Honestly, I'm not quite sure where to begin with this one. I just finished the episode and many emotions and thoughts are running around at full speed. This episode was brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed. Any faults that there have been with season seven have nearly been corrected by this one 42-minute installment. Let's see if I can form coherent and sufficient words to talk about this amazing show that just made me fall in love all over again. 

Let me start this review by saying this: I freakin' love Castiel. This is no secret, but in the interest of full disclosure I wanted to prepare everyone for the gushing that's about to commence. I, like many others out there, have been waiting for this episode since 7x02 when Misha's beautiful face last graced my screen. So, with that out the way, let's commence the review. This episode, like much of the season, was really about the characters and in this episode in particular, there were individual stories told throughout:

Sam v Lucifer 


This is the episode we've been waiting for, in more ways than one. Yes, Misha's back (we'll get to that in a minute though). But the other big event of the season has been Sam's impending melt down and boy, did they deliver on that one. Lucifer has long been a favourite character of mine and he's as deliciously evil as a hallucination as he ever was in reality. Sammy, admitted to the hospital after a car accident and then located to the locked psych ward (that apparently lets patients wander unchecked into each other's rooms) is fighting a losing battle with Satan. 

Dean and Sam play reverse roles of the hospital scene in Faith (though Sam makes no threats against the Snuggle bear). Sam is tired and seems to have accepted his fate and the inevitability of death. Jared (and the great make-up department) does such a good job conveying Sam's weariness that my eyes feel heavy just watching him. The simple and straightforward acceptance that the hallucinations and all that come with them are what they are is devastating. The quiet delivery and gentle demeanour Sam adopts only twists the knife further, leaving us feeling as helpless as Sam must feel. Luckily, Sammy has Dean for a big brother. What is so great about the brother's relationship and has been particularly strong this season is that when one slides down the spectrum of despair and complacent despondency; the other is pulling them back and keeping the faith for both of them. We saw it earlier this season when Dean was the one slowly dying on the inside and now that Sam is faltering, Dean refuses to let him go quietly into that goodnight. 

Once the boy's part ways, Dean determined to find a solution for Sam's mental health problems, we are offered look inside both their heads. We'll come to Dean later, but with Sam we see him grow increasingly tired as the doctor's poke and prod him, all the while Lucifer stands in the corner pushing the Crazy button over and over. Lucifer has always been a masterful torturer, mentally and physically and he only amps up his game here. We witness him setting off fireworks, screeching into a feedbacking megaphone, manifesting maggots in Sam's sandwich (eww, by the way) and even posing as Sam's doctor. This particular incarnation gave rise to a choice comment about "finding the new ten." 

Though referencing Sam's physical pain threshold (at least at first) and perhaps hinting at the torture inflicted on Sam in the cage, really struck me as being a note not only about the boys generally, but in particular this season. Sam and Dean face a newer, more daunting battle each season on Supernatural. But this season in particular they've been dragged to the edge, tossed over and taken to another edge. The sheer magnitude of the losses experienced and the hits just keep coming are all about hitting the new ten. Sam has hit his ten physically, or nearly, in this episode because he is human and simply cannot function forever without sleep. He sees ten rushing toward him but as he explains to Dean there isn't much to be done about it at this point. Ten edges still closer when HalLucifer likens the two of them in the locked psych ward to being trapped together in Hell, a chillingly accurate parallel. 

Ten may be closing in fast for Sam but he isn't down and out yet. He proves this by helping Marin, his ward-mate with her ghost problem. Most of the time Marin was on screen I suspected she was more than she seemed but in the end she was just a girl with a ghostly brother. For one as exhausted as Sam looked, he was remarkably coherent in helping Marin put her brother to rest. I enjoyed the small friendship Sam developed with Marin, including sharing the chocolate bar and her guessing at who Sam's voice was. Beyond that this really spoke to Sam's character: no matter what, he is a hunter. Helping people is in his blood even when he can't help himself. 

As he helps Marin, the hallucinations get worse and once the ghost is dealt with, Sam is whisked off for some electro-shock therapy. (Let's pause here for just one moment and enjoy the overhead shot of Sam strapped to the gurney with his feet hanging well over the edge. Of course no medications will put this guy out, you'd need elephant tranquilizers!). Once saved from the black-eyes orderly, we see that Sam's hallucinations are to the point where he sees Lucifer in everyone; he's completely broken from reality with no way to differentiate any longer. Luckily, there's an angel at his bedside. 

Dean: Shake It Off 

Supernatural does phone calls well. Back in Home Dean made a heart-wrenching request for their father's help and in Faith Sam made a similar call. Earlier this season Dean confessed to Bobby in an emotional voicemail that he was at the end of his rope and couldn't take another loss. Yes, this show does phone calls well, chiefly the one-sided ones and Born-Again Identity is no exception. Like his brother before him in Faith Dean contacts everyone and then some in an attempt to help Sam. For the most part, he is unsuccessful. It speaks to the talent of the Supernatural team and the acting that there can be so much hopelessness and desperation in the simple act of making calls. Dean has his own weariness in this episode, completely different from Sam. If he loses Sam, Dean has hit his ten and this time there is no Ben and Lisa to turn to, no Bobby, no Castiel. Sam is literally all that's left. One thin straw on the already burgeoning camel's back of things Dean has been carrying all season. But then, the elephant in the room rears its trunk and waves hello again. That's right; the mysterious force is back and leads Dean to a business card with a number on it. It's this number that leads Dean to Emmanuel the Healer. Yup, exactly like Faith: a real-deal healer and the only hope. 

Upon reaching Emmanuel's home, it's quickly evident to Dean that demons are on the scene again. Like the ghost, it's kind of refreshing to see old and very much defeatable foes again. (So, if Crowley's removed the no-kill order from the Winchesters he must have something else up his tricky little sleeve. Only time will tell but I'm really looking forward to watching it unfold). Dean slays the demon posing as Emmanuel and then we get the moment we've waiting for: the camera starts low and then we see Dean's face tight with disbelieve. Castiel is alive. (Though hardly appropriate given the seriousness of the episode, I imagine a choir singing Hallelujah! in the background when Cas is revealed here). 

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Not only is Castiel alive, he's married! Although technically, being as Emmanuel is Cas inside Jimmy, whose already married to Amelia Novak, this second wife Daphne doesn't count legally. Maybe that'll help the sting when her husband never comes back. Kind of a pattern with this guy. Dean struggles past his shock and even shakes hands with "Emmanuel" explaining he needs help to heal his brother. In short order, the two are on the road and heading toward Sam. 

The conversation between Emmanuel and Dean reveals a great deal about what Dean has been feeling about Cas and his death, something that we've been wondering at for months now. We see Dean struggling with Cas' betrayal and tearing down Sam's wall. There is one particular moment in this scene that struck a chord with me. Emmanuel asks if Cas was his friend and the look that flashes across Dean's face is pure sorrow. Yes, they were friends, but they were more than that "“ they were brothers in arms and I would argue that Cas was Dean's best friend, aside from Sam of course. Sam and Dean didn't have many friends (Bobby is a father figure and in a class of his own) outside of one another so a relationship like they had with Cas, in particular given the "bond" between the angel and Dean, was special. This look on Dean's face flashes for a second but you can take all of that from the pained, sad expression. 

We also get some of the patented Dean and Cas humour, though a little milder than we're used to because there is an awkward tension between the boys. Emmanuel reveals his name came from BouncingBabyNames.com and notes that "Cas" is an usual name. He also guesses that maybe Dean killed Cas, because he senses Dean kills a lot of people. Oh Cas, how I've missed you so. 

Later Dean pauses to restock at a convenience store he's ambushed by demons and saved by the longest-surviving black-eyed bitch on the block, Meg, played again by Rachel Miner. Meg has been following Dean for a while and now knows about Cas. Apparently, Crowley is still gunning for her and she wants to work with Dean and use Cas' mojo. Dean says she can come but strictly forbids revealing anything to Emmanuel about being the angel Castiel. Meg agrees but pushes that line more and more until she finally lets the cat out of the bag when they learn the hospital housing Sam is guarded by demonic forces. It was good to see Meg again. Her sass brought some lightheartedness to an otherwise heavy episode and she ended up spicing the plot up in new and unexpected ways by the end. 

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During the car ride with Meg, Dean is almost shielding of Cas in his desire to keep from revealing the truth to him. He behaves like he did toward Sam after his soul was returned: protective brother who doesn't want to burden Cas. He's afraid the effect the knowledge may have and this is understandable as for one thing, one mental breakdown at a time is enough and for another, he just got his friend back and while he may be supremely pissed and unable to shake was Cas did, he still cares about him and isn't ready to lose him yet. As it turns out, one mental breakdown at a time is really all they need in the end anyways. 

a.k.a. Emmanuel 

What is there is say besides awesome? Misha plays Emmanuel with the same child-like naivety as Cas had, but with a little less (or at least a different type of) awkwardness. He still has that shiny "new" quality about him; his sense of humour is a bit questionable as the straight character oblivious to jokes and making dubious ones of his own. Emmanuel is earnest though unsure and not the hardened warrior Castiel was even at the beginning of his relationship with Dean. As always, Misha's ability to play the same but completely different character is a marker of his talent and acting chops.

Meg crashes the party early and joins Dean and Emmanuel on their trip back to Sam. She wants to tell Cas who he is (a tree topper) because he's a super powerful weapon, especially against the demons that are again chomping at the heels of the Winchesters. Dean says no but once they reach the hospital the demonic security force standing guard leaves no choice. Actually, Emmanuel overhears a conversation between Dean and Meg and puts 2 + 2 together concluding he is this Cas. He thinks being an angel sounds "pleasant" - how wrong you are, my head-tilting friend. 

Hesitantly and unsure, Emmanuel agrees to try fighting the demons with his angel juice and slowly walks into the demon stronghold. He presses his hands to the demon and in one of the coolest montages of the show, Castiel's memories are restored. We see him meeting Dean (that epic character introduction that still gives me chills), breaking Dean out of the greenroom in Lucifer Rising, making a deal with Crowley, and finally apologizing to Dean as he pours the souls back into purgatory. His words to the last demon he kills are "I don't think running is going to help you" and again, this feels like a comment on the show itself more than anything.

So, Cas remembers and gravely-voiced he argues with Dean about what he did. Bless Dean, for he tries to defend his friend despite everything, saying that Cas did the best he could at the time but this isn't good enough for Cas, who believes he deserved to die for the death toll on his hands. Cas can't comprehend why he walked out of the water if he couldn't fix it. Dean responds with a distressed and frantic expression that maybe he survived so he could fix it.   And how does Dean finally get through to Cas? Does he argue Cas owes them, guilt him? No. He does what Dean has done every time he needed to pull somebody back: he loves them. When it comes to the big things, Dean's heart is his greatest asset. It got through to his father when possessed by YED and it got through to Sammy inhabited by Lucifer. It does the trick this time too. Dean goes to the truck of the car and wordlessly pulls out the trench coat, sharing a sad and soulful expression with his friend the angel. Like a love letter to the fans, this entire sequence is like the dozens of fanfics I've read come to life, and it's better than I imagined. That moment, alongside the montage of Cas' memories, goes down on my list of top Supernatural moments.

The next instance we see Castiel, adorned in his bloody but sight-for-sore-eyes trench coat slaying the orderly demon and apologizing to Sam for what he's done. Sadly, Castiel cannot fix the broken wall for no stones remain to build upon. With great resolve, Castiel suddenly realizes that though he cannot fix Sam's problem, he can transfer it to himself. In truth, this volley may have been seen a mile out by some out there, especially in light of the tiny set up of Dean offering Emmanuel's own lack of need for sleep as evidence of his angelic being. However, this twist was nothing I anticipated and really is the perfect solution given everything. In a flash of red viney-lightening tendrils, the hallucinations of Lucifer go from Sam to Castiel and like a frightened animal the angel backs into a corner and the brothers soak in what he's done. 

Many out there suggested Castiel could never get redemption for what he'd done to Sam, breaking the wall. In light of this twist I will say he and Sam are even. Cas didn't simply rebuild the wall so that it might crumble at the hands of another, he removed the need for it entirely, taking Sam's burden into himself. And truly, this is the perfect solution in the interim. Castiel doesn't need to sleep, so the hallucinations won't kill him. Though the merits of letting an all-powerful angel go insane may be questioned, the contingency is Nurse Masters, presumably there to protect Cas from everything, including himself. 

Though Misha long ago Tweeted the now infamous photo of him in the hospital bed, it was still somewhat of a shock to the system to see the forlorn Castiel sitting alone in that dim, tiny, sterile room. What amounted to approximately five seconds of screen time broke my heart into a million pieces. Oh gracious, indeed. 

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The New Ten

The episode ends with Sam well and truly "back on his feet" and feeling uneasy about Dean's arrangement with Meg, likening it to a deal, and about leaving Cas at the hospital. Dean, however, makes some decent points. Castiel is vulnerable in his state and with a bounty on his halo'd head is safer where he is. As for Meg, well, they have no friends left what's working with "the enemy of my enemy" at this point? He explains to Sam that the not-deal with Meg is an arrangement of "mutually assured destruction" because they need each other and you work with what you've got. Besides, by this point they've worked with so many demons one more isn't going to hurt. 

Though the episode was fully of heady emotion, for some reason I feel like we ended on a high note for a change. Finally, the Winchesters have an ace in their corner. Sam's hallucinations, a Damocles sword if ever there was, are gone and they have their angel back, even if he isn't in tip top shape. Sam and Dean where pushed to their respective breaking points, or at least within very tenuous threads of them in this episode and they survived. Sam was still a strong and capable hunter despite the hallucinations reaching their pinnacle and Dean was able to find a way to save his brother without giving into the despair of the situation. So, the question becomes: what's the new ten barrelling down the pipeline? 

Final Thoughts 

This barely needs saying at this point, but I LOVED this episode. Born-Again Identity is the reason I love Supernatural. We saw the long-anticipated collapse of Sam and Dean's likewise anticipate reaction as well as the return of an old and loved friend. In short, this was the perfect storm of plot, nostalgia, redemption and heartbreak. 

So, am I the only one in love here? What are your thoughts on the 17thinstallment of Season Seven?

Comments  

suzee51
# suzee51 2012-03-24 03:30
Just like you, Elle, I LOVED this episode too! I hate to try to come up with just a few comments because this episode deserves praise for so many reasons. My head is spinning!

#1) Thank you Sera Gamble for outstanding writing, once again. Nobody tortures the Winchesters better than Sera Gamble!
#2) Thank you make-up department for the continual progression of Sam's decline throughout this episode. Every time I thought he couldn't look any worse, he did!
#3) Thank you costume department. Whenever a Winchester man appears for an entire episode wearing only a white cotton T and drawstring cotton pants, it is a high point in the season for me!
#4) Is there any viewer out there who didn't physically flinch right along with a completely exhausted Sam each time the bullhorn squawked on or one of the firecrackers exploded next to Sam's bed?
#5) And of course, a special thank you to Jared Padalecki for giving us such a completely convincing Sam taken beyond the breaking point.

I am with you, Elle. Episodes like tonight's remind me why I originally fell in love with SPN. It was such a treat!
elle
# elle 2012-03-24 12:26
Hi suzee51,
Thanks for your comments. I agree with you - the torture of Sam was done with excellent, from the make up to the noise effects and everything in between. Who wouldn't be nuts after a few days of that? Heck the children outside who screech at each other drive me crazy after 30 seconds.

Glad you loved it as much as I did.
Leah
# Leah 2012-03-24 04:31
I did really like this episode and i wasn't angry, like some, with Dean for leaving Cas behind. But i just hope they now run the idea of trying to save him through the episodes like they did with trying to save Sam, instead of just dropping it until Cas shows up again. Dean better not leave him to rot in there!

Though i do like the idea of then transferring the crazy to Dick Roman as a way to beat him :3
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-24 06:13
Quote:
Though i do like the idea of then transferring the crazy to Dick Roman as a way to beat him :3
A multi-millionai re Leviathan with Lucifer and possibly the memories of an angel running around in his little Leviathan mind. Dick Roman should run for President!!

Edit: Not an anti-political thingy. I like presidents...
elle
# elle 2012-03-24 12:27
Hi Leah,

I think Dean had some valid reasons for leaving Cas where he is - for the moment, it's simply the best thing. I do hope we get a solution to the hallucinations of course - I love the idea of transferring them to Dick Roman.....it's certainly interesting!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-03-24 04:46
I hate instant fixes and even more so when the story was never really told in the first place.Instant fixing Sam sums up the disinterested way the writers approached Sams story .

Ignore it for 14 episodes then rush it in a couple and have Cas pop up and 'fix' Sam and then he is all better and that didnt take much effort .
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-24 10:17
Quote:
I hate instant fixes and even more so when the story was never really told in the first place.Instant fixing Sam sums up the disinterested way the writers approached Sams story .

Ignore it for 14 episodes then rush it in a couple and have Cas pop up and 'fix' Sam and then he is all better and that didnt take much effort .
I couldn't agree more w/you! I really didn't like the episode.

The way they wrapped up Sam's story really bothered me. As you said, it was ignored for the majority of the season and then wrapped up quickly and instantly in two lousy episodes. What was the point of the story? How did breaking Sam's wall impact him?

For the most part, it didn't. The collapse of the Wall had no impact on Sam. He has been functional for the majority of the season. He will continue to be functional. His hallucinations did not slowly break him down. We didn't see Sam's slow descent into madness as his coping methods slowly failed him, which, IMO, would have been a much more interesting way to tell his story. No, we saw Sam manage the hallucinations for 12-13 episodes straight. We saw him function. We saw him hunt. We saw him fight. We never saw him struggle until the past two episodes. We never saw any hint that he wasn't coping. To me, that's not a story. It's the bare bones of a story/arc/plot.

There was no point in giving Sam these issues if the Show had no intention of exploring them. The Wall was the perfect way to NOT explore his issues, so I'm at a loss as to why they had it fall. They didn't do anything interesting w/the hallucinations or Sam's coping methods. Since the Show is not interested in exploring Sam, just keep him functional w/no actual issues.

I certainly won't be shocked if we never hear about Sam's time in the asylum or the electroshock therapy or anything again. Clearly, IMO, the writers wanted to get this "plot" (i.e., Sam's Wall falling) over and done with as soon as possible. They pushed the story aside for the majority of the season, brought it back, dusted it off, and wrapped it up in lightning speed. The writers had no interest in this story from the get go so I highly doubt we'd see any lasting impact.

I also had a major problem w/Sam both being on the brink of dying and also being capable of solving that girl's ghost issue. You can't do both, or at least IMO, both can't be done successfully. Having Sam involved in that silly, waste of time hunt really took away, IMO, from Sam's own experiences and what he was going through. It diminished his experience. That whole arc wasn't necessary.

I also had a hard time buying that Sam was at death's door. Not only b/c of his involvement in that silly hunt, but also b/c there was no sense of urgency in the show from Sam or Dean. I don't know. I didn't feel much from Dean. The bond I felt in HCW wasn't present here, and it should have been.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-03-24 13:15
Sharon and lala2, I had a similar feeling. As excited as I was by the idea of Cas being alive, bringing him back to act as a quick fix for an issue like this is too much Dues ex Machina. There is something appropriate, to be sure, in the idea that he would take on Sam's burden and endure what he had brought on, but the point is, it was Sam's burden. If there had been a less invasive way to help, I would have been glad to see it. Hallucinations and turmoil are transferable? Sam's soul is supposed to have been forever scarred by Hell. There should not be a magic bullet. Help maybe, but not this.

And turning Cas into an unstable, powerful vessel for this craziness smacks too much of taking in the souls and leviathans in the first place. Leaving Meg to guard him is a greater lunacy.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-03-24 13:36
I think they treated Sams hell like a disease something he caught or developed that could be either cured or healed rather than dealing with the emotional /psychological trauma he would of suffered .That is just my opinion and it may not be right but it is the way it comes across to me.

The one good aspect outside of Jareds acting was Castiel saying sorry but the rest I find hard to believe that he could shift or transfer what was Sams memories/hell.
hedie
# hedie 2012-03-24 05:50
like you Elle , i have all kinda of feelings right now. first of all i've got to say that Marine's plot was just useless , i know they wanted to show that Sam is still trying to help ppl and all that , but i guess they could do it in episodes ahead , any who!
i just loved Misha's new version of Castiel , even he wasn't Emanuel for a while but he was a NEW version and that makes him more a respectable Actor for me , and when he turns to Cas again , he tires to still be Emanuel but have his little husky voice again and that can only be done by Misha Collins.
i liked the idea about dean said actually no comment about Cas , i mean i didn't really find out wat is he feelings, he had all of it , he was happy to see Cas , he was angry , he was desperate but after all he tried to just fix his brother and have his Cas issues later . he didn't make a strong comment about Cas' return , like he loved it or what , he just wanted to somehow let it go and just save his brother.
any way , i'm surprised by this episode and episodes ahead , because i truly want to know what will happen to Cas in upcoming episodes , is he going to suffer from Lusi or he going to take him down or maybe... he will take himself down?
elle
# elle 2012-03-24 12:30
For me the ghost story teetered at the edge of dumb, but because they didn't drag it out too badly, it worked for me in the end.

I too am dying to find out how this season will resolve itself overall. It's got a different feel to seasons past and I'm really liking it, I have to say.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-03-24 12:32
My biggest problem with the episode is that it completely swept Sam's Hell issues under the rug. Since the show didn't bother to show his Hell memories and hallucinations affecting his performance or his life until Repo Man, the whole thing felt like "Hi Sam's story. Bye, Sam's story. And Hello Castiel's story." I hope Sam isn't totally cured and that he is allowed to remember Hell, but this really felt like it shut the door on ALL of Sam's suffering.
Robin
# Robin 2012-03-25 00:25
It seems odd to me that anyone would want Sam to suffer like that. He shouldn't have to and he doesn't deserve to.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-03-25 05:07
Quote:
It seems odd to me that anyone would want Sam to suffer like that. He shouldn't have to and he doesn't deserve to.
Nobody wants Sam to suffer but you cant have a slate clean either.What Cas did at the end made no sense it also goes against the very canon the show created .Sams hell happened and it wasnt just about hallucinations there was more to it and it was Sams not something transferable I would like to understand more what it was Cas actually did and why he and Death couldnt help Sam in the first place except for a wall but now Cas can shift someone elses crazy?.

I know we need a Sam up and running but for alot of this season he was it was only in this episode he wasnt and even then he was able to help someone but apart from a few episodes the writers didnt deal with this and now he is fixed .
So what exactly was all this supposed to be about?
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-25 09:53
Dean suffered for the whole season 4 and everyone was overjoyed for that. This is the most popular season with SPN fans. People, especially Dean fans, liked it not because Dean was in pain but because it was Dean's story coming through. It's no different with Sam fans. We want to see Sam's story developing, not being swept under the rug.
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-25 13:49
Robin, it's not about wanting Sam to suffer. It's about the show delivering on the story they sold in a quality manner. That's all.

I completely agree w/Percy. Sam's entire story had been pushed aside for the majority of the season. He has been completely functional and fine since 7.03 until last week's episode. I'm not counting "Repo Man" b/c Sam was fine for most of the episode until the very end.

How is that a story? This type of story is one, IMO, that is told over time. What I mean is we should have been seeing signs of Sam starting to lose his grip on reality or his coping methods failing over the course of the season so his sudden breakdown wouldn't just seem contrived.

When I heard they were splitting up the season, I was disappointed, esp. since Sam's arc was being played in the 2nd half. To me, after 7.02, Sam's story had a lot of momentum that I feared would be lost if his story was sidelined. I didn't understand why they would halt Sam's story just when it got started. Well, they did, and like I feared, the momentum, at least for me, was gone. Sam's been perfectly fine. He had a breakdown and was cured in one episode. That is not a story, IMO. It was a contrived situation. Lucifer's been speaking to Sam this entire time, and I'm to believe that Sam never once said "shut up" to him. I'm to believe Sam's one "shut up" was sufficient to cause this massive breakdown?!?!?!

To me, this has not been quality storytelling, and that's my problem!
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-03-24 07:29
While I liked the episode, I think it was too crowded and that that crowding took a lot of the emotional impact away from Dean and Cas meeting again and from Sam's psychotic break.

The insertion of Meg and her snarkiness, along with the schizophrenic back and forth with Sam's mental ward scenes took away a lot of the intensity of Dean and Cas meeting again.

I have no idea why Cas’s wife, Daphne, was inserted in the story. Totally unncessary, I think.

And then inserting Sam’s ghost story in the middle of a psychotic break was pure fangirling. Sam was supposed to be near death (but he sure looked quite fit and healthy in that tight fitting Tee and those lovely arms), yet he is competent enough to save a damsel in distress. That took away from the intensity of Sam supposedly dying AND Dean rushing to help him.

Again, the schizophrenic intercutting of Dean giving Cas his trench coat and Sam in peril from the electric shock treatments managed to take away from both of those moments.

And while I love to see SPN demons any time, introducing Crowley and the demons at this stage of the game and Meg’s ongoing problem with Crowley, when they haven’t paid due attention to the Levi story at all this whole season, just crowds the playing board.

And we did get a hint of ghost Bobby again, but the episode had to move so quickly, there was no recognition of that little incident to play up those things having happened in the past...to Dean only.

I did like the episode okay, but I would say in and of itself, the episode was as schitzoid as Sam was and Dean is (because I think nobody is noticing how close to the edge Dean still is right now.)
elle
# elle 2012-03-24 12:32
Cas' wife confuses me too - but she's an open door for later plot development in regard to Castiel I suppose. It didn't really detract anything, so I'm okay with that.

I think the idea of the "overcrowding" you mentioned was to bring all the players onto the board. As you said, the episode was chalk full of them and now between last week and this week, everyone is back on the game board and gearing up for what I assume will be an explosive end.
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-03-24 07:48
I enjoyed this episode but to be honest I felt a bit underwhelmed by the end. No doubt it's my own fault as I got myself way too excited, it was probably unrealistic to expect the episode to live up to my giddy expectations. I think what was missing for me was the brotherly interactions. I was hoping for more wonderful angsty brotherly scenes than we ended up getting. Having said that, there was a lot I did love in the episode.

I'm not a Castiel fan so that part of the episode didn't really grab my attention. Although I was very glad to see him apologising and making good for what he did to Sam. Hopefully though we'll still get to see residual fallout from Sam's time in Hell. The hallucinations may have gone but he still has all his memories. Hopefully this wasn't a complete quick fix.

Loved seeing how determined and focussed Dean was on saving his brother and his badass-ness with the demons.

But, for me, the episode was all about Sam's struggles. I LOVED seeing poor Sam's breakdown. This is what I've been, very impatiently, waiting to see since 7.02. This has been waaayyy too long in coming and I enjoyed every gut wrenching, limp-tastic moment. Although, like I said, I wish we'd gotten a few more brotherly moments.
Mark P once again was fabulous. Lucifer's torment of Sam was just agonizingly brutal. As for Jared, he was simply AMAZING! He should be very proud of his performance in this episode.
elle
# elle 2012-03-24 12:34
Jared was brilliant, wasn't he? Those guys have such talent, they really draw the audience into their world so seamlessly.

Like you, I liked the breakdown and how it was done. I wouldn't have wanted to see it go for 3 episodes running, and in my opinion we got just enough.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-03-24 10:36
Thank you Elle, that was a stupendous review of an episode I thought was really great. And thank you Sera Gamble for writing this little gem, and thank you Robert Singer for the great direction. Can you tell I really loved this episode?

Cass is back, Meg is back, Crowley (in some capacity) and the demons are back. I think Sam & Dean were both tested and came out "winning". I don't mean everything is turning out roses, not at all, but I think that both of them will finally realize that they managed to survive the worst possible scenario. Losing everyone they loved, Sam's wall tumbling down, Dean's despondency and drinking, but that they still have each other and will always go the extra mile to save each other. And now that Cass is back (albeit incapacitated) I think they can both focus their attention on defeating the Leviathans.

I'm loving season 7, and I can't wait to find out how it will all end.
elle
# elle 2012-03-24 12:36
Thanks for your kind words, Sylvie. I was truly inspired by this episode and like you, simply adored it.

I agree with your assessment of Dean and Sam winning - it felt like they finally put a check in the "win" column after a long, long time despite the episode kind of ending on a sad note. It was a bittersweet, small win - but a win nonetheless.

I love this season too and I'm dying to see how it turns out!!
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2012-03-24 11:04
I was very entertained by the epi. And isn't that what a tv show is for? I was glad they wrapped up the Sam problem. between last season soulessness, and this seasons mental problems, his character has been through the ringer. It will be nice to get Sam back whole for a change. Also, we already know that they are going to have Cas in 2 more epi's; with possibility of return for next season. So, he will be fine. Hey, he said so himself!!
elle
# elle 2012-03-24 12:36
It is good to have Sam back on track isn't it? Gracious (lol) I love this show!
Amy
# Amy 2012-03-24 12:26
astiel taking on Sams hallucnations was the LEAST he could do. I was pleasently surprised he showed sincere remorse TO SAM. As to Cas' ride ont eh Crazy train...for an immortal being who will obviously be saved by the boys...its a SMALL penance to pay for the thousands of humans and angels he murdered.

Sam is a true hero, his empathy for others allowing him to push passed his own problems to help the girl. When he was focused on her his hallucinations wanned.

and Dean was bad ass. :)

Meg....Rachel Minor phoned in her parts, speaking in a slurred montone with barely any facial expressions.
Talos
# Talos 2012-03-24 14:13
Interesting that we saw angels like Zach, Uriel, and Anna commit fewer atrocities than Castiel did, yet they were annihilated, while "Cas" is given a massive do-over and every attempt is made to make the audience sympathize with the angel.

Do I sympathize with mass murderers, fratricides, sadists, and self-proclaimed gods who demand people worship them or die? No more in fiction than I do in real life. Am I willing to set aside the lives of the people Castiel massacred and the grief of their families based on fawning Dean's excuses for him? No more than I'd be willing to set aside the offenses of Castiel's former partner in torture and murder, Crowley.

The producers/write rs exposed Castiel as a murderous traitor against the Winchesters, humanity, angels, and SN's God. He should have been given the same treatment as every other killer angel on the show or brought back as the vicious villain he is--perhaps as a fallen angel damned like Lucifer for his multiple crimes. In that role, Castiel might have been interesting.

But, apparently knuckling under to pressure by the murderous character's fans, the producers are trying to turn him into a poor, pitiful, martyr who simply made bad choices or didn't know what he was doing, as Dean would say.

The message behind this episode? Sam and Dean are willing to kill every supernatural killer they can find--unless he happens to be a "friend" who gives them some sort of payoff. Then, they'll give him a pass and worry about his safety. By their treatment of Castiel in this episode, the producers deprived SN of its moral compass and sense of justice. They've also robbed the Winchesters of their heroic status and turned them into the lowest form of self-righteous hypocrites. Thanks to SN's producers, I've lost all respect for SN's so-called "heroes." They've become nothing but dirty cosmic cops on the take.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-03-24 16:50
Although I was very lukewarm to Cas returning for various reasons, the prime one being that he took over S6, I actually think this episode showed the value of Cas as a support character on the series. The relationship between Cas and Dean definitely added depth to the season, especially the way the montage was done covering all the years Cas has been on the show and Dean's struggle with their relationship at this point. I thought JA was extremely skilled in showing all aspects of that relationship in this episode.

Although I was dreading re-introducing the angels into the series again, I found I once again enjoyed the back and forth with Dean.

I, too, believe that Cas' redemption came when he did whatever he did to Sam -- and I'm not sure what that was, be it transferring memories, taking on part of the soul, or whatever. Of all possibilities, and even though it leaves major questions to the convoluted 'soul' business that was never really explained, it was the best possible outcome.

We still have at least two episodes to finish out the Cas arc, so we don't know where this is going yet. As long as Cas doesn't end up being Mr. Fix All or taking over the season again, I'll be okay with it. IMO, it worked well in this episode. Obviously, God is on his side, so I think it doesn't hurt to be skeptical in his favor at this point.
Robin
# Robin 2012-03-25 00:30
Quote:
By their treatment of Castiel in this episode, the producers deprived SN of its moral compass and sense of justice.
I don't see how brutally murdering the angel who has sacrificed himself for them time and time again could in any way be seen as the moral, just thing to do. Cas isn't a "supernatural killer" any more or less than Sam is.

Quote:
But, apparently knuckling under to pressure by the murderous character's fans,
Are attacks on fans allowed at this website?

I'm a Casfan. I help boost he ratings and I vote for this show in every poll there is. Are you saying I'm somehow less worthy than you are of having my favorite on the show?
Alice
# Alice 2012-03-25 00:49
While attacking other fans is not allowed, I'm allowing Talos' comment since it's the only one. It's borderline, but I figured it's part of a rant and decided to let it go.

There are a lot of Cas fans here, present company included. Thanks for your comments of defense for your favorite character. You are not less worthy as far as I'm concerned.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-03-25 04:32
Quote:

I don't see how brutally murdering the angel who has sacrificed himself for them time and time again could in any way be seen as the moral, just thing to do. Cas isn't a "supernatural killer" any more or less than Sam is.
not just Sam but Dean too...
buffsgirl
# buffsgirl 2012-03-24 14:52
Elle, IMO your write up of this episode is just as epic as the episode itself. Your description of Dean and Cas' interaction at the trunk when Dean returns Cas' coat brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you for taking the time to write such a beautiful recap.

Personally I think that for the writers to make lack of sleep the final straw is brillant. Sam looked so wrecked and I felt tortured along with him. I cannot imagine not being able to sleep. How sick and desperate and completely done you would feel and Jared portrayed this incredibly.

Unlike some others, I like how they have handled Sam's breakdown this year. It started off with a bang but then he found a way to deal and at least once in every episode we saw Sam pushing the scar on his hand as a reminder that Luci is lurking about. The fact that they didn't constantly show what was going on gave Jared a harder job because he was left to show what was going on inside him without the viewers being able to see what was taking place. I think he has done a great job. Then, when Sam finally did break, it gave more power to seeing the hallucinations. If we had been seeing them non-stop throughout the season, it would have removed some of the weight of what we have gotten to experience the past couple of episodes.

I had no idea how they were going to have Cas redeem himself and, as far as the boys go, I think they have done it in spades! Perhaps Cas will get to have a chance to return the Levi's to purgatory to offer him even further redemption. However, since my emotional attachment in this show is to Sam and Dean and not the world as a whole, I am happy with the sacrifice Cas has made and feel completely satisfied.

Oh...... one more thing.......I frickin LOVE this show!! :-)
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2012-03-24 14:56
I l oved the episode; loved Meg's one-liners, loved the premise. I don't think they could devote a whole season to Sam's broken wall and torture, although I wouldn't have minded them delving into what he experienced in Hell a little more.

The only thing missing to me was a real "bro-mo". Dean sat far away from Sam in his room and never touched him. The closest we came was after Cas transferred his "hell agony" and Sam yelled, prompting Dean to lurch forward and scream Sam's name. I think for as desolate and isolated as these characters are this season, and all they have is each other, it's odd there is very little reaching out. I'm not talking the "underlying homoerotic plot line of Supernatural" I'm just talking about a clap on the shoulder, a moment or two of bonding, would be nice here. Just say'in.
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-03-24 19:33
Quote:

The only thing missing to me was a real "bro-mo". Dean sat far away from Sam in his room and never touched him. The closest we came was after Cas transferred his "hell agony" and Sam yelled, prompting Dean to lurch forward and scream Sam's name. I think for as desolate and isolated as these characters are this season, and all they have is each other, it's odd there is very little reaching out. I'm not talking the "underlying homoerotic plot line of Supernatural" I'm just talking about a clap on the shoulder, a moment or two of bonding, would be nice here. Just say'in.
I absolutely agree with this. This was my biggest problem with this ep. It was begging for a couple of really good brotherly moments - of which there have been precious few this season. There was plenty of fanservice for those who have missed Cas (although I havent particularly). Why not a bit of balance. VERY frustrating.
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-03-24 19:59
Quote:
Quote:

The only thing missing to me was a real "bro-mo". Dean sat far away from Sam in his room and never touched him. The closest we came was after Cas transferred his "hell agony" and Sam yelled, prompting Dean to lurch forward and scream Sam's name. I think for as desolate and isolated as these characters are this season, and all they have is each other, it's odd there is very little reaching out. I'm not talking the "underlying homoerotic plot line of Supernatural" I'm just talking about a clap on the shoulder, a moment or two of bonding, would be nice here. Just say'in.
I absolutely agree with this. This was my biggest problem with this ep. It was begging for a couple of really good brotherly moments - of which there have been precious few this season. There was plenty of fanservice for those who have missed Cas (although I havent particularly). Why not a bit of balance. VERY frustrating.
I completely agree with both of you. The main reason I was so giddily excited for this episode, apart from the Limp!Sam that is, was the thought that we surely would be getting some wonderful brotherly moments (a la Hello Cruel World) in this episode. But we didn't. Which, yeah, was frustrating and disappointing for me also. I've missed the brotherly moments this season. They are what I love the most about this show.
hedie
# hedie 2012-03-24 14:57
@Amy
true sam is hero as dean is too they are big heroes , but wht did u except castiel should do? kill himself or what? he couldn't do so much big than transferring all those suffer into his own because he knows he can be more strong than a human being. i don understand ur definition of "LEAST" lol
Katie
# Katie 2012-03-24 15:01
Quote:
Interesting that we saw angels like Zach, Uriel, and Anna commit fewer atrocities than Castiel did, yet they were annihilated, while "Cas" is given a massive do-over and every attempt is made to make the audience sympathize with the angel.

Do I sympathize with mass murderers, fratricides, sadists, and self-proclaimed gods who demand people worship them or die? No more in fiction than I do in real life. Am I willing to set aside the lives of the people Castiel massacred and the grief of their families based on fawning Dean's excuses for him? No more than I'd be willing to set aside the offenses of Castiel's former partner in torture and murder, Crowley.

The producers/writers exposed Castiel as a murderous traitor against the Winchesters, humanity, angels, and SN's God. He should have been given the same treatment as every other killer angel on the show or brought back as the vicious villain he is--perhaps as a fallen angel damned like Lucifer for his multiple crimes. In that role, Castiel might have been interesting.

But, apparently knuckling under to pressure by the murderous character's fans, the producers are trying to turn him into a poor, pitiful, martyr who simply made bad choices or didn't know what he was doing, as Dean would say.

The message behind this episode? Sam and Dean are willing to kill every supernatural killer they can find--unless he happens to be a "friend" who gives them some sort of payoff. Then, they'll give him a pass and worry about his safety. By their treatment of Castiel in this episode, the producers deprived SN of its moral compass and sense of justice. They've also robbed the Winchesters of their heroic status and turned them into the lowest form of self-righteous hypocrites. Thanks to SN's producers, I've lost all respect for SN's so-called "heroes." They've become nothing but dirty cosmic cops on the take.
Spectre, please go away. You bring this to every forum and your hate ruins it for the rest of us, like you are currently ruining it for us over at sn.tv and previously ruined it for us at the CW Lounge. I've reported your post and I hope the administrator and/or Elle will do something about it, because it is such a downer to see your hate everywhere.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-24 15:21
Good grief, Katie, let the poster have his/her say. You might not agree with it but c'mon! If you take out the emotive language used by Talos (and it doesn't matter if her name is Spectre elsewhere, many people have different user names on different sites) she does actually raise some valid points that do need hard thinking.

Why are we so keen to absolve Castiel but not Zachariah when he did less damage than Castiel did? Castiel has gone part way to allay the damage he did to Sam, and Sam does appear to have forgiven him but that does not mean that what he did is forgotten.

This whole grey area that the show has been endorsing is also bought to light in Talos post, and she is dead right. That being said, if Sam and Dean lived black and white, straight and narrow, they'd be dead.

Talos is not happy with Castiel and his actions. She has every right not to be. You don't like what she has to say? Fair enough, but do you really think that entitles you to tell her to 'Go away'? Would you not be better served go through the reasons why you disagree with the post?
Alice
# Alice 2012-03-24 17:56
Hi Katie, got your message. I do understand that sometimes unpopular opinions do make their way here, but Talos' comment is okay this time. I usually allow any opinion once. If the negativity is constantly repeated that's when I will start editing. Thanks for the heads up though and I'll keep an eye out.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-03-25 17:38
None of the characters on this show are squeaky clean. Nor is basically anyone fighting a war. I like this show because of the grey areas. If your saving the world or fighting a war, how far is too far? That is an eternal question.

Everyone's line is going to be a different place. Obviously, Cas went too far. First and most deliberately, tearing down the wall of sanity of the man who had sacrificed himself to an eternity in hell for the world. But he redeemed himself for that in my eyes this episode.

Later he did horrendous things under the weight of all those souls and caused the leviathans to be release on the world. But for me he wasn't really Cas at that point IMO. So I'm willing to forgive him for that as well eventually, depending on his future actions.

We don't really know the death toll from letting Lucifer's out of the cage but with all the natural disasters it had to be high. That was an unintended consequence of Sam's actions. But he could still be seen as responsible.
And Dean tortured souls for 10 years in hell (breaking the first seal) and demons with human meat suits here on earth. While I think he should forgive himself, it doesn't make his actions anymore righteous.
When the stakes are higher the consequences are higher. I don't think it excuses the actions but think their actions need to be evaluated with that in mind.
Katie
# Katie 2012-03-24 15:02
And Elle: I'm sorry about that comment and I realize it's out of line, but really, I enjoy lurking this website and it depresses me like you would not believe to see Spectre here.
Birgit Säberg
# Birgit Säberg 2012-03-24 15:18
I'm just sayin':

I.LOVE.THIS.SHOW!!!
kaj
# kaj 2012-03-24 16:27
I am one of them who don't like instant fix.

I was led to believe that Sam's hellucifer was derived from his bad memories in hell? So, in other words, Lucifer is mainly Sam's memory. How can you translate memory into yourself. Did Cas wiped out Sam's bad memory while doing that?

Death said that human's soul cannot be broken. At the end of last season, Sam's mind/self is separated into three parts. The one without soul, the one who remembers hell, the one who is pure of bad memory. All three of them must unite to create SAM. So hell memories, lucifer and all that shite are embedded into Sam's psyche and become one with his soul.

Didn't Dead says that even he could not erase Sam's memory of hell? Now, how can a lowly angel like Cas, (Cas is not archangel, not God, his has returned the power of the purgatory souls at the beginning of the season) manage to do that. Isn't that mean he cut off Sam's soul? Slice off the bad shit from Sam's soul? Did he slice off the 'Sam who remembers hell?'

I still don't get it. If someone willing to shed some light with any theory please enlighten me.

I know Angel can put a whammy on human. Remember 'It's a terrible life'? So, I would believe it if Cas put a whammy on Sam and shoved the bad memories of hell (along with lucifer) deep deep inside Sam's mind and buried under Sam's unconsciousness . But instead Cas said he cannot do it but he can transfer the hellucifer into his own mind. What the hell? That's like unable to erase the bad taint on a shirt but cutting it off instead? Then, what happens to the shirt? It ruins with hollow patches that you won't be able to wear it.

In my opinion transferring the crazy into oneself takes more juices than merely shoving it inside/build a wall on it. Come on, people! Give me some logic here!

Remember Death? What he said? I believe Death is the strongest entity in SPN world. He can reap God, remember? So, i would like to halt on judgment here. Rather than bashing the epi i would say that this episode is misleading. It's a false fix and will bite the Winchester's delectable asses in the end.
JoRuth
# JoRuth 2012-03-24 17:32
Thank you so much for your thoughts! I loved every moment of this episode from beginning to end. The acting, the writing, the character arcs. Wonderful journey of emotions. And the sorrow, as well as the glory, of Cas gladly taking on evil, frightening memories he could not erase, to allow Sam and Dean to live is something I will not forget for a long time.
Lindab30
# Lindab30 2012-03-24 18:31
I'm responding to kaj. Your question is did Cas wipe out the memories of hell. And if so then Sam's soul won't be whole because he requires all three parts:" the one without the soul, the one who remembers hell and the one who is pure of bad memory. " I don't think Cas wiped out the memories. What he did was shift the hallucinations into himself. He said this would get Sam back on his feet.. He did not say he was fixing him. The show has used the term "fixing Sam" so many times that it's been made clear that fixing him meant curing him completely of any problems his time in hell would cause him. So, back on his feet and fixing him are two different things.

I think Sam still has all of his memories. But now he's had a long time to learn how to live with them, and he has spent most of this time doing okay and "on his feet." The hallucinations got to the point that they were killing him due to lack of sleep, Cas took away the hallucinations to save Sam's life. Perhaps Sam is at square one again except now he has the tools that he has learned to deal with it. He has his "stone number one" meaning Dean, firmly in place. I believe both Sara Gamble and Jared Padalecki have said Sam will never be completely free of the problems his time in hell will give him. I do think he has been through the worst of it but it will always be there. It cannot however be a part of every episode. That would get old and boring. Just as Dean has never faced his hell time head on and the effects are always in the background, perhaps it will be the same for him. Maybe someday we will see them both face it head on. That would be awesome. But for the time being I think we need to accept that it will not be at the fore front.

Many are angry that the instant fix they were fearing has come to pass. I don't believe this is the case. However, only time will tell. So, let's try to not jump to conclusions here. Instead, let's just enjoy where things are each step along the way.

One more thought. There are also many who did not understand or like that Sam took on a hunt when he was so sick and near death. They felt it was a useless story. While I was watching this and Sam was talking to Marin I saw him come to life. I literally saw life come into his face. It energized him. Helping others is his comfort zone, taking on a hunt is his comfort zone. He had accepted that he was about to die, but he's a Winchester and he's not about to let something as trivial as dying stand in the way of freeing this young girl from the threat of her ghost brother finding a way to kill her. It was a very integral part of the story because that is who he is.

I loved this episode. It left us with so many questions needing answers. There is still so much more to look forward to.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-24 19:36
I’m very much on board with this. The separation of mind and soul and the effects of same will need to be further analysed (woohoo!) because at present, we definitely do not know what Castiel transferred from Sam. What he did transfer was pretty red and raw looking so I’d go with the hallucinations as well. Now whether the hallucinations manifested from Sam’s mind or his soul is another episodes story (I hope) but what’s important is that, for now, Sam is back on his feet.

San is not A OK, and probably never will be. He’s had to deal with this shit for over a year and a half, not to mention the centuries spent in the Cage, so unless Castiel transferred Sams entire head off him, that hasn’t been forgotten. And the fact that, for now, Sam is back on his feet does not diminish in the slightest what he did and what he went through.

It does irk me but I have accepted that the ‘quick fix’ was possibly the only way to go in this regard because I felt the writers wrote themselves into a corner. You couldn’t keep Sam locked down forever and realistically you couldn’t see hallucinating Sam every episode because it would take from the show (because how can Sam hunt if he can’t tell Lucifer from a leprechaun?) and it would be bad from the brothers point of view because how can Sam and Dean be Sam and Dean if Sam isn’t truly Sam?

Add to that, I like the symmetry that both Sam and Dean now recall their hells but they won't let themselves be dictated bu it, in fact they've become stronger and closer because of it.

Now, has Sam’s hell storyline been given the short shift? Yep, but that is the fault of the season, not necessarily this episode. And while I think this episode would have worked amazingly well mid season when it was closer to the initial breakdown, unfortunately, that ship has sailed.

I’m also with you in relation to the mini-hunt in the hospital. I found it rather ironic that at the start of the episode Lucifer was mocking Sam about being 'normal' (Sam’s biggest dream), and how if he was normal then he was going to die because of it. This episode showed that he wasn’t normal (per se) but he was a hunter. Even when he’s about to drop from exhaustion, he was still able to help and take care of a simple ghost and it was as natural as breathing to him. Sam isn’t normal, but he’s the better for it.
Lex
# Lex 2012-03-28 21:50
I'm responding to kaj. Your question is did Cas wipe out the memories of hell. And if so then Sam's soul won't be whole because he requires all three parts:" the one without the soul, the one who remembers hell and the one who is pure of bad memory. " I don't think Cas wiped out the memories. What he did was shift the hallucinations into himself. He said this would get Sam back on his feet.. He did not say he was fixing him. The show has used the term "fixing Sam" so many times that it's been made clear that fixing him meant curing him completely of any problems his time in hell would cause him. So, back on his feet and fixing him are two different things.

I think Sam still has all of his memories. But now he's had a long time to learn how to live with them, and he has spent most of this time doing okay and "on his feet." The hallucinations got to the point that they were killing him due to lack of sleep, Cas took away the hallucinations to save Sam's life. Perhaps Sam is at square one again except now he has the tools that he has learned to deal with it. He has his "stone number one" meaning Dean, firmly in place. I believe both Sara Gamble and Jared Padalecki have said Sam will never be completely free of the problems his time in hell will give him. I do think he has been through the worst of it but it will always be there. It cannot however be a part of every episode. That would get old and boring. Just as Dean has never faced his hell time head on and the effects are always in the background, perhaps it will be the same for him. Maybe someday we will see them both face it head on. That would be awesome. But for the time being I think we need to accept that it will not be at the fore front.

Many are angry that the instant fix they were fearing has come to pass. I don't believe this is the case. However, only time will tell. So, let's try to not jump to conclusions here. Instead, let's just enjoy where things are each step along the way.

One more thought. There are also many who did not understand or like that Sam took on a hunt when he was so sick and near death. They felt it was a useless story. While I was watching this and Sam was talking to Marin I saw him come to life. I literally saw life come into his face. It energized him. Helping others is his comfort zone, taking on a hunt is his comfort zone. He had accepted that he was about to die, but he's a Winchester and he's not about to let something as trivial as dying stand in the way of freeing this young girl from the threat of her ghost brother finding a way to kill her. It was a very integral part of the story because that is who he is.

I loved this episode. It left us with so many questions needing answers. There is still so much more to look forward to.Quote:
I'm responding to kaj. Your question is did Cas wipe out the memories of hell. And if so then Sam's soul won't be whole because he requires all three parts:" the one without the soul, the one who remembers hell and the one who is pure of bad memory. " I don't think Cas wiped out the memories. What he did was shift the hallucinations into himself. He said this would get Sam back on his feet.. He did not say he was fixing him. The show has used the term "fixing Sam" so many times that it's been made clear that fixing him meant curing him completely of any problems his time in hell would cause him. So, back on his feet and fixing him are two different things.

I think Sam still has all of his memories. But now he's had a long time to learn how to live with them, and he has spent most of this time doing okay and "on his feet." The hallucinations got to the point that they were killing him due to lack of sleep, Cas took away the hallucinations to save Sam's life. Perhaps Sam is at square one again except now he has the tools that he has learned to deal with it. He has his "stone number one" meaning Dean, firmly in place. I believe both Sara Gamble and Jared Padalecki have said Sam will never be completely free of the problems his time in hell will give him. I do think he has been through the worst of it but it will always be there. It cannot however be a part of every episode. That would get old and boring. Just as Dean has never faced his hell time head on and the effects are always in the background, perhaps it will be the same for him. Maybe someday we will see them both face it head on. That would be awesome. But for the time being I think we need to accept that it will not be at the fore front.

Many are angry that the instant fix they were fearing has come to pass. I don't believe this is the case. However, only time will tell. So, let's try to not jump to conclusions here. Instead, let's just enjoy where things are each step along the way.

One more thought. There are also many who did not understand or like that Sam took on a hunt when he was so sick and near death. They felt it was a useless story. While I was watching this and Sam was talking to Marin I saw him come to life. I literally saw life come into his face. It energized him. Helping others is his comfort zone, taking on a hunt is his comfort zone. He had accepted that he was about to die, but he's a Winchester and he's not about to let something as trivial as dying stand in the way of freeing this young girl from the threat of her ghost brother finding a way to kill her. It was a very integral part of the story because that is who he is.

I loved this episode. It left us with so many questions needing answers. There is still so much more to look forward to.
Best comment I totally agree.
JoRuth
# JoRuth 2012-03-24 20:38
I have been following the rather wonderful complex discussion on just exactly what of Sam's has Cas taken on and whether Sam has memories still. I chose to use the word memories initially to describe it but perhaps it is more raw psychic and spiritual pain that Cas has now - which produces the hallucinations. ( or like a form of flashbqck that happens with severe trauma). Sam would be left in the state of healing - the memories are there but are able to be integrated without all the rawness and damage that Cas now carries. Tough to describe... would love to hear the intention and meaning from the writer's meetings.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2012-03-25 01:36
Lovely review Elle! I was with you I really loved this episode. It was such a wonderful script and the cast all did amazing jobs. All of them are able to tap into such deep emotion and make it look totally effortless as that emotion etches itself across their beautiful faces. I thought everything here was spectacular and I was satisfied with how Cas was brought back into the story and how he healed Sam by taking on his pain/memories or whatever. I found the whole episode and all parts of it highly satisfying as well as being intrigued as to next steps with Meg and Cas. I'm also looking forward to how Sam is now and whether Dean is going to beat himself up about leaving Cas behind....which was the only option they had, so he shouldn't but then he is Dean!
Thanks for an awesome write up! :-)
elle
# elle 2012-03-25 22:41
Thanks! I'm rewatching as I type this and love it even more!
ryder21
# ryder21 2012-03-25 02:43
I love this show, and I love reading the great reviews on this site and the interaction that accompanies them. Just wanted to add that like fanoftheboyz, I too would have loved a short and appropriate brother moment. The relief that Dean must have felt should have transferred itself at least to a shoulder slap, or a grabbing of Sam and looking him straight in the face. That moment so needed that.

Wanted to comment on the music. We all noticed that at the end of 'Out with the Old', Bad Moon Rising was playing. Why was the music from Changing Channels (I am 90% sure) playing in the store where Dean was attacked by demons? What the?
kaj
# kaj 2012-03-25 03:50
Quote:
I’m very much on board with this. The separation of mind and soul and the effects of same will need to be further analysed (woohoo!) because at present, we definitely do not know what Castiel transferred from Sam. What he did transfer was pretty red and raw looking so I’d go with the hallucinations as well. Now whether the hallucinations manifested from Sam’s mind or his soul is another episodes story (I hope) but what’s important is that, for now, Sam is back on his feet.
Quote:
Tough to describe... would love to hear the intention and meaning from the writer's meetings.
Agree with both of you. Here i am screaming EXPLANATON PLEASE! Because i am a kind of person who over analyses everything i see. I accept it when it conform my logic. If not it'll pester in my mind and i hate it. The show has turned our heads so many times in the past so, i hope the writer does not throw tonight episode on us and leave it at that. I need more explanatory episode after this because i watch Supernatural not only for the J's (although they're no sore for the eyes) but also for the plot and the story.

I need more explanation on Sam's hallucination. Where does it come from? and Why? The mechanical of it. The theory. The technical description. Whatever!

So, Death has erected the wall of Sam. In my understanding he wrapped up bad memories from hell and put it in a corner surrounded by Death's wall. I'll call it The Bad. Death cannot take The Bad from Sam's mind, right? Dean asked him but he said he cannot. We get a lecture and chastise from Death about human's Soul, instead. So i was lead to believe that The Bad was TIED to Sam's soul somehow. Perhaps like tendril of consciousness.

Alright, I know i haven't been in Hell (please God let me never touch Hell's fire, Aamiin) But i will describe what happen when i was in a victim of a bad accident on the street. Days from that usually i would get flashes of the accident whenever i came to a trigger, like the sound of screeching tire or when the car i ride in lurched to a stop suddenly. My heart would jump. My mind would show me images of previously bad accident. My pulse would beat faster and i would pant my breath until i can convince my self that it's ok. I'm ok. It's not another accident. (speaking from experience)

So, in Sam's situation the panic and the memories is being upped the ante until what his mind shows him is not only memories of hell fire but manifestation of Sam's fear, Lucifer, his torturer in Hell. (Am I right so far?)

It's more believable if Cas gives Sam a spell? Or put something in Sam's mind to hold off the flood of memories?

Hello Cruel World is more logical for me. Dean told Sam that he is real, Luci is false. So, Sam believes everything that his brother said because Dean is the only real thing in the world. Dean is the bridge between Sam and the reality of the world. Sam listened to whatever Dean says because if Dean is not freaking out then everything is fine. eg. Amy, clown. That's why Sam was angry when Dean lied to him because trust is what Sam need for his sanity.

"Trust in me! Sam!" that's what Dean said.

So Sam thought, "OK i'll trust Dean. Whatever Dean says is the real deal. even if i saw people on fire on the street as long as Dean doesn't see it than it's not true" At first it's like that right? Then Sam build his wall from Stone No.1, Dean. He starts to learn and differentiate which one is true, which one is not so he can function without constantly looking at Dean for guidance. ...... Untiiiiiilllll we get to "Good Morning Vietnaaaaammmm. ..." (I love Luci)

The past 15 epi make sense to me. When Sam let Luci in he let the flood of memories barrels into his mind and the wall crumbles, even Stone No.1. He comes to the part when he is afraid if sleeps he'll never wake up. He'll be in the throes of The Bad forever like in the end of season 6.

When i came to last night's epi i was stopped to a halt. Meh! Wait a minute, what? I just don't get it.

The one who remembers Hell is the SOUL, right?
Souless Sam doesn't remember Hell.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-25 04:20
Quote:
The one who remembers Hell is the SOUL, right?
Souless Sam doesn't remember Hell.
I think Soulless Sam did remember hell, or so he said in 6.01. So while he remembered the surface part of it ('I was in hell and I was tortured'), he couldn't connect with it because it was damage inflicted on the soul, and not the body. I guess in the same way that a broken heart is not a physical broken heart but the pain from one is much deeper and longer lasting than say, a broken leg.

I don't think the physical torture would have been too much of a biggie on Sam (I'm so blasé about other peoples pain. I'd nearly be looking for morphine for a broken nail!). Obviously it would have affected him to a certain degree but I think if it was solely physical torture Sam would have come back with much the same kind of 'pain' as Dean did ie nightmares, flashbacks etc. (And Soulless Sam didn't sleep so that negated the nightmares.) It was the mental and emotional damage done to Sam that left him in the state he was in. We saw this in 7.02 when Lucifer talked about not having HBO in the Pit so he had to create his own entertainment. Centuries of slicing and dicing would get rather boring for Lucifer, I think. He was, after all, quite patient. He planned his release from the Cage generations in advance. I think physical torture would be too like 'instant gratification' for Lucifer. He'd like the plotting, the planning, seeing the fear growing etc. (He's such a scut, that Lucifer.)

Well, that's what I'm thinking today. I could easily change my mind tomorrow!

Just on an aside, I think I like the idea that Castiel didn't 'give' Sam anything to help him back on his feet (ie a block or a spell etc). I wouldn't have been overly keen with a 'Sam plus' sort of job. It would have been too like the Wall. The Sam we have now is wholly Sam, no added bits, as it should be.
kaj
# kaj 2012-03-25 04:19
Hey, wait a minute. After i get that rambles off my chest now I'm struck by a new thoughts. The topic of this article is Thoughts on Supernatural 7.17 right? So, here's what i think right now.

Whoa! Perhaps the pretty, scary looking red tendrils are not Cas TRANSFERRING Sam's hallucination BUT CONTROLLING it? (everybody said it's a transfer but what if we all wrong here?)


So, the red tendrils are like a synaptic wires that connect Sam's mind with Cas' mind so that Cas can hold off Hellucifer from wreaking havoc inside Sam's mind. BUT Luci is still IN Sam. He's not going away just Held up. By Cas. :) Ooohhhh i wanna kiss Castiel right now!!
Awesome! :D :D

I'm thinking it's like 'The Imperious curse of HP 'verse' but without the mind controlling.

Wow! just WOW!! Oh.My.GOD If this is what truly happen then I salute the writers! You've done great job!

Now, I'm happy! Ah, the beauty of rambling. I will stand by this theory until someone or the show gives me other more logical explanation.

*grinning in satisfaction*
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-25 05:06
Oh no. No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO! (Hmmm, that was quite emphatic, wasn't it!)

No more bits of Sam being controlled by anyone, any more, PLEASE. We've had that since day freaking one. No more being a puppet, no more serving someone else’s purpose, no more destiny, no more marionette Sam, just fucking SAM, a free man, with free choice.

Being taken out of hell soulless was done to him, putting the soul back was done to him (though it was the right thing to do, before anyone starts....), building the wall was done to him, knocking the wall was done to him, and all of these were done not only without his consent and without even being conferred in the matter. (Not saying they were all wrong, just to reiterate that once again...) If Castiel sets up a mind link with Sam again, it will be something that is done to him in which he had no choice. No more being 'done' to Sam, please.

A SPN type Imperius Curse controlled by Castiel would leave Sam in no better state than when he was possessed by Lucifer. In that instance, Sam’s mind was still there screaming ‘Stop’ but his body had to do what Lucifer wanted it to do. Now to have Castiel ‘control’ parts of Sam’s mind would be like going from the frying pan into the fine, another angel in his noggin, privy to Sam’s every thought, every memory, every fear, every action. I know the intent behind the action would be good but for a man as private as Sam it would be a tremendous violation because Sam's mind would no longer be Sam's mind. It'd be Sam's mind with a side sprinkling of Castiel.

Add to that it would leave Sam in a very precarious position because it means that Sam is only safe while Castiel is safe. If Castiel happens to be ganked, what then happens to Sam? What happens if Castiel gets pissed at Sam, or is swayed by the presence/halluc inations of Lucifer or just wants a little 'me' time? A direct link to Sam’s mind could be catastrophic.

Sorry, but the idea that Sam would need to go the rest of his life reliant on an angels synaptic connection to his brain to keep him upright depresses the crap out of me. It'd be no different from the subtle influences that demons had in many aspects of Sam's life growing up. Sorry kaj but no.

(Now for a less reactionary response!) kaj, while your idea is intriguing and innovative, I do not feel that I would be in favour of it....
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-03-25 14:08
Thank you Tim. I've had way too much of "Is Sam really Sam? Is Sam fully Sam? and what is wrong with Sam this year?" I don't want to think that Sam is under the control of Castiel or anyone else.

IMHO, the writers made a big mistake by making the supposed results of Sam's stint in the Cage so horrific. There was really no way to deal with it, or at least not one that the writers were willing to pursue. So they had Sam being the most stable person in the WORLD until he broke and then it was killing him. Even then he was rational with Dean and able to talk to Merrin and able to logically deal with getting rid of the ghost. Heck, he was even back to ignoring Lucifer, even if he couldn't banish him. If it weren't for the sleep issues, Sam would have remained calm, stable and unaffected by his experience.

I do resent that. I resent that the show would not even acknowledge that Sam suffered anything. I think this was the show's last hurrah at giving Sam an character based storylline, and they blew it. Sam has been given less insight than Castiel or Bobby or maybe even Rufus. He has been given way less insight than Dean. To me that is sad, because I like Sam and I think his character deserved attention.
LisaN
# LisaN 2012-03-26 11:29
Quote:
I resent that the show would not even acknowledge that Sam suffered anything
Eh? The entire history of this show from season 1 onwards has been all about Sam's various specialness and suffering. We've had chapter and verse about his cage trauma, his soullessness trauma, his resouling trauma, his wall trauma, his hellucinations trauma. Almost two seasons of it. Dean got about 10 minutes total, if that. The show has done nothing but acknowledge Sam has suffered more than anyone else in the world evah. I'm sick of it, it makes the character totally unrelatable and the fact that all the crap he pulls while he's suffering gets whitewashed means no character growth for him whatsoever.
charles
# charles 2012-03-25 07:58
this might be a dumb question;how did castiel break down sams wall?or rather cause the hullucinations?
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-25 17:01
Hi charles. Castiel broke Sam's wall back in 6.22 with one of his magic fingers of doom to the head. I don't think Castiel directly caused the hallucinations but with the wall gone it allowed the memories of hell to pretty much overwhelm Sam. He was remembering Lucifer etc and this tidal wave of memories manifested themselves as hallucinations.

I think. That's as good a guess as any, really....
charles
# charles 2012-03-25 08:00
liked the episode!
CitizenKane2
# CitizenKane2 2012-03-25 08:31
Just checking in after a long absence. :P

I liked "Born Again Identity" - among other things, I thought the pacing and the plot twists were enjoyable. I definitely liked Meg returning (and of course, it was really nice to see Cas again !).

I do wonder whether Meg's proximity with Cas would be developed in the future. Meg had always been a Lucifer loyalist (which was what brought her into conflict with Crowley in the past).

Having Meg get acccess to Cas / Lucifer may well be a plot device for future episodes.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-03-25 08:53
Yeah, totally on board with you with the no more mind control for Sam.
That said I'm still tentatively backing the idea that is it really Luci that Sam was seeing. That saying "yes" left a remnant of connection with Sam and maybe that is what Cas shifted to himself. And maybe that is what Meg is after. Although then why wouldn't Meg have been after Sam as well.
IDK I'm still trying to process this all. I agree that Meg has more to her agenda that will see later. Demons always do.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-25 09:21
I'm impressed with the reactions about Talo's comments. Ok, she doesn't love Castiel. I don't either. We are minority here but it's our right. Is disliking Castiel a fellony on this board? And honestly I saw no fan offence at all, just a viewer speaking her mind. Is that not allowed here because it's not a popular opinion :-?
Alice
# Alice 2012-03-25 13:02
All opinions are very much allowed! I personally like hearing all angles.

The problem is, this is a sensitive fandom (I honestly don't know of a fandom that isn't) and the challenge for me as a moderator is to keep the peace when some are offended by others. It happens very easily most of the time.

Yes, Cass fans are offended. It's definitely okay to dislike Cass on this board (or any character), but the rule of thumb on any public forum is if you speak out against a character, prepare for some backlash. It's really no different than all the Sam fans vs. Dean fans stuff we get here.

I do appreciate the comments of defense though. Honest, no one here so far has done anything wrong.
Katie
# Katie 2012-03-25 16:59
Quote:
I'm impressed with the reactions about Talo's comments. Ok, she doesn't love Castiel. I don't either. We are minority here but it's our right. Is disliking Castiel a fellony on this board? And honestly I saw no fan offence at all, just a viewer speaking her mind. Is that not allowed here because it's not a popular opinion :-?
Since I am familiar with that poster, I know that it will descend into vicious abuse directed at Misha Collins, just like she continually posts elsewhere. She is renowned for it. I'm relieved Alice is keeping an eye on the poster, and I'm reassured that she won't get away with it here.
Alice
# Alice 2012-03-25 21:18
Katie, I'm sure you've had experiences, but please don't talk about other posters in your comments. Even though this person might be notorious on other boards, Talos has a good record here (I keep track of all posts ever done here by name and ip). We usually like keeping the topic to the subject of the article and not other posters. Like I said, I'll watch out and if anything is inappropriate I'll take care of it. Thanks!
buffsgirl
# buffsgirl 2012-03-25 14:41
Tim the Enchanter - First of all, you ALWAYS make me laugh so...... thanks for that!

Secondly, I like your analogy of the broken heart. I think that is a great way to put it and it helped clear up some of the muddiness that was going on in my mind. Cas didn't take away the memories or the experiences Sam had but he did take on some of the "sickness" that those memories / experiences created.

When you have a broken heart you go through "sickness" of that and maybe you cannot sleep or eat and you doubt yourself and what was real and what you just wanted to be real. Eventually, you heal from it, changed from the ordeal, but ready to get back into life. I think that is where we find Sam now. Remembering everything, changed from the experience, but no longer sick from it.

I dunno.......
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2012-03-25 14:58
Hi Elle,

Thanks for the great review of a really stellar episode. It was obviously a rich one, because it has certainly has people talking about it!

First off - kudos for this bit of writing:

And how does Dean finally get through to Cas? Does he argue Cas owes them, guilt him? No. He does what Dean has done every time he needed to pull somebody back: he loves them. When it comes to the big things, Dean’s heart is his greatest asset. It got through to his father when possessed by YED and it got through to Sammy inhabited by Lucifer. It does the trick this time too. Dean goes to the truck of the car and wordlessly pulls out the trench coat, sharing a sad and soulful expression with his friend the angel. Like a love letter to the fans, this entire sequence is like the dozens of fanfics I’ve read come to life, and it’s better than I imagined. That moment, alongside the montage of Cas’ memories, goes down on my list of top Supernatural moments.


I loved that because you summed up Dean so perfectly. In fact, the image that popped into my head, reading that paragraph & even watching the episode, was of a great big dog, pushing his head into your lap and saying "I'm here for you. I'll help you. I'll love you". There was something so loyal and unconditional about the love shown in handing over the trenchcoat. To me, this gesture really put an explanation mark on his whole speech about forgiveness at Rufus' graveside. It became obvious that he really meant what he said there.

Now on to my thinky-thoughts about the episode:

1. I will be in the minority when I say this, but I am now officially sick of Lucifer. Yes MP does a great job in the role. But I am really, really sick of the character. I feel like he's the actor in the play who he is constantly trying to get everyone in the audience to look at him, even when other stuff is going on. And before anyone says it, I KNOW that's exactly the image the writers were trying to portray. I'm just starting to find it a one-note characterizatio n -- always taunting, always mocking, always sarcastic. I think I would have found Lucifer more chilling if he'd started to show more empathy, become gentler or almost nurturing to Sam; if he'd become the kind of abuser who beats you to a pulp and then tends your wounds with gentle care, and brings you flowers. That kind of passive/aggress ive abuse really REALLY knocks a person off-balance. I just think, given what a good actor MP is, the writers could have created a slightly more nuanced Lucifer with an even broader range of psychological torture tricks.

Now, I should confess that my children spent the entire day doing their own version of Lucifer-in-my-L ife. So, perhaps that's why I'd had enough by the time I got to watch the episode!

2. The return and possible redemption of Castiel: I really liked how this was handled, and acted. Love him or loathe him, Cas the character brings out traits in the Winchesters - both brothers - that no other character does. He's like some special kind of colour tint that's added to the acting palette!

Dean's admissions to Cas in the car showed that Dean's still barely keeping his head above water in the sea of grief, betrayal, guilt and responsibility he’s currently swimming in. He can't make that admission to Sam because he knows Sam can't help deal with it - right now. Sam obviously has his own issues to deal with. But Dean desperately needed to talk to someone. And just like he opened up to Gordon about John's death, he needed to open up to the "stranger" Emmanuel. The need was a real one, in order to maintain his own fragile grip on sanity.

Should Dean or TPTB have killed Castiel for the havoc he has wrought? Quite possibly. Some of his crimes are much more egregious than other supernatural beings which the Winchesters choose to gank. But looking at it in that light, Sam & Dean could be up for the death penalty too. Their roles in creating & preventing the apocalypse lead to the deaths of some innocent people.

In my opinion, Supernatural has a very fluid definition around who deserves to die, why he/she/it deserves to die, and when he/she/it deserves to die. The ethics of hunting are certainly not carved in stone. They're not even vaguely understood like the Hippocratic Oath (which still gets abused). The ethics seem to be written in blood and are more about the morality of the moment.

I know Bookdal is currently tackling this issue, but I'm musing on it too. More words will follow at some point.

3. Not fixing Sam, but helping him get back on his feet: So what exactly did Castiel do? Anyone, anyone, anyone? So none of us are sure? I don't know what Castiel did there except he managed to take away much of Sam's torment and pour it into himself. I'm intrigued that the offender is still Lucifer. It does continue to muddy the waters as to whether or not the hellucinations are just hallucinations or are they the real Lucifer or rather a psychic cable line to the Cage?

But I'm not sure what else TPTB could have done. A quick fix from Castiel would have been cheap & tawdry. But, on the other hand, you can't have Sam on the brink of death for the last 6 episodes. You could conceivably have that in your final season, but I don't think we're there yet.

The Castiel short-term fix allows them to break Sam again, should the story require it. It’s similar to the fact we haven't seen Dean drinking much lately. It's there as a plot device when required.

I think Castiel's new role is somehow connected to Crowley which makes a connection back to the Leviathan. But there's still too many pieces missing from my jigsaw to figure this puzzle!

I do think our old friend Death will be back. And that means some kind of deal with Dean I think. And I still wonder if being the vessel for Michael will come into play.

Finally, I think our little horror show that started off with simple urban myths might have crossed over into sci-fi territory where the rules of this realm don't hold. I think the Castiel healing had sci-fi "you can't get there from here" elements to it.

But that's okay by me. I like science-fiction.

4. Leaving Cas in the asylum with Nurse Ratchet.. I mean Nurse Masters: So what is Meg up to? Why are the demons suddenly back? And was it a good idea to leave Cas there. At least the boys know Meg is only concerned about her own well-being. They're forewarned and fore-armed with that knowledge. The return of demons suggests Crowley has a plan, and could use angel help again. Angels are probably quite powerful at battling Leviathan (back to my Michael argument). But I have no good answers there either.

As for Castiel, I look at him as a wounded soldier. At least the brothers got him off the battlefield into a trench they think is safe. I don' think they could really take him with them. They can't protect him the way they're living now. And he's a liability, an extra danger to them. Now... if they were driving the Impala... Baby would protect them all!

So.. I've written a novel. Sorry about that. I guess I found it rather thought-provoki ng too!

Thanks!

Pragmatic Dreamer
elle
# elle 2012-03-25 22:39
Hi Pragmatic Dreamer,

First thank you so much for your lovely comments.

Second, I agree with your assessment of things here. I agree that you can't keep Sam on the edge until the season finale. Among other things, it'd grow stale.

I can also appreciate where your exhaustion with Lucifer is coming from. As interesting as the Hell/broken wall storyline is, too much of a good thing and all that jazz.

As to Castiel - well, I think I said it all in the review above. Loved him, loved his story in this episode and totally understand leaving him at the hospital in the end. As to Meg - wait and see on that one!
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-25 16:05
I know there’s a lot of talk about how Sam and his hell storyline kinda got gyped, and yes, I do agree with that. To think that something that many fans have been anticipating for over a year and a half could end so abruptly is perplexing and a little disappointing. Is that storyline done and dusted? Most probably. For storytelling purposes, I don’t see it, or its effects, being carried too much into the future in any major way and we may need to rely on the almost imperceptible actions and reactions of Jared Padalecki to certain incidents, (that he has is so excellent at), to remind us that Sam did, at one stage, house Lucifer and suffer huge trauma because of it.

However...... I was being ‘reflective†™ today (that's my word for 'I didn't get out of bed til about 4pm'), and I found myself watching a few season 7 episodes and then I read through some of the archives of TWFB and I came to a strange sort of pragmatic realisation (that most people probably realised ages ago but I’m a bit slow on the uptake). Yes, the show did write itself into a corner with this storyline starting well back in season 6. Yes, it would have been better to have dealt with that storyline in the first half of season 7 while the momentum was still strong (and it also meant we could have held onto Bobby for a few more episodes). Yes, the payoff it got wasn’t reflective of the enormity of the story line. Yes, the storyline only got focus in about four episodes. All that is true. But, let’s face it, what quality four episodes this storyline got! Meet the New Boss, Hello Cruel World, Repo Man and The Born Again Identity were, for me, four of the best episodes of season 7 so far (with Death’s Door rounding it off) and I came to thinking that I’d rather that particular storyline be the focus of 4 excellent episodes than 14 mediocre episodes or 40 awful episodes.

Maybe it was the breakfast I had this morning (2 Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, scrambled with a size order of white Buttons) but I am, for the moment, at a good place in relation to the Hell storyline. All four episodes where it was a factor were amazing. The storyline showcased Jared Padalecki’s considerable acting talents. It showed us that Sam has an inner strength and endurance that we can’t possibly imagine and that he is unwavering when it comes to the welfare of his family. He may have stumbled along this road but, once again, he didn't fall. Add to that, given his actions in the hospital where he helped Muirinn it shows us that the one word that epitomises Sam Winchester is kindness. In the depths of his own suffering, he once again put the needs of others first.

Do I wish we had gotten more of that storyline? Yes, but I’m not overly bitter that we didn’t. I’m trying to look past Hell for Sam now, and I’m excited by it because this Hell storyline has dominated and consumed all to do with him for almost two years. I’m looking forward to seeing Sam free and easy (well, as free and easy as a Winchester can be). I’m looking forward to seeing him unburdened (as unburdened as a Winchester can be) and I’m looking forward to seeing him be happy (or y’know, as happy as a Winchester can be.....)

I will be honest; season 7 thus far hasn’t exactly done it for me. There’s a lot I haven’t been happy with and a fair bit I’ve been absolutely furious with. I don’t think Dean’s storyline is worthy of him, I’m more scared of beetles than I am of the Leviathans and I miss Bobby but Sam’s storyline is one thing I’m not going to think poorly of when this season is done. I might not be overly happy with the length of the storyline, but I am happy with the depth of it.

Now, all these happy thoughts could, of course, change once the breakfast wears off so don’t be surprised if my next post begins with ‘Bastarding show, what the fuck were they thinking!!’ etc but for now I’m pretty content.
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-25 19:59
Tim, I wish I could say I got four really great episodes for Sam's story, but I can't.

I didn't really care for this past episode. It wasn't awful, but it doesn't rank as really good, IMO, either. It was okay for me. I don't care for how comical and non-threatening they made the devil. He went, IMO, from being a menacing and frightening figure to an annoying one. I wasn't frightened for Sam. I just felt bad for him that this annoying being wouldn't leave him alone. Lucifer was just annoying at the end. He's the greatest evil in the world, and the most he could do was sing to Sam and throw firecrackers at him?!?! Come on. I liked when he threw Sam off by appearing as Dean or Sam's doctor. I liked the library scene when everyone started slamming their heads into the table. To me, that is more disconcerting. I liked the idea they introduced of Sam not knowing if he was really free from the Cage. I wish they had kept that up. We're talking about hallucinations. There's so much they could have done.

I know this didn't bother some, but I really didn't like Sam solving a hunt while supposedly being near death. To me, that took away from the significance of Sam's troubles. Now, if that girl had been Lucifer in disguise, and Sam awakened to find himself locked down, that would have been more interesting to me. I can see Sam hallucinating that he's helping someone, but I don't buy him actually doing it with Lucifer speaking to him non-stop and Sam getting no sleep for days on end.

My other problem with this episode was with the utter and complete lack of urgency from Dean. There was no sense that Sam could actually die. Sam's hunting. Dean's having long conversations with Meg and Emanuel. Where's the sense that Sam's living on borrowed time? There were no good brotherly moments.

And this brings to my next complaint with the writing for this story in general. Since 7.04 or so, there's been an absence of concern from Dean re: his brother that is just odd to me. I'm not complaining about Dean but more so the writing. The emotional aspects of Sam's story were missing. We never got a scene with Dean asking Sam how he's coping with the hallucinations or how he's managing. That also, IMO, diminished the significance of Sam's hallucinations. Not only did we not see the hallucinations impact Sam in any significant or real way, but there was never any expressed concern about them outside of 7.02.

Repo Man was okay to me. I just feel the writers waited too late to successfully return to Sam's story. I feared the momentum would be lost if the story was sidelined, and for me, that's what happened. These last two episodes seemed rushed. It's like the writers knew it had to be revisited and decided to do it in the quickest way possible.

I can't speak for anyone else but apart from the last 2 episodes, Sam has been behaving perfectly normal. He's been fine. He's been superhuman. Nothing has impacted him. He had a very sudden breakdown. I'm not even sure why his coping method suddenly failed him. Is it really Lucifer bothering him? Is it just Sam imaging Lucifer bothering him? What's going on with his story?

I don't expect any answers to my questions because the story's over, but I feel it's been a waste of time. We never learned anything about what Sam experienced in Hell. We don't know how Sam feels about anything he experienced in Hell or while soulless. We never saw Sam struggle with the hallucinations or how they affected his daily life. I'm intentionally disregarding 7.16 and 7.17. When Bobby asked Sam how he was doing, I would have loved a real answer. When it comes to Sam's emotions, I usually feel left in the dark. This story did not change that.

This story has just been very disappointing to me. It did not live up to its potential. They barely scratched the surface,and now it's over.
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-03-26 03:53
Quote:

I don't expect any answers to my questions because the story's over, but I feel it's been a waste of time. We never learned anything about what Sam experienced in Hell. We don't know how Sam feels about anything he experienced in Hell or while soulless. We never saw Sam struggle with the hallucinations or how they affected his daily life. I'm intentionally disregarding 7.16 and 7.17. When Bobby asked Sam how he was doing, I would have loved a real answer. When it comes to Sam's emotions, I usually feel left in the dark. This story did not change that.

This story has just been very disappointing to me. It did not live up to its potential. They barely scratched the surface,and now it's over.
Yes, I've been disappointed too. Sam's storyline had SO much potential, I was giddy with anticipation when the season started and even more so after Hello Cruel World. To see all that potential ending so abruptly, and after having so little screentime, was disappointing. Although I do agree with Tim in that the four episodes were four of the best this season. I just wish the storyline had gone on longer. Four epiosdes wasn't very much time for such a, potentially, devastatingly emotional storyline. I know there's been talk about how there will continue to be residual effects of Hell for Sam with his memories but I don't expect to see anything. I think it's all pretty much done and dusted now.
I'm also been disappointed by the lack of brotherly moments. I really missed them in this episode and in the season overall. We had the awesome brotherly moments in HCW but nothing much since. The brotherly stuff in the clown episode was cute but when I think of all the wonderful moments in earlier seasons, the moments that made me fall in love with this show in the first place, I get rather nostalgic for those days.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-26 07:16
Nostalgic is a great word. That's exactly how I feel. I can't believe the Sera Gamble who wrote this episode is the same who wrote the unforgettable scene os Sam's death in AHBL.
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-26 10:42
Hi Gwen! I have not been happy either. To me, the best of Sam's story was 7.01 and 7.02. I just feel the last two episodes were so disjointed and far apart from the other two that I just couldn't "get into" them.

They were okay episodes, but I just feel there was so much missing from Sam's story that these episodes felt rushed. It also didn't help that I knew these were the ONLY episodes re: Sam's story we'd be getting. My expectations were ridiculously high, and they didn't even come close to meeting them. Additionally, I must admit that I just don't like how Sam's hallucinations and problems played out this year. I love MP, but I didn't care for how he was written in these last two episodes. He was a little too jokey and annoying for my taste. I don't know why the hallucinations were limited to Lucifer. I'm actually not sure what was happening w/Sam. Was he imagining Lucifer? Was Lucifer really appearing to him?

I hate that we haven't gotten any good brotherly moments outside of HCW. The brotherly moments make the show, IMO.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-25 21:00
Yes, Tim, it would be great to see Sam happy for a a change. But that leads to another of my big problems with the way Sam is treated by the writing team. He is kept completely isolatedd from other characters, e.g.:

1) Dean has the father figure (Bobby). It always irritates me when someone mentions that Bobby was a father figure to both boys because this was just not true. Bobby said that aloud once.

2 Dean has a best friend (Castiel)

3) Dean has a mother figure (Ellen). I don't recall ghost Ellen giving a damn about what was happening to Sam, but she managed to send Dean a message.

4) Dean always gets the girl: Lisa, Jo, Anna and even the Reaping Girl, whose name I don't remember now.

I mean, what the hell (no pun intended) is wrong with Sam. Is he not worth of love?
Why can't he have someone who loves him apart from Dean? Where is Sarah Blake? We've seen so many faces coming for the past, why not Sarah?

Sorry, but my prospects about Sam's future in the show are not the best. I see him becoming more and more decorative. :sigh:
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-03-26 00:21
Quote:
Yes, Tim, it would be great to see Sam happy for a a change. But that leads to another of my big problems with the way Sam is treated by the writing team. He is kept completely isolatedd from other characters, e.g.:

1) Dean has the father figure (Bobby). It always irritates me when someone mentions that Bobby was a father figure to both boys because this was just not true. Bobby said that aloud once.

2 Dean has a best friend (Castiel)

3) Dean has a mother figure (Ellen). I don't recall ghost Ellen giving a damn about what was happening to Sam, but she managed to send Dean a message.

4) Dean always gets the girl: Lisa, Jo, Anna and even the Reaping Girl, whose name I don't remember now.

I mean, what the hell (no pun intended) is wrong with Sam. Is he not worth of love?
Why can't he have someone who loves him apart from Dean? Where is Sarah Blake? We've seen so many faces coming for the past, why not Sarah?

Sorry, but my prospects about Sam's future in the show are not the best. I see him becoming more and more decorative. :sigh:
I loved this episode and this season, but I do feel bad for Sam sometimes because it does seem like he rarely gets affection from anyone but Dean and that has been less frequent this season as well. Even Bobby, who I adore and do considered a father figure for both, was more demonstrative with Dean. I know he loved Sam and he did always show concern for him, but Dean was his favorite. I really loved Ellen and Jo too but Dean was obviously their favorite too and neither seem to really care a lot about Sam(it seemed periphery to Dean). The only regular Sam got extra love from was Becky (shudder) and creepy obsessive love doesn't count.
I think that is why I like Sheriff Mills so much in TATAT because she was so loving and concern for BOTH boys and threatened to use her mom voice on Sam. TOO CUTE.

As far as Dean is concerned, I have felt like he has been less intense in his concern for Sam in several episodes this season and did want more brotherly moments in this episode. But I'm still thinking this is a deliberate act on the part of the writers. That either they are going for a less codependent relationship. Or they are maybe showing Dean's disconnection from the world and is something that is going to be dealt with. In all honesty, I'm hoping for the latter. Yes if the were going to go and live normal lives more independence would be healthy. But they are literally all each other has now, so depending each other actually seems healthier. Especially since Dean's apathy seems to apply to most areas of his life right now.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-26 07:13
I see ypour point. but in the past no matter how apathic Dean was, Sam in trouble never failed to have an effect on him. He could be apathic to everyhting else, but never Sam. Season 2 is the best example of that.

As for the codependence issue , if being independent means they being separated for the majority of the episode - and I don't mean only the last one - and being kind of cold and disinterested toward each other, all I can say is screw the independence. I want them to be codependent forever.
Amyj
# Amyj 2012-03-26 09:51
I see ypour point. but in the past no matter how apathic Dean was, Sam in trouble never failed to have an effect on him. He could be apathic to everyhting else, but never Sam. Season 2 is the best example of that.

Sorry...but I see Dean being ONLY apathetic when it concerns Sam. He certainly wasn't apathetic toward Castiel. Saving a bloody, moldy trenchcoat for a year, transferring it from car to car is OT apathy.

And if Sam's lot in life is to be forever with a guy who prefers a murderous angel over him then I root for independence and Sam finding and gaining his own bestie whom HE can have a profound bond.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-26 18:47
Do you really think they'll give Sam a bestie some day? Because I don't. Not a bestie, not a woman who loves him, not a REAL father figure. None.
digyd
# digyd 2012-03-26 12:37
Quote:
I think that is why I like Sheriff Mills so much in TATAT because she was so loving and concern for BOTH boys and threatened to use her mom voice on Sam. TOO CUTE.
Oh my goodness, Kelly, this is driving me nuts. Which episode are you referring to? Please spell it out because nothing is coming to mind.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-03-26 13:51
@digyd Oh Sorry. Time After Time After Time.

@Amyj While I agree that Dean has been withdrawn part of this season. I don't think that shows his lack of feeling for Sam. On the contrary, Dean did EVERYTHING he could to save Sam and he was by far the most engaged he's been since Bobby's death. I think his willingness to forgive Castiel so quickly (although I think we'll still see more on that later) is because of Sam.

Sweetondean described the differences between Sam and Dean vs Cas and Dean relationship perfectly in her review of this episode. That Dean has an easier time confiding in Cas about somethings because he DOESN'T get the emotional response from Cas and Dean doesn't handle emo moments well. With Sam, most the time he does have to say anything because Sam knows him so well.
digyd
# digyd 2012-03-26 13:55
Ah! I thought that at first, but I thought it stopped at TAT. :-) Thanks!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-03-26 02:13
They see Sam has something Supernatural so therefore can be fixed and Dean has human so therefore his issues never are resolved.They are never interested in looking at Sam just using his situation and then fixing him.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-26 07:44
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Dean has the father figure (Bobby). It always irritates me when someone mentions that Bobby was a father figure to both boys because this was just not true. Bobby said that aloud once.
No he didn’t. He said that Dean was his favourite but this was at a time when Soulless Sam was pretty dastardly and thoroughly unlikeable. Bobby had known Soulless Sam for over a year at this stage so it’s no surprise that he found him hard to like. I found him hard to like. (Hugely entertaining and hotter than Hades, yes. Likeable, no.)

Sam and Dean both had Bobby. In Bobby’s (possible) final moments he had both boys in his thoughts. He referred to them as ‘sons’ and they (both) were the reason he was reluctant to pass on.

During my period of um, personal reflection yesterday I starting watching Bobby and, during season 7 in particular, he was more than demonstrative with Sam on more than one occasion. There was nothing overt about it because it seemed almost second nature to him. When Dean was checking Sam’s hand, Bobby filled in seamlessly to wrap it and he was hugely gentle with him. He also told Dean to 'Ease up' on Sam in that scene.

He never allowed Dean to get aggressive or too judgmental with Sam. Back in season 4 and for most of season 5 Bobby was really the only one who even attempted to understand Sam and reminded Dean on occasion that Sam was more than the blood drinking, demon banging monster that Dean only saw, he showed Dean that Sam was still his brother. He was the one who sought to understand how Sam got to that state.

When Sam released Lucifer Bobby was the first to forgive him. Hell, they were almost the first words out of his mouth (after he had been exorcised). There have been numerous instances in season 7 where Bobby expressed both concern and admiration for Sam.

However, Sam’s biggest problem is that he internalises hugely and he does not have as big a presence (for want of a better word) as Dean. If Dean has a problem, people know about it. With Sam they don’t because he goes quiet and he builds walls. He is loathe to tell people if something is wrong, a very manly, though very dangerous tendency.

Sam and Bobby are very alike and I think they have a genuine bond, something established when Sam and Dean were smallies. I think Sam learned a huge amount from Bobby in many regards. Sam’s love of books, love and affinity towards research had to have come from somewhere, because it didn’t come from Dean and John so who else if not Bobby?

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Dean has a best friend (Castiel)
Well, if we’re going by that regard then Sam had a best friend, Ruby.

Add to that, Castiel (despite the fact that I have many, MANY issues with the dude) did, at times, have a positive relationship with Sam. Take out season 4 where Castiel was a manipulative arse to everyone and take out parts of season 5 where was a guilty arse, (and season 6, where he was, one again, a lying manipulative arse... Jeez, Dean’s best friend sucks!) Castiel did defend and stand up for Sam when he could. He refused to let Anna kill him, despite the fact that it could have solved their Lucifer vessel problem.

In season 6, the instant Sam got his soul back and prayed to Castiel, Castiel came. I can (kinda) understand why he didn’t come when Sam was soulless, I imagine the guilt and shame he felt when he realised what had happened and what he was using Sam for would have made it hard to be around him. If Castiel cared not a whit for Sam he’d have come and lied through his teeth to him.

He came when Sam prayed to him in 7.01, okay there was more than a touch of self interest here but still... The moment he saw Sam in 7.17 he profusely apologised to him and did all he could to make it right. Sam and Castiel may not have the profound relationship Dean and Castiel have (had?), but they did care for each other. Sam, most definitely, never gave up on Castiel. We saw this once again in 7.17.

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Dean has a mother figure (Ellen). I don't recall ghost Ellen giving a damn about what was happening to Sam, but she managed to send Dean a message.
Leaving a message, for me, is not an indicator that she preferred Dean and it certainly doesn’t show that she had no time for Sam. She had a message that she thought would help Dean, a timely reminder because the bond she saw between Sam and Dean back in the day that was now absent. She reminded him of what was important, his brother. That message would have helped them both. Why would she do that if she didn’t care about Sam?

Besides, The Mentalists is pure unmitigated bullshit that should be salted, burned, resalted and reburned about four million times so that the annals of SPN history will never acknowledge it’s existence, so offensive it is.


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Dean always gets the girl: Lisa, Jo, Anna and even the Reaping Girl, whose name I don't remember now.
Not at all true. For Dean’s Lisa, Sam had Jessica. Jo? There was no girl to be ‘got’ there. She just had one hell of a crush on Dean, it happens. Becky had one hell of a crush on Sam. Jo was young, and quite naive and she thought that if she could spent time with Dean then they would get together. Lads, we’ve all done it (not with Dean, obviously!). Though she did grow up and turned down a night with the ‘Dean Machine’ in Abandon All Hope (was it Abandon All Hope?).

I can also understand her distance with Sam. Born Under A Bad Sign would always, and will always, impact their relationship. Sam wore the face of the demon that attacked her, tied her up, and was going to kill her. It would be entirely plausible for Jo to keep her distance from Sam because while logically she might have known that Sam was possessed, that’s not going to stop the bad memories.

Anna, ditto. A quick bonk in the back of the Titanic, sorry, the Impala and that was the extent of that ‘relationship’. The Reaper? He didn’t ‘get’ her, and I certainly don’t think he’d have wanted to.

Sam got Ruby. He got Madison, he got Sarah, he got Laurie in Hookman. He got Dr. Cara. He got about 14 million women in his Soulless Sam days (numbers might be slightly exaggerated for emphasis). Sam gets plenty.

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Why can't he have someone who loves him apart from Dean?
Sam is capable of inciting love, and lust. He has both loved and been loved on more than one occasion. He’s probably on a par with Dean in that regard.

I feel he is, and will remain, more tentative when it comes to love from here on in, but he is definitely someone who warrants being loved.

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Where is Sarah Blake? We've seen so many faces coming for the past, why not Sarah?
A random face from 6 1/2 years ago should come back into Sam’s life in order to give him someone that loves him! Not a hope. Sam wouldn’t know what to do with Sarah now because the Sam that Sarah knew is long gone.

I’m really not a fan of this whole ‘Because Dean had something Sam must get it too, otherwise it is a slight against Sam’ ethos. Yes, Dean has had plenty Sam did not have, but in terms of being loved, I feel they are on a par.
elle
# elle 2012-03-26 15:25
Tim, you are so well spoken and articulate. I couldn't agree more. Well said.
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-26 17:06
Tim, what did Ellen's message to Dean in The Mentalists have to do w/Sam?

I'm not being sarcastic. That is an honest question. Didn't she say something like, "You have to tell someone how hard it gets?" I thought it was just a message for Dean. It was part of his emotional/depre ssion story. Honestly, the message made no sense was essentially pointless. After he got the message, Dean told Sam to suck it up and stop being a baby, and that was it. Dean didn't reveal any deep emotions or feelings to Sam. It was a horrible episode to end the horrible, pointless, waste of time arc that was Amy.

I understand why Alexandra wrote what she did about Sam, and I tend to agree w/her. From my perspective, it seems like when extras are about, they rarely interact w/Sam. They mostly interact w/Dean, which is one of the reasons some don't feel Sam has any of his own friends. What's even stranger about this is it what happens w/people who know Sam and should speak to him.

One of the weirdest scenes I can recall was when Dean and Sam ran into Ellen in 5.02. She slapped, hugged, and acknowledged Dean, but said nothing to Sam. At the time I watched it, I remember thinking it was odd. She knew them both but only spoke to and acknowledged Dean.

Last year, Gwen runs into Sam and Dean in that episode where she died, and only says hi to Dean. Again, it was odd. She knew Sam much longer than Dean and was presumably closer to Sam than Dean, but she didn't say hi to him. Why didn't she speak to him? Why didn't she speak to them both?

The little things the show does isolates Sam, IMO. For example, at the end of the episode when Jo and Ellen died, the camera focused only on Dean's face. I think he may have burned that picture of them, but even the burning picture was only focused on Dean w/Jo and/or Ellen in the shot. Sam knew them too. I'm assuming he cared that they died too, but we didn't see that. It was solely focused on Dean. Stuff like that can isolate a character.

And there was one episode last year where Sam had like 2 lines. I think it was the episode when they "rescued" those two evil kids. I never noticed it before but often when Sam and Dean are in a large group, Sam falls to the background and just stands there silently. He speaks to no one. No one speaks to him. It's just weird.

I have no problem w/people only speaking to Dean, or w/the Show insinuating that only Dean cares when their "friends" die. I do think that writing it that way can make some believe that Sam has no friends other than his brother. I didn't consider Bobby or Castiel a friend to Sam. The show spends too much time telling us stuff about Sam's life instead of showing us, IMO. I was shocked when Castiel called Sam a "friend" in Season 5 b/c I never saw their relationship progress to that level. That's the laziness I don't like.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-26 18:22
Quote:
Tim, what did Ellen's message to Dean in The Mentalists have to do w/Sam?
lala2, thank you sooooo much for making me what that shite again. That’s the bad dreams sorted for tonight! I’m gonna keep this short because I’m getting ten hours of sleep tonight if I have to drug myself to the gills to get it.

Ellen’s message ‘If you don’t tell someone how bad it really is, she’ll kick your ass from beyond. You have to trust someone again eventually’. Okay, who do you reckon she was talking about there? Who could Dean tell, and trust? Dean did not trust Sam at that stage, and did not share with Sam at this stage, maybe because he was trying to take the burden off him, who knows. So Sam’s stone number one didn’t trust him, Ellen thought he should and it would have benefited both of them.

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One of the weirdest scenes I can recall was when Dean and Sam ran into Ellen in 5.02. She slapped, hugged, and acknowledged Dean, but said nothing to Sam. At the time I watched it, I remember thinking it was odd. She knew them both but only spoke to and acknowledged Dean.
In this episode, Sam was not long after releasing Lucifer. I dare say if she gave Sam a smack, even out of worry, he’d retreat into his shell even more. I don’t think she knew how to react around Sam at that stage. There isn’t really protocol on what to do with a guy who drank gallons of demon blood, killed people, went blackeyed and released Lucifer.

Is it also possible that a wee bit of her didn’t trust Sam? Definitely. And it’s understandable. She has seen many bad things happen when Sam’s around and she doesn’t know him like Dean and Bobby do.

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Last year, Gwen runs into Sam and Dean in that episode where she died, and only says hi to Dean. Again, it was odd. She knew Sam much longer than Dean and was presumably closer to Sam than Dean, but she didn't say hi to him. Why didn't she speak to him? Why didn't she speak to them both?
Gwen only knew Sam when he was soulless and therefore not very likeable. (Don’t attack me, he wasn’t freaking likeable, alright!) Dean, she actually got on with. In Twihard they realised they had a few things in common and they did share a certain beheading moment which does tend to create a bond. And I always got the inkling that Gwen had a bit of a crush on Dean, don’t know why. She did act quite awkward around him, kinda like a tomboy trying to impress a guy with her toughness, I dunno.

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The little things the show does isolates Sam, IMO. For example, at the end of the episode when Jo and Ellen died, the camera focused only on Dean's face. I think he may have burned that picture of them, but even the burning picture was only focused on Dean w/Jo and/or Ellen in the shot. Sam knew them too. I'm assuming he cared that they died too, but we didn't see that. It was solely focused on Dean. Stuff like that can isolate a character.
Yes, and that was probably done intentionally. Dean really was the focus point at that part of season 5. He was the one on the downward cycle. He was the one that had to be shown being brought to the brink, not Sam. Jo and Ellen were gone, Bobby was in a wheelchair, Sam was, in Dean’s mind, going to go darkside. Showing Dean’s face in that scene emphasised Dean’s isolation, which would them make his decision to say 'Yes' to Michael more understandable. It does not show that their deaths affected him more.

Just because we did not see Sam’s grief doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. We also didn’t see Bobby’s grief so are we to assume that he didn’t care? As late as 7.17, Sam was talking about Jo and Ellen so it’s obvious that they meant a great deal to him.

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And there was one episode last year where Sam had like 2 lines. I think it was the episode when they "rescued" those two evil kids. I never noticed it before but often when Sam and Dean are in a large group, Sam falls to the background and just stands there silently. He speaks to no one. No one speaks to him. It's just weird.
Yep, and again, this is probably intentional and shows the character traits that were established back in season one. Sam does not put himself out there to the same extent as Dean does. He has to be shoved or tricked into the arms of women, he brings his laptop or research to social settings such as bars; not even I do that.

Sam has always seen himself as a freak, a loner, and as he got older, something dangerous so someone to be avoided. I think Sam is hugely aware of what he’s done and what he feels he is and that makes him wary around crowds. He very often works much better in one to one situations and this is why he is better with witnesses than Dean. Again, I see this as intentional. Dean is the kind of guy who will have a lot of friends but few who really know him. Sam will have very few friends but those he has he will have to life (unless they die or are demons).

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I have no problem w/people only speaking to Dean, or w/the Show insinuating that only Dean cares when their "friends" die. I do think that writing it that way can make some believe that Sam has no friends other than his brother.
What ‘friends’ does Dean have other than Sam?

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I didn't consider Bobby or Castiel a friend to Sam. The show spends too much time telling us stuff about Sam's life instead of showing us, IMO.
I do, (consider Bobby and, to a lesser extent, Castiel friends).

However, telling instead of showing in relation to Sam has been a problem since the start of season 4 when the writers strike of season 3 fecked things up considerably. And I do agree with you, it is a problem, but it’s not new.

The show makes it very challenging to try and understand Sam but at the same time they’ve done a tremendous job in creating his character. I mean consider all he has done. If I was told a story about a guy down the road who drank demon blood, betrayed his brother, released Lucifer, killed innocents, was mean to a dog yadda yadda yadda, I wouldn’t even want to know him. However, despite all the crap that Sam is responsible for, he’s still hugely popular and relatable when by rights, he should be loathed. We can look at Sam Winchester now, even bearing in mind his transgressions, and say ‘That is a good man.’ There are volumes written about him. There are sites dedicated to him, his hair has reached iconic standard. For a show that doesn’t show us too much about Sam’s life, we know a hell of a lot about him.

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I was shocked when Castiel called Sam a "friend" in Season 5 b/c I never saw their relationship progress to that level. That's the laziness I don't like.
That, to me, is laziness on the part of the viewer, not on the show. It would have been much easier for the show to have Sam and Castiel drink a beer for two minutes and thus establish a ‘friendship†™ rather than the subtle way they did it.

Now may I go to bed please?? Any add ons, I’ll be back in 24 hours to answer. Good night!
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-27 16:05
Well, I don't think I'm a lazy viewer simply because I expect the writers to develop Sam and his relationships with others as thoroughly as they do with Dean. Why does that make me lazy? Why should I have to assume Sam and Castiel are friends or on better terms w/each other when there were no scenes or evidence showing this?

The show can just write the scenes, and then there wouldn't be this confusion that always occurs with Sam. Dean didn't go from meeting Castiel to suddenly being Castiel's friend w/o any scenes to show the development of that friendship. That wouldn't have made sense, but it's what happened with Sam.

When Castiel declared that Sam was his friend, I was very shocked b/c I hadn't seen anything to show when that occurred. I wasn't alone in that confusion because I remember people remarking about Castiel's statement on the boards I frequented at the time. Many posts were like, "When did Castiel start liking Sam" or "Oh, I like that Cas now sees Sam as a friend - YAY."

Sam went from being "the boy with the demon blood" to a "friend." Sam had virtually NO scenes with Castiel in the 4th season outside of their first meeting when Castiel refused to shake Sam's hand and dismissed him, and Sam demanding that Castiel heal Dean after the Alastair affair. I haven't watched Season 4 in a long time, but I don't think those two had any other interactions during that season. Season 4 set up that Sam and Dean had their own supernatural friend/ally. Ruby was that for Sam, and Castiel was that for Dean. Sam was aligned with the demons, and Dean was aligned with the angels. Sam wasn't friends with Castiel in Season 4. Any relationship they developed occurred in Season 5.

Now, onto Season 5 - prior to Castiel telling Anna Sam was his friend, I can't recall too many scenes or moments to establish that friendship. In 5.01, didn't Castiel blame Sam and Dean for ending the world? In 5.02, Castiel interacted with Dean primarily. 5.03 and 5.04 further developed the Dean and Castiel relationship. Again, I have not watched Season 5 since it aired, but I can't recall any other significant contact Sam had with Castiel. Maybe, I'm missing some scenes that you can point out for me. I can't think of any moments that established a true friendship btw them prior to Castiel's statement that Sam was his friend.

Even Jared remarked in an interview this year that Sam and Castiel weren't friends, so I don't think those of us who also don't buy into the "friendship" are that far off the mark. It hasn't been established. Sam definitely considers Castiel an ally and his brother's friend, but that's probably it. To me, there's nothing wrong with that. I see no reason why they have to make the relationship more than what it is.

At the end of the day, for me, it's about the show taking the time needed to develop Sam. They didn't do that with Bobby and Sam, and they didn't do it with Castiel and Sam. They just write that there is a bond/friendship but put no effort into showing it through scenes or little moments.

This is also the problem I have with the Ellen/Jo death scenes, I understand we were in the middle of Dean's arc, and I'm fine with Dean being more depressed about it than Sam. My problem is with removing Sam completely from the emotional aspect of that story. I assume Sam cared about them as much as Dean and was also sad they died, but we never got to see it.

And maybe it's just me, but when I see two people I know, I usually speak to both of them. I don't just acknowledge one person. That would be rude. Ellen knew both boys. It's not clear that she knew Sam had gone all "black-eyed" and had consumed demon blood. I don't think that was common knowledge. And she was fine going off with Sam to look for Jo. It was just bad, inconsiderate writing, IMO.

When Dean first met Gwen, she told him that Sam couldn't stop talking about him. Sam seemed to be on good terms with the Campbell clan. They liked him. I never got the sense that Gwen didn't like Sam. Yes, she did bond with Dean in Family Matters, but that still doesn't explain, IMO, why she didn't speak to them both. It's just weird to me. She could have said, "Dean, Sam, how's it going" or "Hey, guys. What are you doing here?"

Honestly, I just see those scenes as more evidence of the writers' neglect of Sam. For me, little scenes and moments establish connections and provide emotional aspects to a character, and Sam is sorely missing those aspects. He has no emotional development. Everything is left up to the viewer's imagination or assumptions. I don't care for that.

As far as Ellen's message is concerned, I just saw it as impacting Dean, not Sam. Dean didn't really disclose anything to Sam. Plus, her message was mired in that Amy mess so that just makes it even worse.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-26 19:18
Thansks, lala2. You pretty much puts in words what's in my mind. That's spooky! I'm grateful, because I'm not a native speaker and have trouble expressing myself at times. Yes, exactly. Extra and secondary characters rarely interact or take notice of Sam and that just gets me pissed, no matter what excuses I hear. It's just like they ignore his existence.

Tim, you made good and articulate points. But I stick to my opinion, sorry. Bobby never once called Sam "son", but that's only a detail. His preference for Dean just came across, whether Sam was Soulless or not. And if he ever defended Sam to Dean, it was because he was worried about Dean's feelings, not about Sam. I can recall many occasions when Bobby acted downright cold towards Sam, but one sticks to my mind. When Sam was lying on the cot after Castiel broke his mind and Bobby and Dean were preparing to leave, Bobby just told Dean it was time and left without as much as a look at Sam. It may seem little, but that struck me as completely "unfatherly" from him. Would he leave Dean like that? I very much doubt.

I won't comment all of your points, only that: I'm not saying that Sarah Blake is the answer to Sam's prayers. She is just an example of how Sam's relationships could be more explored, if the writers only cared about him a little.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-26 20:10
Sorry, there's something I forgot to mention in my reply below. Do I want Sam to have everything Dean had? No, that's not my point. The only equality I expect is in terms of character treatment. I want both to be equally important. Aren't they both protagonists? I don't think that's too much to ask.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-26 20:27
Sorry, I mean "above". :oops:
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-26 10:58
I completely agree w/you about Bobby and Sam. IMO, they had no true relationship.

Every opportunity they had to develop the Bobby/Sam relationship outside of Dean, they chose to squander or further develop the Dean/Bobby relationship.

(1) Did Sam get a scene with Bobby in DALDOM? No, that went to Dean.
(2) Did Sam get a scene with Bobby in that Benjamin Button episode? No, that went to Dean.
(3) Did Sam get to protect Bobby in that zombie episode? No, Dean got to do that.
(4) Did Sam get to put a blanket over Bobby in that Titanic episode? Nope, that was Dean.
(5) Did Sam get a heartfelt plea to not die? No. When Sam said he saw Lucifer in HCW, Bobby left.
(6) Did Bobby and Sam get to have a big heart-to-heart after Soulless tried to kill Bobby last year? No, that entire pointless arc was swept under the rug.
(7) Do Sam and Bobby communicate in Dean's absence? No.

***** PLEASE DON'T MISUNDERSTAND ME. *****

I am not upset that Dean got the above scenes or moments; I'm just saying that those little moments helped establish the deep bond that is clear btw Dean and Bobby. When Bobby says Dean is like a son to him, I believe it. When Dean says Bobby is like a father, I believe it. I don't believe it with Sam and Bobby b/c the writers haven't bothered to establish such a connection. Like many things with Sam, the writers believe that simply saying it is enough, but it isn't.

I, at least, needed to see a scene that captured the connection, and there weren't any btw Sam and Bobby. Sam rarely had scenes with Bobby that don't involve Dean or aren't about Dean or a hunt.

The writers have, IMO, utterly failed at establishing a Sam/Bobby relationship that isn't just lip service. Last year would have been a good time to highlight the Sam/Bobby relationship, but the writers didn't do it. What was the point of Bobby being so weird around Sam when his soul was returned if they weren't going to expand on it? I fell out of love with Bobby after last year's "favorite" comment and his reaction to a souled Sam.

Now, I couldn't care less if Sam and Bobby weren't as close as Dean and Bobby, but I honestly believe that is what I was supposed to believe. I was supposed to believe Sam/Bobby have this deep bond and connection.
And the fact that there were NO personal scenes btw Sam and Bobby is just further evidence/proof that the writers are extremely and ridiculously lazy, IMO, when it comes to Sam.

I can't just make up a relationship btw Sam and Bobby. I have to see scenes to support their relationship whatever it may be, to believe the words the writers have written.
digyd
# digyd 2012-03-26 12:10
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1) Dean has the father figure (Bobby). It always irritates me when someone mentions that Bobby was a father figure to both boys because this was just not true. Bobby said that aloud once.
I think Tim broke this down really well already later on and I agree with those points. My only addition to this line of thought is I think we have to remember how many times it was said that Sam was John's favorite. No, I don't believe it to be true (or at least not intentional) but Dean isn't the only one who thought it/said it. Yes, I know it's all complex, so forgive me if I am oversimplifying . (Sometimes it just is what it seems.) I think what Sam got from John because he was gentler with him (arguments aside), Dean got from Bobby so we can know that both the guys got the emotional support they needed growing up one way or the other as well as the various training they needed - Dean mostly from his father, maybe Sam mostly from Bobby when it came to how to do research.
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-26 17:59
I think both boys thought their father favored or loved the other more.

While John may have coddled or protected Sam when he was a child, that it did not last forever. The two seemed to have a very contentious relationship by the time Sam was a teen. They fought all the time, and Sam was constantly compared to Dean. This led Sam to feel that John loved Dean more than him b/c Dean was a better hunter, etc. Remember, Sam didn't think John would be happy to see him.

By contrast, all Dean saw was John worrying about Sam and caring about Sam in a way John never seemed to care about Dean. Dean was forced to be Sam's parent, and was trained to protect Sam at all costs. John scolded that child for going off to play games and not protecting Sam when that was not Dean's job! Poor Dean had to think his dad cared more about Sam than him.

John was a horrible dad, but that is a different post!
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-26 20:20
I have already heard before that Dean being Bobby's favorite is fair because Sam was John's. But was he? What evidence do we have of that? I always credited that story to demon crap for the sake of torturing Dean, and I'm not convinced otherwise. Maybe John worried more about Sam because of the consequences of Mary's deal, Between the two boys, he was the most vulnerable, but that's all.

But to be honest, I wish this was really true because then at least Sam would be someone's favorite.
elle
# elle 2012-03-25 22:35
Hi Tim,

I agree with you completely in terms of the Hell storyline. I'm kind of okay with it at this point.
Elisa
# Elisa 2012-03-26 05:11
I don't agree with the people who say that they think the writers did the easy solution with Cas fixing Sam. I don't think Sam is fixed - I believe Cas took away his hallucinations of Lucifer but not his memories of hell. Sam will most definitely still be plagued by those and need his brother's support but at least he won't die of insomnia!

I REALLY loved this episode - Sam's breakdown, Dean being the worried big brother we know and love, Cas returning.. even Lucifer torturing his way through the episode! I think Dean had every right to be mad at Cas for tearing down the wall inside his brother's head but I think Cas finally got redemption for the terrible thing he did to Sammy. An A+ from me! :P
Amyj
# Amyj 2012-03-26 10:07
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Dean has the father figure (Bobby). It always irritates me when someone mentions that Bobby was a father figure to both boys because this was just not true. Bobby said that aloud once.
No he didn’t. He said that Dean was his favourite but this was at a time when Soulless Sam was pretty dastardly and thoroughly unlikeable. Bobby had known Soulless Sam for over a year at this stage so it’s no surprise that he found him hard to like. I found him hard to like. (Hugely entertaining and hotter than Hades, yes. Likeable, no.)

This right here has so much wrong to it. Yes, sam was souless but NO ONE knew he was souless. All Bobby knew was Sam has just come back from HELL. And what did he do? He turned his back on a man he CLAIMED was like a son to him. why? because he was unlikable? Sam had JUST come back from Hell, obviously he was suffering but all anyone sees is Sam is unlikable. No worrying about what Hell did yo him. NO EMPANY for Sam's suffering. Nope. Bobby turned his back on Sam...and worse never let Dean know sam was back and in pain. Bobby cared about nothing except that Dean was out of hunting.

Sam be damned. And he was because Castiel decided to use this 'supposed' friend like a tool for his cause. And when that tool rebelled he did everythign he could to convince Dean to leave Sam's soul in Hell to suffer even more. And then Castiel used Sam like some object to DISTRACT Dean. He ripped the wall out and then GLOATED over Sam's suffering.

And Bobby.....Bobby didn't show one ounce of empathy for Sam. He worried about Dean and the job at hand. Bobby once said he would never cut Sam out but what the writers dont get is that words arn't the only way to disown/cut out a person. Bobby cut Sam out emotionally...j ust as Dean has and is...and to pout Salt on the injury Dean clung the trenchcoat...no t only forcibly reminding Sam DAILY that he has been used and abused by Castiel but Castiel held a much higher place in Deans heart...that while it took Dean a year to forgive Sam, Castiel got practically instant foregivness.
Cindy
# Cindy 2012-03-26 10:50
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Quote:
Dean has the father figure (Bobby). It always irritates me when someone mentions that Bobby was a father figure to both boys because this was just not true. Bobby said that aloud once.
No he didn’t. He said that Dean was his favourite but this was at a time when Soulless Sam was pretty dastardly and thoroughly unlikeable. Bobby had known Soulless Sam for over a year at this stage so it’s no surprise that he found him hard to like. I found him hard to like. (Hugely entertaining and hotter than Hades, yes. Likeable, no.)

This right here has so much wrong to it. Yes, sam was souless but NO ONE knew he was souless. All Bobby knew was Sam has just come back from HELL. And what did he do? He turned his back on a man he CLAIMED was like a son to him. why? because he was unlikable? Sam had JUST come back from Hell, obviously he was suffering but all anyone sees is Sam is unlikable. No worrying about what Hell did yo him. NO EMPANY for Sam's suffering. Nope. Bobby turned his back on Sam...and worse never let Dean know sam was back and in pain. Bobby cared about nothing except that Dean was out of hunting.

Sam be damned. And he was because Castiel decided to use this 'supposed' friend like a tool for his cause. And when that tool rebelled he did everythign he could to convince Dean to leave Sam's soul in Hell to suffer even more. And then Castiel used Sam like some object to DISTRACT Dean. He ripped the wall out and then GLOATED over Sam's suffering.

And Bobby.....Bobby didn't show one ounce of empathy for Sam. He worried about Dean and the job at hand. Bobby once said he would never cut Sam out but what the writers dont get is that words arn't the only way to disown/cut out a person. Bobby cut Sam out emotionally...just as Dean has and is...and to pout Salt on the injury Dean clung the trenchcoat...not only forcibly reminding Sam DAILY that he has been used and abused by Castiel but Castiel held a much higher place in Deans heart...that while it took Dean a year to forgive Sam, Castiel got practically instant foregivness.
I'm not sure where you're getting that Dean loves Cas more than Sam. I don't see that. He used Cas to help Sam, and when he was finished, left Cas in a mental institution without looking back.
I don't think Dean has forgiven Cas. That's going to take time. That's if he ever forgives him in the first place.
Amy
# Amy 2012-03-26 12:17
This right here has so much wrong to it. Yes, sam was souless but NO ONE knew he was souless. All Bobby knew was Sam has just come back from HELL. And what did he do? He turned his back on a man he CLAIMED was like a son to him. why? because he was unlikable? Sam had JUST come back from Hell, obviously he was suffering but all anyone sees is Sam is unlikable. No worrying about what Hell did yo him. NO EMPANY for Sam's suffering. Nope. Bobby turned his back on Sam...and worse never let Dean know sam was back and in pain. Bobby cared about nothing except that Dean was out of hunting.

Sam be damned. And he was because Castiel decided to use this 'supposed' friend like a tool for his cause. And when that tool rebelled he did everythign he could to convince Dean to leave Sam's soul in Hell to suffer even more. And then Castiel used Sam like some object to DISTRACT Dean. He ripped the wall out and then GLOATED over Sam's suffering.

And Bobby.....Bobby didn't show one ounce of empathy for Sam. He worried about Dean and the job at hand. Bobby once said he would never cut Sam out but what the writers dont get is that words arn't the only way to disown/cut out a person. Bobby cut Sam out emotionally...j ust as Dean has and is...and to pout Salt on the injury Dean clung the trenchcoat...no t only forcibly reminding Sam DAILY that he has been used and abused by Castiel but Castiel held a much higher place in Deans heart...that while it took Dean a year to forgive Sam, Castiel got practically instant foregivness.

I'm not sure where you're getting that Dean loves Cas more than Sam. I don't see that. He used Cas to help Sam, and when he was finished, left Cas in a mental institution without looking back.
I don't think Dean has forgiven Cas. That's going to take time. That's if he ever forgives him in the first place.


Of course Dean loves Castiel far more then Sam. Castiel is Deans best friend. And in Deans own words Castiel is his brother and family. Sam is.....Deans brother. They arn't friends. Dean never confides in Sam.....he'd rather talk to a random person on the street before talking to Sam. But the writers have made a point that Castiel is the only one Dean can confide in...lean on. And this was well before Sam had his castiel induced problems.

Dean left Cas in a mental instituition because it was the safest thing possible for both Dean and Cas. And Dean forgave Cas well before he gave the coat back. He's angry yes, but defiently has forgiven him. The returning the coat is proof. Juxtaposes the absolute lack of faith in Sam by dumping the amulet in the trash in a way that was specifically meant to hurt Sam and show he's still never forgiven Sam.
Cindy
# Cindy 2012-03-26 13:38
We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Because I just don't see the characters and the show the way you do. :-)
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-26 14:56
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This right here has so much wrong to it. Yes, sam was souless but NO ONE knew he was souless. All Bobby knew was Sam has just come back from HELL. And what did he do? He turned his back on a man he CLAIMED was like a son to him. why? because he was unlikable? Sam had JUST come back from Hell, obviously he was suffering but all anyone sees is Sam is unlikable. No worrying about what Hell did yo him. NO EMPANY for Sam's suffering. Nope. Bobby turned his back on Sam...and worse never let Dean know sam was back and in pain. Bobby cared about nothing except that Dean was out of hunting.
Yes, Sam was soulless and no one knew he was soulless, not Bobby, not Dean and not Sam. Yes, Bobby knew that Sam came back. However, beyond that he was pretty clueless. Bobby was swimming in uncharted territory here because it was a situation he never thought possible. Sam out of hell and he was, as far as Bobby could see, fine.

For all Bobby knew, he too went to hell when he died in 5.22 and he came back with no memories of it and zero visible effects. This also has echoes of Dean’s return from hell. He came back fully functional, and from what we saw at the time, with zero memories of hell.

Bobby logically assumed that Sam had come back from the Cage. However, that ‘logic’ did not tie in with what he was seeing in front of him, a hale and hearty Sam ready to hit the hunts again. He was cold, and he was pragmatic but he had just come back from the ‘dead’. In fact, the Sam we saw in 6.01 was quite like the Sam we saw in 2.22. Sam 2.22 came back a little colder and a lot harder but he was still Sam.

It’s possible Bobby might have thought Sam did not even make it to the Cage. We don’t know how soon after he fell that Sam made it to Bobby’s. We do know it was not long at all. For all Bobby knew God had done a quick save on Sam the moment he fell so Sam might never have even seen the Cage, let alone be tortured there. The physical and mental state of Sam that Bobby saw would not indicate that Sam had been tortured.

There is also no evidence to suggest that Bobby turned his back on Sam, not one iota. We don’t know how often Sam met with Bobby in the year after he came back. Might have been a lot, might have been a little, might have been just once. He did seem quite familiar with him in Exile on Main Street and I dare say he kept track of him. The reports he’d have gotten from there would have been that Sam was doing good, better than ever, no nightmares etc

However, we do know what Bobby was like in relation to Sam in the aftermath of Dean’s death and in the aftermath of Dean’s many Trickster induced deaths. Bobby worried, big time. He phoned Sam constantly, left messages and came to him the moment he called. Should we assume that he did not do that again? Or should we assume that when Bobby saw Sam after he fell that he pushed Sam out the door and told him to never darken his doorstep again? Where on earth is there evidence in canon to support that? Or is it more realistic to assume that Sam walked out the door, perfectly fine (as far as they knew) as he did with Dean and cut off contact, as he had done in previous seasons?

There is zero evidence to suggest that Sam was in pain or suffering. If he was, do you genuinely think that Bobby would have let him go anywhere? If Sam was suffering then Bobby would have called Dean, apple pie life bedamned. If he thought for a heartbeat that Sam wanted his brother, he would have gotten his brother. If Sam was in pain or suffering or having hell nightmares etc then the Campbells would also have copped on to it but all they saw was Sam Winchester, alive, strong and focused. No traces of any hellpain there.

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Sam be damned. And he was because Castiel decided to use this 'supposed' friend like a tool for his cause. And when that tool rebelled he did everythign he could to convince Dean to leave Sam's soul in Hell to suffer even more. And then Castiel used Sam like some object to DISTRACT Dean. He ripped the wall out and then GLOATED over Sam's suffering.
Yes, he betrayed both Sam and Dean. I’m sure Castiels argument was (as Sam’s was) that desperate times call for desperate measures. However, as with Sam and his quest to kill Lilith and end the Apocalypse, do you think that Castiel would have intentionally done those things if he was in his right mind and not been desperate?

And Amy, if Castiel did not feel regret and consider Sam a friend, why did he do what he did so readily in 7.17?

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And Bobby.....Bobby didn't show one ounce of empathy for Sam. He worried about Dean and the job at hand. Bobby once said he would never cut Sam out but what the writers dont get is that words arn't the only way to disown/cut out a person. Bobby cut Sam out emotionally...just as Dean has and is
Amyj, there is absolutely no evidence that Bobby cut Sam out emotionally or cut him out at all. We don’t know the extent of the contact or the relationship between Bobby and Sam in that year. It’s possible Bobby rang often trying to talk to him. It’s possible he asked Sam to stay with him, we just don’t know. All we have to go on is the close relationship we saw between Sam and Bobby in the 6 odd years we’ve known them and based on that try and assume how Bobby would have reacted in the aftermath of Sam’s resurrection. And nothing about their past relationship suggests that he did not have sympathy for, or cut out Sam.

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...and to pout Salt on the injury Dean clung the trenchcoat...not only forcibly reminding Sam DAILY that he has been used and abused by Castiel
If Sam felt wounded by what Castiel had done then it is strange that he forgave him and offered his help to him so readily back in 7.01. He didn’t seem to feel too upset by the trenchcoat ‘forcibly reminding him daily that he had been used and abused by Castiel’. Perhaps Sam used the trenchcoat to remind himself of Cas, his friend, rather than Castiel the power corrupted angel. Perhaps he could empathise with Castiel and wanted to give him the luxury of understanding and forgiveness. Like I said, the one trait that epitomises Sam is kindness.

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.that while it took Dean a year to forgive Sam, Castiel got practically instant foregivness.
Castiel did not get instant forgiveness from Dean. I don’t think Castiel got any forgiveness from Dean. As Dean said, ‘We don’t have any friends. All our friends are dead.’ Does that sound like instant forgiveness?

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but Castiel held a much higher place in Deans heart..
Castiel held such a high place in Dean’s heart that Dean gave up on him in 7.01 and wouldn’t even help him? And we didn’t see Dean going to hell for Castiel, did we?
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-26 17:48
I think the show has shown that whenever Dean is not present, Bobby and Sam had very little contact w/each other.

When Dean is not around (i.e., "dead" or "living the apple pie life"), Sam and Bobby had ZERO contact. This was shown in Mystery Spot, Lazarus Rising, and Exile on Main Street. Sam didn't reach out to Bobby when he is in despair or troubled b/c he knew he and Bobby weren't close.

Bobby wasn't torn up b/c Sam left after Dean died. He was torn up and drinking constantly b/c his "son," Dean, died. He probably felt obligated to check in on Sam b/c he knew that's what Dean would have wanted. I don't think he tried to look for Sam b/c he really cared about how Sam was doing. And Sam, IMO, wasn't calling Bobby b/c they aren't that close. Sam knows this. Sam went off to do what he wanted after Dean died - get drunk, become suicidal, and hang out w/demons.

It's hard for me to say how they feel about each other. Do I think they would die for the other? Probably. Do I believe the writers have done enough to make that feel genuine? Heck no!

I honestly don't think Sam cared that Bobby loved Dean more than him. What I find more upsetting about the whole Bobby/Sam relationship is the lazy storytelling. The writers "talk up" this deep bond and relationship btw Sam and Bobby, which is all fine and good, but when you have ZERO scenes, moments, or scenarios to back up your words, it begins to look contrived and fake. I can't recall a single conversation Bobby and Sam have had that didn't have to do w/the "hunt" or the "job" or Dean. I'm racking my brain trying to think of a time when Bobby was there for Sam like a father, and I'm drawing a blank.

Sam had . . . ONE . . . significant moment w/Bobby in SFTD after FIVE years?!?!? That's it by my count. Sam and Bobby rarely speak to each other. I feel like I can count on one hand the number of times we've seen Sam and Bobby communicating w/just each other about something personal or their relationship. I really have to strain to come up w/more than three - when Sam escaped the PR, when Sam was coming up w/his Lucifer plan, and SFTD. We never saw Sam calling Bobby or speaking to him about anything personal. That's why I was puzzled right along w/Soulless Sam when Bobby accused Dean AND Sam in WAB of calling him to complain about each other. Soulless was puzzled b/c he wasn't calling Bobby. Bobby was Dean's confidante, not Sam's. Sam and Bobby just didn't have that type of relationship.

So . . . . having Bobby say that Dean was his favorite was just stating the obvious and just wasn't funny to me. I remember thinking, "Well . . . we all knew that but I never thought the writers would blatantly say it."

And I honestly don't believe Bobby would have treated a re-souled Dean the way he treated a re-souled Sam. To me, that was even more evidence that Bobby didn't love Sam like a son despite his claims to the contrary. Heck, Bobby didn't even notice that something was wrong w/Sam. Dean noticed immediately that something was "off" w/Sam, but not Bobby.

When Dean "died," Bobby became an alcoholic. When Sam "died," Bobby was hunting the very next week and functioning pretty well. What are we supposed to think about that? I mean little things like that add up, IMO.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-03-27 15:27
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When Dean is not around (i.e., "dead" or "living the apple pie life"), Sam and Bobby had ZERO contact. This was shown in Mystery Spot, Lazarus Rising, and Exile on Main Street.
In Mystery Spot, after the Wednesday, Bobby rang Sam constantly, told him how worried he was about him, pleaded with him to check in and the instant Sam called Bobby went to him.

Lazaus Rising, shows us the opposite of what you stated. They conversed after Dean died then Sam disappeared. Bobby stated that he tried calling and finding him but Sam wouldn't return his calls.

Exile on Main Street showed that they had contact in Dean's presence, how else would Bobby have known Sam was alive? How much contact they had, we don't know, but they had contact.

As recently as 7.02, Bobby was shown given his utmost support (and Dean wasn't there) and in 7.09 expressing his admiration for Sam (and Dean was asleep).

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Sam didn't reach out to Bobby when he is in despair or troubled b/c he knew he and Bobby weren't close.
Sam didn’t reach out to anyone when he is in despair. Sam doesn’t reach out to anyone when he is in despair. He keeps it in, that’s why he’s in the shit state he’s been in for the past number of years.

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Bobby wasn't torn up b/c Sam left after Dean died. He was torn up and drinking constantly b/c his "son," Dean, died. He probably felt obligated to check in on Sam b/c he knew that's what Dean would have wanted.
Was Bobby more torn up over Dean than Sam? Yep. Sam was still alive, Dean was dead, and in hell. The conversation between Bobby and Dean in Lazarus Rising shows us Bobby called Sam constantly and tried tracking him down.

Dean also didn’t reach out to Bobby when he was in despair after Sam died. Should we assume it’s because he and Bobby weren’t close?

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I don't think he tried to look for Sam b/c he really cared about how Sam was doing. And Sam, IMO, wasn't calling Bobby b/c they aren't that close. Sam knows this. Sam went off to do what he wanted after Dean died - get drunk, become suicidal, and hang out w/demons.
Sam wasn’t calling Bobby but Bobby was calling Sam. And both times, Sam went off to seek revenge; against the Trickster and Lilith. He was focused on the hunt, not on his personal life.

He wasn’t not calling Bobby because he thought Bobby didn’t care. He wasn’t calling Bobby because he knew that Bobby did care and would try to get him to stop what he was doing.

Sam wasn’t drinking after Dean died in Mystery Spot. He showed no common signs of grief. He focused on revenge. Given that he was not ‘torn up and drinking constantly’ should we assume that Sam did not miss Dean?

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I honestly don't think Sam cared that Bobby loved Dean more than him.
Probably because Sam didn’t believe that Bobby loved Dean more than him. Sam has been around long enough to know that it’s possible to love more than one person.

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What I find more upsetting about the whole Bobby/Sam relationship is the lazy storytelling. The writers "talk up" this deep bond and relationship btw Sam and Bobby, which is all fine and good, but when you have ZERO scenes, moments, or scenarios to back up your words
There have been numerous scenes between Sam and Bobby but every time one of them is mentioned you use it to say its proof that Bobby didn’t care ie stating Bobby only called Sam because he was ‘obligated’ to. Bobby is in a lose lose situation. He doesn’t do it and its proof he doesn’t care. He does it and its proof he doesn’t care. The scenes are there, plenty of them, should you choose to see them.

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I can't recall a single conversation Bobby and Sam have had that didn't have to do w/the "hunt" or the "job" or Dean.
7.02 and 7.09, that’s two right there, and I didn’t even need to think about them. The hug in Swan Song, that’s three. Give me 35 hours of Bobby episode watching and I’ll have a few more for you.

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Sam had . . . ONE . . . significant moment w/Bobby in SFTD after FIVE years?!?!? .....
lala2, you’ve gone from stating there were zero moments, to one, to three!! While you’re keeping score, how many times has Dean spoken to Bobby about something other than the job, the hunt or Sam? Not many.

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Soulless was puzzled (in WAB) b/c he wasn't calling Bobby.
Of course Soulless Sam wasn’t calling him. However, if Sam never called Bobby then why would Bobby want to get Sam on the phone as well as Dean? If Soulless Sam was puzzled it's because Soulless Sam would not do that kind of thing, Sammy would, and evidently did.

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So . . . . having Bobby say that Dean was his favorite was just stating the obvious....."
I didn’t know that, I don’t think even Dean knew it given how pleasantly surprised he was by it. I’d have thought if Bobby had a favourite then it would be Sam, not Bobby, given how similar they are. However, let’s say that Dean was Bobby’s favourite. Big freaking deal. Does having a favourite mean the other isn’t loved?

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And I honestly don't believe Bobby would have treated a re-souled Dean the way he treated a re-souled Sam.
So you don’t think that if Dean has chased Bobby through the house with a huge knife, broke down the door of the closet he was hiding in with a crowbar, whacked him over the head, tied him to a chair and was preparing to kill him he’d find it hard to be around him for a time after?

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Heck, Bobby didn't even notice that something was wrong w/Sam. Dean noticed immediately that something was "off" w/Sam, but not Bobby.
Dean didn’t notice there was something definitely wrong with Sam until about episode 3. However, we don’t know how much contact Soulless Sam had with Bobby. It’s highly probable that it was limited so when would Bobby get the opportunity to notice something wrong with Sam? Sam hunted 24/7, he didn’t sleep, he didn’t rest and he chose to work with the Campbells. The amount of contact Sam had with Bobby was limited, and dictated by Sam.

Also, why is the fact that Dean noticed that there was something off about Sam before Bobby did ‘proof’ that Bobby and Sam did not have a relationship. Sam and Dean lived in each other pockets for about 25 years. Dean would notice if Sam had an extra hair follicle.

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When Dean "died," Bobby became an alcoholic. When Sam "died," Bobby was hunting the very next week and functioning pretty well.
Bobby was already an alcoholic at that stage. Sheriff Mills referred to him as the town drunk, a reputation you don’t get unless you are drinking for a prolonged period. So, why did Bobby start hunting again when Sam died? Maybe to find some measure of the revenge for the boy he loved, to keep his mind occupied so that he wouldn’t be driven insane at the thought of Sam in the Cage, as Dean was, as a way of honouring Sam? Is staring down the bottom of a bottle the only proper way of showing grief now?

When John died, Dean acted exactly the same as Bobby did here, drinking and hunting. When Dean died, both times, Sam reacted by going gung ho into hunts, killing anything and everything. Should we assume then that Dean did not love John and Sam did not love Dean?

There’s one thing you do need to keep in mind though, Bobby’s and Sam’s words in Appointment in Samarra when the blood of a ‘father’ was needed. “I’ve been like a father to you, boy. Somewhere inside you must know that.” “That’s just it”. That, to me, says that Soulless Sam knew that Bobby was like a father to him, and if Soulless Sam knew it then damn straight Sammy knew it. If Soulless Sam thought, even for an instant, that Bobby was not like his father, he wouldn’t have gone for him. Soulless Sam would not have made mistakes when it came to his keeping his soul out. Sam believed Bobby to be his father, had he not, he’d have gone for Samuel Campbell, or Dean or maybe Jessicas father or someone else he was closer to than Bobby.

Had Bobby not thought of the boys, both boys, as his sons, he’d have cut them loose years ago. He’d certainly have cut Sam loose because Sam brought trouble no matter where he went. Yet despite all Sam did, Bobby still welcomed him. Do you honestly think he’d have welcomed the man who released Lucifer into his home out of ‘obligation†™? When Dean was losing faith in, and having doubts about, Sam in season 4 and 5, it was Bobby who set his straight about his brother. Why would Bobby do that for Sam, and Dean, if he did not care about them? Even after releasing Lucifer, Bobby’s (not demon Bobby’s) first words to Sam were of forgiveness, acceptance and support. Were these words also given out of obligation, or out of love?

Also, Dean was very perceptive and very overprotective when it came to Sam. Do you honestly think he’d have put Sam into a situation where he was faced daily with someone he didn’t have a relationship with?

I’ll be honest lala2, I’ve no interest in trying to get you to change your mind. I know a futile task when I see it. However, I feel that you have presented a very one-sided argument that is grossly unfair to both Bobby and Sam so what I’ve posted here in merely an attempt to look at the other side of your argument.
digyd
# digyd 2012-03-27 16:46
Wow. :-)

I rewatched Death's Door last night with a lot of this in my mind (before Tim posted this diatribe) and I left that episode thinking, "Heck. They are just plain wrong. Bobby said he adopted BOTH boys. Bobby said his best memory was of BOTH of them. If we can't take the character at his word that he felt like a father to both of them, then whom can we believe?"

Bravo, Tim. Time to move on.
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-27 16:59
I know the show sells the Bobby loves Sam like a son, and Sam loves Bobby like a father story. I never said the characters don't love each other like family. I said I don't believe it. Me. The viewer.

I, personally, don't buy what they're selling when it comes to Sam and Bobby. Dean and Bobby. I fully believe it. Sam and Bobby. I see it as lip service, and that's my right. We don't all have to think the same things or see things the same way. Different opinions make the world an interesting place.

I think Bobby, the hunter, would recognize that Dean, his son, had not willingly gone soulless and had not willingly tried to kill him. I think Bobby would have been overjoyed that Dean's soul had been returned, and that Dean was "himself" again. I think Bobby would not have for even one moment considered that some of part of the "souled" Dean Winchester wanted to kill him like he did w/Sam. I think he would have willingly hugged Dean. He wouldn't have been awkward around Dean. And I don't think he would have been upset that he couldn't crush Dean's spirit by telling Dean how his soulless counterpart tried to kill him.

I never said Bobby didn't say nice things about Sam. I never said he didn't like Sam. I said that I don't believe they have a father/son relationship. I know the show says they do. I know the characters say they do. What I mean is it doesn't come across for me like it does w/Dean and Bobby.

You like how their relationship played out. I found it lacking. Now, you may think I'm a "lazy" viewer or too stubborn or . . . whatever. I just have a different opinion than yours. That's all.

I like the emotional development I've seen for Dean and for his relationships w/others that I would like to see occur w/Sam. Clearly, that ain't going happen so it is what it is.
digyd
# digyd 2012-03-26 11:48
As usual there are more comments here than I can read in one sitting. I got pretty far but I have to toddle off to do something else now so I will say two things:

1 - I think it's too soon to know what has happened with Sam. There are still what? 6 episodes to go? I know we have to deal with the Leviathan and yeah, I may be naive here about how things are going to go, but I think it's too soon to really know how Sam's issues all play out. Think I'll just love this episode - because I did - and keep waiting.

2 - Maybe someone mentioned it in the comments I haven't read yet here or on the million other reviews, but you want to know the most important thing I got out of this episode? Things seems really hopeless with these Leviathans but there is hope. Emanuel means God with us. Cas wondered why he got out of the water and I say the God of SPN is trying to do what God does - speak in a still small voice to let you know He IS there. And maybe He is caring more than He did back on DSOTM. Maybe something has changed for Him too. Maybe the ultimate help the guys will receive will be the most divine ever. Maybe its not Bobby's ghost but God. I don't know. All I know is you don't pick a name like that - off bouncingbabynam es.com - without a reason.

My speculations for now. I shall depart and read more later.
digyd
# digyd 2012-03-26 12:30
Quote:
Juxtaposes the absolute lack of faith in Sam by dumping the amulet in the trash in a way that was specifically meant to hurt Sam and show he's still never forgiven Sam.
Gee. I must be way more of an optimist than even I realized. I still think Sam may have picked that amulet up out of the trash and is waiting on the right time to give it back to Dean. Maybe by the end of series Dean will regret that action and Sam will be able to give it to him, maybe as a show of the two of them coming together in a new, more profound way? I can dream. :-)
Amyj
# Amyj 2012-03-26 12:50
Quote:
Quote:
Juxtaposes the absolute lack of faith in Sam by dumping the amulet in the trash in a way that was specifically meant to hurt Sam and show he's still never forgiven Sam.
Gee. I must be way more of an optimist than even I realized. I still think Sam may have picked that amulet up out of the trash and is waiting on the right time to give it back to Dean. Maybe by the end of series Dean will regret that action and Sam will be able to give it to him, maybe as a show of the two of them coming together in a new, more profound way? I can dream. :-)
What you or I think is far different then what was shown on screen which is canon. Canon is Dean threw the amulet away. I think if Sam had picked it out of the trash Dean or a nosy Ben would have found it in Sams things after he had jumped into the Pit.

If it takes Dean till the end of the series to regret an action he did years earlier then that doesn't say much for his and Sam's relationship NOW. I have no interest in waiting until the end of the show to see a renewed relationship between the boys. I want to see it NOW while the show is on my screen.

For me knowing it was jensen who wanted to get rid of the amulet and it was Jensen who decided Dean would save the trenchcoat tells me a great deal of just where Deans head is at regarding how Dean feels toward Sam.

Sam giving the amulet back to Dean feels a little like desperation to keep someone in his life when that person doesn't want to be there. Sam is better then that. he deserves better. I wish the writers would let someone see Sam as someone worthy of getting to know...walls be damned.
elle
# elle 2012-03-26 15:13
I think throwing out the amulet and keeping the trench coat are two separate actions here. Throwing out the amulet wasn't (in my opinion) to show Sam he'd never forgive him or anything. It was a demonstration of complete hopelessness. By the time he threw it out, the amulet represented God and finding God, which they'd just been told would never happen.

In terms of the trench coat, well, I think that's the same as keeping Bobby's flask. It's keeping a memeto of a dead loved one. When Dean trashed the amulet, Sam was very much alive.
lala2
# lala2 2012-03-26 17:19
Dean threw out the amulet b/c he had a hissy fit that Sam actually had happy memories w/o him. Plain and simple. It wasn't b/c Dean was hopeless. He was ticked by Sam's Heaven. That's what the entire episode was about. To me, Dean came off very petty and immature in that episode. Am I really supposed to believe that Dean has NO happy memories w/o Sam? Of course he does. That's just silly.

Dean held up the amulet so Sam could see it hover above the trash can, and then dropped it. He intentionally did that to hurt Sam's feelings.

At one time, I thought it would make a re-appearance, but I'm fine w/it being gone at this point. I kind of agree w/Amy that it would seem pathetic for Sam to give it back to Dean now. I thought Dean would find it in Sam's belongings, but that never happened.

The writers don't care about the amulet as much as the some in the audience did/do.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-03-26 17:52
When Dean trashed the amulet it was a dick move, I doubt even Dean would deny that. But he was hurt not because Sam had happy memories without Dean but because there were no happy memories WITH Dean. And because Sam's happiest moments were Dean's worst ones. Dean had been faltering all season but especially in the few episodes before that. He was losing more and more hope. And this was one of the final straws IMO. It was meant to show how far he fallen.
That said I'm sure Sam picked it up and the emo part of me hates that they never resolved that completely before Sam went to hell. Unlike the Cas' coat, the writers did set up the amulet to be something special between the boys.
For my own small ff I imagine that Sam hid it in the Impala (perhaps under the carpeting where they carved their initials) because he would have known Dean would never get rid of the Impala so it would always be with him.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-03-27 13:52
Quote:

At one time, I thought it would make a re-appearance, but I'm fine w/it being gone at this point. I kind of agree w/Amy that it would seem pathetic for Sam to give it back to Dean now.
I agree...If amulet re appears Dean should find it, let it be in impala,with Sam or anywhere else.It was something he threw away if he wants it he should find it
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-03-26 15:26
Maybe but regardless of wether that was the case and that is dependent on how you want to view it. the fact is the Amulet represented the brothers to alot of fans and right after Sam again was wrong because his memories were not fitting Dean threw that amulet away and that has stayed with fans.

Now we find out that Dean has been dragging around that coat like well I dont really know? however again dependent on how you want to view it ? it can either be Dean kept the trenchcoat and gave it back as a sign of his relationship with Cas and is that not touching or hang on a minute he dumps the amulet but keeps that ??.
elle
# elle 2012-03-26 15:43
Yes, it's a question of how you view it. For me, I see the two things (keeping the coat vs scrapping the amulet) as mutually exclusive, the same with the flask. Maybe Dean later regretted throwing out the amulet, who knows. Furthermore, when Dean got rid of the amulet, Sammy wasn't dead. He was right there with him. Whereas when he held onto the coat, Cas was (as far as the boys knew) dead and gone. I'm really not a fan of score keeping between a characters relationship with one person versus with another. In my life, I have different relationships with lots of close people in my life - but because I do in relation to one something I may not do in relation to another it doesn't mean one bond is stronger. It's a different relationship and different circumstances.

We'll have to agree to disagree I suppose.
Alexandra
# Alexandra 2012-03-26 20:35
Whether we agree or not, I just want to say that it's a relief to speak your mind between civil people. If I had said half (or less) of what I said here in other boards, I'd probably be received with a rain of stones. Thank you guys, be you Samgirls (like me), Deangirls or Bi-bros. That's the spirit. ;-)