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This season I've been bracing for 'terrible' every time Bucklemming's turn comes up, and it's really helped improve my overall enjoyment of the show. My reaction to this episode went ... I can work with this. And then I wrote two fix-its in like a day! XD
First, absolutely agree that Kevin's exit was too abrupt and he needed more to do. Fortunately, the solution was staring right at us: http://archiveofourown.org/works/6839491
Secondly, this is my attempt to make sense of the Dean/Amara 'connection' and then also look at how Sam reacts to Lucifer by means of a Winchester Feelings Discussion: http://archiveofourown.org/works/6839908
I really do feel much better about the episode now!
Where do you find that info? The best I could find was looking at the patterns past seasons have followed!
Also the live-tweeting everyone did to celebrate this episode was epic!
I'm not sure what that has to do with this episode, except that I'm nervous they're going to screw it up, I guess. I liked it but not wholeheartedly, I think maybe a lot of that is nerves that they could mess up a lot of the stuff they're playing with. Plus that I am getting impatient with Dean failing to open his mouth and talk.
I was surprised by "God's sister" accompanied by a feeling of inevitability, because if this show can't play with sibling dynamics and reflect them back around Sam and Dean, then what kind of theme has it even got at all? Way to go, if that's what we were going for, show.
I do very much like that Sam and Cas are both struggling with how to move forward from their recent choices and traumas, in very individual ways that nonetheless tied in really well together here. Well done.
And the Cage! That makes a scary amount of sense, can't wait to see what happens with it!
I kind of like thinking that you have a bit of a soft spot for people who've helped stop an Apocalypse with you, is I guess what I'm saying.
He was repeatedly willing to risk his own life for things, as well as Dean's. I do think he was mostly in favor of getting his soul back - up until Death said it was so damaged that he'd likely be unable to function, at which point the cost-benefit shifted for him, because he considered himself highly functional as he was. And the upshot of that analysis was that Bobby would be an acceptable loss if It meant Sam wasn't a basket case.
I think if it'd been a choice between Sam or the world, though, he could've made the choice for the world just as easily as a choice for himself. The problem was that there wasn't a problem- he didn't see what was so pressingly urgent about getting his soul back, since it was only affecting him, right?
I LOVE the reflections on the past, I felt Sam's history was very present in this episode, from the "it's not a fetish" for serial killers (HAH! We've totally seen that at least a couple times before! And I love how he nerded out in Lizzie's bedroom) to the examinations of what soullessness means to different people - which was simultaneously something you couldn't help relating back to S6 Sam, and also hugely relevant to this season if Amara's going to keep going around eating souls (all signs point to yes, she will) so there was a lot to think about!
The red herring with the mother worked so well - she was having an affair and her husband was a meth dealer, so it made total sense for her not to want to answer questions from cops or FBI. She had a lot to hide, it just didn't turn out to be the kind of things Sam and Dean were looking for! Meanwhile the babysitter had much less of an emotional reaction to being interviewed, which made much more sense - I would have wondered at it if the mother's angry reaction had turned out to be a symptom of soullessness.
Overall I've really been enjoying this season so far, and Mark, I'm really glad you've liked the last couple episodes!
At this point Crowley has directly or indirectly killed or gotten killed so many of Dean's friends, associates, and random people standing around that he probably just doesn't bother protesting anymore. Like, that's totally Crowley's thing.