Let's start by saying, "Charisma and James Together on Supernatural! This is gonna be excellent!" at least that's what I was hoping after seeing last week's promo for this weeks ep.
I wanted to like this ep, I really really did. But I really didn't, not much anyway.
**spoilers and speculation**
Let's start with the obvious.
Our beloved, highest functioning alcoholic demon hunter Dean is about to spiral out of control, to become a pathetic, sad sack of self loathing that just leaves us pitying him as he blooms into a full on, full time alcoholic who's going to let his addiction nearly get Sam or Bobby killed, captured, maimed, jeopardized, or some such something, probably exactly at the time they're confronted with the full fury (or half depending on which part of the season the Gamble decides needs more juice) of Leviathan.
We understand Dean's guilt over having killed Amy, Sam's Kitsune friend. Well we understand it sorta... Dean was right, if she killed several times to protect her child, she would do it again, any mother would. We also understand the guilt isnt' really about him killing her, but about him hiding it/lying to Sam about it. Okay. But come on, after all they've been through THIS is what's going to be Dean's last straw that sends him over the edge?
One of the things fans have always loved about Dean is that in spite of everything thrown at him, he holds to his principles, does what he believes needs to be done and bears the consequences. Yes he's a high functioning alcoholic, but he's also a great "Glutton of life" (and what was with the 'insecurities' about meeting up with the bartender in the last ep, come ON, that is waaaay Out Of Character for Dean Winchester). Now the writers want to turn him into a pathetic, toothless, Rufus wannabe. Why? I Beg you... don't take him down this road. Have him confess to Sam, or better yet, have Sam find out and confront him, create the drama that way, but don't let Dean "slip" away from Sam because of an alcohol induced stupor.
And now Sam...
So, he's all better now? Out for a jog, (personally I actually do understand the healing power of running) I'm all for seeing him trying to do something positive, to make himself stronger (and we know working out is a big part of Jared's life so why not integrate it for Sammy a bit, cool) and maybe get into that 'happy place' so maybe he can ignore Lucifer banging around inside his head? Or is that done? He's managed to rebuild his wall all by himself, not even a hint of the 'tic' which is actually fine, but we didn't even get the occasional, "startle" or 'million mile stare' that could have indicated Sam's focus might have been compromised.
Or is it simply that we're now being given a false sense of security? After Sam's realization , through chatting it up with Osiris, that he has nothing to feel guilty about, he's suddenly all better. Lucifer is out of his head, warring quietly in his hell cell with Michael for all eternity. UnTil... the mid-season hiatus, or the cliffie of the season finale where we realize that Sam's personality caved to Lucifer and he's been riding the 'illusion' all along, going slowly insane?
And... not only do 2 800 year old witches let the hunters go, but the male actually goes back and saves their lives from one of Leviathan's tentacles that's been tracking the boys and now has them cornered, but, he also saves them from his beloved witchy woman too. Nice guy. Decent twist even if it was a cop-out.
As the ep ends, Sam implores Dean to talk to him, communicate! Just like they did to get the witchy couple to stop fighting and using the town as their battleground. (That was a really long way to go to get the message to 'talk' out there). Apparently it hadn't occurred to Sam that maybe Dean can't talk to Him, but did he say, "if you can't talk to me at least go hash whatever it is out with Bobby or someone," ...
Frankly this ep was just badly written.
It was well acted by all parties, just poorly written.
Hollywood has a credo - "Give 'em the same but different." How about some of the quality we became accustomed to back in seasons 1-5?
another - "Make sure the ending is emotionally satisfying."This one really wasn't.
and there are abundant rules when it comes to writing, one of the most important ones is: "You can have an outside force rescue your protagonist ONCE."So the question now is, how're the boys gonna succeed against Leviathan since they've already used up their one miraculous rescue?
*addendum* - Truly, if you're going to take us down this particular road with Dean, then I beg you to do it right.
Have Dean steal away in the middle of the night, leaving Sam alone, confused and just as concerned for his big brother as Dean was for him in "hunted".
Keep them separated for a few eps, Sam working cases he comes across as he searches for Dean - perhaps learning that Leviathan and its agents know the boys are separated and are making Dean its first target, somehow sensing he's vulnerable.
Dean, falling deeper and deeper into despair, tormented by visions of things he feels guilty over but shouldn't, (here you can mix it up with actual clips from past eps and maybe even a few 'new' ones that would add intrigue for the viewers) while he stays on the run, making sure to keep away from Sam and/or Bobby as paranoia grips him tighter and he begins to see 'monsters' everywhere.
Then... when you're ready to bring them back together...
Sam and Bobby close in on the missing Winchester's whereabouts, while Dean, wanting nothing more than to be left alone to drink himself into oblivion, stumbles into a case or gets kidnapped, perhaps by something that feeds on vulnerabilities - stirring up a psychological stew pot of guilt and self loathing (like the djinn only darker), while keeping its 'snack' prisoner, providing him with all the drink he can handle and even more, until "something' kicks in, breaking him out of his despair enough to turn his back on the bottle.
Now I realize that I'm probably the only one who'd want to see a minor arc like this, and that the writers will most likely never do anything like this... maybe I should fic it and just satisfy myself.
Anyway, whatever the writers do do, (yes I said do do), I am curious to find out what it'll be so that's a plus.
Kast, Krew, great work.
Jensen, Jared, special love to you both, as always, and thanks for your hard work.