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Supernatural S09E07: "Bad Boys"


In all honesty, as much as I love Supernatural's flashback episodes, they rarely reveal anything particularly new or enlightening about the Winchesters these days, and "Bad Boys" wasn't much of an exception. Dean's life is made of duct tape and disappointment. Sam's is made of superglue and lies. So many lies. Even something as relatively harmless as what Dean was doing for those two random months back in 1995: LIES.


Dean summed it up best when he recalled how the story that he and Douchey Dad John told Sam was simply "the story" until it just became the story—the truth, as fabricated, endorsed, and accepted by the Winchesters. Sort of how big bro is currently forcing the "story" of Sam's survival to desperately enter the accepted Winchester truth zone as well. Good luck with that one; miiiiight want to stop being a freaking WEIRDO about things. "Everybody's fine with heading out to the Catskills?" JEEZ, DEAN, IT'S LIKE YOU WANT SAMMICH TO FIGURE IT OUT. 

Don't we all, though? 


Get with it, Sam, plz thnx.

So anyway, once upon a time in 1995, the Wee Dean lost the food money John left when he abandoned his children in a skeevy motel to go hunt a rugaru, and the Wee Dean decided to shoplift some PB&J. He was caught and taken to a boy's home, and when Father of the Year John Winchester got the call, he left Dean there because John's the actual worst. Also, character-wise, I'm not entirely sure that made sense, because wasn't it partially John's paranoia about ol' Yellow Eyes that made him keep his kids around even though he clearly didn't have time to not be an awful father, what with slaughtering monsters and all? Maybe I'm making that up. It's been nine seasons, yo, sometimes it's hard to remember what actually happened and what was merely discussed with fellow fans on Gchat at three in the morning. 


The late, somewhat great, John Winchester has always been a hard character for me to get behind. As far as hunters go, John was among the best, and he certainly has a claim to being lumped in with the heroes on this show, but he's also one of the most flawed characters on the Supernatural roster and when we talk about how Sam and Dean couldn't have become the men they are today without him, that's a comment that could be taken both positively and negatively. 

"Nobody bad touched me, burned me with their smokes, or beat me with a metal hanger—I call that a win." You guys, my jaw dropped when Dean said that. That's some textbook emotionally abused child rationalization right there. Personally, I've long held the belief that John Winchester was an abusive father... just not in the sense that we tend to default to when we think of how an abusive parent acts. 


Sam and Dean have all the hallmarks of emotionally abused children, but given what we saw in "Bad Boys"—which may not have been mind-blowing, but was still pretty insightful, especially since most of the show's past flashbacks have focused primarily on Sam—Dean's in his mid-thirties and he's still struggling to come to terms with the turns that his life, and by association, Sam's life, have taken. He'll condemn John, then defend him in his next breath. Some part of Dean clearly recognizes the wrongness of the environment he was raised in and the way John acted toward him, as illustrated by the way he's interacted with children throughout the entire series—from that mute kid in "Dead in the Water" to Ben Braeden to Creepy Timmy in this week's episode. Even Dean's interactions with pre-Stanford Sam in other flashback episodes have shown a near-total rejection of the lessons taught at the John Winchester School of Horrendous Parenting. 


At the same time, Dean and Sam are by no means functional, well-adjusted people (because where's the fun in that?) and one of the most telling tragedies that came to light in "Bad Boys" is that we saw how the positive lessons Dean gleaned during his time at Sonny's home have backfired due to their incompatibility with what was drilled into him from the age of four. Did anybody else cringe a little when Sonny told Dean to "Do what's best for you, even if it hurts the ones you love"? Like... maybe stuffing an angel into your unwilling brother in order to keep him alive—without his knowledge—even though he was kind of okay with not being alive anymore and we've been holding our breath for like, seven episodes waiting for the inevitable soul-crushing fallout? 

Dean's compulsive need to keep Sam around stems from his own personal wants, sure, but also from a lifetime of being assigned that very task: He wasn't merely told to keep Sam safe, he was practically programmed to always, always, always put Sam first. Dean's self-worth is so tied up in whether or not Sam has a pulse that over and over and over again he's made terrible decisions with that singular goal in mind—and he'll continue to make terrible decisions because he can't help it. Dean's miserable right now, and a part of him is certainly regretting the whole Ezekiel thing, but he still can't bring himself to face the alternative.

Teen Dean came close, though. He said he wanted to be a mechanic because after you fix the cars and they drive away, they aren't your problem anymore. Dude was so not just talking about cars. Perhaps—and this is just my face making words that may or may not make sense—in some small way that Dean will deny forever, Sam running off to Stanford when he was 18 wasn't actually the worst thing that ever happened to Dean.


Anyway, of course John came to fetch Dean before the big high school dance. Of course he did. Life-ruiner. But hey, at least Dean's teenage crush is still alive. And human. (Sorry, Sam.)

Even though it largely just confirmed an awful lot of what we already knew—that even happy Winchester memories are actually fraught with emotional compromise—"Bad Boys" also, finally, gave us an honest look at what makes Dean Winchester tick. It may not be pretty, and to call it "noble" is to severely misunderstand how emotional abuse and manipulation works, but it is completely human and understandable, and when Dean makes his unfortunate life choices and we all go "WTF ARE YOU THINKING?" I believe that now, we all know exactly what Dean's thinking. 

OMG I'm gonna cry again. #help



CASE NOTES

– Teen Dean got good grades and made the wrestling team and I can't... stop... crying. The werewolf bruises also really broke my feels. 

– So Sonny taught Dean how to get out of handcuffs with a paperclip, eh? Aww. 

– Welp, I'm never showering again. THAT WAS SO AWESOME AND NOT OKAY. I was expecting more gore with the lawnmower, though. I mean, it was a lawnmower.

– For a second, the fiancé and I thought Sonny was played by Josh Brolin too... but it's actually Blake Gibbons from a bunch of stuff, including General Hospital. Love the 'stache!


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/25/2016

Season 11 : Episode 23

Next Episode

AIRS ON 10/13/2016

Season 12 : Episode 1

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John created a kiler in dean, season 3 episode 10 the true internal feelings of dean pop up."dad new who you really were a good soldier and nothing else." Everytime dean feels worthless johns impact shows. He feels alone, like an abandoned child feels, scared of falure, like all the times he was yelled at for little mistakes like loosing food money at 16 years old. John always acts like he cant care less. John saw only his pain ,growing up fatherless and loosing his wife, and neglegted to see dean was a child who wanted to be loved. Sam was a lucky child to be protected and cared for by a four year old dean. a quote from sam that broke my heart in the premire was, " when i told dad i was afraid of the dark he gave me a forty five"( he ws 9 years old for crying out loud. Also the worst part was he never said this to his children ,I'm proud of you. John new he was a bad parent, caring more about revenge then spending time with his boys. Plus yelling at sam for wanting a normal life was very harsh. I can understand i downside with hunting, watching monsters and humans alike die bloody can really damage thoughts.


good thing john did :

-give dean the best car ever 1964 chevrole impala
-give dean an awsome leather jacket
- go to hell for dean
-teach them how to protect themselves
- provided the how to manuel known as dads journal
-teach about covering their tracks to aviod the cops.
-

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I cannot think of the name of the song that was playing when Dean saw Sam playing with the airplane in Baby, but I loved it. That song was right out of season one.
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I haven't read through the comments yet so if someone already said then then sorry.

I do think John (daddy winchester) was a neglectful and in some ways a "bad parent" but look at it from his point of view. He has a job as a hunter which helps save humans (and save the world/humanity) and he is a single parent. There isn't anyone he can trust to protect and raise his kids yet he can't do it all himself. I'm not saying he made all the best choices but he was probably trying to do the best he could....

I don't watch this show with high expectations, that way I can enjoy it for what it is. I don't think Dean should let Sam just accept death and I don't have a problem with him subverting his brother's potential (was it really his wish or just a fleeting wish) wish for death by having an angel possess him.I wonder if Sam would of done the same thing if that happened to Dean (I hope he would of made the same choice).

Good review and it made me think. I may not entirely agree with the psychoanalysis of the show but it made me think and had some valid points.
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As I have always had a view of the Winchesters..well this one. John was likely still not right from his time in the military when he met Mary and got that unfortunate intro to the supernatural when he died and Mary began the self sacrificing. Then she was murdered in front of him for his younger son. Dean was the epitome of his mother and so John began relying on him too much. Sam was pretty much exactly like his dad and is really only kind because of Dean. But John was just freaked out and pushedthem both away. Dean took this as his failing. Sam took it as John's. In other words..this just confirms to me that Dean hates this life and would not be it except for Sam. So yeah...very bittersweet talk in the Impala.
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The more that I watch of this season the more appreciation I have for the first 5 seasons of the show. That's not to say that those seasons were perfect or that some of my favourite episodes didn't come in much later seasons. But what I realized as I watched this last episode, is that Kripke tried really hard not to be redundant.

This episode had a few good moments (Dean teaching the kid how to shake hands was one), but overall was pointless, and clearly a badly done nod to the movie MAMA. I was saying in a reply somewhere below, that this show is at it's weakest when you can see the disagreement between writers on the screen. Clearly there are writers on this show who hate John, and think that he was an abusive, extreme and terrible parent, and there are those that don't. Dean's character changes so often, (sometimes mid scene), that there are people who no longer see him as a hero. Yes you read that right some people think DEAN is NOT a HERO. Dean is an angry, hurt, stubborn (insert many more adjectives here) FLAWED individual, but there is NO DOUBT, that he is a hero. That anyone doubts this, is completely the fault of the writers.

The characters have stopped arcing. It's just plot driving the story forward, and that's why it's no longer working.

Also, I wish this show would stop retconning things to just make us have the feels. Dean loved being a hunter, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Episodes like this have me reaching for the salt and matches.


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You took many words out of my mouth and thoughts out of my head. The constant change in showrunner and addition of writers who did not help create and shape these guys (I miss Ben Edlund!) is screwing with what began as a really amazing story and now rarely makes sense.
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I liked this episode, it was kind of like an old school Supernatural ep.
It was nice seeing young Dean having a "normal" life (I mean ghost/zombie and Azazel free) even if it lasted just a couple of months. Going to school, making the wrestle team, getting his first kiss all the while not having to worry about his little brother.
I do like your review, and I too think that John W. was an abusive father. Not physically but mentally. I mean how he put too much pressure and responsibility on Dean's shoulder.
The only thing that did not fit for me this time, was young Dean's age ( I know some of you've pointed it out before, and I tots agree.Him being an awkward 16 year old in this ep then supposedly a year later he develops into a buffed up ladies man and all, somehow it doesn't seem imaginable to me. Same problem with young Sammy)
The theme of this ep, reminded me of the movie Mama(a maternal protector figure killing of pple to protect children)
And the scene where they ended Ruth with the shower curtain, felt so much like Phsyco to me.
I think that this episode was so much more likeable then the previous ones from this season. Hopefully the writers will continue on this path when they bring Crowley and the rest back.
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Count me among those who thought - Isn't that Josh Brolin? Kind of fun having a ghost chasing episode. (My favorite will always be 'Roadkill' best guest star appearance in the history of the show by Tricia Helfer IMHO.) Young Dean gets an A. I'm thinking Jensen must sit with these kids that get to play him for hours because they all play Dean well; mannerisms and all. Good stuff.
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dean is a compulsive liar that it just a second nature to him to lie than tell the truth and even now when he doesnt need to lie to sam about the past he still does.
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I forgot, the MoW aspect reminded me a lot of Ghost whisperer, especially with the mom changing from a harpy into Jo look-alike.

And Dylan Everett was brilliant as Dean, he nailed the little details. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who tought Sonny was played by Josh Brolin.

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I appreciated this episode because:
a) it gave me insight to why having survive John's parenting Dean is nothing like John. He had Bobby, he had Sonny, he had role models in his life who showed him that even after shit has happened you can still care for others and not be a douche.
b) He turned into a love'em and leave'em kinda guy because he once got close and wanted to stay and it hurt like a bitch
c) John may have been a good hunter and a good man but he was a terrible terrible parent. I wonder how much of it was due to Mary, though
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There were a couple of references over the years that John was not a great person even when Mary was alive--that time when Dean experiences the memory of when, before Sam was born, Dean comforts his mother in the kitchen? It seems like John was a good person until he discovered the truth about her.
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The way the show made Mary out to be the perfect parent, you kind of forget that it was her decision to take Yellow Eyes's deal to resurrect John that led to the whole mess that screwed up Sam, Dean, and John's life forever.
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I was just super excited to see them do an episode in a location very close to where I live ;)
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Dylan Everett was perfect as young Dean. He got all the mannerisms correctly. Wonderfully cast. The girl, not so much. I couldn't see the two Robins as the same person.
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I really enjoyed this one. As one poster said below, it may be recycled but it was still a breath of fresh air. In the middle of earlier seasons I may have been impatient with an episode like this one, but in recent story arcs it was surprisingly enjoyable (and since when did we last see a ghost?!)

There was a lot to chew on, including that line you called out about hurting ones you love. Dean's always sacrificed for Sam but this is one time where his main motivation is selfishness. I also appreciated that this was a look into Dean's past--one where he could have chosen not to be a hunter, a perspective usually reserved for Sam flashbacks.

Bonus points: Sam did not get knocked unconscious this week! Huzzah!

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The bonus point made me laugh, so true. LOL
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On a case-of-the-week note, I thought the kid with his ghost-baggage was also interesting, and not wholly unrelated to the Winchester's own parental baggage. That and I liked the addition to the show's ghost lore, I don't think we've seen them attaching to another person before (did I forget an ep?) And while the ghost angle allowed time for the Dean flashbacks as well as subtly paralleling said story line.
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I'm not sure we've seen attachment ghosts before but I liked they kept it thematic--ghosts attach to objects with their DNA (blood, bones, hair); the kid most definitely had hers.
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We need an "Edit" button next to "Remove" here in the comments. :)
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I liked it, I do agree this was just recycled material but still it was vintage Supernatural (one we all fell in love with and carried on watching it to this day) with some creepy scenes that made my stomach turn a little.

But now time to get the Zek, Cas, Crowly and angels story back on track with some twist and turns.
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I told my friend: "It´s been a while since the Winchesters last fought against a ghost and burned remains". I really missed that, it reminded me of the good old times.
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I've been thinking on this point all day (obsessive much?) and I hope to be able to get it across this time in the way I mean it. I think I can come across as nitpicky, and with this show I do get that way. I have spent hours and days and years with these characters, growing up with them, and there have been good times and great episodes and there have been some real downers, real stinkers. When something happens or is said on screen, that's officially truth in the lives of these guys, and I feel like sometimes it goes against everything I believe to know about who they are and where they've come from, who they've become.

My biggest gripe, that has been plaguing my thoughts all day, is the way Dean first blew off the whole "yeah, Dad left me here" thing with Sammy. His reaction was textbook season one, and so much has happened and been revealed since then. Starting with his utterance of "Well, Dad's an ass" in Playthings, and building steadily over the next several years; Dean's thoughts on his relationship with his father have definitely shifted, evolved, whatever. His indifferent "I deserved it. NBD" blow off of Sam's line of questioning only makes sense to me if the writers just have Dean to this colassally screwed up holy shitballs I can't every do anything right for Sammy and this is just great timing to remind me of it frame of mind. That I can understand and get behind, what with the whole angel possession and everything. And not being able to have JDM there to actually BE John is superhard, because in all of these flashbacks, he's just the D Bag that can't be bothered to get out of the car.

Still thinking lots of thoughts.
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I felt it was more reverting to his old ways as to just not wanting to tell Sam. Not that he truly believes those things anymore.
I see it as it being one of the best time of his life, and he felt a little guilty about it. Also not wanting Sam to feel any guilt whatsover that left it all for him. I see the little scene where he looks out and sees Sam hanging out the car and not his dad giving a stern look meaning that he he did it for Sam. Sam reaction shows how far they come as Sam just blows it off as no biggie should just told me since we're past all this.
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Hated it. I was sick of these standalone ghost stories before season 1 was over. The Dean flashbacks were OK, but not so interesting that they made the filler garbage tolerable. A standalone ghost story? Seriously?! In season 9?!
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Those are some of Supernatural's best episodes. I mean I'm all down for mythology driven-episodes they're usually my favorites, but stand alone episodes on Supernatural are on a different level. I know we've seen some filler, but there's 23 episodes a season here, it's not like they can all be pivotal to the season arc, otherwise we'd never have the pleasure of waiting for the mystery to unfold.
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The funny standalones are OK, but I hate these boring ghost stories. If they don't want to work on the "main" story, they could at least come up with something more interesting than a freaking ghost. And why not have the cases last a few weeks, so that they can interact more with the interesting guest stars, and eliminate the boring ones?
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The ghosts are the only creatures on the show that look scary anymore. I remember the first season where the monsters looked like MONSTERS. But now they're just people with fangs and long fingernails. I haven't seen an original monster design since the Shojo of season 7 (who looked like a ripof of the girl from "The Ring.") but with the ghosts they always look hideous. And I do like the standalones... every now and then you need a break from the main storyline, and this season it works. (Unlike, say, season 5, when Lucifer was released and wrecking havoc on the planet and Sam and Dean are playing poker with a youth-stealing warlock or hunting a forest god who impersonates celebrities.)
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Agreed when we started this season I was hoping for a little more scary.
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The highlight of this episode was finding out that Orlando Jones ships Destiel as well as Sleepy Hollow/Supernatural. Freaking hilarious.
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It was pretty good. However, if he was 16 then, then exactly how old was he when they went to that High School that they returned to with the ghost of that bully. Because within that span of time he grew a foot taller, packed on muscle and became a ladies man. And if he was sixteen and he is 4 years older than Sam then why was Sam still playing with toy planes when he was 12? Other than those complaints it was a pretty good episode. Interesting back story for Dean that was never known before and a tight little episode.

Also, I was sure that the girl was his first time not just first real kiss. Which explains a lot actually because he had to make up for a few years of inactivity.
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Yeah, I had a hard time believing he was 16, 12 maybe 14, but 16 was pushing it.
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What was that? Was it... a sighting of the Sam who actually instinctively knows what Dean is really saying and sacrificed? When Sam got all quiet and thanked Dean at the end of the episode, was anyone else like 'Oh there you are Sam! We missed you.' Such a refreshing change from jerk Sam of early last season. I'd forgotten that rather awesome part of the early seasons. Dean being all gruff and Sam giving him his patented 'puppy-dog eyes' and just saying thank you. It was great to see again.

Also, the photo that MaryAnn used of Sonny and Dean. Is it just me... or does Sonny totally look like Sam wearing a stache in that shot :D
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Smart Sam appears in an episode where Sam did not get knocked unconscious! Coincidence?
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Had me in tears. #badboys #bestepisodeever
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I thought it was Josh Brolin too; and what was with killing off Colonel Harry Maybourne after a two minute appearance in what was the worst farm machinery murder ever portrayed on TV? Tom McBeath deserved a lot better than that. (Unless it was just another look-a-like, it wouldn't be unprecedented for this episode.)
Apart from the very poorly executed "Maybourne" slaying at the beginning and the rather poor "suffocation" of the housekeeper lady (I want to call her Rosa?) it was a solid episode. It was a good Dean flashback and I'm a big fan Dean. He has always sacrificed himself, one way or another, for Sam or anyone else around him and I'm really hoping that sometime soon he manages to catch a break. Finding out that he did manage to live a normal life for a couple of months, make out with a cute a girl a bunch of times and win a wrestling competition when he was 16 has given me hope that maybe one day he have that again - but probably minus the wrestling!
I'm glad we got a "monster of the week" case, I miss them. I get a bit bogged down and fed up with the bigger story arc on nearly every season but the case of the week episodes can introduce us to interesting new people/monsters/locations/situations which help to cleanse the pallet - so to speak. I did think that Erin Karpluk could have been used a bit more but having said that this episode was all about Dean and no one else was every really going to stand out.
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1. He didn't just make the team, he was the champion of his weight class.

2. This episode made me like/respect dean even more (if that's possible). You could see that he was going to ask sonny for help, but the second he looked out the window and saw sam, he knew he had to leave. Because no matter how he feels about his life or hos father, he's always going to try to protect his little brother, like most older brothers.

3. Just a general thought I just had, could have been asked in season 1. How the hell did sam get into stanford? I mean they move around a lot, what kind of legitimate transcript could he actually have?
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Well according to Detective Lindsey Ballard in "Usual Suspects" Sam was a strait A student despite moving around all the time. It was also mentioned he participated in extracurricular like school plays and (possibly) school sponsored soccer (he won a trophy) so I guess it all evens out. He might have also gotten some endorcements along the way with various teachers and the like he impressed.
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His father*
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I loved the episode!!! It was so Season 2. For once it showed that Dean had at some point a normal life, that despite of what he is and was claiming he loved. The house guy was like a true father to him, supporting him not by just giving him a place to stay, but most importantly emotionally. The fact that at the end he said that he would stand up to his father if he wanted to stay there makes a great contrast with John. John was an abusive parent. He was more likely a negligent parent, which is also a kind of abuse. Dean did not go back to him. The only reason he left that night was because of Sam, and not necessarily to protect him, but because he loved Sam and he thought he needed him. Which was true wasn't it? If Dean didn't follow, Sam would have to step in his shoes and have the same childhood as Dean. Because, even though they were on the road, Dean was the one that had to be responsible and that put extra burden on his shoulders. Sam would have understood though. That place was for Dean what Stanford was for Sam, the way out. Dean's affection for children and the fact that he is so good with them can indeed be seen as him not wanting to be what his father was for them. Dean had not just a life there, but dreams. And however hard he might have insisted that he just wanted out, Sam knew the truth and he knew that Sam knew it. The episode left me with a sweet sorrow. Sweet because Dean had a normal life that he wanted and sorrow because it lasted so little and of this awful childhood.
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I was thinking the exact same thing about it feeling like a season 2 episode. In fact I turned to my friend after we watched the episode and he said to me "that felt like a throwback episode".
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I guess, I'm the only one who hated the episode.

After the complete and total character assassination of Dean's character that happened last week, I'm supposed to buy in "Dean's the noble hero, he's self-sacrificing and whatnot; oh look he helped the kid from getting bullied; Dean is the best", well I didn't. All, I'm seeing writers' retcon always writing from Dean's point of view and telling us how "good" Dean is.

I'm so sick of the writers trying to paint Dean as a hero. It's simply not true, they need to stop forcing this bs on us.

Sorry, I ain't buying what you selling writers!

Apart from that the case-of the week is back (yet again), I wish we'd seen more of Crowley. He is still locked in the basement. Like, seriuously? There has been zero progress on that storyline. I wish we'd seen more of the Abaddon, Alaina Huffman is great and I miss her. She's simply perfect :)

They need to give Kevin something to do. (other than translating things) I love him, but his character isn't being developed at all. Intead of making everything about Dean, why not develop the rest of the characters further...? (and no more Cas please! He is bumming me out)
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I agree about the character assassination (it's been going on for a while - seasons even) and about the horrible retconning (honestly sometimes I wonder if some of these writers even watch the show before they hired), but I disagree with you saying Dean isn't a hero. But we can argue that out later, but ya this episode sucked.
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Honestly, I don't understand people who want every episode to be about the main story all the time. I've seen shows like that and it gets old before the season is done (unless it's a short run series on one of the premium channels).

We need breaks once in awhile to keep the main story from getting stale.
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I agree that there is nothing wrong with Case of the Week stories. Some of the best episodes are Case of the Week eps. But the best ones, have a simple contained story that still tells us something NEW about the characters. This one told us something we already knew from the first season. Dean will give up everything and anything to care for and protect Sam.

I have no issue with that message being reinforced from time to time. But it can't be the meat and potatoes of the episode (and damn well shouldn't be done by retconning 8 years of mythology).

If you look at the season opener, they gave us that same message when Dean allowed Ezekiel to trick Sam into letting him possess him. Same story, Dean will do whatever it takes to protect Sam. But we also learned something new about Dean at the same time. Where as in previous seasons it was important to Dean that if Sam died he would die human. Now after all he's lost, and all the guilt he's feeling after last season (unwarranted in my opinion, but that's for another discussion) he's now willing to go against his beliefs to save his brother. You see what I mean, same story new twist.

Now to rant for a second...

For me the real slap in the face in this episode was Sam's reaction to realizing what Dean gave up at the farm. GTFOHWTB. We're supposed to believe that Sam never realized that Dean would give up anything for him? Selling his soul to bring him back to life, coming to stop him from killing Lilith, forgiving him for starting the apocalypse and Ruby, leaving Ben and Lisa, killing himself to ask Death to get his soul, letting Cas destroy himself to save him, and then specifically TELLING HIM that there isn't anything in the world that he would put before him WASN'T A CLUE?

Give me a break. Sometimes I wonder what show these writers are watching.
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Well, one thing you have to remember is that not everyone has been watching the show from day one. Sure the re-runs are on TNT and Netflix and probably a million other places legal and not so legal but sometimes old ideas have to be reinforced for the newer viewers who may not have seen all that stuff and perhaps, just perhaps, remind the older fans that things haven't changed in that regard.
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If we need a break from the main story, then come up with a secondary story, or just take the week off and make the season one episode shorter.
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tnetennba, all I can say is that all shows have a formula. The whole process of making a TV series is fast paced and they don't have time to dilly dally around. Once they work out a formula that makes the show work and works with the majority of the viewers they tend to stick with it. In fact, when most shows go wrong and end up being cancelled is when they start messing with the formula and mess it all up.
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Answering you here: "But the ghost stories are the worst. I really dislike them, and I don't ever want to see another one. ... I'm a big Castiel fan, so the Castiel episodes always end up pulling me back in."

You obviously have a very specific reason for tuning into the show. You're not a general / comprehensive viewer who watches the show for ALL its angles and characters and mythologies, and most importantly, the ORIGINAL / BASIC premise that Sam & Dean are hunters of supernatural evil, including ghosts. People who like only certain things about certain shows, esp guest actors, are not the reason for their existence, or even format. You need to read / watch episode previews and then pick and choose your eps rather than criticise the basic premise of a particular show. So yes, going back to your previous method of watching SPN would save you quite a bit of time and irritation. And for the record, for people like me who started watching SPN from S01E01 which was about a ghost, this spiral down into a religious, angel-related mythology has been extremely frustrating, more so since I'm not Christian and it's just a whole load of religious stuff now that I can't relate to and really don't care about. The only saving grace is that Sam & Dean as main characters remain non-religious in their approach.
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Yes, libra, I'm aware that there are examples of cases that were handled better. But that doesn't make this week's case OK.
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Um, tnetennba, you do realize that the actual stories DO last different amount of times in show? Some of them they're in a given town for a few days, sometimes a few weeks, it varies. Also, there are only so many ways you can tell a given story and they have done some interesting variations. In season one they had "Bloody Mary" that focused more on Charley and her friends. Just a little while ago they did that werewolf episode that focused totally on the three guest stars and then there was "Ghostfacers" that was done like a reality show. The truth is that all shows have basic story telling methods and that's how it's done.
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I'd like to add that I do like "the ORIGINAL / BASIC premise that Sam & Dean are hunters of supernatural evil, including ghosts". I just can't stand procedurals. I would be OK with the basic premise if the show could tell us about their "hunts" in a different way. They could start by skipping the "cold open" scenes. They could make some of the cases last longer. There's no obvious reason why every case should take exactly the length of an episode. And please don't recycle stuff that have been done THIS many times before.
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I started watching Supernatural around the time that the last episodes of season 2 aired. Two people I know insisted that it's a really good show, so I started watching from the start. It didn't take long until I got really sick of the procedural format and especially the ghost stories. The main reason I kept watching was that these two guys had insisted that it's really good.

Just like you, they (especially the one who was the most enthusiastic about it) didn't approve of the shift towards a more serialized format, but for me that was when the show finally became watchable.

I dislike a lot of the Angel stuff too, but I'd rather have a bad story than no story. And Castiel is awesome even though a lot of the angel stuff isn't. I'm not at all religious by the way.

Sam & Dean can be pretty awesome too, but I really dislike the procedural format in general. I blame another friend of mine for pushing me over the edge. He insisted that Castle is really great, so I binge-watched most of the first two seasons, and ended up hating it. Nathan Fillion is awesome. Stana Katic's face is awesome. But every episode is the same as every other episode. I ended up hating it so much that I had to stop watching House and The Mentalist too.
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Well, I to started watching the show from the first episode (the first day it aired even) and have watched every episode since. I also happen to a be non-religious but I really like the Cas character and while I don't believe in Christianity doesn't mean the stories in it can't be entertaining or interesting just as I don't believe in Greek/Roman mythology but grew up reading everything I could find about it. You don't have to believe in it to enjoy it. Might I go out on a limb and guess that it's not just that you don't believe in it but actually offended by religion being involved in stories? If so I can see how the stories could bother you but then I would suggest applying your own advise and avoid such episodes. I didn't know belif was required to enjoy the episodes. Does this mean you beleave in ghost and vampires and all the other stuff on the show?
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The whole point is to take an actual break I don't know how having two season long stories going at once would really be a break and I've never heard of a mainstream US TV series just deciding to drop episodes. The current system works just fine. If the standalone stories really bother you so much maybe just skip them when they air. :)
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"Might I go out on a limb and guess that it's not just that you don't believe in it but actually offended by religion being involved in stories?"

No, no, not at all offended by religion. I'm a big addict of Greek and Roman mythology as well, and I like it when SPN incorporates those - and other mythologies - into its storylines. I'm also a big fan of genre shows, so I'm open to all sorts of mythology and religions, real and virtual and everything in between.

But on SPN, I'm TIRED of the Angel / Heaven storyline that has been going on for many YEARS now. To me, it feels heavy and we just keep delving deeper and deeper into the intricacies of it, and there's this whole conversation now about 'faith' and 'God' and stuff - like that convo b/w Cas and the lady in the church ... it's less mythology and more theology now, and discussion of A particular religion. I really don't know how to explain it better, except that I'd prefer more supernatural and less religious concepts. i.e. if the original premise had been this angel / heaven storyline and not 'hunting things, saving people', I'd not have started watching, because it's not my cup of tea. Maybe for Jensen, but IDK, maybe not even then.

That's not because of my beliefs or lack of them. I'm not irreligious, and I believe in God. I'm from India, and I'm Hindu, and we have lots of gods. Some have even been on SPN, in very weird formats, but I enjoyed all that. I'm not offended by interpretations of religion and mythology. But I don't want to watch a show that's primarily about God and God's angels and God's plan for the earth and what happened to God and so on, that's all.

I can't give up on SPN now because I'm invested in the show and in the characters and storylines of Sam & Dean. But I'm not enjoying it the way I used to, because the focus of the show has shifted. And now if I had to stop watching because of the angel storyline, I'd not be able to watch the show at all. I mean, now even the title logo is angel wings, versus the shattered glass of S1. It's like, I'm really bored of TVD now. It's not because of vampires, or my interest in vampires. I was fine with the apocalypse and all that, it was exciting. 5 seasons later, still with good angels and bad angels and the war in heaven... it's like sinking slowly into quicksand.
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I've been doing that before. I wouldn't watch the episodes right away. Instead I'd come here to find out if it's another standalone, and if it was, I wouldn't watch it. I almost gave up on the show entirely. But for a while I felt that the quality had improved enough for me to to watch the episodes when I got hold of them. Now I think I really have to go back to the old system.

I don't dislike all the standalones. The funny ones are OK. But the ghost stories are the worst. I really dislike them, and I don't ever want to see another one. They always make me consider quitting the show for good.

I'm a big Castiel fan, so the Castiel episodes always end up pulling me back in. If they hadn't resurrected him, I would have been gone by now.


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Case of the week episodes are nothing more than recycled material. there's nothing new or exciting happening. either they hunt a ghost, or a vampire or something else they've already hunted before. that's why I didn't find it interesting.

We've already seen the story told a million times from Dean's point of view too.

The show could focus more on the Angels storyline without involving Cas or the demon story along with Crowley and the Abaddon. there's no progress being made there.

If anything the writers have derailed enough, first it was the Charlie/Dorothy episode, then the Dr Dolittle episode, and now this...enough breaks. please!

argh. no edit button. :(
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It's the way the show has worked from season one. They have a certain amount of standalone episodes and a certain number of story arc episodes. If it really bothers you that much maybe just skip the standalone episodes and just watch the story arc stuff.
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Josh Brolin better stay alive and healthy, because Hollywood already has one hell of a backup ready to replace him!
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Through out the series we're forced to struggle with how good a parent John was just as much as the boys were. But it seems as the boys became teens Johns hunting trips grew longer and longer even with the threat of yellow eyes. Plus it was Dean he left there no Sam. Reading your review I guess this was them just giving reminding us how much Dean gave up having it programmed in him ti put Sam first. When he looked put the window and saw Sam he didn't even seem that bummed.
-I guess this episode was more to redeem Dean a tiny bit as even with Doggy Dean they knew they could get us to see puppy dog eyes because he's been crappy all season so far making it difficult for anyone to still have his back.
-We had viewers saying it's in Dean nature to always make sure Sam live no matter what even when we saw Sam surrender to Death. Some people go tired of Dean calling upon Zeke though. Then there was Dean tossing out Cas, but we all understood it had to be done. Then saw how awful Cas was living and that Dean had threw him out with little to nothing which made it even harder to still be on Deans side. I guess this episode was to make it easier for fans to let up on Dean.
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I don't know I think John really did the best he could given the situation. I mean if he had dropped Sam and Dean off with someone else to raise they would have been in danger AND they wouldn't have learned anything about how to protect themselves or anything. They might have had a more textbook childhood but they would have grown up helpless to protect themselves from whatever killed Mary (remember at the time he had no idea it was demon). Maybe it wasn't ideal but it was all he could do.
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I think the biggest problem here, is that over the last 9 seasons the last 4 in particular the different writers and show runners disagree about John. None of us can paint and accurate picture of what kind of person he was, because every time they refer to him it's a contradiction of what was shown and said before.
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No I agree John did handled the situation the best he could especially with not knowing what he was doing at all. But from the kids point of view as a kid he felt like a horrible parent. And we're forced to see it from both an adults point a view and kids. I mean you can't really call someone a bad parent if you don't have a better safer solution. like you said he could have left the kids somewhere else but of course he was rightfully paranoid of the dangers of that and only seemed to relax more as they got older.
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Yeah, the older and more trained they got the more relaxed he became (especially with Dean, with Sam it was different because the thing that killed Mary was in Sam's room so he likely figured it was after Sam to start with). It was really a trade off between giving them some ideal childhood or giving them the tools they needed to survive.
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Maybe its just me, but considering John would be out on cases for seemingly months at a time, does it make you feel maybe like he actually wasn't a very good hunter considering the boys usually only take a few days to wrap up most cases? (Sure, they have teh interwebs, and the Official John Winchester's Guide to Killing Evil Stuff, but really, John still had Bobby, Rufus, and a whole network of other hunters to call on as well!)
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Yeah but he didn't really interact with a lot of hunters and the ones he did he ended up having falling outs with and cutting off communication. He also, as you said, didn't have a lot of the modern tech Sam and Dean had plus he didn't have the training he gave them. He had his marine training, some old books and was sort of feeling out the rest of it as he went along.
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So Dean's high school girlfriend was Zooey Deschanel , now I respect him even more
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For me there is no alternative to an ending where these brothers are still together. I cannot believe in an ending where either Sam dies or Dean dies and the other one lives a happily ever after. After nine years of freewill, we are programmed to think that these brothers will not be separated. That is why even though season 6 and 7 did not do well, I was glad the show continued. I have no shame is saying my love for the show is dependent on their co-dependency on each other. So, I loved this episode. These episodes are like peace before the storm and we are sure there is going to be a huge fallout between the Winchesters. Dean can go to extreme to save Sam, like he sold his soul. It is not because his Dad taught him to do, it is because a 6 months old baby was given to him to save from a fire. He explained in well in 2x22. I love both the brothers equally, they both have their ups and downs.

Young Dean's performance was spot on.
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I'm suspecting an ending where they both die to save the world. Of course the next day there will be reams of fan fiction bringing them back to life but so be it. :)
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I will take that ending. They cannot get rid of all the monsters and close gates of heaven or hell but as long as they live, they will not stop fighting. I think at some point God will return, they will give their ultimate sacrifice and God will finally give them rest that they deserve. Not that I want it any time soon.
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Hm, I also thought while I was watching it, that from the moment Dean had to take Sam out of the burning house there was no alternative for him than to always try to protect his brother.
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I remember reading something during season one somewhere that when John handed Sam to Dean he, in his mind, sort of took over all responsibility for him from that point on. Wish I could remember where I read that and who wrote it but it was so long ago.
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Good ep! Love the Monster Of The Week ep's once in a while. Noticed something missing this season so far, though. What happened to Dean's music collection? We never hear the songs blaring from Baby's speakers anymore. I miss that.
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I've been missing the tunes for a while now. The music adds something to the show, I don't know what it is, but it just feels like there is a limb missing without it.
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I think it's a budget thing. They had to cut back and music rights are really, really expensive especially for the well known stuff.
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If they don't play 'Carry On Wayward Son' on this season's finale, I will be very annoyed.
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This episode felt like the old Supernatural.
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I think the whole point behind this episode was that Dean was willing (and ultimately did) sacrifice his own happiness for his brother. He did not go back for his Dad. He did not go back because of duty. He went back because he saw Sammy and he had promised to look out for him. I guarantee that if he had a way to keep Sam there with him, he would have given his Dad the finger and stayed. I think that Dean UNDERSTANDS the logic that his father used and therefore doesn't hold it against him but at the same time knows that his father could have done better.
It totally made me sad that he had to leave-the actor who played young Dean did a great job with that scene.
I also suspect that Dead did not just "get lucky" with his suggestion to Timmy...I don't know why though. Maybe that whole ending scene felt like he was holding back only because he was totally lying about wanting to get out of there when he was a kid but for some reason I felt like there was more he wasn't telling Sam.
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Doesn't Dean have a history of breaking everyone's violent mind whammies through the power of his lurv? John, Bobby, Sam, Cas, wash, rinse, repeat. Telling the kid to release his mom through the power of love and sheer willpower didn't strike me as strange and I didn't know why Sam would think it was odd.
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I don't think it was odd in and of itself, it was the vibe in the ending scene that made me wonder. I think Sam just wanted to know if Dean *knew* that it would work or if it was just a shot in the dark.

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I miss these episodes. I'm getting sick and tired of Crowley and Cas. I hope there are more of these episodes in the upcoming weeks. I was beginning to think Supernatural should end. But if it keeps up with these episodes then it can last for more seasons.

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I think these kind of eps split up viewers - those who started watching Supernatural for the hunting evil, and those who watch it for Cas. That's why the widely disparate feedback on an ep like this. The ghost story wasn't great this ep, but I just LOVED that it was like the old SPN, and not the angel BS.
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Exactly! Enough of the end of days, enough of the angels and demons squabbling. This show needs to move back to the 2 brother-family dynamic-buddy comedy of horrors-saving the little guy, one fight at a time-kind of battles!
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My only issue, and it's a minor one, is that Dean said John was off hunting a Rougaru but back in their first encounter with a Rougaru Dean clearly had no idea what it was. Other than that I liked the episode very much. :)
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I'll add to that continuity foul. If Dean was 16, then Sam was 12. Wee Sam seemed awfully young (actor+toy plane) and incredibly oblivious (dumb).
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I also read in a review that Dean was supposed to be 14 when the ep was shot but then he looked older and they 'fixed' the dialogue to say he was 16. Maybe then 10 year old Sam would be better (still older than the kid they showed).
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Well, I don't know if I read it somewhere (on the boards, in the comics, novels, etc....) that Dean and John kind of shielded Sam from what was going on and I recall something about Dean trying to protect him from what was really going on for as long as possible so he was just sheltered really. :)
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I liked this episode a lot. Sure, it has been done before on this show, but I think we needed a breather from the whole Zeke-Cas-demons-angels mess. Besides, Sam wasn't knocked out once.
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I missed this episode last night so I could watch the David Blaine special....so I can't wait for it to come up On Demand! I do have a question about the series though....How long have them named them after old movies and tv series?
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It's something they do from time to time. They also sometimes use album/song names but I think it's been a bit since they did that. :)
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Thanks, Libra! I think it adds to the charm of the series!
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I watched Supernatural and DVR'd David Blaine. Best of both worlds:)
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If only I had a DVR!
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The CW site usually puts them up a few hours after they air if you're willing to watch on your computer.
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I really enjoyed this episode. It felt like some of there older stuff. I loved the flashback's. Seeing how upset Dean was for having to leave. It just showed us that Dean has allway's been looking out for Sam and giving up his own happiness for him. Just felt bad for him.
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Also apparently when they wrote this episode Dean was supposed to be 14 not 16. And I think the kid that played Dean did a nice job, also it's said he watched 5 seasons of Supernatural in like a week and watched Jensen a lot to get his rhythm. They only changed it to 16 once they saw the kid in the role because he looked too old to be 14. This was all on Adam Glass twitter.
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That kid look nowhere near 16, more like 12. Or maybe I'm just too used to 20-somethings playing teenagers
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lol thats what I thought. But I think is being too used to 20 years old playing teens. We're not used to seeing the actual awkward teen look on tv. Just really young looking actors. The actor is actually 18.
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The only thing I feel odd was the start of episode, it was way too quick for Dean to tell Sam something. It felt not Dean-style. But once they got in town eberything was back on track. Dean's first kiss and how strong he came out on the call of duty over call of pleasure.

The Dean we know is not the Dean he is. It is a strong shell, all of his act are just a cover, this is what this episode told us. Personally I am sure we all know it all along. Sam is open book but dean is too thick to look into. But the way he jumped into any thing to save his friends and family shows the real him.

And welcome back ghost.
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This episode was so full of feels. I held it together pretty well until that last scene where young Dean tried to hold back his tears when he was told he had to leave the only place he'd ever been where someone said out loud that they were proud of him. Then I kind of lost it because wow that actor was very good.

It was nice to see the boys return to their supernatural-hunting roots with a ghost story. I hadn't realized how much I missed these episodes till last night, but it was great.
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Oh god the feels! It's almost killing me!
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Josh Brolin, was that you?
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Naw, it's Blake Gibbons. I had the same thought though!
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I have issues with what they've done to the canon. In season one Dean was tirelessly defending John and their childhood and how they were raised and while granted, he has breakthrough in season three in "dream a little dream of me" this doesn't change the fact that John told the cops "let him rot in jail" and more or less abandoned him for two months. And now that I mentioned that season three thing, now in the present Dean is almost back to defending the actions of his father, saying he deserved it for losing the food money. Not to mention being complicit in covering it up from Sam. He was lost on a hunt? In the middle of the school year at 16? Wasn't Sam surprised in the pilot ep to see Dean hunting solo at 26? Weak sauce, boys and girls.
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While I understand what you're saying, I feel like it's entirely possible for Dean to defend his father's actions and the way they were raised while still not agreeing with it entirely - and without breaking canon. It is possible for someone to love and support their family while not being completely on board with their decisions. And even if you don't buy into that completely, keep in mind that Dean was 16 in this episode - a teenager. I've never known a teenager who didn't, at some point, think that what their parents did was something they would definitely not want to do. Given time to grow up and grow into "the life", of course he'd change his mind.
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No, I'm all for the emotional back and forth and depth of character here, but I feel like we're losing that more and more through these newer flashback eppys, and makes his attitude toward his father through the first couple seasons feel more like Stockholm Syndrome.
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No, Dean has always been the type to accept blame when he did something wrong and gambling away the money was meant to feed Sam and himself so he took his lumps. John telling them to "let him rot" was his punishment for not doing what he was told. I'm sure John new enough to know that first time petty theft wasn't going to end a lot (if any) real jail time so he was letting him experience the full consequences of his actions and Dean was accepting the consequences and learning from them (mostly if you're going to steal don't get caught).
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This episode was great, actually one of the stronger episodes from this seasonso far. I ddidn't have a problem with young Dean, I thought he nailed Ackles' mannerisms pretty well. I could see this as the potential "happy ending" for Dean, if not for the girl to become the next Sonny to help kids like that. No Ezekiel was a good thing, but I just don't get why Dean couldn't say, he left the school because of Sammy, I mean its always Sammy. But this was a good one, good flashbacks, didn't feel too forced and the story was good. 8.5/10 for me.
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I actually think the kid even looked more like Dean than any of the other actors who have played younger versions before so it was a nice touch. :) He didn't tell Sam that because he didn't want to burden Sam with that kind of information.
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Poignant but back to the main heaven/hell/angels/devil storyline, yes?
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We gotta have a break some time. We can't have every episode be about the main story, I've seen shows like that and it always gets old before the season is done, unless it's one of those short season shows then it kind of works.
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They've been taking a break almost every week.
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That's so they can have a big final push at the end.
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I always love the throwback episodes to an earlier time in the show when things were simpler and everything wasn't apocalyptic.
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Also, thanks MaryAnn for getting the COPS theme song stuck in my head after reading the first sentence! As if I already don't have another theme song playing on a loop in my mind. *cough*GoT*cough*
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