Supernatural: Family Matters
September 1, 2021 6:01 AM - Season 6, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Dean becomes suspicious of Samuel's motives, though Sam doesn't believe that their grandfather is doing anything wrong. The brothers go along on a hunt with Samuel and the other Campbells, but things go terribly awry.


Samuel: This Castiel?
Castiel: [nods]
Samuel: You're scrawnier than I pictured.
Castiel: This is a vessel. My true form is the size of your Chrysler Building.
Dean: All right, all right, quit bragging.

Sam: Working with a demon, huh? You're not who I thought you were.
Samuel: You don't know anything about me, son.
Dean: So what's so important that you're the king of hell's cabana boy, huh? What'd he offer you? Girls? Money? Hair?

Crowley: Best shut your gob. Employees don't question management.
Dean: We ain't your employees.
Crowley: Of course you are! Have been for some time now, thanks to Gramps. I don't keep Captain Chromedome around for his wit, do I? Samuel knows things. More than any of you, actually. Walking encyclopedia of the creepy and the crawly. And I knew, you two are so hung up on family-loyalty nonsense, that when he said jump, you'd get froggy.

Alpha Vampire: The thing about souls, if you've got one, of course, is they're predictable. You die, you go up or down. Where do my kind go?
Dean: All right, enough with the sermon, freak.
Alpha Vampire: I'm trying to answer the question. Now, when we freaks die, where do we go? Not heaven, not hell. So?
Dean: Legoland?


Sam mentions that Samuel "thinks velcro is big news". Velcro became commercially available in the late 1950s, and Samuel was killed in early May 1973, so this was just a joke. The "Jaws in a goldfish bowl" comment might have been lost on him, as Jaws came out in 1975.
posted by orange swan (5 comments total)
Nothing about this episode makes sense to me. Why would Dean be so suspicious and hostile towards his Campbell relatives? Sure, Samuel coming back is really weird and he doesn't trust it, and he senses that there are things they aren't telling him, but his reaction goes beyond that. I could try to drum up some theory as to why it makes sense psychologically, but I think it's just bad writing.

How did Dean not notice that Sam doesn't sleep at all?
posted by orange swan at 6:03 AM on September 1, 2021

How did Samuel, who had been dead for decades manage to find family (that he would have no knowledge of) and convince them to follow his lead? Especially so quickly and easily in a year or less?

Maybe it's just me, but the more I try to think about the plot and actually understand what's going on and where the story is going, the less sense it makes. Fine, I'm along for the ride, but don't expect me to navigate.

Dean is looking very red-eyed all season. (Not a criticism of him but more of a concern for the actor's well-being.)
posted by sardonyx at 8:19 AM on September 1, 2021

Surely some of the older members of Samuel's family, such as some of his siblings, would still have been alive and living in the same places. It's mentioned once that Sam and Dean had an uncle who put up their mother's gravestone, though he is never mentioned again, so perhaps he had a son he could find. Alternatively, while hunters are usually drifters and hard to find, some are settled in their own homes (Bobby is, and Samuel Campbell was himself), and there is a certain network of hunters, so if he was able to find some of his former hunting acquaintances or their children, they might know the present day Campbell hunters and their whereabouts.

Certainly it would have taken a little digging, but Samuel only needed to track down one person from his family or the hunting network, and that person would know how to reach at least some of the others, and then those people could point him to others in their turn. It would be doable -- and don't forget, hunters are skilled at tracing people, because it's part of what they have to do.

How Samuel would have become the younger Campbells' leader so quickly is another matter. Hunters tend to be very independent and suspicious. It does seem odd he'd have become their grand poobah so quickly, even if he is incredibly skilled and knowledgeable.
posted by orange swan at 10:57 AM on September 1, 2021

Especially so quickly and easily in a year or less?

Solid grounds for Dean being suspicious of Samuel and the Campbells. Doesn't this episode spell out that Samuel is up to something hinky and might be getting supernatural viagra for his charisma?

Jessica Heafey (Gwen) could win a Sigourney Weaver lookalike contest.

red-eyed all season

I'm half certain that's just makeup. His eyes (eyelids, undereyelids - sometimes his lips) are too pinkish for his colouration, but his sclera ("whites" of the eyeball) are pretty clear. To make Dean (not Ackles) look like he's still dealing with an alcohol misuse issue?

Acute red eyes (of the sclera) from drinking is from the dilation of capillaries (blood pressure and leaky/ burst capillaries), chronic red eyes can sometimes be secondary to liver damage from decreased production of platelets (impaired clotting).

Rhinophyma (red nose) is (inaccurately) associated with drinking, but alcoholism doesn't necessarily cause it but can exacerbate pre-existing rosacea of the face/ nose. Common in a subset of ethnicities and more noticeable because of colouration.

Alcoholic hepatitis often leads to yellowing of the sclera (jaundice). Lots and lots of red blood cells are normally turned over every day, and the hemoglobin breaks down into bilirubin some of which is converted to bile and the rest excreted in feces (and is a major component contributing to colour). During liver failure, the excretion is impaired and accumulates in the skin and eyes.

The character 'Yellow Eyes' probably wasn't meant as an allegory for alcoholism, but I guess could be retconned as such?
posted by porpoise at 11:09 AM on September 1, 2021

I figure, it doesn't take much to make Dean hostile and cagey around other hunters not already in his circle; I think the last hunters he met murdered him and Sam in their beds. Even worse than that, the Campbells are the hunters Sam chose to work with all year while everyone, including Bobby, let Dean believe he was was dead, and Dean is not historically at his most biddable when he thinks Sam's choosing to trust others over him. Even if they were the nicest people in the world and trying to be his friends, and hoo boy they are neither, it was a longshot that "third cousins you just found out about" had a chance of trumping all that for him and all the "we're family" talk starts seeming pretty thin if not manipulative on all sides. Samuel, maybe, but he's already got a surrogate father, he doesn't need another one. (And there's also a lot of bad writing.)

I'm interested too in why Sam does want to be around the Campbells, who he seems to get along with fine. He thinks and talks of himself as a different person but he still wants to hunt, and for seemingly most of the same reasons he used to want to hunt. He's incapable of caring about people, including any of these people, but still thinks he should be hunting with his family and is content that way. For a long time he knows something's wrong with him but not what, and spends a lot of energy fitting in (not for the first time in his life) but I don't think he's driven totally by the need to fit in and seems relieved when can drop the act a bit. (There's an interesting argument in why Sam really wouldn't let anyone tell Dean about him, but either way I don't think it's quite the same reason he would've had with a soul.) So much is left unclear about Soulless that it's hard to figure out what's intentional and what just wasn't bothered with, though I say this still thinking it was a super interesting direction and enjoying him a lot.
posted by jameaterblues at 8:40 PM on September 1, 2021

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