Supernatural: Family Matters

Dean: "Is he even still Sam?"
Castiel: "You pose an interesting philosophical question."

I'm officially out of my Supernatural sixth-season malaise. Yes, we all suspected, but it was nice to have confirmation that there's a reason for the "off"-ness. I feel a lot more grounded now.

Is our Sam still conscious, in the box, and suffering? That's awful. Even so, at least we know where we stand. Robo-Sam may be a cold and empty shell with Sam's memories and skills (sort of like muscle memory?), but he still cast his lot with Dean and backed him up during the vampire melee. And Dean was less upset, now that he knows that it's Sam with a piece missing and not some monster that looks like Sam. The not sleeping thing is really interesting; is it a statement about our dreams being connected to our souls? I like that. Except the idea of Dean sleeping in the same room as Robo-Sam, knowing he's awake and watching him? Shudder.

How long will Sam go without a soul? It's a great plot idea, but it has to be hard for the actors. There were several comments last week that Jared is doing a great acting job, too, and I agree. Maybe he's enjoying the chance to do something new after all these years.

And how about the unexpected but very welcome return of Mark Sheppard? Crowley is one of my favorite Supernatural characters ever; he puts the savoir faire in demon flair. What does Crowley have on Samuel? If we're talking about souls and blackmail, the first thing that popped into my head was Mary Winchester. They even gave us a deliberate reminder of Mary when cousin Gwen said she thought she reminded Samuel of his daughter. If that were the case, I'd get it; if Crowley had my child's soul, I'd do anything he asked.

Although maybe I'm giving Samuel too much credit. The Campbell compound is so creepy. All that knife-sharpening in a dim and cluttered room; it felt like they could all turn on Sam and Dean at any moment. And Samuel treating Dean like an unseasoned kid was annoying. Although I finally do like one of the Campbells. Gwen was terrific with a machete, and she was pretty unhappy about Samuel working for Crowley. I have a feeling she could switch sides.

There were several big leaps in the show mythology. We've had heaven and hell, and now there's purgatory, where monsters go when they die. (Does that include demons? Is that where Alastair is?) And Rick Worthy with his fast-growing press-on nails was terrific as the Alpha Vamp. Very scary, shuddery and believable, and that's not easy to pull off when you're in a cage chained to a chair. Does the Alpha Vamp really have a mother? Or was it mothers? Is that where the twins fit in? The soul stuff was interesting, too. The Alpha Vamp's interest in Robo-Sam's potential to become a perfect monster because he's soulless made me hope they're not going to go there. Please.


I bet Crowley was lying about being able to retrieve Sam's soul. If Castiel thinks it's so difficult, and Lucifer the archangel himself can't get out, then how is it possible that Crowley can just snap his fingers? I don't believe it.

Bits and pieces:

— Smart of them not to put Mark Sheppard in the opening creds. It was such a nice surprise.

— So there's war below with the creatures, and war above in the "attic." Could they tell us more, please? And could we have more Castiel? He hasn't gotten enough screen time this season.

— Who was the woman in the house screaming "Dean" before she was killed? Was it one of the vamps in "Live Free or Twi-Hard"?

— Dean called the alpha vamp "Skippy" and "Fright Night." Crowley may have topped him by calling Samuel "Captain Chrome." No, I think I like Dean calling Sam "Robo-Sam" to his face the best.

— Christian was possessed. Don't the Campbells have protective spells and tatts? What sort of monster hunters are they?

— No idea where they were this week. And there was an ordinary-looking motel room. I miss the truly tacky ones. Get on the stick, guys.

— Do you think there were enough headless bodies in this one?

Quotes:

Sam: "Are you diagnosing me?"
Dean: "You'd better hope he can. Do you think that there's a clinic out there for people who just pop out of Hell wrong?"
Dean could have gone to that clinic, too. No, wait. He popped out of Hell right.

Samuel: "You're scrawnier than I pictured."
Castiel: "This is a vessel. My true form is approximately the size of your Chrysler building."

Castiel: "I'm in the middle of a civil war."
Dean: "You'd better tear the attic up. Find something to help Sam."
Castiel: "Of course. Your problems always come first."
I loved Misha's delivery. It sounded like Castiel was quite seriously agreeing with Dean.

Dean: "The old man won't notice?"
Sam: "Trust me. He thinks Velcro is big news."

Alpha Vamp: "When we freaks die, where do we go? Not Heaven, not Hell. So?"
Dean: "Legoland?"

Dean: "If the old man's Kermit, whose hand's up his ass?"
Interesting imagery. Dan loved this one. He said, "Safe to assume it's not Frank Oz." And then he pointed out that Castiel's "angel cavity search" was similar.

Crowley: "I'm a developer. Purgatory is vast, underutilized, and Hell-adjacent. And I want it."

Dean: "What did he offer you? Girls? Money? Hair?"

I'm going to let you guys rate this one, because it worked so well last week. Last week's verdict was four out of four stars, by the way,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just finished watching this week's episode. Dark. Really dark. So, Sam has no soul. That explains a lot. I'm actually starting to like grandpa Campbell. I thought he was creepy, but now he seems more like a human being. When Dean asked what Samuel gets from the "collaboration" with Crowley, my first thought was Mary.
But Castiel. I thought that was a bit sarcastic or hurt, when he said that Dean's problems always come first. Castiel really looks flustered about that civil war. Somebody has ruffled his feathers. I felt sorry for that poor angel. Dean's problems don't come first.
Not important, but I have a theory, why we see so little of Castiel. Misha Collins has a two months old baby boy. I think he's spending time with him, instead of our suffering heroes.

It's late. Exactly midnight for me. So excuse me if I didn't make myself properly understandable.

Long time viewer and Billie Doux blog reader from Estonia.

Billie Doux said...

Your English is excellent, long time viewer and Billie Doux blog reader from Estonia. You might be right about Misha Collins. Good point.

Anonymous said...

They're BACK!!!!!!! :D I seriously did a little happy dance at the end of the episode. My Supernatural is fianlly back to what it was! Poor Sammy though! He's always the bad guy! :( I really like Gwen this week, although I thought she was the girl in the window. Kudos for not ratting Dean out! This was totally a 4 outta 4. I'm tempted to give it a 5.

Robin said...

Fantastic ep! There was a little music cue played when the brothers realized Samuel had betrayed them that hit me right between the eyes--I call it Dean's theme, but it could also be the Winchester family theme, because they played it often during the first season. It brought tears to my eyes. Right after that, Sam asked Dean to work with him, and even though he didn't answer, we know Dean well enough to know that he's going to stand beside his baby brother and work with Crowley to do whatever it takes to bring his soul back. It was just BEAUTIFUL, and I wonder how many other fans heard it.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Crowley's "Charlie's Angel's" reference:

Crowley: Me Charlie. You Angel's.

Charlie's Angel's is the perfect analogy for their new relationship.

Check out my website.

www.marksheppardfans.net

Cecile said...

Certainly a dark episode but with a lot of funny quotes, how not to love it?

Mark Greig said...

Wow, now that was one incredible episode.

When the Alpha-Vamp started talking about his mother I instantly thought about Echidna, the mother of all monsters from Greek mythology. That seems to be one place this season’s arc is going, not just to the location of purgatory but also to the origins of monsters as well. Wouldn’t be surprised if at some point later on we get to meet Mommy Alpha.

Jess Lynde said...

Great episode. So tense! Robo-Sam really scared the bejeezus out of me! Jared is doing a great job. Thank goodness the soul reveal did, in fact, come before the opening title card. Guess they threw that in the preview to save the best surprise --- Mark Sheppard --- for the heart of the show.

I was rather surprised that Grandpa was working for Crowley. Is that something we theorized earlier in the season? I thought he was secretly working for the side of good all this time, but apparently not. Just a greedy developer interested in Hell-adjacent property. I'm on the "he must be doing this for Mary's sake" train. Didn't we learn last season that Mary and John Winchester are missing? I seem to remember Castiel or someone saying at some point that they were missing from Heaven. Their absence could be tied to what's going on with Samuel and Crowley now.

Loved your comment about the bodies in this one, Billie. My husband was in the adjacent room when I was watching and he could see the screen. When the show was over he said, "Your show is really violent, J. I just saw more headless bodies than in a WWII flick!"

I agree with Anonymous from Estonia that I thought Castiel was being sarcastic with Dean about his problems coming first. It doesn't really fit with his usual style, but it still struck me as a sarcastic remark.

Felipe said...

After last week's disappointment this episode completely smacked me across the face. Loved every minute. It felt like Supernatural. Finally!

I think VD has really spoiled me plot development wise, it took 7 episodes for us to find out what was wrong with Sam.

Was I the only one that caught the Seinfeld reference?

Sam's reaction to his grandfather's betrayal was rather emotional for someone who has no... Emotions.

Gave it a 4!

Mark Greig said...

You weren’t the only one, Felipe.

Dean’s “Hello, Newman” remark to Christian still makes me giggle.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Sam has no emotions, but I definitely think he has no conscience. Or good judgment. That's what Dean always seems to call him on. -jen

Anonymous said...

How come Cas had to torture Sam (and the boy) to find out his soul was gone when the Alpha Vamp could tell right away? Also, why didn't Cas immediately recognize the demons? He was in the same room as Christian. Since when can't angels not recognize demons?

Nick said...

Well, if I remember my biblical references correctly (I'm not Christian, so I'm probably wrong), but wasn't Lilith supposed to be the mother of all monsters?

True, they already did a Lilith, and she's dead (as far as I can remember anyway), but the 2 little girls in Dean's dream-vision kinda reminded me of her.

Anonymous said...

Very good and it was so dark, just like I like it. So Sam has no soul and everyone just distrusts everyone. I liked Gwen and I knew Samuel was being a bit shaddy. I never trusted him and I don´t trust him.
Loved Dean calling Sam "Robo Sam" and that line about that angel cavity search.

Patryk said...

Mark bet me to mentioning the mother of all monsters. I bet they're going there too.

Great episode, but the little stuff irks me. Like demons suddenly able to teleport while inside their hosts. That was always an angel thing. Demons only did it while disembodied. That plot development makes episodes like season 3 Jus In Bello stop to make sense.

Crowley might be lying about being the king of hell. All those monsters from purgatory would be usefull as an army to cement his position. Or attack war torn heaven.

ChrisB said...

Now it all makes sense! Still, I hope Sam gets his soul back before too long. This one still makes me nervous.

Love having Crowley back. I'm more convinced than ever that both heaven and hell are harvesting souls. Big showdown coming?

Marianna said...

What an interesting and nuanced take on the concept of losing one's soul! I'm more accustomed to the Buffy/Angel take where no soul = evil. Here Sam isn't going around killing people for fun, I assume because he still has his memories and therefore remembers the basics of what is right and wrong but is having trouble with more subtle decisions where he would have in the past relied on his emotions.

One thing I've been wondering is when Castiel pops in for a little while and then returns to heaven, what happens to Jimmy? Does he just wait around for the next time he's used as a vessel? I hope Castiel returns him to where he was before or it would be very confusing for poor Jimmy.

Billie Doux said...

Marianna, we do find out what's up with Jimmy, but not for awhile yet. And btw, I'm enjoying your comments!

Juliette said...

I love Supernatural's interpretation of what soulless means, and Jared Padalecki's performance is brilliant in these episodes.