When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
So, this ramble is about the show—but I can’t help but bring pieces of me into it because this show snags pieces of me as it rolls along and I’m left to trip over myself as I try to put myself back together again. I think perhaps some of you feel the same way.
There are two ways I could look at this episode. One—as a piece of a larger plot that is unrolling around us like a ball of steel-studded yarn. Or two—as the journey of characters (one in particular) that have literally gone to Hell and back and have taken me with them. The first I can look at almost clinically—a critique as if from a book club. The second has the ability to drive me to my knees. And I’m only being a little dramatic.
A good friend hit me with an email just after the episode ended that helped bring things a bit into perspective. “Vamps with souls…hunters without souls…such is the stuff of our television obsessions.” *laugh* Thanks for that one, Ash.
A couple weeks back, I finished writing a story where I attempted to explore what truly made us human. Our senses? The ability to touch, see, hear, affect, interact with each other? Our souls? If we had nothing left that allowed us to connect with each other and yet held tight to our soul, were we still human? The answer in my story was yes. And I see that, at least on some level, I was in line with the writers’ thinking here. Without your soul, you are not truly human. You are alive, you can do, see, hear…apparently feel physical pain and even fear on some level…but none of that matters. Because…nothing matters to you. Even telling the truth.
Last week I referenced Angel (I mean…we were talking about vampires…how could I not) and a comment to the ramble reminded me of how different Angel was as Angelus—without his soul. He was…cold, calculating, cruel, heartless. But as Angel…he was someone you could fall in love with.
Okay, so…I will attempt to be coherent with this ramble, but I should warn you…I’m a little tangled up about a few things that transpired—none of them involving Sam’s confession.
We start out in a restaurant in Calumet City, IL. A pretty blonde waitress is on the phone with someone and doing the day-after-boy-encounter thing where she’s debating if she should call him or not. We hone in on her mouth as she says, “I just need the truth.”
Next thing you know, people are handing it to her hand over fist—but it’s all incredibly cruel truth. The kind you fear people are thinking about you when you’re at your most insecure. I honestly think that people don’t think about me half as much as I fear they do—I second guess just about everything I say or do and I worry that people talk about me when I’m gone because I’ve made such a fool of myself…but in reality? The moment I stop talking or leave the room…they move on to other things. People are too busy worrying about everything that’s causing them issues in their own lives, y’know?
But such is not the case for our poor waitress.
The cook looks at the waitress and says, “I pity you…and stay away from the clam chowder. I flavored it with my own seasoning.”
Gag. I may never eat again.
A male waiter tells her that the new girl is way hotter than she is. An old lady customer confesses that she once ran over a homeless man and never even stopped to see if he was alive. It’s all negative—and not all of it is about waitress girl, but it’s all horrifying none-the-less. I couldn’t help but wince at this—is this what is poised at the tip of everyone’s mind? Is this the kind of truth that we are all compelled to say? The worst in us?
I choose to believe no. I choose to believe it was a byproduct of Veritas’ curse to speed up time to getting her tribute. But I spent a good portion of the beginning of this episode with my face fisted in a frown.
Waitress girl calls someone on the phone—we later learn it was her sister—and is tearful, asks to be picked up because she thinks she’s freaking out.
The voice on the other end of the phone says, “You are a freak…every time the phone rings my stomach drops…why don’t you just kill yourself already?”
I’ve felt that ‘stomach drop’ sensation with some people in my life—they always have the same issues, there’s never anything I say or do that helps them…. But to think ‘just kill yourself’? *shudders* Who does that??
However, waitress girl does. She gets a pistol out of some drawer there in the restaurant and blows her brains out all over the “BIGgersons: The Happy Place” sign.
Aside—Biggersons sounded/looked familiar. Was that the same place where they boys won that 1 millionth customer or whatever thing in Bad Day At Black Rock? I’m probably crazy, but it totally looked like the same sign the boys had to hold up with the picture in that episode.
Okay! Moving on!
We’re out on some grassy knoll somewhere and Sam’s at a food vendor while Dean’s off a bit from him and on the phone with Bobby. He’s obviously agitated, shoulders hunched in, body signaling that he’s upset. He’s told Bobby about Sam watching him get turned into a vampire and says, “It’s not my brother.” It’s. That’s more telling than anything.
Bobby says that they tested Sam with everything when he got back from Hell and he passed. Dean thinks “it’s” Lucifer, but Cas isn’t answering his calls and Dean can’t wait anymore. Bobby tries to calm him down saying, “I know you’re rattled, but let’s be professional.”
Dean: He watched me get turned!
Bobby points out that what Dean knows and what he can prove aren’t the same thing. And this is totally an aside, but have you ever noticed how Bobby always has dishes in the sink and a pot or pan on the stove? I think that’s kinda funny actually. He’s either always cooking, always eating, or just never has time to fully do the dishes. Annnnyyway.
Dean: We’re talking about doing something and doing it fast. It’s not just the vamp. He’s been different from the jump.
Bobby: All right, I’m with you.
Dean: Are you?
It’s a good question, really. I mean…I look at this like Dean losing time. For a year he stepped away. From Bobby, from hunting, from everything. Then he finds out Sam’s alive and his old life rushes back in and it’s all the same except…everything’s changed. He got right away that Sam was different—yet Bobby had been around Sam and wasn’t unduly triggered. He tested him, figured that if he passed the test, he was good to go, and let everything else slide.
So, Dean pushing the issue now has to either awaken a latent realization in Bobby or tweak doubts in Dean that Bobby’s really serious.
Bobby: I’ll hit the books hard. Just don’t shoot him. Watch him. If it’s not Sam, we gotta put him down and we need to figure out how.
Dean: I don’t even want to ride in the car with him, let alone work a case.
Bobby (in a very pull up your big boy pants, ya baby tone): Get in the car. HE’S your case.
Yeah, no kidding. Sam’s been the case since the premiere. We may be actually seeing more of Dean right now, but this whole story is about Sam. I might get skewered for this, and if the roles were reversed, I might be a little put-out that I was seeing more things from Sam’s POV, but the thing is, this entire arch is about Sam. What happened to him? How did he get out? WHY is he out? Can he be saved? Does he want to be saved? Is he ever going to be SAM again? We just have to see it through Dean’s eyes because if we saw too much from Sam’s…we’d know the whole story and there would be nothing to tease out over the course of a season.
Plus, and this is probably just the DeanGirl in me talking, so take this for what you will, it’s intriguing to see what’s going on with Sam via the portal that is Dean. To see how Sam’s choices and actions—or inactions, as the case may be—are affecting Dean and how Dean is reacting to it. Because it makes it that much more…painful, I guess.
If I didn’t see that? If I didn’t see the gut-check moments of lost breath and the wounded-eye glances from Dean? I honestly don’t know that I’d care that much about Sam’s fate because of the way he’s behaving and the fact that up until the last five minutes of this episode, he chose not to let anyone in on his Big Secret. But, because I do see it, well, I do care.
I care a lot more than I thought I would.
Sam shows up as Dean is hanging up the phone and startles him. Dean lies all over the place about how he was leaving Lisa a message and Sam—who is so revved up about a new case he’s practically bouncing on his toes—is like, “She hasn’t called you back, huh? Sucks. You okay?”
Dean (sizing Sam up as if he might blow up in front of him): Yeah. How are you?
Sam says he’s fine as if it’s strange Dean would even ask such a thing and plows on into the paper he has in his hands (along with food for Dean) about a 4th tragic suicide (waitress girl). He’s all, Let’s Go! So…they go.
In Calumet City, the boys are suited up and interviewing blonde waitress’s sister who wants to know why Feds would be investigating a suicide. Good question.
Sam (with this really odd, forced-sympathetic expression on his face): It’s a new…more caring…administration.
Heh. There’s the subtle political barbs I’ve not heard for a bit. *chuckles*
Sam’s totally creeping both me and the sister out as he snarls at her that she has a tell—tucking her hair behind her ears—and he knows she’s lying.
Sam (demanding): Tell us what you did to your sister.
He’s kinda half snarling at her. Dean’s watching from behind the sister, keeping his face carefully expressionless. He’s been wandering around the house, looking at pictures and such while Sam’s doing the interview and now it seems he’s regretting that decision. He catches Sam’s eye and shoots him A Look. Sam shakes him off with his eyes, and the sister suddenly admits that she was lying and Sam looks at Dean all Told You So…but it’s not victorious it’s more…sinister.
Sister (crying): I wanted to tell her I love you and I’m here for you and what came out was you’re a burden, just kill yourself.
Sam’s expression is wickedly triumphant and my stomach actually churned. I’m always eager to praise Jensen for the way he plays Dean—he conveys entire paragraphs of dialog in a glance. But Jared as this version of Sam is compelling more of a reaction in me than he has since…gah…Season 3? It’s a completely different kind of reaction—with Dean, I want to crawl inside the screen and get closer. With Sam, I want to move away from the screen. I hold my pillow as protection. But—recoiling from him is 100 times better than not reacting to him at all. So kudos to Jared for the way he’s slipping on a different skin.
The boys leave the house and Dean says that he didn’t see hex bags or pick up EMF or anything. Sam reports that he found a tuba and a copy of Crochet Today.
Sam: So, what? Already suicidal?
Dean: Right and Big Sis’ Taxicab Confession sends her over the edge. The question is, what made Big Sis open her big mouth in the first place?
Dean tosses Sam an anxious look as he gets in the car. Sam…totally misses it. He’s focused on the case.
Okay, so, the next scene was one of the most disturbing ones for me since Sherriff Mills’ zombified boy killed and ate his father. We’re at the dentist’s office and a grown man is in the chair saying he really doesn’t want to be there. Who does, really? Dentist is all, “It’s fine, blah blah blah” and we get the joy of watching him inject Novocain (or whatever they use these days) into his gums.
Or, rather, you all did. The minute that needle approached the dude’s mouth I had to look away. Disturbing thing number one. They exchange some chit-chat, and I realize now looking back that the dentist must’ve said something about telling him the truth (though I missed it at the time because I was being a total wuss about the needle in the gums) and the dude in the chair suddenly starts True Confessions Of A Perverted Middle-Aged Suburbanite.
He starts saying his wife is too old and her sagging skin makes him sick. The dentist is all, WTH dude, and picks up his drill. THEN the dude tells the dentist that he molested the dentist’s daughter when she was over one night spending the night with his daughter—only it’s done really subtly so that at first you’re like, wait, what did he just say, but the sick pleasure on the dude’s face forces the realization and then he says the best part was that he didn’t get caught. Disturbing thing number two. My whole being heated up with impotent rage at that confession.
The dentist listens with his own growing rage and the moment the dude brags about getting away with it, well…Death By Dentil Drill. Bloody, gross and…well, come to think of it…not as disturbing in retrospect as I first thought. Too nice a death, you ask me.
Back at the motel, Dean’s alone and on the phone with Bobby—who is telling him that he can’t find anything. Nothing fits a “my brother is acting different” scenario. Dean pushes that they have to figure something out fast. He’s sitting on the edge of one of the beds sipping a beer.
Bobby: There is a worst-case scenario.
Dean: Satan is my co-pilot?
Bobby: That’d be the other worst-case scenario.
Dean: Well, what?
Bobby: Maybe it’s just…Sam.
Dean looks like someone gut-punched him and used his heart as the weapon. With a slightly hollow voice he says, “I gotta go.”
Dean: You’ve got a day, Bobby. And then…I’m handling this.
He hangs up looking sick. He scrolls down his list of names in his phone (past a Gwen…why do we know that name?) to Lisa and hits send, but hangs up after one ring. His mouth is working around words it appears he can’t figure out how to say. *sniff*
Sam comes in all hyped up and grinning. Grinning.
Sam: Got another one! Dentist drilled a guy to death.
Dean (standing up and facing him, tight—like he’s gotta brace himself): I’m guessing you mean the non-sex kind of drilling.
HA! That totally caught me off guard. *laughs*
Sam: $50 says he’s mixed up in the crazy. Let’s go talk to him.
Down boy. Jeeze, you big, freaky puppy.
Dean: You go. I’m gonna research.
Sam’s like, Wha? His expression is TOTALLY puzzled. What do you mean? No action? No kick the tires and light the fires? Stop moving??? What are these words you’re speaking??
Dean: We gotta know what we’re up against, right?
He’s just looking at Sam. Challenging him. Testing him.
Sam: Uh…okay. Good idea.
Sam leaves; Dean breathes a sigh of relief and drags a hand down his face. Next thing we see is Sam talking to the dentist’s assistant outside of the jail. He calls Dean, who is sitting in front of a laptop.
Dean: Anything from Marathon Man?
HA! I love it.
Sam: Not exactly. Hung himself in his cell before I could get to him.
Sam tells him the assistant heard the perv patient’s confession and said he’d have killed the guy, too. Dean guesses that these people were cursed to have people puke the truth all over them. Sam heads to the morgue and asks Dean to check out the dentist’s office. We pull away and see that Dean’s researching Doppelgangers.
Now that we know what we know, it’s kinda heartbreaking to see how hard Dean was searching to find a reason that this person hunting and traveling with him was not Sam. Not his brother. Couldn’t be. Had to be a monster or a creature or something evil. He would rather Sam still be in Hell and this person be a thing he could hunt than have it really be Sam because of how this Sam was acting. *rubs heart*
At the blood-splattered dentist’s office, Dean’s looking around for…anything…and glances at a saxophone the good doc had behind his desk. Which made me think about how the waitress had a tuba…which Dean evidently remembered as well because he saw a bill from Harry’s Horns on the doc’s desk and remembered seeing the same sticker in the waitresses room. Ah-ha!
So, he heads over to Harry’s and almost comes up empty until Harry asks about the horn he’d reported stolen. Dean (in the guise of a cop/Fed) is all, yeah, yeah, we’re working on it.
Harry: I hope so; it’s one in a billion.
Dean ducks back, unable to help himself and asks, what makes it 1 in a billion? Harry shows him a picture and says it’s like 1,000 years old and he doesn’t know where it’s from, but it was stolen the same time the waitress died. And oh my gosh I just realized that the horn was totally a red herring. I didn’t get that while watching. *facepalm* Nice one, Gaelic.
Anyway, Dean’s back at the motel (and presumably Sam’s at the morgue all this time??) and he’s looking up Gabriel’s Horn of Truth, drinking, and muttering to a non-present Castiel.
Dean: Castiel…hellloooo…loose nuke…angelic weapon…your department.
Annnnd, Cas is there.
Dean (standing up, drink in hand, and confronting Cas): Are you kidding me? I’ve been on Red Alert about Sam and you come for some HORN?
Aw, Dean, honey, just because there is nothing as important in your life as your brother doesn’t make that true for everyone else…no matter what you and Sam have done for the world. People—and angels—are too wrapped up in their own problems sometimes.
Cas: You asked me to be here and I came.
Dean: I’ve been asking you to be here for days, you dick!
Cas kind pulls back in the face of Dean’s fury.
Cas: I didn’t come about Sam because I didn’t have anything to offer about Sam.
He calmly picks up the bottle of liquor Dean’s drinking (Jack Daniels??) and pours him more. Enabler.
He tells Dean that Sam’s not Lucifer—if Satan had escaped the cage, the angels would have felt it. So, whew.
Dean: What is wrong with him?
Cas (sadly): I don’t know, Dean. I’m sorry.
Dean: What happened to you? You used to be human—or at least like one.
Castiel turns away, real sadness in his voice even if it doesn’t quite make it to his expression.
Cas: I’m at war. Certain…regrettable…things are now required of me.
Oh my, but that made me sad for Cas. He really liked being friends with Dean. He really liked being humanish. It’s gotta be hard to replace human feelings with power and strength…. *ahem*
Dean’s just watching him, trying to find something in the people around him that he remembered from before. All I could think was that this whole situation sucked so bad for Dean. He didn’t want to live the normal life with Sam in Hell, but he did it anyway. And then Sam returns and he struggles to hang on to a life he knows he can’t have and find his way back into a life that he doesn’t really fit anymore. But Sam’s not Sam anymore, and Bobby kept a Big Ass Secret from him, and Cas has his full-on angel mojo back…which means…Dean doesn’t really have anyone left. Not really. Not like before.
I guess the silver lining in that is that he’s fighting to get some of them back—the ones he can. Sam. Bobby. His family.
He brings up the Horn of Truth and says they think it’s in the town and poof! Cas is gone. Dean’s all, “You’re welcome!” when suddenly he turns around and Cas is back.
Cas: It’s not the Horn of Truth.
Dean: You were gone like two seconds! Where did you look?
Cas (innocently): Everywhere.
Dean pouts a bit, turning away and Cas tells him that he doesn’t know what’s wrong, but he wants to help—he’ll make inquiries. And if I may? Shallow moment? Dean’s eyes were just so very pretty in that scene.
Meanwhile, Sam’s been apparently spending some quality time at the morgue only to find out that all of the other suicide bodies are gone. He even gets all “don’t make me call your supervisor” with the M.E., but finds out that the bodies haven’t been transferred—they’re like gone gone.
Curiouser and curiouser.
So, Dean’s in a bar thinking heavy thoughts about how his little brother isn’t Lucifer, so that’s good, but he could just be Sam and that…kinda sucks actually.
On the TV over the bar there’s a news report with a pretty brunette in glasses and it catches my eye—it was the glasses that did it because you rarely see glasses on news women on TV. I realized as the tagline said something about offering the truth that the same newswoman had been on in the dentist office. I couldn’t remember if it had been on at Biggersons at the beginning, but I’m gonna go with ‘yes’ because of the way things turn out.
Sam calls and says that the bodies are gone, but he thinks he’s found patient zero and is heading to her house, wants Dean to meet him there. Dean hangs up and orders another drink.
Pretty bartender lady (who is wearing a T-shirt with what looks like angel wings on the front) says, “I thought you were working?”
Dean: I’m working up to it.
She tells him this one is on her and asks if she can get him anything else. Dean, sighing, lifts the shot glass to his mouth and we hone in on those pretty lips as he says, “I’d just like the freaking truth.”
Out of nowhere, the bartender says, “Sometimes I think I can’t get pregnant because God knows my marriage is a sham.”
Bartender: Why’d I say that?
Dean’s shaking his head slowly.
Bartender: I mean…I’ve been snorting Oxy all day…why’d I say that?!
Dean’s face registers realization (while I judgmentally mumble, “You think maybe that’s why you can’t get pregnant??”) and he blinks a bit at her as he says, “I’m pretty sure I know.”
He gets up to go and moves past a table with another pretty brunette in an eye-catching purple dress and bodacious ta-tas who says to him, “I’m sitting like this so you look at my breasts. I just bought them. I need a lot of attention.”
Dean looks surprised, then says, “Good luck with that,” before stepping past her.
Buuuuut…then he slides back with a totally coy DEAN grin, looks at her knockers, nods, catches her eye and widens his grin making her smile…and THEN he leaves.
LOVE. IT. *cackles*
As he’s heading to the Impala he calls Bobby. Testing a theory.
D: Anything you’re itchin’ to tell me?
B: Not really. Just sitting here hitting the books with a nice glass of milk watching Tori and Dean.
Dean stops in his tracks: Wait, who and Dean?
Bobby: Tori Spelling. I’m a huge fan. Girl’s a real talent.
Dean: Guess it does work over the phone.
Bobby isn’t finished: Y’know what else? I get a pedicure once in awhile.
Dean: Please stop.
But Bobby’s busy rambling about the Vietnamese girl in the salon he goes to: …tiny thing, but the grip on her. She starts on my toes and I feel like I’m gonna—
Dean: Whoa! Whoa! C’mon, man. Now I’m scarred for life. Thank you.
Bobby: I’ve never told anyone that. Why am I telling you? Maybe ‘cause you’re my favorite….
Dean grins a little. I grinned a lot.
Bobby: …although, Sam’s the better hunter…
Dean’s grin slips away to a partial scowl.
Bobby: …lately anyway.
Dean finally tells Bobby he’s been cursed.
Bobby: How is it that half the time you clean a mess you end up dirty?
Dean: This might be the best thing that’s happened to me in awhile.
Bobby: Dean…what damn fool move are you about to—
Dean: I gotta go.
Bobby: Did you know my first girlfriend turned out to be a—
Dean: NO! No, no no no…
He hangs up and shakes his head and I laughed. That whole conversation was probably my favorite non-dramatic part of the episode. Hee. *chuckles again*
In the car, Dean pauses for a moment, thinking, then calls Sam and leaves him a message that he’s heading his way, but if he gets this, call him because he has some questions. And you know what else I suddenly just realized? How did Sam get to all of those places if Dean had the Impala? Maybe that’s why it took him so long at the morgue—he spent most of the time just getting there!
Anyway, Suit!Sam is talking to the first victim’s…friend? Sister? Not sure. He tells her without preamble that it wasn’t a car accident, it was suicide. He sounds almost accusatory and when the girl starts crying, he looks a tad surprised. He does, however, have the wherewithal to hand her some tissues. The friend/sister/person says that Cory, the victim, was having a hard time, and then her cat ran away, but that wasn’t the worst of it—she was convinced that her boyfriend was cheating on her and became obsessed about finding the truth.
Dean pulls up to the house and his phone rings. He gets out and answers it—and I was totally expecting it to be Sam. It was Lisa. She’d seen that he’d called and Dean hands her the “it’s been crazy” line…then says that this is probably the worst time to talk and can they do this later?
I said (out loud to the TV…sorry hubs), “Do it NOW, Dean. Right now in this moment? This is MORE IMPORTANT than Sam.”
Lisa: You shoved my kid, Dean. How about we do this now?
God, I love her character. I know, I know…the conversation does not bode well for any future with these two, but they really designed a good character with her—a good mom, a tough cookie, and someone who saw into Dean the way no one else in his life has. Someone that shoved a mirror up in front of him and simultaneously gave him a soft place to fall.
I gotta say, even with what happened here, I still have some hope for something to shift, to change. It’s still early on. You never know, right?
D: It wasn’t like that…but I can’t explain.
L: You want to know the truth?
D: Probably not.
My stomach knotted up right about here.
L: You’ve got so much buried in there and you push it down and push it down. Do you honestly think you can go through life like that and NOT freak out? Just drink half a 5th a night and you’re good?
Dean’s whole being is tight as he listens to her.
Dean (defensive): You knew what you signed up for.
Lisa: Yeah, but I didn’t expect Sam to come back.
Lisa: And I’m glad he’s okay. I am. But the minute he walked through that door, I knew it was over.
Dean looks gutted. I rubbed my heart. We all knew the same thing, really. Even with hope, we knew it. *stubbornly refuses to give up hope anyway*
Lisa: You two have the most unhealthy, tangled up thing I’ve ever seen and as long as he’s in your life, you’re never going to be happy.
She looks horrified for a moment.
Lisa: That came out so much harsher than I meant.
Dean (sadly): Not your fault.
Lisa: I’m not saying don’t be close to Sam. I’m close to my sister. But if my sister got killed, I wouldn’t bring her back from the dead.
Oooooh—she thinks DEAN brought Sam back. I didn’t realize that before. Did anyone else?? That makes a bit of a difference.
Dean: Lis, me and Sam got issues, I’m not gonna lie. But you and Ben—
Lisa: Me and Ben can’t be in this with you. I’m sorry.
OUCH. Guh, that hurt. I knew it was coming, and I’m glad she did it as a mom, but MAN does that hurt for Dean’s sake.
What I couldn’t help but go to is something someone said to me in a comment on a ‘friend locked’ post on LJ—about how family may not end in blood, but sometimes it takes more than blood to make a family. Like probably everyone else here, I have some not-so-fun family issues. Family as in parents and siblings. Issues that cause me a lot of heartache and pain and have sometimes put the family I’ve made for myself—my husband and daughter—in different forms of jeopardy.
The family I created with them is what really matters to me. I will protect them from my blood-family. Even though I love my blood-family fiercely. And I will turn myself inside out to try to help my blood-family if I can. Just…not at the expense of my husband and daughter. It hurts to be in that middle ground. It hurts so much sometimes I can’t breathe right. And it makes me angry. Really angry sometimes.
And all I could think of as Dean hung up from Lisa and went a little limp, his eyes slightly glassy, was that it wasn’t fair that he couldn’t have that family he’d created for himself. Because that pain? The pain I feel sometimes? Is a helluva lot better than not having the created family at all.
And I couldn’t help but agree with Lisa a little bit. As long as Sam remains the focus of Dean’s life (I disagree on the ‘as long as he’s in your life’ point…he’s ALWAYS going to be in Dean’s life), he’s not going to have a chance to be happy. Because you can’t make someone else responsible for your happiness—even subconsciously. You have to find a way to do it yourself—make your own family, make your own peace. It won’t be Sam’s fault that Dean’s not happy. But Sam will be the catalyst because of the position of importance Dean put his brother in.
But that’s just me.
Just so you know, I’m on board with Dean focusing on Sam right now, because for the sake of the story, we have to find out what’s going on and what it’s going to mean to BOTH of them….
Sam’s looking around Cory’s room and finds a sewing box under her bed with what looks like a cat skull in it. Guess her cat didn’t exactly…run away…so much as was…sacrificed to the cause. He heads out and runs into Dean on the stairs who is all, we gotta talk and you’re gonna tell me the truth.
Sam looks totally confused and is like…yeah, of course…oh, wait, are you saying you’re….
Dean: When that vamp attacked me, why did you just stand there?
Sam looks like he’s struggling a little. I’m not sure if it was struggling against telling the truth, or struggling to find a good enough lie. But he definitely fidgets.
Sam: I froze.
Dean: YOU froze. You’ve been Terminator since you got back.
Sam (with eyes slightly dewy, looking around): I don’t know…shock? Then it was too late.
Suddenly I realized what his expressions reminded me of: Tall Tales. When Dean’s version of the story was over-doing Sam’s “You’re too precious for this world…” expression. Sam was trying too hard to show the right kind of remorse and angst.
Sam: I feel terrible. Believe me. Dean, I can’t lie here. Do you really think I would let something like that happen on purpose? You’re my brother—
Dean stops the endless stream of frantic words by simply saying, “Okay.” He rolls his lip against his teeth in that way he does when he’s barely hanging on. First time we saw it was in Home when he’s on the phone with John’s voicemail asking for help. Ever since then it has kicked me in the heart.
Dean: I thought I saw something. I guess I was wrong. It’s just…been a really bad day.
He rubs his forehead and drags his hand down his face. Sam kinda awkwardly claps him on the shoulder and says, “Hey, it’s okay. I got your back. I always have.” You brave little soldier.
Dean looks like he’s trying to match up in his mind that this really could just be Sam, but can’t seem make all the puzzle pieces fit. He says thanks and Sam turns away from him, any emotion on his face instantly gone. At first I thought, you evil little bastard. But in retrospect I realize it wasn’t an evil loss of emotion…it was just that he didn’t have to keep the act up anymore. It was empty. Utterly empty.
Back at the motel, they’re going through Cory’s box and figure out it’s all stuff to summon a god. Cory wanted the truth, so she got Veritas, but she opened a door she couldn’t close and so anyone in the town that asks for the truth gets slammed with it (a very dark, twisted version of it in some cases) until they kill themselves and become a tribute to the goddess.
Sam’s like, “We have to take her out, or you’re on the menu.”
Dean: So what do we know besides Crazy Cat Lady?
Sam: Dogs are her Achilles heel.
Through some rather quick deduction, they realize she was an attention whore—very “speak the truth to the masses” kind of gal. Dean, clever guy, puts two and two together and thinks: News Lady! So…they head to the news station, pay off a security guard (perhaps by using Dean’s truth curse against him, who knows) and steal News Lady’s computer.
Thus begins an endless night of footage watching. Start out both watching, perched on the edge of the bed, leaning towards the computer screen. Then…Sam’s watching and Dean’s up at the head of the bed eating chicken and saying that News Lady is creepy. “I mean the hair alone….”
It’s morning and Sam is STILL watching while Dean is at the table…only now he’s eating pizza. Dean’s bed is messed up, but it doesn’t look as if Sam has even moved beyond shucking his outer shirt. The dude is a machine. At last he gets to footage of her wigging out because of a barking dog and they catch some electric blue in her eyes. Eureka!
That night, they follow her little red Corvette (at least, I think it was a Corvette) from the news station to her very modern, normalish looking house. Dean holds up two silver knives. Sam holds up a jar of dog’s blood.
Dean: Do I even want to know where you got that?
Sam: Probably not.
Sam dips the knives in the dog’s blood and they’re good to go. They sneak in and look around and except for being decorated with lots of felinesque statues and whatnot, it’s pretty normal-looking all around. Until, that is, they get to the master bathroom. Veritas’ House Of Horrors, ya’ll.
Dead bodies in bits and pieces—some whole—are on trays or hanging from hooks. Staring at this in a bit of shock (though…I think they should have been prepared to see this or worse, with what they knew they were after, but oh well) they’re caught off-guard when Veritas shows up behind them, flicking them across the room with a god-like wiggle of fingers and they both slam hard on the ground, unconscious.
They wakeup tied up and watch as Veritas cuts out the tongue of the dentist, eating it in front of them while saying that it’s the most delicious part because it’s where all the lies roll off. Y’know, your basic bad-guy I’m So Awesome mini-monologue…only this time she adds a twist by having the guys participate.
Sam has a knife up his sleeve (like…literally) and while she’s noshing on tongue and declaring the Winchester boys set the gold standard for liars, he’s working it loose and starting in on cutting his ropes.
Dean claims their ability to lie is a point of professional pride—he’s keeping his eyes on her and trying to watch Sam at the same time.
Veritas tsks him saying, “Y’know what happens when you base your lives on lies…the truth comes along and…. So, while you still have your tongue, I think it’s your turn to spill some. Hey, Dean…I’m curious. What do you really think about your brother?
Okay, my stomach got tighter still at this. I really didn’t know what he was going to say about Sam. Especially after that awkward, almost-confession back at Cory’s house.
Dean: Better now. Yesterday…I wanted to kill him in his sleep. I thought he was a monster.
Sam looks over, face showing in the first real reaction I think we’ve seen.
Dean: But now…I think he’s just…acting like me. It’s the gig. You’re covered in blood until you’re covered in your own blood. Half the time you’re about to die. Like now.
Veritas’ smile is almost understanding. Interesting.
Dean: I told myself I wanted out. That I wanted a family.
Veritas: But you were lying.
Dean: No. But what I’m good at is slicing throats. I ain’t a father. I’m a killer. And there’s no changing that. I know that now.
Guys…this. More than Lisa’s goodbye. More than what came next with Sam. This gutted me. That this is how Dean sees himself. That this is what he feels is the truth.
My hope for him to have a future beyond Sam, beyond hunting…a future with Lisa and Ben…thinned out considerably. It didn’t go away though because when you have a hero, you always have hope. And I have a hero with Dean. But he’s so…. *rubs heart* He’s just never really had a chance to believe otherwise. And just when he gets a shot at it, his world flips sideways and he loses his balance all over again.
Veritas moves around to Sam, and I thought she was still talking to Dean the way she worded her question, but Sam’s the one that she compels the answer from.
V: So…Sam walking back into your life must’ve been a relief…how do you feel about the band getting back together?
Sam is twitching a little again…as if he’s struggling against the affects of her power…or, perhaps just trying to sound human.
Sam: What we do is hard. But we watch out for each other. And that’s it. That’s the truth.
Veritas stands up: No. No it’s not. How are you doing that? What are you? What is he?
Dean’s eyes are wide and he’s looking frantically from Sam to Veritas. Sam’s all, shut up, I’m totally telling the truth!
Veritas: I doubt anything that comes out of your mouth right now. You’re not human.
Dean’s voice is hollowed out: What?!
Veritas: You didn’t know that? Now that I believe.
In that moment, Sam cuts through his ropes, tosses Dean the knife and attacks Veritas. Dean cuts through his rope while Veritas strangles Sam—who is gasping and struggling and in obvious pain—and Dean stabs Veritas with some spear-like thing she had lying around. She screams and turns all freaky-cat-faced on him and Sam grabs one of their dog-blood-covered knives and stabs her, killing her.
Sam struggles up to his feet, gasping for breath, looking a little worse for the wear. Dean turns the knife on Sam, advancing and Sam looks legitimately scared. As well he should. Vamp blood or no vamp blood, Dean took out an entire nest. He may not be Terminator Hunter, but he is not someone to mess with. And not only that, but…I kinda think Sam really wanted Dean on his side. I’ll get back to that in a sec.
Dean: You are not my brother.
Sam (panicky): It’s me.
Dean: WHAT are you?!
Sam: You want the truth? Here it is. God’s honest. She was right. There’s something wrong with me and I’ve known it for awhile. I lied and I let you get turned ‘cause I knew there was a cure and we needed in that nest. I knew you could handle it.
Dean: Handle it?! I could have died. I could have killed Ben.
Sam: I know and that should have stopped me cold. But it didn’t. Because I can’t feel it. I am a better hunter than I ever was. Nothing scares me anymore! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I think I need help.
SO…part of me wondered if he really did want help—especially since he’d just said he was a better hunter than ever before—or if he was just saying that as part of his “human cover.” But then…why save Dean from the djinn himself when he, as we said, he could have sent another hunter?
He came back to Dean because he wanted Dean back in his life. Because he’s known for a long time that he’s effed up and family or not, he doesn’t trust the Campbells with this information. He tore Dean out of that life that he made him promise he’d live because he needed his brother—but my problem with that is…once Dean was there with him…he still waited to tell him the truth!
I don’t know.
I really struggled with believing that he wanted help. Especially after the subterfuge and lies. If he knew there was a cure, why not make a plan WITH his brother to enter the nest as a vamp—or, heck, why not volunteer to go himself??
He may not be evil, but his actions have been wicked.
Veritas said he wasn’t human. But it wasn’t because he is a monster. It was (as we saw confirmed in the previews) because the essence of Sam is missing: his soul. His compassion. The heart of him—the thing that causes him to fear and pause and love and mourn and wonder and appreciate and forgive and seek forgiveness…the thing that heard his brother gasp, “I’m here, Sam. I won’t leave you,” when Lucifer was using Sam’s hands to kill Dean…wasn’t there anymore.
What makes us human? Our souls.
Dean listened to Sam’s gasped confession, looked at his hands raised in surrender, his eyes folded just the right way to illustrate desperation, and he turned away, setting the knife down. I so, so afraid Sam was going to jump him. I didn’t want Dean to turn his back—I totally didn’t trust Sam in that moment. But then Dean caught me completely by surprised and turned around with a powerhouse punch, cracking Sam hard across the jaw. Sam staggered back, dazed. Dean hits him again, knocking him to the ground and I was still surprised.
But then he kept hitting him—again and again—until Sam’s face was bloody and he was unconscious and I realized I’d shifted from surprise to relief. It was…strangely cathartic to watch Dean lay into his brother like that. It hurt, but it also felt good.
Each punch was for something Sam couldn’t take back and Dean couldn’t fix: returning from Hell and not telling him…pulling him away from Lisa and Ben with no warning…dumping him into the middle of the Campbells’ with no preparation…allowing a vamp to turn him…lying to him.
I don’t condone violence. It doesn’t ever solve anything. But in some situations…it gets you a little closer to finding a solution. And this time? No words would have sufficed.
Trust was a ghost before this and now the bones have been burned.
We have some answers, and we have a lot more questions. Just as we thought we would. But at least the trailhead for the path to healing between the brothers has been pointed out to us—perhaps not the healing that takes things back to where they started. I really don’t see how that’s possible or believable. Not ever what they’ve been through.
But Dean has nothing left to go back to (he thinks *grips thin hope*) and he can focus on The Case now with his whole self as he used to do. And now that Sam has finally come clean(ish) they can start there and…work through what happens next.
At least we get a few more weeks before they leave us bereft.
Thanks for hanging with me.
- Where Am I?:home office
- How Do I Feel?: contemplative
- Feeding the Muse:Hang On by Plumb