Okay, let's do this thing... let's see if I even remember how...
Season 8, thankfully better than Season 7, though it got off to a slow start, in my opinion.
Get the nice sum-up, and then One Year Later - which makes the second time-jump that doesn't actually jump time. I really hope they stop doing that. Twice is enough. My timelines are confusing.
We get the campers in way too nice tent, and Dean's return!!
Dude, I don't think I'd send my boyfriend out of the tent. I've seen too many horror movies, and I'd like to think that I'd like my boyfriend and want him to live.
I love this first shot of Dean. For all I rag on the time-jumps, it's cool to come into something without knowing the background to it comepletely. I mean, yes, we knew he was in purgatory for a year at this point, but we don't know how he just got out yet, and we don't know what state of mind he's in. And it's all rather delicious to sink our teeth into.
Song: "Another year has passed me by... what kind of man have I become"
-the song is a little too on the nose, but it's also kind of awesome that way too, so I'm not complaining.
For those wondering about locations, this scene of Dean walking is shot down on the DoD lands near Boundary Bay airport. I've been to that fallen birch tree!
We also get Dean rubbing his arm, which is the first sign that there's something odd going on... the second sign is that he goes to a weird watertower and starts digging a grave. :P
And then there's weird glowy moving thing in his arm (that's the third sign)... and after a spell, we meet Benny!
Dean: "Well that was fast"
Benny: "No thanks to you. What the hell took you so long?"
Dean: "You're welcome. Everything working?"
Benny: "Good enough"
- We find out that the man Dean just brought back from the dead is a vampire. The plot thickens! I do like the way they play this scene, because if it's a cold watching, you think that they may be enemies - but if you know them, then you realize that the initial coldness is just the regular teasing among good friends.
Benny: "So, what now?"
Dean: "Like we talked about, I guess."
Benny: "Then this is goodbye."
- It's gotta be interesting, because although we don't know how many months Dean traveled alone in Purgatory, we do know that he and Benny must have spent 24/7 with each other for a good long time. To suddenly cut that tie has to feel pretty momentous to them, even if it was always the plan. I know other people have written purgatory as a place where eating and sleeping happen, but personally I don't see it that way. So, when I say 24/7, I mean 24/7 conscious hours.
HUG! First of many this season, but arguably the most shocking. Dean's always been the type to want to see the world as more black and white, hell, last season after Cas' betrayal, he doubled-down on that conviction and would hear nothing else. It's not like he's been proven wrong, either - even Lenore from S2 eventually admitted to killing under Eve's influence. You could argue extenuating circumstances there, but I doubt Dean would hear you out.
Okay, cut to Sam, mysteriously leaving a woman and a dog in bed down in Kermit, TX, while a man in the shadows watches him drive away. This little mystery was nicely set up, but sadly, was disappointing like Sam's entire front-end arc.
It's pretty sad (I think Sam thinks so too) that Sam's only "home" or refuge is a hunting cabin formerly owned by a hunter he barely knew and only met twice.
Sam: "Dean! I'm not a demon - or a leviathan-"
Dean: "-or a shifter. Good. Come on, my turn, let's go."
Sam: "I don't need to. I know it's you."
Dean: "Damn it, Sammy!"
- I love this greeting. It really sums up their different head-spaces. Dean's had 24/7 combat for ~12 months, while Sam's been a civilian. Sam knows it's Dean because no one else would randomly attack him with holy water, borax, and a silver knife - whereas being randomly attacked is common-place for Dean.
Dean: "Alright, well, let's do this"
Sam: "I don't know whether to give you a huge or take a shower."
Dean: "*laughs* Come here!"
-HUG! I always love how Dean closes his eyes for a moment and just FEELS Sam in his arms. Guh, my emotions.
Sam: "Dude! You're freakin' alive! I mean, what the hell happened?"
- A lot of people had issues with Sam's lack of reaction to Dean coming back. I know Jared was one of them. It's kind of got to suck a bit for him, because he knows Sam would have looked for Dean, but the writers probably told him that it'd play out and be explained or something, and then it just never was - I'll talk about a route that they could have gone that would have been awesome AND make sense when we get to 8x08, but until then I'll try to keep my mouth shut about it.
Dean: "Well, I guess standing too close to exploding Dick, sends your ass straight to Purgatory."
Sam: "You were in Purgatory? ...For the whole year?"
- I do have to hand it to Jared for working with what he's been given, and we do realize here that Sam had NO IDEA where Dean was. That Sam thought Dean was dead dead. Final finito. He didn't realize that Dean needed rescuing.
Sam: "How'd you get out?"
Dean: "I guess whoever built that box didn't want me in there anymore than I did."
Sam: "What does that mean?"
Dean: "I'm here, okay?"
- I think part of my problem with the front-end of S8 was that they tried to build mysteries that shouldn't have been mysteries - ie: the payoff wasn't good enough. The big thing about the Purgatory arc was Benny's relationship with Dean, and that would have been unaffected if Dean had just answered Sam with "I found a portal back! Yay!" Haha, but then I guess that's kind of weird to explain. So, nevermind. I guess this was less of a mystery and more of an expedient way to cut through dialog and avoid telling instead of showing? Who knows. I just know that if I were Sam, I would NOT let Dean get away with being that cagey.
"What about Cas? Was he there?"
- I'll be beating this dead horse a lot, but I always crave more Sam+Cas interaction. I know Jared and Misha have joked that the writers don't write Sam+Cas scenes because Jared is constantly teasing Misha and ruining takes - but I really hope that's not true (firstly, because it'd be unprofessional and secondly, because I WANT MORE SAM+CAS FRIENDSHIP EXPLORATION, GODDAMN IT!) I just find their dynamic so interesting, because they DON'T have a "profound bond." But they seemingly genuinely care for each other as friends.
- Anyhoo, this is a sore subject for poor Dean....
Dean: "Yeah, Cas didn't make it."
Sam: "What exactly does that mean?"
Dean: "Something happened to him down there. Things got kind of hairy towards the end, and he just...let go."
- So, this is interesting, because with Dean's wording here, it's as though at this point he KNOWS Cas left him by choice. Whether it was a weird suicide, or not, it sounds like Dean hasn't fabricated the false memory yet. Part of me kind of thinks that it would have been just as traumatic for Dean WITHOUT the false memory - yes, Dean's afraid of failing the ones he loves (ie: the false memory of Cas falling out of his grip), but he also has a really strong fear of abandonment (the real memory). BOTH cases are horrible to Dean...so, does he need the false memory? Maybe his fear of abandonment is stronger than his fear of failure, and it's actually easier for him to believe he failed Cas, rather than know that Cas chose to leave him.
Sam: "So he's dead. You saw him die."
Dean: "I saw enough."
Sam: "So, then you're not sure?"
Dean: "I said I saw enough, Sam."
- You'll have to forgive Sam, Dean. He just found out that someone he thought saw die wasn't dead and needed rescuing - so, yeah, he's going to double-check his other dead friends now. :P
Dean: "So, you, I can't believe you're actually here. Did you know that half of your numbers are out of service? Felt like I was leaving messages in the wind."
Sam: "Yeah, I- I- didn't get your messages."
- So the first time I watched this, I completely missed this line. It's said so fast that I'm not even sure Sam says "get"... in anycase, I thought that Sam came to the cabin because he heard from Dean, but he didn't! Complete happenstance!
Dean: "How come?"
Sam: "Probably because I ditched the phones."
Sam: "I guess, I guess something happened to me this year too - I don't hunt anymore."
- Ah, the storyline I don't like again...
Dean: "So you just turned tail on the whole family business?"
Sam: "Nothing says family like the whole family being dead."
- Sam has a point Dean. Dean always seems to be under this mistaken impression that Sam is capable of going on without him, when that's just not the case. I mean, yes, Sam continued living, but I think Sam's a hunter to keep Dean alive and that's all. Without Dean around to protect, Sam just stops...and drives aimlessly until he hits dogs, apparently, but we'll get to that.
Dean: "I wasn't dead."
Dean: "In fact, I was near deep in God's armpit, killing monsters, which is what I thought we actually do."
- And this is what happened to Dean in Purgatory, which he'll talk about later - it WAS black and white, it was the kind of Hunting that Dean enjoys. It reaffirmed his love for it, after the last year of watching Hunting kill Bobby and destroy everything that Dean ever loved.
Sam: "...as far as I knew, what we do is the thing that got every single member of my family killed. I had no one. No one. And for the first time in my life, I was completely alone, and honestly, I didn't exactly have a roadmap! So yeah, I fixed up the Impala and I just drove."
- This is the thing with Sam, HE'S in S7 Dean's mindset - where everyone he loves is dead, he has absolutely nothing and he doesn't know what to do.
- Personally, I don't care what Show did or didn't show us, I'm of the opinion that Sam had a psychotic break after 7x23. It'd make sense too, given the treacherous grounds his mental health was on already.
Dean: "After you looked for me. Did you look for me, Sam? Good. That's good. No, we, we always told each other NOT to look for each other. That's smart. Good for you. Mind you, we always ignored that due to our deep and abiding love for each other, but not this time, right, Sammy?"
Sam: "Look, I'm still the same guy, Dean."
Dean: "Well bully for you! I'm not."
- This pains me, because yes, I get that Dean is hurt - but again, I really do believe that he's yelling at someone who had a psychotic break. But back to the words - Sam is technically right - he IS the same guy and the problem is that Dean isn't, because Dean doesn't seem to remember his own suicidal "why don't we just let the world drive off the cliff?" attitude of the previous year, and that's where Sam is when it comes to hunting.
I read a great meta somewhere... about how at the beginning of S8, Dean and Sam are displaying two different forms of PTSD. Dean is the hyper-vigilant "adventure"-lust kind, and Sam's is the "adventure"-avoiding, introverted quiet kind. Anyway, in my opinion the meta was pretty spot on.
*Dean storms out*
Sam: "Welcome back."
-Oh Sam... as much as Dean has a fear of failure, Sam does too. He constantly feels like he fails his big brother (mainly because he kinda does)... and it's gotta hurt that within five minutes of Dean's return, Sam is being yelled at for the latest complete and utter failure and reminded about what a big disappointment he is.
Sam: "Do you want some dinner?"
Dean: "I'll pass."
- I love little non-lines like these. There are so few of them in TV, where seemingly nothing is being said of importance, but it's still important, you know? I just love the way Jared says "okay" - it pacts so much information about how Sam is feeling into two syllables that Dean just ignores.
And then we get Kevin's voice mails... I love them, by the way. I really like Kevin as a character and the character progression that he goes through when the Winchester's aren't around (or hey, even when they ARE around.)
Dean: "He was our responsibility and you couldn't answer the damn phone."
- Let's add onto Sam's list of failures - Dean, check! Kevin, check! Oh Sam. It's true though, Sam was the only one who knew that Crowley had Kevin. You can argue that it makes sense for Sam not to look for Dean if he presumed him dead-dead, but to not try to rescue poor innocent Kevin? Kind of weird behaviour on Sam's part - which again, I really wish they had explained by SHOWING us a psychotic break. But no, instead we just get OOC!Sam, in my humble opinion.
Oh, continuity mistake - when Dean stands up the bandanna around his arm falls to his wrist, but in the very next shot it's securely around his forearm again.
And it's off to Centerville, Michigan...
Dean: "Well, no visible signs of douchey, I'll give you that?"
Dean: "Does it smell like dog to you?"
Sam: "In the car?"
Dean: "You tell me."
- You know, it must be kind of trying to hang around with someone who you can never seem to do right by.
- But yeah, dog smell is the worst. (I am not a dog-person, I apologize to dog owners.)
Location tidbit: Rufus' cabin is a facade built in the same DoD lands by Boundary Bay airport. The crew refers to the tree beside it as Kim Manner's tree.
We get our Hurt Locker moment with the vending machine instead of a cereal aisle...and our first flashback of purgatory.
Dean: "Take a breath. Calm down. Where's the angel?"
Vampire dude: "You're him. The human."
- I love the fact that Dean has made a name for himself by being the one to ask 'Where's the angel' - I'm a huge fan of the Winchesters As Legends idea, and this sort of thing is legend building, at least among the monsters of Purgatory.
Not to rag on Dean's purgatory flashback - but an attacker of that size on top of you? There's no way you could hold them off with just one arm.
Sam: "You okay?"
Dean; "Yeah, hey, what do you say we blow this joint and hit the road?"
- I love the motel room scene, where we can SEE Dean's PTSD. The way the sounds from outside are amplified and he's jittery. Dean doesn't know how to be still anymore. He doesn't know how to NOT be doing something.
Dean: "And what you said, 'Not my problem'?"
Sam: "Yes, and you know, the world went on."
Dean: "People died, Sam."
Sam: "People always die, Dean..."
- And here we get Dean's "must save everyone" complex - which we last touched on in S5, I believe... and Dean himself was first aware of it as possibly detrimental in S2. But yeah...
Dean: "So what was it? What could possibly make you stop, just like that? Was it a girl?"
- No, Dean, it was a psychotic break because the person he loved most in the world was gone and he had no reason left to fight, because Sam doesn't actually care about anyone EXCEPT YOU.
- Of course, Dean's self-esteem issues mean that he's going to latch onto the idea that it was SOMEONE ELSE.
Sam: "The girl had nothing to do with it."
Dean: "There WAS a girl."
Sam: "Yeah, there was. And then there wasn't. Anymore questions?"
- For all I absolutely hate the Amelia storyline, I do like the fact that Dean wasn't the reason that they broke up. I like the fact that Sam had a relationship that ended for other reasons - that it was just a failed relationship and nothing more.
I don't like this cut in the show, where Sam makes it sound like he won't take about it anymore, but then they cut to hours later and he's talking about it. Did they just sit and stare at each other for hours until Sam eventually gave in? And Dean moved to sit on the floor for some reason?
Sam: "I hit a dog."
Dean: "I knew I smelled dog!"
Sam: "And I knew you'd throw a bitch fit."
Dean: "The rules are simple, Sam! You don't take a joint from a guy named Don, and there's no dogs in the car!"
- I do love how they can devolve into a simple brother-fight. I'd love to hear the story behind the first rule... also, the writers need to think of another name besides Don. Actually, my grandfather's name was Don - don't think he smoked pot though. :P
Sam: "...what was it like?"
Dean: "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Sam: "Try me."
Dean: "Bloody, messy, 31 flavours of bottom-dwelling nasties. Hell, most days felt like 360 degree combat, but there was something about being there. It felt pure."
- Despite the vampire friend, I still think Purgatory WAS a refreshing black and white scenario for Dean. He had his allies (Benny and Cas) and his enemies (everyone else) - and you slaughtered your enemies. And I don't think Dean really worried about the grey area of being friends with Benny until he got back to earth...and it's only then that he had to really wrestle with the idea of allowing for good-monsters in the world, which is I think why he kept it from Sam - knowing how Sam would react to Dean being, for all extents and purposes, a huge hypocrite. Sam's always been willing to give monsters a chance (which means that I've got a problem with 8x09, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it), but Dean very rarely has been willing to give anything non-human a pass...and in S7, definitely not. Sam's not going to be as accepting of character growth that he wasn't around to see.
I do love this first meeting between Benny and Dean, with them circling each other. I like it, because Benny doesn't know Dean, but he's putting all his eggs in this basket. He sought out the human slaughtering his way through purgatory for a chance to escape.
Benny: "First rule of purgatory, kid. [You can't trust anybody.]"
Dean: "You just asked me to trust you!"
Benny: "You see, you're getting it now!"
- It's hard not to like him. :)
Dean: "First we find the angel."
Benny: "Three's a crowd, chief."
- There's this gif set going around tumblr about how Benny might not have known why Dean was looking for the angel, but I think he did. "Three's a crowd" definitely sounds like Benny knew that Dean was looking for a friend - that it was a rescue mission of sorts. Benny knew that once they found the angel, he'd have to walk through purgatory with that angel drawing everything nasty to it like a pop can for wasps.
Sam: "Maybe we should split up, ask around, see if anyone's seen him."
Dean: "Yeah, asian kid, yea high, at a university, that should be easy."
- Oh stereotypes... you are still funny even though you are horrible.
And the blood bowl makes a reappearance! It's been a while, blood bowl. (<---Sorry, I just have to laugh at myself for talking to the blood bowl like it's a person.)
And Sam lapses into the first of many ridiculously triggered flashbacks.
Sam: "You're not sure what? This is an animal hospital. You save animals. SAVE THIS ANIMAL!"
- I think Sam's projecting his failures on other people.
Dean: "Sweet mother of god. It's for me? Seriously?"
- I love the sweet look Dean gives Sam, like all Sam's sins are forgotten right then because he got Dean a burger... if only all his sins really WERE forgotten right then, they could have saved Sam a lot of guilt-trip.
I love the supersoaker that Kevin uses on the boys - the kid is smart!
Kevin: "What the hell happened to you guys?"
Dean: "Cliff notes? I went to purgatory; Sam hit a dog."
Kevin: "For real?... Want some towels?"
- This is what I love about Kevin, he's still go that sort of...civilized quality to him. He offers them TOWELS. He's a definitely more hunter than he was before, but he's not completely divorced from his previous self either.
I love how they had to explain why the actor had a haircut, and so they just made it be that Crowley gave him one...to like, be nice? I don't even know. And then they use the exact same excuse for Meg's dye-job later... it's kind of hilarious to think of Crowley just giving people hairdos for kicks.
And Crowley had the demon tablet the whole time! This is the funny thing about this season though - because it takes FOREVER for Kevin to read the demon-tablet, even though the leviathan tablet he could read in one evening. Kind of, weird, but I guess maybe the leviathan tablet is like Twilight and the demon tablet is Milton or Chaucer or Ulysses or something.
Kevin: "I told Crowley I was opening a hell gate, but I was reading from another chapter - how to destroy demons."
Dean: "You son of a bitch."
- I love that Dean can say that with such affection.
Kevin: "Banish all demons off the face of the earth. Lock them in hell forever. That could be important, right?"
- And we get out plot for S8!
Sam: "There's no way that Kevin's getting out of this intact, is there?"
Dean: "Well he's doing pretty well for himself so far."
Sam: "Yeah, he got out."
Dean: "And now he's in it...whether he likes it or not."
Sam: "So, free will, that's only for you?"
- Again, we're returning to Sam's mindset. Kevin's involved, which means that Kevin will eventually die - and Sam will have to watch that.
- And we're also getting to another theme of the show - Free will and who is and isn't allowed to exercise it. Arguably, Sam's only exercised his free will once (or twice, if you include Stanford) in his life, and that was enough to defeat Lucifer. He had free will in S6 and S7 though, so that's being overly harsh, but he was soulless for a lot of S6 and crazy for a lot of S7. But then, you could also argue that Sam LET'S himself be controlled by Dean, and that's a choice too. He could always walk away from his brother, he's done it before.
Dean: "..every single bastard that destroyed our lives, killed our mother, killed Jess - and you're not sure?"
- Low blow, Dean. And are we doing this for revenge? Because we've been down that road and it never ends well. Also, Dean thinking of this mission as one without a price, whereas Sam isn't. Sam, I think, instinctively knows that it's going to come at a great cost - that Kevin will probably die at the very least. Dean, meanwhile, is thinking more along the lines that I believe John always thought: "Once this demon is dead, Dean will have a home, Sam will go to school..." there was never a thought to the idea that he might have to watch his son die in the process - which was too high a price to pay for John, when it came right down to it. He'd rather die instead and leave the rest of the mission to Dean, as long as Dean lived.
Sam: "Kevin, I owe you an apology, when you disappeared and Dean disappeared, I needed to clear my head. And I'm thinking you were one of the pieces that I should have been there to pick up."
- Understatement. Again, "clear my head" I think refers to "I had a psychotic break."
Kevin: "You've been a hunter since you were a kid, right?"
Sam: "Yeah, mostly, yeah."
Kevin: "Ever since I realized I was a prophet. It's just hard to believe this is actually my life..."
Sam: " [...] trust me on this - it gets better."
Kevin: "You know I'm not gay, right?"
- Hehehe, I do like that line.
And now Sam's giving Kevin the talk about how there's a way out - but I don't think Sam actually believes there is. I think he's just trying to pull the line for Dean.
This annoys me because no vet in their right mind would just pawn a dog off on a stranger that ran him over. Also, how does she know the dog isn't anyones? Just because it's uncollared and not chipped? You don't know! Ugh...such bad writing when it comes right down to it. It would have made FAR more sense for Sam to have hit the dog, and then freaked the fuck out because - PSYCHOTIC BREAK - and Amelia be more of a comforting/calming figure - which would explain WAY more why Sam clung to her. She could STILL have her own problems for sure, but this whole relationship built on being slightly antagonizing is just annoying.
Sam: "What the hell is that?"
Dean: "It's purgatory."
- Yeah, but you're fighting demons, Dean.
Dean: "Spanky the demon, yeah, I heard about you - you're the one that uses too much teeth, right?"
- How did I miss that dirty joke the other times I've watched this episode?
Channing: "Kevin? What's going on?"
Kevin: "There's a demon in you and your going to your safety school."
- I love that line. Again, I just like that the old-Kevin bleeds through every once in a while.
And the holywater over the door! I love Kevin's intelligence, really.
But poor poor Channing... she's fridged. I like the slow-mo death shot though.
Sam: "Kevin? How you holding up?"
- Ah, I get why it was Sam who went in to talk to Kevin at the church, even though he was parroting Dean's beliefs instead of his own... if you look, you can see Dean give Sam a look before Sam addresses Kevin. Dean's using Sam as the "people person"...the one who is good at talking. I should have known.
Kevin: "Awesome. The King of Hell just snapped my girlfriend's neck, how about you?"
- At least she didn't burn on the ceiling with her abdomen cut open? Because the previous King of Hell totally did that to Sam and John. (and I don't care if it's never been confirmed - Azazel was totally King of Hell, then Lilith, then Crowley - at least that's my headcanon)
Then Sam and Dean share a look that holds the conversation:
"Well, me talking to him didn't work - I got nothing."
"Yeah, alright, we'll try my way."
Dean: "Alright listen to me - I'm sorry about your girlfriend, okay, I am, but the sooner you get this the better - you're in it now, whether you like it or not, and that means you do what you gotta do. I'm hitting the head."
- Yeah, not very sympathetic, Dean, I can see why you made Sam try first.
- I also love Sam's face during all this, he's just SAD. Like he sees Dean treating Kevin the same way John treated them as kids, the same way Dean's treated Sam in the past - he's in it, whether he likes it or not. Free will is not for Sam, and it's not for Kevin - and Sam knows where this road leads.
And then we get the secret call to the secret boyfriend.
Dean: "How did you get a phone?"
Benny: "Would you believe they sell these things in convenience stores now? A lot's changed in 50 years."
- I love that we get a timestamp on Benny. He died in the late '50s early '60s sometime.
Benny: "Mostly it's the choices, so many choices."
Dean: "Yeah, I hear that."
- I don't think Benny's talking about vending machines and breakfast cereals, Dean. I think he's talking about morality.
Benny: "I think you had it right, bud. Purgatory was pure. I'm kinda wishing I had appreciated it more, you know, like you."
- And we get the first hint that Benny's actually regretting his decision to return to earth. He's still got his mission at this point though.
- I also like the fact that he implies that Dean openly APPRECIATED Purgatory. For all his PTSD, Dean had fun. Dean was in his element. Dean always got a cathartic release from the monsters he could just go in and slaughter indescrminately, and it was obvious that purgatory was no different. It makes me wonder what it was like for Benny to be friends with him - to basically be friends with someone who was a killing machine and JOYFUL about it.
Benny: "I hear you, you keep your nose clean too, brother."
- Make sure you don't kill people, just because it's fun! Hahaha... seriously though, the Winchesters and the monsters they hunt aren't THAT different from each other. It's all about perspective.
Sam watching Amelia save the dog. Weird. And way too much suction noise for my liking.
Channing demon talking to Crowley.
"You're not coming, Sir?"
"I'll cover your six."
"But what if the prophet tries to destory us?"
"Oh, I'm sure I'll find a way to go on."
-hehe, oh Crowley. I love how much he hates demons.
Alright! Well, I'm running errands this afternoon and I've got a play this evening, so the next rewatch episode probably won't be up until Friday night or possibly the weekend. I feel a bit rusty at this, to be honest!