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Supernatural: Unforgiven

Dean: "One of Dad's rules? You never use the same crapper twice."

This was a dark and dank monster-of-the-week episode with a really depressing twist. In fact, I felt cheated; I thought we were going to get season one Dean and Sam for awhile before things got dark and dank again.

The whole spider-monster and web story was again a metaphor for what was happening to Sam. And I'm not talking about the cliche "what a wicked web we weave;" he's tangled in a mess he couldn't help making. Roy the hero and all-round nice guy who turned into a monster related to Sam, too. It's funny (funny tragic, not funny ha-ha) that Robo-Sam's promiscuity turned out to have evil consequences, too. Hit the sheets with a tall, gorgeous federal agent, get turned into a spider monster. Of course, nearly every woman who has slept with Sam has died horribly, although I can think of at least one exception.

This episode also suggested that hunting like an automaton, or like Gordon, for instance, isn't as effective. Empathy has its place, even when hunting monsters. But we knew that. How many Bristol situations are out there? How much damage did Robo-Sam do in a year? And why did Samuel let it happen?

Dean reminding Sam not to remember got repetitious. Except that Dean was right. The Wall of Sam hasn't come down already, has it? Was that just a flash? Throughout the episode, Sam's memory was jogged only by specific visual cues. Maybe Sam should get away from anything that might remind him of Hell and Lucifer. In other words, he should split up with Dean and get completely out of the biz. Yeah, that'll happen.

And I'll say again – Dean, thirty years in Hell. Yes, Sam was incarcerated a lot longer and he was with Lucifer himself, but is it really just a matter of degree?

Bits and pieces:

— I am assuming that the title is a reference to the famous Clint Eastwood movie about a gunslinger going back and doing one last job? Plus there's the obvious definition of the word "unforgiven," of course.

— The snow web stuff was creepy. The contacts Roy was wearing when he was the spider monster were icky, too.

— Samuel mentioned that he and Deanna retired from hunting because Deanna accidentally got pregnant with Mary. Samuel also said he was 89 and counting, which would make him 90 now. We knew that, didn't we?

— Just a word to the wise: If you're a guest star in an episode of Supernatural, never go down into the basement. Actually, if you're a guest star in an episode of Supernatural, you're going to die horribly, anyway. (Come to think of it, the stars of the show die horribly, too.)

— This week: Bristol, Rhode Island. Loved the town sign with the lighthouse and the octopus, with the logo, "Where Memories are Made." (Octopi and spiders both have eight legs, too.) Dean and Sam camped in an abandoned building instead of a kitschy motel room, although the kitsch level in the restaurant was pretty impressive.

— A year ago, Sam was agent H. Roarke and Samuel was agent Wynand. The Supernatural wiki says it was a reference to The Fountainhead (Howard Roarke, Gail Wynand), but that doesn't seem Supernatural-like. Any other theories?


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: "What's that? She just cougar-eyed you."

Dean: "Sex rehab. You've heard of plushies, right?"
Did Dean really say his grandfather had a fetish for stuffed animals?

Dean: "Agent Roarke? About yay high?" (holds his hand two feet above his head)

Dean: "So we know that this is a monster with opposable thumbs and unlimited text messaging, and we know that it wants to kill you specifically. Does that about cover it?"

Dean: "Let's Memento this thing, shall we?"
Memento was mentioned last week, too. It's a fascinating movie about a man with a specific form of amnesia who is trying to solve his wife's murder.

Samuel: "So Roy's just some red shirt to you? Just spider bait?"
That was a Star Trek reference, of course. Not that the Supernatural writers need to establish their geek cred in any way.

Two out of four noisy, athletic conversations,

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


  1. Hey Billie, been reading your reviews for a while now. I've noticed you keep doubting the amount of damage Sam took in hell by comparing it with Dean. Dean spent 40 years in hell and was on his way into turning into a demon (tortuing people). Sam spent, what 100 years? 150 years? in hell with Lucifer himself! Why wouldn't his soul be bbq?

  2. Really? 2 stars for this episode? I thought it was amazing even though I was caught off-guard with the depressing. Although this show is doing what it always does (depressing).

    The difference isn't just degree, it's duration. We're talking about more than a century. 1.5 centuries? add to that Sam was in Lucifer's cage, which is considered the 9th circle of Hell (they mentioned they were following Dante on this one) and the worst place to be.

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  4. Hi, love reading your reviews. I'm personally hoping that if they explore what happened to Sam in hell, it will turn out to be more about the psychological torture. Like the angels inducing visions of John and Dean doing terrible things to Sam, or Sam himself doing terrible things and not being able to tell the difference between that and reality. The damage Dean carried with him from hell always seemed more about what he'd done to other souls rather then the memory of his own physical suffering. I think that would be a more interesting place to go, and a better explanation for why the wall coming down is such a risk to Sam.

  5. Much better episode than last week. I got the impression that the Wall of Sam is indeed down already Billie. Having occasional flashes would be a bit Doyle/Cordy, without the handy side effect of seeing the future.

    It was great to see more of RoboSam, I've always enjoyed Jared playing an evil doer (especially as Lucifer in The End) so it'd be nice to have a few more flashbacks with Gramps before the season is out.

  6. I don't know, I also think Sam is emotionally more fragile than Dean and their father. That'd contribute for his being more scarred.

  7. This was a good episode. While I was a bit disappointed after last weeks big reveal, there was no follow up this week, I did enjoy getting to see what Sam was up to the past year. I didn't realize how much I missed old Sam till we got him back. Robo-Sam is such a jerk, and kind of a slut.

    If I remember correctly, while in Hell, Dean was given a choice to endure the torture or instead become the torturer. He eventually succumbed, and became the torturer, later admitting to enjoying it. I doubt Sam was given the same choice, although I don't buy that his soul was taken to the point of no return. Lest we forget that the demons we've encountered, like Ruby, were once human souls tortured in Hell. They weren't comatose, though they were evil.

  8. I have to admit I can see why hell would be so much worse for Sam. Lucifer didn't just want to torture him; he wanted to turn him inside out. It would have been non stop torment and pain from two extremly pissed archangels. Hell... they might even have gotten Adam to do some damage as well; Adam had no say in being trapped down there with them.Plus... it seems that despite everything Dean went through in hell, it never really effected his soul. Sam's soul, as Cas put it, as been "skinned alive." But maybe they are going down the whole Sam will remember but is strong enough to cope with it route.

  9. Unforgiven is also the name of a Metallica song. This show has shown some fondness for the band in the past, so the title could also have some meaning there.

    Here's the chorus:

    What I've felt
    What I've known
    Never shined through in what I've shown
    Never be
    Never see
    Won't see what might have been
    What I've felt
    What I've known
    Never shined through in what I've shown
    Never free
    Never me
    So I dub thee Unforgiven

  10. I agree with Taba that this episode was better than 2 stars. Certainly a 3-star episode for me. Maybe 3.5 stars.

    Perhaps the basic monster of the week story could have been better, but it had Mitch Pileggi and I thought the overall story worked great as an important journey for Sam. Of course, Resouled Sam would want to try to make amends for things he'd done while Robo-Sam (whether he actually *should* have to make amends is a different debate), but it's just not going to be possible for him to make much of that stuff right. He can't make amends for what he did to people like Brenna and Roy, and I thought it was important to spend an episode letting Sam begin to understand that unpleasant truth.

    I also liked how this episode managed to make me feel guilty for missing Robo-Sam. He was a fun change of pace from a viewing standpoint, but he was kind of a callous dick.

  11. First of all, Poop Deck? Hilarious.
    Second, I am completely impressed by this, what an amazing episode and I knew that there would have to be some repercussions to bringing his soul back. So, Yes!

  12. When I saw the title the first thing that came to mind was Metallica and "The Unforgiven". It was even brought up a few comments above mine.

    I didn't expect Sam to get the Red Screen of Death so soon. I'm guessing Death won't be back to do a reboot on him. Next ep will be probably about waking catatonic-Sam.

  13. I agree with Billie's review - I don't feel like the show has really sold me on the idea that, while Dean had the odd nightmare after 30 years of torture and 10 years of torturing other people (the guilt from which I would've thought would be the worst psychological torture of all), Sam will turn to jelly because he was tortured for longer. Especially since John was in there nearly as long as Sam (a year to Sam's year and a half) and kept it together enough to break out during a very narrow window, protect his sons and sneak off to heaven.

    I can see how maybe what Lucifer did to Sam was worse but... what's worse than Hell?! It just seems a bit contrived, I guess.

  14. I'm slowly catching up to the present!

    I was also surprised at the darkness, especially with the wall being broken (or nicked) so soon at the end, but I did really enjoy this episode. It was interesting to see the contrast between robo-Sam and the "real" Sam.

    I am always interested to see where their aliases come from, so I was surprised to see it was from a book. I guess I shouldn't have, since Samuel probably chose them... I'm not familiar with The Fountainhead, so I went and searched Sparknotes (I know, cheater, lol)... But for others who may not know The Fountainhead - according to Sparknotes, it's about an architect who believes the new modern way is the best, and is actually kicked out of school and goes on to be looked at as almost an ideal man, or a god, by his supporters and hated by his detractors. Of course, it's really not just about that... Sparknotes also says that "The Fountainhead embodies Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, suggesting that egoism is an absolute moral good and therefore any person, institution, or system that blocks an individual’s freedom and talent is evil" - which seems to fit soulless Sam's personality.

    Considering the events of the last few episodes, several things struck me as I was reading the character descriptions:
    Roark was the main archeologist character. He refused to compromise his "ideals", was tough and determined, and, as I said, was looked at as a kind of perfect man by supporters (and apparently himself), and hated by detractors - but never actively tries to be evil or influence people.

    Wynand, Samuel's alias, is apparently capable and charismatic, but lets the world corrupt him, crushed by cynicism. His worldview changes when he meets Roark, and finds his passion... but eventually feels he cannot escape the ugliness he has created. He compromises at the last minute and loses his last chance at salvation.

    Now, keep in mind this is just a summary of a summary of a book I've never read LOL... but if I read the characterizations and think Sam and Samuel instead of Roark and Wynand, respectively, it really does seem to fit. Maybe the Supernatural writers read the Sparknotes too :D

  15. Very interesting, Nonei. I did read The Fountainhead when I was a teenager and was briefly enthralled by Ayn Rand (I outgrew her) and hadn't thought of the actual story in the context of this episode. Maybe I should have.

  16. So, I am writing while I am only partway through the episode (bad habit of mine, but it makes me feel as if I am watching the show with others), but what I don't understand is why it's considered a bad idea for Sam to learn what his body was doing for a year and a half. Isn't the memory protection supposed to keep him from learning what happened to his soul in hell? Unless Death's wall applies to a certain period of time. Besides, Soulless Sam said he still had brain cells and that should have remembered.
    Or maybe these are questions that should not be asked...

  17. And some of my questions were addressed after all. Patience, grasshopper, patience.


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