Supernatural Review: Hounded

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Supernatural Season 8 has stumbled a bit trying to find its footing, and while the flashback stuff was interesting for a while, I'm really liking the whole "knowledge is power" aspect that's recently been at the forefront.

Sure, I guess having a variety of tablets - and now the introduction of Men of Letters - followed by the need to complete God's three trials to close the gates of Hell sounds like a lot. There's even a real potential to spread the show too thin with everything that's going on, something I think that happened to Supernatural Season 7.

Yet, with "As Time Goes By" and "Everybody Hates Hitler" really embarking Sam and Dean on a journey with a purpose, "Trial and Error" was a nice follow up that continued on that larger mythology path.

Closing the Gates

What really comes down to it, though, is the fact that for the most part, Sam and Dean are on good terms. They aren't overly upset with each other. They aren't running away. They're not moody.

The whole Men of Letters and the lair of supernatural info has given Sam a true calling, a definite background that's right up his alley. He's in tune with what's going on and he's determined to see the job through.

Dean now has a sense of home, something he's never really had before. Oh, and memory foam. Plus, it turns out, when he's nesting, he's a fantastic Top Chef cook.

Overall, it's nice to see that continuation of the brothers on the same side, working together in relative harmony. And now, finally, Kevin discovered how to close the Gates of Hell. Surprise, surprise, there's some special trials involved before that giant task can be done.

The first trial involved killing a hell hound and bathing in its blood. Gross, but obviously just another day for the Winchester brothers.

It's a great call back to demon deals and I was curious how they were going to find one, let alone see a hell hound.

I always thought that the real reason we never got to see the hell hounds before was because of budgetary reasons, which was fine. Having invisible dogs followed by major blood splatter worked.

Yet, turning Sam and Dean into mini Clark Kent's with their holy fire glasses was a neat trick that allowed us to see what those hell hounds looked like. I liked seeing the blue tinted creatures for a few moments and it never felt like their scariness was hindered or ruined because we did get to see them.

I was disappointed, however, that Crowley never made an appearance alongside his dogs. I mean, he did happen to be the demon that was there 10 years ago for the oil rich family. So, why wasn't he there? It's not like he's never going to figure out what Sam and Dean are up to. Was it just simply to connect Crowley to the dog that was going to be used?

At the same time, I was really pleased with the brothers' conversations with each other.

I was a bit skeptical of Dean throwing out the "stay safe Sammy" and "this is my job" comments because it has already been done. I know, it's how Dean thinks because he is the big brother, but I was simply afraid it was Supernatural pulling a tired Dean feeling out because they needed something for the brothers to argue about.

Even with Dean wanting Sam to have that normal life, and fighting tooth and nail to do so by taking on the trials alone, I understood his view.

But it was Sam telling Dean that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for both of them that spun it all around. Rather than working alone, the two can work together to beat the evil.

After all, that's how they survived the hell hound attack this go around with Sam jumping in to save his brother.

Now, I'm sure some might feel that once again Sam is getting to do the super power stuff (his psychic kid powers, demon blood, etc), but I don't mind, especially because Sam is gung ho about hunting again.

Really, if the brothers stick to working together, that works for me.

It does make me wonder about the other trials and what will happen when all three are complete. There's no way Crowley is going to go down without a fight and there's got to be some sort of consequence or fine print that goes along with the trials.

I think it's a fun direction that adds to the already heavy layer of info based power.

Now, was the oil family a bit campy for the episode? Yes. Can you believe Dean turned down sex? No, even if it was funny how flustered he got when Ellie was coming on to him. But all in all, the hour was a good solid follow up that has Supernatural focused on a positive path with a Sam and Dean Winchester that we know, love and are excited to watch both fight the bad guys.


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (161 Votes)

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


I'd love for sam to get his psychic powers back.


SPN - Renewed for Season 9......Awesome news!!!!!


The season started out a little slow, but I'm really liking it now. Last night was probably the best episode of the season. I enjoyed all the wonderfulness mixed together - because of the new director?? Either way, keep on the path guys, it looks great!


Awesome episode. I hadn't enjoyed an episode so much in a long time, though the last 3 were good too.
I was kinda hoping for Dean to do the trials, but I'm not sad at how it worked. Sam and Dean had a very meaningful conversation charged with emotion and that almost felt like old seasons. I loooveee those two guys! And the hellhounds were great! I hope the rest of the season follows this path.


Maybe it's just me, but last nights ep was the first one in a long time I heard Dean call Sam Sammy.


Glad we finally got to see what the Hellhounds actually look like. I know The CW can't afford top line special effects, but the hounds still looked scary. As for the 3 tasks, Sam was right. Dean was too fatalistic. Too much of a "I'm going out in a blaze of glory" mindset. Sam is as determined as Dean is to close the Gates of Hell, but he doesn't want to die in the process. If Sam hadn't jumped in, the Hellhound would have killed Dean. I'm glad Dean realized Sam was right and turned the tasks over to him.


Dean's "I'm nesting" has got to go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Dean quotes of all time. And it took 8 seasons to find out what a great cook he is. lol He's totally happy with the Batcave and Sam's in geek heaven. Kevin looks like he's been hit by a train, and as hard as he's been pushing himself, maybe he did have a mini-stroke. Looking at the tablets through his eyes, we can see how blurry and out of focus they are. There are moments of clarity where he can read them, but a great deal of the time they are blurry. And I don't think it's Kevins eyes. I think it's just the way the tablets are.


What a great episode! This season is geting better and better. I loved Dean and Sam´s speches, and they talked and finally told each other things that they were so much needed. Finally, they´re doing it right.
And i can´t wait for next episodes and Castiel return. Im sure good things wait us ahead.


There was no reason for Crowley to show up in this episode. It would've been nice (always is, I love Crowley!), but it wasn't necessary. I swore I was gonna be mad if Sam did the trials instead of Dean but the way they pulled it off actually really gave me a turn around on it. If Dean was doing the trials, it really would be a suicide mission so Sam taking on the trials will hopefully save them both. And hopefully Dean will find plot elsewhere (helping that one angel guy, for instance. What's his name again? It's been awhile.) Also, Dean turning down sex with Ellie in this episode made total sense. He was there to kill a hellhound, not score. That's called being a pro. lol Plus he's been sexually awkward all season.


I don't mind episodes being "predictable" as Supernatural has never been a "twist at the end" kind of series. Seriously, go back and watch it, there's never really a "Who done it" feel to the show because it's not a proceedural cop show--thank God.
As for Dean turning down sex? That is all part of the biggest worm queer-bait ever produced by a show. This whole season has been rife with subtext and suggestiveness that can ALL be explained away with non-homoerotic reasons. Do I think the CW/writers will go through with allowing a hyper-masculine hero and star of the show have an alternative sexuality? Chances are slim to none. Which makes me wonder if they'll lead up to it and then kill Cas off so they don't actually have to deal with it.

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Supernatural Season 8 Episode 14 Quotes

Do not let JR and gang out of your sight.


Because it's what I do, and buddy, I'm the best