Sam, Sam, Sam, there you are…
First off, I loved – as in absolutely loved this episode!
With that said I’ll pull a 180 and say the one thing I didn’t love while watching this episode was imagining the backlash from some in the fandom thinking Sam was betrayed or sidelined yet again. I forced that to the back of my mind and reveled in the brilliance of this episode. Friday I briefly visited a fan site and sure enough, there it was: "Sam is unloved", "Sam is second story", "Sam is kicked to the curb" Thus I have avoided the fandom. Instead I watched it a second time Friday night to embrace it fully and then a third time on Saturday night focusing exclusively on Sam, and taking notes along the way.
Here are my thoughts on what is going on inside Sam’s mind and how he is just as important as Dean, not only to the writers but to the angels:
When we first see the alternate Sam he is already aware something is wrong. It is Sam who sees Dean as someone he knows, or should know and he’s determined to figure it out.
Tech Sam shares dreams of what? – not drinking demon blood, not being psychic with abilities, not being cursed…he dreams of saving Tessa, a reaper. His dreams at his cubicle are from the following episodes: Jus in Bello where he fights alongside, Dean; Bedtime Stories where he kills the Crossroads Demon, to save Dean; Something Wicked, where he and Dean kill the shtriga (also where he learned all about Dean’s obsessive need to follow orders); AHBL I – the only one that pseudo breaks the trend but where he is trapped and trying to protect others by killing that evil thing summoned by Ava; Bloodlust, where again he is fighting next to and trying to protect/save Dean from his grief over the death of their father.
Each dream has a common theme, save people, fight evil, all with Dean, Sam knows he’s missing his other half; as he said, it’s instinct. Sam’s assertion to Dean at the end that he "knows him" is just as strong as it was when it was first said in Freshblood. Dean rejects it here as he did in Bloodlust but in the end, it affected him as deeply; Sam got through to Dean.
Why did the angels plunk Sam in the office setting as a tech, one of a faceless throng? I’m not sure. Why did all the techies wear a yellow shirt? again, I’m not sure.
Perhaps it was because the angels didn’t need Sam so much to find himself as they needed him to help Dean find himself. Along the way though Sam reconnected with himself as well, and I choose to believe that was perhaps an unintended side effect for the angels [not the writers] but I think they will come to recognize the benefit.
Great care was taken by Sera Gamble to consistently weave aspects of Sam’s growth from the Pilot, great care was taken to poke fun at the whole ‘psychic with abilities’ – "no, that would be insane"; to "it’s like there’s something in my blood" as well as to show Sam as the initiator of the hunt and the one to push in the end to keep doing it and his full embrace of the possibilities as well as the hazards. Sera always shows what’s inside Sam’s mind if one will take the time to watch and think a bit.
Yes, this was an episode that was in your face about what was going on with Dean but that in no way detracts from what was very much going on inside Sam’s head.
Interesting to note it was Sam who, without hesitation, broke into two co-workers’ emails – using skills he just happens to have Hah! – in order to aid the investigation. Sam was eager to junk the supposed safe and comfortable lifestyle and live on the road, scamming for money, eating diner food, living in cruddy hotels.
Sam may have issues about his demon blood and the accompanying addiction, but he no longer has issues about hunting. Strip away his scary memories he’s all about saving people, having a destiny, embracing a ‘higher’ or different calling.
So back to my earlier questions: Was it because the angels needed Sam to help reach Dean so they purposefully made him uncomfortable – I mean really, go back and check out an early scene with Sam sitting at his cubicle…he barely is crammed in there. I give high marks to the set coordinators for having a laugh at Jared’s gigantic frame and cramming him into the cubicle frame.
I also find it interesting that the angels thought enough of the importance of Sam in Dean’s life that they erased his memories as well and set him into this setting. To me it says that the angels recognize that together these two are unstoppable and just as Dean can and will ‘stop it’ that Sam is a part of that. Perhaps Dean is needed to stop Sam – only time will tell – but together I think the angels know the two are the strongest force they have.
Now, I’ll admit I pose the above theory on behalf of the angels merely ‘cause I choose to read a deeper, subtler meaning from two moments in the episode the week before. The writers may not have intended at the time what I’m thinking now (and actually thought last week while watching OTHOAP) but it still nags at me even after a repeat viewings.
Anna says to Cas to stop Dean before he destroys the one true weapon he has…well on the face of it she is distinctly speaking of Dean, but on the flip side the comment can apply to Sam. I still believe Sam is a weapon as much as is Dean and pushing Sam to go more fully into the dark – something that has happened all along since Pilot – can perhaps ruin that weapon as well. Sam’s been pushed to the dark all along because of his love of and for his brother.
Second part comes from watching and reading more deeply into Sam’s comment to Castiel when he confronts him outside Dean’s hospital room…"This whole thing was pointless…" Ah, yes it was; Dean as torturer to elicit information on the killer of angels was pointless, which means that the angels abduction of Dean to do above mentioned torture was pointless which also means that Sam’s ‘hit’ of demon blood to find Dean was pointless. If the angels hadn’t taken Dean, Sam wouldn’t have taken another blood ‘hit’ from Ruby. Pointless.
That could all just be pointless wool-gathering for me as the writers of this show prove to have more twists and turns up their sleeves and in their minds than I will ever imagine but I throw that out there for whatever it is worth. Perhaps Kripke simply knew that if he gave Jared a week off to go to Hawaii again he’d not only have an exhausted Jensen on his hands but an angry throng of the fandom trekking across country to protest.
Believing the writers really have a plan, seeing evidence of it from themes woven from the beginning of the series to now, I go with the angels had a deeper reason for bringing Sam back to his gentler mindset. Knowing Sera’s affection for writing Sam as both dark and gentle, I stand by my assertion that there is a deeper meaning and that this episode is a starting point for true healing between the brothers. Like any healing, there will be dark days and painful struggles but the healing once begun, cannot be undone.
Another brilliant episode and one that builds upon what we’ve seen throughout this season and one that is a building block for what is to come; I can’t wait to see where we head to next…but please let us go there in the Impala!!!
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