing the recent past off so lightly when Bobby points out that he never returned any calls, the way he just shrugs he should have called but was pretty messed up, like it's no big deal – it seems that he has been way off the rails with only a demon for guidance, and now that he unexpectedly has these more positive, human influences back in his life he's off balance and back-pedalling.

                "Once I figured out I couldn't save you, I started hunting down Lilith, trying to get some pay back." And he says it so casually. That's maybe the scariest part. "All by yourself. Who do you think you are, your old man?" Nice one, Bobby. Touch?. Sam has been getting more and more like his father as the seasons go by – John was also very good at convincing himself that he was doing the right thing, no matter what.

                Because Sam is using his psychic powers to hunt and destroy demons. He's using his psychic powers to hunt and destroy demons under Ruby's guidance – the way they both talk about what they've been doing, it is very much a partnership. And he's not only using his psychic powers to hunt and destroy demons, but he is lying about it. No misleads or half-truths here; he outright lies to Dean's face. Trying to find the right moment, he says to Ruby later, but there is no right moment and he knows it. He doesn't want to tell Dean because he knows how he will react – the right moment would have been when Dean asked him straight out.

                "You didn't want me to go down that road, so I didn't go down that road. It was practically your dying wish."

                It is kind of frustrating that the scene in the car is so dark, as Dean asks Sam how he escaped from Lilith and Sam 'fesses up to his immunity, but it is also kind of fitting that it is so murky as Sam out and out lies to Dean, both about Ruby and about his powers – he even looks Dean in the eye as he says it. He's way defensive, as well, sounding so outraged at the suggestion, even as he lies. Yeah, Sam is in a very bad place.

                And, man, sneaking out in the middle of the night to get his own way having been overruled earlier – it is so Sam. I thought he'd grown past that. In Time Is On My Side he stood up for his own convictions, demonstrated that he was an adult capable of making his own decisions, equal partner rather than subordinate, taking orders from no one. But then here he is again, sneaking away in the night like a rebellious teenager. It just goes to show how uncertain he is of the rightness of his actions. But he doesn't want to stop, and that feels very dangerous.

                Dean believes Sam when he claims to have gone out for a burger – that's the third time in this episode Sam has lied to him outright, and Dean hasn't been able to tell. This time, though, he knows that Sam left behind the demon-killing knife, so has no reason to suspect that he'd go after the demons alone. And Dean lies, as well, about what he's doing. He's been back all of two days, and already he and his brother are so very divided – their balance has been well and truly shattered, and it is going to take time to rebuild. It hurts, seeing such a gulf between them. And yet it feels right – after everything that's happened, things can't be how they were.

                Sam's shiny new demon-extracting power is very scary. It's like he just crushes the demon right out of the body. He believes he is saving people, and sure, he saved anyone else from being killed by that demon, but until I see a host survive the process I won't be convinced. I mean, he expresses regret that the host doesn't survive, but doesn't seem surprised. And he was already way past the point of being overly troubled by collateral damage in S3, well and truly into the realms of the end justifying the means. And…just look at Ava. And Jake. Unlocking these powers has never been a good thing in the past, and surely can't be now, which is why Dean has always been so dead set against it. And Ava didn't have a demon coaching her.

                "Sam, he's going to find out, and if it's not from you, he's going to be pissed."
                "He's gonna be pissed anyway. He's so hard-headed about this psychic stuff, he'll just try and stop me."
                "I'm not exactly in your brother's fan club. But he is your brother. And I'm not going to come between you."

                That's a curious line for Ruby to be taking, and a worrying line for Sam to be taking. Dean being back has certainly complicated things for them both, well and truly disrupted whatever little set up they had going. It must be so strange for Sam, to be so overjoyed that his brother is alive at the same time as finding it rather inconvenient. And Ruby has rarely been so conciliatory about Dean before, but has always accepted his role in Sam's life and used it as leverage. So, she could be sincere, or this could be reverse psychology – or it could be that she is as scared of whatever brought Dean back as all the other demons.

                Okay, and I realise that I sound incredibly negative about Sam...but it's just because I care enough to worry, honest! He's in a bad place, and I want him to be able to pull himself back out of it again eventually.


                Other Brother Moments
                "I've been killing a lot more demons than that lately."
                "Well, not any more. The smarter brother's back in town."

                Kinda striking that Dean is quite prepared to let the three demons go on the basis that it is three against one, with Sam wanting to charge in and take them all out – man, they really have reversed roles since season one!

                I love seeing Sam give Dean's amulet back, that he's been wearing it – it's low key, but still beautiful. I've wanted this scene for months!

                Hug! Two-sided hug! Man. Twice in this episode a hug is not only given but also returned by these gruff manly men: Dean and Sam preceded by Dean and Bobby. We haven't seen that since Shadow in season one! Too many one-sided hugs. *shakes head sadly*

                Bless, Sam looks so shocked when he sees the handprint burned onto Dean's arm – Dean hadn't warned him about that one. He showed Bobby right away, though, which is interesting. I can't help wondering if the brand will heal and fade, or if the makeup department are going to have to recreate them every time we see Dean's bare shoulders from now on. Not that this happens all that often, of course.

                I love that when the demon threatens Dean, Sam is instantly so tremendously protective, ready to leap into action, absolutely not prepared to let anything happen to his brother when he just got him back. But Dean just waves a hand and he backs down. This is why Sam needs Dean.

                Oh, man – clothes sharing! Because…Dean dug himself out of his grave, so obviously his grave clothes would be filthy, so obviously he would need to get changed. But he goes to Bobby's first, being unable to contact Sam, and therefore has to borrow clothes from Bobby, which clearly isn't ideal. And then, well, whatever Sam did with Dean's effects, he clearly doesn't have them with him because we see Dean wearing Sam's clothes, and the sleeves are too long, the shirt just hanging off him. Because Sam is a giant, and Dean, although tall, is not. That's adorable attention to detail.

                So has Sam got Dean's clothes and stuff stashed away someplace, such as John's lockup, I wonder? Or will Dean have to acquire a completely new wardrobe for himself?

                Also adorable is Dean's reunion with the Impala – even as he shockingly admits that he almost forgot about her. I love that Sam immediately hands him the keys, doesn't hesitate to give back to his brother what was his. But he also doesn't apologise for having claimed full ownership – and committed the cardinal sin of installing an ipod jack! Man, Dean's disgruntled reaction is fabulous. Dean is not a fan of change. And, of course, Sam also doesn't apologise for taking the Impala when he goes off on his own later.


                Bobby
                "Sorry. Can't be too careful."

                Oh man, Bobby's reunion with Dean is absolutely perfect in every detail, from his outrage at the phone calls to his utter, utter shock when he opens the door and finds Dean standing there, through his absolute disbelief, attacking and fighting what he believes to be a shapeshifter or revenant…allowing himself to be convinced, but still having a splash with the holy water, just to be on the safe side. Hee, that's the Bobby we all know and love, ever cautious. But, oh man, his reaction when he finally realises that this really is Dean and he really is alive, the way he just crumples and grabs hold and clings. If there was ever any doubt that he loves Dean like a son, surely there can't be any longer. He's always been closer to Dean than to Sam; they understand one another in a way that Sam has always kind of been excluded from.

                But Bobby loves Sam, too, and man, the last few months have been rough for them all. Poor Bobby – he must have felt he'd lost them both, when Sam took off and stopped returning his calls. It clearly hit him horribly hard – just look at how heavily he's been drinking. Dean's accusation that he should have looked after Sam better couldn't have helped. Dean should know better than anyone that when Sam sets his mind to something there's no moving him – and Dean didn't exactly let himself be looked after either, when Sam died. It must be so hard to be in Bobby's position, to care about those boys so much and yet always be on the outside of their exclusive and co-dependent family bond. His reunion with Dean is a lot more comfortable than Sam's, though, overall, lacking all that guilt and deception; they are not so heavily co-dependent any more, perhaps. We'll see.

                This is not the first time Dean has driven a stolen car to Bobby's – I wonder what Bobby does with them all later…

                Bobby describes in detail the condition Dean's body was in – chest torn to ribbons, insides reduced to slop. Ick. So, Sam apparently insisted that Dean be buried so he'd have a body to come back to, and Dean expresses relief about this. But I still maintain that it would make no difference if he'd been burned – if something is powerful enough to drag him out of hell and restore his body, it is powerful enough to reconstitute that body no matter how destroyed it was, even if reduced to ash.

                "No demon's letting you loose out of the goodness of their hearts. They've gotta have something nasty planned."

                I like that Bobby keeps asking how Dean is doing, if he feels different, long after accepting that it really is the real Dean back from the dead – he is a cautious man, and he knows as well as Dean does that in their world no miracle ever comes without a heavy price to pay.

                I like Bobby's psychic friend, Pamela. She's just the right kind of feisty and flirty – see, this is the kind of person that should be drawn on when Show wants to introduce a new recurring female character. Someone who is experienced and capable and actually able to comes up with the goods when they agree to help, where all Ellen and Jo ever really did was offer vague support that never really materialised. But Pamela is also kind of impulsive and over-confident, and that's her downfall – I guess we won't be seeing her again, alas. Although I suppose where there's life there's hope. If only she had been prepared to back off with just the name.

                I like that Dean expresses guilt that she is blinded because they went to her – it's typical that Dean is the one to shoulder the blame, though.

                Dean's a lot more comfortable taking Bobby into danger against Castiel than Sam – he is just never going to get past that protective big brother urge. It's pretty reckless to risk Bobby, though – he's already seen this thing burn Pamela's eyes right out of her head.

                Wow, but Bobby's graffiti in that deserted barn or whatever is way impressive.

                -----

                Okay, so overall? This intense, action-packed episode sets up all kinds of potential awesomeness for the season ahead, a season that looks set to be full of mystery and intrigue, with the brothers Winchester each being guided – whether reluctantly or not – but opposing forces. Just how likely it is that either Castiel or Ruby is telling the truth remains to be seen. Where the increasingly religious aspects of the mytharc are concerned, Show is kind of skating a fine line, and I hope to heck they can keep their balance. If they can, maybe this season can live up to its hype and turn out to be the very best yet!

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                • #9
                  I loved it!

                  Although I'm not sure about the whole angel/god story... Either that's a lie, or it's pointing towards a direction they've shadowed for years now...
                  I'm a bit afraid they're going the path of Sam going evil after all and Dean being brought back as 'the only one who can save him'.
                  Although that might be very predictable and the writers have been original in their plot lines mostly. (except for Lilith holding the contract).

                  But if this guy is an Angel, then why burn out the eyes? What a nonsense, something good, something send by 'god', wouldn't burn out eyes. Even if it's dangerous for it to be seen in true form, I'd think.
                  And what happened around Deans grave? We saw no earth and loads of roots or something? Weird thing.

                  The episode had a good pace, and I love how Dean knew how to find Sam in a heart beat.
                  The girl in Sams room being Ruby... weird! Could it be that she wasn't Ruby a that moment? And that Ruby only possessed her after wards?
                  But then how did Sam recognize her?

                  Also, I really didn't like the actress! What is that for crap?! Is this girl cheaper then Katie or something?

                  All in all I'm just curious as to how this will play out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rosely View Post
                    But if this guy is an Angel, then why burn out the eyes? What a nonsense, something good, something send by 'god', wouldn't burn out eyes. Even if it's dangerous for it to be seen in true form, I'd think.
                    I think he was trying to say, he was warning them not to look! But, when they looked, they saw his true form, and his true form is dangerous. The sight of his true form burned out their eyes, not him. At least, that's the impression I got.

                    btw, I thought it was fantastic!

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                    • #11
                      Holy crap, Llywela! I don't have time to read that 'cause I have t get dressed for my bday dinner, but no doubt it's awesome I will have to peruse later!


                      Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                      Not to mention I believe all of CW's advertising budget had to go to putting 90210 and Gossip Girl on two consecutive EW magazine covers. Extremely interesting to point out that the CW has never had a show on its cover. And I couldn't name the last time UPN or WB had a show make EW's cover. Maybe Buffy when the news broke that it was ending.
                      That and other things. I think it's also why the only shows on their networks that got official promo pictures this season where for their new shows. Which sucks. Especially when SN got shafter last year in terms of those too. :/

                      Originally posted by BlasterBoy View Post
                      I think he was trying to say, he was warning them not to look! But, when they looked, they saw his true form, and his true form is dangerous. The sight of his true form burned out their eyes, not him. At least, that's the impression I got.
                      Same impression here. It actually reminded a bit of Kevin Smith's Dogma where God could not speak before a human because it would literally make them explode!
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rosely View Post
                        And what happened around Deans grave? We saw no earth and loads of roots or something?
                        Actually, all trees that surrounded his grave had been forced to the ground by what can only be described as the pressure that comes after an explosion. (can't remember what it's called, but it pretty much destroys everything in its way, like trees in this instance, right after a major explosion - much like after a nuke) Considering that is was Dean's grave that was in the eye of it, only shows what kind of force was used to bring him back.

                        Originally posted by Rosely View Post
                        Also, I really didn't like the actress!
                        Couldn't agree more in this case! She doesn't have the attitude that Katie possessed and if they continue using her, it'll be hard to imagine Ruby with the same kind of 'essence' as she had during season 3, or even imagine her as the same character, which she ultimately is no matter the actress playing her. The new one might be 5 years older in reality but Katie felt years older in fact (or more mature, might be a better way to put it) than this new girl and she fit much better into the show. I'm definitely iffy on this one too!
                        Last edited by Dana; 20-09-08, 01:28 AM.
                        PRETTY AS A PICTURE HAS RETURNED
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                        With the return of PAAP comes the integration of Screencap Paradise
                        Keep a look out for Chosen Art, Roadhouse and the others

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rosely
                          The girl in Sams room being Ruby... weird! Could it be that she wasn't Ruby a that moment? And that Ruby only possessed her after wards?
                          But then how did Sam recognize her?
                          Rosely that's like the best theory ever to explain it! I so hope it's true.

                          I actually liked the girl what we saw of her, which isn't much. She wasn't as flashy and Ruby needs to hide now from both Dean and her enemies. This girl appears weaker and exudes a presence that says, "protect me." Ruby was independent in perhaps Sam would see her as a valuable ally. Since that didn't work so well, perhaps she tried this less intimidating form in order to lull Sam into a closer relationship.

                          A new actress to the show would earn less than an actress who was in their second season. So yes, she is cheaper.


                          Originally posted by Llywela
                          Kinda makes me wonder if maybe Sam will turn out to be one of those special people able to look upon that true visage? Because Sam's always had his super specialness going for him, whereas Dean's selling point has always been that he isn't special. So will Sam's psychic mojo and/or demon blood be a plus or minus in this regard, I wonder?
                          That's a very interesting theory about Sam being able to see Castiel's true form.

                          Originally posted by Llywela
                          It should be the single best moment of Sam's life, receiving such a miracle…but nothing is ever that simple. Sam loves his brother more than anything. He wanted him back, wanted him out of hell and out of pain. But he had conceded defeat. He'd accepted that Dean was gone for good and he'd moved on – moved on in ways that he knew Dean wouldn't approve of. As a result, having Dean back in his life can't be clean and simple. There is relief and there is delight and there is joy, but there is also guilt and deception and awkwardness and tension. And that's how it should be – for Dean's death to have its full meaning, there has to be payoff. On this show, life does not come cheap – there is always a price to be paid. Right now, the price being paid by the Winchesters for Dean's resurrection is the fracture of the intensely close bond he and his brother had shared.
                          Sam does feel guilty. And not just because he failed to save Dean. Sam has been doing things that somewhere inside he knows Dean wouldn't have approved. Sam has mostly likely talked himself into believing "that's what Dean would have wanted" or following the code of "what would dean do" and essentially Dean has become his idol/god in whose name he has been waging this war.

                          Now Dean has returned, the truth of Sam's actions will be laid bare and Sam can't hide/lie to himself anymore. He has to reevaluate and decide if his actions in accordance to his idea of Dean are more important than what Dean would really want.

                          That's why Sam's lies hit me so hard. He doesn't trust Dean or himself. He's trying to buy some time to reexamine. However, one lie leads to another until an entire fortress is built in hopes of protecting the first lie.

                          However, there is always the possibility this isn't Dean that's come back. So perhaps it wise that Sam doesn't give full disclosure. I don't really believe that. And I don't believe Sam remotely believes it. I adore how the show presents many little quirks that we know as Dean in order to reassure us it is really him. The Busty Asian Beauties porn magazine was hilarious and actually important to plot. (Muahaaahaaa!!! )

                          Lydia made the punch!

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                          • #14
                            I apologize in advance that this review became even more longwinded than usual! Please feel free to just use your time for more interesting things, like rewatching Lazarus Rising.

                            I have to say, if Kripke wanted the audience to have a first hand experience of how time moves differently in hell, he succeeded! This was probably the longest hiatus (hell) in the history of hiatuses and felt a lot longer than just 4 months! Lazarus Rising was a mind-blowing season premiere, written by Eric Kripke and directed by Kim Manners, less emotional than In My Time Of Dying but a far cry from the weak S3 opener The Magnificent Seven. It looks like we have one hell of a ride ahead of us this season! To quote Dean: Bring it!!

                            The opening sequence of Lazarus Rising was absolutely captivating. I was spoiled for the fact that Dean would come back, finding himself buried alive, forced to dig his way out of his grave and while I was initially annoyed at the thought, because it is way too similar to the beginning of Buffy’s 6th season for my liking, the actual execution left no room for thoughts about that. The way they jumped right into flashes from hell was brilliant. The short images of Dean’s blood-shot eyes, accompanied by his heavy breathing and the screams in the background, were very effective in allowing the viewer a terrifying impression of hell, without actually showing a thing. Well done! I loved that Dean’s voice was completely hoarse, most likely from disuse since his body wasn’t with him in hell, and his first disoriented and panicked reaction was heart-wrenching.

                            I love how the opening sequence established a status quo with just a couple of quick shots, it gives us the time, the place and Dean’s basic state of mind and body. He is confused, his body (and tattoo) untouched, despite his memory of the hell hounds slashing him up, and the rather mysterious handprint on his body and the disturbing encounter with what seems to be an invisible demonic force set up the episode’s plot quite nicely.

                            As a side note: The camera shot of Dean standing on the open field of the havocked gravesite was great and had a nice foreboding sense of doom, with the shadows and the fallen trees. Overall the cinematography of the episode was extremely appealing. They returned to less saturated colours, the lighting more similar to S2 and the contrasts were harsh, giving the show back its gritty look. It’s not quite as dark as in S1, but not as glossy as in S3 either. I approve!

                            Dean: "Hey Bobby, what’s the deal with the liquor store, hm? Are your parent’s out of town or something?"
                            Bobby: "Like I said. Last few month ain’t been a whole lot easy."


                            The reunion between Bobby and Dean was pretty much exactly as I imagined it and certainly an emotional highpoint in the episode. It was to be expected that there will be a lot of uncertainty in the beginning about the question if Dean is indeed Dean. Even if Dean himself doesn’t feel different, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is right. So Bobby’s initial distrust is fully understandable, but once the barriers are down, his relief and joy at having Dean back is palpable. I think it’s the most emotional we have ever seen Bobby in the show.

                            As becomes clear from their conversation he not only had to bury Dean but also lost the connection to Sam, in a way losing both of the boys, who he loves like his own sons, and it clearly devastated him. He wasn’t able to hold Sam with him and given what happened the last time when he left one of the Winchester boys alone in his grief, I am sure he was worried sick about Sam, feeling responsible for him, not only because he knew that Dean expected him to take care of his brother, but also because he felt the need to do so himself. The arsenal of liquor on his desk, his quiet admission of how difficult the last months were for him and the long sympathetic look between Dean and Bobby broke my heart. But on a lighter note: Bobby splashing the holy water into Dean’s face right after their hug and Dean’s indulgent reaction to it were comedy gold.

                            Bobby: "How did you know he’d use that name?"
                            Dean: "Are you kidding me, what don’t I know about that kid!"


                            I love how fastly Dean tracks Sam down, after Bobby tried the same for months without any success. He does know his brother in almost every aspect, that fact didn’t change over the past 4 months but over the course of the episode it becomes clear that Dean missed out on profound developments in Sam’s life when he was gone and lost a lot of insight in what drives his brother at the moment. It will be a long while for him to catch up, especially with Sam being so hesitant to share.

                            Anyway, the reunion between Sam and Dean was very touching, even though it was under kind of awkward circumstances, with Ruby and Bobby watching, giving them less privacy. The fierce hug after Sam’s initial attack on what he thinks is not!Dean, was a sight to behold. Both brothers holding onto each other like a lilfeline, which is the first time we get a hug between them that is reciprocated from both of them, rather than one grabbing the other in a desperate gesture of affection. Sam returning Dean’s amulet to his brother, like a faint echo of that very gesture 17 years ago when he gave Dean the amulet for the first time, was understated but beautiful. I love that while he left Dean's ring and bracelet on his brother’s body, he wore the amulet himself. Okay, I am a bit sentimental here.

                            I loved that Sam without hesitation threw Dean the keys to the car, at least here he easily surrenders control back to Dean. Dean’s delight at being reunited with his baby was great and his indignation at Sam installing an iPod in his beloved car was hilarious! Ever since Sam bitched about Dean’s cassette tapes and his taste in music in the Pilot we all wanted to know what kind of music Sam prefers and finally we get the answer .. and it isn’t pretty. I guess that iPod won’t survive long.

                            Overall there were a lot of very understated little brotherly moments that I enjoyed, like Dean’s barely concealed fear that Sam not answering his cell means that he didn’t survive the confrontation with Lilith, Sam’s worried glances at the mysterious handprint on his brother's arm or his automatic jump into protective mode when Dean is threatened by the demons. Dean being able to simply hold Sam back with a small 'calm down' gesture not only shows that their non-verbal communication still works but also demonstrates why Sam needs his brother at his side.

                            Sam: "Hey Dean, what was it like?"
                            Dean: "What hell? I don’t know, I must have blacked it out. I don’t remember a damn thing."


                            I want to insert a short excurse here: It has a definite advantage from a storytelling point of view to jump forward in the timeline and bring Dean back without recollection about what happened to him in hell. A fully aware post-hell Dean would suffer from severe trauma and the writers would be forced to deal with Dean’s psyche right away for several episodes, leaving them only limited room for other plotlines, not unlike the mini-arc that dealt with the grieving brothers after John’s death in the beginning of S2. It also allows them to set up a mystery, which is revealed at strategic points in the story over the course of the season, thus keeping the suspense up and the audience guessing. Further it should provide focus and direction for Sam and Dean’s respective character arcs for this season, as the events of the missing 4 months come to light.

                            It's not the first time the show offers the consequences of an event before laying out the specifics of it, showing the effects before the causes, so to speak. Prominent instances for that kind of storytelling are for example the big secret of John’s last words to Dean in In My Time Of Dying, showing how they affected Dean, before we knew what exactly they were or the example of Sam’s post-resurrection ‘wrongness’, fuelling suspicions about Sam with the YED’s words to Dean, before revealing the true cause of it in Malleus Maleficarum. This season we will experience the consequences of the brothers 4 months apart, before we get to know what exactly happened to Sam and Dean during that time.

                            I love that kind of retroactive storytelling because it usually adds so many layers to the characterisation when rewatching the episodes and the mystery of Dean’s escape from hell and Sam’s time without his brother is no different in that regard. Directly after the S3 finale I really wanted the show to continue with the immediate aftermath of Dean’s death; I wanted to grieve alongside Sam and experience how he coped with being alone. I would have loved to see a couple of Sam (and Bobby) centered episodes, before they got Dean back from hell. After watching Lazarus Rising though, I realised that after the 4 months hiatus, I was ready to move on with the story and actually preferred that they jumped forward instead of lingering on the aftermath. It never ceases to surprise me how this show turns my own expectations against me.

                            Anyway, while Dean gets to know who pulled him out of hell, he still doesn’t know what happened to him while he was there and it stands to reason that when his memories return it will be distressing to say the least, if the short flashes he had so far are anything to go by. Dean’s lack of memories isn’t only beneficial for him at he moment but it also visibly eases Sam’s feelings of guilt over his brother’s suffering.

                            Sam: "I tried everything, that’s the truth. (…) You were rotting in hell, for months, for months and I couldn’t stop it. So I’m sorry it wasn’t me, alright. Dean, I’m sorry."
                            Dean: "It’s okay, Sammy. You don’t have to apologize. I believe you."


                            Sam is in a dark, dark place and doesn’t even realise it. It doesn’t look like he learned his lesson from Mystery Spot at all and I find that frustrating, even if it is perfectly in character. Cutting off all bonds to Bobby after Dean’s death presumably wasn’t only easier on Sam emotionally, it also allowed him to let his grief and rage control him. He knew that Bobby would have never accepted Sam jeopardizing his life or soul to get Dean back from hell, so he shut down all contact and went into hiding. Sam’s admission that he tried everything from opening a devil’s gate to strike a deal with demons to get Dean out of hell and brokenly apologizing to Dean for not being able to save him was heartbreaking though.

                            He failed to keep his promise to save Dean from hell and afterwards had to live with the knowledge of Dean’s eternal damnation, without being able to do a thing about it and it’s easily understandable that the guilt ate away at him, slowly eroding any resistance he might have had in the beginning against succumbing to his powers, if only to honour Dean’s dying wish. Sam is nursing a guilt complex ever since S1, feeling responsible for Mary’s as well as Jessica’s death, so it’s not surprising that he takes on the guilt for Dean’s death as well, although it was Dean who made the decision to rather die than being saved by Sam activating his powers.

                            Bobby’s observation that Sam acts just like his old man hits the nail right on the head though: socially and emotionally isolated, revenge driven, single-minded, convincing himself that his decisions are right, Sam is his father’s son, alright. While that development already started in S3, Dean’s loss catapulted Sam there just like Mary’s loss did the same to John. The four months without Dean hardened Sam considerably and by accepting that he can’t bring his brother back, he not only opened himself to his demonic powers in order to be able to exact revenge, he also moved on with his life. He resigned himself to a life without his brother. Dean’s return, while clearly a huge relief to Sam, also means that Sam now needs to adjust to having his brother back in his life, of being part of a team, of negotiating instead of deciding and that’s not easy, given the many secrets he keeps now.

                            Sam: "I don’t know if what I’m doing is right. What I do know is that I’m saving people and stopping demons, and that feels good. I wanna keep going!"

                            Unlike with Bobby, who was able to embrace Dean’s return without any restraints, there’s a underlying tension between Sam and Dean as soon as the first joy wears off. Mistrust, confusion, frustration and guilt heavily standing between them. It’s not surprising that Sam has a hard time to find a way to tell Dean that he started to expand and train his psychic powers, considering that his brother basically died in order to keep him from going down that route. It must feel like betrayal on top of his guilt and he rightly fears Dean’s reaction to that. So he outright lies to Dean about his powers as well as about Ruby.

                            Usually when one of them lies to the other, the motivation is to protect the other or because he is afraid of the reaction, like Dean lying to Sam about the fact that John spoke to him before he died or Sam lying about what the YED showed him in his dream in All Hell Breaks Loose Pt I. Fear is one part of why Sam lies to Dean here as well, but this time he also doesn’t want to give up what he is doing and he knows that Dean will try to interfere with that and I doubt that Sam is ready to cross his brother openly on that topic, at least for the moment. He just has his brother back and Dean’s angry reaction to Sam’s alleged attempts to bring him back from hell very likely makes him want to avoid another confrontation. That also shows when he doesn’t push Dean to go after the demons in the Diner, preferring to sneak out on his brother, again, and do what he thinks is right anyways.

                            It has to be said though that Dean just as easily lies to Sam, not only in order to protect him but also because he wants to go through with his plan to summon Castiel without Sam’s interference. They are both following their own path, shutting their brother out and that’s worrying.

                            The manifestation of Sam’s powers was scary. The way he forced the demon out of the waitresses body was very reminiscent of the way Tammy in Malleus Maleficarum tried to expel the demon from Ruby’s body. At least it’s distinctly different from the brutal force of a normal exorcism. I wonder if Sam’s former attempts to expel a demon left the victims dead as well and if he simply assumed that their death is an effect of the demonic possession rather than a result of his own actions. With only Ruby as his guide and blinded by his own need for revenge and the desperate urge to save other people, where he wasn’t able to save his brother, he convinced himself that using his powers in order to achieve his goals is using them for good. The end justifies the means and that’s a dangerous path to walk. Sam might not be completely convinced that his actions are right, but that doesn’t stop him from acting them out nonetheless and that is worrisome. At least though his insecurity leaves an opening for Dean to reach his brother, whenever the truth comes out.

                            Ruby: "Look, maybe I’ll just take a step back for a while. I mean, I am not exactly in your brother’s fanclub, but he is your brother and I’m not gonna come between you."

                            As predicted Ruby is back, despite the fact that they had to release Katie Cassidy from her contract for budget reasons and I am glad that instead of killing her character off completely, they have at least the opportunity to move forward with her character now and finish her story properly. I may not be the biggest fan of the character, but we have enough abrupt ends to characters as it is. Since I wasn’t overly attached to Cassidy, I am quite okay with the fact that Ruby jumped bodies.

                            Anyways, it seems that Ruby finally got what she wanted: With Dean gone she was able to get a hold on Sam, nudging him exactly in the direction she wanted, expanding his powers with her help. I am very curious to get to know the exact circumstances under which that alliance came to pass, if Sam sought her out, intent on learning because he didn’t know where to start or if she exploited his grief and anger for her purposes and slowly manipulated him there. In any case, their relationship opens a lot of troubling questions. It’s at least heavily suggested that Sam and Ruby were intimate with each other, which, given that she violates the body of an innocent girl who is trapped inside her, is highly disturbing and I have to admit that I can’t quite believe that Sam would go there. The only other possibility would be that they were rooming together and that Dean’s return simply forced her to leave.

                            Talking of: It’s alarming that Sam and Ruby play a perfectly in sync game of deception when Dean arrives at the motel room. There’s not a hint that she recognizes Dean and Sam’s awkwardness with her was perfectly played as someone who was caught with his pants down. While I am convinced that part of that scene was written that way in order to not ruin the surprise at 'Kristy’s' true identity later in the episode, it shows a troubling level of familiarity between the both of them, being able to fall so effortlessly into a lie together. Still, her quip about Sam and Dean being 'together' after seeing them hug, doesn’t really make that much sense with the knowledge that it is Ruby.

                            Ruby’s willingness to back off now that Dean is back, seemingly concerned to come between the brothers, is a clever move. Dean’s return endangers everything she achieved with Sam so far and it’s in her best interest that Sam keeps their alliance a secret. Of course voicing open hostility towards Dean to Sam is likely to alienate him, so she has to play it low key in order to keep her influence over Sam. At the moment she is Sam’s only confidante and ally when it comes to Sam’s psychic powers and that gives her a definite advantage over Dean or Bobby. I am very anxious to see how that plays out over the course of the season.

                            Castiel: "I am an Angel of the Lord!"
                            Dean: "Get the hell out of here. There’s no such thing."
                            Castiel: "This is your problem, Dean! You have no faith!"


                            Despite stating only about a year ago that "if God is out there, he isn't sending angels to fight the battles" and that he perceives the hunters as the true good forces in the universe, Kripke now turns the mythology upside down and introduces angels to the show nonetheless or well, at least a version of them. For the sake of analysis I will brush aside the possibility that Castiel is deceiving Dean or lying to him and accept him as an angel. The introduction of a concrete opposing force to the demon world elevates the show’s mythology to a new level, putting Sam and Dean in the center of an epic fight that exceeds 'the family business' by far. We have certainly come a long way from 'I’m on a roadtrip with my brother'. It’s interesting to note though, that even if the demons fear Castiel, which suggests they stand on different sides, that’s no proof that he is in fact benevolent. It’s very well possible that angels in the Supernatural universe represent something more sinister than we would expect.

                            As a Babylon 5 fanatic I couldn’t help but associate the new turn in Supernatural’s mythology with the B5 arc, in which humans (and other civilisations) were used as pawns in an eternal fight between angels and demons, between light and darkness. At some point in the show a mysterious character was revealed as an angelic figure and only with hindsight it became clear that this revelation meant something far sinister than everyone would have imagined and I wouldn’t be surprised if Supernatural heads down a similar route. The angel Castiel isn’t necessarily depicted as a benign creature here: His presence is accompanied by the same tell-tale signs of a demonic presence like static and flickering lights. Additionally the black shadow wings, his deliberate destruction of the possessed people in the Diner and the willingness to possess a person, no matter how consenting, and consequentially accepting the man’s death (Dean mortally wounded the man), do not exactly paint a positive and trustworthy picture. This refers nicely back to the explanation of angels as wrathful warriors in Houses Of The Holy, rather than loving and gentle creatures. I refrain from any further speculations about Castiel, based on his name, since the show often likes to take a lot of liberty with religious references and I think it would be kind of fruitless.

                            The standoff between Castiel and Dean was gripping. I want to insert here that the casting for Castiel, Misha Collins, was an excellent choice. He has an intense screen presence and was easily able to hold his own ground beside Jensen. Dean’s instant rejection of the idea of angels and his lack of faith are consistent with his position throughout the show and it’s strangely fitting and a nice counterpoint to HotH that the sceptic Dean ends up being the one doing an angel’s bidding, after he so vehemently argued against Sam’s position in HotH.

                            Castiel's realisation that Dean feels that he doesn't deserve to be saved wasn't surprising. Dean may have the acknowledged last season that he doesn't deserve to die and go to hell, but that's a whole different game than to accept to be worthy of being saved from damnation by God himself. Even if Dean wasn't a sceptic, that's one hell of a burden to throw at a person. It’s also interesting that Castiel expected Dean to be one of the special persons who are able to perceive his true visage and voice, when he tried to contact him directly at the gas station and the motel. He obviously is neither infallible nor all-knowing. He acts simply as a tool, receiving his orders from someone else, the hierarchy not unlike the one amongst the demons.

                            Castiel’s final "We’ve got work for you" very nicely refers back to the episode Faith where Roy LeGrange already stated that he chose Dean because he was "a young man with an important purpose, a job to do and it isn’t finished." As to what this job entails, well, I guess it’s fair to say that it does revolve around Sam, just like it always did for Dean. Kripke once said that Dean’s story is about a brother who must choose to be either a Guardian or a Destroyer and whether his familial love will save or doom him and I think this prospect will come to full fruition in this season.

                            Sam is standing on the brink and given that he was repeatedly referred to as the anti-christ and now seeing the first demonstration of his powers in Lazarus Rising, it stands to reason that he might be powerful enough to bring on 'the end of the world', as Bobby so nicely put it. If I were to speculate, I’d say that Dean was brought back because he is the only one who is able to save Sam, to keep him on the side of good, which is what we are heading for ever since S2. A powerful 'weapon' like Sam on the side of the demons might be the very thing that tips the balance in this fight, and it’s no surprise that the opposing forces try throw in everything they can to avoid that.

                            As a conclusion: With Sam being lead by a demon and Dean being lead by an angel, the brothers are bound to walk on different paths this season, possibly steering towards a confrontation of Sam versus Dean and I need to believe that their brotherly bond overcomes that trial. I was afraid of this kind of separation between the brothers for a long time, but I have to admit, that like so often with this show, so far Kripke sets up the story in a way that I can’t do anything but being thrilled about it. While widening the Supernatural universe in terms of religious mythology is always a risk, since it easily turns corny or offending, I have trust that the writers avoid the worst minefields. After all they pulled off religiously themed episodes like Faith and Houses Of The Holy beautifully.

                            What else was noteworthy?
                            Like every season we get new title card and wow, it’s very different compared to the last 2 seasons, quiet and simple where the last ones were rather explosive and busy. The black wings combined with the blood red letterng look appropriately gloomy. I like them. Just like last year the song in the recap sequence was from AC/DC and the lyrics fit really nicely. If I’m not mistaken that’s the third time they use an AC/DC song in the show.

                            After the mix-up with the timeline between Ghostfacers and Time Is On My Side they put it back on track this week. It’s September, 18th according to the newspaper Dean picks up and we are told that 4 months have passed since the events in Indiana, which places Dean’s death in May. That’s consistent with the S2 companion where Sam’s resurrection and hence Dean’s date of death is put on the 2nd of May. It also fits with the timeframe of 2 months til Dean’s death in Ghostfacers, which played on the 29th of February. So, if we ignore the dates given on the props in LDC and TIOMS, the timeline is consistent again. Plus, it’s also the first time that show time and real time are congruent with each other.

                            I really loved the introduction of the quirky psychic Pamela Barnes and I hope that she will return in other episodes. Her flirty banter with the boys was funny without coming off as too forced and I really enjoyed the actress.

                            Man, I am sure there's a ton more to say, but this essay goes on too long as it is. I loved this season opener and I am looking forward to a potentially awesome season! But most of all I loved one thing: The boys are back!!
                            Last edited by galathea; 20-09-08, 01:38 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dana View Post
                              Couldn't agree more in this case! She doesn't have the attitude that Katie possessed and if they continue using her, it'll be hard to imagine Ruby with the same kind of 'essence' as she had during season 3, or even imagine her as the same character, which she ultimately is no matter the actress playing her. The new one might be 5 years older in reality but Katie felt years older in fact (or more mature, might be a better way to put it) than this new girl and she fit much better into the show. I'm definitely iffy on this one too!
                              I'll agree that I didn't much care for the actress. I fetl like she was acting and not like I was watching a character. I don't know...I think Katie just did a better job, I guess. *shrugs*

                              Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                              The Busty Asian Beauties porn magazine was hilarious and actually important to plot. (Muahaaahaaa!!! )
                              That's so true! And I totally thought the same thing.

                              Originally posted by galathea View Post
                              I was spoiled for the fact that Dean would come back, finding himself buried alive, forced to dig his way out of his grave and while I was initially annoyed at the thought, because it is way too similar to the beginning of Buffy’s 6th season for my liking, the actual execution left no room for thoughts about that.
                              I wasn't spoiled for the being buried alive and I have to admit, the first thing that sprang to mind for me was Buffy s6. I mean, it was incredibly similar. I promise you I was hit by these thoughts before reading your review.

                              Of course, that does not diminish the excellent episode! I was truly captivated as well. And being buried alive/clawing out of the grave isn't a new idea to even Buffy...
                              Bobby: "How did you know he’d use that name?"
                              Dean: "Are you kidding me, what don’t I know about that kid!"


                              He does know his brother in almost every aspect, that fact didn’t change over the past 4 months but over the course of the episode it becomes clear that Dean missed out on profound developments in Sam’s life when he was gone and lost a lot of insight in what drives his brother at the moment.
                              When I heard Dean say that, I thought the same thing. There's much he doesn't know about him anymore. But ti sets up an interesting dynamic for the eps to come!
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Rosely View Post
                                Also, I really didn't like the actress! What is that for crap?! Is this girl cheaper then Katie or something?
                                In a word: yes. Katie was on a permanent contract - she got paid for half a season, whether she was in all those episodes or not. This new incarnation of Ruby will be on a recurring contract, paid only for the episodes in which she appears. It's much cheaper for the show, which is an important consideration given how restricted their budget is. But the downside is that if the actress picks up another gig in the meantime, they will lose her.


                                On a more positive note, the final viewing figures are in, taking into account the Chicago pre-emtion - and Supernatural lost NOTHING. They stayed at 3.96 million! That's an absolutely brilliant result.

                                Let's hope we can keep these kind of numbers all season.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Llywela View Post

                                  On a more positive note, the final viewing figures are in, taking into account the Chicago pre-emtion - and Supernatural lost NOTHING. They stayed at 3.96 million! That's an absolutely brilliant result.
                                  Oh, man. I'll say! By CW standards, that is a fantastic figure! That's about what Gossip Girl has been getting, if I am not mistaken.
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Jenni Lou View Post
                                    Oh, man. I'll say! By CW standards, that is a fantastic figure! That's about what Gossip Girl has been getting, if I am not mistaken.
                                    As far as I know, Gossip Girl's highest rated episode this season got 3.73 million viewers and a 1.9/5 in the adults 18-49 range (I'm not positive, though, and these aren't the final numbers). I'd say Supernatural has done much, much better! Let's hope the show will be able to hold on to such great ratings and drops in numbers will be minor.
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                                    • #19
                                      Ok, wickedly awesome episode!

                                      First, the opening song. Though You Shook Me All Night Long definitely would not have been my choice there, it does fit with the classic rock mojo, so I got over it.

                                      I loved the new Supernatural title shot, though! I think it's my favorite to date.

                                      Initial reaction to the clawing out of grave: LOL - he's a vampire! And then bobby through the holy water in his face, I could have sworn Dean was going to say, dude, I'm not a vampire instead of demon

                                      I'm really intrigued by the new 'Angel' angle. And with Sam using darker forces for good, and perhaps Dean will be using light forces for good, I think it's cool that the writers are possibly setting up a Cain/Able dynamic for this season.

                                      Best line of the night: "And I thought it was my perky nipples" holy crap, I missed the next 5 minutes of dialouge after that line I was laughing so hard!

                                      But the burning eyes thing makes total sense if Castiel (sp?) *is* and angel. In the bible it's common knowledge that no one can look on the face of God, or even angels in their true form. They're too holy. God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush to protect him, and even still Moses could not look directly at the bush and all of his hair turned white from the experience. Castiel did warn the psychic not to look, but she did anyway, and her eyes burned out from the pure holiness (or so we're led to believe if he truly is an angel).

                                      I agree with Lyn, the wings looked more Sinister to me than holy, but I also took it to be that it was only a shadow of his wings, not his actual wings. Also, with possessing a human, it is also biblically common that angels appeared to speak with humans in human form.

                                      I also think that the chick that Sam was sleeping with was not Ruby, but that Ruby possessed her to talk to Sam. I think Sam recognized Ruby right away, because the girl acted so confidently in the diner, whereas the girl in Sam's hotel room was completely demure when she left.

                                      I loved the car tidbits. Sam installing an Ipod, and Dean looking at him 'seriously'? when the crap music came on!

                                      At first I thought JP had lost his acting abilities when Sam conceded that Dean was truly Dean in the hotel room. He just didn't seem all that over-joyed that Dean was alive. But later finding out his motives, I can totally applaud Jared on that opening scene. Of course he's happy, but now he's caught, so to speak. Dean would NEVER approve him using these powers, and the guilt he feels is overshadowing his delight.

                                      It does make me wonder if Sam is the true reason why Dean was brought out. Perhaps Sam's abilities are not intended for use by a human and god wants Dean to put a stop to it? We'll have to see.

                                      So, yeah, I thought it was a fabulous beginning to and exciting new season!
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                                      • #20
                                        Wow what a fantastic season premiere! "Lazarus Rising" may even come close to "IMTOD" as my favourite SN season opener. I bow to Kripke, it took guts to introduce this kind of mytharc for the season and I really hope that they won't screw it up because bringing angels and God into the picture can be a tricky affair. I like the idea of demons wanting Sam on their side and now God wanting Dean on their side. It is very epic sounding the only question is if the show can really pull it off. I'm curious to see where they will go with this, they certainly introduced a very intriguing mytharc.

                                        I have to say I was kind of surprised to hear "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC during the recap. Don't get me wrong, I love both AC/DC and that particular song but it seemed an odd and not very fitting choice of recap music. But maybe that's just me.

                                        Dean's resurrection

                                        Dean waking up in his coffing and having to claw his way out did make me think of BTVS s6 briefly but as soon as Dean was out, all thoughts of that disappeared because I just loved these scenes of Dean's resurrection. I loved that there was almost no music during the first 6 or 7 minutes, I loved the look of the creepy gravesite, I loved that Dean was so hoarse from not speaking for 4 months, I loved the bit with the Busty Asian Beauties mag and I love that we were given a specific date and that it was the date of when the premiere aired in the US.

                                        Dean's flashes of hell are terrying and I think Kripke & co. did a great job with them. It's so much more scary if you only get tiny flashes than seeing the whole thing. Obviously, they also did it this way due to budget reasons but I think it works really well.

                                        When Dean got into that car at the gas station, I suddenly started wondering if there is any symbolic meaning to the fact that the car is white, while the Impala is black. Some kind of foreshadowing perhaps to the end of the episode (and this episode was ripe with foreshadowing)? Or maybe I'm reading too much into this.

                                        Reunion with Bobby and Sam

                                        I had already seen the Bobby/Dean reunion scene before the episode aired but it still made me cry again, especially when Bobby realised that it was really Dean and hugged Dean tight. Bobby splashing Dean with holy water was great. So very much in character for him. Plus I loved Dean's adorable "You've got to be kidding me look" after.

                                        The Sam/Dean reunion was even more touching. I loved their hug, it made me cry, hell it made even manly Bobby tear up. Sam seems sad and twisted and I'm sure he's been through a lot, trying to bring Dean back and failing at it. He seems conflicted and is feeling guilty. Bobby is right, Sam is becoming like John more and more and that's a very troubling thought.

                                        Kristy being in Sam's motel room could also be an indication of his twistedness. The fact that Kristy was in a semi-undressed state certainly points to her and Sam having sex. The big question now is whether Kristy was possessed by Ruby at the motel or if Ruby only possessed the girl later on. I really hope it's the latter because otherwise that is just beyond twisted and very wrong. So I really hope Sam wasn't having sex with Ruby, but with Kristy. Because the thought of Sam having sex with a demonically possessed girl or maybe even a corpse is just too disgusting to consider.

                                        And can I just say, I hated the new Ruby! I didn't like the actress at all. I dearly miss Katie Cassidy, I thought the new actress didn't do a very good job. Also, she spoke kinda funny. Maybe the actress will get better with time or hopefully they will cast another actress for the woman Ruby possesses. This new Ruby was one of the few lowpoints of this otherwise excellent episode for me.

                                        I loved that Sam didn't shy away from asking Dean about hell and I wondered whether the following dialogue was more foreshadowing:

                                        Dean: "I don't remember a damned thing."
                                        Sam: "Thank God for that."

                                        Maybe God is indeed responsible for Dean not remembering hell. However, I'm sure that Dean will remember soon enough, his flashes are getting longer and more explicit.

                                        Sam giving Dean his amulet back was lovely, as was Dean greeting the Impala and mocking Sam's crappy taste in music.

                                        Sam lying to Dean's face regarding Ruby and his powers is very troubling and made me sad, especially when Sam said the thing about Dean's dying wish. The boys are keeping secrets from each other again and while I do find that sad, part of me is also very curious where they will go with his, if this will turn into an epic good brother (Dean) vs. bad brother (Sam) kind of fight.

                                        I already liked the psychic Pamela in the clip that was online before the ep aired and I like her even more after seeing the full episode. She is a cool, funny chick and I hope she sticks around. I felt really bad for her when Castiel burned out her eyes.

                                        Also, her name Pamela Barnes cracked me up! Nice way to include one of the most famous rock band groupies ever, Kripke.

                                        Sam using his powers and controlling demons was beyond awesome, it was so badass! I literally started screaming when he started doing the hand mojo thing, I must have scared my neighbours. Dean's line earlier in the episode ("What don't I know about the kid") immediately came to mind so that line was clear foreshadowing. I loved Sam's darkness, the fact that Ruby seems to have got her way and seduced Sam to finally explore his powers. He says he is not sure if he trusts her but it seems to me that he trusts her quite a bit. I think the following quote gives us some great insight into Sam's state of mind:

                                        Sam: "What I do know is I'm saving people and stopping demons and that feels good. I wanna keep going."

                                        IMO Sam is lying to himself a bit here. I'm not convinced if he is really saving people if the human vessels of the demons he is exorcising end up dead anyway. Sam may like having this new power a bit too much and I can picture it becoming like an addiction for him. Personally, I find that fascinating and intriguing and I'm curious how far Sam will go this season.

                                        What I also found interesting in this part of the episode was the phone call between Sam and Dean after Sam had snuck out of the motel room. For once, Dean's main objective was not protecting Sammy but finding out what happened to himself. So maybe that's why he didn't question Sam going out for a burger in the middle of the night and let it be because he had more important things on his mind. I was glad to see Dean put himself first for once, maybe this is an indication of a more independent and self-confident Dean this season. Personally, I'm all for it.

                                        Meeting Castiel

                                        Meeting Castiel was definitely a very interesting experience, both for the audience and for Dean. I don't really buy that Castiel was sent by God or at least I hope not. I can believe he's an angel, but not necessarily an angel on God's mission. I guess it makes sense that there are angels as well in a universe populated with demons. And now I'm suddenly wondering if Mary knew what she was talking about when she told young Dean that angels were watching over him. It is mind-boggling!

                                        The whole God angle makes me a bit nervous. Not being a religious person myself, I would really hate it if Dean now suddenly became devout all of a sudden, especially since he has always been such a sceptic. Furthermore, I find the idea of a rogue angel much more interesting. Maybe such a storyline was even hinted at by the scene where Castiel unfolded his wings (which I loved btw even if the CGI was not all that convincing), which definitely looked more sinister than benevolent, I agree with Lyn on that. Moreover, the fact that Castiel burned out Pamela's eyes and that he is possessing a human to appear before Dean does not exactly speak for his goodness. So I'm willing to be patient on this issue and see where they are going with this storyline. I loved how Castiel had insight into Dean's messed up psyche so quickly:

                                        Castiel: "Good things do happen, Dean.
                                        Dean: "Not in my experience."
                                        Castiel: "What's the matter? You don't think you deserve to be saved."

                                        The actor playing Castiel was really good (not to mention hot, LOL). He makes a good addition to the show IMO and I can't wait to see if Castiel really turns out to be who he says he is or if he has his own dark agenda with Dean.

                                        There was some great foreshadowing to Castiel being an angel and to God throughout the episode: churchbells ringing in Dean's head, the wooden cross on Dean's grave, Ruby saying that whoever pulled Dean out of hell it was something cosmic.


                                        For all its darkness, this episode had some very funny lines/moments as well. Kripke, sneaky as he is, even managed to include a Winchest joke (when Kristy asked Sam and Dean if they were together).

                                        Other funny scenes/lines I enjoyed are:

                                        Dean: "I know I should look like a Thriller video reject."


                                        Dean: "I know I look fantastic."

                                        Preaching to the choir, Dean!


                                        Pamela (to Sam): "You are invited too, Grumpy.
                                        Dean (to Sam): "You are not invited."


                                        Dean: "I like to think it's because of my perky nipples."


                                        Overall, this was a brilliant season opener, so much better than the season 3 premiere. Kripke and co. have introduced a fascinating mytharc which, if handled right, could turn into something completey awesome and possibly give us the best season of Supernatural yet. Season 4 is definitely off to a very promising start!

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