Happily we sink into Sam's day-glo flash back world where things are really, really bright - in stark contrast to the dark of the car. The sun beats down on the idyllic green world as a dog frolics beside Sam. A bridge over still waters transports Sam through a park, where he is…..freaking out? Really? Apparently Sam has his own abandonment issues because he practically hyperventilates over Amelia not being in his sight. This cannot be a good sign for the relationship. Take 38 Special's advice Sam - Hold on Loosely but Don't Let Go. You're clinging too tightly and you're gonna lose control. The sadly named dog, Riot, runs off. Sam chases him, right to Amelia. She made Sam a birthday picnic complete with cake and a wayward aww slips from me. I love when the brothers are happy, even for a moment. Amelia by the way looks a lot like Dream Lisa in Dream a Little Dream of Me, except everything here is much brighter. Sam is puzzled and Amelia says, "What? You've never seen a birthday cake before? Sit. Eat." Sam smiles and my heart sings. No, I don't think Jessica skipped his birthdays but Sam hasn't had much to celebrate lately and I'm glad he can here. We need more idyllic flash backs, more happy brothers. Or heck, even extend this one. I'm filled with joy but we segue far too quickly back to the Impala of Brotherly Strife. Sam looks wistfully out the window, a small smile edging his lips. He turns to see Dean driving and he sighs with a grimace and sad eyes. Ouch! Why show? Why? I can't handle a Sam who is miserable that his brother is back from Purgatory. I don't want a Sam who feels obligated to be by his brother's side and looks at his brother like he ruined his life. This sucks out loud. It's not true to the characters we've grown with for 7 years. FIX IT NOW!!!!
There is so much to love about this episode and so much to hate. There are smart brothers and action but there are brother rifts and excessive exposition. The case of the week was interesting, one of the better ones in my opinion, but the pacing was off in the middle. They answered my season 8 wish list and then broke my heart. This episode is tough. So I'm stuck on what grade to give it, wavering back and forth multiple times…..
My Grade (to the tune of Torn Between Two Lovers by Mary MacGregor):
Torn between two grades here,
Feeling lost and used.
Smart brothers vs. brother rift
Has got me all confused.
Smart brothers are a solid A
Their absence makes me blue,
But brother rift….is Jeremy's big "screw you."
Argh! Forget it. Grade = 3
Scorecard - Here's how the rankings break down in my scorecard.
1 = One of the best episodes in all of Supernatural, or in all of TV for that matter.
2 = A great episode when judged against other Supernatural episodes.
3 = A good Supernatural episode, which means it's better than almost anything else on TV
4 = An okay episode when judged against other SPN episodes, meaning still better than most TV.
5 = A poor episode, meaning only better than some TV.
Screencaps by Home of the Nutty