Get on your meta hats everyone, its time to tackle some deep questions before moving onto Thursday's episode, "Metamorphosis." With all this mythology and back story unfolding over the last three episodes, it's time for a sanity check. Except I think I'm anything but sane after this exercise.
In the heated discussion about angels in "Are You There God, It's Me Dean Winchester," Sam said that "for once this isn't a bunch of demon crap." You ain't kidding Sammy. The introduction of angels and a head scratching mythology is fueling again countless hours of speculation and research over where in the world Mr. Kripke is leading us. I'm sure it's someplace good but in the meantime, speculation is fun.
We already had a good idea that angels weren't the warm, fluffy, Touched By An Angel variety. In "Houses of The Holy" while in the cathedral, Sam notices the image of Michael the Archangel. Sam: So they're not really the Hallmark card version that everybody thinks? They're fierce, right? Vigilant?
Father Reynolds: Well, I like to think of them as more loving than wrathful; but yes, a lot of Scripture paints angels as God's warriors. "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, the glory of the Lord shone down upon them, and they were terrified."
Sound like our favorite new angel Castiel? BTW, if you google Castiel, you don't find much. Castiel is mentioned in "A Dictionary of Angels" but all that is known about him is he's the Angel of Thursday. Clever!
According to Castiel, angels haven't roamed the earth in 2,000 years, so his lack of people skills is understandable. Castiel finds Dean as much of a puzzle as Dean does him. He figures out after a couple disastrous attempts that he must take another form to communicate with Dean. The person he chose as a "vessel" appears to have been on wits end due to his overall haggard appearance and likely after an act of desperate prayer was chosen for this task. "He is a righteous man. He prayed for this." Dean finds the possession appalling where Castiel has no issue with it at all. That goes to show how far apart these two are in their perception of good and evil.
Castiel approaches Dean at their first meeting with curiosity and innocence, perplexed by Dean's lack of faith and feelings of inadequacy. I suppose if my first contact with a human after 2000 years was Dean Winchester, I'd be very curious too. He picked a live one. In their next meeting Dean is even more defiant and angry, still struggling with the idea that God and angels are real. Castiel tries to talk to him rationally, but Dean forces his patience. Castiel had every right to put the so called "fear of God" in him and it worked. Interesting too, since Dean usually doesn't take threats very well. By "In The Beginning" Dean's accepted that this guy's the real deal, which means God is real. This is a pretty big jump for him.
"In The Beginning" really pushed the dynamic between these two. Why did Castiel think Dean needed to know the truth? Why deliver the message in such a harsh way? Going back again to "Houses of The Holy", Dean states to Sam "I believe what I can see." Letting Dean see his family's tragic history, experience it first hand, is what he needs to accept everything he's been told so far is real. He has to know the gravity of the situation, how serious Azazel's plan is, and how much Sam plays a role in this.
This trip back in time is likely as much of a test for Dean as it is to share the truth. Castiel is non-specific with instructions, allowing Dean to do what he sees fit. He judges Dean's reactions, thus why he asks questions in the car about him changing history. He knows anything Dean did would be of little consequence, but has to know the reasons. In the end he tells Dean where Sam because Dean proves he's up to the task. He would do anything to save his family.
Castiel knew this experience would personally affect Dean, and his arrival with a deep gesture of sympathy after Dean saw Mary make the deal with Yellow Eyes is very touching and appropriate. Angels can be loving at times like Father Reynolds said. More loving than wrathful though, that remains to be seen.
When back at the motel room, Castiel's information about Sam could be considered an act of mercy. Again from "Houses of The Holy", Sam admits he prays daily and believes in a higher power in hopes that he can be saved. Even though Dean could protect him, he is only one person, and Sam needs to believe something else is watching too. This could finally be the answer to Sam's prayers, right when he's giving into the darkness. Dean is the one chosen for the task to save him, even being pulled out of Hell for it. It isn't too late for poor Sammy. Castiel makes it very clear though what will happen if Dean fails. "Stop it, or we will." Dean is Sam's only hope.
"Because we have work for you"
Was Dean raised from Hell only because of Sam? What else do the angels have planned for him? I previously speculated that Dean was chosen to stop Sam. Now that I think about it more, he was chosen to save Sam. The angels can stop Sam on their own, but so far the only one that has proven to get through to Sam is Dean. Is that all that's required of Dean?
There's a special reason why Dean was chosen. Part of it ties back to what Roy LeGrange said about looking into Dean's heart in "Faith." He saw, "A young man with an important purpose. A job to do. And it isn't finished." Dean is so far uneasy with his task, wondering why angels and God would care about an ordinary guy like him. Dean doesn't realize the most famous people in the Bible were ordinary folk. Add in Castiel's comment "Destiny can't be changed Dean. All roads led to the same destination," and its clear Dean has a destiny just like Sam does.
Is Dean's purpose good and Sam's evil? Considering this show has always drawn fine lines between good and bad, chances are it won't be that clear cut. Sam may have evil inside him, but so far he's been the faithful one. Dean has done nothing be shun the existence of God and mercy, and he's the one spared through a divine act. Even an obstacle like Hell isn't going to stop a destiny. We wonder if Sam and Dean will arrive at the same destination or different ones. The angels wonder that too, which is why Dean is there.
"I don't know if what I'm doing is right"
Sam can't avoid the evil inside of him. It's who he is. He had a chance to save Dean with his abilities and couldn't, so now the guilt is tearing him up so much that he's rationalized he must use his powers to save others. It's his redemption, turning something evil into something good. He doesn't know whether to trust Ruby, but he's listening to her anyway. He probably senses he's taking a dangerous risk, but he still believes he can control the situation. He also doesn't realize that once he unleashes the monster, he might not be able to stop it.
Sam's been forced to rely on himself, and Dean coming back isn't going to change that. He's confused and believes he shouldn't count on big brother anymore because Dean can't always be there. "All Hell Breaks Loose Part I" is a perfect example of that, as is last season's finale. Dean has never understood what's inside him, so he's not going to understand what Sam's doing with demons. Sam believes he's doing good right now and it's the most right he's felt in a long time. This is his fight and not Dean's.
We know Sam must be misguided though, for whatever he's doing is bad enough where Castiel must intervene. All these brotherly secrets forced an angel to step in and reveal the truth. When divine intervention is required, Sam's in some serious crap.
No wonder Lilith took Dean's deal and wouldn't bargain with Sam. Dean is the one that can get in the way of Sam's destiny, which likely affects Azazel's end game, or maybe it's Lilith's end game now. It's also possible Lilith's fear of Sam is a ploy, as is Ruby's intervention, because it's all part of the bigger picture, which starts by drawing Sam's abilities out. Maybe Dean is the one they really fear. I'm curious to see when Lilith finally does resurface, if she'll be intimidated by Dean's angelic backing.
Alright, I'm going there. Is Sam Winchester the Antichrist? Gordon said it, Ruby said it, even Dean said it (albeit jokingly). It's always something I've dismissed, probably because I don't want to believe it, but is it possible? Sure, anything's possible on this show. What made Gordon make the leap from "monster" in "Hunted" to "the Antichrist" in "Bad Day at Back Rock?" Did he know something legit or was he just nuts? Ruby hinted the same thing in "The Kids Are Alright." One has to admit, being the soul survivor of a half bred evil race seems very suspicious.
Christians say the Antichrist is one that will oppose Christ and substitute himself in his place. Other groups think he comes with great power and disguises himself as Christ. Others say he's a human man walking among us. Most agree he comes from evil, is a man of sin, and tie the appearance of the Antichrist with the apocalypse. There are so many texts and prophecies out there about who or what the Antichrist is that Kripke could invent any version he wants.
Since we've already had concrete signs of the apocalypse in "Are You There God..." the timing of the rising of the Antichrist seems right, and all clues point to the definitely possibility of that being Sam's role. The angels don't know for sure, that's likely what Dean has to find out. We'll find out when he does.
Mythology From A Blender
The female hunter in the beginning of "Are You There God..." was reading "The Secret Teachings of All Ages." The mere presence of that book shows the mixed bag we're dealing with when it comes to mythology Kripke style. That book is a huge encyclopedia of mystical teachings involving the Qabbala, Alchemy, Tarot, Ceremonial Magic, Hermiticism, Neo-Platonic Philosophy, Mystery Religions, the theory of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry. Throw in ancient Hebrew texts like the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud, the numerous apocryphal texts, the many interpretations of the Christian Bible, plus moves like Constantine and Star Wars, put it all in a blender, and there's no end to where this version of the Apocalypse will go.
We got good indication that the show was going to follow their own rules when Bobby said of the Bible, "The widely distributed version is just for tourists." Judging by the old book in Hebrew he was reading, there's way more out there than anyone can imagine. An Internet search on "rising of the witnesses" doesn't come up with much, but rising of the dead in general is a mentioned is several prophecies. The show is taking some creative liberties, but we don't mind.
66 is an interesting choice for the number of seals. 66 is a master number in numerology, although a rarely used one. Derivates of that number, 11 and 22, are master spiritual builders. There are 66 books in the Bible and 66 was mentioned in the Bible twice. 66 can also be taken from 666, which is the number of the beast of the Apocalypse in The Book of Revelations. The number means a multitude of things, but it's also possible someone is just messing with us, kind of like that Angel of Thursday thing.
This could also be the religious retelling of Darth Vader's story, especially with all the Star Wars references in past episodes. If Sam's destiny is truly as dark as we believe, and how far will he go? Will he be able to be saved? Will Dean manage to save not only him, but the world? That's what the rest of the series is for, but we love picking apart the clues as they unravel. With this type of creative latitude, we're in for anything.
Whew, my brain hurts. Enough of this, bring on episode four! We're ready for more punishment, I mean, entertainment. Nothing like pesky angels to stir up trouble. At least this isn't the same old demon crap.