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I agree with all of your observations.
It was an emotional tour de force for all brothers (until we find out that Adam isn’t Adam) to find out about another part of f-ed up family life for the Winchesters.
I remember feeling mostly pissed with John on first watch as to me it felt hugely unfair to Sam and Dean that Adam had the perfect childhood with a mostly fun dad when they had lived the crap life on the road. But over time that has mellowed a lot for me as I am sure he didn’t plan on having another kid and (again) did the best he could in his inept way to keep THAT family safe and far away from anything supernatural as well. It really had nothing to do with Sam and Dean.
The episode really does demonstrate how difficult the decision is between keeping a person equipped with knowledge about the dark forces out there versus trying to keep them happily ignorant.
In the end I feel Sam is right in making sure Adam has at least marginal self-defense knowledge and to know that something is out there that can’t be taken care of by reporting it to the police.
On the other side I do understand Dean’s annoyance at Sam’s “sudden” switch to John’s view. The scene with the conversation between Sam and Dean about quoting dad’s lines and giving the kid the company BS was GREAT. You can see how confused Dean is at Sam’s apparent change of attitude towards hunting. Especially when it conflicts weirdly in this particular instance with the way John tried to hide Adam from the same hard life.
Tough one to watch because BOTH brothers are right in a way.
I always thought the way the ghouls cut Sam to bleed him dry was a bit over dramatic because, I’m pretty sure Sam wouldn’t have made it… OR he would have had MAJOR scars from it and needed a pretty long time to recover. HAHA
And I do not get why Dean went completely postal on Adam-ghoul and probably beat him to a pulp when he later wants to give him a hunter’s funeral?
Jake Able IS great! He plays the clueless but eager younger brother very well and later is a great Michael. It’s a shame we didn’t get more from him. But of course killing a brother they didn’t even knew they had made for great drama.
The very last scene at Adam’s pyre doesn’t sit well with me, though. Dean talking about how Sam was more like John than he will ever be – of course, we had heard the same from John in Season 1. Dean says it as if he is disappointed in that fact. Does he mean that John trying to have a normal life with the secondary family is like Sam running away? It didn’t make much sense to me and seems a little like the writers were just trying to create drama.