As it turned out, writing a review for this episode hasn't been easy because my emotions were conflicted. I really shouldn't let fictional characters get to me so much. In fact, I should just focus on the eye candies sometimes. However, it was catharsis for me to write down how I felt, so here it goes...

Before I start, can anyone please enlighten me on how one can destroy a pair of bifocal glasses by lighting it on fire?

No?  I suppose not.  Is it me or is the show getting sloppy here?  I must not have been paying close attention because I completely missed the salt part of the Salt 'n Burn.  But oh boy, can Dean be any more adorable when he put on Lincoln's stovepipe hat and went: "Four score and seven years ago, I had a funny hat..."

And wasn't Sammy hot when he started speaking Spanish?  I don't care if it was broken sentences, I'm a sucker for a guy who can speak a language that I can't.  But, er... Consuela, were you faking not being able to speak English?  Because when you asked "So I go home now?"  your English sounded pretty decent.

Then there were those clues that just went over my head:  for the life of me I couldn't construe how Dean deduced "James Dean" was in the garage when Cal was killed.  All I could see was a blotch of red that might be the famous jacket.  But come on!  James Dean can't be the only dude who wore that colored clothes.  Besides I couldn't even tell it was a person by the shape of the reflection let alone make a positive identification.  Also didn't Consuela left Professor Hill's house for the night before "Lincoln" showed up?  How did she then become an eyewitness?  I had no idea what made Sam decide he needed to poke around the dead guy's stomach for clues.  It was too contrived when he happened to find those seeds in the guy's belly.  That was pretty gross by the way, I could barely watch.

I know these things aren't major, but they kinda jarred.  Compare to last week's excellent episode, this one was underwhelming to me.  I don't want to lay the blame on Paris Hilton because I appreciate the publicity she brought for the show, I really do.  But her performance was the weakest link here.  Story wise, I don't mind putting the Apocalypse on hold for a bit and focus on a simpler MotW hunt.  The idea of another mischievous pagan god actually holds a lot of appeal to me.  The last time we saw one, it was the Trickster, and I loved him.  The problem with Leshi however, is when we finally get to meet her, she was more ho-hum than interesting; and speaking of deviousness, the wickest thing I find here was the pointy heel of her Christian Louboutin shoe.

Maybe I'm expecting too much.  Paris is no actress after all.  All things considered, the lines were pretty funny, I just wish she didn't sound as if she was merely reciting them.  But her very presence did provide the hilarious "I've never even seen the House of Wax" moment, although to truly appreciate the joke, one has to know a bit about Jared's past career choice.  I have to say Paris is quite a trooper to take a jab at herself with the line about spray tan and tiny dog.  Even hubby chortled at that.  Then again, doesn't Jensen own a pint sized puppy and has to wear fake tan for the role?  So, um yeah, the joke is not exclusively on Paris.

The juiciest parts of the hour were the scenes where the brothers confronted each other.  I could never get tired of watching Jensen and Jared act together.  That is the reason that unimpressed I was with the episode, I watched it at least a couple of times:  once when it was aired, and once on Saturday night with hubby.

With that being said, I suspect I hold unpopular view on what was happening between the brothers.  I haven't read many reviews yet except a couple I stumbled upon.  Of all the things I read and glimpsed, people generally seemed happy that Sam and Dean both matured into having a healthier and more balanced relationship.  However, my view is exactly the opposite.

To begin with, although Sam claimed he still "punishes" himself hard for the mistakes he made, he was acting mighty defensive for someone who's supposedly contrite.  When Dean told Sam they needed "training wheels" to ease back into the throe of things, Sam immediately took offense thinking Dean implied he wasn't good enough, whereas Dean merely meant they as a team needed readjustment. Then there was that phone conversation Sam overheard.  Of course things are open for interpretation, but based on how Dean acted and what he has been saying all along, I don't think Dean was bitching about Sam to Bobby on the phone.  Ever since their escape from the "light of doom," Dean has been vocal in accusing the angels jump started the Apocalypse.  I don't think that view has changed here.  So if Dean complained whose fault it was, he's more than likely to point his finger at Zachariah.  Besides when confronted by a petulant Sam, Dean acted more nonchalant about the phone call than sheepish.  I have no doubt Sam felt bad for breaking the last seal, but he was also acting like he's having a chip on his shoulder, which in my opinion renders his claim of self-flagellation insincere.

It also robbed me the wrong way when Sam all but accused Dean as the reason he erred with Ruby in the first place. He said Dean's tight control belittled him and made him seek other means to feel strong.  But if I remember correctly, Sam never had a problem going off to do his own thing before.  When he wanted a normal life, Sam headed for Stanford without a backward glance; when he wanted to look for their father in California, Sam was quick to leave Dean alone back in Indiana; when Sam wanted to search for answers after Dean disclosed John's last words, he left Dean in the middle of the night without a word where he was going.  Thus the pattern is quite clear:  Sam is so headstrong that when he wanted something, he gave very little consideration to Dean and how his actions would affect his brother.  So it's a little pointless to blame Dean being bossy.

Besides, the minute Dean came back from Hell, Sam already began lying to him about Ruby, pretending she's just a nameless girl he picked up for a bit of fun.  That action alone said Sam instinctively knew he was doing the wrong thing but he chose to do it anyway.  How was that Dean's fault when he just crawled out from six feet under?  Therefore projecting the blame on Dean now sounded a lot like evading responsibility to me.

Sam wasn't wrong when he said partnership requires trust.  However that trust needs to be earned, especially after it was destroyed.  But Sam's actions over the past year haven't exactly given Dean a reason to implicitly grant that.  Yet he whined about being put on "double secret probation" (which was all in his head anyway) and threatened to leave Dean once again.  How was that for learned his lesson and being mature?

Sam abandoned Dean at a time when Dean needed him the most.  He witnessed first hand how broken Dean was after his ordeal in Hell.  But instead of being there for his brother, he thought Dean was weak so he went off with Ruby instead.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  that was an ultimate betrayal of trust.  Forget about the Apocalypse, that's not what Sam needed to apologize to Dean, and Dean never blamed Sam for that anyway.  Instead, Sam should apologize for what his action has done to Dean.  Until Sam does that, his relationship with Dean is always going to be one sided.

When hubby saw the last scene where Dean apologized to Sam, he blurted out: "He shouldn't do that!"  That surprised me, and I really wanted a man's point of view on this.  So I asked him to explain why he thought so.  This is what he had to say: "Dean has done nothing wrong [in watching Sam closely].  He did all those to protect Sam, and Sam gave him every reason to act that way.  Sam needs to man up and stop complaining so much."

Well, turned out hubby's POV wasn't far off from mine.  Imagine that!  The thing is, as much as I sounded disappointed with Sam, I'm actually very happy the boys are back to where they were before.  And that's the crux of the matter:  with everything that has happened, neither Sam nor Dean has changed much here.  But that's the way we fell in love with them, right?

My score for the episode:  C
ETA:  The more I thought over this episode, the less I'm happy with it.  So I downgraded it from a B- to C.  Show, do you really want to make no distinction between admiring Lincoln, Gandhi with worshiping Paris Hilton?  Really?

And here's a mini Dean-centric picspam.  Click images to enlarge (1280x720)...









































Phew!  That's a lot.  Here's the link to the rest of the screencaps I made for this episode.  I also made a few screencaps for the SOON promo at the end here, but I'll post those in a separate journal entry.
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