Can I get a “Hell Yeah!”? I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. Louder. "HELL YEAH!!"
This time last year, I was weeping in devastation over the demise of beloved Dean and worrying over his horrific time to come in Hell (yes, I care about these characters too damn much). This year, while I'm still very frightened for our boys (and their now fugitive angelic companion as well), and let a "Damn You Kripke!" slip at the cliffhanger ending, I find myself pumping fists more than breaking out the Kleenexes. That's a way to cap a spectacular season!
Again, we must bow at the feet of the master. This year's finale is especially bittersweet, for even though it's the final exclamation point on an already spectacular season, it comes without the patriarch that usually closes the seasons, Kim Manners. Eric Kripke does an incredible job taking on all the stressful roles of writer, producer, and director for this truly brilliant piece of work. Even though he's only directed one episode before, season two's "What Is and What Should Never Be," he proves that he has what it takes to use the camera to keep us on the edge of our seats and leave us begging for more. Awesome man!
We get answers! Sure, more questions too, but hey, we need something to take us into next season. The most satisfying resolution clearly comes from Ruby's story playing out. After two seasons and plenty of ambiguity, the outcome isn't too surprising. She's evil, and was brought in to manipulate Sam to carry out the master plan of freeing Lucifer. Still, I feel a HUGE payoff from how it plays out, and looking back find her overall plan brilliant. It all comes full circle, right down to both brothers giving her a well deserved gutting like a fish.
Castiel goes rogue! He grows a pair! Man did he buy himself a mess of trouble, and all because he listens to Dean. It's incredible how their relationship has progressed through the season and the impact they've had on each other. I've already got my season five wishlist going, and Cas tops it. He rescues Anna and together they go off to save the world, having some hot angel sex doing it. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?
Then we FINALLY learn Azazel's part in all this, and what the "endgame" was all along. Lilith breaks the seals, and Azazel delivers the "special child," the only one who can break the final seal. The plan is 37 years in the making, which is like 3700 in Hell years (give or take a few thousand). I have a feeling we have only seen the beginning of the "end game," and there's plenty more to be learned.
The most jaw dropping part is the plan has been known by the top angels for a while, who have no problem letting it happen. Seems they're into some cleansing of humanity for their own reasons. Zachariah is the angelic version of Azazel, and every bit as evil. His "God has left the building" remark actually makes Lilith, Azazel, and Ruby seem like the ones with the true faith, since they actually still believe in their Lord. This show does love to twist things. Kripke, you magnificent bastard.
Get To The Brothers Already
Despite the plenty of side distractions, the main crux of the story is the fractured brotherly relationship. The wounds are still stinging from last week's all out brawl, with Sam out of hope and ready for death while Dean is being stubborn over his wounded pride. Sam and Ruby are holed up in the same squalid house from "I Know What You Did Last Summer," while Dean gets a tongue lashing at Bobby's for being too much like his dad. Just as Dean is pondering to go after Sam, the angels step in to stop that plan.
I have to admire Kripke's twisted sense of humor, for the angelic "green room" is a near exact replica of "Jupiter and The Infinite Beyond" from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's just another perfect way of showing Dean is stuck in another realm. He can have cheeseburgers from Delaware (which are great, I can attest), his favorite beer from "What Is and What Should Never Be," and Ginger in full color and Mary Ann, but all he wants is Sam. Aww, how sweet. Too bad that's the one thing they won't let him have.
Dean's role in all this is still in question, which is one of those mental notes for season five. His destiny isn't to stop the apocalypse after all, it's to kill Lucifer, after a whole truckload of eggs (aka humanity) are broken. His reward is eternal peace. Dean doesn't really care much for that reward, since he's never been comfortable with it anyway. Did Zachariah forget the Winchester motto? "Saving people, hunting things, the family business?" I'm still trying to figure out how Dean is going to be powerful enough to kill Lucifer. If Castiel can't kill someone like Alastairâ€¦oh screw it, we'll find out next season.
Dean's greatest triumph is getting through to Castiel, showing the conflicted angel once and for all that something's rotten in Heaven. My "Hell Yeah!" over Castiel forming the sigil with his own blood on the wall and sending Zachariah away scared both the cat and the dog. Not hubby though, since we shared a high five. Then we stopped when Castiel reveals the ultimate dinger, Lilith is the final seal. You knew that and didn't tell anyone Cas? What did those big bad angels do to you?
Dean and Castiel risk the wrath of an archangel to get Chuck The Prophet to tell them where Sam is, and Chuck proves to be the wisest character in the entire episode. He knows the end is coming, so he's going out by planning an all-nighter with twenty hookers. That leads to the line of the episode from Castiel. "You guys aren't supposed to be here. You're not in this story." "Yeah, well, we're making it up as we go." See, Dean is wearing off on Castiel!
Meanwhile, at a convent in Maryland, one that happens to have a doorway for Lucifer should he break free, Sam's predestined role continues to play out. Getting there isn't easy though, for Sam lets his doubts creep through. He's actually starting to believe Dean was right. Of course that's because he doesn't want to drink all the blood of an innocent nurse with an evil demon inside of her, showing a glimmer of hope that old Sam is still inside there by thinking that's wrong. Poor Sam though, for whether the sabotaged apology voice mail of Dean's comes from Zachariah or Ruby (I think Zach, since he said steps were being taken), it's enough for him to act like the monster Dean accuses him of being and sacrifice the nurse.
Yes, Sam is played like a violin right to the end, when he stretches his arm out and does his demon killing mind trick on Lilith (complete with total black demon eyes). He doesn't even notice that Dean has arrived (a la the hand slap of transportation from Castiel), even though Ruby does when she closes the door on him. Sam stops though when he hears Dean's voice, but Lilith, being an evil demon and all, knows how to push Sam's buttons. She taunts him over letting himself become a monster and then not following through. His temper gets the better of him and he finishes the job, finally getting that long sought after revenge as a dead Lilith falls to the floor.
If there's any episode that'll truly break a Sam fan's heart, it's this one. Sam's pinpoint focus on his thirst for revenge leads to the most catastrophic result possible. Blood pours from Lilith and forms a circle while a celebrating Ruby finally shows her true colors. Sam has broken the final seal and opened the door. Once Sam realizes what he's done, he's beyond consolation. His horror and devastation is perfectly played (well done Jared!), even using Dean's "you lying bitch" line. He's also too weak from taking out Lilith to kill Ruby, who is still too overjoyed over Lucifer being free at last. This is where we get Sam's big reveal that will be sticking with us to next season. He didn't need the demon blood after all to become as powerful as he did. It was inside him all along. The line, "You didn't need the feather to fly, you had it in you all along Dumbo," is pitch perfect.
Then comes the BEST moment of the night; the BEST moment of this season in a season loaded with plenty of goodies. Dean breaks through the doors, charges at Ruby who boasts that it's too late. "I don't care." Dean pulls out the knife, and a despondent Sam gets enough wits about him to stand up and hold Ruby for his brother. Dean stabs, she sputters, and ding dong the witch is dead! (Happy dance, happy dance). The brothers are together, and suddenly all is right with the world again. Oh, except for Sam's heart crushing "I'm sorry" to Dean and Lucifer rising in a flash of white light as the screen fades, but that becomes next season's worry. Sam and Dean are in it together (even clutching onto each other), and I'm happy.
That leaves us with so much to ponder, so many directions for the characters to go, so much to reconcile in the ever growing mythology, but that's what summer hiatuses are for. For right now I'm going to sit back, relax, and feel really grateful that there's a show like this on the air. This and the Chuck finale are the two I'll be watching over and over again with a big smile. And a "HELL YEAH!"
It should be noted that it's my dream to own a classic Mustang someday and I completely drool every time I see one on the road, but Ruby's never impressed me. I think it's because it's hers. I hope Sam gets the car now that she's dead. He'd look cooler driving it. He also needs to paint it black. The Impala needs a sister!
Speaking of cooler, no Impala in this episode? She must have wanted too much money.
The pop culture references are insane, but my favorite is "The Suite Life with Zack and Cas." My kids watch the Zack and Cody Disney channel version ad nauseum in my household, so I really found that joke hysterical. I'll take Zack and Cas over Zack and Cody any day! Second place goes to the mention of the holodeck. That was the only good part of Star Trek: The Next Generation much of the time.
Bobby didn't die!!! (Happy dance, happy dance.) Of course Jim Beaver told us in Cherry Hill he'd be back in season five, so I'm glad it'll be with his character alive and not some ghost.
The constantly changing paintings in the angelic suite are pretty wild, and I love the themes changing from heavenly to hellish. It sets the perfect tone for Zachariah's troubling confession. Again the archangel Michael is brought up. I'm sure that's important for later.
My grade, an A+. I'm not sure how this ranks in the all time list, but again, we get a classic for the ages. My grade for the season is an A. One of the best I've seen in network television, up there with The Simpsons season four and The West Wing season two. Thank you, thank you Mr. Kripke for your grand vision and perfect execution this season, and good luck planning the next one.
What makes a season finale good; is it the questions it answers or the ones it poses, the characters that are killed or the characters that are saved, the hidden agendas revealed or the hints at those that remain hidden, is it the action or is it the tears, is it the realization of what is important or is it the revelation of what has been lost? For me the answer is all of the above which is why this episode was satisfying in so very many ways.
I've written before of the magnificent storytelling by Eric Kripke and this episode simply spotlights his efforts. From Carry on Wayward Son to "He's coming" I was enthralled. That Eric wrote and directed this episode amazes me. I have to imagine (not being a writer, director, producer or anything else related thus all I can do is imagine) that it must take tremendous courage to put your vision out where everyone can see it week after week. To write an episode and hand it off to a trusted director, confident he will craft it to its best possible outcome, is one level of courage; to write it and hand it off to your own self is another. Eric wrote a script that played to his strengths and it was excellent.
Eric's style of writing may lack some of the depth of emotion and inner conflict that Sera Gamble so effortlessly pens but that in no way diminishes the excellence of this episode. Lucifer Rising had emotions aplenty but it's the overall mytharc where Eric excels. Lest we forget, Eric wrote, in part or in full, Pilot, Home, Shadow, Devil's Trap, In My Time of Dying, All Hell Breaks Loose II, No Rest for the Wicked, Lazarus Rising, In the Beginning, Heaven and Hell and Lucifer Rising. When we want questions answered or motivations revealed when we want continuity from the past and weaving of threads for the future, it's Eric who delivers.
And he delivered.
I wrote a short article listing the things I hoped to see/hear in this episode, wow, from the list you can tell I was very, very satisfied:
First - Carry On Wayward Son, it's a tradition and I love the tradition, so I'm dearly hoping for the recap with the music.
Second - Cas pulling a fast one on the 'higher powers' and going rebel with Dean.
Third - Sam realizing Ruby's been playing him for two years and he kills her, or at the very least sends her to hell, oh, all right, if I can't have either of those two I'll just be really happy if he at long last realizes how badly she used him.
Fourth - that Bobby DOES NOT DIE! I don't scour the sites looking for spoilers and have no idea how so many in the fandom seem to think that Bobby's going to get killed but it's out there, so I'll hope that it does not happen.
Fifth - that Dean and Sam have some realization that while they both are very far apart right now it is simply a matter of their dual traumatic year and that they are still brothers, I need some tiny, minuscule, microscopic bit of hope to get me through the break.
Sixth - which BTW means I hope there isn't anything gonna happen that says that Dean and Sam are not brothers, I mean, really?????
Seventh - I would love the irony or maybe it's literary symmetry (thank you Chuck, as in I am the Prophet!) in having Dean, the righteous man sent to hell, breaking the first seal when he became a torturer after enduring three decades of torture and thus Sam breaking (almost maybe?) the final seal as a righteous man on earth nearly becoming a demon after enduring similar torture (you don't really think the demon blood and the feeling the evil inside of him and the mental/emotional/physical torture he's been going through of late is anything fun?)
Eighth - previews for the 5th season premier (what are my chances on that one?
Yeah, I was pretty happy.
For the record, I never thought I'd enjoy an episode in which the brothers spent all but the final moments apart but, similar to John's continuing presence permeating episode after episode, Sam was nearly always present with Dean and Dean nearly always present with Sam. The angels and the demons know all too well that when Sam and Dean are together they keep each other grounded; it's when they are separated that they can be manipulated.
Pride goeth before the fall:
Pride kept the brothers separated. It is possible to take pride in one's low opinion of oneself, Dean tends to run to this inner fortress when things get to be tough which is why his internal battle in Dream a Little Dream of Me is so fascinating; we know ourselves best, strengths and weaknesses and, when we are honest with ourselves we strip away the make-believe and do battle with the real. Dean has a certain perversity of pride in his willingness to place himself lower than those he loves, and the demons use it and so do the angels.
Azazel picked that scab with great relish in Devil's Trap as did Alastair in On the Head of a Pin, Uriel effortlessly provoked Dean to giving up Anna in Heaven and Hell and the CRD from Cross Road Blues planted the seed she would reap several months later in All Hell Breaks Loose II, Castiel, with Zachariah pulling the strings, similarly out dueled Dean in When the Levee Breaks and set Dean up for his temporary lock down in the â€˜green room.' That begs the question, are angels only capable of holding humans against their will if a deal has been made?
Azazel told Dean in AHBL II that demons cannot resurrect a human unless a deal is made; I wonder if angels have a similar restraint. The closest we've seen of Dean being held against his will was in OTHOAP but he did not demand to be returned, he only tried to leave. When Uriel blocked him, Dean demanded to speak with Castiel which was granted. Castiel successfully pled the angels' case and Dean chose to stay. It's obvious that angels are able to transport humans through space and time as well as speak in their dreams, alter their memories and even abduct them but each time that has happened there has never been a demand to leave, to be returned. The only time Dean demanded to be let go was after he had pledged his obedience to the angels, the result, the angels told him no. I think angels, along with not being omnipotent or omnipresent, also cannot hold a human against their will.
The angels were not subtle once they had Dean where they wanted him, attempting to buy him off with “wine, women and bacon cheeseburgers”, however, they missed the deeper man. Perhaps it's a good thing that angels are soulless, lifeless, heartless creatures; had they any of those things they would have realized that beer, burgers and bimbos - sorry, Ginger and Mary Ann, but I really wanted the continuity - would never guarantee Dean's calm acceptance of his placement in the "green room."
Despite Dean's inclination to low self-worth he is a keen hunter with a discerning mind and does not take things at face value. While he frequently has a fatalistic view as shown in Jus in Bello "Honestly, I think the world is going to end bloody" he couples that with a fighting spirit, a hunter's spirit, "but it doesn't mean we shouldn't fight; we do have choices. I choose to go down swinging." He shows that again with Sam in No Rest for the Wicked"If we go down, then we go down fighting." The angels may have tricked Dean into the green room, but like any caged tiger, they had a fight on their hands once they got him there.
We've no doubt about Sam's pride; it's been on display throughout the series and notably this season. That's not condemnation because we all need a certain level of pride. However, similar to Dean's bent towards low self-worth; Sam has a lack of confidence which bends him towards pride, the destructive side of pride. We've seen this subtly and not so subtly throughout this season starting with Lazarus Rising when Dean teases Sam that the “smarter brother” has returned. It's on full display in Metamorphosis when Sam challenges Dean for not having faith in him, remember this:
Sam: "You want to know why I've been lying to you, Dean, because of crap like this the way you talk to me, the way you look at me like I'm a freak or even worse, like I'm an idiot like I don't know the difference between right and wrong." (emphasis, mine)
To Sam, it's bad enough that he's a freak, or at least thinks he is, but what's worse is that Dean might think him an idiot, incapable of knowing right from wrong.
Dean picks at this sore point in a teasing fashion in Family Remains but it is in Sex and Violence that this point is hammered deep as Dean openly challenges Sam's choice to sleep with a potential siren, and then casts Sam aside as unfit to finish that particular hunt. Sam's trip into his inner mind during When the Levee Breaks shows the full extent to which Sam hides his self-confidence issues deep down, showing a mask of assurance and control to the world.
It's interesting to note that while the demons and angels pick at Dean's sense of self-worth openly, Sam picks at his sense of worth privately through his obsession about what Dean thinks about him. Dean doesn't worry about what Sam thinks about him, he knows Sam loves him. Dean gave up his secrets about hell reluctantly, not because he doubted Sam's love or feared Sam's rejection; the secrets were so painful Dean couldn't bear sharing them because to admit them would make them real. Dean never once showed that he feared Sam's lack of respect. Even what the siren tapped into in Sex and Violence wasn't fear that Sam didn't love him because of what he'd done; it was because Sam was changing and becoming someone Dean no longer recognized. Read their dialogue again and you'll see my point:
Dean: "Well, I don't know when it happened, maybe when I was in Hell, maybe when I was staring right at you, the Sam I knew, he's gone."
Sam: "That so?"
Dean: "It's not the demon blood, or the psychic crap. It's the little stuff, the lies, the secrets."
Sam: "Yeah, what secrets?"
Dean: "The phone calls to Ruby for one."
Sam: "So I need your say-so to make a phone call?"
Dean: "That's the point. You're hiding things from me. What else aren't you telling me?"
Sam: "None of your business."
Dean: "See what I mean? We used to be in this together. We used to have each other's backs."
Sam: "Okay, fine. You want to know why I didn't tell you about Ruby? And how we're hunting down Lilith? Because you're too weak to go after her Dean. You're holding me back. I'm a better hunter than you are, stronger, smarter. I can take out demons you're too scared to go near."
Now take a look at what Sam 'thinks' Dean is saying to him in When the Levee Breaks:
Dean: "I know why you really drink that blood, Sam, makes you feel strong, invincible, a big, bad wolf in a world of little pigs. It's more than that, isn't it; it's because your whole life you felt different, not different because you were some lonely kid or because of your weirdo family but because you're a monster. You were always a monster and you only feel right when you're sucking down more poison and more evil. Monster, Sam, you're a monster and I tried so hard to pretend that we were brothers that you weren't one of the filthy things we hunt. We're not even the same species. You're nothing to me."
We've known a long time that what Sam fears the most is Dean's disapproval. He hid the drinking of demon blood because he feared Dean's censure. Sam has feared that Dean would disown him since Season 1, Nightmare, and despite all evidence to the contrary, in Nightmare, Hunted, Born Under a Bad Sign and even Dean's declaration in When the Levee Breaks "I just want you to be okay. You would do the same for me, you know you would.", Sam still cannot have faith. Interesting that Sam has faith in the unseen, angels and God, but not in the seen, Dean.
Some points that made this entirely fulfilling to me as a season finale are as follows:
Azazel took front and center stage again as the great manipulator behind the scenes and from so long ago. That brought a huge sense of continuity to the overall series and I love that for those out there doubting that Sam's storyline had been sidelined that Eric definitively silenced them - well, not likely because those that like to be miserable will continue - but for me it's a great accomplishment to bring back to the forefront what has always been the plan, Azazel put the plan in motion and Sam is the chosen one. Why, we do not know yet and thus the seeding of part of Season 5.
You must stop Sam? Lilith? The Apocalypse? - oh, Lucifer- awesome. And just like Sam Wesson needs Dean Smith to kill a simple ghost, Sam and Dean will need to join together to stop Lucifer, I have no doubt.
There were two times in this episode when my heart clenched, the first was when Dean called Sam and left that awesome message. The second was when Sam listened to the message that Zachariah had altered, the crushing of Sam's spirit reached through the screen and choked my heart - I was in agony.
The wisdom of Bobby. Dean was so crushed at the beginning of the episode that he reverted to his fatalism - "I'm not even sure he's my brother anymore, if he ever was." We need refuge when all appears lost but sometimes our refuge serves us best when it doesn't allow us to hide but spurs us on to fight. Bobby is Dean's refuge and here he did what truly needed to be done, he spurred Dean on. Thanks to Jump the Shark where Dean finally realized that all things John Winchester are not to be admired Bobby's words struck the right tone. Dean followed it up as soon as he was next given the opportunity by calling Sam and admitting he wasn't Dad and, unlike the shame he experienced in On the Head of a Pin, this was a good thing.
Sam hearing Dean through the 'noise'. Note during Dean's conversation with Castiel back in the 'green room' Dean makes an interesting comment when he's trying to get Cas to take him to Sam - “you know what, screw this noise, I'm out of here." Fast forward to when Sam is starting to kill Lilith and what do we hear, noise. There's the roar of Sam's heartbeat and the roar of wind but over the din Dean's voice comes through and Sam stops and turns to the sound - Dean. Ruby's frantic screams, right in his face, partially refocus his attention but it's not until Lilith laughs, a derisive laugh that is followed by her taunt to Sam that he turned himself into a freak, a monster, and then she laughs at him again. Oh, the demons know all too well how to push buttons and confuse the mind.
The brothers killed Ruby together. When Dean busted through that door and drew the knife to kill Ruby, Sam instantly and in perfect concert with Dean's movements grabbed Ruby from behind and held her while Dean plunged the knife and then twisted it with great satisfaction. We haven't seen such perfection in their hunt since - okay, It's a Terrible Life but that only counts because it proves that past all the baggage the brothers DO know exactly who the other is and what needs to be done. Strip away the noise, the pride, the shame and they know what to do.
When Sam apologized to Dean it was simple, honest and all that needed to be said. Dean's expression was a mixture of uncertainty and amazement that it just about broke my heart again, except for that pesky vortex opening. The simultaneous reflexive actions of both brothers to grasp the other's jacket and not let go is another example of the bond being rebuilt, that Dean wanted to leave and Sam stood firm shows that they are individuals and despite all of Sam's being brought low, he is still his own person. What really gave me hope though is that Sam grabbed Dean's jacket a second time, holding tight. Perhaps Sam remembered what Dean said a year earlier in No Rest For the Wicked: "If we go down, then we go down swinging." I think Sam added to that that they'll go down together.
Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins and Jared Padalecki each delivered, as is their norm. The inner conflict of their characters was clearly shown and all handled their action sequences beautifully but it's the nonverbals or the acting without anyone else in the scene that blew me away.
Jensen's portrayal of Dean leaving Sam a voice message is raw and real and I loved that Dean combined an admission of anger and the desire for inflicting a 'beat down' with the confession that he was not Dad - and by proxy not his 'soldier' and that nothing changed the fact that he and Sam were family and that he was wrong.
Jensen and Misha team up to deliver a completely silent, but in no way ho hum, moment when Castiel telepathically communicates with Dean. Castiel has always either spoken directly to Dean or through his subconscious, never once has he simply 'transferred' thoughts. The 'eye' acting between the two of them conveyed the urgency and danger and the immediate understanding of what was to be done. I've watched that scene several times and will no doubt watch it again.
Misha's performance as he draws the 'angel blasting' symbol on the wall and sends Zachariah to places unknown is intense. Add to that the shot from behind, sideways glance at Chuck (I am the Prophet Chuck!) who quickly, and wisely, removes his hand from Castiel's shoulder as the archangel descends had me bursting out with laughter - it was perfect!
Jared, Jared, Jared - how I love your acting with your eyes and the pain in your face - I think you hair hurts with Sam's pain and I feel it. I loved how he expressed Sam's continued conflict over what he was doing but this time he added irritation, Sam was irritated with Ruby for the first time ever. Add to that the wrenching image as Sam listened to 'Dean's voice mail' [Zach, for that I hope it hurt to get vortexed out of the 'green room'].
There is so much more I could write about but as is my norm I'll stop here having focused where I felt strongest. Due to 'issues' with my DVR I was unable to record the entire episode, losing the scene when Dean confronts Castiel about what he'd just learned form Zachariah - I have only the end of it when Dean tells Cas that they are through. Perhaps Alice will make that a clip and post it in her recap [unsubtle hint] but then again there is the fourth season DVD coming out soon - real soon.
Ask and you shall receive. Your missing scene...
As for Ruby, in my review of When the Levee Breaks I reviewed the road of Ruby so I'll not include her here other than to rejoice that she is dead. RUBY IS DEAD!!!!!! I am thinking about delving into her journey over the summer, either as a standalone article or in another article I'm planning - we'll see.
By the way, who loved that in the 'green room' there was a harp? LOL! How cool was it that when Zachariah sat down to 'confide' in Dean there was a mirror like is found in a carnival house of mirrors - very cool. How awesome is it that during Dean's and Zachariah's scene in which Zachariah reveals he wants the apocalypse the color is slowly bleached away. As the light of knowledge dawns, the color fades - cool.
So what now Season 5?
Before I get to that, a little trivia question - What do these four writers have in common in terms of their writing of an episode of Supernatural, Cathryn Humphris, Ben Edlund, Sera Gamble and Eric Kripke?
Things I hope to see in Season 5:
Sam and Dean rebuilding their relationship, stronger, deeper, wiser, aware of how they balance each other,
What happened to Anna,
What happened to Zachariah, Kurt Fuller is excellent in this part; he has a gravitas that draws me in while all the time watching, and knowing, there's more than meets the eye,
John, Mary, Samuel, Rufus, Chuck - I'd love to see these characters return in some fashion or another - oh, yes, and the Ghostfacers as well.
Bobby in as many episodes as possible,
As much classic rock as possible, can't somebody shell out a few more bucks???
No episodes without the Impala, I mean really, twice this season is twice too many!
How's about a good ole' urban legend about Valentine's Day, and oh, heck go for it, make a comedy of Friday the 13th â€“ it's self-referential and could be ghoulishly fun, November 13, 2009, is available.
So, have you figured out the answer to the trivia question???? I'll be checking your comments.
Last year in my review for "No Rest For The Wicked" on blogcritics, I challenged everyone to send their love for season three by sending a "Damn You Kripke!!" in the comments. I got 122 messages. Surely given this is the best season ever, we can do better than that. Allow me to start.
DAMN YOU KRIPKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS FOR EVERYTHING!!!!!!!! THIS SUMMER IS GOING TO SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!
Recapping this one has been near impossible. This has an extra special attention to detail, since so much unfolded, so get settled in and enjoy! Also, tons of screencaps in this one, since Jared, Jensen and even Misha gave us so much.
The opening shot profiled the slow churning devil's trap ceiling fan of the panic room, filtering in the only natural light. Sam is in the same place where he was last week, still trying to comprehend what's going on. You're screwed Sam, that's what's going on.
Dean opens the small opening in the door, and there's a very clever lighting trick that happens here. On Sam's side, there's a red light directly above him, giving him a red hue, probably signifying some sort of Hell. We know how this show has been messing with the color red all season. Dean is nearly monochrome, his steely glare looking washed out in the dingy light. Two entirely different worlds, separated by a thick iron door. Even if the intention doesn't really go that far, it's cool.
Sam isn't happy. "Okay, let me out. This isn't funny." "Damn straight," Dean says. Sam's not coming out until he dries out. Sam apologizes, but naturally that does nothing. Dean tells him not to apologize, for its not his fault. "Not your fault that you lied to me over and over again. I get it now, you couldn't help it." Sam can't believe that Dean is going there, calling him a junkie, but Dean mentions Sam's strung out behavior lately. "You're actually trying to twist this into some kind of ridiculous drug intervention?" An exasperated Sam asks. "If it smells like a duck," Dean replies. It smells like a mess to me.
Sam tells him he's not drinking the demon blood for kicks, he's doing it to be strong enough to kill Lilith. Dean calls Sam's behavior weak, not strong. Sam tries to hold onto his patience and tells Dean that killing Lilith is all that matters, but then loses it and accuses Dean of being so self-righteous he forgot about her. You see Sam, Dean holds all the cards right now, so pissing him off is probably not a good idea.
Dean says he and Bobby will kill Lilith, and Sam has a benchwarming seat to the apocalypse. Dean closes the slot in the door, and Sam goes nuts, pounding on the door and yelling at Dean to let him out. Dean tries to ignore him, but as he gets to the top of the stairs he stops, and his face tells it all. This is ripping him apart inside.
Birds and now I'm feeling like the world is going to end.
Sam is on the cot, and he's jittery. Okay, more than that, the world is going fuzzy. This is just the beginning of some spectacular drying out scenes which Jared just nails. He's completely awesome in this one.
Anyway, Sam gets up, a little dizzy, and goes over to the door to check it out. Yep, locked tight. He takes a long breath out and sees fog. Then the light goes off and on. Uh oh, spirit time. Sam yells out for help, turns and poof, it's Alastair. Sam is completely freaked. I would be too, but I already know this is one awesome hallucination.
Alastair is complete with sinister grin and scalpel, and he's deliciously evil. He announces with delight he has Sam all to himself, and flaunts the scalpel to "How will we pass the time?" Next Sam is strapped to the same torture table Ruby was in "Heaven and Hell," except Ruby was naked in that and Sam isn't. Oh come on Sam, you can't hallucinate yourself naked?
Sam is terrified and pleads with Alastair who starts to slice anyway, because he's evil like that. Sam lets out this long gasp of terror (complete with squishy sound effects) and then breaks into full fledged screaming, yelling "please." Alastair stops while Sam whimpers, and thanks him in an extra creepy way how pleased he is with his politeness, before slicing more. Sam screams his fool head off, then we see him stretched out on his cot in the same position without restraints and alone. Remind me never to drop acid. That's likely what I'd hallucinate now.
Two glasses of whiskey are poured while Sam's screams ring in the background. Bobby hands a glass to Dean, and I guess Bobby is off the wagon. Yeah, Winchester strife will do that to him. A torn apart Dean asks Bobby how long this is going to go on. Bobby, who's a little on edge himself, responds with some awesome sarcasm. "Here, let me look it up in my demon detox manual. Oh, wait, no one ever wrote one." Not only is Bobby unsure how long this will take, he's not even sure Sam will survive this. That bothers Dean more.
The phone rings and it's Rufus, as in Rufus Turner from "Time Is On My Side." We were told once early in the season Rufus would appear, but they must not have been able to work that out. Bobby tells him to "suck dirt and die" and instantly hangs up. Rufus immediately calls back, and judging by the look on Bobby's face it isn't good.
Back to our junkie, who wakes up, finding himself completely in tact. Alastair wasn't real. You know what else isn't real Sam? Your 14 year old self standing there in front of you. Yay, Colin Ford is back! It's so cool they found a way to get him and Jared a scene together. He tells older Sam "The answer is yes, you're hallucinating." Older Sam is completely freaked, again. "It's me, I mean it's you." I do so love it when hallucinations of my younger self have fun with me.
You gotta love the young spunky Sam, for he gives the grown up one a deserved what for. After he confirms that older Sam is losing his mind, younger Sam demands an explanation. They were supposed to be normal. Older Sam claims he tried, but it didn't work out that way. "Sorry kid." Likely story. Younger Sam pushes harder, because he's mad. "Sorry kid? That's what you have to say? It's all we ever wanted. We were so close. You got away from dad, you quit hunting, you were going to become a lawyer and get married. Why'd you blow it?" Ouch, teenagers are pretty blunt, aren't they?
Older Sam brings up Jessica, how "they" killed her. Oh, don't go there. Younger Sam points out that if he hadn't gone with Dean, she'd still be alive. Older Sam gives himself a very terse "I know." Ooh Sam, feeling a bit guilty? Younger Sam digs that knife deeper, asking if Jess wanted him to turn out like this, asking if she'd be happy he's using her as an excuse. Older Sam berates himself. "I'm sorry, I am, but life doesn't turn out the way you thought it would when you're 14 years old. We were never going to be normal, we were never going to get away. Grow up." Well that's bleak. Younger Sam though gets the last word, since he's cooler. "After all, how can you run from what's inside of you?" His eyes turn yellow, and it's great. That should unnerve older Sam a bit.
Back to Dean and Bobby upstairs, and Bobby breaks the news. Three seals broken in a single day. Ten species go extinct, 15 fishermen go blind in Alaska, and a teacher barricades herself in a school and kills exactly 66 kids. Well that's morbid. Bobby, he of more level head, asks Dean if now is the best time for their "domestic drama." That's a diplomatic way of putting it. Sam can kill demons. He could be useful in halting the apocalypse. Dean, he of overly stubborn Winchester pride, takes offense to the idea of sacrificing Sam's soul so he could be used as a "nuclear warhead." Bobby still tries. "I love that boy like a son. What I'm saying is maybe he's here right now instead of on the battlefield because we love him too much." Dean thinks about it.
Oh boy, things are really going south for Sam now. He's cross legged on the floor, shivering like someone without a coat in January but sweating like it's July, and his face has changed into a ghostly grey and white. He spots a pitcher of water and a glass in the distance and craves it like a man in the desert, but he can barely keep it in focus so it's not happening. He tries to get on his feet, but it's too much of a struggle. Oh Sammy, I'll nurse you back to health.
Better yet, it's a good time for Mama Winchester to show up. Why not? It's a party in Sam's head, and all dead relatives are invited! Mary is in her nightgown, complete with bloody wound on her stomach. She points out to Sam he looks just awful. Mothers are known for their honesty! Sam's face falls flat, for it's another personal demon he has to face. "Let's hear it. Go ahead"¦you're disappointed. You never thought I'd turn out this way. I'm a piss poor excuse for a son. Your heart is broken. Am I close?"
For a boy that grew up without a mother, he hallucinates this motherly love bit really well. Mary is nothing but loving, supportive and encouraging. She tells Sam he's doing the right thing and calls what he's doing brave and practical. "Sam, I am so proud of you." Has anyone ever told him that? Even Dean? That gets a small reaction from Sam, the kind you get when you've waited a lifetime to hear something so simple. I'm actually weepy now.
Sam then gets confused, asking about Dean. Mary claims Dean doesn't understand. She comes over and sits next to Sam on the cot. "I was raised a hunter, from a long line. We understand that there are going to be hard choices, we do what we have to get the job done. Yes, our family is cursed, but you, you have the power to turn it into a gift." At this point, she starts stroking Sam's hair, and he closes his eyes and takes in this touch like it's the most comfort he's ever gotten in his life. It probably is. Jared's subtle reactions to every bit of this conversation is brilliant. He's truly convinced me that Sam has always longed for a mother.
Mary goes on, telling Sam he can use his gifts against them. "For revenge?" Sam asks. "No, for justice." Oh, that word is so much better than revenge, even though in this context it means the same thing. There goes Sam self-justifying again.
"I know how scared you are," Mary tells him, and Sam just crumbles. He tearfully admits, "What's in me, Mom, it's-" she finishes his sentence, "evil." Sam is worried it's stronger than him and what if Dean is right. Mary strokes him again, and tells him Dean can never understand how strong he is. She calls Dean weak, terrified, and tells Sam he has to go on without him.
"You have what it takes. You have to kill Lilith." "Even if it kills me," Sam mentions with an edge of fear. Mary's silence confirms that to be true. "Make my death mean something. I'm counting on you Sam. Don't let anyone or anything get in your way. Not even Dean." She kisses his cheek and takes him in for a loving embrace, and Sam gets so lost in her touch. This is what he's craved his whole life. Then Mary gently slips away, and Sam in heart breaking fashion realizes it wasn't real. How can I be such a quivering mess 14 MINUTES in? How am I going to get through the rest of this?
Dean is alone in Bobby's salvage yard, and Castiel appears. Dean tells him it's about freaking time, since he's been screaming himself hoarse for two hours. What's really cool is that his voice is actually hoarse! I hope Jensen didn't have to go through painful measures to get that to happen.
Castiel wants to know what Dean wants. Oh, where does he begin? Dean starts with what happened in Illinois, but Castiel won't go there. "It's nothing of importance." Dean, who rarely stops to bite his tongue, of course has something uncomfortable to say. "You got ass reamed in Heaven, but it's not of importance?" Castiel can't talk about it, but everything about his troubled look tells us he's rather traumatized by it. Sorry Cas, I only have hugs for one traumatized character each episode and this ain't your week.
Castiel moves onto the subject Sam. Dean asks if Sam can kill Lilith? Yes, but there's a costly process. "Consuming the amount of blood to kill Lilith would change your brother forever. Most likely, he'd become the next creature you would feel compelled to kill." Man, for creatures of heaven, these angels don't offer much sunshine.
Castiel doesn't think it has to go that way though. They think its Dean who will do it, not Sam, but is he willing to accept it? Dean asks "If I do this, Sammy doesn't have to?" Castiel gives him a vague answer, which means Dean is likely jumping to the wrong conclusion and Cas ain't setting him straight. "If it gives you comfort to see it that way." Dean hates that answer. "God, you're a dick these days." Hasn't he always been?
Dean ponders and then says he's in. That isn't enough for Castiel. "Do you give yourself over holy to the service and God and his angels?" Dean, not one for reciting vows, replies "Yeah, exactly." Castiel makes him say it. Dean does, but as usual has a twist. "I give myself over holy to serve God, and you guys." Hee! I never tire of Dean's attitude in these situations. That's still not enough for Cas though. "You swear to follow his will and word as swiftly and obediently as you did your own father's?" Now Dean looks like he wants to punch him. Way to twist that knife Castiel! Dean swears and asks now what. They wait. In the meantime, they have a stare off. Why not? Sam's only rotting in the panic room.
Sam's on the floor in the panic room, still a sweating, jittery mess. He looks at his hand, and sees his veins turning black. He gets up in a hurry and looks in the mirror, seeing black spider veins crawling through his face. Yep, he's freaking out now. He yells for help, but Bobby and Dean are upstairs talking about Dean's angel encounter and ignore him. Man, what does a junkie have to do to get attention?
Bobby thinks Dean is nuts for "signing up to be the angels' bitch."After all he's said about them, now he trusts them? Dean points out he couldn't trust them less right nowI mean they come across like shady politicians from the planet Vulcan." Yeah, but Vulcan's don't lie. Except they do. They're emotionless too. So, does this mean the angels were mirrored after the Vulcans? Makes sense I guess, but Dean is not that douchebag James T. Kirk.
Dean didn't have any option, for he'd rather trust the angels than have Sam trust a demon. Bobby sees the point, but won't belabor it much, for Dean suddenly realizes something's wrong. There's dead silence coming from Sam's direction. Oh sure, ignore the cry for help and get worried when he shuts up? A little backwards you think?
Dean and Bobby rush downstairs in a panic, and open the viewing slot to find Sam having one grand mal demon seizure on the floor. He's making all sorts of weird gurgling like noises and gyrating all over the floor with fingers curled, but they still question whether he's faking it. Gee guys, maybe the best way to know is to go in and find out? Then Sam goes flying against the wall. Nope, not faking that.
Sam's arms are flailing, his entire body is tensed up and he's still making those noises while his eyes are rolling to the back of his head. If it smells like a duck... Sam gets tossed some more across the room until Dean and Bobby race in and grab him. They hold him down on the ground while Bobby takes off his belt and puts it in Sam's mouth, giving him something to bite down on. I guess another man's dirty leather belt is better than biting off your own tongue but, ick!
This part is really hard to watch. My stomach still turns at the thought of Sam having those hard convulsions on the floor, biting down so hard on that belt I'd though he'd eat it, his veins bulging out of his neck and the whites of his eyes showing since his eyeballs are rolled up. I'm getting weepy just describing it. Damn you show for making me care about these characters so much!
I'm not the only one having a hard time though, for Dean stares at Sam, completely unnerved. Bobby tries to get Dean's attention, for they're going to have to strap Sam down, but Dean's too stunned to react at first. Finally Bobby gets through and Dean agrees while Sam is still seizing. Geez, how does Sam survive this? Awesome job Jared. It's really convincing.
Later, Sam wakes up on the cot all better now. Whew, I was worried. Except his arms and legs are now handcuffed to the cot. Sam sees Dean at the foot of the bed, telling him they had to do that since the demon blood was flinging him across the room. Dean then doesn't waste anytime asking Sam how he could do this to himself. Sam tells him he knows why. Oh, that's right, Lilith, and revenge. "Revenge for what? For sending me to hell? Did you happen to notice I'm back, alive and kicking? So what's the point?"
It's the apocalypse stupid. Sam tries to explain and this scene exemplifies the awesome camera work we get from Robert Singer in this episode. His wide angle shots of the mostly empty room often show an isolated Sam in the center, accenting brilliantly the fact that Sam is lost in his own world. It's great here especially, for until the camera pulls away and shows Sam talking alone, we don't know Dean is a hallucination. Awesome storytelling by the camera there.
While Sam is having his phantom conversation with Dean, in which Dean points out God picked him to kill Lilith, the real Dean and Bobby upstairs realize Sam has taken a turn for the worse. I love how these two scenes are woven together, for they really heighten the drama of the situation. Bobby asks if they're"absolutely sure" they're doing the right thing. Dean says they saw what's happening to Sam down there, the demon blood is killing him. Bobby's had enough. "No, we are." What they're doing isn't working, and he doesn't know how much longer Sam will last. Dean stands his ground, refusing to give Sam demon blood. "And if he dies?" Bobby asks. "Then at least he dies human!"
Sam's strapped to the bed, looking sick and helpless, while an angry not!Dean circles him, like a creature going in for the kill. "I know why you really drink that blood Sam." A fatigued Sam pleads with him to leave him alone, but not!Dean keeps going. "It makes you feel strong, invincible, big bad wolf in a world of little pigs." Sam tells him he's wrong, but not!Dean keeps going. "It's more than that isn't it? It's because your whole life you felt different, am I right?" Sam weakly tells him to stop. "I hit a little close to home, huh?" Sam starts to struggle against the cuffs to no avail, and must listen to this completely trapped.
"You're not different because you were some a lonely kid or because of your weirdo family." Not!Dean leans over and delivers the blow. "Because you're a monster." Sam yells at him to shut up, and goes crazy yanking at the cuffs now. Not!Dean lays into him more. "Always a monster. And you only feel right when sucking down more poison and more evil!" Sam is on the brink of tears, unable to hear anymore.
Back to the real Bobby and Dean. "I would die for him in a second, but I won't let him do this to himself. I can't. I guess I found my line. I won't let my brother turn into a monster." Back to not!Dean, who bluntly tells Sam "Monster, Sam, you're a monster. I tried so hard to pretend we were brothers, that you weren't one of the filthy things that we hunt. We aren't even the same species. You're nothing to me." Sam's falling apart now. "Don't say that to me. Don't you say that to me!" Sam turns away in agony, and we're back to the wide shot of Sam alone in the room. Sam realizes it too, and sinks into the cot in exhaustion. That was one intense depiction of him going through his worst nightmare.
This part here reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in "Yellow Fever." Dean hallucinates an evil Sam, who flings him against the wall and chokes him just before flaring the yellow eyes. That episode revealed Dean's two greatest fears, going back to Hell, and Sam turning into a monster. The latter obviously stuck with him, for that's pretty serious that he'd rather see Sam dead than become that monster.
Just when we're catching our breaths over that intense moment, we get another shocker. Stop guys, you're killing me! Sam is seen in the same position later, when it's dark. He's still chained to the bed. He sighs over his sorry predicament and then suddenly, the handcuffs one by one unlock on their own. Then the door opens. A confused Sam calls out, but no one is there. Just like any caged bird longing to be free, Sam in stealth mode goes upstairs.
Then we see Castiel hiding under the stairs. Cas, you bastard! What are you doing??? Cas does his angel mojo thing and closes the door with his mind, locking it tight. Sam gets upstairs grabs his coat, and brushes by a sleeping Bobby and Dean. Time to find his dealer.
Castiel is at a harbor, and while I'm no expert when it comes to the state of South Dakota, I imagine being a land locked state its a little short of harbors. Perhaps Castiel flew to Minnesota? Anyway, Anna appears, pretty much saying what we all want to, what the hell have you done you bastard? Sam drinking demon blood is "much worse than we thought." We? Who's we? No time to speculate, for two angel goons come to take her away. "You really shouldn't have come," Castiel tells her, completely riddled by guilt. Aw Cas, they didn't completely ruin you with the ass reaming.
Sam is breaking into a car, and suddenly behind him is the click of a shotgun. Gulp! Oh wait, it's Bobby. Sam, thinking what we all are, tells Bobby he won't shoot him. Bobby tries to appeal to Sam, telling him to get back inside. Sam says no, and damn does he look bad. The makeup people are doing too convincing a job, for the way Sam looks, he should be on his death bed by now.
Bobby keeps the gun on him, telling Sam they're only trying to help him. Sam again points out Bobby can't shoot him, Bobby warns him not to test him. Sorry Bobby but even I see that's a flimsy threat. Bobby pushes the shotgun into Sam's middle, so Sam grabs the barrel and moves it slowly up to his heart. "Then shoot," Sam says, getting all teary as he looks Bobby in the eye. Bobby gets teary, I get teary and then Sam ruins the mood by quickly grabbing the shotgun and knocking Bobby out with it. Sam feels guilty about it though, and reacts with a "what am I doing" look before throwing down the shotgun in disgust. He drives away, leaving an unconscious Bobby on the ground. Oh Sam, how could you?
Bobby and Sam open the panic room door and inspect, trying to figure out how Sam got out. The devil's traps were broken, so the assumption is Ruby did it, even though she doesn't have the goods to open the door. Dean thinks that's a good enough reason to put killing her first on his to do list, and heads off to find Sam. "I thought you were an angel duty," Bobby says. "I am, in my car, on the way to kill the bitch." Dean is so good at spelling it out. Bobby points out that Sam will be impossible to find, but Dean has ideas.
Okay, this is a rare treat on this show. The next scene is in a nice, tastefully done hotel room. You know the set designers have been chomping at the bit to do one like this for a while. The camera makes sure we get a long look at this cozy room until it gets to Sam waiting on the couch. Yikes! He's a mess. Usually he's prettier than these motel rooms.
Sam is pretty jumpy, and obviously very broken by what's happened. He also looks like a powderkeg ready to go off. There's a knock and Sam opens the door, and Ruby is all smiles over the honeymoon suite. Yeah, I want to slap her too. Doesn't she see what she's reduced this poor man to?
Sam asks if she busted him out of the room. "How could I Sam? The whole thing is engineered to bite me in the ass." Sam wonders who then, Ruby doesn't care. Funny how no one wants to get to the bottom of that. Maybe next week. Sam wants to know where's she been for three weeks. She's been out tracking Lilith. Likely story. She's trying to string you along Sam, so you'll need her more than ever and be willing to do anything for your next fix. Dealers do that. Sam stands by the door, looking at her with his gaunt face and super sad puppy dog expression, and I end up picking up my own puppy and giving him a big hug. There's just something about that look that got me in a puppy clutching mood..
Ruby lowers her guard a bit. "I'm sorry you're hurting Sam. I had no idea Dean would do that to you." "You and me both," a devastated Sam replies. I guess it's going to take him a while to get past this. Or never.
Ruby guesses the honeymoon suite wasn't to impress her. Nope. Dean's going to come after him and knows all his habits, his aliases, everything. Sam's willing to do what it takes to shake him. Ruby, who's standing on a platform near the bed so she can actually be eye-level with freakishly tall Sam, tries to be sympathetic, running her hand through his hair. "It's sad. That things have gotten this bad between you two."
Sam doesn't care. He abruptly grabs Ruby and throws her on the bed. He climbs on top of her and after a few seconds of naughty foreplay (since blood play requires twisted rituals), slides down her in a sultry way and goes for what he really wants. The knife in her boot. Ruby gets turned on, while Sam stares at the knife in eager anticipation. These two are very sick puppies, aren't they? Sam grabs her forearm, slices, and goes for his snack. She smiles as if this is better than sex. I'm sure for demons it is.
Dean is with his own girl, the Impala. He's fixing something with the engine. Interesting parallel between the two brothers, don't you think? Bobby tells Dean his car was found. In the same town where it was ditched, two cars were stolen. An older beat up Honda, and a very sweet Escalade. Dean says the stolen Escalade doesn't sound like Sam, so that must be what he took. Dean's off to check it out.
Sam and Ruby are in bed, both in their underwear. Okay, um, they're sharing a bed and blood, but not, you know? These two are really strange. Sam is looking way better. They both are pretty cozy and casual, but I guess it is the honeymoon suite. Ruby tells Sam his appetite is getting stronger, which is good, for it means he's ready to kill Lilith. Just in time too, for there are only two or three seals left. Sam is shocked. "Where are the angels?" Ruby shrugs, "Screwing the pooch." According to the urban dictionary, that means "to fuck things up royally." I'll say!
So, Ruby decides to share a demon Sunday school story. The final seal is broken by "Lucifer's first." God prefers humans to angels, Lucifer gets jealous, and "twists and tempts a human soul into the very first demon as a screw you to God." Sam, who even though he's really smart, makes the instant assumption that was Lilith. Granted this show takes liberties, but from what I read Lilith pretty much turned on her own. Ruby doesn't tell him different, only confirming she's older than she looks. The plan is easy, Sam kills Lilith, Lucifer stays in his cage.
Oh, these poor Winchester boys. First Castiel tricks Dean into swearing an oath based on an uncertain belief (he's saving Sam) and now Sam is being tricked by Ruby to believe killing Lilith will prevent the apocalypse. I'm willing to bet Lucifer hasn't "twisted" a human yet, and that person ends up being Sam. Of course we won't know until the finale, so all in good time.
Anyway, back to pillow talk, Sam asks Ruby if she's been able to find Lilith. She's found a member of her "entourage," a personal chef. Sam asks what that means. "You don't want to know." So, because Sera Gamble wants to be as twisted as Eric Kripke, we find out. Two nurses in a maternity ward talk about a nurse in a nearby hospital walking out with two babies. The nurse claimed she didn't remember doing it. They look at the roomful of precious babies, and the one nurse calls them "delicious" before her eyes go black. Way to bring up the Lilith baby eating legend guys!
Sam, who's had a much needed shower and is looking great with his hair slicked back, talks with Ruby about finding this nurse. Ruby pulls out a knife and tells Sam he better help himself to "more" now, for time is running out. Sam gets this devastating sad look as he grabs the knife. "I wish he'd trusted me, you know." Oh Sam, you do remember your brother. "I just hope, you know, when this is over, I hope we can fix things." Ruby tries to care, but I think she's dying to get off on Sam sucking her blood. That whore.
Bobby calls Dean, there's a lot of demon activity in a town named Cold Spring near where the Escalade was ditched. Dean's off to check it out. But Bobby sends his words of wisdom first. "Us finding Sam, it's got to be about getting him back, not pushing him away. I know you're mad Dean, I understand, you've got the right to be, but I'm just saying, be good to him anyway. You've got to get through to him." Man is he a much better Dad than John Winchester.
Sam leaves the hotel room and you know what's coming. There's Dean, hiding around the corner, watching him go. Obviously, he's working on that "to do" list first. Dean goes into the room, and Ruby's alone in the room, back turned while she goes through her bag. She turns around, Dean attacks, stabs her in the arm, and they struggle for control until Sam comes in, grabs the knife from Dean, and pushes him away. I'm assuming Sam went outside and saw the Impala. It's hard to miss!
Sam tells Dean to take it easy, but Dean is pretty mad. "Well that must have been some party you two had going, considering how hard you tried to keep me from crashing it. Well, solid try, but here I am." Sam tells Dean he's glad he's there, for they can talk about this. "As soon as she's dead, you can talk all you want." Oh yeah, that's being good to Sam. Way to listen to Bobby there Dean. Sam tells Ruby to get out of there. Dean says she's not going anywhere, but Sam has the knife and stands in Dean's way. She flees without hestiation, playing the scared damsel. Right, how much do you want to bet she's standing in the hall after that, grinning from ear to ear over her evil plan to divide the brothers working famously.
Dean's madder. He tells Sam she's poison, and look what she did to him. "She ups and vanishes for weeks at a time, leaves you cracking out for another hit." Sam gives the now tiresome excuse, she was looking for Lilith. Dean can't believe Sam is falling for that. "That is French for manipulating your ass ten ways from Sunday." Ha! Great line. Sam tells Dean he's wrong, Dean tells Sam he's lying to himself. That part is true. "I just want you to be okay. You would do the same for me, you know you would."
Sam wants Dean to listen, and throws the knife on the bed. He mentions the lead on a demon close to Lilith, and wants Dean to come along. "That sounds great. As long as it's you and me. Demon bitch is a deal breaker. You kiss her goodbye, we can go right now." Sam rolls his eyes, and says he needs her to help him kill Lilith. Dean turns around and swipes his face in front of the camera. That's a clever way of showing he's pulling together what little patience he's got.
Sam knows Dean can't "wrap his head around this" but hopes someday he'll understand. "I'm the only one that can do this Dean." Dean turns around, telling him he's not the one that's going to do this. Now this whole thing starts to resemble Sam's earlier hallucination with Dean, except its real. It's brilliant. You know, from this point forward, I'm going to show the dialogue. It says it all.
Sam: Right, that's right, I forgot, the angels think it's you. Dean: You don't think I can? Sam: No, you can't. You're not strong enough. Dean: Who the hell are you? Sam: I'm being practical here, I'm doing what needs to be done. Dean: Yeah, you're not going to do a single damn thing. Sam (in an angry outburst): Stop bossing me around Dean! Look, my whole life, you take the wheel, you call the shots, and I trust you, because you're my brother. Now I'm asking you, for once, trust me. Dean: No. You don't know that you're doing Sam. Sam: Yes, I do. Dean: Then that's worse! Sam: Why? Look I'm telling you- Dean: Because it's not something you're doing, it's what you are! Sam looks at him with dismay. Dean: It means-
Oh, this part kills me. Sam asks what, tears up and then says "no," for he knows what's coming next. Then he toughens up and tells Dean to say it. "It means you're a monster." That's the crushing blow, right there. Sam lets the tears pool, pursues his lips and nods, obviously feeling the sting. Dean lets his customary single tear slide down his cheek as well. So this is the part where Sam sulks and leaves, right?
Wrong! This is super hopped up on demon blood Sammy, now with 50 percent more unpredictability. Sam suddenly goes into a rage, and clocks Dean one real good, knocking his brother to the floor. I think Dean just unleashed the "monster." Dean gets up, looks at Sam with defiance, and throws his own fist straight at the camera. Time for a break. No! Not at the good part!
Luckily, thanks to fast forward on the DVR, I don't have to wait long. Dean punches Sam a few times, Sam blocks and then goes to town. He punches Dean a few times, throws him into the mirror, and then throws him through the room divider, just like he did in "Sex and Violence." No wonder they're always getting rooms with those dividers. They make great weapons.
In going through the divider this time though, Dean also smashes through a glass accent table. He's on the ground, helpless and hurt, with pieces of glass all over him. Sam steps through the broken part with a raging, out of control look in his eye. He comes over to Dean, kneels down, and starts choking him! For once Sam is the choker instead of the chokee, but doing it to a defenseless Dean? Wow, Sam has gone evil.
Dean fights for air and his eyes start to flutter, and then Sam lets go. Let me see if I can get through this next part without bawling my eyes out. Sam snarls at Dean and tells him in a very resentful voice, "You don't know me. You never did, and you never will." He goes for the door.
Dean, still lying on the floor, issues a final ultimatum. "If you walk out that door, don't you ever come back." Sam looks at him like that suits him fine and leaves. Dean rolls around on the floor, unable to get up and alone, and we graphically see his world of hurt, both physically and emotionally. Then I see the plasma TV on the wall in the closing shot, along with modern phone. Damn, Sam did pick a nice place.
This is where I went off and had my nervous breakdown before coming back and watching again, and again. Damn you Sera Gamble!!!! I love you babe, this was a masterpiece. Big season four finish next week! Stay tuned...
I can't believe it's here! The season four finale. I'm holding back on any over-anticipation, keeping an open mind for Kripke's vision as a producer, writer, and this time, director. I get the honor of seeing it first, being in the Eastern time zone.
So, once you see it, let loose. What do you think? Coherent thoughts not required.
You know, if I put â€œDoes Supernatural Need A Better Network?â€ up as a poll question, my guess would be the results would turn out 99% yes and 1% no. That 1 percent of dissenters would be likely due to a couple of trigger happy mouse clickers that hit the wrong button.
Considering that 75 percent of all new shows fail, and far fewer of what's left actually make it to season five, Supernatural can be viewed as a blazing success. Yet this show has never been a ratings smash. Many fans believe it could be if it were on a different network. Are they right?
Not that we arenâ€™t already tied up in knots with the imminent arrival of the season finale â€“ where, oh where did 22 episodes go? I thought Iâ€™d start a little dialogue here about what everyone is hoping to see this Thursday before weâ€™re left hanging on by bloody fingernails for a few weeks, months and the parts of three (definitely two, maybe three *gasp* seasons â€“ as in spring, summer, fall not 1, 2, 3).
So, hereâ€™s some things Iâ€™m hoping to see/hear this Thursday and some are based off of the Space promo as well as the CW promoâ€¦I donâ€™t know if that qualifies that as potentially spoilery BUTâ€¦.if you havenâ€™t watched any promos and are intending on remaining spoiler free to the fullest, then you may not want to read further. Even though what Iâ€™ve put in here is pure speculation, it is based in part on the two promos that have been releasedâ€¦so spoilerphobes (and you amaze me with your willpower) beware.
First, Carry On Wayward Sonâ€¦itâ€™s a tradition and I love the tradition, so Iâ€™m dearly hoping for the recap with the music.
Second, Cas pulling a fast one on the â€˜higher powersâ€™ and going rebel with Dean.
Third, Sam realizing Rubyâ€™s been playing him for two years and he kills herâ€¦or at the very least sends her to hellâ€¦oh, all right, if I canâ€™t have either of those two Iâ€™ll just be really happy if he at long last realizes how badly she used him.
Fourth, that Bobby DOES NOT DIE! I donâ€™t scour the sites looking for spoilers and have no idea how so many in the fandom seem to think that Bobbyâ€™s going to get killed but itâ€™s out there, so Iâ€™ll hope that it does not happen.
Fifth, that Dean and Sam have some realization that while they both are very far apart right now it is simply a matter of their dual traumatic year and that they are still brothers, I need some tiny, miniscule, microscopic bit of hope to get me through the break.
Sixth, which BTW means I hope there isnâ€™t anything gonna happen that says that Dean and Sam are not brothers, I mean, really?????
Seventh, I would love the irony or maybe itâ€™s literary symmetry (thank you Chuck, as in I am the Prophet!) in having Dean, the righteous man sent to hell, breaking the first seal when he became a torturer after enduring three decades of torture and thus Sam breaking (almost maybe?) the final seal as a righteous man on earth nearly becoming a demon after enduring similar torture â€“ you donâ€™t really think the demon blood and the feeling the evil inside of him and the mental/emotional/physical torture heâ€™s been going through of late is anything fun?
Eighthâ€¦previews for the 5th season premier â€“ what are my chances on that one?
So, thatâ€™s a quick list I just throw out there without even rereading it to see if it makes any kind of sense at all. So, be kind if itâ€™s unclear, Iâ€™m in a hurry wanting to post something to keep the fab dialogue going as we all collectively wring our hands (and soon our eyes). We may not be able to physically hug or cling or anything like that but weâ€™ll manage to hold each other together after this Thursdayâ€¦right?
"If it keeps on raining, leveeâ€™s going to break."
Aside from being a cool lyric in the Led Zeppelin tune â€œWhen The Levee Breaks,â€ it also serves as a perfect metaphor for this week's episode (as well as itâ€™s title). Sam and Dean's now busted relationship is a long time coming. Just like rising flood waters the sour feelings between these two have been slowly building to the point where the weakening bond that binds them together couldnâ€™t hold anymore.
This episode cannot be taken at face value. Itâ€™s an intricate and complex script with elements that take on a different meaning upon multiple viewings. In other words, Sera Gamble is challenging us to think. What sheâ€™s created is nothing short of remarkable. Thanks to her and Robert Singerâ€™s gift for bringing out the most intense emotion in the episodes he directs, I'm an emotional wreck.
When I watched Thursday night, I didn't get everything until the third viewing. The first time left me in a complete daze and the second time got me too teary. Looking back at Sam and Dean's growing issues this season though, Iâ€™m not surprised by the outcome either. This heart crushing story is very painful to watch, but itâ€™s also a fascinating development for their characters thatâ€™s likely to lead to a darker path. The fact that Sam and Deanâ€™s falling out ended up being so explosive is exactly why Iâ€™m always hooked by this show. Iâ€™m still blown away by what happens next.
I loved this episode Sera Gamble you are brilliant
Finally, the long-awaited glimpse inside Sam Winchester's head; it's a mess in there. We've seen glimpses into Dean's head several times over the seasons: What is and What Should Never Be, Dream a Little Dream of Me and a neat treat last week in The Rapture. That boy's head is a lot clearer which is shocking considering what he eats I guess all that demon blood coursing through Sam's veins is affecting his mind "˜cause he goes on quite a journey, a journey filled with pity, denial, self-justification and finally confrontation! no surprise, Sera Gamble wrote this.
There are so many layers to this episode and, if I tried to cover them all, I'd never get this done. I've watched it three times and even after the third time I found other angles I could develop but have decided to stick with what I've presented here. I'll likely be searching some other sites to get insights from other writers and I invite you to comment on those aspects that you found especially compelling. Here we go!
I'm not drinking the demon blood for kicks:
No you aren't, Sam, but your hallucinations give great insight into how you view yourself and how you justify your actions.
Stage one: Sam's a victim, he's helpless and he's out of control. I'm not surprised that, after Dean locks the door and tells Sam he's been benched, that Sam goes on a pity party. Imagining himself restrained and tortured by Alastair is his way of reminding himself that as a baby he was helpless while a demon dripped blood in his mouth and altered his future. The restraints are symbolic of how helpless a six-month-old baby is. His polite pleading with Alastair to stop shows the innocence of an infant who can't formulate the thoughts of: "Don't hurt me."
Awakening Sam quickly moves past his feelings of helplessness, feelings he hates, and enters stage two where he denies all his former idealistic dreams. The very idea of telling a 14-year-old kid to grow up is so anti-Sam but unsurprising. Sam needs to do battle with the conflicting thoughts and emotions inside of himself, how he used to see things in a positive light, how he believed there was a life after hunting, how he had fallen in love and planned a happy, normal future.
As quickly as young Sam brings those things up and challenges Sam for abandoning them older Sam crushes those thoughts by saying there was never going to be anything normal and that things just didn't "pan out” “sorry kid, grow up." If he embraces those aspects of his personality, then he has to embrace that what young Sam is telling him is true, that he put himself in this situation and that he has failed himself; he has to concede that what he's been doing is wrong and he can't do that yet, so he ends that hallucination by supporting his position, he's fated to turn evil so might as well get on with it or embrace it as a gift.
Stage three brings the balm to his weary mind. Note that he sees the pitcher of water and longs for it but never, not even when it's all over, takes a drink; why should he, 'mom' has refreshed his soul. Having gotten through his sense of being a victim and suppressed any thoughts that might lead to him questioning his choices he creates the illusion of support. His churlish passive/aggressive behavior shows just how ready for the fight he is.
Needing to shore up his badly deteriorating defenses he conjures mom on the night of her death and then has her tell him all that he has deluded himself into believing, that he's making the hard choices to get the job done, that he is cursed but strong and smart enough to turn it into a gift and use it against the demons, that he's strong and Dean is weak, that Dean is terrified and should be left behind and that Sam has to make her death meaningful but not for revenge, no, better, for justice. Nice touch.
Lies catch up to us though and Sam's catch up to him when this whirlwind tour of his fevered mind is interrupted with a dose of demon blood reality. Nothing like seeing your face lined with black veins and then writhing on the floor only to be hurled against the walls to shake you out of your delusions. The fact that stage four is a mixture of reality (the restraints) and fantasy (Dean's presence) shows that Sam's defenses are crumbling despite his best efforts. Finally Sam confronts himself!and he does it in the guise of Dean.
The fact that Sam chooses to see Dean here is telling on multiple levels, first of all, it's an admission that Dean really does know him and this is important to Sam. Sam is also desperate to not lose his brother. It's also an admission, albeit not a freely given admission but the subconscious is quirky that way telling us things we need to know not necessarily what we want to know, that what he's doing is wrong. Sam tries every weapon in his arsenal in quick succession and misses the mark with each one: Kill Lilith, get revenge, stop the apocalypse, left with nothing but the naked truth Sam finally admits that it is his need for control that has driven him to choose this path. Pride has controlled him. For all that Sam thought he was in control he now has to face the fact that pride has been controlling him. Realizing he's lied to himself he shifts gears and shows his greatest fear, rejection by Dean and losing Dean and he paints the portrait of what is to come later on.
This hallucination is the breakthrough, note after this round Sam fell asleep. His peace is short-lived though. Awakened and unexpectedly freed, even after having made a breakthrough, Sam is not out of the woods and like any junkie needing a fix, he goes in search of his dealer. The fact that he begs Bobby to kill him, however, shows that Sam is no longer lying to himself, at least not when he's alone. He's convinced he's already the monster of his last hallucination and begs for release. Knowing that won't happen he makes his escape. Adrift, alone he has nowhere to go but to the one person that, in his fragile and strung-out state of mind, can help!enter Ruby.
I'll interject some words of a song I adore. I think much of what we've seen over two seasons from Ruby with respect to Sam, especially this season, are in these words:
SLOW FADE, Casting Crowns
Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near.
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray
The journey from your mind to your hands is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand, you just might be sinking.
It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade; it's a slow fade.
Having just recently written in another article that Kripke is telling a complex story in masterful style and much of what is to be understood of this journey will not and cannot be fully understood until it is complete I'll take a break from my dislike of Ruby [who by the way I believe we are meant to dislike as she is evil and thus I'm simply going with the flow J] and take a little trip down memory lane of this devious little thing that is Ruby.
Magnificent Seven: Appears mysteriously and introduces herself to Sam.
The Kids Are All Right: Time to dangle a carrot or two, she tells Sam there's more to Azazel than he thought AND she says she can save Dean; Sam is more than willing to let her live.
Sin City: Further cementing her guise as helpful demon she repairs the Colt.
Malleus Maleficarum: A master stroke of manipulation. Ruby saves Dean's life and by no accident is revealed as having once been human. Playing to his love for his brother and his growing fear of hell she ensnares Dean in her web and unbalances him a bit.
Jus in Bello: A test of Sam's moral boundaries shows they're slipping and proves that Dean remains an obstacle!not to worry, his deal is coming due.
No Rest For the Wicked: Sam's desperate and Ruby is ready with the help!not really but it is time to start reeling Sam in. If only Dean hadn't been in the way, not to worry though, Dean's not long for this world courtesy of Lilith; By the way, how did Ruby get out of that devil's trap? I think Lilith released her. Ruby does slip up a bit here and that's why I think someone else released her from the trap. She's been careful all along not to show her true colors but, once Dean trapped her and made it clear he was not going to release her, she slipped her mask: "I wish I could smell the flesh sizzle off your bones" Tsk, tsk, Ruby!that's not very ladylike.
Lazarus Rising: [and pre-LR] Ruby came in all sympathetic and helpful, she even gave in when Sam rediscovered a portion of his moral boundaries!"Whose body are you riding?" Knowing this was make or break she shed one body and found another. Disarming him quickly by playing to his loss and emotions she went for the gold, revenge and hooked him. In Lazarus Rising she plays it very cool when Dean's unexpected arrival could have thrown her plans awry; she backs off and this allows her an opportunity to gauge Sam, he's not willing to stop. She's got him.
In the Beginning/Metamorphosis: Finding Sam a willing if only slightly hesitant partner she quietly resumes her manipulation of him under the guise of training and saving people; how nice, she takes the freshly demon exorcised guy to the emergency room.
I Know What You Did Last Summer/Heaven and Hell: Time to reinsert herself into the boys' lives. Sam has found a bit of his moral boundaries, unfortunately for Ruby, however, the upside is that Dean learns how Ruby "˜saved' Sam's life while Dean was in hell. This and a little torture at Alastair's hands earns her a pass, again.
Criss Angel: Ruby gets her protege back and is in business again, she's sure not to let up now and likely increases his "˜toning up' schedule.
Death Takes A Holiday/On The Head of a Pin: No doubt Ruby's efforts are paying off as Sam is now much stronger and no longer resistant, victory is at hand.
Which brings us to the present, having purposefully left Sam long enough to be weakened, feel his lack of control [something she knows he craves] she shows up at 'just the right time' and plays Sam to perfection. She comes not only with what he needs, but what he wants which is sympathy and information. She is contrite, she is informative, she's sorrowful at the break between the brothers and she's more than willing to feed his habit. She's finally got Sam right where she wants him to be. Be careful what you wish for, Ruby, should the dog decide to bite the hand that feeds him!
You're a dick these days
Kripke upends things again. We expect manipulation from demons but angels? Granted we know the angels are stringing Dean along giving him information on a need to know basis but a deal? Dean, Dean, Dean, you got played just as smoothly as Ruby played Sam in No Rest for the Wicked.
Castiel is extremely conflicted at what he did in getting Dean to swear his obedience. I also wonder at his cryptic choice of words. Kripke is known for his enigmatic wording , by the way, it's fun to play with the thesaurus on your computer, cryptic and enigmatic are synonyms, hee, but I'm wondering at that final little bit tossed in there by Cas: as swiftly and obediently as your own father's? Hmm, I'm remembering Dean's less than swift and obedient responses to dad in Dean Man's Blood and Devil's Trap, perhaps this is a little wiggle room instilled by Cas? Time will tell.
The angels are proving what Kripke said from the beginning, other than Bobby there hasn't been anyone introduced that truly has Sam and Dean's best interests at heart [anyone that lives that is or doesn't disappear like Missouri, Jo, Ellen]. The angels have wanted Dean's obedience from the outset and he's been slow to give it but, as Uriel so astutely showed in Heaven and Hell, apply the right pressure and Dean caves. Castiel never tells Dean that he can, through his obedience, save Sam from having to do whatever Sam is about to do; he simply infers it and let's Dean's love and devotion carry the day.
As for why he let Sam out, notice that happened after each brother reached a watershed moment. Sam realized he'd lost his internal battle, as I noted above in the progression of his hallucinations, and Dean found his line. Dean was not going to allow Sam out of the panic room to be turned into a monster and right after that Castiel opened the door. At the very least, by opening the door and affecting Sam's escape Castiel has forced Dean into action since he'll go after Sam. This will ensure Dean's swift obedience as nothing else would have.
I know him "“ He doesn't know me as well as he thinks:
They're both right. Dean knows Sam very well as proven by the ease with which he finds him. However, Dean doesn't know Sam as well as he thinks as shown by his choice of words [monster] and his issuance of an ultimatum. Really, Dean, you saw how well that fared eight years ago when John and Sam had this argument, what did you think was going to happen.
I find it interesting that in this scene we get throwbacks to Season 1 in two critical areas: first, Sam tries to kill Dean. He tried to do it in Asylum when he was under the influence of Dr. Ellicott, and he tries to do it here under the influence of demon blood. The difference between the two is that in Asylum Dean had unloaded his gun thus saving himself; here Sam stops himself thus saving Dean. The second throwback is in the ultimatum. We learned in Dead Man's Blood that John had issued the very same ultimatum to Sam that Dean did here, both times ended the same.
Did Dean do the right thing locking Sam up and trying to "˜dry him out'? Absolutely, resoundingly yes. Going dark, camping near the gates of evil, using demon powers for good, disguise it how you want, is never right. You cannot scoop hot coals into your lap without getting burned, sorry, Sam, but you can't. Sam's had plenty of chances to turn back, his own conscience has been eating at him and he's had examples of Jack in Metamorphosis and the tragedy of Charlie and Jay from Criss Angel as examples, he's had warnings by a ghost (After School Special), Pamela (Death Takes a Holiday), Chuck (Monster at the End of!), a ghoul (Jump the Shark) and Anna (The Rapture) and now he knows it himself. His hallucination with Dean was really his own fears coming through!when Dean in person called him a monster, Sam had nowhere else to go and he snapped.
Why did Sam try to strangle Dean, was it to scare him off? Was he just out of control due to the monster comment and then 'sobered up' at the last moment? Just like John is a pressure point for Dean so is the idea of being a freak, a monster, evil is a pressure point for Sam.
So where do we go from here? Are we going to "Carry on wayward son?" "Will there be peace when we are done?" or "Will we cry some more?" I have no idea.
I do know this much, we must all be careful what we wish for. I'm in with the rest of you in wishing eagerly for this Thursday to come (or Friday for those of you in the Space Channel world, or in whatever way people get to see these episodes out there internationally) but here's the rub, once this Thursday comes and goes, we've got about 18 to 20 weeks before any new episodes air. Hold on, I think it's going to be a long, nail biting summer with a whole lot of "Damn You, Kripke"