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In part one of my "Deeper Look at Season Ten Sam Winchester", Sam was pretty driven to save Dean, but for the most part Sam was thrown into the background.  It was right around episode 17 where stuff got real.  Let's go through episodes 18-23.    

“Book of the Damned”

Pinch me, the Sam Winchester goodness continues in a big way! 

Before everything gets started, a rare piece of Winchester honesty!  Dean shares with Sam a key piece of information he got from Rowena.  The MOC is a curse.  Couple that with Charlie coming back with the book Sam sent her to find and suddenly there’s hope again.  They might finally have an answer!  Naturally though, since we know exactly what show we’re watching, it’s going to come with a price.  It’s Dean who warns that there’s serious costs to going this route.  The MOC and the book are connected somehow and Dean knows bad crap when he feels it.  Sam can’t give this up though, not without exploring this option further.  After all, Dean was showing signs of hope by talking about going to the beach for the first time…ever.  He carries on working with Charlie to decode it. 

There’s a few key pieces of dialogue that shows exactly what’s reeling in Sam’s mind and why he can't let go:

Dean:  No, I’m not giving up.  Charlie, I don’t have a death wish.  Okay, even if I did, I can’t die, not with this thing on my arm.  What I can do is I can fight it as long as I can until…
Sam:  Until what?  Tell me.  Until what, Dean?  Until I watch you become a demon again?  Until then?  I can’t do that.  I won’t do that. 
Dean:  Well, then you’ll just have to lock me up.  Bind me to the bunker like you did the last time.
Charlie:  That doesn’t solve anything. 
Sam:  Look, just let us translate the book, okay?  If there’s a cure, we’ll do it and deal with the consequences later.  I can’t lose you. 
Dean:  Really?
Sam:  Yeah, really.
Dean:  You change your mind on that, cause it’s not what you said last time. 
Sam:  Oh, come on, man.  You know I didn’t mean that.
Dean.  This is my cross to bear, Sam.  Mine.

Sam is definitely scarred by the events since Dean lost his life to the MOC.  He will not accept this is Dean’s cross to bear, especially after all Dean’s done for him through the years.  Still, it’s kind of ironic how Sam is taking on the burden to save Dean alone, lying and sneaking around.  Ah Winchesters.  Sam in his stubbornness (he is John’s son) won’t listen when just about everyone tells him that’s a bad idea.  The choice here by the writers is obvious, they are trying to drive an eventual wedge between the brothers.  Create something that Dean will see as a betrayal.  It’s their way of raising doubt that at his true evil core, Dean can be capable of killing Sam as was prophesized by Cain.  But more on that in my deeper look at Dean Winchester. 

Then there’s his talk with Charlie too, and it’s sad.  It makes you wonder where Sam and his identity have gone.  Is Dean his whole reason to be now?  Is this what years of fighting along side his brother in the trenches has created?  This talk also suggests that Sam’s devotion is hitting some borderline psychosis (or dangerously unhealthy co-dependence).  Some may find his loyalty endearing, but I find it somewhat troubling.  What happened to that desire for a life?  Is this all there is now for Sam? 

Charlie:  What did Dean mean?  When he said you changed your mind?
Sam:  So, awhile back, we had a chance to, um, close the gates of Hell.  And in order to do that, I would’ve had to die.  And, I was okay with that, and I am okay with that, but Dean was not.  And so, he uh…
Charlie:  He saved you.
Sam:  Yeah, he saved me.
Charlie:  And let me guess, in doing so, he did something you didn’t want, and that pissed you off.  And you said something that hurt him?
Sam:  Yeah, that sounds about right.
Charlie:  You know, I haven’t been a hunter for very long, but it feels like this is the life.  Mostly ends in Sophie’s choices, death or tears.  Usually, all of the above, huh?  How did this become my life?  I mean, I was gonna own my own start-up, marry ScarJo, invent something cool.  Now I’m just...I’m just happy to be alive.
Sam:  You know, when Dean came to get me at school, I-Itold myself…one last job, you know?  One more job.  And then when – when I, um… When I lost Jess, again, told myself one more job.  There’s always one more job, you know?  And one more job , and one more job, and then I was gonna go back to law and – and to my life.
Charlie:  You were the Dread Pirate Roberts of hunting:
Sam:  Yeah.  I guess I really understand now that…this is my life.  I love it.  But I can’t do it without my brother.  I don’t want to do it without my brother. And if he’s gone, then I don’t…
Charlie:  I got it.  I-I do. 

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I don’t buy for a minute that Sam loves hunting.  He does it because he can, and because he’s good at it, plus someone has to save the world.  I think he believes it’s too late for him now.  It’s tragic, because as Charlie said (and as we know with her outcome), it’s death or tears.  For the Winchesters, it’s always tears.  Dean’s recent death must of really broken apart something in Sam that was splintered and fragile.  His new determination and motivation for saving Dean is frightening. 

Then there’s the surprise ending, the one that pushes Sam into a whole new territory of guilt and deception.  It’s not a new thing for Sam, lying to Dean for his own sake, but it’s eating him apart too.  Making a deal with Rowena is worse than making a deal with The Devil and he knows it.  That didn’t stop him though.  Anything for Dean.  He’ll deal with the fallout. 

"The Werther Project"

I tell ya I’m gonna faint.  Three in a row! 

No doubt about it, Sam’s internal guilt is eating him alive!  Literally, because he’s allowing himself to die just so he can get the codex and give it to Rowena so she can save Dean.  He’s being bitten very hard by taking on matters alone.  The fact he called Rowena for quick advice and then shunned her offer for help, not to mention her warning about getting it wrong, shows that in his desperation he’s gotten a bit reckless too.   He can’t let Dean in to what is happening though.  That’s killing him emotionally, but Dean is getting worse and won’t save himself.  Or is he? Is that Sam’s skewed perception to justify his cause?  There hasn’t been too much evidence of Dean’s huge descent (just a small one).  Yeah, he’s barely holding it together, but he’s still hanging in there and has it together.    

Sam’s very aware though that there are consequences to what he’s doing.  After all, his hallucination totally berated him for it!

Suzie:  Boo.  Survived 40 years in this house, keeping that thing on lockdown, and one visit from a putz like you…
Sam:  I’m sorry, okay?  I’m so sorry.
Suzie:  Lot of good “sorry” does me.  Look at me.  Look…at…me. (She points to her corpse).  There she is.  The first casualty of your misguided mission.  But what’s another human life to you?  Anything’s worth it, as long as you two make it out alive.  And how’s that search going?  Any closer to a cure?
Sam: This isn’t real.  You’re not real.
Suzie:  You think Dean’s the wild card, the loose cannon.  But you don’t see?  Making deals with witches, opening Pandora’s box down there?  You’re the reckless one.  You’ll do anything to keep clinging to that doomed brother of yours.  How many more will die Sammy?  You know it.  You have to be stopped.  And the only one who can stop you is you!

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Yes, Suzie’s “ghost” was trying to get Sam to kill himself, but she had a pretty damned good point.  Sam wouldn’t be hearing any of that stuff if that wasn’t what he was actually feeling.  No doubt he’s conflicted, no doubt he sees the harm he’s doing, but he won’t stop.  He can’t.  He doesn’t even think that while bleeding himself to death Dean’s blood would help open the box.  Luckily Dean arrives and figures it out in time.   Dean realizes that the universe is telling them something, they are stronger together than apart.  However, it’s because Sam truly believes that as well that he’s doing all this.  Oh Winchesters!

Kudos to Sam though for remembering the number of times he’s been double crossed!  He delivered Rowena her prize, but it comes with a price.  He’s chaining her up in the warehouse.  She isn’t going anywhere until the book is translated.   

“Angel Heart”

Was Sam in this one?  (Checks transcript).  Oh right.  He tries to teach a 18 year old how to live with an alias and commit credit card fraud.  Ah well, at least he waited until she was of age.  Glad to know his skills could be put to use like this, even if he started the series complaining about doing the same thing with Dean.   It goes to show just how much in survival mode Sam is.  There is no concept of normal anymore.   Sam does take the stance though that Claire shouldn’t go it alone.  She needs someone.  That again reinforces that in his mindset, without Dean he cannot exist.  It also reinforces that Sam can’t listen to a monologuing villain without being in “Damsel in Distress” mode.  Why did a Grigori, who is a form of angel by the way and has an angel blade, have to subdue a human with handcuffs? 

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“Dark Dynasty”

Really?  Do I have to analyze this one?  (Grumbles)  Fine, let’s put it this way.  Sam f***ed up, big time!  He risked his friends for his quest and had a big part in the tragic outcome.  Again, I wouldn’t call him solely responsible, but it’s exactly what Suzie hallucination was telling him in “The Werther Project.”  How far does the collateral damage go?  What did happen to saving people?  

Rowena needs a code breaker.  Good thing Charlie knows how to do that, huh?  So then he puts Castiel to use by being a referee to Charlie and Rowena?  What a great use of a powerful angel.  Plus, his lying to Dean is not only tiresome at this point, it’s just plain idiotic.  We get another “Dean isn’t doing any better,” even though he’s acting somewhat rationally in this one.  Even Charlie is starting to see how doing this behind Dean’s back is a bad idea.  She should…oops, too late…she’s dead.  (Might I add that reviewing the piss poor dialogue in this one was the equivalent of pulling teeth). 

“The Prisoner”

Okay, NOW Dean is getting worse.  You helped setup a pretty damned good reason too Sammy.  I still call bulls*** on using Charlie's death as the catalyst but there’s not denying now, her death and finding out about Sam’s betrayal has pushed Dean over the edge.  Everything that Sam feared is now happening.

Dean:  The Mark isn’t gonna kill me.
Sam:  Maybe not, but when it’s done with you, you won’t be you anymore.  Dean, you’re all I got, so of course I was gonna fight for you, because that’s what we do.   Listen, I had a shot.
Dean:  Yeah,  you had a shot.  Charlie’s dead, nice shot.
Sam:  You think I…you think I’m ever going to forgive myself for that?
Dean:  You wanna know what I think?  I think it should be you up there and not her.  This thing with Cass and the book ends now.  Shut it down before somebody else gets hurt, you understand me?

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Even with Dean’s hurtful words, Sam still isn’t giving up.  Charlie’s code breaking skills just before her bloody, awful death (still bitter!) gave Rowena what she needed to figure out the spell.  Sam defies Dean’s wishes and goes forward with breaking the code.  After all, they’ve come too far to turn back now.  While Dean is off the rails though, Sam has to make good on a promise and take care of Crowley. 

Line of the season goes to Crowley, during Sam’s very ill-conceived attempt to kill him.  “Thought you were the smart one, working with my mother, you insane?  You actually trust her?”  In other words, everything Sam is doing has come back to bite him in a horrible way.  He’s having a very bad day.  We only saw all of this coming a mile away. 

“Brother’s Keeper”

Showdown time!  Sam can't find an off the rails Dean and in frustration pushes Rowena to do her part.  He even agrees to let her have the Book of the Damned and the Codex when she is finished.  He won't even think of the dangers of doing that.  He’s gone from desperation into a full fledged panic now.   

A confrontation between the brothers was inevitable, and one actually pushed by Death.  The conversation turns to a classic theme for this series, evil vs. good.  The lines have often been blurred with the Winchesters and Sam is determined to believe that despite everything they’ve done, everything they have become, they are still good.  Dean is not corrupted, no matter what is on his arm or what he’s done. 

"You were also willing to summon Death to make sure you could never do any more harm.  You summoned me because you knew - I would do anything to protect you.  That's not evil, Dean.  That's not an evil man.  That's a good man crying to be heard, searching for...some other way."

It’s that same struggle Sam once faced with the demon blood running inside him.  Dean does everything he can to convince Sam how evil both of them have become because of the MOC, but Sam won’t buy it, even when Dean beats him bloody. 

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“You’ll never, ever hear me say that you – the real you – is anything but good.  But you're right.  Before you hurt...anyone else, you have to be stopped at any cost.  I understand."  (Sam starts crying, takes in a deep breath and sighs).  "Do it." 

Sam delivers the ultimate declaration, even when his brother claims he will kill him for the greater good.  He agrees to let Dean kill him.  Sam knows his brother better than anyone though and hits him where it hurts.   He still, even on his knees ready to die at the hands of his brother, refuses to believe that Dean is too far gone.  There’s only one way to get through to Dean, family. 

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“And one day, when you find your way back, let these be your guide.” 

Yeah, that did it.  Just like Dean getting through to Sam possessed by Lucifer, Sam has his weapon.  The old family photos.  Nothing is more important than family.  That is after all, the entire gospel of the Winchesters.  The weeping didn’t hurt either. 

So, in the end, with a dangerously obsessive level of devotion, Sam finally saves his brother from forever damnation.  But as we saw at the end, the cost was very high.  The Darkness was unleashed on earth.  A question that Dean strongly posed rings true as we follow Sam’s path next season.  “But who were you when you drove that man to sell his soul…or when you bullied Charlie in to getting herself killed?  And to what end?  A-a good end?  A just end?  To remove the Mark no matter what the consequences?  Sam, how is that not evil?” 

If you notice, Sam never really answered that question.  He turned the tables, defending that Dean wasn’t evil.  He never talked about himself and what he did.  So will freeing The Darkness, creating another horrible peril on earth, possibly worse that the Apocalypse (which Sam also started), take another guilty toll on Sam?  What will this do for his resolve that he cannot carry on without his brother?  Sam has pushed himself and Dean into a very dangerous path now and it does make me wonder where Sam goes from here.  Redemption, or does he just keep fighting because that’s all he knows what to do?  How does he answer those words now that this has happened?  Will he even try?  Is living with guilt and regret just a normal thing for Sam now?  It all remains to be seen with the next trial to come. 

Overall Analysis

This piece of dialogue always rings in my mind every time I do one of these pieces for Sam.  I think this has especially held true in season 10:

The Trickster:  This obsession to save Dean?  The way you two keep sacrificing yourselves for each other?  Nothing good comes out of it. Just blood and pain. Dean's your weakness. And the bad guys know it, too. It's gonna be the death of you, Sam. Sometimes you just gotta let people go.
Sam:  He's my brother.
Trickster:  Yup. And like it or not, this is what life's gonna be like without him.
Sam:  Please. Just—please.

Sam couldn’t let go then, and he can’t let go now.  Of course how could he not try to save his brother given all the grief he got for not looking him in Purgatory and starting a new life during season eight?  I’m sure that Dean’s harsh words dug deep into that fractured psyche, and this time Sam was willing to do everything.  He got plenty of warnings of what bad could happen, but he refused to believe any of it.  He was willing to take that risk and deal with the consequences later.  It’s what Dean has always done.  Any less from him would be unacceptable in his mind. 

There are two ways to look at Sam’s devotion to Dean.  One is co-dependence.  Remember this quote from “Point of No Return?”

Zachariah:  You know Sam and Dean Winchester are psychotically, irrationally, erotically codependent on each other, right?

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I think I’ll dismiss the erotically to not stir up a “subtext” can of worms, but psychotically and irrationally does seem to fit the bill.  Did Sam go too far in trying to save Dean?  I know for many the answer is no, because this time Sam actually did save Dean.  It’s something we’ve wanted to see for a very long time.  And I know that Sam cannot be blamed alone for unleashing The Darkness on the earth – Castiel, Crowley and Dean all had a hand in that too – but he refused to accept the warning of what could happen should the mark be removed.  He didn’t try to stop more evil from coming. 

However, the other theme of this show has always been family.  It comes first, last, and above all.  Dean preaches it, John preached it, and Sam, who had for many years resisted that notion, now preaches it as well.  In that context, would not saving Dean and accepting the “greater good” argument be totally against everything that motivates these two characters?  I say yes, especially after all they’ve been through.  These two have in a sense broken the world so much already and they need each other in order to save it.  So psychotically and irrationally might not be such a bad thing.  Or, we can live on the caveat that there is no right or wrong, only each other, and you’ve got to fight for those you love.  It’s a slippery slope, but it’s the one the Winchesters will never back away from.  That’s why we love this story so much. 

Coming up next, my "Deeper Look at Dean Winchester".  Was the Mark of Cain harder on him or Sam?  We’ll dig into that and other topics, like if taking on this massive burden changed his perspective any.   I certainly hope so. 


# Fazzie 2015-09-15 10:52
I know this doesn't make me popular on this site but your analysis of Sam in the book of the damned kind of reinforces for me why I am glad Charlie is gone.

Her talk with Sam, just like the one with Dean about the text pales in comparison of Bobby would have done by getting the whole story out each brother and not just the guilty part before telling them to get on with what was infront of them.

The way Robbie wrote Charlie in those moments with each brother not giving her the real context of what the other person did that lead to the reaction that is causing them guilt allows Sam to wallow and the guilt to continue without actually getting it. Just like her comment about the text back in season 8 didn't allow Dean to deal with why he sent it, he sent it because the brothers failure to communicate had lead to a point where Sam was walking into unnecessary danger because he was more pissed at Dean than actually dealing with a case. Back then it was Dean self flagelating and kept on trying to make it up to Sam instead of getting that both him an Sam were as bad as each other at communicating and because of that both got people who weren't part of their fight into a situation where they were hurt/dead or the case of Don, cuckholded.

Sam said things in purge because he was hurt and he knows that, but instead of getting that Dean won't ever fight in a manner that gets it out of Sam's system and then deal with the situation in a way that lets Dean to really take in that those words were to wound and piss him off they are sitting in a room with a book and Sam and Charlie are ready to break out the milk and cookies while Sam self flagellates himself while he runs back to the codependency part of the relationship.

Charlie with her Sophie's choices speech, and telling Dean the text was a dick move didn't help either brother grow in a constructive way but reinforced that each brother 'owed' the other something but made Charlie look like an extra sparkly empathetic person because she could cut each brother off and add in they felt guilty and why they felt guilt but didn't actually give either brother a way to fully work things out in their heads. We were never shown that Charlie ever truly got the greater context of what she was being told outside that Dean and Sam were guilty and wanted someone to tell them that is what they felt so justifying whatever they did next to themselves while holding onto the guilt and not seeing the bigger prespective. But that makes every word Rowena said to her bang on the money about Charlie's blind devotion to the brothers and showed that she was really just a friend not family because we never had her express she got that there was more to the stories than she was told and that part was just as important to the story as the bits Sam and Dean were telling her and dealing with that by telling them stuff they may not want to hear and sticking by it. We never heard her say 'That dick move may have been justified at the time and now we deal with the fall out or talk to your brother about why the hell the dick move happenede.'

Bobby in each situation, may not have been nice and mentally healthy about it but he at least got to the point - 'You did X to him and feel shitty about it. What did he do? Right, you think that makes you special or him special? Family means you hurt them when they hurt you and then you move on, so suck it up and get on with what is important or ship out'
# cheryl42 2015-09-15 14:00
You are right Charlie was never the Bobby character. Bobby was the father figure. He was the authority. For the most part he was there to tell Sam and Dean what they needed to do. After all he had a lifetime of real experience with his two boys. Charlie was the sister figure. She was there to support the brothers. To be there to listen to them and to offer what ever she could only knowing their history from a series of books. When one of them used her as a sounding board it was to relieve their own guilt more than looking for advice (Dean knew it was a dick thing to do, Sam knew he said horrible things). She wasn't ever the wise old sage. She was the much loved surrogate sister that the brothers trusted. But she was never there to kick them in the pants like Bobby. She was there to offer something that the brothers already knew. Working together trumps working apart.
# Fazzie 2015-09-15 17:22
Charlie was the sister figure. She was there to support the brothers. To be there to listen to them and to offer what ever she could only knowing their history from a series of books. When one of them used her as a sounding board it was to relieve their own guilt more than looking for advice
As you said Sam and Dean used her to relieve their guilt, but not to actually deal with the situation but at the same time but these are guys unloading when it is so bad that they know they grudingly need a different POV. And Charlie does that each time reinforcing their view each time so mirrors not support in a constructive way. She makes them feel better by agreeing that what they did was wrong and they had to make it better to the brother they hurt by holding onto that guilt. She agrees with Sam because she was not really looking at the guy in front of her but going off her knowledge from a series of books. If she was really 'family' then Sam's declaration about hunting would have been challenged. This is a girl that had Dean declare that he ripped Sam's chance of normal away from him, then she has Sam declaring that he is in love with hunting and all that is causing him to be down is possibly losing Dean. Family would call BS on Sam's declaration as it can't be both or at least tried to find out what changed Sam's mind about hunting from Dean's dick move to now. Kevin, also not a figure of authority, both pre and post death would have called BS. Charlie, on the other hand, as a sounding board and in Robbie's head as the absolutely wonderful surrogate sister just doesn't work as she just goes on about that means hard choices and not having a life what you think you would have had. She is a friend letting Sam vent but wallow, a much loved surrogate sister would be confident enough in the relationship to challenge while being supportive.
# cheryl42 2015-09-16 13:48
It's a conundrum isn't it? What did change Sam's mind? Did carrying Dean's dead bloody corpse into the bunker change Sam's mind? Did all the guilt he has felt since Azazel dripped demon blood in his mouth and fried his mother finally come to a head? If Sam needed a reason to embrace the hunting life he could pick a thousand of them. It wasn't Charlie's place to challenge Sam into a further explanation of his true motivation. As written she was a sounding board for us the audience to hear how Sam was feeling. Just like with Dean and the text. "We" got to hear how Dean felt about sending that text. Charlie was just the vehicle to be us. Just because Charlie is a much loved sister doesn't mean she also needs to be judgmental. Sometimes family is just there for you.
# Fazzie 2015-09-16 14:56
What did change Sam's mind? Did carrying Dean's dead bloody corpse into the bunker change Sam's mind? Did all the guilt he has felt since Azazel dripped demon blood in his mouth and fried his mother finally come to a head? If Sam needed a reason to embrace the hunting life he could pick a thousand of them
There is a difference between embracing the life and declaring loving the hunting life and if the reasons you list above are the reasons are causing Sam to declare to Charlie that he 'loves' the life then Charlie should be inching further away from Sam as he would be seriously disturbed. I'd get Sam embracing the life if he got that hunting was the thing that was a constant for him, that made sense when the world of normal he tries to go to doesn't - the part where there is always one more job. That he felt guilt for not looking for Dean last time and this time when he had express permission ( the note) he couldn't drive and drive until he hit a dog. This time he help some mug sell his soul and why? Because he has finally gotten that he is more John Winchester's son than Dean ever was, that hunting worked for him and he was good at it. But Sam 'loving' the life? The other times he embraced it in a similar manner as he did in season 10 he was out to avenge Jess, kill Lilth and stop Lucifer and now to save Dean, the only exception was when he was soulless, but these were never things that someone would love doing unless insane.

But bringing it back to Charlie the conversation her is after season 8 where Dean told Charlie that he is the cause of Sam giving up normal, that that was Sam was craving and Dean stopped that and Sam is saying he loves this life and he can't live without Dean all the while decoding a satanic book. That is a disconnect that should have been questioned even if you are just being there for someone. She goes on about sophie's choices and how hunting means she now measures success in terms of survival but that is it. As much as I appreciate the POV on both the boys feelings, Charlie doesn't gel as a much loved sister for me, especially for Sam. They may try and paint her that way but she just isn't. She is a friend even if she isn't judgmental and is just 'there', her so called empathy allows the boys to reinforce their own tunnel vision something a much loved sister wouldn't do because they'd get that in the situation the boys live in that is not only dangerous to the boys but to everyone around them.

Basically writers can't have it both ways, she can't be the smartest person who ever lived, empathetic and uber hunter and not have her get the stakes of allowing the guys to wallow the way they wallowed while saying she is the closest thing to a Winchester sister.
# cheryl42 2015-09-16 16:24
Well Dean joked about her being the sister he never really wanted in her first episode. They considered her family. When they were burning her body Dean declared that it should be Sam on the pyre. I would say that put her pretty high on the food chain. Sam didn't get to interact that much with Charlie (supposedly there were a few scenes with Sam and Charlie that were cut). But the implication was that he considered her family as well. I think it depends on how you feel about Charlie whether you agree with that or not. Those of us that loved her considered her family. Those that didn't don't.
Like I said you could pick a thousand reasons for Sam embracing the life. We didn't get a heart to heart from S&D because the show seems to be allergic to them lately but maybe like Alice said something is really broken in Sam. He is embracing a life that always terrified him, cost him everything he ever loved. Running away was never the answer so maybe realizing that the only way to save what little he has left in the way of family is to finally admit that this is who he is. I don't know. I understand that there is at least one conversation to come. Maybe we will get a little more insight into the psyche of the always mysterious Sam Winchester.
# Fazzie 2015-09-16 16:55
As I am often told, Sam and Dean are different people. Dean may say Charlie is like the sister he never wanted but we never had Sam express those sentiments. I am not saying he didn't care for her just that she wasn't Sam's surrogate sister and from my viewing she didn't come off as a real surrogate sister, Garth was more family like than Charlie was. Sure on the surface they played around and they gave hugs and played games and looked out for one another but did they? I get people loved her, personally I don't get why because of the Mary Sue she became but also find that Charlie falls into the lazy trope where writers start from the outset to tell us that she isn't a love interest so we've made her a surrogate sister or mother or daughter. But if that is the case then she has to actually be that which Charlie doesn't fit for me.

Every other person that thought about hunting they tried to talk out of it, but Charlie comes in after a couple of encounters with monsters and waving Chucks books about and they give her a key to the bunker and then pack her off with their blessing to Oz. It was OOC behaviour for both the boys but even then she doesn't act truly sisterly by getting what they are doing when they off load by mirroring their tales by telling them they are right to feel guilty. A sister would get they are also giving themselves permission to make a boneheaded move when they unload on her and there is no push back.

As for Dean telling Sam he thought it should be him on the pyre, well I personally took it two ways Dabb letting Robbie have his thoughts about Charlie's death seep through (because really Charlie is Robbie Thompson but in girl form) and also Dean saying that it was Sam's idea to keep playing with the book so it should have been Sam that died because someone was looking for it, not anyone else. Kind of a reversal of Sam's POV about Dean letting Gadreel in and him using Sam to kill Kevin and how Sam is haunted by that.
# cheryl42 2015-09-16 18:48
Well then you just answered my theory. You don't care for the character therefore you don't consider her family. That's fair enough. I do love the character so I do consider her family as did Sam and Dean. It is a merry-go-round that isn't going to be resolved between us so no point in arguing the point. And I really don't get how Charlie is a personification of Robbie Thompson. Unless you know him personally I don't know how you can state that as a fact. I have never met him but I can bet that he is not a 90lb lesbian girl that loves gaming.
As for your example of Sam thinking it should have been Dean that died instead of Kevin that was very much not the case. Sam felt that he was the one who should have died. If he had Kevin would still be alive. He never thought or said it should have been Dean.
# Fazzie 2015-09-17 01:13
Cheryl at the beginning I said I knew that what I was saying about Charlie wasn't going to make me popular and get that some love that character.

Bar Charlie every character the boys met that expressed an interest in trying to hunt and didn't need to the boys told them not to. Charlie comes back after making out with a fairy, (which I still maintain if a male character had did that in the same circumstances we'd be screaming about) and getting a bit of experience with Dick Roman to declare she had downloaded a few badly written books and now she was hunter queen as she had supposedly taken out a ghost and vampire, though we never saw any evidence of that. Sorry by Becky was more grounded in what hunters did than Charlie was and the boys were patting her on the head and giving her their blessing when they kept telling the likes of Cole and back in the day Jo to drop the idea of hunting and go home. Two people who were both smart and shown to be more physically capable than Charlie was and that was the thing physically capable which is a big thing with hunting.

Sorry I know you love her and I have nothing against Felicia Day if you think that is the problem but the boys giving Charlie their blessing was OOC. And why? Charlie wasn't that great a character as she didn't drive plot in a constructive way. Then having her claim that gaming made her cope with recoil of a gun, make her wander the streets with a big sword and how she was suddenly smarter than Sam with everything even though he had been brought up with the quirks of supernatural hunting books but she can discern code by looking at it by saying the magic words Alan Turing is a bit much. Even Alan Turing needed more than 5 minutes to crack the U Boat enigma code but from the looks of Charlie all that would have been needed was a android phone and a tablet and WW2 would have been before Pearl Harbour and I've not even mentioned the being able to connect a valve computer to Windows 8 yet.

To me Charlie was not us, she is what we would want to be if we found ourselves in that world. She's suddenly smarter, more wonderful and capable than everyone and she gets validation from the stars of the show because they really 'see' her'. It is everyone's wet dream, having people thinking we were special and them loving us while we showed that world we could handle everything they threw at us. Kevin was really more us in reality, getting that it is scary, piss in our pants that we'd be a pawn in a bigger game and probably in the end it would end bloody for us in a pointless death compared to Charlie going out while taking part in some quest even if she ended up in a bath tub.

And this is kind of confirmed by the fact that with the exception of her last episode she is written by the same writer, so 90lb girl part aside she is Robbie Thompson's insert. Hell Charlie is a lesbian, safe to say she isn't a love interest to the special folk but is more irrestiable than either than the boys when it comes to women so that part is also a wish fulfillment part.

As I keep saying that talk with Sam and with Dean back in season 8 may have been supportive but wasn't something someone who is a real sister would do. But if you scratch the surface it is something that someone who isn't that confident in the relationship would do, reinforce the tale and not push back. But as I said the boys are in a world where tunnel vision isn't just deadly to them but to everyone else. Dean told her Sam wanted out and had a chance and he spoiled that. Sam is now declaring he 'loves' the life, there is a disconnect especially when Sam is declaring he loves his life while him and Charlie are sitting decoding an evil book, Dean has the mark of Cain on his arm and it wasn't that long she was shot.

Sam declaring he loves the life at that point isn't something you just let lie. It is something you hear and you start hiding the pointy objects if you don't try call BS on.
# cheryl42 2015-09-17 07:44
I think I am in the minority here as far as Charlie is concerned. I am one of the few who post on this site that actually loves Charlie. As I said if you don't care for her character than you don't buy into her story. And as I said that is fair. We are never going to agree so no point in arguing the point.

I am a real sister and sometimes I am just a safe place for my siblings to come and dump their problems on. I do tend to be a judgment free zone.

I get it you don't care for Robbie Thompson either. That is also fair. I think he is one of the shows best writers (Jared and Jensen feel the same way. They are absolutely gushing about RT's next ep). You think he was using Charlie as his avatar. Maybe he is maybe he isn't. Unless we know him personally I don't know how anyone could make that assumption.

Dean said that Sam gave up a chance to live a normal life. But he also said that Sam was more committed than ever. So there's that. Sam saying he loves the life? He loves the life with his brother. He can't go on without his brother. So yes he was decoding an evil book to make sure that his brother's life continues. Hopefully without the MOC. So that he and his brother can fight evil together. A life that Sam has finally come to realize he really does love.
# BoGirle 2015-09-17 08:34
I'm sort of in the middle about Charlie. I DID like her in her first episode, but she steadily went downhill after that. Each time she was on screen she became steadily more preposterous and unbelievable until I could barely watch her on my TV with rolling my eyes. Watching Ninja Charlie was like watching an episode of Charmed, a bad one where all the fight scenes are so heavily edited that you can barely make out what's going on because the actresses are so completely unable to pull off a fight scene. To say that she was unconvincing is an understatement. But the kicker for me, or should I saw the final straw that turned me against Charlie for good was when she didn't let Sam express his feelings in his own words, when she filled in all the blanks for him, and minimized his experiences and his POV, offered not one solution or even any sympathy and then turned the conversations to herself. When Charlie's interests superseded Sam's I was done.

I'd be curious to know exactly when Robbie Thompson found out that Charlie was going to be killed off. Did he know before or after Book of the Dammed was written? Because he writers Charlie in that episode like he's pissed that she was being killed off and decided to make her as outrageous and over the top as possible (and he WAS unhappy, he's admitted as much in interviews, and so were Jared and Jensen). Then the nepotism duo comes along, and having never read anyone else's scripts or apparently even watched the show, and write her they way they need her (frail, weak, helpless! One of these writers is a woman?!! It's galling!) and then leave her slaughtered in a bathtub. So Charlie wasn't ultimately my favorite character, but I thought her death was reprehensible, unnecessary and above all manipulative. And I like Felicia Day; she can't be held responsible for the writers going off the rails.
# Alice 2015-09-22 00:35
Robbie found out about Charlie while breaking "Angel Heart." He told us at the Supernatural conference at DePaul. He was pretty upset about it. No, he didn't know about her death while writing "Book of the Damned."
# BoGirle 2015-09-22 07:36
I wonder why he decided to write her so unrealistically then? I mean she was beyond ridiculous in this episode. If he'd known she was being killed off before he wrote it, I could at least understand why he took her in this direction, but her character development makes no sense and actually she ended up looking like a character from another television show entirely. More Jetsons than Supernatural.
# Fazzie 2015-09-17 12:47
I am a real sister and sometimes I am just a safe place for my siblings to come and dump their problems on. I do tend to be a judgment free zone.

I too am a real sister and also have a real sister and yes we both dump our problems on each other on occasion (okay me more than her. But she admits she vents to her husband about a lot of things and he has no choice but to listen to her or he'll get very frustrated) and yes we can be judgment free zones too and other times I can prattle on and she just sits there and simply goes 'uh huh' in a warm supportive tone and everything caves and I realise that I have been talking a load of bollocks and she knows it too and I need to extract my head from my backside and if I don't get that and I'm wallowing she will in no uncertain terms tell to. Also if either one of us try to turn things round to make it poor me when the other is floundering we call each other on it and you know what I may not like it but I take it as she is my sister. But that isn't what Charlie did, she cut the boys off gave her POV of their problems which validated their view. She wasn't supporting she was enabling them while in this case turned Sam's view on hunting into her view of hunting and that is different. Sam gets few and far between POV but suddenly Charlie's was more important while she didn't really hear what he was saying.

As for Robbie Thompson, I love first born, Time after Time and Slash Fiction, I like the girl with Dungeon and Dragons tattoo, Meta Fiction and Goodbye Stranger and thought Bitten had interesting bits. I get the guys have a great time with Felicia Day when she is on set, just Charlie grew too much for me and Robbie Thompson is responsible for her. He wrote her as a computer nerd who he tells us with Wikipedia and amazon knew everything, every girl she met would open her legs for her if Charlie wished and even monsters wanted to be her but couldn't, he gave her marksman skills simply by letting her play Call of Duty, she gets ninja skills out of nowhere but they don't translate on screen as Felicia Day can't stage fight as demonstrated in Book of the Damned and the way she held the knife just before Charlie hit the tub. She is grew into a Mary Sue and that is why she is such a marmite character. You see her as a way in, as the audience. Me, I don't, me I am afraid when it comes to Charlie I am kind of with Rowena.

As for Sam he is saying he loves the life, as always one more job, one more job. His guilt about Dean plays into things. Dean told Charlie that he robbed Sam of the normal Sam craved and saying that Sam is commited to the life and Sam stating loving the life and meaning loving the life with Dean in it again should set off alarm bells for Charlie. These are two guys she loves and they are both telling her that their world is dangerously insular and on the verge of blowing up in their faces and everyone elses too and her response to Sam - talking about Sophie's choices.
# cheryl42 2015-09-17 13:17
Well like I said we are never going to see eye to eye on Charlie so really no point in arguing any further. I agree with all of RT's other non Charlie episodes except Meta Fiction (too much monologing by Metatron). And I loved Bitten. I loved the story told from the POV of the monster. And Robbie made Claires story bearable in Angel Heart. I am so happy he is writing Baby. Can't wait.
# BoGirle 2015-09-16 18:18
It's a conundrum isn't it? What did change Sam's mind? Did carrying Dean's dead bloody corpse into the bunker change Sam's mind? Did all the guilt he has felt since Azazel dripped demon blood in his mouth and fried his mother finally come to a head? If Sam needed a reason to embrace the hunting life he could pick a thousand of them. It wasn't Charlie's place to challenge Sam into a further explanation of his true motivation. As written she was a sounding board for us the audience to hear how Sam was feeling. Just like with Dean and the text. "We" got to hear how Dean felt about sending that text. Charlie was just the vehicle to be us. Just because Charlie is a much loved sister doesn't mean she also needs to be judgmental. Sometimes family is just there for you.
Hi Cheryl.... That's a good question isn't it? What did change Sam's mind? WHY is he suddenly declaring that he LOVES hunting when there is absolute nothing in his past that bares that out? Maybe it was carrying Dean's bloody corpse into his bedroom or Azazel of his mother and/or girlfriend burning on the ceiling or the demon blood. It could be any or all those things. The problem is that no one bothered to to put Sam's somewhat sudden and dramatic change of heart into any kind of context whatsoever. His declaration came out of the blue with zero warning or set up, flying in the face of literally ten years of established character traits and show history. It makes no sense. And what's more, it isn't necessary. Why have Sam say something like that at all? Why not have him say "I'm a hunter, I see that now. I used to fight that with every fiber of my being, but now I only want to fight for Dean. I can't do this without him....." etc...or something along those lines? It's like the writers are writing what they think sounds good and no one is checking to make sure that what they are saying even makes sense for the character who's uttering them.

However, I am not sure I agree with your view of Charlie's role in this conversation or her function. If she's not a character to challenge the boys on what they say (call them on their crap) then what is she there for? To listen to them wallow and continually delude themselves? The fact remains that she DOES know the boys and she should have called Sam out on that crap line immediately. I don't need Charlie there to represent the audience and to be a sounding board. She needs to help move things alongs, that should be her function; a device character to help facilitate the flow of the plot. I mean, since the boys won't talk to each other (can't have that) a character like Charlie should fill in this dramatic gap. But she doesn't do that, she stagnated the scene rather than helped move it along. She spoke FOR Sam rather than letting him tell his story. She reduced the dilemma between the boys down to a basic pat kind of cliche and didn't allow Sam to tell how he was really feeling in his own words. We learned absolutely nothing about Sam that we did not already know other than he suddenly and inexplicably loves hunting. So, not only does she NOT help us to understand Sam better, she then turns the conversation to herself, the jaded hunter. I could care less about Charlie's POV in this moment, and was doubly disappointed about the total lack of Sam's.
# cheryl42 2015-09-16 19:06
Well like I said Charlie was the audience or us. This was a way for Sam and Dean to tell us how they felt without actually talking to each other (because we the audience don't want a brother moment like we need air to breathe I guess). We hear that Dean knew that it was a dick move to send that text. We hear that Sam was angry and didn't mean the things he said in the Purge. That was Charlies only reason for being in those scenes. It didn't further her story or the story we were in. It just cleared up a few details from the past we the audience needed to hear. We just wish that conversation had happened between the brothers. But lately we never seem to get what we wish for.
As for Sam stating that he loved the hunting life? It was about time wasn't it? He's been in the life almost nonstop for 10 years. Time to buck up and accept who you are. Either accept it or move on. No more sitting on the fence. Again I am assuming this was for us to understand that this was what Sam had finally decided was his life.
As for the scenes with Charlie, I guess it depends on what you needed to hear. I didn't need a whole lot of backstory and with Sam we never get any anyways. But I was glad to get something from Sam. I guess how he feels about his brother was more the point. Supposedly setting up how far he would go to save him.
# Sharon 2015-09-17 03:01
Sam does not love 'hunting' he loves Dean they are two different things. The word ''love'' was a silly choice of word where Sam and hunting is concerned because he does not he never has done and nor should he have too .
I agree he has accepted the life but he does not need to love it .

I just wish the writers would leave him alone and let him be his own person with his own views and feelings .
# cheryl42 2015-09-17 10:17
Unfortunately Sam is only what the writers want him to be. He really isn't a person with his own views and feelings. What I would like to see is Sam written better. With more insight into what his views and feelings are. We get precious little of Sam's POV. It's hard to connect the dots sometimes when we go for episodes and sometimes seasons without finding out anything meaningful about Sam. So when we do hear something about how Sam feels it seems to come from out of left field.
# Sharon 2015-09-17 10:23
Which is why I have increasingly struggled with the show and its writers esp over the last few seasons . The lack of thought and compassion for Sam esp in season 9 was a disgrace and too many judgemental side characters as well.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-17 16:34
We get precious little of Sam's POV. It's hard to connect the dots sometimes when we go for episodes and sometimes seasons without finding out anything meaningful about Sam. So when we do hear something about how Sam feels it seems to come from out of left field.
Now this I completely agree with. It has been my major frustration with the last few seasons, but some of the spoilers have shown glimmers of Sam POV, so maybe the drought will finally be over.:)
# cheryl42 2015-09-17 17:11
I hear rumors...;)
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-17 21:16
Well don't be shy- come on, speak up!:D
# BoGirle 2015-09-17 19:17
Absolutely agree. Hell, CLAIRE got more POV than Sam did last season.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-17 21:15
Hell, CLAIRE got more POV than Sam did last season.
E, I hadn't thought about it that way, but it is horribly, depressingly accurate. You know who else got more POV than Sam? The widow in HACF, the wife in TTTC. the woman/girl in About A Boy, Baby Styne, Kate AND her sister in PM,...should I continue?:D
# BoGirle 2015-09-18 05:49
How about The crazy, finger chopping nun?
# Alice 2015-09-22 01:12
Fazzie, your comments are welcome here anytime. I really enjoyed reading your POV. It does make you think how the constant use of recurring characters to push a story can be a bad idea.
# njspnfan 2015-09-15 14:54
Interesting analysis, Alice. Looking forward to your deeper look at Dean Winchester.

The writers get a D- for getting Sam from the point where he hit a dog and didn't look for Dean at the start of Season 8 to someone dedicated to the hunting life at the end of Season 10. I had thought the MOL was the avenue for getting Sam dedicated to the scholarly part of hunting as it tied in to him already doing the majority of the research on cases, but they didn't pursue that. I was shocked when Sam told Charlie that he loved the hunting life, and for the majority of S8/S9/S10 was left with the impression that the only reason Sam hunted was because Dean hunts, and to vindicate himself in Dean's eyes. Sam was certainly dedicated, in a manic and desperate sort of way, to looking out for and saving Dean in Season 10, but that was about all we got; it was rather one dimensional. If I could ask Carver one question, it would be where is the "maturity" in that?

Have been thinking a bit about what has bothered me so much about Seasons 9 and 10 and I think it has to do with the fact that the brothers have gotten away from the saving people part of the equation. That seems to be secondary now to either Sam trying to save Dean, or Dean filling his Purgatory or Mark-of-Cain fueled bloodlust by killing every monster in sight. Both brothers have been self-absorbed drama queens, dealing with their own crap, saving each other regardless of the cost to each other or the world. They've always been flawed heroes, but have been skewing more heavily to flawed of late, to the point where they've both been unlikeable and unsympathetic at times. Have heard some talk about a reset of things to the "Family Business" of earlier seasons and sure hope they can pull it off.
# BoGirle 2015-09-16 13:31
Yeah. We seem to be a long way from "My life's not any more important than anyone else's, not yours not Dean's and not Kevin's." Whatever happened to that guy? It was totally a Sam thing to say, but we haven't seen much evidence of that in his actions, especially lately.
# cheryl42 2015-09-16 16:26
I don't think that Sam is putting his life before anyone else's. I think he is putting Dean's life before anyone else's.
# Fazzie 2015-09-16 16:56
Another way to explain it is Sam putting his guilt about Dean above everyone else's life.
# cheryl42 2015-09-16 19:09
That is certainly one way to look at it. But I do believe that Sam loves Dean with every fiber of his being. And yes he does carry a tremendous amount of guilt. Not just for his perceived failings with Dean but for everything that has ever happened to their lives since he was 6 months old. But no I don't think Sam's only motivation is his own skin or relieving his own guilt. I don't think he is that shallow.
# njspnfan 2015-09-16 20:03
I agree; just wish they did a better job of portraying this.
# cheryl42 2015-09-16 23:56
I don't know I always see the entirety of Sam's character not just a few episodes in one season. Sam has always loved his brother. A few poorly written episodes or seasons of no Sam insight doesn't change that for me.
# BoGirle 2015-09-16 18:39
In that quote Sam wasn't putting anyones life above anyone else's not even Dean's. That used to be how he functioned. For Sam EVERYONE'S life was equal was worth something and no one life was worth more, not even Dean's. This is the kind of thinking that allowed the Winchester's to "Save People, Hunt Things, The Family Business." This is the moral stance of a righteous man with true equality in mind. What happened to him? He's been replaced by so someone who "loves" hunting and will let the world and everyone in it burn to save Dean. I don't like this new side of Sam. That's always been Dean's stance, let the world burn to save Sam, but I never thought it was moral or right. Now, Sam feels the same way and its no more moral or right.
# cheryl42 2015-09-16 19:37
I don't know Sam gets pretty scary when it's Dean's life on the line. Mystery Spot Sam, he killed Bobby not knowing for sure if he was the Trickster. Even Patrick the witch saw that Sam's head goes right out the window when Dean's life is on the line. Lester. S4 Sam doing unspeakable things because of what happened to Dean and he couldn't save him. I think there is plenty of history of Sam and what lengths he will go to in order to save Dean. Or just to get revenge.
# BoGirle 2015-09-17 19:34
Before this season, Sam has never risked anything but himself in his quests to save Dean or the world. Unfortunately this season he's taking a page out of the Dean Winchester handbook and damned the consequences and the world. This is not a change that I admire or think is a good one. But pretty much all of Sam's more noble traits have gone by the wayside IMO. Now he's just like Dean; he will let the world burn to save his brother and loves the life as Dean does. It's what Dean (and John too) has always wanted. With Sam and Dean so much the same now, there's really no reason any more for them to disagree or fight ever again.
# anonymousN 2015-09-21 03:04
But sam will be blamed by everyone and then some, Dean might be blamed for having a big heart.
# Alice 2015-09-22 01:06
Thanks njspnfan! (and all you others too, it’s been a great discussion. Apologies I haven’t been able to be an active part of it).

I think Sam and Dean been written as unlikeable because the writers have gone out of their way to simplify arcs and dumb down their main characters. It’s like they’re writing for a younger audience now and they have to keep it simple. Either that or they don’t want to get into the continuity traps that Kripke’s team wrote themselves into at times (even though it was vastly more entertaining).

Sam and Dean aren’t being written with those layers that we’ve seen in other seasons. Their actions, behaviors, arcs, are rudimentary and single minded in their focus. Without those layers that expose a bit of that flawed humanity inside the hardened by the years exterior, you get too many fluff episodes written by writers that would rather share their cute ideas than move things forward. Those episodes aren’t worth watching so much as time progresses. I can’t think of any season nine episodes I would want to re-watch for comfort food and season ten only a couple.

Robert Berens is the most skilled at bringing out those complex layers within. He seems to be the only writer that really digs deep with characterizatio n. He manages bring out that complexity via interaction with other characters too. “The Werther Project” is a glowing example.

I love how Robbie puts together a story, but I think at times he does miss the mark when it comes to Sam and Dean’s true motivations. Since I’ve read a lot of comments about Charlie, I do admit he wasn’t always skillful at using Charlie in a way to bring out those complexities of the brothers. They just had a cute interaction that worked a lot of the time (I still love “LARP and the Real Girl.”) I loved Charlie for the record, but I don’t think she did anything to enhance the personalities of the brothers.

Yes, what did happen to Saving People and Hunting Things. I’m tired of these stories that delve in the grey area. It worked great in season four, five and six, but enough of this “Who is the real monster?” Give me my heroes back! I need that balance and faith in humanity, flawed as though they may be.

But yes, I still want to see the real Sam Winchester stand up, even though I thought he had far better character development in season ten than nine. Just wait until you see my thoughts on Dean! They really dumbed down his role.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-15 16:55
I don’t buy for a minute that Sam loves hunting. He does it because he can, and because he’s good at it, plus someone has to save the world. I think he believes it’s too late for him now.

Alice, I completely agree with you and njspnfan about this. My jaw dropped when Sam said it, and it flies in the face of everything that's ever happened on the show. As recently as S8 Sam had been so happy with his break from the hunting life that even after being drawn back in upon Dean's return from Purgatory, he was still mulling over returning to college. He has never evinced any "love" of hunting, just an acceptance that it has to be done and that it is his lot in life to do it. That entire scene between Sam and Charlie was ridiculous. Charlie asking Sam a question and then filling in all the blanks herself, before quickly shifting the conversation to the trials and tribulations of her (exceedingly short) tenure as a hunter! I think RT was so focused on foreshadowing Charlie's death that he wrote that conversation without giving much thought or regard to the appropriateness of Sam's dialogue. He just wanted to steer the conversation to Charlie's ruminations on the dangers of the hunting life (WARNING VIEWERS! Charlie's in danger!) and scripted Sam's words with that object in mind. As in the beginning of S8, Sam was just a plot device to achieve some desired story line, and was written incredibly OOC as a result.

He risked his friends for his quest and had a big part in the tragic outcome.

As to your point about Sam's blame for Charlie's death, I largely disagree. While Sam was the immediate cause of Charlie's involvement in decoding the BOTD, I do not think he deserves the blame for her death. Charlie was written as this brilliant uber huntress, capable of outwitting the Stynes on a chase around the globe, and overcoming seasoned killers with her slick ninja moves. The show just can't have it both ways. They can't depict her as both a brilliant badass hunter AND a poor little defenseless waif. Sam asked for her help and set her up in a location where she was shielded from the Stynes and under Cas's protection. Maybe it was ludicrous to ask Cas to referee, but he also served as powerful protection for Charlie. And Charlie agreed to help Sam, even though she was fully aware of the risks. In fact, she was safer in the place Sam had set up than she was out on her own with the Stynes still on her trail. It was her own foolhardy decision that led to her death. I do think that in this case Charlie was written OOC because why would an experienced genius hunter who knew that the Stynes were relentless go off on her own? So here SHE was the plot device to set Dean off. To me, blaming Sam for Charlie's death would be the same as blaming Dean for every bad thing that has happened to Sam, because after all, Dean has repeatedly drawn Sam back into the life. Just as Sam made his own choices as an intelligent adult, so did Charlie in this case.
# Fazzie 2015-09-15 17:41
Charlie was written as this brilliant uber huntress, capable of outwitting the Stynes on a chase around the globe, and overcoming seasoned killers with her slick ninja moves. The show just can't have it both ways. They can't depict her as both a brilliant badass hunter AND a poor little defenseless waif.
As much as I don't usually like the writing of the nepotism duo they did the one thing right in that episode - the Rowena and Charlie talk. Charlie as written by Robbie sowed the seeds of Charlie running everytime she didn't like a situation pre uber hunter. But then every person she met loved her as soon as they met her and she was their bff. Charlie needed to have someone who didn't fall all over her in five minutes and who could unbalance her with words rather than violence. Rowena did that and what was Charlie's response to remove herself in the most stupid way possible and the most stupid time possible because the mean girl rattled her. That for me, even though it allowed Charlie to be a plot device, tied back to the Charlie we first met who declared that Charlie wasn't her real name and that it wasn't the first time she had disappeared.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-15 19:06
Charlie as written by Robbie sowed the seeds of Charlie running everytime she didn't like a situation pre uber hunter.

I agree with this statement which is why I never liked the "Charlie as hunter" plot line. From her very first episode she came off as quite timid and opposed to physical violence. That is why it seemed ludicrous that she would suddenly get the itch to be a hunter in Pac Man Fever. Of all of the hunters and hunter wannabees on the show, none has been less believable than Charlie, and that includes Garth and all of the teen girls.

You make an interesting point here:

every person she met loved her as soon as they met her and she was their bff. Charlie needed to have someone who didn't fall all over her in five minutes and who could unbalance her with words rather than violence. Rowena did that and what was Charlie's response to remove herself in the most stupid way possible and the most stupid time possible because the mean girl rattled her.
It's true that everyone Charlie met wanted to be her friend or her lover, until Rowena. So while I'm still not entirely convinced that the world's smartest person would have bolted from a safe location because of Rowena's needling, it at least seems more plausible to me now.:)
# cheryl42 2015-09-15 21:25
I think Charlie was more innocent or unaware of monsters when we first met her. She reacted like most people would. But she stepped up and put her life on the line without really any hesitation. Sam and Dean definitely gave her an out. She stuck with the job until she had protected the Winchesters and got the information needed to bring down the Leviathans. And she only left in the end because she was used to disappearing (supposedly because of her shady past and as we found out funneling money to help her comatose mother) to protect herself. I don't think she was as timid and weak as she looked. So when she was stalked by the supernatural again she decided to be proactive and learn how to deal with her new life in the best way she could. Taking small jobs, learning how to take on the crazy life she found herself in. I didn't think it was strange or sudden. We have only had a few episodes spread out over 4 years. She didn't exactly lay stagnant in between her run ins with the brothers. I'm sure that she found ways to educate herself, protect herself from harm, because she was smart.
However saying that, because Robbie Thompson didn't write her last episode the duo had her doing stupid things that were completely ooc. No she wouldn't have wandered out into the dark just because Rowena was giving her a bad time. She'd faced down monsters, fought with the boys against the Styne's. And Rowena (who had been removed from the room) is teasing her? So she runs away? It was a stupid way to end a character just to set up Dean's rampage.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-16 07:58
I guess I see Charlie's journey differently than you do Cheryl. While she agreed to help the boys defeat the Leviathans, she really had no choice, at least if she wanted the world to continue. By that point she knew of their plan to farm people (they taste just like chicken!). But she was quaking and fearful throughout the ordeal. She has practically trembled in fear every single time she has been in danger- from LATRG, to PacMan to TNPLH to BOTD, and right up to the very end in DD. While her reactions to danger are very normal for a non-hunter (I would definitely be cowering in the bathroom if the Stynes were outside my door!) they are certainly not typical of a hunter. Every other hunter portrayed on the show has demonstrated a general fearlessness, and even a zest for killing the bad guys, two qualities you never saw in Charlie. I agree that, after two brushes with the supernatural, a smart person like Charlie would do her best to educate herself as much as possible about that world. But educating yourself, and actively seeking out and hunting evil creatures, are two vastly different things. And to me, Charlie never remotely displayed any of the qualities that would credibly explain her decision to be a hunter.
# BoGirle 2015-09-16 09:24
I agree with this... she did not appear to be hunterish in way way shape or form. But the writers would have us believe that her year fighting as a rebel in OZ (something we never saw and can't quantify) somehow turned her into Uber Hunter... with ninja fighting skills, adept at hand to hand combat, enough so that she could defeat two heavily armed Stynes AND Dean using nothing more than a sword she could barely lift in the first instance and and only her good looks and a pair of leather pants in the second. THEN the nepotism duo reverses all of that, retuning her to her fearful, weak, waif like, defenseless self simply for the sake of the plot and to "influence" Dean. To say that it was manipulative is an understatement and to say that it was poor and cheap plotting is right on the money. Now they are hanging Sam out to dry for the sake of the bad writing. In my mind she's either a hunter and Sam was RIGHT to ask her, hunters help other hunters or she wasn't a hunter in which case Sam would be culpable. Seeing has how we had to sit through her "woe is me the life of a hunter" speech, I am putting her death squarely on her own shoulders. She should have known better.
# cheryl42 2015-09-22 14:19
I just saw this comment. Sorry somehow I missed it. As far as Charlie's hunting/ninja skills goes supposedly she learned all of this in Oz or Dark Charlie learned it. As Charlie told Sam when they discovered Clive was still alive at 135 years old, time passes differently in Oz. My assumption was that Charlie spent many many years there. She and Dorothy fought at each other's sides for a long long time through a vicious war they almost lost. I imagine Dorothy taught her a thing or two about how to fight and protect herself. What we also knew about Charlie was she wasn't a coward. Even in the first episode that we met her we saw that even though she might be frightened she wasn't afraid to do what was needed.
As far as her first hunting escapades even I could take on a ghost and a vampire by now, maybe. I just need the machete and the salt and gasoline.
Since that is what we were given that is what I go on for her story until the writers made her do something OOC and royally stupid.
# Sharon 2015-09-15 17:28
Sam just did what Dean does what everybody moaned about him not doing esp in season 8 what Dean got so miserable about saving at all costs the living and breathing Winchester code that so many love. As for Charlie she knew what she was doing she was not in the dark or oblivious to the dangers Sam did not coerce or bully as some have tried to claim her into helping , she made a ill judged decision to leave the protection she had and paid a big price for it.
# SueB 2015-09-16 00:23
Enjoyable analysis! I so appreciate you pulling this all together. When you started quoting the Trickster in Mystery Spot, I thought you were going to go for the line proceeding:

"Whoever said Dean was the dysfunctional one has never seen you with a sharp object in your hand. Woah, holy full metal jacket"

While the rest of the speech you quoted is on-point, I think this statement that compares the two is also quite relevant. When Sam gets locked into a position, he's scary-committed . So that he went as far as he did, is not a surprise. But I have to admit, by the time Brother's Keeper played, I started to think Sam had a good point. The entire build-up prior to this episode, I was yelling at the screen and telling him "No. Don't. Stop!" But then he made a very good point: besides Dean's belief that undoing the Curse would be VERY BAD, Sam had no other proof that this was a bad decision. I admire Sam for being able to sit back and look at the situation. MY instinct was to trust Dean's gut. I also agree with you that Dean didn't feel in as bad a shape as Sam was saying. But I can totally see Sam's argument. Dean going back to being a demon was unacceptable. Death was not possible. So, remove the curse. Sam has been willing to take many things on faith, but he won't let his brother die without proof. I don't think that's unreasonable. And then when Death threatened the Darkness, I also felt like Sam was not willing to let Death make the decision. I think he trusted Death in the past but not in Brother's Keeper. I'm not sure his instincts were wrong. Something also felt off to me about Death's attitude. Bottom line: while I agree that panic about losing his brother resulted in some bad decisions, I can't fault Sam for being unwilling to let his brother go without some proof that it was absolutely necessary.

I know you'll probably cover the acting later, but I also have to say that Jared's ability to look like a little brother is just perfection. He's what, 33? And yet he looks 7 as Sam kneels down and tells Dean to go ahead and kill him. Once again, Sam's faith in Dean was essential in Dean's decision making. So Sam, who would put no faith in arguments telling him that removing the Curse was a mistake, was willing to die because he had faith that Dean was a good man who would come back some day. It was just... poetic and moving for me.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-16 08:05
besides Dean's belief that undoing the Curse would be VERY BAD, Sam had no other proof that this was a bad decision.

But I can totally see Sam's argument. Dean going back to being a demon was unacceptable. Death was not possible. So, remove the curse.

I can't fault Sam for being unwilling to let his brother go without some proof that it was absolutely necessary.

Also agreed!

I know you'll probably cover the acting later, but I also have to say that Jared's ability to look like a little brother is just perfection. He's what, 33? And yet he looks 7 as Sam kneels down and tells Dean to go ahead and kill him. Once again, Sam's faith in Dean was essential in Dean's decision making. So Sam, who would put no faith in arguments telling him that removing the Curse was a mistake, was willing to die because he had faith that Dean was a good man who would come back some day. It was just... poetic and moving for me.
Perfectly stated!
# Jen 2015-09-16 01:24
Excellent analysis, Alice. Looking forward to your deeper look at Dean Winchester. I have tried to write a reply 4 times and have deleted it 4 times. So if this makes no sense I'm sorry, it stays
I have not alot to add to this analysis just how I see Sam & Dean on a personal level, I am a Sam personnality so what Sam sees and does makes sense to me. We all agree the boys are complete oppisites to each other - except maybe for their sensitivity. Dean will live and die a Hunter he knows nothing else - had only 1 yr to see life outside hunting. Where as Sam was not brought up so Black & White I think alot of Sam's desperation and anger is fueled by him knowing life can be good and the actions he has to take to save his brother go against the very core of his believes. He would except his brother's death if he felt it was justified Sam would move on and be happy. This Hunters life - this believe that his differnent, soulless Sam, Blood junky Sam all these different Sam's have destroyed the true Sam the one who could be a MOL with family and Dean by his side has been destroyed and now he has to re-invent himself and become someone he can't relate to
They both need somebody they can bounce off since Bobby died, I feel GARTH came very close to that with his carefree ways, and relaxed approach to hunting His Guru girlfriend. meditation ect. cleared his mind and soul of any guilt This is what the Boys need. S11 will be great if they put Sam & Dean back on the right path to understanding and The Family Business -- And LOTS of communication and a nice hug every now and then We all need HUGS ---- I WUV HUGS -----
# AlyCat22 2015-09-16 07:06
Thanks for the well thought out, balanced article. Great read. I found your comment about Sam's skewed perception interesting as I had that same thought. It really is the only thing that makes sense based on what we were being shown of Sam and Dean both.

I have to agree that "I love hunting" line from Sam's mouth was definitely a WTF moment. Since when? Since things became easier? Less dire? Less heartwrenching? Less life changing? Less deadly? Less anything? His brother died and was turned into a demon because of the life they lead for Pete's sake! What's to love about any of it? Who wrote that? Nep Duo, right? Figures.

Looking forward to your Dean interpretation.
# BoGirle 2015-09-16 07:41
Nice article Alice, but on the matter of Charlie's death and Sam's culpability I agree with samandean and njspnfan. The writers are not allowed to call Charlie a badass hunter in one scene and then have her be a frail waif in the next and then hold Sam responsible for her. Hunters ask other hunters for help, that's what they do and Charlie had shown herself to be more than capable in previous episodes and Sam was beyond forthright in detailing exactly what the dangers were if she decided to help him; which she did BTW, she decided, gave consent; she was not tricked, manipulated or scammed.. she went in with her eyes wide open. In the end, she could have said no, Sam was actually waiting for her to say no. Sam is only getting the blame now because the writing leading up to her death was so piss poor and because Dean blamed him. It bothers me how few fans will even consider that Dean might have been wrong in that moment and simply take everything he says at face value. Charlie got the Sam Winchester treatment of writing; having her go against established character traits and previously introduced plot points for the sake of a badly realized storyline. Her actions, given previous episodes made zero sense. She was a plot point and nothing else. Over the course of the season Sam's journey was not clearly laid out so many of his actions didn't make sense given the circumstances nor did we see the urgency that Sam was trying to indicate was there; the dreaded 'tell' rather than 'show' approach that is so incredibly prevalent on this show since Carver. Additionally the pacing of the MoC story was laughably bad, unbelievably slow and annoyingly cautious when it came to Dean's actions (more tell rather than show), which only served to make Sam's desperation look even less justified. I mean wasn't the MoC saving Dean's life on a weekly basis? Wasn't he essentially rational most of the time? Didn't he stop himself from killing those stupid assassins? and those dumb college kids? What was Sam saving Dean from again? The idea that he MIGHT go off the rails? Well since we never saw that, not even at the end, how can anything Sam did to save Dean from a fate 'worse than death' look even remotely necessary? In the end it didn't, so Sam looks a fool, and Dean looks a hero and here we are again. Just like in season 8 and 9 Sam is bearing the brunt of epically bad writing and pacing. And here Dean is again smelling like a rose when it was his actions that pretty much started everything.
# SueB 2015-09-17 00:17
Alice and a few others commented on Sam's "I love it, I do." regarding hunting. I'm consolidating my response here rather than write the same thing in three places. I actually am not surprised Sam has embraced the hunting life. And while ITA that this is the first time he has made that unambiguous, I don't think it's completely out of the blue since the end of S8. As to WHEN he changed, I'm not sure but I think it was the Men of Letters revelation/bunk er combined with the trials. It wasn't a sudden transformation, it's something that has settled in after he resolved some issues. Here's my timeline/thinking:

EP 8.10: Torn and Frayed - he almost gives up the life but chooses to stay with Dean and continue hunting. He's HURT. This is not a happy moment at all. But it's totally his choice. Dean LET HIM GO in that conversation. He told him to go have a normal life and he did so without anger or hurt. Dean was also sincere when he told him "in or out". And he was right to say that halfway was not the "way" (just like Amelia said) because it gets you dead. So Sam went for a walk, came back in and decided to stay hunting with Dean rather than make a life with Amelia. Now one of the reasons this didn't seem all that big at the time (to me) is that Amelia was "meh". But in-story, to Sam, Amelia was someone he loved. He stated it multiple times. Yes, there's the current husband and the whole being-a-shmuck- cheater issue is a barrier. But Sam had, at one point, said he didn't care. He loved her and wanted to be with her. It was later, after he met the husband, that he backed away and did the "honorable thing" the first time and walked away. But when he came to Amelia again, his feelings were still there and he was conflicted. However, both he and Amelia recognized the issue and went off to make their choice. He doesn't know what Amelia chose. He made his choice on his own, knowing that he could very well have the as-close-to-App le-Pie-life-as- a-Winchester-ge ts existence. And he decided to stay with his brother and hunt. Of COURSE we don't get the why. They're men. They don't talk. But personally, I think he still was still pissed at Dean some. He chose to take up the life again, with his brother because that was what he wanted.
EP 8.12 / EP 8.13: He finds a natural "place" for himself in the Supernatural world. The Men of Letters is tailor-made for Sam. One of my favorite moments is when he said "Son of a bitch" when the lights went on in the MOL library. And then, after the whole Necromancer Nazi's was over, he made a little record update (like the closet librarian he is -- yes, I LOVE that about him).
EP 8.14 - EP 8.23: He takes on the trials. Personally, I completely believe what Sam said at the start of the trials, in The Great Escapist, and in the finale. At first, I think he did the trials because not only did fate somewhat step in and he did the first test, he had the opportunity to show Dean that life did not have to end in a horrible self-sacrificin g death. He wanted to save his brother from his "I'm just a grunt doomed to die bloody" mindset. Of course as the trials went on, I think he realized they were killing him. I may be the ONLY person who believed him when he said the trials were purifying him, but I think the trials proved something to Sam. I think he believed he could finish them and that he really was DONE with the taint of the demon blood. What a horrible burden to have his entire life. And if Sam believed the trials purified him - that works for me. Was it an analogy vice literal? Possibly. But I think Sam let go of some of his "I am inherently wrong." mentality. While it's true that at the end he was half out of his mind and ready to die, I also think he accepted Dean's statement that Sam would always come first.
EP 9.2: He gets his past mistakes thrown in is face, In the final scene, drinking scotch, Dean reminds him that he's done a helluva lot of good. Then he tells Dean:
[code type="xml"]Hone stly, um...I feel better than I have in a long time. I mean, I realize it's crazy out there and we have trouble coming for us but I look around and I see friends and family. I am happy with my life, for the first time in ....forever. I-I am. I really am. I-It's just things are.. things are good.
So, if you want to pick the ONE moment where he makes the declaration... this would be it.
Now it could be argued that this is just the joy of not feeling like death warmed over because Gadreel is healing him. But I don't think so. I think this was Sam's truth and it was kinda missed by most of the audience because we're sitting there watching Dean die inside because he's lying to Sam and there's an Angel in him.

But let's continue on because I think there's a bit more up and down until he's truly "settled".

EP 9.04: Charlie busts him on his impersonal room and Sam tells both Dorothy and Dean that he's not got a great track record with having a home. He's hesitant to put up the "Hang In There, Kitty" poster. Dean, OTOH, has totally nested. At the end Sam says "there's no place like home" but that didn't really sell it for me. I got from that, that at least he'll try. He saw Charlie go off on a quest and I think it made him appreciate not doing that. So the needle nudged a little bit towards the bunker being home I feel.

EP 9.11 Sam could have gone anywhere to heal but he heads back to the bunker. It's become at least the default location of where to go.

EP 9.12 Sam is hunting by himself. He was in New Mexico prior, has his own classic car, and comes to investigate Garth's situation. The final conversation has been picked clean by most folks (analyzing it 6 ways from Sunday), but there's a key point here: Sam intends to keep hunting. That is his "work". And yes, he doesn't know what to do with Dean. But he knows he'd rather work with Dean than work alone. An interesting note on the topic of "greater good": Sam still has a strong grasp on that in this episode. He's rethinking what they did in the Church as maybe not the best choice.
EP 9.23 He has his stiff drink and begins his quest to SAVE DEAN. And yes, I think this was another turning point. He didn't go full-on Robo Hunter but he definitely crossed a few lines after this point. I don't know if it was the just Dean's death that made him tip more over the moral event horizon, but he gets on his MISSION at this point. And it doesn't really stop until the S10 finale.
EP 10.5 After "Sammy" says 'the two of us against the world', Sam reaffirms (with emphasis) 'what she said'.
EP 10.12 Sam is the one who drags Dean back out into hunting. This is what they do, IMO, at this point.
So... in
EP 10.18 When he tells Charlie I guess I really understand now that…this is my life. I love it. But I can’t do it without my brother." I don't think it came completely out of the blue. I think he's been building up to that moment since mid S-8.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-17 16:17
I'm still not convinced SueB. Except for Ep 9.2 everything you point out is more consistent with the view that Sam is reconciling himself to the hunting life rather than loving it. He does it because it has to be done and he's good at it. Undoubtedly he also derives great satisfaction from vanquishing evil and helping people, but there was zero evidence that he missed hunting during his time with Amelia. He was too busy enjoying things like farmer's markets and having a dog and being a regular person. :) And as he himself stated, he chose the life over Amelia because there was work to be done.
As far as Ep 9.2 I saw that scene a little differently than you did. Sam's declaration that he was happy with his life struck me (and Dean!) as very uncharacteristi c of Sam. As I recall Dean had a very odd look on his face, as though both surprised and unhappy with Sam's statement. To me, this indicated that Dean believed Sam's newfound happiness was the influence of the Gadreel possession, which did further fuel Dean's guilt about it. And if you look at Sam's statement, the only specific cause for happiness he references is being surrounded by family and friends. I do believe that Sam became happier with his life after they found the MOL bunker, because THAT is truly where his interests lie, not in hunting. That's why he readily admitted to Dean in EHH that he considers himself a MOL. But the life of a MOL differs enormously from that of a hunter, and given a choice, I have no doubt which Sam would choose. Sam's attitude reminds me of a person who is not particularly happy with his job, but because he is good at it and loves his co-workers, he is content. Well, Sam's co-workers are his brother and his friends! It's very telling that he would not want to continue hunting without Dean. Being with Dean is the stronger draw than the life itself. If Dean ever decided to leave the life, there's not a doubt in my mind that Sam would immediately follow suit. Bottom line, IMO Sam's attitude over the course of 10 years has evolved into a general acceptance of his life as a hunter which falls far short of a "love" of the life.
# SueB 2015-09-17 20:04
IA it's the MoL aspect that really makes a difference. I don't know if he'd be content if he was still 100% living out of hotels.
# Alice 2015-09-22 00:57
Oh, I agree with all this. I just don't believe he loves the life. He does it because he has nothing else. I do believe he loves and needs Dean, but I don't believe for a second he's happy. The word "love" was out of left field, not the comment.
disgruntled  viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-09-21 18:27
Oh, I've read the review and all the comments and I'm not completely agree or completely disagree with every person here. Except SueB. who I can't agree more with. I'd like to underline some points.
SueB, agreed with your every word. And you are not the only person, who thinks that Sam was right when he thought, that trials had purified his body from the residue of demon blood. I'm also firmly convinced of it. And I have my reasons. And I also support your view on Sam's accepting and loving his life as a hunter. He may be a Man of Letters, but he is also an inborn hunter, the fact he always had been in denial with his whole life. Yes, he always wanted "to be normal" and that's why had wanted to abandon this life. And there always had been the circumstances which had drawn him back. But he also found fulfilling saving lives and destroying evil. And that was established as early as in 01.02, in Wendigo. and after that this tendency only developed exactly because he loves life, he loves good and hates evil. But the sinister situations he always found himself in prevented him to understand that earlier. I think he started to reevaluate what he wants from his life in 01.09. It was a very informative episode about Sam's state of mind, and I agree that in the next episode he said exactly what he thought.
And doesn't anybody think that be happy with one's own lifestyle is a sign of a well-adjusted person and not of a fractured psyche? I'm happy with my lifestyle, is anything wrong with me?:o
I also agree that Sam is a person of purpose and commitment, and when he sees the goal he doesn't see the obstacles and he is capable "to go through the walls". And he was completely right when he said to himself, that the only person who was able to stop him was himself. It's completely in the character, remember season 3, "The only question how far I can go". For Sam, the sky is the limit. But I disagree with those who think that he repeated his mistake from season 4, when he really got obssessed with his goal to stop the Apocalypse. In season 10 he always controlled his moves trying not to do any harm, as Werther Project clearly showed, though he took some risks and was somewhat reckless . And that without doubt will weigh on him heavily.
As for those who think that he was ready to let the world burn to save his brother, have you forgotten his ultimate choice? When he learnd that the danger to the world is real he preferred to be killed at the hand of his brother in the belief that some day his brother will remember what it meant to be human, but not let somebody else be hurt.
And I also find it ironic that people think that Dean expresses the authors' point of view and that's why he is always right. If Dean blames Sam for Charlie's death, than Sam is to blame, If Dean thinks, even Marked Dean, that Sam is evil, than Sam "is going dark". That's truly amusing, because during the whole show we dealt with unrelible narrators and facts often clashed with opinions.
A couple more things. Doesn't anybody find it amusing that the words about "one of the brothers going dark and the other saving him" turned out to be about Dean going dark and Sam saving him?
And why did everybody assume that releasing Darkness will have more dangerous consequences, than killing Death :D ? Just saying, everything in the hands of the authors.