I almost decided not to bother writing anything down until I realized a tidbit from this episode may have a more significant ramification than I anticipated. But before I get to that, let me just say I felt this episode was sloppy. Previously, I mistakenly attributed it as written by Andrew Dabb & Daniel Loflin according to IMDB. But later it was changed to Julie Siege instead. So now, two of my least favorite episodes this season (the other one is "Fallen Idols") are all written by her.
Before I go any further, I want to make it perfectly clear that I never wished for a body swap episode between Sam and Dean. If anything, I think such endeavor is ill advised. It would only cause fights between fans arguing which actor is better at portraying either or both characters, but it wouldn't achieve any real pay off for the characters themselves. How would suddenly living in a body that's 4 inches shorter or taller advances Sam or Dean's character, I have no idea. Bear in mind swapping bodies with each other does not change their circumstances -- they are still two young guys too hot for their own good traveling around the country in a sleek car & have no one else but each other to rely on.
So if TPTB have to do a body swap episode, have the boy(s) swap with someone else is the way to go in my opinion. Although between Sam and Dean, I'm more hoping to see Dean's body get snatched rather than Sam's. There has been too many times Sam's body was not under his control, it's getting a little ridiculous. Besides, it would've been an interesting exercise of having Dean live in a normal household just this once. He's been robbed that experience since the tender age of 4. True, unlike Sam, he has never expressed a longing for normalcy before, but I want to see if living in a white picket fenced house with "Mom", "Dad" and a little "sister" would change things for Dean or not.
Alas, they went with Sam again this time. I don't hate it because I'm okay with the fact that nobody else has yet been able to take control of Dean's body. Actually, more than okay -- I like it. Herein lies the reason why I enjoy Dean as a character much more so than Sam: of all his actions, for better or worse, Dean Winchester has taken full responsibility for them, body and soul. But I digress here, let's get back to Sam.
Sam's the one gets a taste of normal life again after putting Palo Alto in his rearview mirror. The reintroduction to suburbia reaffirmed his suspicion that it's not what he wanted any more, or so he claims. In real life this may be a terrible development, here it's a positive character growth. If that's the point of this episode, I can live with that. But then Nora!Demon opened her mouth and dropped an anvil on my head.
Say what? Anybody (or thing) takes over Sam Winchester's body can give Lucifer teh permission?! Show, are you telling me Sam Winchester's specialty comes not from his character but from his hot body?! If that's not objectifying him, I don't know what is. I now live in fear the story arc would climax in Detroit with someone else takes control over Sam's body and acquiesce to the Devil. Thus Sam Winchester can't be held RESPONSIBLE! Oh how I hate this.
And that's not all. I also take issue with the way this episode was put together. What's the fun of making a body swap episode if Jared Padalecki has to play his original character for the most part? In my opinion, Jared did a fantastic job as Gary in the beginning. Why not have him doing it for the rest of the episode? True, it would be tricky and require fine acting to pull off not!Sam (Gary) when he's with Dean, but I'd rather believe Jared can rise to the occasion. Maybe the director (Bob Singer) thought it would be cute to dress Jared in a geeky hoodie, or funny to shove a 6'4" man in a high school surrounding. But I think it's distracting, and Jared lost a big chance to exercise/show-off his acting muscle. When Dean was interacting with not!Sam, although intellectually the audience knows the body of not!Sam should be a Sasquatch, but from the angle Dean casts his eyes, it's quite obvious he's talking to a man much shorter in statue. Not only that, when Dean finally got to listen to the messages Sam (in Gary's body) left on his voice mail, the sound that came through was clearly Jared(Sam)'s. Ai ya, what a giant ball of confusion! Lastly, the editing was off too. I was rather amused how that glass of Banana Daiquiri gets magically refilled when Gary (in Sam's body) puts it down on the table after sucking half of the glass down:
The twirling umbrella made me laugh. Don't know how or why they did that.