Yeah, thanks Mr. Edlund.  You went and did it again.  My stomach is tore up in knots, Sam is left burning in Hell (mentally), and I’m stuck with that crushing vision in my head of his subtle yet tragic breakdown until March 16th.  Yeah, thanks a lot. 
 
Oh, I know better.  This means that Ben is awesome at his job.  At Comic Con last year when I interviewed The Vampire Diaries Executive Producer Kevin Williamson, he shared a little showrunner’s trade secret when planning for breaks in the writer’s room.  “When you think about each episode to 22 it’s so overwhelming.  We try to do tent poles.  Here it is and this is going to happen.  And then we look at the schedule and see when the breaks are.  The network tells you where you have hiatus for four weeks, so we go, ‘Well, maybe we should do that there,” so then everyone is hanging for 4 weeks.  We like to torture our audiences as much as we torture our characters.  It’s fun.”
 
Yeah, really fun.  At least we went into the break with a bang.  Aside from the fact that I’m a quivering mess for dear Sammy (Mark Pellegrino is the best damned Lucifer ever), there’s no doubt that we were treated to an old school, intense creep fest that can only be pulled off by so few on the “Supernatural” writing team these days.  If anyone is up to the task, it’s the creative genius himself.  Edlund does funny better than anyone, and he does bone-chilling-mess-with-your-head better than anyone.  No matter what the theme he’s all about the extremes.  We’re all about getting absorbed in every minute of it.  

 
This episode has many layered themes and references, all perfectly woven in a fluid story that blurs lines between what is truly evil and what is truly good.  It starts by exploring a concept that we’ve often wondered about, but have never truly seen.  What happens to these victims after they’re possessed?  It has been eluded to in the past, Bobby’s comment in “The Magnificent Seven” coming to mind, that a lifetime worth of psychiatry bills is what’s in store for these people.  
 
Turns out we that Jeffrey isn’t the only possession victim who’s psyche we get a vivid look at in “Repo Man.”  Sam too is struggling with his time being possessed by Lucifer.  Far more than we ever realized.  His noggin hasn’t been good after all and he’s much closer to the edge than anyone imagined.  So the unraveling begins.    
 
Part of Ben Edlund’s legacy in Supernatural is that he loves to take demon stories and twist them around.  It was him that came up with the standard that all demons were human once and years in Hell burned away their humanity (and I laugh how Sera Gamble recently mentioned in an interview how they’ve constantly had to work around that). It was he that promoted the idea of Lucifer as a sympathetic angel, someone who loved his father and saw himself an innocent victim of betrayal (“Now, tell me, does the punishment fit the crime, especially when I was right?”  “Look what six billion of you have done to this thing and how many of you blame me for it?”).  Edlund also came up with the hilarious new version of Hell, waiting in line for eternity.  

 
Now for the latest twist.  Some demons exist to be talent scouts, possessing evil bastards for the sake of recruitment.  They want to help potential serial killers be real serial killers.  “Looking for the next generation of superstars, before they get to Hell.”  It’s funny, that’s the one thing I would have assumed demons do before seeing this show.  I’m shocked this hasn’t been shown before now.  
 
Jeffrey
 
Turns out when Jeffrey was possessed those four years ago, he was a serial killer wannabe.  This demon came along and taught him to put away those doubts and be all he could be.  Jeffrey was a star pupil with one damaging side effect.  He craved that demon inside of him.  He missed that power, that bond, that pure evil.  So he dealt with the loss by becoming a drunk and suicidal.  Then, he pulled it all together.  Turns out those halfway house programs are not only good at helping decent folk get back on track, but it works for evil bastards as well!  He saw the light, it was time to get his demon back.
 
 
Since this episode is all about parallels, Jeffrey’s story sounds a bit like Sam’s after Dean’s death, don’t you think?  After hitting his low, his new found mission involved embracing his dark side for achieving a greater purpose.  He ended up doing more damage than Jeffrey, albeit unintentional.  That is one blurry line.  Good intentions or not, the results are the same.  
 
The thing about Jeffrey that struck me was evil or not, he allowed Sam and Dean to beat him senseless four years ago so they could get info from the demon about Lilith’s whereabouts, or at least who her lieutenants were.  That could have been the demon telling him so, make the world think we was a stand up guy so he could go on with killing innocents, but the damage was pretty extensive physically.  It was a very brutal and vicious beating.  "When you left me at the ER, I had three smashed fingers, five teeth out, a broken wrist, nose, cheekbone, collarbone. I had to get 160 stitches, mugged.  The doctor on duty said it looked like I got caught in the Spanish Inquisition."
 
That seems more savage than an average beating, don’t you think?  It was almost if Jeffrey liked it or something.  He certainly understood why it had to be done.  "I watched you torture an innocent man to get at a demon.  Pretty charge situation, revealing, you guys talked about a lot of stuff, showed a lot of character.  God, you were so desperate to fix the world back then. It kills you that people kept getting hurt and you just can't stop it, or I should say it's killed you, shouldn't I?"  So at the time he knew what they were trying to do, and also knew it was futile.  In a sense, he was probably humoring them.  It’s what demons would do.  
 
 
Jeffrey’s story ended with the cautionary tale that happens with every demon story.  Never trust a demon.  It’s not like he was going to be greeted with warm fuzzies and happily ever after.  He was told he was on his own, but could do all those terrible things he wanted with his own abilities.  “All I had to do was loosen the lid on his jar, show him some practical know-how.”  Yeah, tell that to Dean Winchester with a gun.    
 
Sam
 
I do believe I’m stating the obvious by saying Sam Winchester has faced a lot of crap in his life.  To think, his sweet moment of death at the end of season two was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.  
 
Considering how more involved I am with Sam’s character than the victim of the week, watching his struggle this week tore me to shreds.  It’s very tragic, but it always has been in Sam’s case.  We’ve suspected for a long time that he has been teetering on an edge, but we really had no idea how close until we finally got to see what he sees.  Lucifer is there all the time.  This was hinted by Sam’s leviathan doppleganger in “Slash Fiction” but man, it’s really that bad if not worse.  Sam sends him away with one press of his scarred hand, but it doesn’t last long.  If this was Sam’s band aid, the sucker is worn and ready to fall off.  

 
The torment is quite maddening.  Lucifer constantly there, begging for attention, waiting for just the right seemingly innocent moment to work his way back in to Sam’s psyche.  There’s no way Sam could have ignored him forever.  The truly heart crushing part is that Lucifer didn’t have to try hard to get Sam to let him back in.  He was patient and found his way through Sam’s devotion to Dean.  He provided Sam with quick answers, ones that Sam could have eventually figured out on his own.  When Dean’s in danger though, there’s an urgency.  There’s a panic that sets in and focusing on the solution doesn’t happen so easily.  So when Lucifer has the easy answer, well, how many stories does the Bible have of people being tempted by The Devil?  He wasn’t offering world domination back then either.  Just an apple.  Something simple and seemingly harmless, but the consequences are oh so severe.  
 
In Sam’s case, he’s losing his greatest gift, his mind.  At least Dean did Jeffrey a favor and put some bullets through him.  Now that Lucifer has found his way in, its the cage all over again.  Sam might be able to resist the burning, withstand the physical pain, but Lucifer is the master of messing with the mind.  He’s all about breaking and crushing souls, not owning them.  He’s going with one of the most extreme ways of torture imaginable, he won’t let Sam sleep.  Sam’s mind is already fragile, once the never ending, 24/7 barrage of fear and pain resumes again, Sam will be lost.  It’s really heart breaking to think about it.  He cannot be saved from this.  

 
What makes Sam’s story even more tragic is that it’s good intentions again that are sinking him.  He did it all for Dean.  He’s been coasting on fumes, hanging in there for Dean on a wing and a prayer ever since he fought his way out of the coma in “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”  It’s the only thing that’s been fueling his drive.  He’s lost Castiel, the Impala, Bobby, they’re on the run from Leviathans and have to constantly watch their backs, yet as long as Dean is there, he’s okay.  While he knows Dean is his weakness, he also knows Dean is his strength.  His stone number one.  The problem is, stone number one has been sitting on sinking sand for some time.  As Sam has also learned in his young doleful life, everything eventually catches up with him.  

 
Going back to “No Rest For The Wicked,” which is right around the time that the beginning flashback happened (see sweetondean's review for logic, I back everything she said 100 percent).  Dean had it right then, and it still applies now.  “Don't you see a pattern here? Dad's deal, my deal, now this? I mean every time one of us is up the creek the other is begging to sell their soul. That's all this is, man. Ruby's just jerking your chain down the road. You know what it's paved with and you know where it's going.”
 
Insert “Lucifer” now instead of “Ruby.”  The demons get higher, the patterns remain the same.  If Sam was told up front that he would be sacrificing his sanity for Dean’s welfare, he still would have done it.  Demons know how to play him.  They always have.   
 
It’s Sam’s dishonesty with Dean though has sealed his undoing.  Deception burned Sam in season four and does so again now.  It’s no accident that Dean’s comments about psychopathic behavior hit a little too close to Sam’s situation.  “That's what they do, all the time is act, act like they're normal, not balls-to-the-walls crazy."  Sam has gone to great lengths in his life to appear normal and strong, but he pushed his luck too far this time.  He put up with Lucifer all that time and was lulled into a false sense of control instead of dealing with the very not normal warning signs.  He didn’t want to believe he would lose control.  This is again reminiscent of him being tricked by Ruby in season four.  “I won’t let it get too far.”  It’s Sam rationalizing that all his crazy is under one umbrella to Bobby, so he’s okay.  Crazy is crazy, no matter what.  He ended up fooling himself and Dean as well.  Now they both are about to get hurt.  

 
I understand why Sam did that though.  He thought he was sparing Dean and had the best intentions, but he’s gotten so good at hiding everything now it’s too late to send out the distress call.  He’s gone past the breaking point.  There’s nothing he or Dean can do to fix this.  Dean has to now go through the very painful and shocking process of watching his brother lose it all and hope that he isn’t lost forever.  If they’re that lucky, time after that will be needed to rebuild.  
 
On a side note, the flames in Sam’s eyes at the end took me back to the one other time we’ve seen that, “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning.”  When he came back to Dean in that episode from his Hell flashback, the flames were in his eyes before going out.  What does this mean?  The easy explanation, Sam is in Hell in his mind.  Or is it another clue?  Yeah, I’ll layoff the clues this review.  Except I’m backing the theory that Ghost!Bobby put that devil’s trap up in the warehouse.  


 
Dean
 
You know what’s scarier than what Sam’s about to experience?  What’s going to happen to poor Dean in the process.  He really doesn’t know what’s coming.  He thinks that Sam has experienced some miracle cure.  We know that from his conversation with the waitress in “Season 7: Time For  A Wedding.”  We know Dean takes losses very hard and is already deeply suffering over what happened recently with Bobby and Castiel, not to mention the Impala.  Losing Sam, especially to something other than death could be a blow he cannot take.  
 
What adds insult to injury, Dean has never taken deception well.  He’s going to have to swallow all that resentment for the sake of his brother.  Dean’s role is extremely crucial.  Once Sam shatters, Dean has to be there to help pick up the pieces.  No one else in this universe will be able to do that, not even Sam.  I’m sure he’ll manage in the short term, but how will that affect him in the future?  Will this again shatter his trust in Sam, make him wonder if he is watching a time bomb?  Will this fuel his quest for revenge with Dick Roman out of nothing more than sheer frustration?  There’s a remainder of the season to answer that and probably the next one too.  

 
That does reveal another interesting parallel and/or foreshadowing between what Dean and Sam did to Jeffrey four years ago and what’s happening with Dean’s quest against Dick Roman now.  There is only one time frame when Sam and Dean were committing such extreme acts of torturing innocents to get info from a demon.  Right around “Time is On My Side.”  Times were desperate indeed.  The bill was coming due.  After Dean went to Hell, finding Lilith became Sam’s hellbent revenge obsession.  That kind of didn’t go well.  Interesting, that’s where Dean is right now with Dick Roman.  There’s no new info, and he’s on the brink.  Sam’s calamity might be all it takes to get him fired up again.  
 
What I want to know is just like before, what are they planning on doing when they catch up to the big bad?  Lillith couldn’t be killed, not until Sam developed his power anyway.  Dick Roman can’t be killed.  This makes Dean’s motives murky at best, just like with Jeffrey four years ago.  His acts stray more in the personal revenge territory than saving the world.  What lines will he cross?  Will he be able to do this with his head on straight?      

 
I do like how Dean felt some guilt over Jeffrey and cut him some slack, even if it ended up being the wrong move.  It was human.  He was probably remembering what happened since their first encounter.  After all, Dean did die and for the wrong reasons. It got him nowhere except grievous torture in Hell.  He innocently broke the first seal.  Sam ended up trusting Ruby, using his powers, and in turn unleashing Lucifer.  Dean watched Sam get possessed by Lucifer to save the world and go down to the cage in Hell, only to come back soulless.  Getting that soul back came at a high price, a wall holding back all those memories.  Which came down.  Now Lucifer is tormenting Sam in his mind.  Sam has started to crumble.  And that could end up fueling Dean’s revenge on the latest monster that’s ready to do in the world.  It’s all kind of full circle, isn’t it?        
 
So, did I tell you this was a pretty layered story or what?  It’s quite mind bending all the rabbit holes this episode has burrowed for us.  Whether it’s by Mr. Edlund’s design or a happy accident I don’t know, but it works.  I didn't even get to mention in this review so many other wonderful things like Nora's contribution to this story, who also parallels with Sam.  She uses her knowledge for good, white magic only, yet when it came to the safety of her son, she offered up the dark stuff.  She did find redemption though when she was able to save her son.  At what cost though?  As we've learned, people don't come back from demon possession normal.


I also didn't get a chance to rave about that library scene.  I'm not a huge maven of horror stories (aka I've never read Stephen King) but that reminded me a lot of Jacob's Ladder.  Totally freaked me out.  Poor Sam, he had to really fight hard to send those images in his head away.  These types of hallucinations can now only get worse.  It's very scary.    

My grade is an instant A, easily the most complex script of the season so far and the most nerve shattering.  Coming up in a month, Sam goes bat shit crazy.  After seeing all he’s been through in seven seasons, don’t you think it’s about time?  We can only hope that he comes out the other end better for it.  And with his brother by his side.  
 
 
 
 
 

Comments  

rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-02-20 14:37
Wonderful review, Alice! I loved this episode, too and I gave it an A+. Our heroes are definitely in for a very rough road ahead. Well, I've got 3 weeks to ponder all the possibilities that the show could go. In any event, I will anxiously be awaiting the next episode. What a ride this has been this year!
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 20:03
Thanks Ruth! I'm just so pleased we've gotten four episodes in a row that didn't suck! They were all actually good, two of them great! Hopefully that momentum will carry through the rest of the season.
Airbat
# Airbat 2012-02-20 14:41
As always, a joy to read your reviews and I agree mostly with it.

Something crossed my mind reading it. You make it sound like Lucifer tricked Sam into letting him in. That would assume that Lucifer is there. But he isn't. It's all in Sam's head. So when Sam is talking to Lucifer, he's actually talking to himself. I'm no psychologist and therefore don't know what that means but I would guess that Sam already broke after the wall came down, hence the hallucination. With Dean's "stone number one"-help he managed. But that's all. He barely managed. And then they lost Cas, the Impala Bobby and Sam has to watch his stone number one spiral down so it's getting harder and harder to keep himself afloat. One tiny match and the whole forrest is on fire - quite literally.

Also I don't think that Dean is completely unprepared. He waited a long time for the other shoe to drop. It didn't until now, so with everything on his shoulders right now he doesn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Dean also acknowledged that Sam is as screwed up as he is (Sam's only bigger). I just don't see how Dean could've helped Sam to this point? Dean barely handled himself (see the excesive drinking, lethargy and depression), he was in no shape to help others. And second, what exactly could he do? He can't hold the "stone number one speech" 24/7 to Sam just to ground him.
I think Sam realised that (one had to be blind not to see Dean's state) and for once didn't want to burden his brother further (who's already on the edge).
Sam technically didn't lie to Dean. He told Dean and also Bobby that he's seeing Lucifer (and what a scary thought to see the devil while you brush your teeth) but managing it, which (considering what we saw in the last episode) he did pretty well. At least up to this point where he's not managing it anymore.

We have to see in a future episode how Dean finds out about Sam.


*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILERS*SPOILER*

Considering, we know that Sam end's up in a mental institution, tells me that this situation is far beyond Dean's ability to help Sam.

This said, it doesn't stop me from hoping he finds a way to reach his brother. Dean was always great at that and I would love to see him save Sam (what I'm not hoping for is an angel quick fix).
Junkerin
# Junkerin 2012-02-20 18:00
Yes that is how I see it too. See my comment.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 19:38
Ah, I'm not convinced that Lucifer isn't there. I do wonder if he's more than an hallucination. Here's my logic. Remember Raphael's vessel in "Free To Be You and Me?" He was a "drooling mess" and had a very special connection to his angel. Raphael could be summoned by the ritual Castiel did through his vessel. It worked.

I'm thinking the bond between angel and vessel (and even demon and vessel) is very different in each case. Remember how Michael promised Dean he wouldn't leave him a drooling mess if he said yes? There is still some sort of weird connection between Lucifer and Sam, complicated by the fact that Lucifer is trapped in a cage in Hell. I do believe this is way more than flashbacks and hallucinations, but what, hopefully more will be revealed. Or maybe not. We really don't know what's going on with Sam right now.

Dean may have been forewarned, but he'll be unprepared. He thinks Sam is managing and handling things just fine. He really has no clue how bad things are. We didn't! It honestly took me by surprise. You are so correct, Dean's reaction in the future will be very interesting.

Oh heavens no, Sam never lied to Dean. I never said that. Deception isn't lying. It also involves not disclosing, omitting things. That has always been a trait of Sam's and it's burned him more than once with Dean. For example, remember "Jus In Bello?" Sam never told him about Lilith, but he didn't lie. Dean took it pretty hard anyway.

Sam said a while ago when things were still shaky that he was seeing Lucifer. He told Bobby that seeing Lucifer was okay. I honestly think Bobby didn't buy that at all, but he died shortly after that. Remember "Death's Door?" Sam's hand grip told us that he was not managing okay. Dean hasn't heard or seen anything about Lucifer and visions since "Defending Your Life." That's months! He is too distracted with other things right now, including trying to pull himself together. He won't see this coming.

Thanks for commenting!
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-02-20 14:50
Loved the review Alice!

Just a thought. What if Jeffrey put the trap on the ceiling just in case the demon didn't want to co-operate with him? And he didn't co-operate, did he? It could have been a bargaining chip for Jeffrey, or he might think so. :o
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 19:42
That's possible too. I honestly, aside from bringing up the debate in the Let's Speculate article, haven't put too much thought into it. Given the notion that Bobby's ghost might be out there, I figured why not. Two weeks ago the paper that they needed magically appeared. A devil's trap sounded like par for the course.
Susan Thoompson
# Susan Thoompson 2012-02-20 15:03
Great review, Alice, thank you! So that was a bit of a twist, having a victim actually WANT to be possessed. I thought of Dean's line to Bela once, "You're so damaged." I didn't realize Jeffrey was bugnuts until they flat out told us. After he killed that sweet little dog, I was rooting for Dean to blow him away, even though technically he was human. But I think serial killers/animal abusers-killers certainly get a ticket to monsterville.

Sam has done a pretty good job surppressing Luci, but when Dean was in danger, he partnered up. That's a scary door to open. And now we have a month to wait to see if he can get Luci back in the box! danashulpsdanas hulpsdanashulps danashulps!! :lol:
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 19:43
Yeah, I couldn't bring myself to mention the dog in the review. It still stings that much!

Glad you liked the review.
LEAH
# LEAH 2012-02-20 15:22
Is it all in Sams mind, or Lucifer screwing with Sam from the get go? This episode (an A for me also) has me wondering for reasons I mentioned in comments elsewhere. After all, Lucifer was in Sams head when he fell in the pit. Sam had wrestled control back but is it possible that he never completely left and needed Sam to acknowledge him so he could keep torturing him mentally. These are just random thoughts.

Dean and Sam have a rocky road ahead but I am looking forward to seeing where the story takes us.

A quick fix wouldn't be satisfying but these characters are very resilient and Dean has to find a way to not only go on but help Sam in the process!

Alice, great review as usual.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 20:09
That's exactly what I wonder! When I interviewed Sera Gamble at Comic Con back in July, she said that part of the mystery this year would be what's going on with Sam. Now, she was very vague how extensive or deep that would be, but I still hang onto her saying that. Wouldn't it be cool if Sam's hallucinations are far more than that of a mind going through some extreme PTSD?

If they did a quick fix like Castiel making all things better, my flat screen is shattering into a thousand pieces after I throw my shoe through it with a ferocious velocity! I doubt they will drag it out either, so I hope they have fan satisfaction in mind!

Thanks for commenting!
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-02-20 15:33
Great review of a great ep.

I actually don't think there has been any deception on Sam's part yet. He told Dean he had his Luci hallucinations under control, and until the end of this ep he did. He hasn't had time yet to tell Dean what he had to do to rescue him.

On the question of the devils trap; I assumed that Ms Havelock gave it to Jeffrey as one of the sigils he had to paint - hoping he wouldn't realise the significance of it and would just paint it with the rest, then maybe it would trap the demon before it could hurt her son.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 20:18
Thanks, I'm glad you liked the review! It was a bitch to write.

Sam hasn't been honest because he hasn't disclosed the whole truth. He told Dean he had the hallucinations under control in "Defending Your Life." He eluded to things still being handled at the end of "The Mentalists" I think. He hasn't said anything since. He was not okay in "Death's Door" and he flat out said he wasn't okay in "Adventures in Babysitting." Judging by what we just saw, he was holding back. Sam, as much as I adore his spirit, should know by now that skating on those thin lines never works out. He had time. Of course, I'm still not sure Dean could have done anything to save him at this point. But maybe some professional help would have been a start.

I'll support all theories on the Devil's Trap! I really got nothing on it.

Thanks for commenting!
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-02-20 21:09
My theory on the devil's trap is Cas, who we know is still all powerful. I think Cas drank Dean's beer (because Dean was drinking too much), he revealed the paper that told provided the clue about Dean's daughter's *cough, cough* intentions, and he drew the devil's trap to protect Dean. Since we know Cas supposedly has amnesia, I think he is looking out for his friend subconsciously, or he will be lying about the amnesia. Either way, I think his purpose is to get redemption from Dean, given the rather heavy anvil of Cas saying that very thing in Ep. 1 (wasn't it).

Of course, all of this would mean that God resurrected Cas once again, and that seems kind of tired these days.

I'm mulling your article before I comment further. Upon first quick read, we had similar thoughts about Dean, but I want to think a little more.
cd28
# cd28 2012-02-21 07:32
My theory is that it's Crowley wearing his invisibility cloak. He's monitoring the Winchesters to see how they're progressing with Dick, and when they seem to be getting off track, he's speeding things up a little for them so that they can get back to business. He drank the beer because he was thirsty.
LEAH
# LEAH 2012-02-20 15:36
Bevie, I had the same thought at first but wouldn't Jeffery assume the demon smoke would enter him. Thus entrapping himself.
cd28
# cd28 2012-02-20 16:13
Excellent review Alice. I like the theory that ghost Bobby had painted the devil's trap. I hadn't heard that before.

I don't think I agree with you completely on your interpretation of what's going on with Sam. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I don't think Sam was deceived into letting Lucifer in, and I don't think his motivations were totally about saving Dean. When Sam started interacting with Lucifer, Dean wasn't answering his phone, so that triggered concern with Sam, but Dean's been in trouble before. There weren't other signs that Dean was in serious danger, and this didn't seem to be enough to get Sam panicking considering the danger they deal with every week. But maybe Sam's emotionally tapped and this was the final straw.

I also don't think Sam was deceived. Lucifer told Sam that he let him in, which implies that Sam did it consensually. Granted Sam didn't know that he wouldn't be able to kick Lucifer back out again, but he still invited Lucifer back in by interacting with him. Sam knew this was a bad idea - it's why he never did it sooner - and I don't think Sam, after all of his experiences with demons and Lucifer, could possibly be deceived by Lucifer anymore.

So what I'm left wondering is why exactly did Sam let Lucifer back in, and what does letting him back in really mean? Edlund drew a parallel story of Jeffrey working to get his demon back because he loved and missed the connection. Jeffrey felt liberated and stronger with the demon. The demon was a little abusive, but Jeffrey loved him anyway. Is Edlund saying this is partly true with Sam too? In the final scene, Lucifer tells Sam that Sam wanted him - implying that is why Lucifer is back in.

For the second question - what exactly does letting him back in mean - I can think of a few possibilities.

First, it's letting his insanity back in. Earlier in the season, Sam couldn't distinguish between reality and hallucinations, and Dean's "stone number one" speech was about giving Sam a tool to know what's real. So does this mean that because Sam engaged the hallucination in some back-and-forth brainstorming, then he can no longer distinguish reality anymore? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Second, if some of the Hell memories are still repressed, it could be letting those traumatic memories back in. Since we haven't been given any indication that Sam doesn't remember everything, I'm not leaning toward this theory.

Third, Lucifer could represent Sam's dark side - the part he always tried to repress. Lucifer begged Sam to stop fighting him and to interact with him. In this case, letting him back in would most clearly mirror Jeffrey inviting the demon back in. This is the theory that I'm leaning toward. It reminds me of a line that Ruby said in season 3 - that Hell is forgetting what you are. If Sam invited Hell back in, maybe he's going to change to someone darker.

Fourth, there's still a psychic connection between Lucifer and Sam, and this is Lucifer's way of getting a foothold into the world outside the cage. This would be interesting too, but it would mean a longer angel story arc, and I don't think the writers would want to go there now.

I think Sam's been worn down by all of this and he needs to stop pretending he's OK and that this demon side of him doesn't exist. Because he was pretending, and not dealing with it openly, this allowed his dark side to get a foothold in his psyche.
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-02-20 16:40
Sorry I totally disagree with this interpretation that somehow Sam wanted to let Lucifer back in in some kind of victory for his 'dark side' or some kind of power trip. Letting Lucifer in does not in any way make Sam more powerful. It destroys his sanity. There is absolutely no upside for Sam, no possible reason why he would EVER want that.

Lucifer has been trying to wear him down for a long time. Sam has been using more and more energy resisting. He finally caved this time because, as Alice said, Lucifer used his weak spot which is Dean. Sam let Lucifer help him save his brother and as a result has gambled away his own sanity. That is as big a sacrifice as either has ever made for the other in the history of the show. I think it is unfair to Sam's character, and to the sacrifice he has made to suggest any bad motives for his action.
cd28
# cd28 2012-02-20 16:56
Maybe fighting his dark side has been what's been destroying his sanity? I don't mean to be unfair to Sam's character. I love Sam. I'm just trying to interpret what I'm seeing on the scene, and I didn't create Sam's dark side, or write Jeffrey's story (obviously a parallel to Sam's story) the way it is - the writers did.
Amy
# Amy 2012-02-20 21:31
I agree whole heartedly with this.

I really dont get it. Dean pushes down, lies to Sam and 'fakes it til he makes it' and people worry about him. Sam does the exact same thing and its a witch hunt against sam.

The only difference is that Dean has every person under the sun worrying about him, coming back from the dead to advise him or secretly drink his beer and bolster his self esteem.

Sam is truly alone and isolated in this world. he doesn't have anyone except possibly Dean. But he doesn't want to burdon his already suicidally depressed brother. so where does that leave Sam? No friendly allies giving advice...no ghostly psydo family rushing to his aid.

So yeah, I think its unfair to say Sam is lying or prideful. or wants to be all darkside. Sam just literally has NO ONE on his side. I mean his last known friend literally ripped down his protective psycological barrier...simpl y to distract Dean and gloated over his suffering.

Sam is ALONE>
cd28
# cd28 2012-02-20 22:41
There's no witch hunt here. Also no one suggested Sam was prideful or lying. I brought up the darkside point because it was suggested in the episode that there can be an appeal to it by those who were possesed. It's possible (and I think implied in the episode) that in Sam's weakened state he let Lucifer in hoping it would give him the strength he needs right now. Lucifer told Sam that Sam "wanted" him, and if Lucifer is Sam's subconscious, that is Sam saying it.

I have issues with the way Dean deals with things but didn't bring it up here because this isn't a competition on which brother handles things better.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-02-21 02:24
It is hard to know what the show implys with Sam it has done it so many times since season 4 the bottom line is he wanted to save Dean regardless of wether he let in , invited in Lucifer.
I would be less than impressed with Dean if he bore any resentment towards Sam .
Sam is suffering the consquences of his wall being brought down it was only a matter of time before it became too much and Sams coping mechanism failed . What I do want is this to be about Sam and Sams damage not just another case of how terrible it is all for Dean.
annie
# annie 2012-02-21 11:38
Well isnt that what was implied here, that this is all going to be so much worse for Dean than Sam?

I dont actually think Dean will be the one to save Sam, I think its going to be Cas in some way. Not a cure but a patch job as it were, just so Sam can deal, have some semblnce of a life not that he has had much of one since Jess died but being able to function. I think that would be a satisfactory sort of conclusion to this story for the time being. Sam needs to be hunting things and saving people its who he is.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-21 11:40
Quote:
I agree whole heartedly with this.

I really dont get it. Dean pushes down, lies to Sam and 'fakes it til he makes it' and people worry about him. Sam does the exact same thing and its a witch hunt against sam.

The only difference is that Dean has every person under the sun worrying about him, coming back from the dead to advise him or secretly drink his beer and bolster his self esteem.

Sam is truly alone and isolated in this world. he doesn't have anyone except possibly Dean. But he doesn't want to burdon his already suicidally depressed brother. so where does that leave Sam? No friendly allies giving advice...no ghostly psydo family rushing to his aid.

So yeah, I think its unfair to say Sam is lying or prideful. or wants to be all darkside. Sam just literally has NO ONE on his side. I mean his last known friend literally ripped down his protective psycological barrier...simply to distract Dean and gloated over his suffering.

Sam is ALONE>
I agree. I have always maintained that Sam never had a character (a recurring one) who put him first.
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-21 12:21
Other than Dean, naturally. I'd agree that Sam has not had the quantity of characters looking out for him Dean has periodically had, but I don't think anyone can beat Sam for having the quality or consistency level of care that Dean has given him throughout this series.

This doesn't mean Sam hasn't been short-changed in terms of connections with other characters, but I don't see where Sam is alone. He has Dean, and has had Dean putting him first his entire life.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-24 00:58
Dean putting Sam first his ENTIRE Life is fanon
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-02-24 03:21
Yes it is. But it is fanon that took hold which is why Sam gets a rough time from parts of the fandom.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-24 04:26
I agree.The idea that Dean puts Sam first everytime is absurd..
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-24 10:33
All right, fair enough. Dean is a human being, and it is impossible to expect one human being to be solely focused on another human being's wants, wishes, desires, well-being, etc., is unrealistic. Yes, there have been times that Dean has not put Sam first, just as there have been time that Sam has not put Dean first. At the same time, I think it is denying canon to handwave the care and devotion that Sam has received from Dean in his life as insignificant. By Sam's own words, Dean has been looking out for Sam his entire life, and I'd think Sam would be the expert in this situation. My opinion only, of course.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-24 11:38
Oh no its just if you had said most of his life or many times i would not have commented that, but to say entire life would be false.I don't expect that from Dean because as you said Dean is a human being but the comments make him out to be otherwise.and having only Dean is not enough Sam is a human being too and it is always beneficial to have a person like how bobby and cas are to Dean in his life.you have to understand i don't mean bobby or Dean should have Sam as their favourite or share a profound bond with him but a charcter other than them..And as for Sam not putting Dean first i never claimed Sam puts Dean first everytime and i atleast would not want Sam too and Sam does not so yeah in that account i agree with you sam does not always put Dean first.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-24 11:40
sorry not bobby and Dean but bobby and Cas
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-24 12:06
I agree. I overgeneralized in my first comment. I think I just reacted at reading Sam is alone and has no one, which seemed to be an overgeneralizat ion as well. Still one hyperbole doesn't excuse another. I further agree that it would be nice for Sam to have a Bobby or Cas-esque character in his life. Given the care of Bobby and Cas at times, I still feel that Sam has gotten the most consistent care, but Sam remains quite isolated. I suppose Dean is now as well. Poor boys.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-27 01:39
I have not felt the same way about the care received by Sam
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-27 07:11
Then I suppose we must agree to disagree.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 19:51
Good points! The way I see it, Sam wasn't deceived by Lucifer. He was tempted. That's what ole fork tongue is known for! I still think he did it solely for Dean, but yeah, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. Lucifer is tricky and there is no way Sam would have not fallen into that trap eventually. It's too subtle. I'm shocked he held out this long. You are right, he is worn down by it all.

I'm supporting your theory number four. I strongly believe there is a psychic connection. You're right though, how much to the writers want to dig into that!

Thanks for commenting!
cd28
# cd28 2012-02-21 10:04
I agree with the word "tempted." That was what I was getting at. While his motivation could have been soley about Dean, I was left wondering about that, after recognizing the parallels to Jeffrey's story and hearing Lucifer say that Sam wanted him. It's hard to imagine Sam wanting anything relating to Lucifer or demons, considering it seems so opposite to the personality that we've been shown, and also given what he's gone through. But the show has suggested that there's something in him that draws him to the darker side, so I'm wondering if that's where they're going again. Lucifer was counseling Sam to be tougher (more like RoboSam) with Nora, and Sam was listening to him. Assuming that Lucifer is part of Sam's psyche, Sam seemed to want to listen to that side of his personality. It helped him get Dean back, but was there something more?

On the other hand, if they go in the direction of this actually being Lucifer in the cage, rather than a hallucination, then Sam "wanting" Lucifer would fall in line with the notion that an angel needs consent to enter a person. So I don't think Lucifer was able to enter Sam just because Sam talked to him. I think Sam, with some thought, consented to allow him back in.
Junkerin
# Junkerin 2012-02-20 18:18
I realy enjoyed your review. But I disagree in some points.

"It’s Sam rationalizing that all his crazy is under one umbrella to Bobby, so he’s okay. Crazy is crazy, no matter what. He ended up fooling himself and Dean as well. Now they both are about to get hurt. "
You can live very good with some kind of crazy look at "A beautiful mind" he doesen´t get cured he has to learn to live with his hallutination.
And that what they are. Hallutination! No devil talking from the cage or what ever.
Sam has horrible memories of his time in the cage. And contion he never learned to live with them (I don´t know if this is possible) but Dean showed/told him how to deal with them so he can funktion. Dean (and Bobby) know Sam still sees Luci, but he nows (because he showed him) how to handel it.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 19:55
I left a comment up above for Airbat, but I think Lucifer is way more than a hallucination. We have seen in the past that there is a profound connection between and angel and his vessel. Remember Raphael's drooling mess vessel? Jimmy after Castiel left him? Each case is different. Lucifer is still tormenting Sam from beyond the cage. That's more than a messed up head. I'm hoping the next few episodes (or others later) will expand on that further.
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-02-20 19:04
Interesting review. However, I don't think that Sam has shown any dishonesty or deception towards Dean regarding his hallucinations. He told Dean he was handling them and up until he said 'shut up' to Lucifer in this episode he was handling them and functioning very well. So I hope we won't get any resentment and mistrust on Dean's part afterwards. I'm really hoping Sam's illness will lead to some wonderful big brother scenes from Dean in the upcoming episodes. I really want to see Dean be the one to reach and save his little brother. I adore Big Brother!Protect ive!Dean. The one thing I do not want to see at all is a quick angel fix

This episode was very good indeed. Very thought provoking and utterly heartwrenching. Broken Sammy just about shattered my poor heart. Jared and Mark P were wonderful.
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-02-20 20:00
I totally agree. I don't believe Sam has hidden anything from Dean since the scene in the warehouse. He said he was coping and til this case he was.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-20 20:01
Dishonesty and deception isn't just lying. It's omitting things. Sam told Dean at the end of "Adventures in Babysitting" he wasn't okay. He didn't really elaborate on that. From what we saw this week, he is soooo not okay. I don't think Dean can grasp how bad it is unless he saw what we did.

I raised the resentment question because the writers love going there. Rehashing old conflicts. Remember Amy? Do I like it? Heavens no. Considering Sam has fallen into old patterns with his self sacrifice, Dean probably will too. That's me guessing. I'm with you, I want to see Big Brother!Protect ive!Dean. I think he'll be there at first, but as things progress, once Sam passes the critical point, you got to wonder how must mistrust will linger.

Thanks for commenting!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-02-21 02:48
Sam wasnt going to elaborate because Dean has hardly been fine himself just look at Dean this season would you say anything and he was coping until this week. I just cant see the need to somehow paint Sam has being guilty of something here or am I seeing it wrong?.
Martha
# Martha 2012-02-21 06:36
Yeah, I'm also not getting it, Sharon . If Sam had been telling Dean all the details of his hallucinations then a lot of fandom would be calling him selfish for burdening his depressed and struggling brother with his own issues. Sam was only thinking of his brother's wellbeing. I agree with Amy upthread, Sam really is utterly alone.
If Dean does get resentful when Sam only spared the finer details because of wanting to spare his brother any more pain and grief then Dean and I will fall out drastically. I can definitely see Dean getting angry as that's how Dean shows fear, panic and worry and he's surely going to be worried sick over Sam. Hopefully, though, he has matured enough to see the good intentions behind Sam's choices and is able to see Sam's perspective in all of this.
amy
# amy 2012-02-21 10:57
Quote:
Yeah, I'm also not getting it, Sharon . If Sam had been telling Dean all the details of his hallucinations then a lot of fandom would be calling him selfish for burdening his depressed and struggling brother with his own issues. Sam was only thinking of his brother's wellbeing. I agree with Amy upthread, Sam really is utterly alone.
If Dean does get resentful when Sam only spared the finer details because of wanting to spare his brother any more pain and grief then Dean and I will fall out drastically. I can definitely see Dean getting angry as that's how Dean shows fear, panic and worry and he's surely going to be worried sick over Sam. Hopefully, though, he has matured enough to see the good intentions behind Sam's choices and is able to see Sam's perspective in all of this.
The thing of it all is Sam CAN'T tell Dean due to his (deans) depression. Dean was already willing to let the world die...even those he once loved. He's been willing to commit murder/suicide at the THOUGHT of bobby being dead. Once Dean is at a point of giving up...he's willing to gives up on everything. Sam, knowing his brother knows this. he simply can't reveal how dire his situation is. Though he has mentioned several times he isn't doing well...its like sam was testing the waters, checking for Deans reaction.
And Dean was barely Holding on himself.

So Sam did what Dean was doing , internalizing his situation and showing his brother his game face. otherwise known as protecting their brother from their own traumas.

I geuss I'll never understand why Dean is lauded for this and Sam is penalized.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-02-21 11:38
Sam is in a no win situation with this it seems . At the end of the day he didnt ask for any of this he is suffering because of the act of one individual nor did he ask for Dean to be depressed and swamped by his own issues at the same time.

He did what he needed to do just like Dean does or Dean feels he needs to I cant see what he was supposed to say or when there was a time to say it but that is just me.
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-21 12:14
I'd say, judging from this website, that Dean isn't lauded for internalizing, showing his game face, or for showing his feelings. Dean, it seems, is in the same no win situation. If he shows emotional issues, he's somehow stifling Sam from showing his emotions, and if he keeps things to himself, he's treating Sam like a child. Therefore, it makes sense that Sam's in the same no-win situation.

As for the time to say something, I don't think this episode is the time when Sam was able to say something. I think next episode is the time. I want Sam to trust Dean enough to tell him the truth, because if Dean has been allowed one constant, it's that he is able to be there for Sam when he needs him (whether Dean being a big brother is a good thing or a bad thing at that moment in canon being a different issue). I hope that's what happens, personally.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-21 13:22
(Edited) - Sorry, these threads can be soooo confusing at times even to the site admin! I'm not addressing the lauding comment to you specifically emmau. It's to everyone here.

If anyone is judging the perception of Dean's character on this website based on a few comments in one thread, you haven't been reading our other articles have you? We have some very pro Dean writers on this site that do exactly what you claim we aren't. Check out anything from sweetondean and Pragmatic Dreamer for starters. I feel like I can focus on Sam more in my articles because the others do such a good job at focusing on Dean.

Emmau, you are right though that this was not the episode for Sam to say something. No way he could have done that for he was blindsided by what happened. I was saying he should have done it much sooner, and dealt with the problem much sooner. But that wouldn't make for compelling drama, would it? I'm with you, I hope he tells Dean right away next ep. If not, if he's being tormented constantly and not sleeping, Dean will figure it out pretty quick.
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-21 14:01
I apologize, Alice, for overgeneralizin g the site. I should have kept my comments to the poster, not to the site in general. While this site, in my opinion, is more slanted to Sam, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Sorry again for overstepping to make my point.

I would agree that Sam should be more upfront with Dean about what is happening, but this was not the episode where I thought Sam would be able to talk about it. I do hope that in the next episode that he tells Dean, rather than Dean finding out on his own. I want Sam to trust Dean with the truth, and I hope he does.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-21 14:07
No worries emmau, apology accepted. It wasn't just you.

For those that haven't been here a while (and I'm not sure if you're one of them) we've had a shift in writers in the last few months. The new ones are more slanted toward Dean, while the Sam slanted ones have left (except me of course). I think you'll find that the balance has definitely changed!
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-02-22 03:33
Awww...that's a shame about the Sam slanted writers having left this site. Being a Sam fan isn't always the easiest thing to be, especially out there on the boards and this place has always been my oasis of sanity. :lol:
Having said that I love reading all the reviewers on this site. The new ones may be slanted more towards Dean but I find all their reviews beautifully, and equally, fair to both boys. It's a real pleasure to come here after each new episode and read every review and all the comments.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-21 13:30
I got to admit, when I do these reviews, I don't exactly think what the fandom would be saying if something happened. If there are those out there that would have called Sam selfish for burdening Dean, being open with him, I would wonder why they couldn't acknowledge that Sam is finally showing some maturity with his brother. Then I'd move on!

Dean has never taken Sam's "omissions" well. Sam has most of the time (except for season four) kept things from Dean out of the need to protect him, or because Dean has enough on his plate. No matter the intention, it's always backfired on Sam. I'm merely suggesting it'll backfire here too. But I'm with you, hopefully Dean will see past that because Sam is royally screwed and desperately needs him. I do wonder though if all that frustration will fuel the Dick Roman thing. It's all a we'll see thing at this point.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-02-20 19:53
Thanks for the review, Alice! I agree with all the parallels and inferences you draw. Every cycle of sacrifice and secrets builds another layer of tragedy on this tortured little family. Even the people who were adopted into it have picked up the tradition. Trust Ben Edlund to cut through so many layers in one script.

This was so subtle, too, and terribly creepy. The perfect Edlund combination.
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2012-02-20 22:21
Thanks Alice. Thought-provoki ng review for a most thought-provoki ng episode.

I'm intrigued by the notion that maybe the Lucifer that we and Sam are seeing is the fallen angel in the Cage, and not just a hallucination. I can certainly see the logic. And it would explain the hold Lucifer has on Sam. It would also make the hallucinations that much more terrifying -- because they're not actually hallucinations. They're real!

Although I thought the whole Stone Number One speech from Dean, during HCW, was to show Sam that the Lucifer he was seeing wasn't real. That the torture felt different here on Earth, as opposed to the sensation of torture in Hell.

One of my concerns is that if Lucifer is still really tormenting Sam, than how does Sam ever heal or recover? In theory that phone line would always be open, unless they could find some way to kill Lucifer, cut the connection, bring down the cell tower so to speak. It would suggest that Sam's torment is eternal, and I find that incredibly sad, and hopeless.

On the other hand, if the phoneline between Sam & Lucifer is still open, then maybe there is still a chance for a connection between Dean & Michael. I'm still curious as to why Levi!God!Cas told Crowley in MTB "I would have done away with it completely, but I need a threat to hold over my enemies, and we need to keep Michael in Lucifer's cage."

So, your theory makes me wonder if the next sacrifice is for Dean to place a call to Michael in The Cage. (I think Adam has long since been burned out, or sent back to Heaven, or working on a variety of movie projects and does not have a suitable SPN storyline to return to!). I have long wondered if Michael has a role to play in defeating the Leviathans. Maybe that's the weapon to bring down Dick Roman? After all both angels and Leviathans go back a long way. Plus, I would really like to see how Jensen would interpret Michael. I'm curious about the creative storylines and drama that could produce.

What I find interesting about Lucifer & Sam's interactions though is that Lucifer never told Sam anything he didn't already know. He guided him, but he never had foreknowledge. All the information that Lucifer supplied was stuff that Sam had noticed or was already piecing together.

I am wondering if Hallucination!L ucifer is the final part of himself that Sam has to integrate. They were together for a very long time after all.

I also agree with you that Sam never lied to Dean, but he did deceive him. I agree that Sam didn't want to burden Dean when he already seemed so troubled. We've all done that - hidden something serious from someone we love because we don't want them to worry. But that technique almost inevitably backfires. I think Dean will be angry when he finds out just how big of a mess Sam was really coping with. But I don't think he'll resent it. I think he has matured enough to see the reasons for Sam's action, and accept them and move on to helping his brother get better.

I think Sam's complete collapse will come as a huge surprise, and be completely devastating to Dean. And I think it will add to his huge guilt load. (What would Dean be without all that guilt?) It has the potential to be what shakes him out of his funk, and returns him to BadAss!Dean. On the other hand, if Dean believes that Sam is irreparably damaged, doomed to live out his days in a mental institution, then I think we might see a DeathWish!Dean. After all, who would he have left to live for, or to protect?

I know it is supposed to seem that Dean is obsessed with getting revenge on Dick Roman, but I don't think his whole heart is in it. Sometimes I get the sense that Dean feels that revenge is what he should be doing, not what he wants to do. I think in some way, he sees it as something to occupy his time, so he doesn't have to grieve Bobby & Castiel or worry about when Sam is going to break (right about now!) I think pursuing Dick Roman is in some perverse way helping Dean stay sane because it's giving him a purpose. It might, and most likely will end badly though.

I hesitate to mention this, but my tiny complaint with the episode is the amount of mental torment Lucifer was inflicting on Sam. We know that Sam & Dean aren't real people. For instance, mere mortals could never heal so quickly from most of their physical injuries. (Think back to how much Sam bled after the ghouls sliced him in JTS, and yet he seemed mainly okay except for needing more demon blood. Not very realistic) But what I like about the show is generally how believable it is. Except I kept thinking no person could ever appear normal if so much of his mental energy is consumed with hallucinations like that. I'm conflicted because I enjoyed the drama of it, and finally seeing what's going on in Sam's mind, but it frustrated me too because I kept thinking, if it was that bad all along, then there should have been more outward signs. So, I'm choosing to believe that over time the hallucinations were getting worse, and harder to deal with, and that might help explain Sam's desperate plea to Dean to "just don't get killed".

Finally, I know you're not doing clues, but... Another time stamp? And an ambiguous one at that? And Dean is no longer sleeping in the bed closest to the door? What is up with that?

Anyways, I think I've just written a novel here. Sorry. Obviously, this episode gave me WAY too much to think about. (Articles percolating as we speak!)

Pragmatic Dreamer
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-02-21 08:32
Hi Alice, that was a great review as usual. Mr. Edlund is such a mad genius. He does funny so well, but I love these mind bending episodes so much more. And I was reminded of "Jacob's Ladder" too in that scene in the library. Just thinking about it now sends chills down my spine. The fact that I'm a librarian chills me even more, that's all I can think about when I see my library patrons. Thanks so much for that visual Mr. Edlund!

As for poor Sammy, oh I'm so very worried for his sanity. Lucifer certainly knew what to wait for to get back into his noggin. While he knows Dean is his weakness, he also knows Dean is his strength. And I must agree with your assessment that not telling Dean about his Lucifer visions is not the same as lying. Sam has always tried to do things his own way, and he was managing pretty well there until he thought Dean was in real danger. We all knew this time was coming.

If TPTB were to leave us hanging for one whole month before we get our next episode, at least they did it with a great big bang.
Jen
# Jen 2012-02-21 09:15
Hey there!

I apólogize in advance for mistakes, because english isn't my mother tongue so please bear with me here.

I'm a silent follower/reader of this awesome community for now, means: I'm not signed up here (yet). But I just wanted to say how greatly I love all the discussions on here about the episodes and all.

So, I've been reading all the reviews and I can relate and back all of them to almost 100% percent. One thing that I thought hasn't really been touched on now - and I find that to be interesting or maybe I just understood it wrong - is the ending scene and Deans "speech" about how all psychopaths "act" all the time. From what I read on here most seem to be sure that this refers solely to Sam's state of mind, but I can't help but think it refers to Dean just as much.

Of course Sam has a little more crazy on his plate than Dean right now, but still. I mean Dean is acting like everything's fine just as much as Sam does and he's been doing it for long time as well.

Anyway, just curious what others think about it. I also kind of thought that Jeffrey not only mirrors Sam but also Dean, especially in his relationship to Castiel (and I'm not talking about fanfiction Destiel here) and how he's broken after he leaves.

Okay, I could write a novel, but I'm gonna stop here for now. Anyway, I love to read all your opinions ans reviews, because it just makes SPN even more intersting to me.

Thanks!
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-02-21 14:29
These are mad ramblings (again!) but there have been so many thought provoking points in the article and the comments that I had to put down my honeycomb Hobnobs (man, they’re yummy) and do a bit of thinking.

One of the more lingering questions is in relation to where Lucifer is. Yes, it is highly probable that Lucifer is wholly in the Cage but it is not definite. It is possible that Sams hallucinations are vivid memories but it is not definite. I know the idea is there that they are mere hallucinations and that Lucifer is still in the Cage but the thing is, they are still hallucinations and as such are immensely powerful.

Unfortunately, Sam has been in hell for at least 200 years (at a conservative guess). He has been in the Cage almost seven times longer than he has walked the earth; he has known Lucifer seven times longer than he has known Dean. It really doesn’t matter a whit about a stone number one, or a ‘this is real’ gesture; those were only temporary reprieves.

For Sam at the moment, Lucifer is real. His logical side might say ‘No, Lucifer is in the Cage’ but the effects of 200 years in the Cage tell him otherwise.

Thing is, even if Sam was landed topside fully souled two years ago and never had an hallucination, if he passed the rest of his days living next door to Dean and Lisa, no hunting, no Leviathans, no hiding, no Castiel, no monsters etc then there is still going to be a huge part of Sam that will be convinced that the life he is living is not real. It’s hard to argue against the only thing you’ve known for 200 years.

Compare it to a person who had a terminal disease for the majority of their life and he/she wakes up one morning and is suddenly cured. It’s going to take a hell of a long time to process, and accept as fact, that knowledge. And for Sam, via the hallucinations, the remnants of that disease are still there. In the time Sam has been topside Bobby has died, his ‘friend’ shattered his mind, the world is once again on the verge of being overrun, they’re isolated from damn near everyone and his brother doesn’t think he’s capable of being trusted. Is it any wonder Sam still has doubts as to where he is?

In relation to Sam and the dark side.... Much as I love the guy, we cannot rule out the possibility that there is, always has been, and always be, a smidgen of Lucifer in Sam. It’s possible it was there even before he went in the Cage. (We don’t know where Sam went following his death in Cold Oak. Could he have met with Lucifer then, unbeknownst to him?) Regardless of whether or not he wants it, Sam does have a profound bond with Lucifer, much as Castiel has (had?) with Dean.

Do I think Sam is more susceptible to being swayed to the dark side than Dean? Yeah, I think I do. Given the circumstances under which he was created (and the separation of John and Mary while Mary was carrying Sam raises many questions), I think Sam is more prone to being steered towards that road. However, there is a big difference between being put on that road and going down that road. The biggest and best; angels, Azazel, Ruby and Lucifer have all tried their best to drag him down that road and they’ve all failed. That he strives so ardently to not go in that direction speaks volumes about the inherent good in him. It would a lot easier for Sam to just relent but his decision to not go there shows (to me at least) that there is no fear of Sam being evil.

Sam can be equipped with all the demomic tools and blood he wants but it’s how he decides to use them that dictates the type of person he is. (This is what bugged me the most about Sams powers. Just because they were there and deemed wrong, does not mean that he, or using them, was wrong.)

I sometimes think that Sam has a sixth (or sixteenth!) sense that comes from Lucifer. We saw in this episode how Sam ‘uses’ Lucifer (in a sense) to get what he needs yet it’s nothing he could not have done himself. There’s a part of me that thinks that Sam uses that ‘Lucisense’ almost every day in order to keep himself and his brother alive. During 7.15 when Sam entered the Wiccans Web, just before Nora clattered him, I’m 99.999% certain that Lucifer give a tiny, almost imperceptible shake of the head to Sam, as if in warning.

Sam and Dean have survived in hunting a lot longer than most hunters. As Mary said to baby Dean ‘Angels are watching over you’ and given what they do, and what they’ve faced, they’re either the luckiest SOB’s in the world (and we know that's not true!), or something is watching over them, keeping them alive, and guiding them in a way. It is an angel for Dean; it could be Lucifer for Sam.

However, despite all this ‘Is Sam destined to be evil’ malarkey, Sam has another, much stronger, gene; the protective brother gene. The need to keep his brother safe is not just confined to Dean. It might be more overt in Dean’s case but Sam is just as protective of Dean as Dean is of Sam. (Could this have been nurtured if Sam was in the Cage with Adam?) All sense and reason goes out the window when the other is in trouble. At the moment, Dean is still in a place where he needs to be protected, Sam knows this. (That isn’t a slight on Dean, btw, it just enforces the idea that Sam and Dean need each other to survive.) I’m not sure if the 'bed nearest the door' thing was just emphasised in fanfiction but if not then Dean made a clear statement by claiming the bed furthest from the door and by letting Sam drive etc. He’s not ready yet, he’s not strong enough yet. But he will be, soon.....

In relation to the deception issue. Apart from the fact that Sam has been more open about things than he has ever been, he doesn’t really have a yardstick by which to measure what is right and wrong in relation to the aftermath of Hell. For all he knows, what is happening to him could be totally normal. Dean didn’t talk about Hell or its effect so as far as Sam knows, these hallucinations etc could have been happening to Dean when he returned from hell (for all Sam knows Dean could still be hallucinating/h aving nightmares about hell).

Add to that, even if Dean was in the best of mental health, short of sticking his finger into Sam’s other ear and worming around in his brain pan, there’s not much Dean can do. The wall is down, the hallucinations are there, Dean knows this. And like Lucifer said, and Sam saw, Lucifer can be Dean any time he wants. He could be Dean right now. He could be Stone number one Dean. He could be a future Dean that is helping Sam. God knows, there have been times this season I’ve found it difficult to differentiate been real Dean and Lucifer Dean (yeah The Mentalists, I’m looking at you). Dean is powerless from stopping something from happening but he can be there to help pull Sam together when it does happen.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-02-21 14:33
I don’t think Sam saying ‘shut up’ was intentional acknowledgment or a desire to let Lucifer in so as to get the upper hand. We saw in this episode that Lucifer is there pretty much 24/7 but up until now there really hasn’t been any major break. Was Sam lulled into a false sense of security by the effectiveness of ‘stone number one’? I think so. It must be exhausting to have to be on your guard the whole time, to doubt the whole time, especially when you are, at your core, a positive person (and despite the mountain of crap that has been shovelled on him since day one, Sam is a positive person. He was before hell and he is after hell. Even 200 years of playing Sudoku with Lucifer isn’t enough to change that).

Now it has been said that, even if he knew the consequences then Sam would still choose to do what he did and yes, I believe this to be true because if Dean died Sam would definitely be back in hell, regardless of whether or not he’s topside. I think Sam 'let Lucifer in' because he felt (a) he was already there. Let’s face it, Sam is thinking about, seeing and hearing Lucifer; angel dude is already in. Sam was temporarily stopping him from walking into the living room but Lucifer is already in the house and (b) I dare say that Sam thought he’s be able to get Lucifer ‘out’ again once he was ‘in’. After all, he did it the last time when hell was so much fresher and the hallucinations were so much more vivid.

I think Sam’s refusal to acknowledge Lucifer wasn’t about keeping him out but it was the same thing that probably drove his dad mad for years, good old-fashioned Sam Winchester stubbornness. He was trying (in vain) to wear Lucifer down, to tick him off so that maybe Lucifer would get annoyed and just sod off for a small bit. You could almost see this in his stance on the bed at the end of the episode; he was just sitting on the bed, not letting Lucifer see his fear, trying to weather it out, trying to not to react and so deny Lucifer his kicks, as he had done when dealing with Lucifer prior to that.

There was a question earlier in relation to whether or not Sam felt liberated as a result of being possessed by Lucifer. I think in some small way he did. No-one wants to feel powerless and for much of Sams life he was exactly that; powerless. As a kid he was dragged from post to pillar, thrown into a lifestyle he hated and feared, as an adult he was a puppet for all manner of nasties from angels to demons. Is Sam wrong to now want to get a bit of control, and relishing it when he does get it? Not to me.

After being powerless for thirty years, Dean admitted he tortured souls in hell, and he enjoyed it. Does this make him evil? My ass it does. I gave out extra work to a class yesterday because they were acting like scuts. While I didn’t necessarily enjoying handing it out (especially now that I must correct the bloody stuff) I enjoyed knowing that I was able to hand it out. Does that make me evil? (Memo to all, the answer to that is ‘No’.....)

However, if you or I or Sam or Dean, don’t take some measure of control over what we can control, then we will lose all control and that’s when things will start to get hairy. I think that’s what Sam was doing when he was ignoring Lucifer; he was taking what little control he could of the situation. It doesn’t make Lucifer less effective but at least Sam knew that he was making a stand.

Is Sam okay? Sam has never been ok (ok in comparison to what??) However, he is (was) coping and that is the most anyone can ask for in relation to Sam. He’s learned to take whatever small mercies he can get, whatever small moments reprieve he can get and use them to bolster him to the next small mercy. He’s not thinking ‘I just want Lucifer out of my head and have everything back to normal’. He can’t plan that far ahead. He’s thinking ‘I just want myself and Dean to get through today and we’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow’. When Sam said ‘shut up’ to Lucifer, I feel he was thinking about getting Dean through that day and not worrying about the next. It wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t motivated by power; it was simply survival.

Right, now I must go and correct that extra work. The consequences of good intentions is right!
Airbat
# Airbat 2012-02-21 17:07
Quote:


Right, now I must go and correct that extra work. The consequences of good intentions is right!
HA! I enjoyed this as much as Alice's review. While you have good points, it was also entertaining. Loved it! :-)
LEAH
# LEAH 2012-02-21 18:39
Tim the Enchanter
Wow dude, when you get on a roll it is impressive. Agree or not, no one can say it's not entertaining and thought provoking. Thoughts seem to pour out of you like a volcano. Great comments!
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-02-21 21:27
I'm not going to jump in the middle of all this good discussion, but will comment that I enjoyed the sub-text of this episode probably more than the story being told. The only problem I have is that I'm frustrated that it took 15 episodes to get to this sub-text; which, although intriguing, raised so many confusing questions. And yet, there is still a story to be told on the surface...you know, the Levi, Cas, Bobby ghost or not. I'm really ready to get on with it and get some forward movement going on some of these plots and sub-plots.
MetamorphicRocks
# MetamorphicRocks 2012-02-21 22:32
I thought this episode was so very well written and acted. However, I'm not sure how complicated the writers are going to, or can make Sam's mental state.

I'm with those that think Lucifer may be more than just a hallucination. He is so coherent and focused in his conversations with Sam. I think from a writing standpoint, having Lucifer have some sort of psychic connection to Sam makes it easier to get rid of him. Break the connection- Lucifer can go away, then Sam is just left with extremely painful memories (like Dean).

How will they resolve this issue if Lucifer is all just in Sam's head? Will he just stop having hallucinations? Will he learn to function with them, like he did before earlier in the season? (either option doesn't make for a very interesting story for me.) Will he have to be healed from some supernatural force? I think there has to be some kind of dramatic payoff, including some level of resolution for this story to work. And I don't know how that is going to be accomplished.

I'm hopeful, though, that everything is going to come together in a coherent, interesting way when we get to the end of the season.
Laura
# Laura 2012-02-23 12:37
I'm sorry but Poor Dean needs to man up for once in his life and take care of Sam for real, not in lip service. Yes, I said lip service. Dean hasn't been the big brother on this show since John died, maybe even since Faith in season 1. I'm done feeling sorry for him, and I'm done thinking of him as a 'family' anything anymore. Dean is going to watch Sam crumble and then make it about himself, just like always. It doesn't make me feel sorry for Dean at all anymore. He's a one trick pony who knows how to manipulate people for attention and he always gets that attention. More so this season than any other one, which is sick, because Sam has just suffered more trauma than practically any other human being on earth and Dean is just jello all the time. Sam, Poor Sam has been sucking it up and dealing with Dean's Issues his entire life. Dean can take his anger and resentment and shove it somewhere unholy. Dean couldn't be bothered to much of a brother or a friend to Sam since season 4, and this is just more of the same. Dean needs to stop moaning about everything and actually appreciate all that Sam has done for him and given him over a lifetime. I'm tired of Dean being babied while Sam is left to tail-spin by himself, with no friends or even family he can count on to have his back. Because Dean's never had Sam's back, not really. And you can bet Dean will do what he always does when Sam loses it, he'll dump Sam and then whine about how hard it is for him, with this big weight on his shoulders. News flash, Dean, Sam's been carrying the same damn weight as you all this time and you've been too egotistical to see it. Wake up and see your brother, Dean!!!! Just love him, stop bitching about him to complete strangers while running off with mirrors of yourself.

I'm sorry for the rant but the lack of insight into Sam this season has left feeling starved and furious. No one should feel sorry for Dean because Sam is suffering. Feel sorry for Sam, the one who suffers.
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-23 13:27
Because only one of them can suffer and deserve our sympathy at a time?

As the rant, I'll have to agree to disagree that Dean has never paid attention to Sam or been a good friend or brother to him. I think both brothers have made mistakes, and neither one of them really knows how to help each other since their issues are so big. But I think both of them are trying, and to state that Dean doesn't care about what Sam's been going through since S1 is, to put it mildly, a gross distortion of the facts.

As to the lack of Sam insight, I think that's a completely different issue. I can completely agree to that. I'm not sure why that's supposed to be Dean's fault, but I know it's easy to look for a target when you're frustrated, and Dean fans have done the same to Sam in the past. I'm sorry for your frustration and hope the coming episodes help to allieviate it.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-24 01:11
I agree Dean looked after Sam but never understood him and Sam for all his selfishness understands Dean better.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-24 01:12
and when i say selfish i always roll my eyes
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-24 19:35
Honestly, I'm not sure Sam understands Dean any better. We're in year 7 now, and Sam seems just as much at a loss on how to deal with Dean and surprised at what Dean knows/reads as he did season 1. I don't mean that as an insult to Sam--as a little brother, it is not surprising that he still sees Dean through that lens. I'd say the same is true of Dean, of course--he loves his brother and does understand him at times, but when viewing Sam through his big brother lens, he has the same blind spots and will find himself surprised by Sam as well. It's the nature of brotherhood, in my opinion.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 12:03
Oh what i meant was in situations like when Dean's aim is to get Sam away from ruby he does the opposite ..but at the Same time when Sam wanted Dean not to tell yes to michael, not to trust gordan he has managed that fine..ultimatel y the decision was dean's but Sam planted a kernel and the right one that is understanding. just because you love someone/looked after someone/looked up to someone does not mean you understand them and i never implied that Sam looked up to Dean and that is the lens he sees through (awe, etc ..again according to me fanon) ..may be 5 ,4 or 3 years ago i would have thought the same way but Sam does not veiw Dean with that lens 24*7 .
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-25 12:40
I think we're agreeing here. I never meant to imply that Sam doesn't know how to get through to Dean at any time, and I think S5 is certainly a prime example of that. But sometimes he seems at a loss, like this season. I think the same can be said of Dean--there are times he knows how to get through to Sam, but others when he seems at a loss. I agree that looking after someone/looking up to someone doesn't mean you understand them. I don't know where I mentioned Sam looking up to Dean, but I'd agree that I don't see Sam viewing Dean through a lens of awe very often. I do see him viewing him through a little brother lens (which to me does not only mean viewing Dean in awe--I think we see that little brother lens when Sam is surprised by the idea that what he does affects Dean a la 5.16, or in learning about some of the things Dean knows/reads) but agreed, not 24/7--just like I don't think Dean views Sam as his little brother 24/7.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 13:57
I don't think Sam is at loss this season simply he is not having the capacity to be stable himself ,i don't think he is trying if seeing how he let Dean's issues slide in that car ride ( sorry bad at remembering episode names)..this is what i picked up but till show tells the reason the reasons will be my personal fanon.And about awe it was not just awe ( in case of striga incident he got a new insight about Dean) as you said i agree it is many other emotions along with awe.About looking after and looking up they were and are part of them being brothers...the things (not the only by long shot) which led to their unique brand ( winchester ) of little and big brother glasses.Sorry my grammer is not good that is why i had reduced commenting but i am enjoying this discussion.
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-25 14:46
Oh, I'm enjoying this discussion as well! I think the reason I see Sam as at a loss with Dean this season is because this season seems to fall in line with his reaction to Dean's spiralling in S2 and in S4. I see Sam wanting to help in both of those seasons, but ultimately not knowing what to say or do to really get through to him. In S2 I think Sam figured it out in 2.4 and then around Croatoan and Hunted, but in S4 I didn't really see him figure it out because there was no handbook for "How to help your brother cope with hell" and by then he was so trapped in his own problems (I don't mean that disparagingly-- I sympathize a lot with Sam in S4). Therefore, to me Sam being at a loss as to how to deal with what has been the most stable figure in his life spiralling. I think the same can be said for Dean, who through big brother experience, has had more experience looking after Dean but is still thrown when it's something like, "I might go darkside" or "I'm working with Ruby."

Now, I think this season I might be able to agree that Sam's stability has something to do with his interactions with Dean, but this is where the writing has failed, in my opinion. Show has written Sam as "fine" up until this point, which I know he's not, but since they've been insistent on portraying Sam as being in better shape than Dean in hunting and emotional well-being all season that's the canon we have. I think your fanon makes more sense, but I think that's the problem with the writing this season--we've had to create a lot more fanon than we probably should.

I agree that Sam's feelings about Dean are varied and complex, including little brother awe, little brother resentment, and genuine affection. I think Dean's feelings about Sam are just as varied and complex, including big brother care-taking, big brother resentment, and genuine affection. It does all combine into a unique brand of Winchester bonding.
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-25 14:47
Looking after Sam, I mean. Sorry about that.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-02-25 15:39
I agree with the writing .I have made no bones about the fact I have found the writing for Sam this season odd to say the least. He has appeared up to this episode too 'ok' it is my bugbear with Sams writing .
Cindy
# Cindy 2012-02-24 18:33
Wow. If that's truly how you view the Dean character, then you've obviously not been watching the same character I've been watching for several years now. I get that people are upset with the way they believe Sam's story has been mishandled this season, but to take it out on Dean, who clearly loves his brother, and would do anything for him, makes no sense.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-02-23 13:42
Sam and sympathy dont tend to go together in my experience . However maybe Dean having so much coverage in past seasons from John onwards of his issues and effects of his life and Sams life it appears while Sam has had so much less that maybe this time some thought rather than it being what Sam does or what act is done against him and how it impacts Dean that it would be Sams time to have a emotional sl that deals with him on that level.

Really we shouldnt of had to wait this long to of seen the damage reeked on Sam by the wall being pulled down while being in a haze of Deans problems again .I am not sure why the season has been done this way? or the creative decision making behind it and that is down to the writers not Dean but it has come across has Sams pain being secondary to Deans depression maybe that wasnt the intention but it just feels that way,

Mybe thats why this episode feels long overdue and welcoming to get that insight and a idea of Sams life as is.
emmau
# emmau 2012-02-23 13:56
Everyone's experience is different, so I won't speak to that. I will agree that Dean gets the lion's share of the emotional storyline, which is unfair to Sam, and Sam gets the lion's share of the arc storyline, which is unfair to Dean. You'd think after 7 years it wouldn't be hard to share among the boys equally, but that's show.

I further agree that Sam's storyline shouldn't have been put on the back half of the season. I also agree that retreading Dean's depression storyline, while once again (as far as I can tell) not resolving anything except having 7,777 people tell him he doesn't have it that bad and he shouldn't be depressed, is frustrating. I doubt that making Sam's pain secondary was intentional, as Adam Glass seemed to indicate, IMO, that this was show proving that Sam is the best hunter in the world while Dean only gets to have issues part 4. It's unfair to Sam and to Dean.

I expect Dean's POV to come into play as Sam goes through his crisis, just like I expect Dean to ultimately be allowed to do nothing but observe as the action unfolds. Show has its patterns. I share your frustration, I promise--just in different ways.
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-24 06:48
Hi Alice, I'm a new comer to the Supernatural fan base as I discovered the show a few months back and I'm crazy about it I own every episode of it and I literally have watched each one of them like ten times. I really enjoy your articles and I have read like 90% of them and even though I might have some different opinions from yours at some points, You always open up a new horizon to me to think about from a different point of view.
I have read your review a few days ago yet one sentence hunted me for days:Quote:
To think, his sweet moment of death at the end of season two was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.
I have been thinking about this sentence for days and trying recall everything that happened to Sam since we first met him on season one. I think your are right on that Sam had faced a lot of bad things in his life, things a normal person could never handle, yet he always found a way to accept them and adjust with who he is and what he has done. Since he was a little kid he lost his mom, he had to live an abnormal life no kid could handle and all he wished for was to have this apple pie life every one else takes for granted, he never asked for any thing else (The same thing his mom once wanted and later on Dean wanted too) yet when he tried to have this life he was met by resentment and he was exiled from his family only to be dragged back into the life and lose everything he worked hard to get. Yet the boy could never win, he was dragged again in a role he never asked for, he had to fight the darkness in him and try to do the right thing and even when everybody looked at him different and everybody blamed him for the mistakes he was pushed to do, even the people closest to him, He took that blame like a man, He never complained and never let himself get caught in guilt. He never wished to be brought back from death and if he was left to die (Which some people think was so selfish of Dean to not chose to live without his brother rather than a noble sacrifice) he would have never had to watch his brother die for him, he would never had to drink the daemon blood , he would never have had to go through those painful detoxes, He would never have had to unknowingly start the apocalypse and take the blame for it (even though nobody blamed Dean for breaking the first seal himself), he would never have had to condemn himself to eternity of torture in Hell to save the world only to be brought back soulless and have this mutilated soul shoved back in him forcefully. To me Sam is the reluctant hero who had made every sacrifice silently expecting nothing in return, He never complained about loosing everything and he accepted how his life is headed with the same desire of doing the right thing and now he sacrificed his sanity for saving his big brother and has to bear the consequences. Some people say Sam had gone dark side but I never thought he did, For me he did some shady mistakes like any soldier in battle who has to take some hard options and some innocent people may get caught in the cross fire but each time he was thinking nobly and even when he started the apocalypse he thought he was sacrificing himself by killing Lilith to stop her.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-24 08:42
Thank you zombiehigh18 for writing this.It was beautifully written and every reason why i like Sam.I also find that when he makes a mistake he always does everything in his capacity to make it right,when something is done to him (demon blood,pulling his mutilated soul to him..) still he does not blame but tries for making it right or making something good out of it and most of the time forgives and forgets ..
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-24 09:16
Thank you, I'm actually a fan of both boys, I see them as humans not saints. I see their good sides and their bad sides too. But lately I have noticed this huge hate among fans towards Sam and it makes me sad because no mater how hard he tries, no mater how much he sacrifices, to them Sam can never do anything right and to them the show is all about Dean and Cas, Which is not how I see things.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-24 17:51
So, so true. Even Sam in his darkest hour never lost faith in humanity and doing the right thing. That's what makes him special. He never gives up. There's so much stubborn John Winchester in him its scary!

For Sam, the tragedy of his story is everything he's done has been with good intention, but it backfires on him anyway. He tries to do the right thing, tries to make things better for people and what few victories he has are very small. Everything he does, good or bad, ends with greater consequences. He saves the world at great sacrifice to himself and something else comes along and takes over the world. He's left fighting in a situation where he's suffering in a horrible way which others don't suffer, including his brother. He does it all without complaint, but man, you have to wonder how he does it. You have to wonder how he hasn't put a bullet in his brain by now.

I think that's really where the show goes too dark. There's no reward and often no redemption for what he does. He just goes on, mostly for his brother, no matter what's thrown at him. I suppose that's noble, but ever since he died at the end of season two, it's been an endless barrage of tragedy and agonizing pain, physically, mentally, emotionally, everything. So, this is my long winded way of saying that's why I made that comment about being dead at the end of season two! He could have stayed up there in his own blue heaven while Dean carried on without him. I guess that wouldn't have made a good series though, huh?

I honestly would like to see Sam get more of a break in upcoming seasons. This mindless hunting thing to mask all the tragedies in his life just does nothing for his well being. I know he's now damaged beyond repair. There's no happy life for him. But there has to be something more for him than just burying himself in his work. Where's his identity? That's been my frustration with his character so far. I think there's still time to lay that out though.
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-25 04:07
Quote:
There's no reward and often no redemption for what he does.
Do you think the boys can ever have a reward? For me I think it's unlikely and I fear the writers will punish us in the end with some heartbreaking ending. I don't know.

Quote:
But there has to be something more for him than just burying himself in his work. Where's his identity?
Yes you are absolutely right on that, It frustrates me too that all through season 6 (The second half of course) and 7, Sam has no identity any more, he has no dreams of his own, no connections with the outside world and even no driving force to keep going (even for revenge) except for the sake of not letting his brother down, It's completely heart wrenching. I wish the writers would just give Sam a brief moment of completely deserved happiness or some fun on a job like we have seen with Dean several times.
Laura
# Laura 2012-02-24 13:08
A lot of fans will never forgive Sam for being the special, chosen one brother who had demon blood dripped into his mouth as a baby. They'll never forgive Jared for having his name listed in front of Jensen's. They never will. And for this show to try and appease these "fans" in any way, pretty much makes a mockery of this show's ultimate message of family, and in my opinion, the writers have already done this too much. The door never swings back towards Sam, the way it should have done. Things have not been equal among the brother's treatment and depiction and screen time for a long time now. They always mess up Sam's wonderful storylines so Dean can have another emo rerun of season 2. Hence, the horrid writing for this season.

If Dean were hanging out with a pet rock, they would fight for that pet rock as being a better brother for Dean than Sam is. It's not logical or thought out at all; it's just blind, jealous hatred, and it's eaten the heart of this fandom and the heart out of this show.


What I can never forgive is the writers appeasing this segment of the fanbase. They've destroyed the heart of this show by ignoring Sam so much. I cannot think of another show that would be this deliberately stupid and hateful towards a lead character. The writers are simply thoughtless, imho.

Season 4 broke me as a fan, not because Sam was going dark, but because the writing was so heartless and cruel towards Sam. Hiding his story from us, his reasons for doing what he's doing. Hiding his feelings, and how what happens to him impacts him emotionally. Even now, every time Sam suffers some kind of injury, no matter how bad, the writers blow it off as a joke. If you love or like Sam at all, this is a hard world to live in, a hard family to even believe in. Because if Sam isn't allowed to be a member of his own family, then what is the point of this show really?
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-24 14:38
This is something i saw in the comments (not all but many) here and in other places when Sam does something like sacrifice himself for the world or now when he interacted with lucifer comments about how he does it not with honorable intentions or not for his brother appears.He may or may not but to sully his intentions before show shows it is pretty bad for me to bear.
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-24 15:03
To yuor surprise as much as I disliked how the show handled Sam story on season 4, That season was the one I fell in love more with the younger Winchester brother. I saw his motives justified and I never was convinced he went dark side or should be blamed for anything just like no one could blame Dean for breaking the first seal. I don't understand why this fan base insists on this war and hatred towards one of the leads it's not Jared's fault that his name comes first because of the alphabetical order and it's not Sam's fault that he was brought back from death. And it kinda annoys me that writers are dead on pleasing those fans by putting Sam in the background for most of the time. I love Dean I really do, but why does he get to interact with most guest stars, why do we have to concentrate on his feelings and his loss while Sam is totally ignored? It even annoyed me that fans seemed to be excited about Cas' return on the coming episodes upon seeing the new promo than worried about poor Sam who is surely going to suffer beyond imagination because they say he would eventually be fine because the writers wouldn't kill him off, That's a wrong way of thinking in my book.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-02-24 16:17
Yes but to those fans Sam doesnt matter. He is the millstone around Deans neck the one who has pulled Dean down . Cas is the liberator the one who cares for Dean with no strings attatched.
They have romanticized the Dean and Cas relationship( not slash)so Sam is unwanted.
Sams suffering this year hasnt really been paramount to the writers except for the first two episodes it was only in this episode they deemed to show us Sams torment so there isnt encouragement to care.Wether they build on this for Sam or Cas does abit of magic ? will depend on the writers idea of what they want for Sam.
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-25 03:32
A few days ago I got into a discussion with one of those die hard Dean/Cas fans and she got very annoyed when I said that the boys will never be OK as long as one of them is not. She said that Dean is not Sam's shadow and that he is a person and he has his own world. OK if those fans find Sam to be unwanted why do they watch a show that is supposed to be about two brothers in the first place? For me that's why I loved the show, this love and devotion between the two leads (not slash too). I didn't watch a show about a brother and a nerd Angel. And as much as I love the supporting cast (even the evil ones), I find them replaceable.
Besides I have to add that Cas might have been the liberator (or whatever the term is) on seasons 4 and 5, but on season 6 he totally blew things up and I found it very hard to sympathize with his motives back then. When Cas chose to trust a daemon and go "dark side", He should have known better because he saw the consequences of the same act when Sam did (a cautionary tale) so in my book he had no excuse.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 12:21
Cas was a villian for most of season 4 nothing more than Dean's Ruby then he evolved to an ally and a friend in season 5
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-25 13:11
OK I might not be so crazy about Cas either, but I think he was more of an "order following soldier" than a villain on the first half of season 4. He did save Dean from Hell (OK I know he was told to do so but still) and he showed some level of sympathy with the guys at some points. Cas was confused and the human (aka Winchester) perceptive on things was very unusual to him back then and he needed time to understand and choose which side he should be on.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 13:29
before i reply i want to know what you meant earlier by liberator
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-25 13:36
Well nothing more than I just explained, he freed Dean from Hell, He was his friend for some time and he was there for him when needed.
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-25 13:39
However I have to add there were times on season 4 when I couldn't stand the nerd Angel and I couldn't love him less back then
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 14:14
I too feel the Same about other characters than Sam and Dean.Oh .Ok. liberator? maybe, friend i thought he was truly in season 5. sorrry past midnight here and coherent thought has left the building have to go off to sleep land. bye.
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-24 18:26
There are always extremes in fandoms, and I tend to ignore fans that knock Sam down for Dean's sake or vice versa. To me, those fans are missing the point of the show. It's about both brothers.

Now, having said that, I think the writing is completely uneven when it comes to both brothers. I'm not saying in terms of time devoted, just in terms of character development. I quite frankly have as many frustrations with how they've handled Dean's struggles as Sam's, but at least Dean's have been given more time to be addressed.

The problem with the strategy of isolating Sam and Dean from the rest of the world is that we as viewers aren't connecting with the characters like we once did. We aren't feeling or relating to their struggles. A major reason is supporting characters best bring out the issues of the main characters. When that's taken away, a lot of the richness of the story is gone.

I know Sam and Dean aren't in normal life situations, but these guys always used to be relatable to us anyway. They reacted the way humans do. Now, there's something missing. They aren't hunting for any other purpose than that's what they've been trained to do. They're going through the motions and that's proven to be boring. We aren't seeing Sam's inner pain (except in Repo Man), we aren't seeing why Dean is truly drowning himself in alcohol.

The writers have lost their skill with "show, don't tell." They used to do that perfectly. Just a few episodes that come to mind are "Mystery Spot," "On The Head of A Pin," "Death Takes A Holiday," "Point of No Return," "Dark Side of the Moon" and heck even lesser episodes like "After School Special" focused on using the story to get into these guys heads. Season six was the absolute worst season when it came to doing this.

"Repo Man" did that perfectly, but man, why did it take 15 episodes? Sorry, 13, I think "Hello Cruel World" did a good job too. The show used to weave the MOTW story into Sam and Dean's inner struggles perfectly. Now, not so much. So, in the end to me, it doesn't matter if the focus is on Sam or the focus is on Dean. I'm not getting either of these guys right now.

Hmm, I probably need to do a whole article about this. My comments here probably aren't concise enough.
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-25 03:20
Yes Alice I agree with you, Though I might say I totally understand the boys' struggles and their inner feelings, The problem is that they need to be addressed more clearly like in "Hello cruel world" and "Repo man" so that we can get over them, I think we need a good supporting cast to bring these issues to the light. I find Sheriff Jodi Mills a good example and I hoped the writers would use the connection she established with the boys further . And I think the boys have to act more mature and learn how to support each other and talk to each other rather than being isolated in their worlds.
LEAH
# LEAH 2012-02-25 00:07
I agree with you Alice. However I feel I need to point out, and I am going to be slammed for this, that "Sam" fans are WAY too defensive about his character. Some even mentioned a hatred of Sam by "Dean" fans. I do not believe this is so. Maybe there are some who feel that way but most of the negative comments seem to feel Deans character gets favored in writing, focus, viewpoint, and storyline etc. There is some truth to the comments and Sammys had a hard sad journey. But Deans path hasn't been a bed of roses either. I love both of these characters and do tend to think of them as a unit but Alice is completely correct about them being hard to relate to this last couple years. I think there is such a void that when there ARE bonding, brotherly moments we fall all over ourselves with appreciation.
Omnia Abbass
# Omnia Abbass 2012-02-25 03:38
You are absolutely right LEAH, as a fan of both boys I get sad when I see either of them wildly attacked by the other's fan base. I don't get it, Why do they turn it into a war when both boys are supposed to stick together in the face of the world even in their time of adversity. Yes the two have had it so hard and they both have lost more than enough but none of them is a saint, they both had their share of mistakes.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 11:44
Oh yes Deans path was not a bed of roses and the "defensive" fans have not implied it but characters in the show comment on Dean's tough childhood and not Sam's .So did Sam have a bed of roses as his childhood? Sammys had a hard journey so acknowledge it on the show we fans acknowledge it but what about the show. How many of the characters have commented Sam individually for saving the world? not all Sam fans are defensive as how all Dean fans are not offensive ..I have not found Dean fans moderating while slamming sam and when that happens i don't refrain from slamming Dean because Sam may not repeatedly remind Dean of his transgressions but i through my comments like to atleast post it..Sam is my favourite but i have always liked Dean too But if any Dean fans show hatred to Sam i don't mind doing the Same to Dean
au
# au 2012-02-25 12:43
So . . . you like Dean but are willing to trash him to spite fans you feel denigrate Sam? Doesn't that just exacerbate the Dean vs. Sam fighting?
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 13:15
yes.absolutely. I can't sit quite when something bad is said about Sam unreasonably . If it leads to Dean vs Sam then so be it.I will not trash Dean unreasonably only i will comment things which i would not have commented if the original comment were not made.I have found Dean to be unsympathetic, unreasonable... at times and i do not blame Dean or complain immediately for that simply because he is human. but when i see comments saying sam's sacrifice in Swan song was because of some less then honorable intent ( and there have been comments) i get simply incensed but i comply to the rules and reply as politely as possible about Dean's less than honorable intentions..
au
# au 2012-02-25 14:15
So instead of defending Sam, you default to trashing Dean? I would think that if you want to defend Sam, you should defend Sam, not belittle Dean. That seems self-defeating, since it will only lead to the fan on the other side getting more offensive. But your coping strategy is your coping strategy, even if it does seem counter-product ive.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 14:29
Just a little old fashioned tit for tat .Anyone belittle Sam ,belittling Dean will follow
Alice
# Alice 2012-02-25 14:39
Okay, this has gotten out of control. Please, let's avoid the Sam fan vs. Dean fan debate now. I'm not going to censor what was said so far or issue blame. I understand the issue, but it has no place in this thread.

Quite frankly, I've seen very defensive fans all over the place. This fandom has plenty of extremes. There are always avid Sam defenders, Dean defenders, heck even Castiel and there's always the complaints of favoritism, bias, etc. These comments always seem to be popular whenever I publish a Sera Gamble interview. Lately, I'm getting a lot of backlash even when issuing a criticism about the show in general. Fans are just sensitive. It's the nature of the fandom.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 14:51
sorry.no more comments of Dean Vs sam from me
LEAH
# LEAH 2012-02-25 14:13
BOTH characters have been portrayed as unsympathetic as times. Both have been total jerks at times but when it happens I don't quite feel the intense, angry, kneejerk reactions that some express. I have been unhappy with the course the show and characters have taken at times. I also have bonded with the characters and am very invested in this show so I understand that. But the reality of it is that if this show did not have one or the other of these two great characters it simply not be the superior show it is! It would also not be the same with any two other actors. I think it is fine to express an opinion that differs from others but it is the knocking down of the other character that I do not understand.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 14:35
Absolutely beautiful comment.Yes BOTH are unsympathetic..
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 14:36
Correction ..BOTH are unsympathetic at times
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-02-25 14:37
But why do most knee jerk at Sam ( Sam is selfish one of the knees)
LEAH
# LEAH 2012-02-25 15:02
Sorry Alice, your comment wasn't up when I made my last post. Just trying to understand all this.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-02-27 11:09
Quote:
Going back to “No Rest For The Wicked,” which is right around the time that the beginning flashback happened (see sweetondean's review for logic,
An interview on Winchester Radio www.blogtalkradio.com/mediablvd/2012/02/26/winchester-radio--discussion-of-supernaturals-repo-man had Jim Michaels call in and stated the episode WAS set in season three. That is why they added the spotlights to the Impala because the last time they were on the Impala was season three. So one question answered by TPTB.
Nitewoman7
# Nitewoman7 2012-03-16 00:16
Hi Alice here I am late to the party again :-* Loved this episode but life your got in my way & prevented me from reading your review. Can't wait till tomorrow night. thanks for all your insight and comments. I came to the same conclusion on some points but you showed all the others I missed thank you. I'm scared for Sam but I'm scared even more for Dean as he has said "We've lost enough"
deepthi
# deepthi 2012-04-13 09:00
I know it's a little late to ask...but what about the devil's trap that appears in the warehouse where Jeffery keeps Nora's son..? I don't think Jeffery drew it considering his want for the Demon. Nobody else knew about the place until then? Can someone help please? I am open to one possibility though --> "Bobby" ! :)