Season 7 Episode 4

Defending Your Life

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Oct 14, 2011 on The CW

Episode Fan Reviews (16)

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  • Dynamic Duo

    One of he greatest aspects of supernatural is the dynamic duo Sam and Dean but sometimes they aren't a dynamic duo but completely out of sync. I feel that as the show continues Sam figures out how to deal with the supernatural world more and more and Dean just freaks out more and more. I liked it better when they both were level headed and beat the bad guys with their epic skills. As episodes go this one was decent, but definitely not my favorite.

    Another amazing episode this season is awesome
  • Poor Dean :'(

    8.5 VERY well said!

    What a heart wrenching ep!! Dean already carries the weight of the world on his shoulders doing a job that is full of heartache, regret, & pain & then to throw Jo in his face!!??? WOW. Yeah, yeah, he lied to Sam about killing the grown-up monster from Sam's past, but the guilt Dean feels is his own self punishment & not true or necessary. I just wish he could see that what he does sucks, & is difficult, but completely necessary! I just wanna hold him & tell him he is truly a great man, brother, & hero. <3
  • One of the things I love about this show is that it not only makes me laugh, cry and scream, it also makes me think.


    This is one of those episodes that really sparks a lot of thought and discussion, in particular about guilt, and the psychology of Sam and Dean.

    Some had questioned why Dean was put on trial rather than Sam—Sam himself says he is the one who should be tried. But actually the episode's treatment makes perfect sense. Osiris later explains it's not about how guilty they are, but rather about how guilty they feel. And it's perfectly in character for Dean to feel guilty—as Bobby points out when he says "Who does that sound like?" Dean has always taken the weight of the world on his shoulders, and has always been very forgiving of everyone but himself. John injected steroids into this natural disposition by burdening him with responsibilities too heavy for his young shoulders, and then not forgiving him when he fails to bear them to his father's satisfaction—as we saw in Something Wicked.

    Sam, on the other hand, was not made responsible for others from a young age, and not taken to task for failing to live up to those responsibilities, and is more forgiving of himself. As he says he felt very crappy about his wrongdoings for a long time—and this is evident through season 5. I know some people feel he never gave a satisfactory apology speech, but I recently read an explanation by a male fan about how this was all done in Winchesterese Guyspeak, and how it would've been out of character for them to do it with a big emotional talk. Guys in general and Winchesters in particular speak in actions rather than words. So Sam will say in Bloody Mary "You're my brother and I would die for you" rather than "You're my brother and I love you." By the same token, at the end of Sympathy for the Devil, Sam says (in response to Dean saying you chose a demon over your own brother) "I would do anything to take it back" and "What can I do?" rather than "I feel horrible about how much I hurt you." He's expressing his deep regret and his desire to make amends in actions rather than words. And in any case, Dean absolutely does not want to hear the words. Sam tries to apologize several times in the episode, and Dean keeps shutting him down. This is very much in character for Dean, and was established from the Pilot when Sam tries to apologize for what he said about their mother on the bridge, and Dean cuts him off with "No chick flick moments." He also does it at the end of Asylum, saying "I'm not in a caring-and-sharing kind of mood." They also apologize wordlessly at the end of Tall Tales, when Sam says "Dean…" and Dean says "Yeah. Me too." So a big flowery heart-to-heart about how sorry Sam is and how hurt Dean was would have been completely out of character. But the apology did most definitely happen if you're attuned to the Winchesterese Guyspeak subtext, and the proof of this is given by Dean himself who at the end says: "I know how sorry you are, I do." Dean heard the Winchesterese Guyspeak subtext loud and clear.

    Anyway, Sam feels guilty and responsible through season 5 and in the end he dooms himself to an eternity of hellish torture by no less than Satan himself to set right his wrongs. He threw himself into the Pit to save the world. There can be no greater redemption. So as Sam explains at the end of Defending Your Life, after 180 years of being Lucifer's punching bag, and emerging with a permanently scarred mind, he feels like he has paid his debt.

    Dean of course did also spend 40 years in Hell, but the circumstances were different. Rather than being where he redeemed himself, it is where they broke him and coerced him into committing torture himself, and breaking the first seal. His stint down under started the apocalypse, whereas Sam's ended it. So for Dean, his tour in Hell must feel like another thing he has to feel guilty about—as evidenced by his tearful confessions in Heaven and Hell and Family Remains—rather than suffering for his sins so as to clear his slate.

    I loved how Jensen played the trial. He is so brilliant at playing one thing on the surface, while letting you glimpse what is really going on underneath. In this case, while he's trying to convince Osiris that he doesn't have guilt in his heart, you can plainly see how guilty he feels. It was also great to see Sam acting as a lawyer. For six years we have known that this was his dream, and only now do we actually get to see him playing the part. It was heartbreaking that Dean would rather condemn himself to death than let Sam find out he killed Amy. And that Dean is still carrying so much guilt in his heart he could only be saved by a ram's horn.

  • Dean faces off against Osiris.


    Whether or not this Leviathan plot pans out in the end, I have to say that I enjoy seeing the Winchester's looking into cases that don't involve the end of the world. It's been awhile since there was a plot that didn't somehow relate to the myth-arc. There should always be at least somestand-alone plots.

    This episode sort of connected to other stuff that the show has been doing the last few episodes, but at the same time, it was a fun and semi-dark look into Dean's tendency to internalize all of his guilt. And his guilt is pretty high after killing Sam's old friend Amy. I didn't think that the show would pursue this plot beyond last week's episode, but it's making for an interesting plot.

    The whole idea of Osiris is that he puts guilty feeling people on trial for misdeeds they did in the past. He decides whether or not the person is killed based on how much guilt the individual feels. If they feel guilty, they're killed by the spirits of the people they screwed over. Dean ends up on Osiris' chopping block, leaving Sam and Bobby to figure out how to free him.

    The format of the episode allows for the return of a familiar face: Jo. Jo died with her mother back in Season 5, but Osiris claims that Dean's guilt over her death makes him eligible to be put to death. What follows is an odd thriller/courtroom case where Sam acts as Dean's lawyer in defending him from Osiris. There was a funny line where Sam says he learned some of his law moves on The Good Wife.

    The episode suffers most from the same old stuff: Dean and Sam don't trust each other. Yes, we get it. Yet, for some reason, the writers seem intent on driving it into our skulls. Also, it doesn't help that the show has Sam and Dean lying and hiding things all the time. The show needs to just have Sam and Dean be open with one another so the show can stop falling into the same old trap. However, the show was on point tonight, focusing on a stand-alone case that was enjoyable enough.

  • Another great episode for SPN!!!!


    This week we had alona tal as Jo back and it was another great experience.The Egyptian God was awesome.The greatest part of the episode was the trial.Even though the trial could have hapened in a much better than an apple farm :P lol.But the Egyptian statues made up for it they were epic!!!!!!!

  • The Mummy 4: Dean's In Deep Sh!t


    Defending Your Life-The Egyptian god Osiris wreaks a bloody trail of deaths as he tries and executes anyone guilty of past mistakes. Sam is forced to defend his brother when Osiris targets Dean for his guilt over all the things he's believed he's done in his life... and calls Jo as a witness.

    You know, a part of me really wanted to LOVE this as with most Supernatural episodes, it's starts out pretty intriguing. Suspense, violence, blood, not to mention a cool car chase scene that ends with a guy being brutally rammed into a wall. What's not to love? But once we find out about Osiris and his M.O., the plot kinda a mixed bag from there. On one hand, seeing Dean on trail for his past sins that he feels guilty for was an interesting twist, especially considering the obvious plot point that he just killed Amy last week behind his back. But on the other hand, why "not" bring Kat back? Why not break the news to Sam in such a sudden way? Why doesn't Dean just reveal the truth to Sam? Wouldn't that better than continuing to hide the truth because he doesn't want to betray his brother? From what we've seen of the brothers the past 6 years, why would Dean do something aspetty as keeping a secret from Sam? Secrets like this have only screwed the brothers over in the past, heck Dean was pissed when Sam was working with Ruby while he was trapped in hell! Why not just tell Sam "hey, I killed your monster friend and you'll probably hate me for it, but the ends justifies the means" Or...something!The end of the episode is just sad...and not in a good way. Even as Sam is slowly losing his mind, he's more at peace mentally than Dean is. Sam really needs his brother right now as he's screws are getting more loose yet Dean could potential make things worse with his little secret. A better resolution to the episode would have been Dean coming clean and moving this plot along yet essentially, the episode ends with Dean feeling more guilty than ever. *Sigh*

    Okay, maybe I'm being too hard on this episode. It's not bad by any means. I least we got to see Jo back! I loved her moments with Dean and the regrets surrounding her past. That was something that was kinda needed looking back. Jo was forced into hunting by Dean (sort of). But she always had the choice of walking away, like Sam once did. But was it really Dean's fault or was being a hunter naturally in her blood? It's a sad reminder that being a hunter means sacrificing parts of your life, even your childhood, as we've seen in the past. But after that, the rest of the episode doesn't have much weight. Osiris, the Eygptian is a pretty forgettablefoe. Besides the fact he's nothing more than a Mummy reject kinda of villain, it's funny how we've seenmultipleGods on this show, yet they all come off so weak. Sam kills him so easily, it's kinda anti-climatic. Not to mention, the convenience of the Ram's Horn is a bit silly, even for Supernatural. I don't know, things are starting to feel a bit underwhelming after the first two episodes this season. I know we need room for the narrative to breath to give way to standalone episodes, but so far, they've been weaker than usual. "Defending Your Life" is simply okay (ish). Can't wait for next week's episode though, be still my Buffy heart! It's Cordy and Spike!!!

  • Defending Your Life


    Defending Your Life was a good episode of Supernatural but I felt it was a bit of a waste for this season which has a lot going for it. This story was relevant in some ways regarding guilt. The flashbacks were interesting and good to watch. I thought Osiris would have been a little better portrayed with special effects and a different actor too. I just wasn't convinced. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!

  • A Dean for All Seasons


    On a stand alone episode of Supernatural following last week's solo outing, Dean and Sam are on the road to Dearborn Michigan to hunt what appears to be vengeful ghosts killing people who have committed crimes. When the pattern begins to add up to much more though it appears that the Egyptian God Osiris is involved and judging those with heavy hearts as in Egyptian mythology, so you get put on trial and if you have more guilt that necessary you get sentenced to die. While Sam tries to help a soon to be victim Dean drinks and tells his troubles to a bartender with Osiris listening intently who then grabs him and puts him on trial, when Sam manages to find them he volunteers to act as Dean's lawyer. Osiris calls Jo to testify against Dean, who says that she does not blame Dean and it is implied that she has feelings for him and that's why she followed him into battle all those times. Dean's heart is especially guilty after what he did last week when he killed the woman that Sam set free. The flashbacks at the intervals where they refer to the past were effective in parts such as Jo and Dean's history but also unnecessary at parts like Sam flashing back to Jess in my opinion. However the most effective use of them was the flash of how many people Dean believes he's hurt/killed in his life. Osiris explains interestingly that it is not up to him to decide but to what Dean feels is true as the ultimate verdict. This trial and Osiris reminded me a little of last season's "You Can't Handle the Truth" in that a higher being was revealing truths that the brothers are keeping from one another. Osiris sentences Dean to death and it turns out Osiris can be put down with a ram's horn which Sam gets and stabs him before Dean can get got. But the true heart-wrenching part of the episode was Jo confronting Dean in the salt circle, apparently Osiris can control ghosts but since he's a God it's not out of the realm of possibility. Seeing as it only puts him down for a couple of centuries is better than forever because we are talking about a God here. The fact that the truth isn't revealed to Sam regarding Dean's secret was a great to keep a wedge between them especially after Sam's confession that he no longer feels guilt over everything and how he's made peace with what he's done and I really believe that he was true to Dean in the trial. The truth will probably get out about Dean killing that lady last week (sorry not good at remembering names) but it's good for them to take a step away from Leviathans for a little while to develop more on the brothers. Good episode, looks to be a winning streak starting to happen here.

  • Simple but effective!


    Compared to previous season of Supernatural, this one has much less of a "novelty kick", and not counting the strong season opening, it is probably slower paced than all of the previous seasons. I personally don't find that to be a bad thing, it has its purpose, but I still crave for a few adrenaline packed episodes. This episode was not that adrenaline hard rock rush I was hoping for - instead, it was packed with the emotional (but not too cheesy), character driven kicks. Not exactly what I hoped for, but it did the trick for me - since season opening, this was the episode I enjoyed the most! Its premise was quite straight-forward, it didn't feature many major characters or plot development roller-coasters, and if you subtract great guest appearances of Faran Tahir as Osiris, and Alona Tal as Jo (welcome back!), one could even say the episode was really simple. However, it was simple in a good way, and it was a candy for us long-term hard-core fans (and I'm inclined to believe that it also has a lot to do with Singer's directing). New viewers will probably not care for this episode, but for us who are following The Winchester brothers for a while, it gave yet another unique sneak peak into their burdened psyche, and added a lot of weight to their complex relationship.

    The only major complaint that I have is that Osiris' appearance could have been tied to the developing story arc, and further "exploited", and I find that to be a missed opportunity.

    All i all, it wasn't the best episode of all time, but it was somewhat different and definitely a good one. I'm just hoping some of the following episodes will be a bit faster-paced and story-arc driven, because those are the things that I still kinda require, in order to get completely hooked up to this season.

  • she'll be loved....


    for those who found the character jo an unnecessary bite your tongue, 'cause after all eps abn hope she's rock! Our only herself to talk some sense the head of the dean, but she more than a little girl for dean andthere is love between them that deserved to be well settled that last kiss cute 'cause of them deserved an encore. But in order to participate it was too much, although I believe that Ellen and Jo one more time in the series. Speaking of the monster of the week: osiris now part of the list of endangered gods, the gods finally td psychotic or were killed by Lucifer or the bro-Winchesters and definitely the supernatural deaths are more brutal than any horror movie macabre. But turn back to ourdean guybecame clear that Dean and drink is a delicate problem which sam already noticed, but prefers to leave in the background or two is hard to see his older brother to sink in alcohol. And of course the secrets between them has become something normal that scare , I think that's a little tiring for the fans' cause so much secrect fills the bag! I hear that the Alona would shoot more eps this season one that the gods and bring more jo ellen, but this time in the flesh really want Dean and Jo have a beautiful night of love.

    kiss cau

  • Seriously? A recap episode?


    Hate to say it, but this episode is really painful to watch.

    It's poorly written and awfully interpreted.

    To me, this show just hit a new low level and I hope, for its own sake, that it'll only get better, cause I've said the same thing about the last episode.

  • Osiris, the judge of the dead comes calling to weigh the hearts of the living and mete out the justice they believe they deserve, including Dean.


    All in all, this was a strong episode.

    Strong because the storyline, the use of Osiris and the Egyptian ceremony of the dead was a very nice breath of fresh air!

    The concept was wonderful and familiar and something most folks have heard of to some degree, (at least I hope they have).

    The execution was a little... off. I don't know if it's because Dean was 'snatched' off the street and imprisoned in 'houdini proof' chains (shouldn't he have been dead? couldn't the real mythos have been integrated just a little more accurately?... course I'm known to be a stickler-y b**ch about things like this.) Would it really have been so hard to have something near death-y happen to the subjects that would allow Osiris to capture their souls? But then again how could Sam have tracked him down right?

    Anyway, the CW's crap signal cut out during Sam's 'defense' (I blame Dawn Ostroff, she never did like supernatural... the pathetic waste of air time that is Nikita ran without so much as a hiccough... but that's a rip for another time). So I didn't get to see it from the point where Osiris was grilling Jo, till he was asking Dean if he really wanted him to call the third witness.

    Alana was not only stunningly touching, and her performance thoroughly poignant, but she really portrayed the 'growth' of a spirit given in willing sacrifice to another. Beautifully done! (Nice job on Leverage the season before last too!)

    There was also something a little wrong about Dean 'second guessing' his prowess? or was it his ability to get an erection? Is he that much of a drunk now?

    And what about that? It was funny when Dean said, "AA gives me the jeebs" but are we now going to focus on him as a decaying alcoholic and Sam as as little bit of a masochist with his new tic?

    There were a lot of things that really made this episode ring with loads of 'minor' notes (as in the scale), that left us wondering once more about the stability of the boys' relationship.

    We know Dean lied about Amy, we know it's going to come back and bite him in the butt, but we've had 5 seasons (2-6) where the boys have been on the outs with each other for some reason or another.

    It would've been really nice to have seen this ep used as something that could have brought them together again, even if it made Sam furious with Dean, if Dean had just admitted he killed Amy and felt the weight of it, it's probable Sam would have understood... eventually.

    I guess the question is, was all this melodrama really necessary when we had what could have been a perfectly excellent storyline simply with Osiris having arisen, and a repentant Dean.

    Perhaps the writers need to use a little more research and actual mythos and a little less "creative license". But like I said, I'm a stickler-y B**ch about these things.

    All in all it was definitely a very strong episode in spite of my criticisms and because of the incredibly tangible interactions between Jo and Dean, both in the courtroom as well as the motel room, it will undoubtedly become one of my favorites in the long run. So, mission accomplished.

    Kast and Krew, wonderful job, thank you for your hard work.

    Jensen, Jared, special love and thanks to you both, as usual.

  • Overall, a very good episode.


    I really liked this episode, all except for one flaw that really bothered me... the idea for the trial and bringing in Osiris was great, and seeing all the witnesses brought in and how Dean was dealing with the guilt also made this episode quite good. The single problem I have is Sam and Dean's conversation at the end; I felt like the first two episodes of the season were phenomenal and got off to a really strong and dramatic start. But I found it weird in "Hello Cruel World" that right as they were on their way to the hospital and Sam saw Lucifer again--and there was the promise that Lucifer "wasn't going anywhere"--the entire next episode Sam seemed almost totally fine. I thought it might just have been a weird week, but then this episode continued it. There was a dramatic shift between Sam hallucinating and being about to lose it and Sam talking about how his time in hell almost helped him get rid of his guilt. I just think it's really strange how so suddenly after he got back the memories that were supposed to have killed him, he's talking about feeling fine. It's odd. I don't think this is something that they should just shove off as being so suddenly solved; it's unsatisfying. They definitely could be handling this better... but who knows? Maybe they will.

    The rest of the episode was really good, however. I'm hoping Supernatural can survive the Friday death slot, because to be quite honest it's the only show on the CW worth watching, and I think they could and should keep it going for a lot longer. Us fans have to unite! :D

  • I rather enjoyed this one, which is good because I've been looking forward to it.


    The story line, to start off was interesting. I have a personal love for the Egyptian gods and the mythology around them. I've been waiting for the boys to face off against one since season 1.

    The idea of bringing Jo back as a witness for Dean's trial was also an interesting move on the writer's parts. We've know about his guilt over her death since season 5, and I think it was perfect timing for him to face that.

    Yes, the ending was a little corny, but it still had that classical Supernatural feel to it. One of the boys saves the day in the nick of time and in the end have their little talk. I miss those days and it was good to see.

    It was a good episode, I really enjoyed it.

  • wow another fantastic episode dean on trial for his guilt sam defending his brother jo as a witness was awesome i hope dean tells sam about amy soon and his reasons he killed her sam will forgive his brother can't wait for more want more next week........


    wow another fantastic episode can't wait for more want more sam did brillant as dean's lawyer the next's weeks episode looks awesome can't wait until we see more jared and jensen also with jim awesome acting. miss seeing misha on but that will play out eventually were hoping castiel is still alive we miss him go supernatural you rock