A “Gadreel free” Sam now gets to deal with the aftermath of his possession.  Well, at least we think he deals.  We don’t really know.  The only times Sam truly expresses anything is to say some awful things to Dean, which makes him look like a heartless, unsympathetic dick because we as viewers are left to guess what’s causing such outbursts.  He also storms off to his room a lot.  It’s rather frustrating to watch when you’re constantly expecting emotional movement in the traumatic aftermath of a major ordeal involving one of the two main characters in the show.  As a consolation prize we did get one Sam POV episode, written by the only writer left that gets Sam Winchester.  

(Miss part one?  It can be found here:  http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-archives/sam-winchester/18584-a-deeper-look-at-supernatural-season-nine-sam-winchester-part-1)


First Born

I’m going to challenge my fan fiction counterpart, Fluffy2001, to rewrite the Sam and Castiel scenes in this episode.  They weren’t bad, but they really could have gone a lot deeper and exposed what’s truly going on inside of Sam right now.  I mean, he should be reeling after what happened.  He should be a total mess inside!  Okay, he probably is, but we didn’t get to see much of that.  Instead, we got the very tired smoke screen of Sam deciding he’s better off dead.  

“My life's not worth any more than anyone else's -- not yours or Dean's...or Kevin's. Please. Please, help me do one thing right.”

Look at “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here.”  Sam resigned himself to death as a last resort, but he didn’t want to die.  Why has that changed?  Is that the correct reaction after finding out he was possessed for a few months (or whatever time had passed)?  Is this what he’s willing to do to dodge all that guilt about Kevin, especially when it wasn’t his fault? 

Oh Sammy, I thought we were beyond that.  It’s not your fault Kevin is dead.  Why be so consumed with guilt when you showed how much you overcame the guilt of starting the apocalypse in “Devil May Care?” Closing the gates of Hell wouldn’t have saved Kevin, plus did you guys really think that through?  See what a closed Heaven is doing to the world?  Again, it’s a question that should have been explored much deeper, especially when this season has been about consequences.  (I do concede however that only Ben Edlund was ever interested in the metaphysical implications of a storyline.  I miss Ben Edlund). 

Why isn’t Sam, or heck Castiel, asking, “What will finding Gadreel serve at this point?  How will that save Kevin?”  I get that the Winchesters are about payback, or revenge, or whatever, but Sam was willing to die for that?  That pretty much erased all of season eight.  There’s obviously something deeper going on in Sam’s head, but I’m not getting it at this point.  Is this because of his comment to Dean, “I was ready to die?”  But, but, he didn’t want to die.  That’s why he said “yes.”  Now he does?  Is this his way of taking back that “yes?”  I just feel like I’m spitballing with these guesses. 

On top of that, Sam won’t even talk about Dean.  After all, he left.  But I wonder, what would Sam be doing if Dean was there?  Talking to him, being honest about things?  Probably not.  He’d be acting like the callous jerk he was for most of the season.  

So, instead of taking advantage of opportunities, the whole Sam/Castiel exchange ended up being more of a leap for Castiel and what he’s learned from his recent experiences.  “You know, old me -- I would've have just kept going. I would've jammed that needle in deeper until you died because the ends always justified the means. But what I went though -- Well, that PB and J taught me that angels can change, so...who knows? Maybe Winchesters can, too.” 

Not that Castiel growth is bad (I still find Castiel a fascinating character), but considering what Sam is coming off of, I feel the episode could have done more for Sam too.  I wish that they had dug deeper and had Castiel draw out of Sam his true feelings about what being possessed did to him, and how Dean’s lies really stings right now.  How he can’t sleep at night, or his physical healing isn’t helping that hole in his heart.  We got way more from “Everybody Loves A Clown” and we didn’t get all that much there other than a few lines.

At least Castiel and Sam finally hsd an appropriate hug.  I did love that.  About time you gave your friend a hug Sam.  The big takeaway from all this though is Sam can’t deal with Dean at this time.  That’s understandable, but would one emotional glimpse have been so hard?  Maybe Sam found something personal of Dean’s, looked at it, welled up inside, and then tossed it aside.  Emotional cues.  Maybe Sam sharing with Castiel how shaken he is right now, like he did with his “I thought I was a goner” talk in “Reading is Fundamental.”  That was short, but it was something.  

Hmm, Fluffy really needs to get to work. 

“Sharp Teeth” 


DING!
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I have a couple of issues with the way things were presented in this episode.  For starters, I get it, Sam is trying to be emotionally detached from Dean.  Pretend not to care.  But Dean has the FUDGING MARK OF CAIN on his arm and Sam is treating it like a chicken scratch?  A quick shrug, and not even an ounce of worry?  Sam is a very smart dude.  He reads a lot.  He knows his biblical mythology.  His first reaction at seeing the Mark of Cain should have been, “Dean, what the hell have you done????”  It has nothing to do with brotherly concern.  It has everything to do that the one guy that you’ve spent your entire waking life with has just done something that has very likely condemns him for eternity.  Sam shrugs it off and doesn’t talk of it again until later in the season when it becomes a problem.  Is he that selfish?  No, I know he’s not.  Then why is he being written this way?  

Again with a side rant, but when has both Sam and Dean become this stupid and reckless?  I’ll address my issues with Dean in his “Deeper Look” article (even if his arc was much stronger), but at what point did the writers decide it was okay to insult our intelligence by insulting the main characters’ intelligence?  Forget insulting, decimating.  Perhaps all those head injures to Sam are doing something.  Sam is not this dimwitted!  Did they not watch the first few seasons?  Did they not watch last season’s “The Great Escapist?”  He was more put out about Dean doing a job with Crowley than the consequence of taking on the Mark of Cain?  Not a simple “We’ve got to get you out of this” or “We’re not done with this” or something other than nothing?   Nope, one interruption by Garth and it was never spoken of again. 

Couldn’t have Garth at least gotten involved like he has before and help the brothers through their latest rift?  Guide them along anyway at least, because I don’t expect things to be completely solved by episode 12.  No, they were too busy trashing Garth’s character by making him a werewolf. But again, I digress, because that will be part of the overall season review (that won’t be very pretty).  

Let’s try to look at the bigger picture.  Sam’s very, very hurt.  I get that.  Sam has decided to emotionally shut out his brother.  I get that reaction too.  The problem is, Sam is emotionally shutting out the viewer too.  We don’t get to see what he’s hiding from Dean and what he’s thinking is left to the imagination.  There’s very little put in place to draw out that vulnerable person inside.  Then throwing this so called “brotherly feels” speech at us at the end doesn’t help Sam’s likability at all.  

Dean:  Uh, listen, that night that, uh... You know, we went our -- our separate ways –
Sam:  You mean the night you split? 
Dean:  Fair enough.  I was messed up, man. Kevin was dead, and I...I don't know what I was. 
Sam:  Okay. 
Dean:   Hell, maybe I still don't. But, uh... I know I took a piece of you in the process, and for that…Somebody changed the playbook, man, you know? It's like what -- what -- what's right is wrong and what's wrong is more wrong, and... I just know that when... When we rode together... 
Sam:  We split the crappiness. 
Dean:  Yeah. So... 
Sam:  Okay. 
Dean:   Okay. 
Sam: But something's broken here, Dean. 
Dean:  I'm not saying that it's not. I... I just think maybe we need to put a couple W's on the board and we get past all this. 
Sam:  I don't think so. No, I wish, but... We don't...see things the same way anymore -- our roles in this whole thing. Back in that church, talking me out of boarding up hell? Or -- or tricking me into letting Gadreel possess me? I can't trust you -- not the way I thought I could, not the way I should be able to. 
Dean:  Okay, look. Whatever happened... We are family, okay? 
Sam: You say that like it's some sort of cure-all, like it can change the fact that everything that has ever gone wrong between us has been because we're family. 
Dean:  So, what -- we're not family now? 
Sam:  I'm saying, you want to work? Let's work. If you want to be brothers…Those are my terms. 

Besides the fact that this entire scene and its soapy dialogue felt way too daytime to me, I’m also starting to ask questions like, what is Sam’s motivation?  Would Sam have been okay if Dean hadn’t left?  Again, would he be talking to him more, letting him in emotionally?  He’s had two weeks to stew over this, and he told Dean that he clearly doesn’t trust him, but he obviously needs his brother, if anything as a hunting partner.  So do we just say this is a “confusing” time for Sam?  Just like the above conversation Sam’s behavior has made the average viewer scratch their head and go, “What?”  

The Purge

I know this one angers a lot of people, but honestly, this episode makes total sense to me.  It did when it first aired, and it does now.  Sam’s decided that honesty is the best policy, even if the truth hurts.  This is not a bad thing.  The problem is, honesty kind of sucks when your POV is somewhat skewed.  You end up saying things that down the road you’ll regret, even if it make sense at the time.  That is Sam’s current predicament.  

It was fun to see Sam asserting some independence and partake in one-upmanship with Dean.  He’s smart in unfolding the case, and even scores the job as fitness instructor while Dean is stuck in the kitchen.  Sam also sympathizes with the MOTW, understanding why she did what she did.  She was just trying to find her place in this world and had a good thing going, and her brother screwed it all up (parallel!). 

But yes, he’s keeping Dean at arms length, but we know he cares.  The concern he showed when Dean went missing, finding him drugged and a target for the monster, proved how much he does care.  

Sam even stands up for himself while standing up for the MOTW, and this is a rare glimpse as to what’s going on in Sam’s head.  “I wanted to keep things strictly business between us. But I still have a heart. What if I had crossed paths with a hunter back when I was possessed by Gadreel? I could've ended up dead, too. Would I have deserved that? Would I have deserved to die?”

Sam3
Good questions Sam.  Why weren’t you asking yourself those questions two episodes ago?  The inconsistencies are quite maddening (I like Sam in this episode way better).  But I’m avoiding talking about the elephant though.  Let’s get to that ending scene:

Dean:  About what you said the other day.
Sam:  I thought it didn't bother you. 
Dean:  You know, Sam, I saved your hide back there. And I saved your hide at that church... And the hospital. I may not think things all the way through. Okay? But what I do, I do because it's the right thing. I'd do it again. 
Sam:  And that... is the problem. You think you're my savior, my brother, the hero. You swoop in, and even when you mess up, you think what you're doing is worth it because you've convinced yourself you're doing more good than bad... But you're not.  I mean, Kevin's dead, Crowley's in the wind. We're no closer to beating this angel thing. Please tell me, what is the upside of me being alive? 
Dean: You kidding me? You and me -- fighting the good fight together. 
Sam (sits down across from DEAN in the kitchen): Okay. Just once, be honest with me. You didn't save me for me. You did it for you. 
Dean:  What are you talkin' about? 
Sam: I was ready to die. I was ready. I should have died, but you... You didn't want to be alone, and that's what all this boils down to. You can't stand the thought of being alone. 
Dean: All right.
Sam: I'll give you this much. You are certainly willing to do the sacrificing as long as you're not the one being hurt. 
Dean: All right, you want to be honest? If the situation were reversed and I was dying, you'd do the same thing. 
Sam: No, Dean. I wouldn't. Same circumstances...I wouldn't. 

Sam in his anger has clearly lashed out.  He’s saying what’s on his mind, which is a pretty dangerous thing.  It falls in the “Don’t say something you’re going to regret later” category.  He said it though, because he’s so hurt by the lies that he thinks that honesty is the best policy, no matter how brutal that honesty is. He’ll figure out later how wrong it was.   

Sam clearly hurt Dean here, no doubt.  I don’t think he wanted to hurt Dean, but he thought honesty was more important than hurt feelings.  This conversation is an extension of his line in “Sharp Teeth,” “You say that like it's some sort of cure-all, like it can change the fact that everything that has ever gone wrong between us has been because we're family.”  According to Sam, Dean’s actions were fueled by this fear of being alone, being the only family member standing.  There is some truth to that statement, but while Sam at this point thinks that the act was criminal, when the hurt goes away he’ll see the nobility of it as well, just like Dean does.  At that moment in time Sam wouldn’t have done the same thing.  I believe that.  Ask him again in a week. 

After that scene I was left asking, why stay at the MOL bunker with Dean?  Is working together as partners really the best thing?  Is Sam just so lost and confused now he doesn’t know what to do with his life, even though this time last year he was talking about light at the end of tunnels?  We know he likes to work as a way to distract, but having Dean around really can’t be helping right now, can it?  How in the world does Sam find his own path if he lets himself get stuck in the same situations?  These are probably questions that can’t easily be answered by one filler episode (and we’re about to get a ton of filler) but when evolving a character, shouldn’t he be working toward his place in this world and be comfortable with it?  He’s floundering, and being a total jerk in the process.  At least when he was going through all that Amelia stuff, he was in a much better place about things. 

By the time we got to “Do You Believe in Miracles?” that all changed.  Time heals. And nothing matters but family.   It is clever that this is called “The Purge” though, because once Sam gets this off his chest, the slow (and I mean painfully slow) unthawing begins.  Sadly, it all kind of happens too late. 

Captives  

Kevin is a ghost!  Kevin is stuck in limbo because Heaven is closed for business.  None of this dawns on the Winchesters that if they had closed the gates of Hell, the same thing would be happening to doomed souls bound for Hell.  Nope.  Let the guilt continue with Sam that he didn’t close the gates of Hell and his anger is tuned toward the fact that Dean stopped him.  Yep, blame it all on Dean.  

You know, would it have hurt if SOMEONE, Kevin would have been a good candidate, asked Sam, do you really blame Dean for stopping you from closing the gates of Hell?  What are you truly angry about?  I think if Sam was forced to address questions like that, we wouldn’t have had this half season long contrived brotherly rift crap.  So are we to believe that no one talked Sam off the ledge merely because TPTB needed to drag out the drama for several episodes because they were out of material?  How does that service the characters again?  Oh, it’s because Dean can spiral without Sam’s love.  I’ll explore that a lot more in Dean’s deeper look, but that whole idea never won me over. 

It’s obvious that Sam cares about Dean.  Look how worried he was in the beginning when he was chasing down a ghost and couldn’t find Dean.  He may be angry and hiding in his room all the time, but he cares.  

There’s one important take away from “Captives.”  Kevin’s final words before going with his mother was this:  “Can you two... Get over it? Dudes, just 'cause you couldn't see me doesn't mean I couldn't see you. The drama, the fighting... It's stupid. My mom's taking home a ghost. You two... You're both still here.”  Sam tells him “of course,” but then slinks off to his room without a word to his brother while Dean is ready to talk.  Great.  Dean goes back to his room furious, and this is where we can mark the spiral downward of Dean.  It’s a common theme in this show, together they stand, divided they fall. 

I have two big problems with this ending.  First, it makes Sam look like a total, heartless dick.  I know he isn’t, and I know he’s still very hurt, plus he doesn’t realize the ramifications of pushing his brother away at this point (He’s still not worried or has done any research on the Mark of Cain???), but Dean was willing to try and put things aside after Kevin left.  Would it have hurt Sam to talk?  Perhaps he was afraid of saying something hurtful again? 

Second, I’m still wondering why Sam is sticking around.  Is this really making things less crappy?  Why isn’t he packing his bag and giving Dean the “I can’t right now” speech?  If Kevin’s situation isn’t making him come around, nothing is.  Although, there was a sign of hope I guess.  Sam did hesitate before going into his room.  He does want to talk, but he’s just not ready yet.  But if ghost Kevin can’t get these brothers talking, what can?  Right, episode 23.  

SamatBedroomdoor

#THINMAN

Dean is feeling like all of us regarding Sam.  Which Sam is going to show up today?  Now he’s the agreeable partner that wants to go along on the case, even though he stormed off to his room last time we saw him.   Just that statement alone hit home for me as to how unsympathetically Sam is being written.  If we only knew what kind of deliberation was going on behind that closed bedroom door… 

We do catch Sam and Dean reminiscing though, about the time they were kids.   Dean was Superman, Sam was Batman, and they both jumped off the shed.  Sam broke his arm because at five years old he didn’t realize Batman couldn’t fly.  Dean drove him to the E.R. on his handlebars.  A smile from both, and then Sam snaps out of it.  Progress I guess.  Sam’s still sticking with the “secrets ruin relationships” mantra though.  He’s also trying to decide if he can forgive Dean yet.  The conversation with Harry spells it out:

Harry:  None of it was real, Sam. Ed was just pretending, and now he wants me to pretend, like this is just something I could get past.
Sam:  I know what you mean. Look, there are things you can forgive, and there are things you can't.
Harry:  So, which one is this?
Sam:  That's something you got to figure out for yourself.


DING! (At least Dean got it too this time)

SPN 1106

Let me throw this out there.  Sam and Dean are captured and tied up.  The fake Thinman goes after Dean first, ready to slice his throat.  Sam panics yelling “Don’t!”  Wouldn’t that have been enough of a warning sign for Sam to realize that if he had lost Dean at that point, he would be completely guilt ridden and lost?  That he wouldn’t be able to stand knowing that his brother died thinking he was still mad at him?  He was utterly devastated in the finale when Dean died, and they had only just reconciled or come to an understanding at the trailer park before then.  If the almost losing Dean in the warehouse didn’t do it for Sam (and it should have), this comment from Harry definitely should have:

You roll with a guy so many years, you start to think he's always gonna be next to you. Like, when you're old and you're drinking on the porch, he'll be in that other rocking chair. And then something happens, and you realize that other chair has gone empty.

From this point, the end of Thinman to the season finale, Sam’s actions are just incomprehensible to me.   What was the point of putting the brothers through this parallel drama when no character growth or meaningful brotherly actions came from it?  Sam and Dean at that point should have gone back to the bunker, hugged it out, and acknowledged that while everything is not perfect, all they have is each other.  Sam could have admitted that if Dean had died, or if he wasn’t around, HE’D BE TOTALLY LOST.  That he now understands what Dean felt when he was in that coma, even if his actions in saving him weren’t right.  

The feet dragging from this point forward in the plotting has now officially strayed into blatant character assassination territory.  We have to wonder if they ended up plotting out only 13 episodes and then had to fudge because they realized it was 23.  Sam Winchester is smarter and more mature than this.  If anything, he and Dean could have reconciled, and then Sam would have had to go through the emotional devastation of losing Dean to the Mark of Cain anyway.  Wouldn’t that have been more interesting?  Or is the contrived setup out to prove once again that family love and loyalty is the only thing that can save these guys? 

Ahem.  Feel free to join me in one very long primal scream all the way to “Do You Believe In Miracles?”    

Blade Runners  

Sam starts off the episode by researching Cain and Abel on the computer.  Now?  It’s episode 16. Yes, he noticed what we all did at the end of "#THINMAN", Dean's kill of that weird kid was a little too cold and calculated for our comfort.  So now that Sam is aware, will he do more than wring his hands while his brother begins to slid?.  Um, not really.    

This is just an observation, but why does Sam want to kill Crowley?   Because he’s a demon?  Because he wants to make up for not doing it when he didn’t close the gates of Hell?  It doesn’t sit right with me that he wants to do that, even though he does tell Crowley he’s alive because he’s a better choice than Abaddon.  But why did he want to kill Crowley after they got the blade? Without killing Abaddon first?  I’m just confused by it. 

However, there is one ray of light.  Sam holding a knife to fake Cuthbert Sinclair’s throat, saying sternly, “Take me to my brother…”  There, that’s better.  Too bad Dean didn’t hear it.  Or anyone else.  But talking Dean down from his first encounter with the First Blade shows that Dean is still able to listen to Sam, but for how long?  Sam is thinking the exact same thing, which is why he shifts into "looking out for his brother" mode, but still keeping an emotional distance. Um, Sam, that's not really enough.

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Mother’s Little Helper

I’ve often written this criticism through the past few years, but Adam Glass has glaring weaknesses when it comes to characterization.  He’s an alright plotter and has told some good MOTW stories, but whenever he goes for the character dynamics, it just comes out wrong.  Dean’s agitated, so Sam backs off, because it’s all strictly professional still.  He even decides to leave Dean behind and do a case without him, even though Dean is acting “obsessed.”  It is quite disappointing that Crowley figures out what’s really wrong with Dean, not Sam.  At least Sam was smart enough to recognize the victims were soulless.  Plus the recorded exorcism was pretty cool.  Other than that, there’s no forward progress, and another flashback happened that had a tie in to the current case but didn’t address any emotional aspects or parallels for the brothers.  Plus that whole Abaddon stealing souls was dropped, but I’ll save that for another article. 

Meta Fiction  

At least Sam is starting to realize something is wrong with his brother.  Not enough to reach out to him and emotionally let him in, but he’s gotten good at brushing under the rug the warning signs.  Especially when Castiel is allowed to briefly freak out about the MOC and then say nothing about what it means.  Nope, he just tells Sam to keep an eye on him.  Great, that’s helpful.

Alex Alexis Annie Ann  

There’s no character development here, but I will give kudos to writer Robert Berens for one thing.  In “Jump The Shark” when Sam was drained of blood, all Dean did after taking out the bad guys was cut Sam loose and wrap his cuts with handkerchiefs.  Sam was in a bit of pain, but he was coherent for some totally bizarre reason given all the blood he lost.  I still blast Dabb and Loflin for not doing their research on that one.  Berens so got it right here.  As Sam was drained of blood, he was barely conscious and needed help moving afterward.  Thank you, thank you sir for paying some actual attention to detail.  

Almost DING!

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Oh, and Sam, your brother almost died here again.  Heck you almost died again.  He’s also scary and very cold with his killing.  He’s scaring the crap out of me.  You think you might want to do something about that?  No?  Okay, moving on.  Back to being woozy wallpaper.     

Bloodlines  

Nothing to see here.  I could blast how Sam bailed on poor Ennis at the end while giving him the speech about ruining his life, but it’s not worth it.  The entire episode was a disaster all the way around and took away from an episode that may have given the boys some time for character growth.  At least Sam got lines.

King of the Damned 
 

Might I first start off with how much I loved seeing light hearted Sam and Dean during the angel interrogation?  They were brothers again, if only for one small moment.  Damn was that refreshing.  It goes to show, these guys can still bring a smile to my face even in their darkest hour.

Aside from that, Sam is starting to soften toward Gadreel too, realizing he’s misunderstood, but still finds the act of killing Kevin inexcusable.  Is perhaps realizing that Gadreel wasn’t so bad helps with Sam’s forgiveness of Dean?  He is worried about Dean, but aside from a few glances we don’t get much else.  Why isn’t he digging into intense research now about the Mark of Cain?  Why isn’t Castiel sharing knowledge he should have?  Why isn’t Sam holding an extreme intervention by now? 

Sam didn’t get to be part of the action, because Dean tricked him and sent him to the basement while taking on Abaddon on his own.  Dean has decided this is his fight and his fight alone, which is major foreshadowing for he’s going down.  

Dean:  I didn't tell you about the warning because I knew exactly what you would do. You would make sure that you were right alongside me going in that room.
Sam:  You mean like we always do? Because we're actually partners in this and we watch each other's backs? 
Dean:  I don't expect you to understand. 
Sam:  Try me. 
Dean:  First time I touched that Blade...I knew. I knew that I wouldn't be stopped. I knew I would take down Abaddon and anything else if I had to. And it wasn't a hero thing. You know, it wasn't... It was just calm. I knew. And I had to go it alone, Sammy. 
Sam:  Oh. Of course. So it was just another time where you had to protect me. 
Dean:  You could've gotten nabbed by Abaddon, and she could've bargained her way out. We couldn't afford to screw this up. 
Sam:  Look…I'm glad it worked out, okay? I am. And I'm glad the Blade gives you strength or calm or whatever, but, Dean, I got to say... I'm starting to think the Blade is doing something else, too. 
Dean: Yeah? Like what? 
Sam:  I don't know. Like, something to you. Look... I'm thinking until we know for sure that we're gonna kill off Crowley, why don't we store the Blade somewhere distant? Lock it up somewhere safe? Okay? 
Dean:  No. 

Sam is still trying to keep it professional, but he’s clearly worried about Dean.  I think anyway, judging by the concerned looks on his face.  Not like he’s saying anything.  I’m also trying to figure out why Sam is giving Dean a lecture about not letting him be part of the fight when he told Dean not too long ago he wouldn’t do the same for him when it comes to saving him from death (even though he did clearly say if the circumstances were the same).  Most importantly, Sam said he doesn’t trust him.  This is obviously still fresh in Dean’s mind given his comment when freeing Sam from the blood drain in “Alex, Alexis, Annie, Ann.”  “I know, you wouldn’t do the same for me.”  Major ouch!

Sorry Sam, but why are you mad at Dean leaving you behind when you’re the one that’s been pushing him away all those months?  I don’t know, it’s not wrong, I’m just again not sure which Sam is going to show up.  These little speeches at the end of each week are making my head spin, and they really aren’t moving the brothers toward anything.  Both are spinning their wheels, it’s episode 21, and I’m very irritated at this point. 

Stairway to Heaven  

I’m not going to bother with this one.  Once again, we got a different Sam who didn’t really do anything.  This episode was all over the map and very poorly done, and it’s not worth analysis (I already put out one scathing review about it).  Sam got to play loyal sidekick to Castiel and they talked about Dean for two whole sentences, and he also got all mad at Dean without really doing anything.  More totally wasted potential.

Oh, I can’t avoid it, let me bring up one scene, just because it really, really makes my blood boil.  Sam finally confronts Dean, they exchange a few sentences of anger and…SAM STORMS OFF TO HIS ROOM???  I’m sorry, but I just about quit the show right there.  Way to take an adored, lead character and totally trash his relevance.  Way to insult an entire fandom like that.  Gee, Sam could have at least punched Dean or something.  Or left the bunker and started his own spinoff because he’s clearly not needed on this show anymore.  Now that I got that off my chest, we shall never speak of it again.

SamAngry

Do You Believe in Miracles?  

Thank you, thank you, thank you Mr. Carver.  Can you write all of Sam’s scenes from now until the end of the show?  An episode with a Sam POV, things being worked out and suddenly everything he’s been feeling over the last half of the season is explained.  Geez writers not named Carver, was that so hard?  Writing for Sam doesn’t take rocket science.

Actually, it isn’t just Sam.  Carver got the brotherly dynamic right and that’s most important.  The show is about two brothers, not one and a some background character with nice hair. 

Sam and Castiel do the only thing they can do, lock Dean up in the dungeon until they figure out what to do.  Sure Dean figures a way out but that’s not the point.  He calls Crowley, which really agitates Sam.  But does Sam go storming off to his room?  Nope, he works the case, defending and fighting for his brother when Gadreel suggests that Dean can be useful as a weapon against Metatron.  “Oh, right. Excuse me. Sorry, guys. Uh, sorry I'm a little less than eager to hear that our best chance is -- is arming the warhead and hoping it hits the mark. This is not a bomb we're talking about. This is my brother.” His brother!  He said it in front of others!  He’s making this about family!  I’m so damned happy. 

I laughed when Sam had beat Dean to the punch, throwing in Dean’s face, “I guess one of us doesn't need a demon to help follow a clue trail.”  Yay, funny irritated Sam!  But the below conversation is crucial:

Dean:  Sam, whatever kind of intervention you think this is, trust me, it ain't. I'm not gonna explain myself to you.
Sam:  Yeah, I sort of got that. I just thought you might like to know that while you two have been playing, uh, odd couple, your real friends, like Cas, like the angel you stabbed, Gadreel --they're out there right now risking their asses to help you win this fight. 
Dean:  What the hell are you talking about? 
Sam: A fight, I might add, you made that much more complicated when you decided to stab the one angel who could actually get us to Metatron. 
Dean:  You mean the angel that took you for a joy ride? The angel that slaughtered Kevin? That angel? 
Sam: Who you let in the front door in the first place. You tricked me, Dean. And now I'm the one who wakes up in the middle of the night seeing my hands killing Kevin, not you. So, please, when you say you don't want to explain anything to me, don't. I get it. And I also get that Metatron has to go. And I know you're our best shot to do that. 
Dean: I'm gonna take my shot, for better or worse. 
Sam:  I know. 
Dean: No matter the consequences. 
Sam: I know. But if this is it, we're gonna do it together.

For one, Sam’s line about seeing his hands killing Kevin FINALLY explains things.  It explains all that’s been going on in his head.  Anytime he thinks he could forgive or talk to Dean, it’s that visual that stops him.  The traumatic, sick inside feeling that by being kept alive, Kevin died.  It was too strong, too haunting to overcome.  It also brought up too much pain, because once again Dean lied to him.  Once again, Dean took control of his life and went against his wishes.  As a result, he didn’t close the gates of Hell (although why doesn’t he realize that could have been a bad thing?) and Kevin is dead, the person they swore to protect. 

But this conversation also means Sam is willing to overcome all that, not just for Dean’s sake, but for Heaven’s sake.  About time!  Metatron has caused too much chaos and he has to go.  All he asks is to be there and have his brother’s back.  He even tries to give a clever, bad ass demon fighting brothers line before he is stopped.  

DING!

SPN 0977

I know, Dean knocks Sam out, preventing him from being part of the fight with Metatron.  As a result, Dean lost his life.  Sure we could ask what would have happened is Sam was there, but that takes away from the intended story.  Dean had to die, and Sam finally faced that horror that he hasn’t wanted to face the last several episodes.  The look as that angel blade goes through Dean says it all.  This is not his partner.  This is his brother.  And he’s going to die.   

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Suddenly, nothing Sam was feeling before mattered.  He had to save Dean.  It’s one thing to talk, but when push comes to shove, old habits die hard.  But he didn’t save his brother.  Dean died in his arms, proclaiming simply, “I’m proud of us.”  Sam wasn’t prepared for this.  He should have been, but he wasn’t. 

Samrealizes2

Elle2 recently did an analysis for us, and it was her words about a grief stricken Sam, who just delivered his dead brother’s body to his room that nailed it for me.  (http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-archives/episode-related/18596-no-chick-flick-moments-but-we-can-still-talk-right)

“As Dean is dying he confesses to Sam that he knew the Mark was making him something he didn’t want to be, and that dying was better.  Sam, for his part, shows in his expressions and desperation how much he hated keeping Dean at such a length, and now that Dean has died in his arms (again) it is clear that Sam regrets every moment of his anger at Dean – even as it was deserved.”

I’m not going to argue if Sam’s crude behavior toward Dean is deserved or not, but hopefully this becomes a huge lesson learned for Season Ten.  Not just for Sam, but this entire writing team.  Elle2 went on further to explain it this way: 

“This isn’t an article to hash out whether one brother deserved the anger of the other.  It’s purely meant to reflect upon how much I wish the writers would rewatch some of the earlier seasons and learn afresh how to have the brothers communicate.”  

And that sums up completely this year’s “Deeper Look” installment of Sam.  If the brothers don’t communicate, if they’re not equally involved, then the core basis of the show is gone.  Critics and fans like me are now spending our off season involved in analytical exercises of extreme frustration, not praise and enjoyment like it should be.  The lack of balance between the brothers is not the heart of this show, or was that ever was the intent.  However this is exactly what happened to Dean last year and Sam this year.  Until the balance is restored, until rich, comprehensive, season long storytelling is restored, this show will remain a shadow of what it once was.

Coming up next, A Deeper Look at Season Nine Dean Winchester.  I saved the least frustrating exercise for last.  Dean’s arc was far from perfect, but at least it had a much greater purpose.