Largest Review/Discussion Fansite for Supernatural and SPNFamily Shows! Plot/Character Analysis, Spoilers, Games, News, Gallery, Interviews, Fun!

Article Index

Hiatus Hunting - 5.16: Dark Side of the Moon

It's that time of year again - mid-season hiatus. Luckily for you, our lovely readers, that brings another edition of Hiatus Hunting! This week we take a look at the moody, memory-tripping visit to Heaven in Dark Side of the Moon. Even looking back all these years later this is still one of my favourite episodes: it holds it's own pretty well as a stand alone but given what was happening in the series at the time, it took us into such a rich and darkly emotional place by the end. Ready to look back?


Alice's Recap: Dark Side of the Moon 
[Originally Published: April 6, 2010]
[Original Recap] [photos added by Elle]

I already knew this would be a great episode the second it started. A scene that intense is the teaser? So, dig in, for this recap could get hairy. First, let’s get the credits out of the way. The writers are Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin, who really hit a major stride here. It’s good to see them produce something so good. The director is Jeff Woolnough, who’s done plenty of other shows (most recently Bones) but is a newcomer to Supernatural. He too brought something to the table we haven’t seen before.

First, I’m really amused by the “Then” sequence because it brings light to the fact that the boys have died plenty of times. We even got to see a few of the more graphic ones. I love it. We already know from the episode description they die again, but I adore how the show decides to be playful with it. It’s about time. They also tease about the amulet too. It’s about time with that too! We’ve missed it.

Okay, “Now” -  The camera pans along an impressive collection of empty and crushed beer cans, plus an empty liquor bottle, all littering this retro motel room. Dean is passed out on the bed in clothes and man what I would give to see that bender.   As the shot pulls away from Dean there’s a shotgun barrel pointed at him. He wakes up and reaches under the pillow, but doesn’t find what he’s looking for. A masked man has his precious gun and asks him if he’s “looking for this” as he drops out the cartridge. Dean looks over at Sam, who’s already uncomfortably awake and has his own gunman pointing a weapon at him. ”Morning,” Dean says to him. Not a good way to start the day.

Dean’s gunman warns “hands where I can see them.” Dean looks at the guy and knows who it is. ”Is that you Roy?” He doesn’t answer and Dean knows he’s right. He turns to the other guy “Which makes you Walt.” Roy and Walt? As in Disney? How great it is to have such fun with references when coming up with gun toting yahoos. Roy and Walt look at each other and Walt lifts off his mask, saying it doesn’t matter. So Dean sticks with the flippant attitude. ”Is it just me or do you two seem a tad upset?”

SPN 0011

Walt reveals his beef to Sam. ”You think you can just flip the switch on the apocalypse, just walk away Sam?” Sam’s heart sinks. ”Who told you that?” Um, let me see - I think it was those hunters in Oklahoma that got you to admit you started the apocalypse before you kicked the snot out of them.  Yeah, probably those guys. Walt lets Sam know that they aren’t the only hunters after him and cocks his rifle. Sam jumps and he’s really worried now. Ditto for Dean. ”See you in the next life,” Walt says. Sam starts pleading, telling him he can explain. He even uses the puppy dog “Please.” Sadly, Walt kicks puppies. The camera does the round robin of faces and ends back at Sam’s, just a split second before Walt blows him away violently with two shots.

SAMMY!!!! Oh my God, you bastard, you killed Sammy! Kudos the Jared for jerking back like that as those two shots hit him. Man does that get a viewer’s heart pumping! 

Dean jumps up and is warned by Roy to stay back. Ooooh, now Dean is pissed. That is a dude you don’t want to get angry. Or let me borrow a comment from Randal. Dean has his “I will burn a hole through your fucking soul stare” (yes he even trademarked it) as he gazes at his dead brother flopped on the other bed. Walt orders Roy to kill Dean but Roy has an issue with that. Killing Sam was right but Dean? Of course Dean isn’t tuning into any of this conversation because he’s still fuming over the corpse of his baby brother. Walt’s pitch is that Dean has made them and they just “snuffed” his brother. Do you want to live knowing Dean Winchester is after you? That’s a brilliant pitch. Even I would shoot Dean in that situation. 

SPN 0064

Dean comes to his senses and turns to Roy with that cold, hard stare. He challenges Roy to do it. ”But I’m going to warn you. WHEN I come back, I’m gonna be pissed.” I think Roy pissed in his pants after that comment. He totally believes Dean and can’t shoot, so Dean eggs him on harder. ”Come on, let’s get this show on the road!” Roy and Dean have the dramatic stare down, his finger is on the trigger but he can’t do it. Walt though, being the Sammy killing dick he is, won’t buy it and fires. In what I call “the best use of the title sequence EVER” the gun goes off and in perfect timing the blood hits the water. Awesome!!! I have a feeling this is going to be a great one.

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” the vastly superior Bob Dylan version (no, it’s not by Guns N’ Roses) is playing on the radio of the Impala. Dean is in the driver’s seat sleeping and startles himself awake, likely because the good version of the song is playing. He gets out really confused about where he is. It’s dark and the Impala is just sitting in the middle of a blacktop road. The trunk slams and Dean looks behind him, shocked to find Sam. Except it isn’t Jared Padalecki Sam, it’s Colin Ford Sam! He’s holding a box of fireworks. ”Sammy?” He asks. Young Sam is all excited. ”Come on, let’s go.” Dean is confused. ”Weird dream.” You don’t dream about Sam as a boy Dean? Oh, that’s right. It’s usually hookers and fishing. 

Sam puts down the box and grabs a couple of firecrackers. ”Got your lighter?” Dean pulls one out of his pocket and smiles, for he hasn’t seen that one in years. He lights the firecrackers and he and Sam watch them explode into the sky. Dean’s face lights up in the most adorable happiness, a look that we so rarely get to see.  Then he remembers this. It’s 4th of July 1996. That would make Sam thirteen and him seventeen. Sam’s face is all smiles too.  ”Dad would never let us do anything like this. Thanks Dean, this is great.” He then gives Dean a huge hug! Oh wow, to think they were like that once. Why am I getting all misty only five minutes into the program?

Dean isn’t sure what to make of the hug, but he eventually smiles. That feeling seems so lost on him. Sam lets go and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” comes back on again from the beginning. Sam lights all the rest and he and Dean watch them all explode into the night sky, HUGE smiles as both marvel at the spectacle. There’s no description I could possibly provide to say how great this scene is. With the music, the acting, the way the scene is shot with the red lights of the fireworks hitting their faces at the right moment, it’s incredible. They watch, Dean sees Sam’s joy, and then Sam moves closer into the action. He jumps around in slow motion as the sparks come down all around him. I don’t know how I’m getting through this scene to describe it. Wiping tears right now, I tell ya.

Dean and Sam exchange more smiles, Dean watches the fireworks explode in the air and suddenly the quick flash of adult Sam and him back at the motel getting blown away comes to mind. He comes out of it disconcerted in the field all alone, calling for Sam. Dean goes back to the Impala and he’s definitely disoriented. There’s a nice shot of his blurred reflection in the hood of the Impala, there to symbolize his fuzzy state of mind. Dean hears static on the radio and then a voice. It’s Cas! Dean calls out his name and Cas verifies on the radio it’s him. Dean gets in the Impala to have the conversation.

“You got to stop poking around in my dreams. I need some me time.” Yeah, well he shouldn’t poke around in your dead visions either. Castiel bluntly points out this isn’t a dream and deep down he already knows what this is. Dean flashes again of he and Sam being gunned down, except this time we get the delightful vision of Dean with the empty eyed stare on the bed. ”I’m dead,” Dean says in a flash of clarity. ”Condolences,” Castiel replies. Ha, a snarky angel even in these circumstances.  Dean wants to know where he is. ”Heaven,” Castiel replies. Dean is shocked, asking how he got to Heaven. Castiel tries to move things along, for his connection is difficult to maintain. Dean gets real worried though, not at all concerned about Castiel’s issues. ”If I’m in Heaven, then where’s Sam?” Oh, how wonderful, he’s worried that Sam probably ended up downstairs.

Cas wants to know what he sees. Dean doesn’t understand the question. Cas explains some people see a tunnel or a river. What does he see? He’s in the car on a road. Cas tells him to follow the road.  He’ll find Sam if he follows the road. Castiel’s voice fades away and the radio goes dark. Dean starts the car and drives. There’s a weird visual of the sky, which is literally the purple skies and numerous stars circling the dark side of the moon. Which is freakishly close. Some interesting imagination there. If this is inspired by some sort of film or other thing, please point it out, but otherwise it’s pretty cool. They’re definitely not in Kansas anymore. 

Dean arrives to a lone house swarmed by Heaven’s sky and stops. There’s some sort of space age music that I only ever remember hearing during films at the science center. I think someone on the crew had the same warped childhood I did. Suddenly someone is carving a turkey and there’s Sam being served a portion. He’s in a shirt and tie and he’s all smiles, thanking the man. There’s a whole family there, including a little girl with braces next to him that’s all googly eyes for him. The man, who is apparently Dad, says to Sam he hears he’s new to McKinley. ”Yes sir, two weeks.” Interesting, must be a childhood memory thing. Dad mentions “Stephanie over here can’t seem to stop talking about you,” and I swear she looks like Blossom with braces. She of course gets all embarrassed, but manages to cop a feel of Sam under the table anyway. Lucky girl.  

SPN 0248

Sam looks up and there’s Dean. ”Wow, just wow.” Sam’s a little confused. ”Dean, what are you doing in my dream?” Time for the rude awakening. Next Sam is in the other room with Dean, but the family carries on like Sam is still there with his seat now empty. Nice touch. ”Heaven,” Sam asks, very shocked to hear that. Dean say yes. ”How are we in Heaven?” ”Clean living I guess,” Dean jokes. Sam explains further. ”You, I get, sure, but me? Maybe you haven’t noticed I’ve done a few things?” Dean defends rightfully so that he thought he was doing the right things. ”Last I checked it wasn’t the road to Heaven that was paved with good intentions.” Dean has a good answer for that. ”Well if this is a Skymall it sucks. Where’s the triplets and the latex you know? Come on a guy has needs.” You tell us Dean. They’re your memories.

Sam turns back to the Thanksgiving dinner and something clicks. ”You know when you bite dust they say that your life flashes before your eyes.” Dean doesn’t get the point. Sam says the house is one of his memories. Dean gets it now because he woke up to one of his memories. He even tells Sam it was that 4th of July where they burned the field down. Sam doesn’t even smile over remembering that.   Uh oh. Sam concludes maybe that’s what Heaven is, reliving your greatest hits. ”Wait, so playing footsy with brace face over there, that’s a trophy moment for you?” Sam defends he was eleven years old and that was his first real Thanksgiving. ”What are you talking about, we had Thanksgiving every year,” Dean says not getting the jaded point. ”We had a bucket of extra crispy and Dad passed out on the couch.” Dean gives him a “touch锝 expression.

Suddenly, the room starts shaking and everything goes dark. Sam and Dean have the right mind to hide while the family carries on with Thanksgiving dinner like nothing’s happening. A bright searchlight shines through the room and Sam and Dean fight to avoid it. Everything goes back to normal after a few seconds and Sam and Dean try to figure out what’s going on. ”I don’t know but we’re taking the escalator back downstairs,” Dean says as he goes to the radio and tries to summon Cas. Sam is a little freaked out over what he’s doing. ”What does it look like?” ”Like you’ve lost your mind.” Now Dean explains that Cas talked to him that way before.  

Dean shouts for Cas and gets “I can hear you,” on the TV. Cas’ face is all distorted through the static and this is so a 1984 reference. Dean explains he found Sam and saw the weird beam of light. ”Don’t go into the light,” Castiel warns. ”Okay, thanks Carol Ann,” Dean says. For those that didn’t get that reference, that’s Poltergeist. Castiel says the light is Zachariah looking for them. ”You can’t say yes to Michael and Lucifer if you’re dead, Zachariah needs to return you to your bodies.” Sam sees this as a good thing, problem solved.

Castiel needs them for something else. They’re behind the wall and this is a rare opportunity. They need to find an angel named Joshua. ”No offense, but we are kind of ass full of angels. You find him,” says Dean.   Castiel can’t, since he’s not allowed to return to Heaven. From what I see, he ain’t missing much. Sam wants to know what’s important about Joshua. Rumor is he talks to God. ”So,” Dean asks. Cas gets all angry. ”You think that maybe, just maybe, we find out what God isn’t saying!” ”He’s touchy,” Dean says to Sam. Cas just needs them to follow the road. What road? ”It’s called the Axis Mundi. It runs through Heaven. Different people see different things. For you, its two lane asphalt. The road will lead you to the garden. You’ll find Joshua there. And Joshua can take us to God.” He again repeats the garden and asks them to hurry before the transmission goes out.
Sam asks Dean what he thinks, and Dean is ready to hit the “yellow brick” and find Joshua. I knew a Wizard of Oz reference would make it in this scenario somewhere. ”Really?” Sam asks incredulously. Dean is surprised he doesn’t. Sam is surprised Dean does, since he has been breaking out the “nos” and now he wants to help. ”Come on Sam, we are royally boned. So prayer, the last hope of a desperate man.” What’s interesting here is Sam has no idea just how much at wits end Dean is. I like how Dean’s attitude is making sense to us but perplexing Sam. Poor boy is in for some eye opening.

They leave the house and there’s woods all around. No Impala, no road. They go back inside and Dean starts looking around, so Sam wonders what he’s doing. He’s looking for a road of course. ”You think the road is in a closet?” ”We’re in Heaven Sam, our memories are coming true, Cas is on TV, finding a road in the closet would pretty much be the most normal thing that happened to us today.” Dean then finds an old racing set in the closet. He remembers having one when he was a kid. He puts the car on the track and next thing he and Sam are in a different place. I should note of love this POV of Sam and Dean from the closet. If I ever get around to directing my movie, I’m borrowing some of these tricks.

Sam is out of his shirt and tie and back into his jacket and flannel shirt. Dean’s in something else too as we’ll find out in a second. Dean plays with the set and Sam is shocked. ”That is the road?” Dean looks around because where they are is very familiar. ”A bit trippy right?” Sam agrees and looks at Dean’s shirt. ”More trippy, um, apparently you wuv hugz.” His tone is completely mocking and it’s great. Dean tells him to shut up and he laughs. Dean looks around and figures it out. They’re home. Then who should arrive but Mary Winchester! She’s young and beautiful and has a really nice summer dress on. She has a big smile and asks Dean if he’s hungry. She looks like an angel and both Sam and Dean can’t help but stare. 

SPN 0392
Mary pours Dean a glass of milk and Dean sits at the table looking so content. She asks if he wants the crusts cut off. Oh man, my kids are older and it’s been so long since I cut the crusts off for them.  They package PB and Js now without the crust, but that’s not the same. A crustless sandwich can only come from a mother’s love. Sam watches all this in a background unsure what to think. Dean says he’d love that and she does. Sam says “mom” but she doesn’t hear him. ”This is not your memory Sam, sorry,” Dean says. Sam is ready to go but Dean isn’t. He asks for another minute. ”Dean,” “Sam please, one minute.” Sam uncomfortably agrees. I wonder if this is hard for Sam to watch considering he never got this when he was a kid. Either that or its hard to him to see Dean in this, knowing how much Mary means to him. 

The phone rings and Mary picks up. It’s John on the other end and they begin to fight. Dean remembers, Mom and Dad were fighting and John moved out for a couple of days. ”Dad always said they had the perfect marriage,” Sam says. ”It wasn’t perfect until after she died.” Oh poor Dean, he actually knew that his whole life. I’m surprised he didn’t end up resenting John over that while he was growing up. Maybe he silently did and never said anything. Then again if that were true he wouldn’t have wanted to be so much like John. Relationships with parents are complicated, aren’t they?
SPN 0443
“What happens next?” Sam asks, now engrossed in the scene. A saddened Dean gets up, goes over to Mary, and gives her a huge hug. ”It’s okay Mom, Dad still loves you.” Mary closes her eyes like this is the most important hug of her life. ”I love you too,” Dean says. ”I’ll never leave you.”  Oh, thanks show. Go for the sucker punch to the gut. There’s so much more episode to go you know! The focus goes back to Sam, who’s so stunned he doesn’t know what to say. Now I’m really crying.

Mary breaks the embrace and looks at her son lovingly. ”You’re my little angel.” (Cries more). Mom moments really get to me since I am one. I completely understand. Then she offers Dean pie. No wonder he loves it so much. There’s an emotional connection. That makes perfect sense. Dean goes back to the table and Sam starts shaking his head. ”What?” Dean asks, obviously uncomfortable that Sam saw that. ”I just never realized how long you’ve been cleaning up Dad’s messes.” It really has to be hard to see your family from this angle, especially when you were too young to remember.

Dean is ready to move on now. Sam and Dean look around and Sam finds in the drawer a postcard of Route 66. He has seen this before. Suddenly he and Dean are in a trailer and that postcard is on the wall with a bunch of others from other states. Dean wants to know where they are and Sam is all smiles. ”No way.” Then a beautiful Golden Retriever comes in and Sam is excited to see him. ”Bones!” He greets the friendly animal with lots of love. You see, this is really strange. Sam has never shown an interest in animals, while Dean has always been thoughtful of them. I wonder if something changed in Sam after losing this dog. It’s a great chance though to see Jared interact with a dog on screen though since he’s such a huge animal lover. 

“Bones?” Dean asks. Yes, Bones was his dog. Dean doesn’t understand and then it clicks. This is Flagstaff. Sam says yes with happiness and pets the dog some more. ”This is a good memory for you?” Dean asks offended. ”Yeah, I mean I was on my own for two weeks. I lived on Funyuns and Mr. Pibb.” Then he feeds the dog a piece of pizza. Oh, that must have been paradise. Dean is angry now and Sam doesn’t get it. Dean explains that Sam ran away on his watch. ”I looked everywhere for you, I thought you were dead. And when Dad came home”¦” Yes, we can fill in the blanks there. Sam’s looking a little ashamed now. ”Dean, I’m sorry, I never thought about it like that.” Dean drops it and goes out the door, seeing the road sign on the door. Poor Sam sits there for a few seconds and it’s clear he doesn’t want to leave. He even sadly pets the dog one last time and tells him to stay. I say in season six they allow a sidekick dog. Why not, it worked for Clark Kent.

Sam steps outside and they’re on a blacktop road in front of an abandoned house. They both look around really surprised by where they are. It’s dark and the entire scene is lit by bright moonlight. Sam sighs for he knows what’s coming. Dean wants to know what memory this is. Sam claims he doesn’t know, but he so does. He tries to get them to move on, but then Dean remembers. ”This?” Sam looks ashamed.   ”This is the night you ditched us for Stanford, isn’t it? This is your idea of Heaven?” Sam doesn’t know what to say. ”Wow,” Dean says, “This is like one of the worst nights of my life.”

SPN 0516
Sam in apologetic tone says he can’t control this stuff. Dean gets angrier. Sam explains he was on his own, he finally got away from Dad. ”Yeah, he wasn’t the only one you got away from.” Sam tries to apologize, and Dean throws “You didn’t think of it like that” back at him. Sam tries to plea but Dean really goes off. ”Come on, your heaven is somebody else’s Thanksgiving dinner. It’s bailing on your family. What do you want me to say?” Sam defends, “Man, I never got my crusts cut off my P,B and J. I just don’t look at family the way you do.” Dean argues more, “Yeah, but I’m your family. We’re supposed to be a team. Just you and me against the world, right?” “It is,” Sam says as though there’s more to explain. ”Is it?”

Okay, yes, these brothers have had similar disagreements like this in the past, and on the very same topic, but this time is different. Sam is not aware of the bad place Dean is in right now. After the events of “My Bloody Valentine,” Dean’s faith in Sam is wavering. I also know that when married couples fight, they like to nitpick and break open old wounds that have been lingering, even if said wounds were dealt with previously. So Dean’s reaction is likely one of just a tired man at his wits end. All he’s clinging to is his sense of family and here it’s getting blown apart. There are also theories that Zachariah planted these memories. I don’t think so. He may have allowed each brother to see the memories knowing what they would see thus causing a rift, but I don’t think he controlled them.

No more time for the family airing of grievances, for the Heavenly spotlight of doom arrives. Sam and Dean run into the dark woods and then jump behind a log. The big bad Zachariah arrives, noting the irony of running from angels on foot, in Heaven. ”With out of the box thinking like that I’m surprised you boys haven’t stopped the apocalypse already.” Oh, I get it”¦sarcasm. Zachariah snaps his fingers and its daylight now. Zack goes on, telling them he just wants to send them back to Earth, that’s all. Right. It’s a wonder he doesn’t try to sell them swamp land in Florida too. ”I mean that is before I tear you a cosmos of new ones.” Oh, there’s that vindictive spirit I was looking for.

Zack promises that by the time he’s through with them, they’re going to be begging to say yes. Sam and Dean decide to make a run for it, but Zack is right there. ”Guys, come on. You can run but you can’t”¦run.” They go in the other direction and there’s a masked wrestler with a cape there? Okay. He tells them to hurry, draws some sort of sigil on a nearby shed door and they enter a large room. It’s the roadhouse! Sam rightfully asks who he is and he removes his mask and cape. Those long locks of that mullet we all know and love fall out the back. It’s Ash! ”Buenos dias bitches.” He claps and turns on the lights. I love reunions. ”Welcome to my Blue Heaven.” Sam smiles, Dean is a bit bothered. 

Dean and Sam come over to the bar, Dean noticing the roadhouse even smells the same. ”Bud, blood, and beer nuts. It’s the best smell in the world,” Ash says. He serves up two beers, letting them know up there’s no hangover. Sam asks the “no offense” question.   “How does a dirtbag like me end up in a place like this?” Ash says. He’s been saved. Sam clarifies this is his Heaven. Ash answers yes while cutting a hole in the bottom of the beer can and then downing the whole thing a la a makeshift beer bong. Sam, who’s playing twenty questions, is finding that he starts questions and then Ash finishes the sentences. The angels after them were in his head. ”So there are two heavens?” No, more like a hundred billion. It’ll take the angel boys “a minute” to catch up. Or several. Dean and Sam are totally lost. I’ve just going to transcribe what Ash says, because this does get kind of freaky.

“You see, you’ve got to stop thinking of Heaven as one place. It’s more like a buttload of places all crammed together. Like Disneyland. Except without all the anti-Semitism (strange comment coming from a redneck). You see, you got Winchesterland. (Holds hands out) Ashland. A whole mess of everybody else lands, put them all together, Heaven. Right? In the center of it all is The Magic Kingdom, the Garden. “ Yep, this episode is really loving Disneyland.

SPN 0597
Dean asks if everybody gets their own paradise. Ash confirms this. ”A few people share, special cases.” What cases? ”Ah, you know, like, soul mates.” There’s a moment of awkward silence. So Sam and Dean are soul mates? Think about it, isn’t this the first time they’ve died together?   Most people can’t leave their “own Private Idaho.” That’s a B-52’s song and title of a movie for anyone that didn’t know that. But Ash ain’t most people. They don’t have his skills. ”I’ve been all over. Johnny Cash, Andre The Giant, (turns to Sam) Einstein.” Sam is fascinated by that one. He can really mix a White Russian. He also mentions the chick who wrote the Kama Sutra, but I’m not about to spell that.

“All this from a guy who used to sleep on a pool table,” Dean jokes. ”Yeah, now that I’m dead, I’m living man and a whole lot more.” So how did he find them? It seems our techno-geek mullet head rigged up his own scanner. He turns it on and the monitor starts screeching. That’s angel speak alright. They’re blabbing Enochian in which Ash is fluent. He heard that they were up, of course he had to come find them”¦AGAIN. Dean doesn’t understand. ”This ain’t the first time you’ve been here. I mean, you boys die more than anyone I’ve ever met.”   Dean’s surprised to hear this? You don’t remember dying all those times? Apparently not, for the angels “Windexed their brains.” That’s a good way of putting it. Still, they have to remember dying on Earth.

Sam asks if he’s found anyone else, like Ellen and Jo. Ash is really shocked to hear Ellen and Jo are dead and there’s a small break in his “Mr. Cool” routine. Nice touch. Sam confirms for a few months now and Ash overcomes his upset and comforts himself with the fact they went down fighting. Hmm, this kind of opens the door for them to come back, huh? Maybe not. Dean observes that going down fighting didn’t do much good. Cynical bastard. He asks about their folks. No, he’s been looking all over but can’t find John and Mary Winchester yet. But there is someone he knows for sure that wants to “drive” with them. He goes into the kitchen, comes back out and it’s Pamela! With eyes. And the trademark Ramones t-shirt. This is definitely Heaven for her. “Nice to see you boys again.” Ash “oohs” over the pun.

Sam and Ash are checking out the Enochian monitor while Pamela and Dean drink and talk at another table. Ash tells Sam how nice it is to have a “practical application for string theory.” For the physicist that’s actually watching this show, I hope you enjoyed your private joke. Dean tries to catch up with Pamela, who smacks him on the head. “That’s for getting me killed.” She should have outright decked him. I guess this is Heaven. Dean doesn’t know what to say and we can tell the guilt is still killing him. ”If it makes you feel any better, we got Ash killed too.” “I’m cool with it,” Ash says, giving them the “rock on” sign.

SPN 0783
Dean asks Pamela if she’s good. Yep, she’s good. She really means it. She recalls her death scene when she got shot and was coughing up blood, which is interesting considering she was stabbed. Given that fact though that there’s a whole mess of character continuity in this one and that’s the only slip up, I’ll let it pass. She remembers Dean said she would be going to a better place. “I was lying,” Dean says. “You were right,” Pamela replies. “My Heaven, it is one long show at the Meadowlands.” Sorry Pamela, but I can think of about eighty places better for concerts than that.

She goes on, saying how amazing it is and that he should see it. Dean doesn’t like that idea. He believes her, but doesn’t like the idea of spending eternity trapped in his own universe while the angels run the show.  Wow, that does sound Matrix like, doesn’t it? Then he goes on to say it’s lonely, it’s The Matrix. Wow, I didn’t catch that reference the first couple of viewings. Strange how we’re thinking alike there. No, it isn’t. ”Attic’s still better than the basement.” Touche Ms. Barnes, Touche.

Dean sees she isn’t getting his point. For example, the roadhouse feels real, but it’s Memorex. Real is “down there.” Pamela doesn’t care, it’s close enough. She’s happy and at peace, so it’s looking pretty good.   Oh, plus she has eyes. That’s a bonus.  “What, you trying to sell me a time share?” Dean jokes. She knows that Michael wants to take him out for a test drive. ”What happens if you play ball with him? Worst case.” Dean says a lot of people will die. Pamela doesn’t see that as a bad thing since they get to go there.  She can tell she’s making him mad, and says he just doesn’t need to fight it so hard. That’s a perfect break for Sam announcing Ash found a shortcut to the Garden. Ash does the “rock on” sign, Pamela does “hang loose.”  Par-ty!


# sugarhi15 2015-01-01 09:46
I really enjoyed this review alice. thank you .
I had just rewatched this episode a few days ago coincidentally and as I watched the ep once again, it really connects to the current episodes we are seeing now. I've said it before, ea and every episode flows into ea other and is one continued story.
I really thought this episode revealed a lot about dean, which makes sense as to this situation now. it seems to me, from watching, that dean can't fail. he has a very hard time with what he deems to be failing. he believes that people leave him, even though they don't leave him. mom didn't leave dean, she died. dad was an absent father, but he didn't leave dean, he never left the boys in his heart, it's just that his journey was taking him to his revenge. sam never thought of it as leaving dean. dean was always sam's salvation, as he so wanted to leave the horror that was their life. sam left a world of danger, a world that killed his mother and is taking his father away from them...he ached for normal and safe. I truly believe he wasn't even thinking about dean, not in the way dean imagined. I really believe sam was just thinking about getting away from the life. it was really the wish of a child. a wish and fear he held onto. one that he really only recently let go of...but still has hope to have for both of them one day.

so dean has this notion that people leave him. Zach knew this which is why he had mary say it. Zach was playing on dean's issue of self loathing and was using it to break his break him, so he would say yes...and it worked..practic ally;) it seems to me that dean thinks everyone he loves leaves because of him personally. so dean does everything it takes to ensure that doesn't happen. he's the good soldier, the responsible brother ...he cannot fail because if he fails the people he loves, they will leave him. a very sad notion so far from the truth....and something dean really has to come face to face and deal with.

I think this attitude speaks volumes of his actions towards sam and his inability to face his crap. it's one of the reasons why he buries everything. it's one of the reasons why he can't face up to his mistakes. ( for example, amy. dean shouldn't have killed amy. since he did, he damn well shouldn't have hid it from sam. this was a mistake on dean's part. when sam finds out, he's devastated. firstly because dean killed his friend. secondly after lying about it. then dean gets all defensive and tries to turn it on sam. telling sam not to be a bitch. dean's number one defense mechanism, turning the situation around so that he's not the one who's wrong. so he isn't the one who failed. because if he fails, sam will leave. I can only imagine how scared dean was when sam needed that time away. it didn't surprise me one bit, when dean brought out the big gun, to convince sam that dean was right.) it's one of the reasons, not the only, but part of the reason why Sammy does not die while he walks the earth. ;) it's this inability in dean which has ultimately led him to becoming a demon.

carver continues to play on this ongoing issue with dean. actually, as i'm so very happy to see, carver is finally dealing with this issue of dean's...he got that ball rolling with s8. look at how s8 went down. dean was in purgatory, where he found peace and a bit of pleasure in that he could kill freely without guilt or conscience. benny said it...he said to dean he wished he appreciated purgatory the way he had. if sam were with him in purgatory, do you suppose dean would've come out the same way? would he have appreciated the killing? not that they both wouldn't have killed for survival, but with sam, do you think dean would've been able to find the pleasure in it? as he had been able to with benny? I don't believe so. with that dean connects to benny. he appreciates benny because they are the same. this is not a relationship built on love or trust. it's built on a mutual attitude. and in the end, dean brings this monster with him to earth, deluding himself into thinking benny is the exception to dean's very own monster rule, which he so eloquently glorified to amy before he ganked her. thus dean's hypocritical status blooms into the weed that it is. but dean has to believe in benny, because if he's wrong about benny, as we learn he is..then dean is a monster like him instead of benny being the monster who's human. dean creates this fascade. having sam believe benny is good. benny could be trusted. benny is like a brother. but in reality benny was a vampire who killed humans while atop because that's what vamps do. he was true to himself. yes there was a bond, I don't deny it...but it was a bond based on what they believed to be a kindred spirit. dean ultimately recognized this. when dean sent that text, and saw the lengths he went to to keep the façade of benny alive...that he hurt his brother so much, that sam couldn't take it anymore, he told dean he had to decide, dean knew he had to cut benny loose. dean building up benny so that he doesn't feel like the monster he'd become in purgatory was having the opposite affect. I believe dean didn't want to fail sam, to let sam know the truth about benny and what they really did down there and dean's contentment with it dean creates a benny that isn't real....but in trying to keep up the charade, he nearly destroys his relationship with sam...and that too is failing his brother. so dean has to decide which failing is one he can live with...and so he chooses sam over benny...private ly living once again with the belief that he's truly no good. he's just a killer. all of this could've been avoided if dean had been honest with sam. but dean's inability to face failing or what he deems to be the bane of dean's existence and it's what eventually leads to his fall.
we see dean totally try to make up for everything in the second half of s8. he even does a whole 360 in his attitude about wanting sam to have normal. funny because the whole first half he made sam feel guilty to the point of rather killing himself instead of disappointing dean again...which is a whole sam thing that you will be pleased to know I won't be getting into. i'm sure I already have at some point already.:D dean was the one who felt he needed to atone so badly that it was he who wanted to do the trials. (sam felt the same which is why he took them over, oh those boys) sam taking over, all dean could do was be by sam's side and make sure he got through it. not that dean wasn't still a busy guy. cas needed dean to get metatron.

this leads to s9 and dean's inability to let sam go and the method in which he used to keep him. sam dying...that would be dean's biggest failure and that ain't happening, not while he's still walking the earth. of course when kevin dies and sam finds out the truth, and not in the way he should have....yikes. dean can't even face sam. he runs away. this was a failure too big for dean to handle so he didn't handle it at all. not only did he run away from sam, but he saw fit to punish himself in a way that sam would never have. of course the sad thing is that I don't think dean understands that. when he has the opportunity to simply tell sam he was sorry, he couldn't do it. he couldn't say the words, I believe because it would be admitting he failed his brother. thus his big bravado about doing it all again...and in dean's attempt to ignore his mistake, he inadvertently made things worse by leading sam to believe that dean only saved sam because he didnt' want to be alone. and here we have the rest of s9 and the continued misunderstandin g between the boys.

this of course ultimately leads us to where we are now. it all started on that fateful day when dean was only four years old. :(

but there is a bright spot...because s10 is finally dealing with dean's issue. at least we're well into the process. I really do believe, that when dean finally rids himself of the mark, I think he's finally going to understand what truly motivates him and why. my hope is when he comes to this realization he'll be open with sam about it. I believe he will be. as I've stated before, I think season ten is the year that both of these boys will finally deal with their personal demons and come to accept who they are. they will come to understand ea. other's perspective for the first time ever....and their bond will be stronger than it ever was before...becaus e now they truly accept ea.'s going to be amazing, I have no doubt. :)

and of course, this is jmo ;)
# LEAH 2015-01-02 00:58
This is one of my favorite episodes. The visuals are stunning and it was exciting. I know it was controversial in the fandom for various reasons but the scene of young Sam and adult Dean in the pasture with fireworks was so lovely I'll always hold this one close. I personally never thought the amulet tossing was as much about sticking it to Sam as it was Dean being at the end of his rope and feeling hopeless and defeated. I am glad that Dean got to atone in a tiny way for his impulsive decision to toss it by hanging it (the play version) on the mirror in the 200th. Even if it disappeared in the next episode. :) I liked the moment. Thanks for the look back Elle.
# SinBin 2015-01-02 04:14
Thanks for this review. It's nice to have a look back and remember past episodes. Unfortunately, in light of what we've seen in the last three seasons this episode now leaves a really bitter taste in my mouth. When Sam and Dean do die is this what Sam will spend an eternity facing, Dean crapping all over Sams happy memories while Sam has to stand in the corner and watch memories of Dean that he himself is not a part of that, cause him pain. I'd have hoped that heaven would be an escape from all that and not merely an extension of it.
# Jo1027 2015-01-02 08:24
I agree with SinBin. I hated this episode with every fiber of my being. Dean was a complete ass to Sam and throws away the brothers relationship along with the amulet. He begrudges any happy memories that Sam has that don't include him. But Sam doesn't do the same thing to him. Their relationship in a nutshell. And it's only gotten worse since then.
# sugarhi15 2015-01-02 16:31

I agree. I never thought of dean tossing the amulet as a way of sticking it to sam. dean stated to sam in the ep that God was the last hope of a desperate man, and he just found out that God didn't care. It wasn't his problem. Little did dean realize that he didn't give up on him, that he gave him sam. God saved them both. He granted both salvation into heaven, for he knew the end result. God was never far away from the boys, as we've seen chuck has been there til the end...and judging from fan fiction, he's still close by watching over the Winchesters. ;)

I always saw the moment dean tossing the amulet as the moment he gave up. the moment he decided he was going to say yes. and thinking on it as I just rewatched the eppy, it was probably something easier for him to do without the reminder on his neck of the trust sam put in him and what he was about to do. also looking back to ponr, and watching fan's easy to see why dean was so surprised at how marie looked at the amulet and dean's response in kind: I don't need a trinket to remind me of how I feel about my brother. watching ponr, sam comes into the panic room, and this is after dean's gut wrenching speech to sam, sam walks in with key in hand, unlocking the cuffs and telling dean he's taking him with. with that, dean flat out asks if that's a good idea and sam says both bobby and cas don't think so, but does. dean tells him they're right. that it's a trap to say yes and he will. and sam looks him in the eyes and tells him no..when push comes to shove, dean will do the right thing. dean's response is so simple...I don't get it, why are you doing this? and sam's response is so matter of fact and obvious...becau se you're still my big brother. and not too long after, when cas tells dean he doesn't have faith in him like sam does and is willing to die because he knows dean will fail....dean goes in that room and is about to say yes as sam is lying bloody on the floor and he looks at sam....and that's it...he gives sam a wink and a minute later Zach is dead on the floor....sam asks what made him change his mind....dean's answer is perfect...I didn't want to let you down....and all this without the amulet around his neck....because when it comes down to it, amulet or no, dean loves sam ...always has and always will.

but I do so love the fact that now dean understands how others view the amulet and thus hung it in the impala.
# cheryl42 2015-01-03 13:00
That was a great analysis of both of those episodes. I hadn't looked at it quite that way before. I loved DSOTM it is one of my favorite episodes from S5. Even the painful ending was perfect in the story telling as to where Dean was at that moment. And it was so obvious, even though I didn't see it at the time that Dean still loved Sam and didn't let him down even without the amulet. And what Dean said to Marie was true but the deeper truth was that when Dean hung the "Samulet" in the car he was telling Sam again thank you for still believing in him no matter what he did or became.
I love these looks into the past episodes. Thank you Elle these are fun.
# sugarhi15 2015-01-03 13:51
thanks Cheryl.... I know I kind of went rather into deep analysis into dean in the post above that....I let my thoughts run away with me. I just can't help it....I get so angry at dean sometimes...hal f the time I want to punch him right in his very cute I actually have to try to understand him so that he's less frustrating.... see I don't get that with sam. I don't know why, but I understand sam completely..

anyhoo I totally agree with you regarding the deeper truth in dean not only taking the amulet but hanging it in the impala...even though we only saw it for that moment...I think in the eps that have followed dean has been more open with sam than he's ever open dean is a trusting dean...I really feel dean starting to put all of his faith in his brother this season...seeing sam as the capable man he's always been. ;) that's just me of course.
# LEAH 2015-01-03 15:41
Yay we can reply again! Yes Sugarhi15 thank you for articulating much of how I feel about Dean. I am often angry at him myself. I have rarely been angry at Sam. However I do try and see below all the defensive layers to the good man that he is and yet doesn't believe himself to be. I think Dean threw away the amulet primarily for other reasons then being upset with Sam about not being in Sam's version of heaven. Though I believe it was a factor. Dean was without hope at that moment felt abandoned by God. He had turned it over to Cas to be used for the purpose of finding God. That's what it was being used for when Dean tossed it. He equates taking care of Sam with love, not a necklace. It did mean a lot to Dean, Sam gave it to him, he loved it. But he didn't need it to know how he feels about Sam or to continue to love or protect Sam which is what he has always done. I think it hurt Sam but he knew how defeated his brother felt at that moment. He is hopefully coming to a place where he can let Sam be a grown man and equal, not his little brother who need to always be protected and "saved". I do see signs of that this season. :)
# sugarhi15 2015-01-03 16:48
I totally agree. ;)
# njspnfan 2015-01-03 14:46
A great episode from S5. Given the lead up to this episode, with Sam taking out Famine in 5.14 My Bloody Valentine, Dean's mindset and reaction at the end of the episode make a lot of sense. He's not giving up on Sam, he's pretty much giving up on everything by this point.

I've gone back and forth on whether Sam's memories/"great est hits" were planted or at least picked out by Zachariah or not. In either case, given what the hunting life has meant to him, losing both parents, his demon blood addiction, taking out Lilith to release Lucifer, and lastly, being THE vessel for Lucifer, it always made sense to me that his fondest memories would be his time spent away from, or getting away from, his life as a hunter.
# anonymousN 2015-01-04 02:05
This was good episode which gave insight into Sam.But I was sad that rather than Dean learning anything about Sam he berated Sam.This made me feel sorry for Sam as this is what he has to look forward to after Death.His (their) heaven where he should be happy will not be so as Dean will judge every memory that Sam has.This is what sam's eternity is going to be like.depressing thought.This is pattern I have seen whereas sam always is open to learn about Dean even when it is revealed (less than flattering) that he was playing with an aeroplane *barf*, Dean cannot even muster a pretense of understanding or even try to understand.This episode ended with Dean throwing the amulet and when the camera showed Sam, I got to see how it devastated Sam.Many people commented that they wanted Sam to have retrieved it from the trash can and they wanted Sam to return it to Dean.I wanted Sam to have retrieved it and want to keep it with him and when Sam dies I want someone to find it among his possessions.Dea n no longer deserves it as he could not muster an apology to Sam in s09 or s10.
The hiatus re-review of this episode coupled with what has happened on the show after this episode has made me strengthen my thoughts that
1) Sam has to be shown driving another car ..I had always hated the" driver pics music...."line and it has gone too far (I want to punch Dean when i listen to this dialogue now) ..Sam could not even put an ipod jack...I really really hope the writers show Sam driving a new car..not Dean's home ..but a car for sam.
2) Amulet should never be returned to Dean .
and a new one
3) Sam's heaven experience is going to be hell because of Dean.
# Jo1027 2015-01-05 08:48
Dean might love Sam but that does not preclude the way he abuses him both physically and mentally. He just doesn't care how Sam feels about anything. He's made that abundantly clear.
# sugarhi15 2015-01-05 21:28
I don't think I can agree with that. now mind you, I don't deny at all that dean can be a real pratt at times...and Chuck knows there were times where it was all me me me...but I don't think I can agree that dean doesn't care how sam feels about anything. I've seen many many examples of dean caring what sam thinks and feels. there were times that sam's feelings have swayed dean's opinions and actions. i just don't always think that it's about dean not caring how sam feels, sometimes i think it's about dean being afraid of what sam feels.

jmo of course. ;)
# love2boys 2015-01-06 13:07
I agree with sugarhi, for what it's worth. Dean often shows he cares how Sam feels. In this instance, though, he is showing that his feelings are hurt that he and/or family were not included in Sam's dreams. He always needs time to process before he reacts anyway.

After I've watched this episode a zillion times, I always notice how Sam has to "figure out" why he was in the Thanksgiving dinner scene. Oh, heaven? My first formal Thanksgiving. Maybe our greatest hits... Interesting.
# sugarhi15 2015-01-06 13:53
Actually I kind of got it. You have to realize, that for the first four years of his life, dean got to have dinner every night with his mom and dad, in a house where he was safe, getting tucked in every night. Sam never got to personally experience that. he was a baby. He has no memories of a mom or dinners or getting tucked in. The only family life he has seen was on tv. Probably the Brady bunch as he noted once his family wasn't the Brady's. For the first time in his life Sam got to witness first hand what it's like to have a normal family and he had the chance for the first time ever to experience what every other kid he's ever known including his brother takes advantage of . So yes I could see this being a moment Sam would treasure as he most likely never had it least as of now.....what's important to remember is that when Sam gained control from was his current memories of his brother and his love for him that flashed through his mind;)