Supernatural

Season 6 Episode 13

Unforgiven

9
Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Feb 11, 2011 on The CW
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
449 votes
19

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
When Sam starts to have flashbacks from his year as a soulless hunter before he contacted Dean, the brothers receive a message leading them to a small town where Sam spent time working on a case with their grandfather, Samuel.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Sam's the smart one?

    1.0
    It was made clear to all involved that soulless Sam was an extremely cold and efficient hunter that admitted to Dean just a few episodes ago that he killed innocent people amongst all the many other 'bad' things he did.

    So you know what would be a good idea? lets retrace soulless Sams steps -with only fragments of memories triggering as you go and using the same alias (and face lol) -what could possibly go wrong?



    Dean speaks about hunters not returning to towns they have already worked because they often leave a mess behind, so where a non meat headed person would have handed it to another hunter or sent Dean alone to scope out the sheriffs office to find out what happened last time and whether Sam's cover was intact -meat head 1 and meat head 2 blindly stumble around town until they create more problems for themselves.



    It's a given that Dean rode a slightly shorter school bus than most -the whole saying that you are a FBI agent/art dealer/whatever and then proceeding to act nothing like a FBI agent/art dealer/whatever aka being a childish ignorant moron is a dead giveaway but Sam -as we were told repeatedly is supposed to be the brain of the outfit (remember who did the research, memorized Latin rituals, etc?), all in all if the writers didn't dumb Sam down -this specific episode would have never have happened.



    Dumbing down characters or otherwise making them act out of established parameters without a good reason or cause beyond poor writing will; from now on automatically get a 1 from me.moreless
  • Sam vs. Sam

    9.0
    I thought that this was a great episode for you to see how different Sam with a soul and without was, as well as showcase Jared Padalecki into a great actor with the nuances of how much Sam cares about others. Well, Sam with a soul cares.

    The best part of the episode is that you learn that so many of the actions have consequences, and that sometimes, it may indeed be a better thing to not have feelings to deal with what comes up.

    And then end, with Sam remembering burning... makes the next episode a "can't wait!"moreless
  • Sam meets himself, and it's not pretty

    8.0
    I mentioned in my commentary for the previous episode that the season arc was coming together more quickly than anticipated, which gave me great hope for the second half of the season to match the strength of the first. And sure enough, this installment continues the string of surprises. Did anyone see the warnings about Sam's mental block coming to fruition so quickly?



    This is what I love about this show. It takes a simple enough premise (Sam runs into a location that forces him to remember something he shouldn't), but it spools out the revelations over the course of the episode, taking the audience on Sam's journey of self-discovery. In the end, the consequences are much worse than anticipated, though I suppose we can assume that this is just a taste of what might come.



    I also mentioned in the review for the previous episode how Sam's restoration revealed just how talented Jared Padalecki has been this season. It's almost as if this episode was designed to demonstrate how well he managed to portray these two versions of himself. (It's very similar to the exceptional job that Anna Torv has been doing with the two Olivias on "Fringe".) This plot thread only works if Sam is convincing in both soulful and soulless forms, and Padalecki deserves the kudos for making it happen.



    Another nice aspect of the episode is how it indicts Soulless Sam by demonstrating how the cold, calculated approach to Hunting can go horrifically wrong. It's fairly clear by the end of the episode that Soulless Sam ran the numbers in his head and drew the wrong conclusion, essentially spreading the monstrous contagion instead of stemming it. What it says is what might have been previously implied: Soulless Sam may get short-term results, but the long-term consequences tend to be much worse.



    More than that, some of the things that were played up for laughs earlier in the season (such as Soulless Sam's lechery and self-centered hedonism) come back into play, but in a much less comedic light. His casual dismissal of the feelings of others, all designed to satisfy his own goals, speaks volumes about how much Sam needed that soul back. It also, in retrospect, reveals just how damaged Dean was earlier in the series, given how strong the parallels were established.



    Once again we see an episode that might have been substandard raised to a completely different level by the talented writers and actors of "Supernatural". With the future of the series still very much in question, I can't help but wonder how the writers intend to approach the season finale. This season has the potential to allow the series to go out on top of its game, so it would be a shame if they planned for a seventh season and didn't receive it. This is one show that doesn't deserve to end unfinished.moreless
  • Unforgiven

    9.0
    Unforgiven was a superb episode of Supernatural. This episode sets the tone for whats ahead in regards to Sam dealing with his inner demons from his time in Hell. I thought the story of this episode was entertaining, well thought, and played out well. It was cool to have a minor piece of greek mythology play a part. I enjoyed watching Sam and Dean argue over how to handle the situation. It was cool to see the flash backs of Sam's first time in the town of Bristol. The end of this episode left me in suspense and I look forward to watching the next episode of Supernatural!!!!!!!moreless
  • Bloody Past

    9.0
    Unforgiven-When Sam starts to have flashbacks from his year as a soulless hunter before he contacted Dean, the brothers receive a message leading them to a small town where Sam spent time working on a case with their grandfather, Samuel. Wow, considering this episode centered around Sam's soulless self, I'm surprised how great this episode. The new Sam we got in the first half of this season wasn't really likeable and most fans were put off by this harsher, heartless version of the Sam we all loved. But if those episode were anything like "Unforgiven", I'm sure that those fans, including myself, would have enjoyed the character more. "Unforgiven" doesn't exactly make that version of Sam sympathize, if anything, it just furthers how cruel and evil Sam was. What makes "Unforgiven" work is that the writers craft such a brilliant plot around what Sam was up to before he reunited with Dean at the beginning of the season.



    I really enjoyed the flashbacks in the episode. The black and white tint mixed with some clever cutaways to the past really added a lot of intrigue and intensity to the story. What's interesting about the the episode is Sam is essentially the hero and sadly the villain of the story. You can't help but feel sorry for Sam returning to that old town and not remembering what he did there. Of course we knew it was something terrible, but the build up to that revelations never felt forced or predictable and the pay off was chilling. Who would have thought Sam would kill a group of innocent people, not to mention how defenseless they were when he shot them down. Jared Padalecki really gives an excellent performance as both the old Sam and the menacing one. The confusion and drive to find out the truth from normal Sam to the merciless Sam who was out for blood was beautifully contrasted by Jared. I really felt bad for Sam at the end of this epsiode, in more ways than one but I will get to that later. As much as I've come to hate Samuel, I liked the position he was put in this episode, watching in horror how out of control Sam's decisions were. Great work from Mitch Pileggi! I also enjoyed the other guest stars like Miranda Frigon as Brenda, who really conveyed a genuine sense of her and Sam having a history right from her first line and Joe Holt as the Sheriff and Brenda's husband, who Sam brutally murders, only for him to come back as the monster he thought he defeated. Those were some creepy make-up job they did on him and while the Spider-man webbing was kinda lame, he certainly looked menacing enough. With such a strong episode, the ending was like a cherry on top. Sam suddenly falling to the ground and convulsing as he begins to remember his time in Hell was frightening and I really felt for Dean at that moment not knowing what to do. Such a great cliffhanger! All and All, a stellar hour from the Supernatural team with well crafted story and some fine acting work from Jared as well as all the guest stars.moreless
Joe Holt

Joe Holt

Sheriff Roy Dobbs

Guest Star

Pauline Egan

Pauline Egan

Debbie Harris

Guest Star

William C. Vaughan

William C. Vaughan

Deputy Atkins

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Samuel Campbell

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Dean: What are you watching?
      Sam: Just trying to catch up, So... Mel Gibson really took a turn this past year, huh?
      Dean: Or he's possessed. Seriously, think about it.

    • Dean: One of Dad's rules--you never use the same crapper twice.
      Sam: Everyone uses the same crapper twice.
      Dean: Not us. (Sam stares) You know what I mean.

    • Dean: Hey, Sam. So, how does it feel to be a fugitive again? Hate to say "I told you so."
      Sam: You love to say "I told you so."
      Dean: Actually, you're right, I do love to say "I told you so."

    • Dean: Well, can I get you anything?
      Sam: What are you now, my waitress?
      Dean: I'm just trying to make you feel better. Don't be a bitch.

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Airdates:
      UK: August 31, 2011 on Sky LIVING
      Sweden: October 14, 2011 on Kanal 5
      Spain: November 28, 2011 on AXN
      Finland: February 12, 2013 on Sub

    • In-Joke: Jensen Ackles (Dean) starred as Eric Brady in the hit soap Days of Our Lives from 1997 until 2000.

  • ALLUSIONS (6)

    • Deputy Atkins: Agents Roark and Wynand.
      Referencing the 1943 novel The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, in which architect Howard Roark attempts to implement his new ideas for buildings and overcome his outdated tradition-bound colleagues. Gail Wynand is the newspaper magnate who befriends Roark and eventually chooses to defend him despite the risk to his financial empire.

    • Brenna: What is this, Days of Our Lives?
      Referencing the long-running NBC soap opera that first broadcast in November 8, 1965. It revolves primarily around the Horton family, and has varied over the years from a realistic portrayal of suburban life, to adding supernatural and science fiction elements to stay topical and maintain its audience while bringing in new viewers.

    • Dean: Well, let's Memento this thing, shall we?
      Referencing the 2000 film about a man, Leonard Shelby, who suffers from anterograde amnesia and can't retain new memories. The film starts with his murdering a man, and then uses alternating narrative tracks, one in reverse chronological order, to depict the events leading up to the murder.

    • Samuel: So Roy's just some redshirt to you?
      "Redshirts" is a term coined by the original Star Trek series, where security officers wore uniforms with red shirts, and often their only function in an episode was to die violently to emphasize the danger of a situation.

    • Dean: My Spidey senses are tingling.
      Referencing the comic book character Spider-Man's enhanced senses, which grant him a form of precognition capable of letting him sense and then respond to most things that would pose a danger to him.

    • Dean: Well, you did kill Spider-Man.
      Referencing the Marvel comic book character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and who first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962). Peter Parker, bitten by a radioactive spider, gains spider-like powers and becomes a superhero. The hero, Marvel's icon, has had several of his own comic book series and appeared in TV shows and movies.

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