Faith Review

By John Keegan

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It’s amazing how this show can pull you into a relatively simple and straightforward story. I was very busy coming into this episode (the “24” premiere week is always nuts for me), so I started the episode while cleaning up. Roughly an hour later, I realized that I had made little progress. Believe it or not, it wasn’t my semi-obsession with Julie Benz, either!

No, this time, it was my fascination with Dean’s enormous feelings of guilt, and how much was running beneath the surface. Sam made a value judgment for his brother that speaks volumes, and I’m still not sure that I’ve considered all the possible interpretations of that decision. It’s rather clear what Dean’s interpretation is, however, and it just might make their relationship more complicated.

There’s some indication that the episodes are being aired out of the intended order, but I don’t think that it’s been as obvious or damaging as it could have been (in the sense of a series like “Firefly”, for instance). I see a fairly consistent progression of the character exploration. Sure, the rift between them in the previous episode might have evolved out of this series of events more naturally than out of “Asylum”, but it all hangs together very well.

More to the point, Sam had come to realize just how important Dean is in his life by the end of “Scarecrow”, and that plays a crucial part in his decision to save Dean’s life through questionable means. Even after the truth about the Reaper was revealed, Sam didn’t show much remorse over the cost to save Dean’s life, though his actions clearly demonstrated a desire to prevent further loss of life.

Dean, on the other hand, demonstrates a very different distinction between the morality for the sake of family and the morality for the sake of strangers. In essence, he buys into the idea that the Winchesters have devoted their lives to fighting the darkness for everyone else, and that means self-sacrifice. Dean is deeply affected by the realization that someone had to die so he could live, and that is likely to have future repercussions.

In terms of the actual plot, as I said, it was very simple. Faith healers annoy me on a scientific level, but I do find that they provide intriguing examples of how faith and belief work within an individual. It was somewhat predictable for the healer to believe in his own ability, while the truth was far more sinister, but I liked some aspects of the lore involved.

One thing that took away from the episode was the somewhat cheesy depiction of the Reaper. It looked like they were going for something like the Gentlemen from the “Buffy” episode “Hush”, and wound up with something more suited to a cereal commercial. That took away some of the enjoyment for me, but as usual, the focus on the brothers’ psychology and mental state is my primary interest.

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