Supernatural Season 8 Review “Heartache” – Welcome Back to Season One, Kiddies!

Supernatural season 8 episode 3 Heartache

Jensen Ackles once again took to the director’s chair for this episode of Supernatural, called “Heartache.” In it the boys hunted down an ancient foe, Jensen’s dad made a guest appearance and things between Sam and Dean felt very familiar.

Normally I’d be mad for getting fooled into thinking we were getting a whole lot more of that scene with Sam and Amelia, but this episode was so darn good, I really didn’t care.

In so many ways I feel like this episode rewound us back to season one, which I’m not saying is a bad thing at all. First up, we’ve got ourselves a Dean who loves hunting and wants his brother with him. Then we’ve got ourselves a Sam who just wants to live a normal life and maybe even go back to school.

But I think, if anything, this current scenario is even better than what we had in the beginning of this series. Now, Sam and Dean have a lot more years under their belt and I think both of their decisions come from a place of maturity. Back in season one, it felt more like Sam wanted a normal life just so he could rebel against his upbringing, and Dean wanted to hunt because he was just a young guy wanting to follow in the footsteps of his old man.

With all of the experiences they’ve had after so many years now, I feel like when Dean says he wants to hunt and Sam says he want a real life – they really mean it. Even though we only got a tiny scene showing Sam’s life during the year Dean was in Purgatory, I do feel like I’m slowly beginning to understand where he’s coming from and why he’s talking about quitting. I’m not saying that I want him to of course, but I’m starting to get it. I just hope that Dean can turn him around and remind him that hunting is in BOTH their blood.

My favorite bits..

“Jogger in Minneapolis gets his heart ripped out.”
“I’m guessing literally.”
“Only way that interests me.”

I don’t know, I think the boys hunting a heart-sucking, possessed, Satanic crack-whore bat would be super interesting.

Dean suddenly realizing that Sam had dragged him to a farmer’s market.

“Do we ignore stuff like this or are innocent people supposed to die so you can shop for produce?”

Jensen’s dad = Awesome.

Haha! Second Thor reference in as many episodes.

“Forgive me if I didn’t take him out back and shoot him.” – LOL! Love that Jensen’s dad is playing a character that gives Dean some lip.

The look on Dean’s face as Paul downed that green slimy drink.

“And he wasn’t wearing a heart?”
“No. Heartless.” – So many puns, so little time.

“It’s too bad I dropped out of Lunatic 101.” – You sure about that, Dean? Cuz sometimes it must feel like you aced that class.

Oh no, not the eye…..please not the…..ouch.

The boys in their white dress shirts. That is all.

“Personally I prefer the Keith Richards version.”

Dean bought an app? Wow, he’s right – things really did go to hell in a handbasket while he was in Purgatory.

Sammy jumping back into research mode. Aw, feels just like old times.

“You want to guess who else, besides Arthur Swenson, had a transplant in the last year?”
“Paul Hayes.”
“I gave it away, didn’t I?”

“What are you thinking about? Organic tomatoes?”

“I know where I’m at my best, and that is right here, driving down Crazy Street next to you.” – Awwww!

And then Sammy ruined the moment by saying that maybe Dean would be better off on his own. *sad face*

No, no….please don’t eat the…ick.

Suddenly having serious flashbacks to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

“C’mon, don’t tell me that someone else had their heart ripped out here in Boulder.”
“All right, then I won’t tell you.” – Actual LOL.

The cowboy hotel room. Hilarious.

The whole sequence where the boys were reading all the letters. Loved the way that was shot. Nicely done, Mr. Ackles.

“Really? Our King Daddy Monster is a stripper?”

“Smell that?”
“You’re gross.” – Took me a minute but when I got it, I had to agree with Sam. Ew, Dean. Just.ew.

Crazy Monster lady telling Dean that she could show him his own beating heart before he died. Eek!

Sam explaining that when he took a year off, he got to have the thing he’d never had before: a normal life.

“You’ve never seen a birthday cake before?” – My heart broke when I realized that there was a good chance he never actually had.

What did you think of this episode of Supernatural? Got any favorite bits or least favorite bits of your own? I’d love to hear from you!

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  • Dr Pepper

    Loved your recap, Michelle.

  • Anonymous

    A good episode, not as good as the last two I admit, but still very enjoyable.

    Sam i’m firmly in your court. Dean is being an ass, condescending to him saying that “That’s what you want now,” like he’s speaking to a child, telling him he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about and that he doesn’t really want a normal life. Dean has had a life-changing experience and he expects Sam to be exactly the same as him, gun-ho for hunting and somewhat bloodthirsty. Sooner or later he’s going to have to accept that Sam wants out.

    A human villain(s) was a very nice touch. The introduction of more Pagan Gods and the concept that you can make deals with them for power like Demon Deals is very interesting, perhaps we’ll see more of such deals down the line.

    The flashback with Amelia was very nice, and sad because I agree with Michelle that Sam has probably never had a real birthday, or certainly never such an outing. It’s not hard to see why he’d desire such a life over dying young with his guts spilling everywhere or living the hard life that he does until he’s old and broken down. There is a reckoning coming for Dean and Sam over this, and while I don’t want to see Sam leave hunting for a good long while I do want it to end well for him.

    The next episode looks fantastic!! There hasn’t been a horror themed episode of Supernatural since the Wendigo. Bitten looks like it has the potential to surpass Wendigo in terms of scary, and it might be a reappearance for the Werewolves who as Dean put it, “are badass.” 😀

    • J2Fan

      Dont bad mouth Dean or do any name calling pls. Am sure u would hate people who call Sam an ass for not even attempting to look for Dean. U can get ur point across without it coming off as Dean hate. This is what usually starts fan wars. Sorry if my comment appears preachy. its just that am sick of seeing the fandom split. no offence pls.

      • Anonymous

         I don’t hate Dean, far from it he’s my favourite character along with Crowley. I just think he’s being unfair to Sam considering that Dean did the same thing when Sam was in hell, he stopped looking for a way to get him out and settled into a normal life. Sam didn’t get on his case about it, he was proud of him for doing so. And when Sam does it, Dean tears at him and basically tells him that he was wrong and should have spent every single second pursuing a lost cause. Dean expected Sam to do for him what he didn’t do for him.

        •  Well, while I agree that Dean is kind of piling on Sam a bit. There are a couple of major differences between Dean’s situation in S6 and Sam’s situation in S7. First, Dean knew exactly where Sam was. He knew exactly where to look, and even if he didn’t, he could’ve called Bobby for help. Or Rufus. Sam had no idea where to start looking nor did he have anyone to call for help.

          Second, Dean went to Lisa and Ben because he promised Sam he would. If you recall, Chuck’s voiceover at the end of ‘Swan Song’ says that the only thing Dean wants to do is either die or find a way to bust Sam out. But Dean always keeps his promises, so he went to them out of obligation to Sam. I don’t think Dean would’ve gone to them otherwise.

          I think Dean’s attitude at this point has more to do with how hurt he is that Sam didn’t look for him and that Sam just left Kevin twisting in the wind. Especially because Dean feels like Kevin was their responsibility.

        • J2Fan

          Well u are seeing what u want to see. Dean spent the whole year mouring Sam and said he tried to bust him out even though he promised he wouldnt. While I agree that Sam has a right to choose his life path and that he doesnt have to necessarily do what Dean does, it feels sad that he didnt attempt to even look. Dean is upset that Sam didnt look for him (not becos he had a normal life). I think I would be angry too. Am not saying that the anger is justified or something like that but am saying that it is only human to feel that way. If I were Dean I would want Sam to search for me if I disappeared. I dont want him to be miserable but I want him to miss me. Again am not saying this is right but that this is normal. I love Dean cos he is flawed and as human as can be at his core. I love Sam too but at this juncture I dont think Dean is being totally unfair. Sam’s not being unfair too btw. They are both rght from their POVs.

    • Here’s the problem, these boys can’t live normal lives.  Lisa and Ben should have taught Sam that lesson.  Dean had left them behind and they were still in danger.  All Sam has done is paint a bullseye on Amelia’s back.

      • Anonymous

        Dean couldn’t live a normal life because he couldn’t switch off as a hunter. Sam can, he did it at Stanford and he did it in the year before now. All Sam has to do is stop hunting and he can live the normal life that he wants, Dean is a hunter through and through but Sam has always considered it a duty rather than a life. And after S7 he had a chance, and really the right, to give up that duty and for once think about himself rather than everybody else in the world.

        What Sam said to Dean in the first episode, about it not being his job to save everybody, is dead on. There are other hunters, and Sam and Dean have saved the world three times. From Lucifer, GodCas and Dick Roman. I don’t want to see Sam stop hunting during the show, but at the end if he chooses to retire then imo he’s more than earned the right.

  • Cassie

    I feel like Sam would have had a birthday cake while he was in college.  But still an Awww moment.

    Also is it weird that as Sam was saying he just wanted that normal life, I kept thinking of the normal life that Dean already gave up?  Dean had the girl, and her son .. and just wanted to protect them and be with them, but Sam’s soullessness got in the way.  Maybe he gave them up because he never really wanted the family and all he really wanted was someone to protect and care about.  Which could be substitiuted by Sam and his issues of the moment.  But I’m open to convincing if anyone has another opinion.

    • ptjackson

       I agree with you – Sam needs to be reminded of all this, since he seems to have forgotten.

      Seriously, does Sam honestly think he can just settle down, and everything will be fine? We did see how panicked he was when he could not find Amelia. He would end up leaving her anyway to keep her safe!

    • I think the two situations are completely different. Dean went to live with Lisa and Ben because he promised Sam that he would; not because that’s where he wanted to be at that point. Basically, Dean went there out of obligation and not out of desire. He never allowed himself to truly let go of hunting and enjoy the normal. And I think Dean was more in love with the *idea* of having a home and family moreso than actually having it. I think he did grow to love Lisa and Ben a great deal, but Dean was never really all there with them. Sam, on the other hand, has always wanted a normal, safe life. I think he’s always desired that even more than Dean because he (Sam) never had it. He resigned himself to the fact that it was probably something he would never have, but he never stopped wanting it. He kept telling himself that even though he had to be a hunter, at least he had his brother, and he was just going to make that be enough for him. However, now that he’s had the opportunity to explore other options, he realizes that that just isn’t enough anymore. Does that mean he doesn’t love Dean? Of course not. What it does mean is that Sam has realized that there truly are other options available to him. He allowed himself to truly be in the moment and truly experience life without hunting. He allowed himself to be happy. And after all that he’s been through and all the sacrifices he’s made, I think Sam deserves a little happiness.

  • L S

    I think Sam is being a little cold.  Sam just got his brother back, after he thinks Dean is dead for an entire year, and he tells Dean that he wants them to separate.  Also, I don’t understand Sam implying that saving lives doesn’t count. That’s belittling and cold. 

    If Sam wants to stop hunting, then Dean should let him leave.  Sam can go back to Ameila and the dog and Dean can continue on with hunting and saving people.   I’m not sure how this will work within the show, though. I wonder if they’ll keep in touch at all.


  • Hi Michelle! Loved your review. I had to watch this episode twice before I could really form an opinion about it. The conclusion I reached is, it was ok. I liked it. Didn’t love it. But it was a solid showing. We stepped back from the mythology a bit to focus on Sam and Dean’s relationship, and I’m glad we did. And let me just get this out of the way. I tend to like the MOTW episodes, but I am SO over eating human hearts. These writers did this last season in ‘Shut Up, Dr. Phil’ with the hearts in the cupcakes, and I wasn’t a fan of it then either. That’s just gross. I will say that Jensen Ackles is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors. He’s becoming much more confident, and that’s even more impressive when you consider that he had so much more time in front of the camera this time. I especially liked the filming when the Boys were reading all the letters. And I enjoyed the brief scene between Jensen and his dad. That one made me chuckle. At any rate, the MOTW was kind of bland, but the development of the Boys relationship pretty much made up for that.The primary thing this episode did was give us a more in-depth look at each character’s motivations this season.

    On the one hand, Sam has come to the realization that there really is a life outside of hunting. Sam has always wanted normal, but he just resigned himself to the fact that was something he could never have. He basically decided that he only had one option and that was hunting. However, at the end of S7, when he had no one and nothing left, he discovered a new world. A world in which he was able to have a place to call home. A place where he was able to have love and peace. A place where he was able to have normal. And unlike Dean back in S6, Sam allowed himself to truly be in the moment and experience that life. For nearly a decade, Sam has literally carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s also carried massive amounts of guilt from the consequences of his bad decisions. He never really saw any end but death, and even that wasn’t going to be pretty. With Amelia, though, he was able to see a real life. Now, he can see a light at the end of the tunnel. He can see other avenues to explore. He’s not locked into the hunting life. After having experienced that, how could he not continue to want it for himself?

    On the other hand, Dean has also come to a realization. He’s realized that he’s a warrior and what he does matters. For the last couple seasons, Dean has been wallowing in despair and grief because he didn’t feel like anything he did mattered anymore. He felt like he wasn’t making a difference, and no matter how many times he saved the world it was never going to be enough. Then he went to Purgatory. He got a concentrated dose of evil-hunting, and it made him realize that’s why he’s on earth. It may not be pretty and it may not be all fun, but it’s who he is. He even said so much in this episode. He belongs on the road, with his brother, hunting evil and saving people. That realization is part of why Dean is having such a hard time wrapping his head around Sam’s desire to leave. When Dean left hunting, he never really left. He knew that his brother was in the cage. He knew that Bobby was still out there. He always kind of had one foot in hunting even when he was supposed to be out. He never really allowed himself to try and really be happy in the normal life. So when he looks at normal, he views it as claustrophobic and painful. It’s not something to be desired for himself. It’s something to be desired for people who aren’t warriors. Dean doesn’t seem to understand that Sam doesn’t view himself as a warrior. Dean is a hunter because he chooses to be, not because he has to be. Sam was always a hunter because he had to be, not because he chose to be. Dean comes off as being condescending toward Sam for looking into college and so forth because Dean has always needed hunting and he believes Sam needs it too. He cannot fathom someone going through the things they’ve gone through and not having hunting in his bones. Also, Dean is remembering what it felt like when he walked away from hunting, and he can’t see that Sam’s situation was completely different.

    On the upside, at least Sam and Dean are being honest with each other. It’s both refreshing and sad at the same time. In times past they never would’ve been as upfront as they are being now. They would have sugar-coated what they had to say. But Sam flat out said that he’s walking away after they find Kevin and close the gates. Dean said, and still firmly believes, that Sam is gonna get back in the grove and not walk away. This shows a great deal of character growth and development. They’re actually having the serious, difficult conversations that they need to have but that they tried to avoid in seasons past. Yes, we’re sort of back to S1 in character motivations, but at the same time, we’re not. Both of these guys have matured and their decisions now aren’t reactions to someone else’s decisions for them. These guys are making these choices now because this is what they want.

  • Pam

    There are some really intelligent insights shown by the previous commenters.  This is why I love SPN fans.  Anyway Michelle, your favorite bits were also mine.  I like your recap of them so I could enjoy them all over again.  Sometimes they go by fast and you can’t appreciate them as much.  Isolating them like this was great, thanks. 

  • The soft filter on Sam’s memories, as opposed to the harsh tones of Dean’s recollections, make me think that it’s not real in some way.  As if those memories were implanted in some way, and Sam was being used all that time.

    •  That’s an interesting thought. But I think the soft filter on Sam’s memories and the harsher tones on Dean’s memories are to show the contrast of their situations. Sam’s life was light. He had love. He had peace. And the soft filter shows that. Dean, on the other had, was in a warzone. The harsh lighting and harsh cutting shows that.

  • Aaaustina36

    Great RECAP 🙂 Almost made me remember all the lines 😀