How much did I love this episode? Probably just about as much as you did. :) It was exciting, suspenseful, and action-packed, with moments that left me gasping in shock. It was also funny, heartbreaking, and mytharc-heavy, with moments both poignant and proud that left me desperate to hug Sam and especially Dean so very, very tight! Oh, boys.
This show keeps making it harder for me to like Bela. I really do appreciate her consistency, the way she is unrelentingly in it for herself, and she makes me laugh. Surprisingly, I didn't completely hate her after she shot Sam, told Gordon where to find the boys, or stole the Colt, or even, perhaps worst of all, when she invaded Sam's dreams to mack on our precious puppy. But after this week, Bela? We are so over! Bitch.
I loved having Henriksen back, and not just because he gave me the boys in handcuffs and chains. :) He is obviously a good man who has given up every hope of personal happiness to fight the good fight, to save the rest of us. Yes, people, he's Dean Winchester. Whoa, who knew? And, of course, I will forgive him his understandably misguided view of the boys, because he redeemed himself completely as soon as he was convinced of the truth. And how cool was it to watch Dean and Henriksen fight side by side and back to back, the proverbial comrades in arms? I pretty much fell in love with Victor as the episode went on. Which, of course, meant he had to die. *sighs*
Actually, the way Henriksen clung to his belief that Sam and Dean were the bad guys was very similar to Dean's unshakable belief that all demons, including Ruby, are evil. And I'm still not sure I disagree. I found Ruby to be insufferable in this episode. Yes, I believe that she was willing to sacrifice herself to save Sam (with Dean only along for the ride), but she's still a demon, after all, and her world view is necessarily skewed because of it. I did not find her logic compelling. Besides, she was condescending, rude, and pissy, and she left right before things got really bad. I think her demon-killing knife might have come in handy, y'know? When she came back at the end, I just wanted to tell her to shut up.
I am 100% with Dean (and Henriksen) on this one, you do not lower yourselves to the level of your worst enemy, and you do not entertain the notion of acceptable collateral damage. No sacrificial virgins! Just as in Houses of the Holy, right and wrong do not change with the circumstances. I was so proud of Dean when he held fast about this! And I'm a little concerned that Sam seemed to think things might be negotiable. Again, this takes me back to HOTH, when Sam was willing to kill at the behest of what he thought was an angel from God. I find it curious that the more traditionally faithful of the brothers is the one with the fuzzy view of the rules. And just to be absolutely clear, it wasn't Dean's fault all those people died, it was Lilith's.
I really liked the supporting characters in this one, especially Nancy. The actress who portrayed her captured her mix of innocence, faith, fear, and courage perfectly, and I fell in love with her, too, during the demon siege. Which, of course, well, you know. *sighs* I was kind of hoping that Dean was going to go back later and make sure she could never be a target again, if you know what I mean. :) How cute was the exchange where Dean could not wrap his mind around the concept of an adult who was still a virgin, and where Nancy defiantly asserted that it was by choice?
So, let's talk about the boys. Dean was my hero in this episode. He was the Dean with whom I first fell in love, the Dean who puts on a brave face, using his snarky humor not only as a shield for himself, but also to deflect attention away from Sammy. The Dean who doesn't care what people think of him, as long as he gets the job done and kills the big bad. The Dean who never gives up in the face of his own cynicism, even when he's up against seemingly impossible odds. And most of all, he was the Dean who has a code of honor, and never wavers from it. Like I said, my hero.
And Sam blew me away. I was worried that with the way they switched the order of the last two episodes, Sam's characterization would seem off somehow, but it totally worked. I loved how Sam was all about the silent and intense brooding, giving everyone those baleful looks that made even me nervous. I could really believe that this was a man who had spent every day of the past months hunting and killing. How crafty was he, totally turning on the puppy dog eyes to lure Nancy over, and then, just when she gives in to trusting him, attacking her to snag her rosary? I never expected it, and I loved it. And then with the latinating!! Three separate, glorious times, and from memory, no less. *swoons*
I'm not usually a big fan of fight scenes, but when they opened the doors to the demon horde, it was a thing of beauty. Dean, Sam, and Henriksen were all beyond awesome to watch, and I especially loved the filming technique they used that showed the flying salt and holy water to such great effect. I had no idea what the plan was, but when it all came together, it rocked! Nothing's sexier than men conquering evil, if you ask me. Rowr.
There were a number of exceptional moments in this episode. When Henriksen insulted John, and both boys sat up and took notice. BDW may have been a bastard, but don't dishonor his memory with either of our boys!
When Groves came in and shot Dean! What?! And Sammy, instantly coming to Dean's rescue, with deadly speed and unerring instincts. When Henriksen asked Nancy if she was okay, and she first nodded yes, and then, poignantly, shook her head no, her eyes filling with tears. Sammy's bitchface, when Dean said, "But you didn't shoot the deputy." hee! Henriksen's complete acceptance, when Dean said, "I owe you the biggest I told you so ever." Dean's realization that Sam has been keeping secrets from him, and with Ruby, no less. Not to mention Sam's silence in response. Ouch. And finally, the beautiful moment at the end, where Dean looks to the heavens as if to say, what more do you want from me, God? Broke. My. Heart.
Random thoughts: Dean's gun is pretty. What is Bela up to with the Colt? I loved Dean's wanted poster, Blue Steel mug shot, hilarious aliases, and all. Did you notice how Dean was fine with Ruby being vaporized as part of the spell? He only objected when human sacrifice was required. And finally, Sam in nothing but a beautiful, short-sleeved tee, again! Somebody up in Vancouver loves us, girls! :)
See a bigger version HERE.
Screen caps courtesy of marishna and oxoniensis, with my thanks!
I bow to Kripke's wisdom on this one, this was the perfect ending to the pre-strike season. Lots to fangirl over, lots to ponder. I don't even want to think about the torture that is this upcoming hiatus, but at least we do have some new episodes to anticipate. Thanks for the ride, Kripke, I hope we can do this again, and soon!