By John Keegan
The fact is, John and Sam are probably too similar to ever get along for very long. And Sam brings up the one thing that prevents either of them from giving up control over what’s coming: they’ve both lost the woman they loved to the demon they’re chasing. John may have been doing it for longer, but for Sam, the pain is more raw for being so recent. Sam resents the idea of being left out of the chance for vengeance.
John, of course, doesn’t want to lose anyone else in his family, which is a completely understandable point of view. But the fact is, his sons are grown and have the right to decide on their own. (This attitude makes the previous episode more relevant, since it helped establish Sam’s similarity to his father.) Even Dean, the dutiful soldier, isn’t too happy with the idea, and points out that John has been having it both ways.
The implication is that John wanted his sons to deal with the issues he couldn’t while on the final hunt, and should John fall, at least someone would still be out there to take the next shot. Dean and Sam eventually come to a common conclusion: they all stand a better chance of success working together. And of course, that was the point of this episode.
John needed to learn how to share information and give his sons the chance to make their own decisions and suggest their own alternatives. In short, he can’t treat them like children anymore, even if he still feels responsible for them. Dean needed to recognize the difference between being strong support without straying into blind obedience. And Sam needed to recognize that living his own life doesn’t mean he should turn his back on the needs of his family. Of course, all of that is generalization, since the characters don’t quite get to the point where they make amends.
As far as the main threat in the episode, I thought they were a lot of fun. I wasn’t looking forward to “cowboy goth” very much, but I have to admit, they made it work. Especially when it came to the women! That said, the final act was a bit of a mess, since the three Winchesters had to survive relatively intact, despite being outclassed in nearly every way. But how better to prove the potency of the Winchesters when they work together?
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