Supernatural "As Time Goes By" Review: Winchester Legacies

Supernatural S08E12: “As Time Goes By”

Let’s be real for a second: Sometimes the seasons following Supernatural Season 5 feel like sucky sequels. The first five seasons tell a cohesive story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. The question of how a show that built so much of its mythology around the (Judeo-Christian) apocalypse could move forward loomed over Season 6 and frankly, Season 6 failed to answer that question in any satisfying way. Season 7 was an improvement, but only slightly, still plagued by the sense that we were all just treading water, killing time until the story mattered again. Outside of the woefully mismanaged Sam-outta-Hell and domesticated Dean storylines, there was barely any connection to the early seasons of the show. We learned that Sam and Dean were bred to be archangel vessels, their entire usefulness tied up in the brotherly showdown-that-wasn’t, and it seemed, at times, that even the writers themselves didn’t quite understand how to make their protagonists important without their heavenly pedigrees.

“As Time Goes By” was the episode we’ve been waiting for, the keystone that ties the mythology of Seasons 1 through 5 to the often aimless wanderings of more recent seasons—and it managed to be completely awesome while doing so.

Also it was heartbreaking, because of course it was. Raise your hand if you pegged that kid in the bed for John Winchester as soon as he popped onto the screen. Keep it up there if you knew he was never going to see his papa (played by Friday Night LightsGil McKinney) again. Yeah, me too. This isn’t the first time we’ve sat through an episode of Supernatural that, right from the beginning, we knew couldn’t possibly end with anything other than sadness. Seasons 3 and 4 were good for those. The best-case scenario for Henry Winchester was that he got stuck in 2013 and became another Bobby for his grandsons to hit up for some deus ex machina action, but we’ve HAD formerly long-lost grandparents show up to hang out and it kind of sucked. I still don’t REALLY understand what the point of the Campbell’s Season 6 storyline was. Anyone? Anyone at all?

When Henry’s 1958 initiation into the mysterious “Men of Letters” was crashed by one seriously pissed-off demon named Abaddon, he whipped up a spell and jumped into the future looking for John. He ended up with Sam and Dean and a mountain of angst. Sam acted nicely as our audience mouthpiece, asking all the questions we were thinking, like WTF are the Men of Letters and if they work with hunters like Henry claims, then why haven’t we (or the Winchesters) heard of them before? Dean sulked, because daddy issues, but I saw that coming, and he made his contribution too, pointing out that John despised his father, Henry, and claimed that the dude ran out on the family when John was a kid. And with that little piece of Winchester Family Wangst, the nagging feeling that Henry was going to meet an unfortunate fate was all but confirmed.

R.I.P. Henry, we hardly knew ye—but what we did know was enough to understand why the angels worked so hard to make sure Mary Campbell and John Winchester popped out their genetically gifted sons (as revealed in Season 5’s “My Bloody Valentine.”) Audience mouthpiece Sam conveniently made the connection again in case we didn’t get there ourselves. The Campbells were a legendary hunting family while the Winchesters descended from a long line of supernatural scholars. John and Mary represented the perfect union of “brains and brawn” that Dean and Sam would need to survive their apocalyptic coming of age. Fate REALLY screwed this bunch over, didn’t it?

Beyond providing a link to the past, however, Henry Winchester also presented an invaluable tool for the Winchesters’ future: the key to deciphering every scroll, spell, and—even though they didn’t explicitly say it, we were all thinking it—tablet, as well as the coordinates to an impenetrable safe zone in which to use it.

I think we all know where this is going.

Unfortunately, we will be going there without Henry. MISS U ALREADY, HENRY. KISSES. Despite reading John’s ode to Winchester Wangst (revealed to have been written in his own journal because SADNESS) and resolving to redo his time travel spell to go back and be a good dad to John, Henry ultimately carried on that long-held Winchester tradition of sacrificing oneself for the famdiddly when he took a demon fist to the gut during that hostage exchange with Abaddon—who, aside from Crowley, I would say is the demon with the best fashion sense we’ve seen so far. Loved the "devil made me do it" T-shirt and the fact that she just waltzed around in a bloodstained cocktail dress for half the episode like it was no big thing. Way to be fierce, girl.

Despite their initial apprehension, Dean and his grandpa ended up reaching an understanding before his death. Dean originally clung to his own father’s resentment of Henry’s perceived abandonment and balked at Henry’s justification that sometimes there’s a hefty personal price to be paid for the responsibility that comes with being a Man of Letters. To Henry’s credit, his original impression that hunters were nothing more than “apes”—and the apparent disappointment that his esteemed family eventually sunk to their level—gave way to an understanding that sometimes legacies and traditions evolve because they must. I would say that Henry’s parting affirmation to his grandsons—that despite not being Men of Letters, they’re still Winchesters, and “As long as we’re alive, there’s always hope,” should be put on their crest or something—but in retrospect, that’s rather generously optimistic for that clan.

What did you think of the newest addition to the Winchester family tree?



CASE NOTES


– I could be wrong about this, as my love of tacky things is well documented, but I thought Sam and Dean’s Ugly Motel Room of the Week was actually kind of pleasing in a budget retro kind of way.

– If I were Dean Winchester, I’d think time travel was the ultimate in suckass too.

– LOL @ hunters being the mouthbreathers of the supernatural underworld. I can’t say I haven’t had that thought myself from time to time.

– Smart Winchester Sighting! The fact that Dean and Sam are legacies in some smartypants supernatural book club/cult/library of weird is one of the best developments of the series. It’s kind of like when Luke Skywalker found out what the Jedi were and what his connection to them was—complete with the daddy issues. Also, devil’s trap bullet FTW!

– This episode was confirmed to take place in 2013, even though technically we’ve skipped what, like two years in continuity between Sam being in Hell and Dean doing the Purgatory thing? Whatevs. I always just hand-waved the time jumps myself anyway.

– When Henry broke the Impala’s window, “OMG DEAN’S GONNA KILL YO ASS.”

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Men of letters felt shoved into the lore when their was no need or demand for it. All for the sake of giving John Winchester a special snowflake heritage (you know besides being a direct descendant of cain and able from the bible).

This episode also introduced a brand new type of demon, Knight of Hell. Surpise Azazel, Alistar, and Lilith and the "king of hell" title given to Crowley were not the final tier of demon!!!

It raises obvious questions, which were answered in the only way possible, boring and sloppy as hell.

"Why havent we heard of Knights of Hell?"
Obviously they are all gone except for abbadon.

"How are these demons extinct exactly?"
Lost in history through the passage of time. (Tho it is explained in later season).

"Why havent we heard of the men of letters"
Obviously Abbadon wiped them out in that attack.

"How exactly did a demon wipe out an entire organization of dedicated, knowledgeable, and prepared men?"
Because Abbadon is super powerful duh!

"If Abbadon is that badass to wipe out men of letters like she is swatting a fly, then why in the world did she wait so long to do it?"
Because she did thats why! She was to busy being a knight of hell to care about them!


Uhmmmmm okay? You see these obvious questions shoving into the lore an entire legacy based organization like the Men of Letters and having them wiped out on the same episode as their introduction causes? Not to mention this new demon title Knights of Hell.

Just piss poor writing any way you look at it.
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Of course we knew who the kid in the bed was and who his father was. The "then" ...previously on Supernatural... part at the beginning wasn't exactly subtle. It would have been far more effective if we didn't actually know for sure who Grandpa Winchester was until he announced it...
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I was surprised the words Pandora's box were never said that's what I was calling that thing. I really hope they use that knowledge to fight Crowley now that Abaddon's on ice.
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maybe if they do a season 9 they could go back to the roots of the men of letters story line. Watching this i felt like this could be a set up for a season 9 hopefully
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Classic episode in IMO, reminds my of the old days.
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No Cass... but the episode was still awesome. Can't wait to see where this all goes. Also, how did they know the bullet would get lodged in demon lady's head? That close of a shot, you'd think the bullet would go through.
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Agree with you about the season 6 Campbell subplot. I've said it before and I'll say it again: they made season 6 up as they went along. They must have done. Some bits really, really work, like souless Sam. And, at first, Samuel's presence is intriguing and the first few episodes are actually quite entertaining. But then it was like the writers simply had no idea what to do with him as they completely abandoned the "Crowley torturing monsters" plot (only to return to it later) so quickly killed him off. There was potential there, but it was let down.
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Holy canon mind blow! Another promising installation to Season 8. I like where this is going. But I wish the Winchesters weren't always having to bury their family members. Pretty much every time they meet up with a branch of the family, they end up six feet under by the end of the episode. I guess that's Supernatural for ya.
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So do you think they're ever going to really clear up why every single aquaintance of the boys' mother is mysteriously dead now?
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Yeah, I was wondering about that myself. I thought they meant her cousins when they showed up in Season 6 - for some reason I thought they had been resurrected along with Samuel Campbell, but later realized he'd just rounded them up - so the mystery remains unsolved.
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This episode felt like supernatural in the "old" times. I wished Henry had stayed around a little bit longer, though.
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I like how you started the review saying the things I've been thinking for the past two seasons. That said, season 8 as a whole has kind of managed to give the Winchesters a direction, not just this (great!) episode.

I hope they go somewhere with the entire Men of Letters thing, but I don't see how, now that all of them are dead.

The episode itself was good, even if its really starting to get annoying that Jeffrey Dean Morgan won't come back and that they introduce new family members all the time.
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I was just thinking, if the demon killing knife didn't work for this level of demon, then why not use the angel sword. with all the angels that have died over the years im sure they have a collection of swords by now, and if they don't have one, just call cass
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Watching "Then" - did anyone else wish that Dean talked like that now - not just a constant growl that is used today?
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I loved this episode and proves that this show has some life to live. At first I thought the demon was going to be another Leviathan after watching the demon knife do damage but not kill. Was so thankful for that not being the case and Abaddon basically being a super demon. The whole episode expanded the mythology in a pleasant way and gave us something to look forward to going forward. I'd also like to see them bring in the whole Men Of Letters aspects, search out these lost teachings and learn to whop demon butt on a whole other level.
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ok, I am not ready for this show to die. I love these guys and so wish they would get back to killing weird demons and other freaks. There are still plenty strange life and undead creatures to come up with, they can go on being angel type people with a penchant for protecting the innocents, Dean can still be a horndawg, and life for Supernatural fans can go on for another few years. Besides, with the economy in the toliet and the new tax laws, these guys cannot be unemployed. Come on writers, get your shit together! With all due respect, these guys are so much better at this show than anything else I can think of.
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Awesome episode, it really makes me hope at some point Sam and Dean get some training to become men of letters. that'd breathe all new life into an already flailing show.

About the only issue I had with it was the demon trap bullets. I hope that was possible because of some spell Henry cast on them and they don't become a usual thing because it's pretty common knowledge that bullets just don't hold that shape when fired so any impact would most definitely "break" the trap when the bullet is deformed and that engraving is twisted.
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So Sam and Dean's parents were an arranged marriage?
You can be sure that they going to adopt the deamon-trap bullet idea. They currently don't have a long-range deamon fighting weapon in their arsenal.
I hope they do more with this "Men of Letters" thing. This would be a perfect route for Sam to take. So far Dean has proven to be the stronger hunter but Sam using real magic (again) would make him more equal. It's just the sort of idea that could push the show a couple more seasons. Maybe not something as complex as time travel, but using a simple herb as a knock-out potion could be helpful.
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Yup, the cupids were told to make getting John and Mary Winchester together a top priority. Now we have a better idea of why!

I hope they do more with the Men of Letters too. It's right up Sam's alley, and long-term, it offers a good alternative to BOTH of them. I miss Sam's freaky demon powers, so magic wielding Sam would be AWESOME.
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Haven't read comments,so have no idea,if anyone wrote about this,but point of Samuel's return was because of Crowley. He and Cas had a deal,so they could get to Purgatory and get souls 50/50. That's why,when Cas brought Sam back,soulless and Dean finally "getting out" of hunters life,they needed some family ties for Sam. Also Samuel knew stuff,stuff others didn't. Reason why he helped Crowley was,so he could get his daughter back. That is also my most logical reason for Samuel. Crowley got him back,so he could hold something over Samuel....in this case getting his daughter back. About that family ties for Sam,I am not 100%,but I think it was mentioned somewhere in season 6.
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It totally was. That's the basic gist of it. I just remembered at the time thinking it was soooo muddled and then all the Campbells got killed off before we really got to know any of them. That whole storyline just made my head hurt. :/
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Sam and Dean sure don't have a lot of concern for the innocents. No warning to the comic book girl that it might be bad for her health to stick around. Not even a thought about the human host who will have to suffer eternal burial with Abbadon.
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I've noticed that, over the last few seasons they've become less and less concerned with the well being of the person the demon is possessing. I know they tried to justify that at some point saying the demons "ride them hard and put them away wet" and that most wouldn't survive anyway, but it seems that the days of saving people v. killing the monster are gone and all that matters is killing the monster.
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I didn't like this episode at all. To me it felt like trying to push more mythology down our throats for no reason at all. We had 5 Excellent seasons to learn why Sam and Dean are who they are, how they got there, and what their Fate\Legacy was. Explaining to us now that they are descendants of "Men of Letters", a cult that no one has ever even heard of until this episode (8 seasons in!) and will probably never hear of again feels downright stupid and pointless to me, not to mention the fact that the entire plot was created so they would get some super-artifact that just so happens to be related to the tablets - Sorry, but that's lazy storytelling.
Supernatural used to be my favorite show. Seasons 1-5 were in one word Incredible and rank in my top 5 best shows of all time (I don't think any show has ever had a better planned ending, it really felt like Kripke knew where it was going right from the get go). But honestly, seasons 6-8 are downright bad television. I keep watching it more out of habit than anything else, but really its just terrible. The show isn't going anywhere, the arguments and angst feel forced, and even the mythology is falling apart - Abaddon is supposed to be a Knight of Hell, a "first fallen first born demon"? all the other Knights of Hell were killed by Arch-Angels? What were Lillith and good old Yellow-eyes then? And why haven't we met a Knight of Hell until season 8, when season 5 was the frekkin' Apocalypse season? again - Sorry, but that's lazy storytelling.
This show needs to end. find your tablet(s), destroy all the demons, and even angels if you want (Sorry Cas, the last few seasons have even managed to ruin you as a character), and end already. Hopefully a few years from now we will forget everything that came after season 5.
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What I don't get is how come no alarm bells howled in either Heaven or Hell when Abbadon appeared in our time and our world. No Castiel? especially that he was specifically asked by Naomi to be besides the Winchesters precisely when this type of danger appeared. No Crowley, who must have, should have, felt the power of The Angel of Destruction and a direct threat to him.I don't know about you, but I find this particularly weird. Could it be that the top ranking demons can walk the earth undetected?
Otherwise, it was an average episode. We are introduced by grandpa to an almighty secret society of occult researchers and this would link it with Metatron, but it's too early to say.Notably,they are also unknown to the ranks.
We'll have to see whether this episode will be a watershed one or simply just another step towards next season.
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I was also looking for a Cass sighting; either them calling him or him just showing up because of BOTH Henry and Abaddon. I did notice that the 127 year old guy Sam visited had a line that said "Abaddon is a hired gun." And then didn't hear anything else, so hopefully that's a clue to a later development. Isn't Crowley still King of Hell, after all?
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I was also interested by the "Abaddon is a hired gun" statement.As far as I can tell, there are the specific Hebrew demons, like Abaddon, who were ancient gods of older religions and then the Christian demons who fell.The Christian demons, so to speak, are definetly under Crowley's thumb; but you will have noticed that he never sent the other kind after the Winchesters; so is he really the ruler of all hell?
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Where did you get that Abaddon is a Hebrew demon? Seriously, I did not know that part and would love to look it up because the rest of your statement speaks to a HUGE "mythology," if you will, about Supernatural's treatment of heaven/hell/god and pretty much ANYthing they've done, but especially in the last 3-4 seasons.
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Just look at wikipedia for Abaddon. Actually, it is an extremely interesting read. What made me smile is that originally was called Muriel, and that God had chosen him to gather the soil that He used to make Adam Kadmon. Or that as a demon, he represented himself as a male prostitute. Anyway, I think you will enjoy it. You will also see that this demon had several roles according to the Hebrews, Catholics, Protestants.As far as division of Christian and Hebrew demons , you will find it also on wikipedia under the heading "List of theological demons". Let me know your take.
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It was a good episode but the whole time travel thing is getting old and confusing
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How is it confusing? And it would be old,if again somehow Sam and Dean,or just one of them, went back to past. But this time,past came to future...so to speak.
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It doesn't matter there are too many time travel episodes IMO
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As far as I know,there have only been 5 so far. Dean going back to parents,Sam and Dean going back to parents, Sam and Dean going back to Colt,Dean going back with Cronus/Kronos and this one with Henry.
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Nice story but yet another filler episode and frankly i'm getting tired of those.
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Yep, episode was awsome. Easily found it's way in top 5 episodes of Supernatural. Of course Kripke era(seasons 1-5) are the best,because Kripke had everything planned out of what's,if's and how's of the show will gonna go. Don't know,why so much hate on Gamble era(seasons 6-7). They were also awsome. While they felt like stand alone seasons,they were/are still awsome. Yes,season 6 had weak start with first 2-3 episodes,but once season's 6,episode 4,"Weekend at Bobby's" came,Supernatural was back on track! While I hate them for killing Bobby,season 7 was still awsome. Season 8,like I said many times and will probably say it even more over my lifetime,suffers only because of Amelia. It is awsome season,but everytime Amelia showed up,it was torture to watch her scenes. And that episode with those 3 kids....uugghhh! Take those away and you/we have an awsome season,with great story arc,getting Cas back,etc.

After this episode,I wished Sam and Dean would become Men of Letters. I love Henry and Abaddon and what they brought to Supernatural. This hunter thing is getting little old,since they are making Sam and Dean so wishy-washy about "monsters". Either be on board to killing them or don't. I love Benny,but to go and save one "monster",while killing others is hypocrisy. I know Dean said,dad raised them to hate and hunt these "monsters",but what Henry said and brought was soooo much much more awsome. Ugh,why kill them both(Henry and Abaddon) so fast?!?!
Also what is getting on my nerves sometimes are these devil/angel traps and the way they are handled in some episodes. In some cases,they are "trapped" and can't do nothing and in some,they can,either summon hell hounds,unscrew pipes,etc. BE CONSISTENT Supernatural,please! And stupid demons,bring knife,so you can scratch or destory devil's trap...DUUUH!!!!

Also, nowdays Sam and Dean are "too big" for some random ghost and "minor monsters". In Kripke era,ghosts worked because, Sam and Dean were still young punks(for lack of better term to describe them) and we,audience,were getting to know them and their world. In season's 7, episode "The Born-Again Identity", Sam met that girl,whose brother was a ghost. SAM WAS MENTAL at that time and he just said,step in salt circle,give me his bracelet and BAM...ghost was dead.

LOVED,LOVED,LOVED this episode. More of Henry and Abaddon please! Send Sam and Dean back in time or change timeline:P
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Awesome episode and a reminder of what Supernatural was during the 1st five seasons as the episode culminated the basics of the show, the writers should take a cue and make future episodes similar to this. Nice tie to the genesis of the Winchester family Business.
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I loved the scene with Henry saying he didn't have any choice but to be a Man of Letters, because he was a legacy, and Dean yelling at him that he always has a choice. And Sam making his puppydogeyes on the sidelines. I was getting tired of them having the same argument over and over again, so the writers found a way to do it without Sam!
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FINALLY we find out where the knife came from. Also, how powerful must Abaddon be for it not to be able to kill "him/her/it". I mean even Crowley is afraid of that knife. Granted Abaddon is actually a fallen angel while Crowley was a human but still.

Dean might hate time travel, but every time someone goes through some time/space rift good times ensue.
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I don't know but sam-n-dean's father character should have been interpreted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt...
:P
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Welcome Back Supernatural!!!!

Great episode! Really wish Henry and Abbadon couldve stuck around though, really loved those characters...
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Awesome episode, yes, but S7 better than 6? No. 6 was a mess but it was watchable, at least. S7 was god awful. The way they handled Cas and Bobby alone is unforgivable, but the Big Bad was also a massive let-down. I'll take 6 over 7 any day.
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Couldn't agree with you more about the season 6 vs 7 thing..7 was by far the worst season of the series....I was afraid of the show being canceled last season...
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This episode was so good. I mean not awesome, but it felt like the old supernatural again.
It was nearly like a season 3 episode.
The idea with the men of letters is awesome, I wish it would have shown up sooner. Despite all we have been through, we don't know anything about the long ongoing conflict between humans and monsters. Aside from the hunters, there must have been wars, councils, kings and remnants of such. I hope we see more of them.
I can't believe we had to put up with people like Kevin and his mom, Talk with Eve and Betty... This made me realize again, the potential supernatural has, but also how bad the last few years were. Throw them all away and just keep going from here! We don't care for plotholes of the last 2 seasons.
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Ok! I have been dying to say this 'This is the Supernatural I am in Love with' Yes. Back to basics and in a classic way you cannot forget now - ever. It gives me chill at very start - this episode, and I knew it's going to be super special.

Breaking the window, ouch most heart breaking scene in a while. 'Pick the lock dude or something!'

Dean was Dean from old times, now he knows how his mother and dad must have felt when he was visiting them in time.
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I'm surprised nobody thought of the devil's trap bullet before then, it would be awesome, and extremely useful before they got the colt. Shoot a demon and it's stuck in place, then you're free to exercise it at your leisure.
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It also doesn't seem doable. If it's a hollow point bullet, wouldn't the pattern be destroyed? If it's not a hollow point, wouldn't it be too likely that the bullet exits on the other side?
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Well I guess that's why he shot her in the head like that, we saw it wasn't a hollow point so that wouldn't be a problem (they would have to be pretty stupid to try to use a hollow point) and he shot her in the bottom of the jaw so it would go in a soft part but would hit the skull so it wouldn't exist. As long as they were smart about it and used low caliber guns so the bullet would be less likely to exist it could work, they might have to shoot them a few times to make sure one stuck but it's worth a shot (unintentional pun).
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awesome episode
awesome show
awesome review

not much more to add:)
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This was a decent episode. But I had huge amounts of problems with it. The two biggest ones, is that they finally brought forth two fantastic characters with potential plots aplenty and then immediately killed them off.

Henry was a great character, I would have loved to see more from him throughout the season and potentially next season. A whole new level of mythology in "the men of numbers" that could have done so much for the show. And it all dies with the death of Henry. I thought that was wholly weird, even the other grandfather who was kind of a dick got a bunch more plot lines and was, to be honest, way less interesting. And all we got from the whole thing was a key to a magic safe room.

Abaddon, was another fantastic character. Done very well by whomever that actress was. She was great, I thought finally another bad guy that isn't as lame as Crowley. We can add her to the mix, she is funny, and kind of hot, and this is going to be great. And she is supposedly a knight of hell, which we haven't heard of before, and we have someone, who potentially could break lucifer out of the box. Or at least feel compelled to do that. Who is not effected by the knife or anything. This is going to be fantastic. And then Dean lopped her head off. And is intending to cut her up a'la leviathan style and stash parts of her body.

And all I am left with is why? Why introduce these two fantastic characters only to kill them off within the episode? These were two of the best characters they have come up with in the last three seasons, that could have changed the whole dynamic of the show for the better and nothing.

The rest of the episode was all right. It was Dean being Dean, Sam getting slightly dumber as the episodes go on. No Castiel, who you would have thought would have noticed that a badass demon popped out of nowhere, or did the whole time travel thing. But ahh well. I guess this is to be expected now from the show. At least Felicia Day is going to be back for another episode this season.

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Totally agree. I thought the plot that was introduced in this episode was awesome but it felt kinda rushed (including the killing off of the new characters). All of a sudden we learn there is magic humans can work that's actually useful? All of a sudden we learn you can engrave a pentagram on a bullet which will trap a demon in itself or whatever - which, by the way, raises the question why the Winchester boys don't run around with pentagram rounds and an MG 08/15 - that nobody ever thought of before?
I thought the concept of introducing the first demons Lucifer made was friggin' awesome but then ... we learn they've all been ganked by the archangels except the one ... Sam and Dean ganked in one episode. Meh.
Hopefully the magic box business goes somehwere, they did set up some interesting storylines.
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Yea the bullet thing threw me. It does make me wonder why no one thought of that before. But now they can.

I have been thinking about Abaddon, and her being as badass as she is. It wouldn't take that much of a suspension of disbelief that the dismemberment could only last temporary. But even still, amazing new character that shouldn't be wasted.

Also I was wondering about the magic. I fully expected the fake grave to be filled with a bunch of books and writings and such. Maybe the magic safe room will have it.
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Did I miss something or did they not explain why Abaddon wasn't killed by the knife? I want to know what makes her special! Also, I totally was like 'NOT THE BABY!' when Henry smashed the Impala's window!
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Ha, I said those exact words
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She was a demon equivalent of an archangel. one of the original fallen ones
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Presumably because she is a fallen angel. Not the run of the mill demon that we have become used to. And since the knife doesn't work on Angels, it would lend to the belief that it wouldn't work on them. But since she is the only one we have come across in the story, they can say she is impervious to anything.
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I assume because Abaddon was one of the first fallen, hand picked by Lucifer.
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I think Demon Knight was the term said? They're borrowing some Buffy mythology about the oldest demons being the most pure blood, not diluted with human blood, so they'd not be fallen angels, but some of the oldest and strongest demons, Lucifer's power guard, IMO.
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The only problem I have is with the year : 1958. I said to myself, noway the kid his john winchester he would have been like 60 when he died. So I did some math :

In 1958 John winchester look like about an 8 year old boy -> So Born in 1950 -> Died in 2006 -> 56 years old.

Wiki says he is supposed to be born in 1954, but this kid wasn't 4.

He clearly looked more like a 40 years old (the actual age of the actor) when he died. Of course it clearly wasn't possible for him to have his first kid at the age of 15.
So I guess the problem is not the timeline, but that they should have add some grey hairs to Jeffrey Dean Morgan (john winchester) in season 1 & 2
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This was a really good episode and really played up the family aspect. I would have liked to learn more about the Knights of Hell and whether there are any left out there. Demons so powerful that the knife (apparently made by the Kurds) can not kill them, could be a threat to the boys and maybe even to Crowely himself. I wonder if the Colt would have had any effect on Abbadon either.

One thing that I am surprised at is that while Henry was talking bad about Hunters, neither Sam or Dean mentioned to him that their mother was a hunter, her whole family were hunters.
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As with most everyone I thought this was a phenomenal episode. When I was watching it I got this odd feeling that it was so awesome and it was just coming out of nowhere. I think this is something that I miss about the early seasons of Supernatural. Back when the show didn't have so many seasons under its belt, it still was very unpredictable. The only thing that tied the show together was monster hunting and the Winchester family, so it was easy for the writers to pull something crazy on us. The first of these that springs to mind was the abandoned town in Season 2. You know, the one where all the demon blood kids fought to the death. That kind of creativity that brought several episodes of the show together in one fell swoop made me incredibly happy at the time.

These days, though, the show has become much more formulaic, and there are quite a few more rules. There are demons down in Hell, and angels up in Heaven. Usually we know early on in a season what the arc will be (such as trying to subvert Apocalypse, or trying to kill all the leviathan), so usually the surprises come with how the finale resolves itself, not in what the finale will be about. And since the cases of the week have gotten crazier and crazier, as they should in order to keep us guessing, we know by not that the obvious solutions anymore won't cut it, and it's harder and harder to surprise us. In other words, Supernatural has been going on so long and thrown so many surprising and shocking things at us over the years, that I wasn't even surprised in Hunter Heroici when the brothers entered a town where things were acting all cartoony, because oddly enough this was business as usual for the Winchester brothers.

Don't get me wrong, I love this show and I have always loved it. I even liked season 6 and 7, though I admit there weren't as good as they could have been. It's just that this show has been so out of the box for so long that it has become the norm. I think the most shocking episode the show could deliver us is if the brothers go to a town where there is a haunting, dig up the bones, salt and burn then, and the ghost is done with. And that's it. There's no additional object that the ghost is grounded to, no second or third ghost that's a bigger threat, and no human killer that the ghost was actually warning people about. I would thoroughly be surprised if that happened.

This episode though, as I have already said, did surprise me. And most of it has to do with the introduction of the men of letters, something so big and important that we've never heard about. It's been a long time since the show did something like this: threw out some big important thing that had nothing to do with the current season arc. Sure, as MaryAnn pointed out, this vault of knowledge will be useful toward understanding the demon tablet. And it could very well be their new actually-safe house. But the men of letters themselves have nothing to do with Heaven, Hell, the tablets, or any of that, which is very refreshing. I love it when this show keeps adding to its already enormous mythology.

Take Abaddon for instance. I happened to know quite a bit about Abaddon before watching this episode (I wrote a series of three plays with Abaddon being a character.) and was pumped to see her in there. In the bible, Abaddon is an angel who appears very little, but is surprisingly important. It is the angel who dwells at the bottom of the pit and will be unleashed during the Apocalypse with an army of locusts. The locusts will wound people for five months such that they don't die (this being a time when no one can die, but apparently wish they would, though this is also the time that 1/4 or 1/3 of the human population will die) but are in a lot of pain. Anyway, in the world of Supernatural Abaddon is a demon knight, one of a group of demons hand-picked by Lucifer himself, making them more powerful and much harder to kill. I thought this was great for a couple of reasons, one of them being that Azazel was probably a demon knight as well, which would explain why holy water had no effect on him. I know that Henry said the angels killed all the other demon knights, but maybe there were two that got away, Azazel being one of them.

This is also a nice addition because it means that Abaddon is another Hell player other than Crowley. So far, Crowley has sat on the thrown of Hell for a very long time, without his seat of power ever being threatened. It would be fun to see Abaddon escape from her encasement in concrete (which I hope happens anyway, the writers would be throwing away a great character if they just left her there forever) and challenge Crowley's authority. Then he would no doubt best her and reestablish himself as the biggest, baddest, bad assiest dude downstairs.

This addition of the men of letters, and of Abaddon, really gives me hope for the future of this show. It demonstrates that the writers can still come up with new material, and can really shake things up when they want to. Who knows, maybe next season (if there is one,which hopefully there will be) will take a departure from the Heaven/Hell thing. Maybe the Winchesters actually manage, against all odds, to shut the gates of Hell forever (hopefully Crowley will remain of Earth of course), allowing another religion to rear its ugly (or maybe incredibly beautiful) head, or most likely heads, here on Earth. My hope is that we'll eventually meet one of the other beings that can't be killed by the Colt. When Lucifer got shot with the gun that can kill anything, he said he was one of five beings in all of creation that couldn't be killed by it. Now I don't know if God counts as being in creation, but so far these being are probably Lucifer, Michael, Death, and one or two others (depending on God being on this list, of course.) Now, it could be that Osiris is one of these five, since they couldn't find a way to actually kill him (probably not though), and it could be that one or a few of the other horsemen of the Apocalypse fit into there, though I doubt it since Death seemed to be of a much higher caliber than the rest of them. So yeah, lets have some of those, please.

Anyway, I definitely look forward to the next episode, and to the reveal of this vault of knowledge. I know that it'll probably be destroyed at some point, but I trust that the writers will allow the Winchesters to learn something, and maybe to find a few useful keepsakes. I really hope it isn't one of those things where the vault is empty, or they never open it, or something stupid like that. Though since the writers for this show write in a lot of cool plots, creatures, histories, and fictional source material on a weekly basis, I trust that we'll actually see something in this vault.
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I think that at the end of the series at some point (I hope never) Sam will recreate the Way of The Letter and Dean will remain a hunter. And by the way, DEVIL'S TRAP BULLET! HELL YEAH!
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I hope they follow through on the key thing. And not have them finally figure it out and have them have these awesome powers/spells etc for just the last 15 seconds of the series, but have them actually use all the knowledge to the fullest.
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the episode was pretty good...great execution. interested in this "Legacies" thing. I wonder if there is still a hidden society of them somewhere, or if the brothers are going to re-establish a Legacy society. I'd like to see the brothers open up a sort of Hunters Bar akin to the Roadhouse. Now that Bobby's gone...they need a place to call "home". Pretty sure that's what that key will open up to

They also need to make about 10 thousand "devils trap-bullets" that was awesome.
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I managed to miss about 15 mins somewhere in the middle, but even missing how Henry read John's journal It was one of the best episodes since season 5.

I agree with majd333, it felt like a season 1 or 2 epi, mostly to me because of the reminder of John's journal. Seeing the "Then" portion of the show pulled me back farther than ever.

The devil's trap on the bullet thing was really inventive, I miss the brothers being creative and thinking their way out of a tight spot rather than brawling their way out.
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To be fair...brothers didn't come up with devil's trap on bullet. Their grandpa Henry did. Our dear beloved brothers,would still be "idiots" doing these big devil traps,if it weren't for Henry. That's why these Men of Letter is soooo f-ing awsome.Please Supernatural, SEE WHAT YOU GOT AND USE IT !!!
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I freaking LOVED the "Then" portion this week. All the throwbacks to the family stuff had me SO pumped for the episode before it even started!
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My favorite line of the episode;
Dean: Dudes time traveling through closets, is this what we're reduced to!
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Loved this episode!! And I agree....you knew it was going to end tragically from the beginning, but still was so good! Also, why are all of my favorite personality types demons on this show? Abaddon was fairly awesome, right? Right. I would totally watch a Supernatural/True Blood crossover/spin-off that starred her and Pam exclusively. I don't even need a plot! Just give those two a camera and let the magic happen.

Also, did anyone else suffer injury from the massive eyeroll moment when Henry saw the Impala's license plate and said, "2013? Huh.....guess the Mayans were wrong."?? Because seriously....
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Lol, if you watch Mad Men at all, I got such a demonic Joan Harris vibe off of Abaddon. She was a lot of fun.

I had a minor eye-roll at the Impala's plate. Mostly I was impressed that the off-the-radar boys bothered keeping the Impala's registration updated. I guess they wouldn't want to get pulled over for something dumb like that though. Still, the way they blow through identities, I'm surprised they managed to keep one going long enough to maintain a "legal" car ownership. Overthinking...it's what I do. :/
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Ha!! Demonic Joan Harris....absolutely.
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That always used to confuse me in movies when someone was pulled over and had 'out of date tags.' I only caught on recently that you guys have to update your registrations.
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I really appreciated this episode (and I must say I was so worried about it because the early John Winchester we knew, knew nothing about the supernatural until Mary's family introduced him to it, so, phew, they kept that together. I also appreciated how this idea of the Men of Letters thing kind of gave a season out and a series out. Like, I was instantly thinking that Sam is going to nerd out when he sees this stuff and Dean will think it is cool but be unable to sit still and this could be the way that they reintroduce Benny (for Dean's back up when he realizes he needs to stay on the road) into the mix and a place that is safer for Kevin and probably Garth. And heck, probably Charlie at some point. That of course being dependent on their renewal, like if this is it that this could be the brothers' separation, but not really because Sam would be in their home base with the nerd group of Kevin, Garth and Charlie because she has gotten too deep into the supernatural to separate herself fully and Dean continues the Campbell tradition of hunting with Benny as his partner and Cas dropping in and that would be it. But if not and we get a new season, I bet the group is involuntarily separated.
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this episode strangly reminded me of episodes from seasons 1 & 2
i don't know what it is but it was really good
so to anyone who is reading do you have any idea why it reminded me of season 1& 2 ??
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Well, it was totally family oriented, it returned Dean to his hero worship version of John and Sam with his more pragmatic view of things. The boys weren't angst ridden over every thing and they kind of returned to their traditional partnership roles and the bad guy was someone that they had to use creativity to fight and couldn't just rely on the demon knife or anything else mystical.
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It definitely had that season 1/2 feel. I think it was the monster of the week being a demon, plus all of the family stuff. The whole bloodline angle is some mighty fine old school Supernatural. :)
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Best part : devil's trap bullet!!! Brilliant idea!
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