Supernatural Review: Guilt Trip

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Supernatural rounded up another Creature of the Week episode here, as it continued its "return to the beginning" style of storytelling.

And this installment was chock full of things that brought back memories of the first couple seasons. Hunting ghosts, dingy hotels, Dean picking up girls, working in a small town and even concluding the hour with a heart-to-heart against the Impala while drinking a beer. This was classic Supernatural.

Dean on Trial

At the same time, "Defending Your Life" wasn't a carbon copy of an older episode. It merely incorporated the past, while finding a way to acknowledge the changes over the years.

Dean certainly recognized the oddness in working a case because it felt so long ago since they had done that type of work. They've been so preoccupied with the apocalypse and fighting against Angels that the simple task of taking care of some ghost had become a backseat problem.

Except the real problem wasn't the terrorizing ghosts, but rather Dean's enormous amount of guilt. How much does that thing weigh?

His life has become one huge guilt trip and the flashbacks to the deaths around him was proof enough. I love that Sam stepped in immediately to defend his brother and throw a positive spin. Who knew that studying pre-law would come in handy when fighting the supernatural? Who knew that Sam watched The Good Wife?

And as much as Dean being on death row was a negative thing, it did mean the return of Jo. I enjoy when past characters pop up. It delivers a strong sense of continuity while generating past memories. Viewers haven't seen her since season five, but even as a ghost she was able to illustrate a connection with Dean. I wonder what would have happened between those two if she hadn't died?

I'm curious as to why they held back Amy as a witness and left Sam in the dark about her death. That betrayal will have to come into play at some point and could (most likely) tear the brothers apart.

Additionally, as much as the trial centered on Dean, it revealed a lot about Sam as well. Sam doesn't feel guilty at all. That seems rather weird considering Sam is usually the one dealing with his emotions. Sam feels as if his time in Hell has allowed him to pay for his sins and move forward with his life.

Can he truly not feel guilty? Everyone feels guilty about something or another.

So, yes, Dean was guilty. We all knew that, especially with all of the experiences he's been through. That said, Dean seemed to get away rather clean considering his predicament. One moment he was preparing to die, the next, he received a miracle.

Should it have been that easy? Will Osiris come to collect years down the road or is the sentence null and void? Moreover, he never had to tell Sam about Amy. That guilt towards his brother is probably the strongest of all, but he needs to tell Sam. I predict Sam finds out by accident and the drama ensues.

All in all, Supernatural delivered a pretty standard episode with a good reminder of the past. Now, on to the future.


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (69 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I loved the return of Jo in this episode she's such I'm amazing charecter I loved her conection to dean I would love for them to to end up togther


Castiel could have easily been the 3rd witness. Perhaps Dean feels guilty for not convincing him to not turn darkside. Or it could have been Pam Barnes or Ellen, because after all Ellen died with Jo so he should feel equal guilt over her. I think Dean will always feel a sense of guilt for his actions and unlike Sam, his time in hell didn't end with him suffering - it ended with him caving and becoming a torturer which he felt guilty for a whole season. Dean is like a pressure cooker right now IMO. He barely shed a tear over Castiel's death (and everyone knows Dean rocks the single tear! FTW) then turned around and killed Amy after telling Sam he wouldn't. And now, he has this unresolved issue with Jo fresh in his memory. I think he's going to break a little bit soon. He seems completely sick of doing the hunting thing and I think part of him will always wish he had another option.


This was classic Supernatural! I've missed the good ol'd days where Dean and Sam would just hunt.
I could actually enjoy Sam this episode, as there was barely any mention of his "I'm a special child. I've got issues. I drink demon blood. I'm a Lucifer's vessel. My soul's in the cage. Wah, wah, wah!" I'm sick to death about his problems. So finally, for once, I don't hear about it!
As for Dean, I'm glad there was some drinking, some witty attitude and comebacks and the (almost) hook-up with a bartender! I haven't seen that in a while and I'm glad I finally could.
I'm glad Jo made an appearance, as I've missed her character severely and always thought she was meant for Dean.
I was honestly just waiting on the appearance from the demon Dean killed the previous episode. But I know that once that secret comes out, it's going to unleash a whole lot of unnecessary drama between the brothers.
Overall, it was a solid episode and I've missed the classics such as this one. I hope to see a lot more of these episodes in future, whether it's a similar used storyline or not.


I really enjoyed this was a back to basic Supernatural but with a nice little twist that meant whilst the past was acknowledge the changes that the brothers have gone through were shown strongly.
I agree that seeing Amy Pond in this ep would have made alot of sense ut I imagine that the writers have a pretty cool way for this to come out and I look foward to seeing what happens between the brothers then.
It was nice to see Sam jump so readily to the defence of Dean and I think it sort of makes sense that Sam doesn;t feel the weight of guilt like Dean does....he was in hell for so long and was punished for so long (and still is) it sort of makes sense that he feels his karmic debt has been paid sadly the same can't be said for Dean and I'm intrested to see if they take Dean's drinking any could be a dark place for them to take him...but with Sam's comment about his Dad's drinking in the last ep and now we seeing Dean heavuly drinking here could it be an issue that the brithers have to face....could be a nice twist that one of the biggest challenges the brothers face isn't actually supernatural.

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