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I agree, it’s an EXCELLENT episode! I agree with all your high points, JBB!
MAN, the guys got WET in the beginning of the episode when they leave the house of the first victim! Crappy weather in Vancouver and it’s POURING so hard in the shot that you can actually see them getting drenched. Of course, then their jackets are magically dry when they get into the car. HAHA.
I thought the episode highlights very interestingly how powerless Sam and Dean are against witches – or at least against the witch powered magic. And I always thought that this might be part of the reason why Dean hates them so much. He even says it here – the ARE human, so the conundrum of killing them is much more complicated than hunting and taking down a true supernatural monster. Still, they have to do SOMETHING as the witches are killing other humans. It’s another interesting dip into grey areas of hunting.
I like that in the end Sam and Dean do NOT kill any of the misguided human “witches” but that it is the demon who takes care of it.
I love the choice the writers made that these “Stepford witches” magic themselves raffle wins, craft career advancements and herb garden success! It’s SO pedestrian and mundane and I find it very funny. Especially in contrast to the nastiness some of the spells require and cause.
The building tension between Sam and Dean in this episode is also really well done. It’s so heart breaking that Sam thinks that he has to become more like Dean in order to be able to keep on fighting after Dean is gone! Between the acceptance that he feels he can’t stop Dean’s trip to hell and the admittance that he doesn’t think he’s tough enough to go on alone without Dean AND without help from Ruby just makes my heart ache. And Dean being so harshly (and rightly) against Sam working with Ruby but then seemingly accepting that he won’t be there much longer to protect Sam is equally painful. SO MUCH of that is playing out silently through Jensen’s exquisite non-verbal acting both in the conversation with Sam and then with Ruby.
Some really great scenes. We really get a sense of his sinking feeling and real terror as he understands more and more of what’s to come for him in hell. It’s chilling.
I really enjoyed the actress’ performance who played the witch-demon! Nice bitchy, annoying, neighbor and then such cold and scary dominance over the entire set of people in the room. Well done.