Over the course of this series, it seems the writers incorporate conflict between the brothers simply for conflict's sake and it's as irritating as hell. For Sam to simply 'give up' on looking for Dean who accidentally ended up in Purgatory after killing the head leviathan), not even trying to find him, is simply unbelievable to me. However, that is the only thing I have against this season. (BTW, did we ever get a reason Sam left his girlfriend to end up at the cabin where Dean was hiding out after emerging from Purgatory? Did I miss something, or did the writers? Did he know Dean would be there, if so, how?) Anyway, the conflict between the brothers needs to end. it's been done to death, now they need to start building trust with each other, they need to start being the bantering brothers which is cool and comfortable, and Sam needs to lighten up a little, while at the same time Dean needs to (and is finally doing, I might add) realize his brother is growing up. The last few eps I've seen on Amazon Instant Video have and are building on this season's arc, and I'm very satisfied that the brothers are shaping up and finally becoming brothers... at the soul, not just by blood. The jury is out on what will happen in season 9, I'm watching closely, but from a distance. I've had the rug ripped out from under me a time or two as a result of curves being thrown at us from the writers and then not so unexpected curves, as though they take one step forward with Sam and then decide the conflict should take center stage and place him five steps back. Been there, done that, let's move on. Season 8 seems to be delivering here, but as I said above, I'm going to keep it at arm's length. I'm tired of being jerked around. All i can say is, now that Sam has made his decision to stay with Dean, rather than pursue a 'normal' life, there's still traces of his longing for a normal life in the last two eps (18 and 19). Once again, he's falling back into an old and worn out routine. Enough. However, that being said, the fact that Sam is ailing from the completion of trials is enough to put Dean in protective mode and that is fine by me. it's great to see Dean wanting to look out for his younger brother with more feeling than I've felt in a long time. I just wish the writers would bring Sam full circle and quit having him be so indecisive. I don't know why they insist on playing the 'Sam wants a normal life' card throughout this series. If he really wanted that, he'd take off and get away from the hunting and fight to keep it that way. I'm sure there can be other conflicts within him that can be focused on. By doing this same old-same old routine, it proves the writers are lacking in vision or are not connected like they should be with Sam or Dean, for that matter, because Dean is always left being hurt by Sam's indecision. Ok, sorry for the rant, but there you are. I'm liking the last few eps, though. It's promising. Rug, stay where you are... right under my feet, thank you very much.