I'm criticizing the writers, not either Sam or Dean. Dean has been out of Purgatory for 7 episodes now, that's a couple months, and he hasn't tried to find a way to save Cas. Instead, the writers wrote him as lying and telling Sam Cas was dead. Meanwhile, the writers are condemning Sam for not trying to find a way to save Dean, while Dean doing the exact same thing is not even acknowledged by the writers. I'm not even sure if they realize they wrote this giant double standard, and assassinated Dean's character as well as Sam's. I love both brothers equally, and I am doubly pained by this.
It looks like they wrote Dean as not even looking for a way to save Cas after he escaped from Purgatory without even noticing it. Through Cas, they completely excused Dean of all guilt, and didn't even mention his lie or his inaction once back on Earth.
Both Sam and Dean are heroes who constantly risk their lives and sacrifice everything to save complete strangers. They are the complete opposite of men who would leave loved ones for dead. Even if they had no obvious means of getting them out of Purgatory, they would have tried, and they would have tried hard. Dean, for example, met and spoke with Samandiriel, a friendly angel sympathetic to Cas. We know angels can save people from Purgatory because they did later save Cas. Dean at least knows angels can save people from Hell because Cas saved him, so there would be every reason to believe such powerful beings could also save someone from Purgatory. Why in the world would Dean not ask Samandiriel if he could help get Cas out of Purgatory??? It's the easiest thing in the world. All he had to do was ask a question. The friendly Cas-sympathetic angel was literally dropped into his lap!
On top of writing both Sam and Dean so out of character, there is an enormous discrepancy in how the two are treated when they acted the same way. To top that off, the writers keep insisting in interviews that there is nothing more to Sam's story, no supernatural twist that could explain why he acted contrary to his character. And they don't even seem aware they have also written Dean as a man who would leave a loved one for dead. So how am I supposed to believe they will redeem either of them? I was super worried about Sam, but now I'm even more worried about Dean. At least they're aware of what they did to Sam, but if they're not even aware of what they did to Dean, how can I have any hope they will ever fix it?
None of it is making sense to me. To top it all off, they're ripping each other's hearts out at the end of last episode, nothing is resolved, and yet for the first time since the season began they are actually acting close and caring again at the beginning of this episode. It doesn't compute.
Characters are the most essential part of any show I watch. If you ruin the characters, I can't watch the show anymore. The way they are writing Sam and Dean is overshadowing everything else. The rest of the episode didn't even really register. Except that, while I got a big kick out of Kevin's mom in the first episode, in this one they wrote her as being ridiculously over-reaching. And once again instead of getting a strong female character who adds to the fight constructively, we get a female character who screws things up for the male characters.
I was on the fence, but now I'm going to stop watching. I'll pick up again if and when I hear the writers have fixed both Sam and Dean. It'll break my heart less to stop watching than to see them written as guys who leave loved ones for dead.