My only criticism of this episode might be the heavy handedness of its messages. The parallels were so blatant it was almost insulting. A fandom that routinely spends a week dissecting every line, facial expression, move, scene, prop, motivation and change in relationship within each episode probably doesn’t need such obvious telescoping of the moral of the story. Still, the pros outweighed the cons. The characterizations, story and emotional embrace of the episode were all perfection. I enjoyed it thoroughly and completely.
So, how did its masterful weaving add threads to the season’s tapestry?
The opening sequence of Charlie assaulting the D.A. immediately established a parallel between DarkCharlie and the worst side of Dean. “Who doesn’t love a little torture?” was a reflection back to Dean’s days in Hell and his admission that he liked torturing souls. This connection stood out because beating someone isn’t usually considered “torture”, yet the term was first used by Charlie, then again by Sam and Dean, then reiterated by the news article:
Sam: “I found this story about a torture vic”
Dean: “Are you saying Charlie tortured someone?”
News Headline: “Local D.A. Victim of Torture, Assault”
Categorizing the assaults as torture also quickly established DarkCharlie as evil without having to provide a long backstory of past despicable deeds. Most importantly, her taste for torture equated DarkCharlie’s actions to Dean’s interrogation of Metatron, since that truly did involve torture, moving well past a beating. This character equalization illuminated the premise that the Mark of Cain is forcing a battle inside Dean between his “dark” side and his “good” side. With this parallel firmly grounded, whatever happened to Charlie could from then on be applied to Dean.
This episode obviously explored the good and bad sides inherent in all human beings. It presented it as a battle taking place within, and for, our souls.
Charlie: “He said for us to win I had to unleash my true darkness, which he meant literally. He used the inner key of Oz. It opens the door to your soul and lets the darkness out. We’re still connected physically. If you hurt her, you hurt me, but bottom line, she’s bad and I’m good….and being good is really annoying.”
Each phrase in that key line of exposition is important. It begins by explaining that the inner key “unleashed” Charlie’s dark side.
The only slight visual we were giving of the “inner key”
The inner key of Oz was Charlie’s Mark of Cain. It accentuated all of the evil tendencies her good side had previously been able to suppress. The evil Wizard of Oz was her Cain – the people who had previously experienced the separation of good and evil within themselves and were willing to pass it along to someone who begged them for it. In both cases, Charlie and Dean had altruistic motivations asking for the supernatural power. Dean believed he needed the First Blade, and hence the Mark of Cain, to save the world from Abaddon. Charlie believed she needed the magical solution the wizard was offering to save Emerald City from whatever dire fate loomed if they lost the war. Both Charlie and Dean achieved their initial goals, but neither the Wizard nor Cain were entirely forthcoming about the side-effects of their “miracle cure”. Now Charlie and Dean’s good sides are at the mercy of their dark sides and both heroes regret the harm that has been left in their wake.
Dean: “Charlie, it’s not who you are. It’s a twisted version of…”
Charlie’s pivotal exposition continued to explain that her good and dark sides “are still connected physically”. Obviously, the same is true for Dean as the battle for his soul is still being waged within his body. The physical connection accentuated the yin and yang nature of good and evil – one cannot exist without the other and everything done by one affects the other.
Sam: “I don’t think that finding DarkCharlie and locking her up is going to work. I mean, she may be dark but she’s still a part of you.”
Since Dean was still physically whole, he was desperately trying to find a way to dominate his dark side. His first inclinations were a true warrior’s response - approach it as a battle and apply all your training as a soldier. He toned his body with sleep and healthy food to make it stronger for the “battle”.
He exercised self-discipline by denying himself liquor and burgers to keep a sharp mind and practice the restraint he would need to not give into the Mark’s temptations. He listened to self-improvement tapes, presuming that they would offer him the strategy he would need for the battle taking place in his mind.
These were all a soldier’s tactics – get sharper, stronger, better prepared for battle.
Dean may also have been emulating Sam, as Dean implied when he threw the egg white omelet at Sam:
Dean:...the breakfast of champions, you know, if you're a dork like you".Sam had previously controlled a dark evil inside of him so Dean used Sam as his model. “Well if it worked for him, maybe it will work for me” may have been Dean's strategy. Unfortunately, Sam’s battles were, at their core, fundamentally different from Dean’s. Also, Sam’s diet and exercise regimen contributed very little to his victory over Lucifer, demon’s blood, Gadreel’s possession…need I go on? Charlie recognized, acknowledged and voiced Dean’s true battle when she confronted Dean about his guilt and inability to forgive himself.
The last phrase of Charlie’s explanation, “being good is really annoying” actually presented a curious new side-effect of the split between good and evil. The dark sides of both Dean and Charlie seem to be the smarter of the two sides. In “LARP and the Real Girl”, Robbie Thompson specifically portrayed Dean as a skilled strategists, when Dean suggested battle plan improvements with just a momentary glance at combatants’ positions. Yet in this episode, this same writer had Dean blab the good guy’s next move to DarkCharlie? A Dean firing on all cyllinders would never reveal his battle plan to his opponent! Dean changed the name of the city? If Dean thought enough to disguise the real location, he obviously realized that the information was important and would have kept it secret. Other evidence of his blundering:
- Standing so far away from DarkCharlie when she confronted Russell. Her closing the door to lock out Dean was predictable. Dean would never have trusted anyone enough to make that obvious mistake
- Being shocked that DarkCharlie killed Russell
- Not anticipating that DarkCharlie would follow him from the bar to the location of the MoL survivor
I believe this was all done intentionally to expose that mistrust and skillfully lying are part of our “dark” sides. Dean was trying so hard to be calm and suppress all “dark” inclinations that he unintentionally shut off his hunting training and instincts. He ended up being vulnerable and even a hindrance without them.
Charlie was aghast at the idea of breaking the law
This idea was furthered when Charlie wouldn’t hack financial records that they needed to save a life, and when GoodClive woefully admitted that “lying is not good”. All of these inactions were part of the message that both Charlie and Dean needed their dark sides to be effective strategists, cunning and conniving enough to be heroes who save people.
The admission that good is annoying may have had a second purpose as well. Charlie gave several examples of how her “goodness” was holding her back (not being able to act on sexual attraction being one of them). The message that being good was undesirable was reiterated when DarkCharlie taunted Sam:
Charlie: “Oh Sam, you’re adorable. You’re not going to hurt me. In fact, that’s your problem - all good guy code, no bite. What a waste.”Immediately after establishing Sam as the personification of “good”, Charlie continued, turning to Dean:
“And you, always letting this albatross hold you back.”
To reinforce the premise that being good is bad, arguments were then put forward that being bad is good:
DarkCharlie to Dean: “You know what I learned about being dark? It sets you free….and part of you knows that’s right too.”
Reminiscent of Metatron’s urging to Dean last week, “Good Dean. Go darker. Go deeper”, DarkCharlie also encouraged Dean to give into evil:
Dark Charlie to Dean: “That’s it big boy. Let it all out”
This reminds me so much of SoullessSam’s conundrum. He was content being emotionless without a soul, but Dean kept telling him that being able to feel everything, both good and bad, was better. Why would Sam choose to have a conscious when he could hunt with sharper senses, ruthless tactics and no guilt at all? Dean is facing this same dilemma. The forces of evil (Metatron, DarkCharlie, Crowley) tell him that he can be “free” going bad, unfettered by emotion, untethered to Sam. He would be stronger, faster, and wouldn’t have the burden of guilt he now carries. When Crowley challenged him to “Pick a Bloody Side!”, Dean sat at a piano and calmly decided he was more demon than human and began proudly pronouncing “I’m a demon” to his adversaries. The troubling foreshadowing, though, is that Soulless Sam eventually turned against the one person telling him to be “good”, Dean. Sam tried to kill Bobby to preserve himself. Is the show headed down this same path? DarkCharlie seemed to be drawing the battle lines for Dean:
DarkCharlie to Dean: “Grow up. There’s no right. There’s no wrong. There’s just us and them.”
Sam being portrayed as the personification of goodness when goodness is being reviled, and being called an “albatross” holding Dean back, all seem to point to a future where Dean resents and turns against Sam’s governance. What do you think? Could this be where all these clues in the dialog are heading?
The Story and the Truth
Dean: You lied to me.”Although not specifically mentioned as a “story”, DarkCharlie reminded us again that we all tell ourselves lies to not have to face dark truths. Her words reinforce this thread that only the truth will set Dean free.
DarkCharlie: “You lied to yourself. That’s kind of your move.”
The words “I forgive you” were uttered by several people in this episode. DarkCharlie said she forgave the man who stole her perfect life from her, yet her words were hollow and insincere. The man who killed her parents admitted his guilt, professed his sorrow and promised atonement, yet Charlie’s darkest self stubbornly held onto her rage, punishing rather than forgiving.
In contrast, Clive was sincere when he told Charlie that he forgave her for what she was about to do to him. This was the good side of the soul speaking, understanding that forgiveness can only be effective if it is sincere and felt in the soul. When offered truthfully, it releases not only the transgressor but also the victim.
Wholecharlie to Dean: “I forgive you.”
Dean: “Yeah, well I don’t.
Charlie: “I know. Kind of your move. How’s that working out for you, huh?”
I consider that last line by Charlie to be the most important thing she has said to the brothers, and the most important message of the episode. Within a very short period of time, Charlie both needed to receive and to give forgiveness. She experienced the redemption of forgiveness from a man she had to kill, at the exact same time she was being beaten to a pulp by a violent act of cruelty. Perhaps being forgiven by Clive allowed her to understand the healing power of forgiveness and how very much she needed to forgive Dean.
Her courage to walk over to Dean and let go of the pain he had inflicted on her allowed her to “keep moving forward” to help both Dean and herself. She knew in that moment that Dean must let go of his rage in order to forgive himself, and that his current tactic of self-flagellation was not “working out” for him. No matter how much he tones, strengthens, disciplines or tries, he cannot control the MoC without first letting go of the rage, and giving himself the gift of forgiveness. “How’s that working out for you?” was Charlie’s signal to Dean that his current path of endlessly punishing himself is his problem, and the fuel being used against him by the MoC. Maybe Dean will hear her and accept that the fundamental change has to come from within.
You Were Right
Again in this episode, key characters went out of their way to acknowledge the wisdom of other characters:
Charlie to Sam: “You’re right. I hate it, but you’re right.”
Then to close out the story with an emotional promise:
Sam to Dean: “She’s right Dean. You can do this. We can do this.”
Are the viewers being told that the characters should be believed because they are so frequently right? It may also be a way to underscore the lessons they’ve learned along the way or to showcase their growing maturity. I’m not sure of its purpose, but this thread is appearing in a growing number of episodes. What do you think?
This episode continued the season's presentation of humans who do reprehensible things as “monsters”:
DarkCharlie: “Come on Dean. I’m not the monster here. He was. He got what he deserved. You know I’m right.”
Granted it was DarkCharlie who killed a drunk driver who was guilty of manslaughter, but if she represents the side of us that judges others without compassion or rule of law, “she” was simply the darker instincts of Charlie being free to dole out vengeance on another human being. We now have an extended pattern of the “good guys” killing humans rather than supernatural creatures, because of the monstrous acts perpetrated by the “bad guys”. Even innocent Charlie had to kill GoodClive in order to stop his monster, DarkClive. Where could this undeniably repetitive message be leading the story? I’m open to theories.
- Clive: “The six keys of Oz were forged from Oz steel.” There are six keys. I bet that will come back to us someday. Does anyone know if that comes from the original L. Frank Baum books?
- Charlie: “Dudes, secrets are bad.” Finally!!! I love how Charlie voices what fans scream at their TVs every week.
- It was nice to see Paul McGillion (Peter Harper) again. I recognized him from Star Gate: Atlantis (it drove me nuts until we figured it out).
- The councilwoman’s house looked like Victor’s house in 8.18 “Freaks and Geeks”. If someone has time, check out the two images and let us know?
I was thrilled with this episode. Aspects of it that annoyed me during the first watch (DumbDean for example), ended up having meaning that needed time to penetrate my understanding. This one was a keeper, but it opened up some troubling possibilities for the future. Why is Sam being portrayed as a “good guy” now when the beginning of the season went out of its way to call him a “monster”? If we move past “it’s just bad writing”, and “they don’t understand Sam” excuses, both good guys and human “monsters” are ending up dead this season. Given Sam’s parallel to Cain’s Colette, plus the original story of Cain and Abel, I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this! Also, do you think that Dean is capable of forgiving himself? His rage and self-hatred are deeply ingrained in his psyche.
Now if we can just have an episode where Sam doesn’t get overpowered, tied up and threatened with death while Dean fights his way out of the jam!!
Screencaps courtesy of www.screencapped.net.
Sam being portrayed as the personification of goodness when goodness is being reviled, and being called an “albatross” holding Dean back, all seem to point to a future where Dean resents and turns against Sam’s governance. What do you think? Could this be where all these clues in the dialog are heading? It certainly could be the way they are heading. I have also seen the suggestion that it is being said so that when Sam breaks his moral compass trying to save Dean the contrast is more stark. Frankly I'm kind of betting on Sam doing something monstrous to save Dean, just so Dean can then decide he has to kill "evil" Sam because that's how this show rolls. I prefer your view and frankly if they go with what I fear, I just hope Sam's struggle with his moral compass doesn't happen off screen, while the "evil" actions are all front and center.
America/Canada are not the most LIBERAL of nations. Others are
way more free and accepting. I believe in the Divine because
Evil exist. MATH/BALANCE not those stories in those ''HOLY''
books. The clergy says sex only in marriage and ONLY for Procreating.
HA. sell that to someone else bubba.
as well. I don't notice all the nooks and crannies but I do notice LOCATIONS.
1 It looked to me (and I realize I am probably wrong about this but it is what was shown so ....) that Dean was looking at his hand not shaking and being aware that it wasn't shaking because he had let some of the violence out. His DTs had gone away for a while because he had had a drink - metaphorically speaking (and actually speaking) - not that he had more control over his internal violence because he was trying harder. I can see it could be read either way but it is a possible interpretation.
2) The thing about albatrosses is that people think they are unlucky and they aren't. KILLING (or destroying) an albatross is unlucky. Sailors used to be superstitious about it. In the Rime of the Ancient Mariner a sailor killed a albatross and this act of destruction brought bad luck on him and his shipmates. It was hung around his neck as a punishment for bringing bad luck to the ship. It is an irritating idea either way because it assumes (as usual nowadays) that Dean is a person and Sam is an object that Dean has possession of and about which he has the right to make good and bad decisions.
However it is very faintly possible that they are saying that Dean's (and the hunting life)'s effect on Sam which has resulted / will result in him abandoning his moral code (which in literature is a hero's code: A hero is a person who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage or self-sacrifice for some greater good) in favor of doing anything and everything to only save his brother (which is admirable but self-centered - and not actually 'self-sacrifici ng' because it is interpretable (and the show has previously interpreted it that way) as you are going for what YOU want), will backfire on them and result in even more bad luck. That what the show wants us to see is that it is necessary for them both to become heroes again, not for Sam to become Dean.
Or as Terry Pratchett puts it: 'Personal isn't the same as important'
For that to happen it is actually necessary that Dean stops blaming himself for things he has done and instead tries to fix them. Saying you are 'going to be punished' and you aren't sorry 'because it had to be done' isn't fixing anything, it is hoping that you don't have to improve yourself because you are making your 'punishment' someone else's problem - "get Sam to hit me and it will all be forgiven and forgotten".
Honestly it is unlikely that this sort of complexity is what they are going for but, looking at season 9, it is hard to know what the point of it was if it wasn't to show the difference between heroic and personal, and how if you are a 'hero' you probably aren't allowed have 'personal'.
If Supernatural is trying to show that saving one person is sometimes the most important thing, then it is not that easy to see how they get there from here. Dean's determination to 'save' Sam regardless of what was wanted by Sam has resulted in his own destruction (temporarily) and long term damage; both TO Dean and that Dean may cause. And Sam saving Dean by any means necessary will result in Sam's destruction also. And Dean will be betrayed by THAT because he has always held Sam to an impossible moral standard.
Here ends my rambling about albatrosses.
Can we go back to MOTW episodes please?
I meant to say that all his efforts at steadying himself by not drinking, eating well and sleeping more did not work. Did my arguments come across to say just the opposite?
This is the guy who inserted the Mesopotamia line into Goodbye Stranger because he thought it sounded good rather than thinking about how it affected canon and this was an episode which was about how rejecting your id because you and other people don't like it is in fact the more dangerous path than accepting it as Good Charlie's 'supposed' rejection of the half she willingly let lose caused a lot more pain. I say that as we never got bad Charlie's side of that story which could have been more interesting as she wasn't rejecting her good half according to Good Charlie, she wanted Good Charlie back.
But if you want to look deeper into it I'd say it is fairer to say Sam isn't just the albatross but the crew who forced him to wear it because both were what the mariner faced. They chopped and changed their minds about the killing it was a good or bad thing, rejecting or accepting the mariner. Sam's life has also affected Dean's view of himself just like Dean's actions have affected Sam. Last season Sam's words and anger were part of the reason Dean did the stupid thing of taking it, Sam and others did take advantage of Dean having the mark even though the saw what is was doing to him. The priority of getting the mark off varied depending on the usefulness of the thing at the time. So like the crew Sam and Cas kind of chopped and changed their mind about the mark and in turn Dean.
But to go back to the crew after they died and the mariner came to appreciate the 'slimy' things around him himself, without crew telling him how to feel, their bodies rose came back to help him. But even after that the mariner wanderers alone telling his tale. Sam isn't going to save Dean, Dean has to accept himself, his own nature, to save himself and Sam can just aid when he can (whether that means he goes dark or not). Which seems to tie into Sam's change from the last episode of saying Dean could control the mark while providing unspoken emotional support which was nice, to actually verbalising that 'we can do it' to confirm to Dean that he isn't alone. But in the end the relationship will be changed by it.
That is not blaming Sam. It is saying Sam has an affect on Dean, which he does, just like Dean does on Sam.
Dean has major self esteem issues that cause him to to run. For me that isn't simply cowardice that is what happens when you feel like you are dirt and need to get out of a situation. For me saying it is cowardice not to face the situation and his decisions is too easy considering the mind set of the person involved and the codependency of the brothers.
As for running, Dean ran, while knowing Cas was with Sam to aid him and feeling his presence would do more harm than good. It may seem like he is dipping out his responsibility but it is as much so as Sam not looking for Dean while having no confirmation he was dead because he was in a mentally bad place. If you say Dean wasn't being responsible then you also have to say that Sam was being irresponsible and in your terms of terminology cowardly there too.
I'm not saying running was the best idea in the world but as I said saying things are cowardly is a simplified way to look at things when there is a lot more going on in the relationship than simply running away because Dean was scared.
Quote:What confirmation? Crowley? When the hell is Crowley a reliable source? There was no blood, human gore or pieces of human clothing that could be traced back to Cas or Dean in that room. They were gone. It's a horror show they could have shown gore that could have been identified as human, but they didn't. But as I said Sam didn't look because he was mentally not in a good place and clinging to Dean being dead gave him reason not to look. With that being the case you could say Sam was being as much as a coward as you are saying Dean is because simple thing is Dean wasn't dead and Sam didn't look.
As I said it is too simple to call Dean a coward and by extension it is too simple to call Sam one when you look at the bigger picture of where they were mentally and physically.
I'm saying that Dean puts Sam's acceptance, understanding and approval of his actions above his blinking own to the point to control the damn thing he is copying everything he sees Sam do. Why because that is Dean's side of the sodding codependency and until he changes that nothing will change even if Sam find as spell that needs him to dress in a pink tut tut and wave a magic wand to save Dean from the mark.
Sam's disappointment and disapproval with regard to Dean's actions even if he didn't say much on that bridge played into Dean's self esteem issues. That is on Dean not Sam but like it or not that was affected by Sam's lack of understanding, not approval, understanding, (which he is completely entitled to do) of why Dean chose to do what he did and it lead in part to Dean choosing to run away because he couldn't deal with both that and his guilt over Kevin. Again that is Dean's choice but you have to admit no-one lives in a sodding vacuum because if he didn't have the huge guilt complex and shame issues which the approval of others affects, he might have stayed to face the music. The running away from that bridge is Dean's equivalent of Sam going with Ruby because in part she made him feel more powerful which Dean didn't do which in turn was as Sam said on him but in part his view of his relationship with Dean did factor into his reasoning for his actions.
Dean since season 3 has admitted he feels sometimes that he is not really a person, but a weapon or soldier. He ran to the only thing that could help him work out his frustrations - a plan to attack something, which Crowley gave him by suggesting Abaddon so he took the mark. Which he has used with alternating supporting the use of it and concern from Sam and Cas in season 9 so tying into the thing about the crew in the poem and Dean's view that being a weapon and dark is all he is good for. Those were Dean's choices but if he had better self esteem then he wouldn't have gone down that path. To get to that point where his self esteem level higher Dean has to accept himself.
I'm not, and I'm not out of line restating my point but if you think that is screaming then I'm not going to change your mind.
[SAM nods in agreement but keeps looking unsteadily at his older brother. DEAN approaches with reservation. CASTIEL backs away to a respectful distance.]
DEAN: All right. Let me hear it.
SAM:What you do want me to say -- that I'm pissed? Okay. I am. I'm pissed. You lied to me. Again.
DEAN:I didn't have a choice.
SAM [emotion clouding his voice]I was ready to die, Dean!
DEAN:I know. But I wouldn't let you, because that's not in me.
SAM: So, what? You decide to trick me into being possessed by some... psycho angel?
DEAN: He saved your life.
SAM: So what? I was willing to die. And now... Kevin... [His eyes fill with guilty tears]
DEAN [strongly]:No. That is not on you. Kevin's blood is on my hands, and that ain't ever getting clean. I'll burn for that. I will. But I'll find Gadreel. And I will end that son of a bitch. But I'll do it alone.
SAM:What's that supposed to mean?
DEAN:Come on, man. Can't you see? I'm... I'm poison, Sam. People get close to me, they get killed...or worse.
You know, I tell myself that I-I -- I help more people than I hurt. And I tell myself that I'm -- I'm doing it all
for the right reasons, and I -- I believe that. But I can't -- I won't... Drag anybody through the muck with me. Not anymore.
[DEAN looks pleadingly at his brother]
SAM:Go. I'm not gonna stop you.
[DEAN's face falls in defeat and surrender and after shooting CASTIEL a glace he slowly turns to walk away.]
SAM:But don't go thinking that's the problem, 'cause it's not.
Sam was absolutely traumatized here.There was no anger in his words, just shock and pain. If Dean is going to punish himself because of what Sam said here, if he's so sensitive as to take what was said in this moment as to do something so monumentally stupid as to take on the MoC (to kill Abbadon? Why was that so important all of a sudden, Dean was on a crusade to kill Gadreel wasn't he, why the switch?) well, then he's even more sensitive than even I thought he was, and basically Sam can't ever talk to him again or Dean will find some way to be offended or hurt and decide to punish himself no matter what Sam says. SO many fans are forgetting canon; Sam ejected Gadreel, he and Dean had ONE, short conversation where Sam was in shock and decided not to try and stop Dean; Dean did most of the talking, was beating himself up already before Sam had said much of anything and then Dean left, leaving his traumatized, injured brother behind to fend for himself. With lines like "Im poison" and "Kevin's blood is on my hands" and "I'll do it alone" clearly show that Dean had already made up his mind. He was going to go off and punish himself no matter what and no words said or not said by Sam or anyone else was going to stop his self flagellation in that moment. Sam could have been unconscious at that moment and Dean still would have taken on the mark. There WERE no hurtful words… those came later in The Purge, weeks after Dean had already doomed himself and for what? For CROWLEY?!!?
Is that on Sam, no, but did Sam's words on the bridge like the ones in the purge have an affect on Dean, yes they did because Dean has a huge guilt complex is completely insecure in his own nature and views his self worth through the eyes of others and in particular Sam's. He didn't get affirmation or even have his words contradicted so to him he was worse than he stated so he didn't take the mark for Crowley. Dean took the mark because being a killing machine and a weapon with a designated target is all he is good for as at that point he felt he'd failed in his other designated role of protector as Kevin was dead and he had made the decision to let Sam be possessed. Doing Crowley's dirty work was just a by product.
Dean hated himself and Sam 'obviously' is saying it he hates him too as Sam didn't tell him to stay so what is he good for, becoming more like the weapon he also believes himself to be which is what Crowley gave him the opportunity to become. Those are Dean's choices and Dean's interpretation of the situation but Sam is still part of the scene so he has an affect on Dean.
Why is not one person out there commenting on what Dean says to Sam? It's always what Sam says to Dean. How come Dean gets to say things like "Nice guy, he's got a monster in him, maybe YOU can relate" or "If I didn't want to know you, I'd want to hunt you" or "don't bother, I know you wouldn't do the same for me,"n and "your a monster Sam" and all manner of passive aggressive, mean, abusive things and no one worries about that Sam will go off and punish himself? No one blames Dean of all the crap things he says to Sam. Dean is his own worst enemy and doesn't need any help to make stupid, destructive decisions, laying it as Sam's feet is unfair.
I am continuing to say one has self esteem issues and puts what he thinks the other's view of him above his own and nothing short of explicitly stating that he isn't shit is going to cut it sometimes with Dean. But completely get that isn't Sam's role in life and that Dean needs to get over it.
If I was saying that Sam was solely responsible for Dean's self esteem issues and them continuing to this point then I would be blaming Sam, but I'm not because they have been there since season 1.
(Edited by Alice - I'm putting your other comment that's lower in this thread here Fazzie, because I'm un-publishing the rest of this thread. I like what you say about self esteem and I kind of get your frustration with the responses you've gotten.)
Because I made a comment about the issues of self esteem and acceptance, which was what this episode was about and how they linked into Dean as that is a lot to do with the Mark of Cain storyline this season and doesn't relate to Sam because he dealt with those issues already. I used Dean's self esteem and guilt complex and said how Sam's responses on the bridge played into those so leading to him to take on the mark which he wouldn't have done if he was in a better mental place. Then people decided 'THIS PERSON IS ATTACKING SAM, LETS FREAK OUT ABOUT IT' even though I continually said I was not blaming Sam and for Dean to deal with his issues he has to accept himself.
And I think you are overlooking Sam's own trauma. Sam was feeling his own guilt about Kevin b/c he is the one who remembers burning out Kevin's eyes, not Dean. Those are Sam's memories. Plus, he had just had several pins stuck deep into his skull. He was touching his head before Dean walked up and seemed to be in a bit of pain.
Dean on the other hand holds onto his guilt and his self esteem problems, he holds onto his mistakes and defines them as 'choices' as if they are more on him than they should be and meaning he can't let go. Sam on the other hand can let go and move on because as much as he acknowledges they happened because of choices he made but they are his 'mistakes'. Different definitions from both brothers for what is really the same thing.
But because Dean does that it means he needs outside explicit permission to let go of things because he has always put the definition of his own identity by what his family think of him, that is before his own self view to the point he admitted all the way back in season 1 that what he will do for his family frightens him. His own nature frightens him but he'll embrace it to do what he has to for his family, because if they are safe and happy he feels better. That isn't accepting yourself, that is defining yourself by the needs of a particular set of people and possibly a mental illness.
So yes, I completely agree that Sam was traumitised, yes, Sam was in pain, yes, Sam was too tired and injured to play 'lets make sure Dean know he isn't complete dirt'. All valid reasons not to do so, but also meant that Dean's self view fell lower on that bridge because no-one he cared about explicitly told him that it wasn't exactly all his fault before saying they weren't going to stop him going, because his MO is to hold onto the guilt but being able to function if Sam and Cas aren't blaming him as much as he blames himself.
Remember what Joshua told him in season 5 about how he was losing faith in himself, others including Sam? He didn't come back to being willing to fight until he felt Sam needed him to. Sam on that bridge was in too much pain etc to show Dean that, but in part that isn't Sam's role to do so. But because of that Dean felt Sam had confirmed in part every word he said even though he didn't. But that also opened Dean up to be manipulated by Crowley because all Dean had left to focus on with becoming a weapon to focus the pain and frustration he felt. (Again I'm not saying it is Sam's fault, it is as much Sam's fault with Crowley as Dean's fault that Sam went off with Ruby. The mark is Dean and Crowley is the equivalent as Sam going off with Ruby and drinking blood for me)
That was their story not the damage done to Sam except to make out his anger/hurt over the possession is the ' wrong' Sam has right this season.
SAM: So what? I was willing to die. And now... Kevin... [His eyes fill with guilty tears]
DEAN [strongly]:No. That is not on you. Kevin's blood is on my hands, and that ain't ever getting clean. I'll burn for that. I will. But I'll find Gadreel. And I will end that son of a bitch. But I'll do it alone.
Basically Dean took Sam's right to feel guilty away from him so that he could use it to fuel his own never ending guilt complex. He negated Sam's feelings and then didn't even stick around to discuss it further. And in a move that I will never forgive this show for, continued to show how Kevin's death effected Dean again and again while pretty much ignoring that Sam was even involved.
Then in this past episode Dean essentially threw Charlie's forgiveness for beating the crap out of her back in her face:
Quote:Another instance of Dean not even considering that another person was involved and might feel bad and even going so far as to negate the offer of forgiveness in this blunt way. How ungrateful can you get? It's a good thing that Charlie and Sam are basically the forgiving type.
I didn't see Dean's interactions with Charlie to be ungrateful at all. I see that all as part of Dean's self-esteem issues, and I totally agree with Fazzie's interpretation through this entire comment thread about Dean's lack of self-esteem. He feels remorse and he is very sorry. There's a big difference between self-loathing and total arrogance. He's just not very good at expressing himself and he's always been that way. However, I'm sticking with the current episode, because that's about all my head can take right now.
To do that Dean needed to feel more alone than he had when he witnessed Kevin's death and Gadreel taking off. It is fine to want to have them put Sam's needs first considering but we had essentially that in season 8 with everyone tip toeing around Sam because of the way he was with the trials. It wouldn't have gotten the story going which is fine for me because as much as you wanted to see Sam be taken care of, for me it would have been a bit of a rinse repeat of previous years of 'what can the writers do to Sam'.
Dean's self esteem issues have been basically there since day one and if Carver is deciding to deal with them, fine. I don't like the way he is doing it as everything from season 8 when Sam didn't look seems to be tying into Dean feeling worthless and alone while Sam feels guilt.
In any event, we can agree to disagree. I'm reading your post as critical of Sam for not reassuring Dean, which is why I raised Sam's own pain and trauma. Sam simply may not have been in a position to reassure Dean, and frankly, he may not have felt like reassuring Dean in that moment.
Anyway, I'll go back to lurking.
But what I am also saying in practical terms when you are low what people say comes out negative no matter what they are saying unless it is explicit to the contray, especially when you value their opinion above all others. Dean is screwed in the head and the words Sam said had an affect on him because it would.
That is not being critical of Sam that is just saying what being screwed in the head does to you and it is Dean that has to work on that because Sam 'saving' him won't change the problem in the long run.
Dean has to be the one to save himself. Sam going dark to do it won't work as it just throws Dean back to self flagellation mood and feeling guilt that Sam went there for him. I think both boys still have a lot to learn, when stressed or confronting each other they fall into the codependency/bi g brother little brother dynamic thing, where Dean self flagellating and controls while Sam rebels and outwardly deflects his own guilt.
For the parallels/anvil s, I wasn't thinking back to Soulless Sam - I went back to S4/S5 Sam, with his out of control rage and anger as a parallel. Go back to Lucifer in Abandon All Hope telling Sam to keep that up because he'll need it - since the MoC was created by Lucifer, maybe it needs rage/anger to feed it? After all, it was Lucifer seeing Sam's memories of, and love for Dean that ultimately allowed Sam to wrest control back from him and jump in the pit.
Lots of ways to interpret this; the albatross around Dean's neck could also be interpreted as the good within him, and the only way to get rid of that would be to become a demon again, without having that side of him getting in the way. Or, it could be setting up a stark contrast to something Sam is going to do later this season to try to save Dean. Or, since the MoC/First Blade were originally created for Cain to kill Abel, maybe it will ultimately compel Dean to kill or try to kill Sam, and overcoming that urge will ultimately lead to breaking the MoC curse?
And, in regards to Cain, we're taking Cain's version of events that led up to him killing Abel as the truth; I'm not entirely sold on that yet. He is, after all, the father of murder.
Quote:No, different houses. The Freaks and Geeks house had two floor to ceiling windows to the right of the front entrance, and the front porch on the house in this episode is much more ornate (all those years of watching This Old House are paying off)
I hadn't considered it until I read the debate above about Dean's self-esteem issues, but GoodCharlie specifically said that DarkCharlie was avenging the death of "their" parents to impress GoodCharlie and to get her to "like her" or (something like that). I hadn't made that parallel but there is a clear connection there with Dean as well. Maybe that was a statement that poor self-esteem and needing approval are traits of the dark side of all of us. We need people we admire to affirm our self-worth. That, then, would also be a way for the goodness in Dean to assert itself and win out over his endless self-doubt.
Quote: Thanks for settling that. I couldn't imagine that it was so difficult to find a different house in all of Vancouver!
Quote: I LOVE this theory!! Breaking the power of the Blade by overcoming its "original sin" would certainly defeat the Mark! I think that is a brilliant way to go with this!
Good point about the albatross. I always forget that maritime fable. What happens to Dean when his moral compass isn't there? Will his luck run out? I noticed that in the last episode Sam was dressed almost in white and almost always in the light. Here he was with good Charlie. It will interesting to see if the lighting and shades of clothing start to change for Sam.
Love Terry Pratchett BTW.
I have to admit Terry Pratchett's attitude to the rights and wrongs of things has always appealed to me. 'Personal isn't the same as important' is Captain Carrot's mantra and if Dean were willing to treat 'the love of his life' (metaphorically speaking) the way Carrot treats Angua Supernatural would be a much more entertaining show than it is at present. (I was just reading the book where Angua gets held hostage by a gang of bad guys and Carrot and the watch manage to get the hostage takers to admit to every unsolved case in the city before they agree to rescue them from her. Wouldn't that make an entertaining SPN storyline? ...)
One of my favorite TP stories is The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. It's funny, clever, exciting and action packed. Yes like a vintage SPN episode.
I think the key to dean's control over the moc is forgiveness. I mentioned this to a friend the other night as we were chatting about the episode. I think dean needs to apologize to sam. Metatron's laundry list of dean's sins was a reminder to dean, as if he's forgotten, of the part he played in all that dean accused metatron of...sharing of the blame....a very common defense mechanism....bu t i do think that there was a point to it. I think dean needs to tell sam he's sorry..he's apologized to kevin and i think that was good for dean...i believe it helped...but he hasn't apologized to sam....so he's holding onto all that anger against himself. sam has long forgiven dean...all he needed was time....but dean hasn't forgiven himself. he's holding onto all that hurt and guilt and anger at himself for what he's done and the moc is feeding off of this...
you see i saw the end differently...i thought show made it a point of having dean's hand shake throughout...bu t it stopped after Charlie told dean she forgave him and sam telling dean that she was right, that he can do it...they can do it. it was then when he stared at his hand, after those words, that the shaking stopped.
i think the message in this ep from Charlie is key to dean controlling the moc...dean not forgiving himself...holdi ng on to all that guilt...it doesn't work for him...it doesn't work at all. the way to control the moc is to take away the source of it's power...and the source of it's power is dean's self loathing...ever y negative feeling he has for himself...that' s his dark side...without the self loathing....he wouldn't have that darkness within.. telling sam he's sorry is major step into ridding himself of all that guilt...to let it go....an apology isn't just about telling someone you are sorry for any pain you caused, it's about releasing the guilt and pain you hold as well....an apology sets you free of that...it releases those dark feelings and brings in the light.
my feeling and it is just my feeling...is that between what metatron said, what Charlie said...what sam said....that dean will come to understand how it is that he can control the moc...
as i always love to play spot the repeater...we had two in this one: the da was in fallen idols and the drunk driver was in tall tales.....
i got a real kick out of dean trying to eat healthy...
my favorite line: you hit like a girl who hasn't learned to hit.....:D
i think that's the same arm that got broken in tgwtdadt.
Quote: Glad I'm not alone in thinking that is the key!
Quote: WOW. I hadn't thought of that!! Wonderful interpretation. I would love to ask Robbie what he was thinking when he wrote that ending!
By the way...back in the fairy episode Dean pretty much equated goodness with being a wuss...and he even told that to Souless Sam. "You have to have your soul back...and all that wussy stuff." Really that i believe is when Souless decided he didn't want his soul back....cause if the guy WITH a soul thought so little of it....what good is it?
It would be embarrassing if we were simply tracking lazy exposition writing, though....
Speaking of First Born - When Cain went to Collettes grave and asked her to forgive him, saying that he knew what he was now and to look away from what he was going to do (something like that :)) he said all this before he gave the MOC to Dean. That got me to thinking that maybe part of all that forgiveness asking was not just due to the fact he was about to annihilate a bunch of demons but also because he knew he was going to give it to Dean and he was well aware of the consequences and what it would do to him. Cain didn't know Dean wasn't going to listen to the cost/burden at that time. I dunno. For a second I thought maybe there could be a sinister motive, then I thought not so much. Maybe Cain just saw it as a means to an end? A win, win if you will. Dean kills Abaddon and returns to kill Cain when he's called. Kinda a crappy thing to bestow on someone. I just thought it was curious when I saw how it played out on rewatch.
As for first born, I hope your rewatch went well. I agree that I can't wait for the Cain episode and anything inbetween just seems like filler at mo.
As for anything else I'm sorry although it would be nice to comment more I don't want what started further up the board to start again.
I'll be posting my Visual Review of this episode today or tomorrow. I have actually been confused by the use of color in several scenes. There are several contradictions. I would be interested in your opinions when you see all the screenshots I will present.
Sadly didn't get to watch it on TV like you lucky Americans did. Had to put up with not so good quality! I mean I'm not waiting months for my dear Supernatural season 10 on UK TV!
Cain at Colettes grave: "I've tried. I've tried Colette, to see myself as you did. But I know who I am --- seen what I am. I know you watch over me still. But I need you to look away now."
Then he reappears in the house where Dean says something to the effect of 'Are you in or out? I'm getting head spins....'
That is the point where Cain tells him - "I can give you the mark, Dean if it's what you truly want..." to which Dean replies - "What are you talking about?"
So looking back on it now it just makes me wonder if Cain was asking her to look away because he knew what he was about to do - the passing on of the MOC to Dean. Whether Dean was going to accept it with full warning or not, the fact remains that either way he was going to condemn another to the life he was leading. Not to mention life as an immortal demon. I think he sensed Deans desperation - the comment 'Where's your brother now?' kind of indicated that. He knew the likelihood of Dean turning him down was probably not going to happen. The upside for Cain is the probability of Abaddon being killed so he get his ultimate revenge as well as cementing his demise when he calls for Dean to come back and finish him off. Funny thing is since Cain decided he was going to get his kill on again, why didnt he just go after Abaddon himself? He was the one who wanted revenge before Colette asked him to stop, but he was breaking that vow so... So curious as to how this is going to play out. Wonder if the episode before Executioners Song will have something serious happen so that it makes it imperative they find Cain or if the actual episode will just have Cain calling for Dean.
Gah! Can we just skip everything and get to the Cain episode, please?