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Supernatural

Supernatural Review: Hounded

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Supernatural Season 8 has stumbled a bit trying to find its footing, and while the flashback stuff was interesting for a while, I'm really liking the whole "knowledge is power" aspect that's recently been at the forefront.

Sure, I guess having a variety of tablets - and now the introduction of Men of Letters - followed by the need to complete God's three trials to close the gates of Hell sounds like a lot. There's even a real potential to spread the show too thin with everything that's going on, something I think that happened to Supernatural Season 7.

Yet, with "As Time Goes By" and "Everybody Hates Hitler" really embarking Sam and Dean on a journey with a purpose, "Trial and Error" was a nice follow up that continued on that larger mythology path.

Closing the Gates

What really comes down to it, though, is the fact that for the most part, Sam and Dean are on good terms. They aren't overly upset with each other. They aren't running away. They're not moody.

The whole Men of Letters and the lair of supernatural info has given Sam a true calling, a definite background that's right up his alley. He's in tune with what's going on and he's determined to see the job through.

Dean now has a sense of home, something he's never really had before. Oh, and memory foam. Plus, it turns out, when he's nesting, he's a fantastic Top Chef cook.

Overall, it's nice to see that continuation of the brothers on the same side, working together in relative harmony. And now, finally, Kevin discovered how to close the Gates of Hell. Surprise, surprise, there's some special trials involved before that giant task can be done.

The first trial involved killing a hell hound and bathing in its blood. Gross, but obviously just another day for the Winchester brothers.

It's a great call back to demon deals and I was curious how they were going to find one, let alone see a hell hound.

I always thought that the real reason we never got to see the hell hounds before was because of budgetary reasons, which was fine. Having invisible dogs followed by major blood splatter worked.

Yet, turning Sam and Dean into mini Clark Kent's with their holy fire glasses was a neat trick that allowed us to see what those hell hounds looked like. I liked seeing the blue tinted creatures for a few moments and it never felt like their scariness was hindered or ruined because we did get to see them.

I was disappointed, however, that Crowley never made an appearance alongside his dogs. I mean, he did happen to be the demon that was there 10 years ago for the oil rich family. So, why wasn't he there? It's not like he's never going to figure out what Sam and Dean are up to. Was it just simply to connect Crowley to the dog that was going to be used?

At the same time, I was really pleased with the brothers' conversations with each other.

I was a bit skeptical of Dean throwing out the "stay safe Sammy" and "this is my job" comments because it has already been done. I know, it's how Dean thinks because he is the big brother, but I was simply afraid it was Supernatural pulling a tired Dean feeling out because they needed something for the brothers to argue about.

Even with Dean wanting Sam to have that normal life, and fighting tooth and nail to do so by taking on the trials alone, I understood his view.

But it was Sam telling Dean that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for both of them that spun it all around. Rather than working alone, the two can work together to beat the evil.

After all, that's how they survived the hell hound attack this go around with Sam jumping in to save his brother.

Now, I'm sure some might feel that once again Sam is getting to do the super power stuff (his psychic kid powers, demon blood, etc), but I don't mind, especially because Sam is gung ho about hunting again.

Really, if the brothers stick to working together, that works for me.

It does make me wonder about the other trials and what will happen when all three are complete. There's no way Crowley is going to go down without a fight and there's got to be some sort of consequence or fine print that goes along with the trials.

I think it's a fun direction that adds to the already heavy layer of info based power.

Now, was the oil family a bit campy for the episode? Yes. Can you believe Dean turned down sex? No, even if it was funny how flustered he got when Ellie was coming on to him. But all in all, the hour was a good solid follow up that has Supernatural focused on a positive path with a Sam and Dean Winchester that we know, love and are excited to watch both fight the bad guys.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (161 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Fifty

Missed Crowley but I have a feeling the king of hell will soon make an appearance. No way he is gonna let the brothers do 3 trials and close the gates of hell!!!

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Agree closing gates of hell is a problematic story. The writers did not think at all this season. S8 started off terrible. Glad that bland, unimpressive Kevin is hopefully gone. (Why was his mom in the show - WHY??? All she did was walk around with Kevin in ep 1 and get a tattoo, and used water pistol in ep 2. Writers - stop this trash!) Amelia was ghastly (why the cloudy lens? Why was she a vet? Why the dog? Why the husband, and why was her father in it? WHY?). Sam NEEDS a HAIRCUT!! It looks dirty! Writers, these later episodes are a bit better, but please make S9 good. No more Kevin, Garth or Charlie crap. And no more of Sam's nonsense.

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Sam sure snapped back fast, too fast for all the build up they have done about boring Amelia. Sure he likes books but come on. I like the batcave and Dean's room and his nesting. I'm not buying into the whole 'close the gates of hell story line' since that would end the series. I for one am upset with the notion of super-powered Sam again. I hate the idea unless their going to have it go completely wrong and Dean have to pull his brother out of Hell again. I say that because I really wanted some payback for Dean with the hellhound (which I think it was about time we saw). I really think it was unfair. I have not liked this season very much I miss Purgatory and Benny and Sam wanting to get out. That's what gave the story some emotional meaning. Not Dean's suicide mission and not Sam's 'I want to live' crap. Dean is right 'he should end bloody and with a gun in his hands' because that's the Dean we love. Then Sam can go on to restart the 'Mend of letters'.

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When Dean and Sam get back together, EVERYONE agreed that this is the best episode...why they don't realize it while picking a pairing war?
Still in love with the show, the brother and everything even after so many years.

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Regarding Sam, the writers must have thought the Amelia story would be charming and romantic, and that we would feel sympathy for them. FYI writers - it was the most boring, time-consuming torturous saga on SPN. And it went on and on, and wasn't about anything! It slowed up S8. Agree, we should have seen Purgatory, Cas, Crowley, Benny, and the Trials of God. There was no need for her to be a vet, a drinker, or married. Her father shouldn't have been in it. Sam could have got a girlfriend after unsuccessfully trying to find Dean. The story should have been a very short one, and Sam could have left her when Dean came back. At least we may have been a bit sympathetic then. As it is, Sam is now still a self-absorbed douche. Hope his character improves.

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Kevin was miscast. The teenage factor was annoying. What did the writers think? Did they think he would appeal to a younger audience? For me, I don't want to see Sam and Dean "babysitting". I think the prophet should have been older, perhaps a College Professor type would have been better. That bit when Kevin whinged about his finger was just plain awful. His mom was annoying with her yelling. She had no purpose, and shouldn't have been a character. The "mom, stop putting holy water on me, I'm not a demon" script was just plain appalling. His script was wrong, and he should have read the tablets. Prophets are supposed to suffer migraines/ psychosis, and we never saw that in this annoying character.

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@CheChe. No, no character development from Kevin! Absolutely not. Hope he is gone!!!! That cold he had was the final straw. Yuck.

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@Betty. Yes, all prophets are supposed to be protected by archangels. There are still archangels left (should be about four of them at least). They should have protected Kevin from the Leviathan. That episode in which Crowley kidnapped the prophets was a huge plot-hole. The writers really let us down there. Also, only one prophet can exist at a time, so if Kevin couldn't read the tablets, then Crowley should have killed him so that a new prophet in the room would then take over. The fact that Kevin struggled to read the tablets was another plot-hole. Prophets just DO what they are gifted to do. He shouldn't have struggled. A better story would have been that there were pieces missing, and that he couldn't understand it without the pieces.

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Not a bad episode, loved the hellhounds. Good to see the brothers working together, and that Sam has woken up. Glad that miscast Kevin has FINALLY read the tablets - hope he is now gone from the show! The Trials of God should have started much earlier -we shouldn't have had this annoying prophet pouring over the tablets - he should have just read them! S8 wasted the early episodes on this annoying character, his mom, Amelia, Garth, and Charlie rubbish. We should have had the Trials, and seen what Naomi is up to, as well as MOL. Purgatory should have been in a whole episode, and we should have seen something of how Cas got out. Crowley should have done something more interesting than worrying about Kevin. Hope S9 moves well with no irrelevant or annoying characters.

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Hope we do not see a return of Sam's "antics". No more black eyes, drinking demon blood, and no more psychic rubbish. Sam should have taken over some of Bobby's role, and become more of a hero. The writers destroyed him in S8 when he didn't look for Dean, and with his putrid daydreaming of his completely boring life with Amelia. Sam didn't even care that Dean had returned, and he wasn't interested in how Dean got out of purgatory. He was responsible for getting Martin killed, and WHY on earth would he want to kill Benny, when Benny saved Dean. Bad writing!!! Also, Jared totally needs a haircut! Hope S9 has a more intellectual, sensible Sam.