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Stream of Consciousness, Episode 6.11

The Eye

Seriously?!? Three words: I. Hate. Cliffhangers. Though this one was a wonderfully acted piece of the ongoing puzzle.

 

So, despite my never-ending attempts to avoid spoilerage (what? it’s a word), I never seem to be able to also avoid the episode titles prior to the actual viewing. I was lamenting a smidge about how much I missed the classic Led Zeppelin-inspired titles of shows, but this week’s piqued my interest because it wasn’t music, movie, or TV related. It’s a reference to an old story—one you’d tell someone to illustrate irony. Kinda like The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Appointment in Samarra, the story, is basically about a person who does everything they can to avoid Death, only to end up meeting him (Death) in Samarra—where he was meant to all along. They’ve made countless movies on this very premise. So, with that in mind, and having seen the previews last week, I sat down to watch wondering two things:

1)      Would Death’s ominous warning to Dean last season, that he can’t be cheated, come into play?

2)      Would Sam spend the episode trying to avoid his fate (being re-souled, so to speak) only to end up with it in the end?

As usual, our Show never ceases to find new and interesting ways to surprise me while at the same time confirming thing I already believed. Dean’s sacrificial nature, for example. He has illustrated multiple times over that he’s willing to give up everything personally important to him—love, security, freedom, his life—if it meant protecting Sam, saving Sam. Tonight’s episode is no exception.

The lengths Dean is voluntarily willing to go to for even the chance to save his brother—his brother, the one still trapped in Hell—had me watching almost this entire episode with my hand over my heart. On top of that, the subject matter that this episode dealt with—the natural order of things—had me hurting in a very real way. Show-related, it’s an angst-ridden thought. Real life-related…it can suck my breath from my lungs.

Not only did this episode illustrate Dean’s willingness to sacrifice himself for his brother, but it also touched upon his continued insistence that he knows best when it comes to Sam. As the older brother, and with this particular family dynamic, he’s been put into the position of parent rather than just a sibling and he’s never really been able to let that go. There are multiple levels one could argue here.

For example, Dean’s a domineering presence who seems to be unwilling to allow Sam to decide for himself and/or trust that Sam’s decisions about his own life are to be respected is one route you could go. Sam spoke emphatically on more than one occasion that this was his life. His soul. His body. It should be his decision as to what happened to him and his soul—not Dean’s. And if the guy had any sort of moral compass, I would have to agree with him.

But the bottom line is he doesn’t.

And that was illustrated tonight as well. Sam says he knows what he wants, self-preservation being rather high on that list, and he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Whether that’s infiltrating a vampire’s nest by way of his brother, or killing a father figure to complete a spell. It doesn’t matter to HollowSam right now.

And that’s why what Sam wanted for his own soul and his own body was disregarded by his brother, his father figure—and me.

The lesson of tipping the wrong dominoes, though, wasn’t one that just Dean should’ve had carry, in my opinion. It went back a lot further than that. To Mary for sure and perhaps further than that, for all we know. Following Death’s pattern, John shouldn’t have lived and Dean and Sam should never have been born. But yet…Dean and Sam were the chosen vessels for Armageddon even though the only reason they came into being at all was because of a demon.

Interesting.

A few parts of this episode were hard for me to watch—but not because of the gross factor. This was a rather ick-free episode. And it was, in my opinion, wonderfully acted and staged as yet another section of what’s becoming a 22-piece jigsaw puzzle. I really think I’m only going to truly appreciate this story in retrospect. Living through its agonizing play-by-play is like Chinese water torture.

Speaking of Chinese…we start off with Dean pulling up to a butcher shop in what looks like Chinatown…somewhere. It’s unclear. He exits the Impala, looks at a piece of paper, then up at the building address and his face screws up in a mixture of irritation and disbelief.

Dean: You gotta be kidding me.

He goes inside and starts to ask an Asian butcher where he can find someone…but he’s cut off (no pun intended) and told to go “all the way back.” Puzzled, he cautiously makes his way back as the Asian butcher hits a button under the counter.

Dean heads through a back door and up some stairs…

…and Freddie Kruger emerges from a room wearing a white lab coat.

Well, okay it wasn’t actually Freddie Kruger, it was Robert Englund. But still. I did think it was interesting that they had an actor of that notability to play such a small role. *shrug*

At first, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Freddie comes out and Dean’s like, “Dr. Robert?” Freddie greets him warmly by name and tells him that he stitched his dad up more times that he can count…back when he still had his medical license.

They go inside his slightly skanky procedure room and a pretty, but extremely bored-looking girl named Eva, who is Freddie’s assistant, is there looking…pretty and extremely bored.

Dean: You’ve done this a lot?

Freddie says indeed he has—in fact his success rate is 75%! And then I realized with a sinking oh, God, he isn’t feeling…Dean was going to pull a Flatliners and die on purpose here in this man’s office so that the doctor could zap him back to life.

In my ramble for Dark Side of the Moon, I quoted a Dylan Thomas poem, Death Shall Have No Dominion. I said then that I think death needs to have dominion over the brothers. They had died and come back so often that it wasn’t the threat of death that frightened them any longer, it was the threat of life—of living with circumstances they couldn’t reconcile. Like a brother without a soul, for example. Living had become their fear and that was just all kinds of backwards.

This episode drove that point home. Death himself drove that point home. I’m not sure what that means, if anything. I’m just reacting.

Dean hands Freddie an envelope of money (and how he got that much, I don’t think I want to know) and asks with a tight, hesitant voice if the good doctor would mail something for him should things go wrong.

He hands the doc an envelope with Benjamin Braeden’s name on it (in Battlecreek, MI, so I guess we know where Lisa and Ben moved to now). That sent my heart into a tiny little flutter right there. The doctor mentions that he’d have thought it would be something for his brother, Sam.

Dean: If I don’t make it back, nothing I say is going to mean a damn thing to him.

The really sad part is he’s right.

Eva pushes Dean down on the table and jabs a needle in his arm with a bored, “Don’t be a baby.” The doc tells him he’s got three minutes and the sound of the heart monitor speeds up as Dean’s anxiety skyrockets. The doc starts to push a clear fluid into Dean’s IV and the sound of the heartbeat is erratic. Dean’s lashes flutter, his eyes roll back, and then he collapses, the good doc and his bored assistant pronouncing him dead.

Again.

GhostDean walks in and looks down at himself, then heads out into the butcher shop, whispering, “This had better work.”

Now, I knew they weren’t going to kill off half of our dynamic duo mid-way through the season, of course, but all of the what ifs went through my head none-the-less. Had Dean truly thought this through or had he just been so wrecked by the thought of never getting Sam’s soul back he’d just grabbed onto this one desperate hope? I mean, what if Death had kept him? What if he’d told Dean to take a hike? What if the Dean Winchester charm and all of the fates of the universe that seemed to be conspiring to put him through the wringer before deciding to work in his favor actually hadn’t worked this time?

Had Dean truly accepted that if this didn’t work, he would be dead and Sam would be out there in the world soulless? I just…wondered.

Dean Latinates a bit and Tessa The Reaper shows up behind him all, dude, what the hell? Relieved, Dean’s like, “What do you know, it worked.”

At first, Tessa’s just caught up in the inconvenience of being summoned, but then she focuses and says, “Why are you dead?”

Heh. That’s actually kinda funny. In a sick, twisted, Supernatural way.

Dean demands to see her boss. She’s like, he summons us, it’s not the other way around. Dean insists, she says no.

And then, Death shows up.

He’s just as cool as he was before, if that doesn’t sound too bizarre. Just this thin, angular, unassuming figure of a man with a soft, clipped accent who speaks with measured tones as if he has all the time in the world—which, if you think about it…he basically does. He’s subtly bad ass because he doesn’t have to do anything to frighten you. He simply has to exist. There is no defeating him, there is no escaping him. He is The End of all we know for sure and that is frightening.

Dean reacts to that a little differently this go-round. Last time he met Death, the world was on the line. This time? It’s Sam. And interestingly enough, Dean has more bravado until Death quietly reminds Dean who and what he is. Having already done this dance once and survived, Dean blusters his way through their exchanges with his usual don’t bullshit me tone that he usually reserves for angels that have pissed him off or demons he needs to use instead of kill. He’s alone and desperate and he hasn’t been able to stay dead so far, so there are moments when he acts as if he really has nothing to lose.

But there are also moments—several of them—when his eyes flinch and his face tightens and his breath skates across his teeth as he remembers who he’s talking to.

Dean tries to barter using Death’s Ring, but Death is unimpressed—and says he knows where Dean hid it, so don’t bother, really. That was a little creepy, how much Death really knew. How little Dean was able to hide from him.

Death: You have hubris, but no leverage.

Sitting down at the butcher’s bar one stool down from Death, Dean tells him that he wants Death to break into Lucifer’s cage. That Sam’s soul is trapped down there—along with their other brother, Adam.

At that, my eyebrows went up. Am I wrong in thinking this is the first time anyone—Cas, Bobby, Dean, Sam—has mentioned Adam being trapped in the Cage? Because it was a little surprising to hear Dean mention him.

Death: Dean, quit shuffling and deal.

That was a great line. I’m gonna have to use that one. *writes it down*

Dean wants Death to get the two souls out (of course), but Death plays his wild card—he makes Dean choose, Sam’s soul or Adam’s. Like there was really ever going to be a choice—Dean didn’t go through all of this for his brothers. He went through it for Sam. It’s always been Sam. But, though you and I and Death knew Dean would choose Sam, it was (as I see it) Death’s first subtle lesson to Dean (in this episode) what it was like to play him. Proving to Dean that he could choose who was to live and who was to die.

And, like Gramps pointed out last episode, Dean always chooses Sam.

Dean: His soul has been there for a year and I understand its…damaged.

Death: Try filleted to the raw nerve.

Well, deangirl1  (and others)…there goes the idea that Michael or Lucifer were perhaps protecting it.

Dean: Is there any way you could…hack the Hell part off?

God love ‘im. He’s so obviously grasping at straws. *rubs heart*

Meanwhile, in the procedure room, Freddie and his assistant are trying to shock Dean back to life with no luck.

Death gets up and moves around Dean to stand in front of Tessa.

Death: What do you think the soul is? Some pie you can slice? It can be bludgeoned, tortured, but never broken, not even by me.

I kinda wish he’d said “broken into pieces” or “cut into pieces” or something to that effect because, for me, ‘broken’ has all kinds of different connotations. But, regardless of my semantics, I understood what he meant.

Dean (his voice desperate): There’s gotta be something.

Of course he’d think that—because there always has been. Whether it’s crossroad deals or angel intervention or perhaps even the ‘will of God’ (like in HOTH), he and Sam and for a time even John have been able to find a way to save a member of their family when the situation looked hopeless. Except once—when Sam fell into the Cage. Then, Dean thought they’d lost. But…once he realized he’d been wrong even then, there’s no reason for him not to push Death into giving up a way to rescue Sam’s soul.

But Death pulls a Merryweather (as in the Fairy of Happiness from Sleeping Beauty) and says he can’t erase Sam’s Hell…but he can put it behind a wall. A wall in Sam’s mind that would hold back the tide. Tessa interjects that it wouldn’t be permanent, and Death agrees—if the wall should ever fail, it would do all the bad things to Sam that both Cas and Crowley eluded to.

Okay, now, for just one tiny second I want to have a disgruntled moment. Where’s Dean’s wall? Y'know? He had to go through Hell—and no, it wasn’t in a Cage being kicked around by two angry angels, but it was still torture…by Alistair, on a rack of pain. And with all the insinuations we’re getting from examples of other torture and Dean’s reactive, too-casual remarks about and reactions to rape, it was invasive, dehumanizing, and all together destructive torture.

He survived it, was pulled out of that, and forced to re-enter life and still fight the bad guys and the only thing he was given to deal with his pain and nightmares was a constant supply of Jack Daniels, and a reminder that he had a place on the food chain and a job to do.

So...it kinda looks like we have two options: 1) consider Dean tougher than we thought because he was able to survive without a wall {which is unlikely}, or 2) accept that the Show is saying Sam’s Hell was so much worse he needs a (potentially fallible) wall to hold back the nightmares and utterly incapacitating psychic pain.

*takes breath*

Okay. I’ll deal with it, for the sake of the Show and the ongoing journey of my hero, I'll deal with it. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t make Dean any less of a hero in my eyes.

Dean still went through what he went through—he did it to save his brother, and it took it head-on. He survived it and he survived life after it and he survived life without Sam and he survived life with soulless Sam and now he’ll survive whatever comes next. He’ll be there for his brother, because he always has and it’s part of what made me fall for him in the first place. And maybe…just maybe…he’ll be able to end this latest journey through another version of Hell on Earth to find his own life. For good this time.

Plus…I can see potential for what that wall and the ever-threatening crumble of it could mean. For both characters. Okay, enough, Gaelic. Move on.

Dean recaps, saying that his choices are basically Sam with no soul or Sam with a drywall in his head. Death says yes and Dean’s like, “Do it.” He can’t leave his brother down there. He just can’t.

Death’s like, ah-ah, not so fast. This is all contingent upon Dean winning the wager. Dean sighs a very expressive it’s always something sigh and says, “What’s the bet?”

Death steps up close and says softly, “Don’t roll your eyes, Dean. It’s impolite.”

Dean pulls his head back in reaction and there is an utterly silent, but still very much there ‘gulp’ in his whole demeanor. Death tells him that he wants Dean to wear his ring. Be Death for a day.

Back in the procedure room, the heart monitor is still wailing a flat line and Freddie orders Eva to get the adrenaline.

Death tells Dean that if he takes the ring off before 24 hours are up, no soul for Sam. Dean, swallowing hard, half-nods, asking, “But…why?”

Death: Because—

And Freddie brings Dean back to life with a harsh, rough gasp for air. Dean laments that he wanted five more seconds but Freddie informs him that he was actually dead for seven minutes. Yikes.

We leave the good doctor and Dean and Sam are at Bobby’s house. The brothers are facing off in Bobby’s study and Bobby’s sitting on the couch, positioned kind of between them, watching the angry tennis match of words. Dean tells Sam about Death’s deal and the wall that Death would put in Sam’s mind and to say Sam is resistant would be an understatement.

Sam: You’re playing fast and loose with my life.

Dean: I’m trying to save your life!

Sam: It’s my life! My soul! And it’s not your head that’s going to explode when this whole scheme of yours goes sideways.

Sam may not care about anyone else, but he sure does care about self-preservation. Not that I blame him for that…just find it interesting how the Show is interpreting how one would act if the thing that made us us is ripped out and we recognize we have no moral compass and could care less about people who used to be as important to us as our own heartbeat.

Bobby speaks up, the voice of reason, and wants to know what Dean has to do in order to get Death to play ball. Dean tells them about having to wear Death’s ring for a day.

Aside—I wonder if the other rings held that same kind of power. If they put on Famine’s ring, would they be able to drive people crazy with want? How about making people sick by wearing Pestulance’s ring? Or is the fact that those other Horsemen are dead render the rings useless? Just…wondering.

Sam heads out, saying he needs to go for a walk and wrap his head around all of this. Next thing you know, Sam’s standing in the junkyard next to what looks like a small, dug-up hole and Dean and Bobby approach him, Dean holding Death’s ring. Sam continues to say he was just going for a walk; he wasn’t looking for the ring, no sir, uh-uh.

Dean: I’m your brother. I’m not gonna let you get hurt. I know what I’m doing here.

Sam: What if you’re wrong?

Dean: I won’t let it go wrong.

It’s a familiar promise, one that pulled Dean through so much just being able to say it; one that Sam used to believe…when he was still Sam.

Sam: Fine. I’m trusting you here. You’re the one with the compass, right? Just…don’t mess it up.

Dean turns to leave and as he walks past Bobby he says in a low voice, his lips barely moving, “Watch him.”

Sam and Bobby go into the house.

Sam: Is this the part where you pull a gun on me and lock me in the panic room?

Bobby: Do I have to?

Sam (tiredly): No. Dean’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.

He walks past Bobby and Bobby said sadly, “We all do, kid.”

It’s a really interesting question they bring up here. I mean, they’ve established that Sam can’t be trusted to not kill if he decides it serves a purpose, and yet he’s his own person. Dean—and by proxy, Bobby—has decided against Sam’s protestations that Sam needs to have his soul returned to him to restore him to humanity, if not the person he was before. Dean can’t bear the thought of that person suffering in Hell, nor can he bear the thought of a lifetime around this HollowSam.

But that’s all about Dean. It’s interesting to try to look at it from Sam’s perspective. Interesting, but not easy. Because I don’t like Sam’s perspective. I don’t want this Sam. I don’t trust this Sam. But that doesn’t stop it from being any less true that while what Dean wants in this situation feels right, it’s not the only game in town.

Standing in Bobby’s junkyard with the ring, though, Dean utters a breathless, heartfelt, “Here goes everything,” and slips the ring on.

That boy breaks my heart. He meant those three words with everything in him. He was going to play Death on a desperate gamble to save his brother and the complexities surrounding all of the ramifications of that roll of the dice are something that Dean will have to continue to deal with, no matter the outcome.

The moment the ring is on his finger, he’s elsewhere—I’m not sure where, but it’s a city street and Tessa is there, rather pissed off. She wants to get through the next 24 hours with a minimum of screw-ups.

Dean: This is your boss’s idea, not mine.

Tessa: You have a long history of throwing a wrench in the works, so stick to the rules.

And the rules are? Kill everyone whose number is up. Tessa has a list, but she won’t let Dean see. I found it interesting they said “kill” instead of take. But I guess the taking part is Tessa’s job. As Death, Dean has to kill them. Guh.

Tessa: You touch them, they die, I reap them. Remove the ring, you lose. Slack off, you lose.

This is going to be one of the suckiest days in Dean’s life.

Elsewhere, in some random, abandoned warehouse near Bobby’s, Sam is summoning… Balthazar. I gotta say I really dig this actor. He’s got such an interesting face. He’s how I picture Voldemort would look right before he finally went snake (and before you say it, I know Ralph Fiennes plays Voldy, I’m just saying, it looks like he could be the Dark Lord).

Balty is a little ticked that Sam summoned him, and is in his own way admiring Sam’s hubris for summoning the angel who wanted to kill him. After all, the last time they met, Sam said he wanted to deep-fry Balty’s wings. But now, Sam wants advice, and considering Balty traffics in souls, he seemed like the best Being to ask.

Balty: Go ask your boyfriend.

Sam: Cas can’t help me.

Heh. Boyfriend.

Sam wants to know if there’s a weapon or a spell that can keep a soul out—permanently. Balty realizes by Sam’s silence that his soul is still in the Cage and doesn’t blame him for not wanting it back since Michael and Luci (he actually says Luci) are “hate-banging” his soul as they speak.

You ask me? If Michael really has been up to that as everyone and their brother are claiming? He’s kinda lost his place in Heaven. Talk about natural order of things…the reason Lucifer ended up down there to begin with is because he didn’t like that God loved humans more than angels. Michael taking his anger out on a human soul? Not gonna be cool in God’s eyes should He return to Heaven. Just sayin’.

Balty says he’ll help Sam for free because he wants Sam to owe him (so mark that in your book of “what’s coming up for them to deal with in the 2nd half of the season”) and he also doesn’t like Dean one bit and would delight in screwing him. A statement that doesn’t get more than an eyebrow flicker out of HollowSam.

The ingredients to the spell are easy enough to get, but the trick is to scar the vessel (and it actually took me a minute to realize that by vessel, he meant Sam) so that it’s rendered inhabitable. Balty says the best way is patricide.

Sam doesn’t even balk at this idea; he simply says that his father died years ago. Gosh darnit.

Balty: You need the blood of your father, but your father needn’t be blood.

And we have the other side of desperation. Dean is so desperate to save Sam in his way—save the brother he knew from Hell, fill HollowSam with a soul and reunite them—he’s literally willing to die to find a solution. Sam is so desperate to retain his HollowSelf in his way, he’s willing to kill an innocent (yet again) to maintain the status quo.

It’s obvious (to me) which one is more right, but I had to admit that it was an intriguing conundrum they presented. I’m aware there will be those of you who don’t agree, but since the end of Season 4, I’ve written these rambles with an acute awareness of the gamut of preferences in those who read them and this is my way of attempting fair play. Off the record? I'd utter a heartfelt go, Dean, go.

Back on Death’s Holiday, Tessa is giving Dean a little Death 101.

Tessa: When people die, they’ll have questions for you. It’s part of the gig. Suck it up.

They come upon a robbery in progress at a little convenience store. A white man is holding a gun on an ethnic cashier and his son, demanding the cash in the drawer (which the cashier is shakily pulling out while trying to keep his son close to him and protected). The robber says he’ll shoot the kid if the cashier doesn’t hurry up.

Dean wants to know who they’re there for—instinctively wanting to interrupt and stop this. Tessa puts a hand on his arm and reminds him they can’t be seen or heard and tells him to just let it play out. The cashier takes advantage of the robber’s distraction at one point and grabs a gun, shooting him. Dean walks up to the man who is choking on his own blood.

Dean: He’s in agonizing pain, right?

Tessa (puzzled): Yes.

Dean: Give me a minute.

He pauses, then touches the guy. The man’s spirit is standing with them, looking down on himself.

Bad guy: Why?

Dean: Mostly because you’re a dick. Enjoy the ride down, pal. Trust me. Sauna gets hot.

Tessa takes him away. Next they come across a large man in a suit eating pizza.

Dean: Call me crazy, but this smells like a heart attack.

Which…is exactly what happens. Dean touches him and the man asks Dean why.

Dean: Think maybe it was the extra cheese?

Guy: Yeah. (pause) It was good, though.

Dean: Was it a local place?

HA!

Tessa (exasperated): Dean.

Dean (chagrined): Right. Sorry. Time to go, man.

Guy: Tell me…what does it all mean?

Dean, eyes darting slightly as he searches his mind for something plausible and non-morbid, says, “Everything is dust in the wind.”

Guy: That’s it? A Kansas song??

Dean kinda shrugs with his face.

Meanwhile, Sam returns to Bobby’s saying he’s just been driving around. Bobby offers him a drink. Annnnnd cue the most uncomfortable visit in the history of ever.

Dean and Tessa are at a hospital and enter a room where a 12 year old girl has a serious heart condition. She’s sitting on the bed, oxygen cannula in her nose, looking through a picture album with her father. The father-daughter connection just about did me in for multiple reasons. Dean’s eyes travel the room—pausing for a moment on the nurse and her name badge, which made me think something was going to happen to her right then—and asks who they’re there for. The girl.

Ouch.

Dean turns away. Tessa tells him that he has to take her. Death says so. Dean wants to know who tells Death. Tessa says it’s destiny.

Dean: I spent my whole life fighting that crap. There’s no such thing as destiny—just like there was no Apocalypse. It’s just a bunch of stuck-up mooks who didn’t want us human slaves asking questions. So I say, the little girl lives.

Tessa: You know what’s actually amazing is that you don’t buy a word you’re saying.

Dean (eyebrows folding in): Yes, I do.

Tessa: Oh, really? So all the times you messed with life and death it just worked out for you?

Dean’s eyes flash slightly and the expression in them jabbed me. A slew of memories crossed his face in the glimmer of a second.

Dean: I know this much. I’m Death. She’s 12 and she’s not dying today.

Back at Bobby’s, Sam and Bobby are playing poker. Thank goodness we didn’t stay there long, because their tension was sucking the air from the room.

As Dean and Tessa watch, we see that the little girl’s heart was miraculously healed. The nurse, Jolene, who was supposed to have assisted in her surgery, is calling home—and walks through Tessa, getting a chill.

Back with Sam and Bobby, Bobby goes to get something from the fridge and Sam moves to attack him. Bobby whacks Sam first, knocking him out.

Bobby: I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

Heh.

He puts the thing he bludgeoned Sam with down and grabs up some rope, but when he turns around, Sam is gone.

Bobby (slowly, the words drawn out): Not. Good.

And we get a little game of cat and mouse in Bobby’s house with Bobby looking for Sam, locking the outside door, and then hiding in a closet—looked like the same closet he and Dean hid in during the zombie attack. Sam suddenly starts whacking the door, breaking through it with an…axe? Or something. Until his face is visible through the hole he created.

Bobby: Don’t say ‘here’s Johnny’….

Sam: I gotta do this, Bobby. I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have cornered yourself.

Bobby (in a very, thanks for the advice, psycho tone): I didn’t.

He pulls a lever inside the closet and a trap door opens up under Sam’s feet, dropping him into the basement and cutting his leg but good. Bobby must’ve added that little feature after the zombie attack—otherwise, he and Dean were rather remiss in not using it.

His head bleeding from Bobby’s hit, Sam gets up and grabs a crowbar, then heads up the basement steps to the locked door, but Bobby stops him from bashing that one in by saying something about titanium plates. They have an awkward heart-to-heart through the door, Bobby pretty much wanting to know what the hell.

Sam’s basically like, if Dean gets my soul back, it’s going to suck. He doesn’t want to kill Bobby. He’s been nothing but good to Sam. But…. Bobby guesses that it’s a demon deal (which is a logical conclusion considering) but Sam says it’s a spell.

Bobby: You’re making a mistake, Sam.

Sam: I’m trying to survive.

Bobby: Dean has a way to make it safe.

Sam (scoffing): Dean doesn’t care about me. He cares about his little brother, Sammy, burning in Hell. He’ll kill me to get that other guy back.

That was the most telling thing HollowSam has said yet. The only reason it matters to him whether or not Dean cares is that Dean’s care literally knows no bounds and HollowSam wants to survive. And, as he said before, he sees himself as a separate entity from the soul trapped in the Cage—not as someone missing a part of his whole.

The thing is, though—I don’t think Dean is able to look at it that way. This person is Sam to Dean…just not all of him. So HollowSam is partly wrong—Dean does care about him. But he cares because he’s the “vessel” for his “little brother, Sammy, burning in Hell.” He’s also partly right—Dean doesn’t want to preserve this version of Sam because he’s a replicate. Not whole.

Oh, the angst. The angst will kill me dead.

Bobby: I know it’s scary, but you’re scarier. You’re not giving us much of a choice here.

Silence.

Bobby: Sam?

Silence.

Bobby: Balls!

He opens the door and sees an empty staircase. My heart was literally hammering as Bobby went down the stairs and searched for Sam.

Bobby: Ain’t nobody killing me in my house but me.

Just…ugh. The whole thing. It’s been Sam v Bobby before—with the shotgun to the face in the junkyard back in Season 4—but this just felt more ominous. Sam was strung out from demon blood withdraw then. This time? He was completely in control of his faculties and lacked the inner guardian required to keep the killer inside him in check.

Bobby: I don’t want to blow your legs out, boy, but I will.

Bobby makes it to the panic room, peers in through the small window, and sees a ladder leading up through an escape hatch at the top.

Back at the hospital, Tessa is giving Dean the silent treatment. Then she stops dead still in the hallway and whispers, “Dammit, I knew it.”

The nurse who left early because she didn’t have to assist in the little girl’s surgery got into a car accident she shouldn’t have gotten in. And now, Dean has to kill her. He looks gut punched as he tries to assimilate what has all just transpired. Tessa tells him that everything he does has consequences. Dean does his job, despite the fact that she wasn’t on the list. The nurse looks down at her body, then looks from Dean to Tessa, confused, and wants to know why.

Tessa says she’s there because Dean screwed up. Which, was true from Tessa’s perspective, but guh, the look on Dean’s face as she says this. He tries to say he’s sorry, but Tessa is taking the nurse away. A minute later, the husband shows up and is bereft, weeping over the nurse’s bloody body.

Dean goes to the room of the 12 year old and she looks better—has color and is smiling as she and her dad continue to look through the picture album. Tessa tells Dean that the girl is destroying the natural order by being alive.

Which makes me wonder how messed up the natural order got back in 1973…and then again in 2005…and then again in 2006. How many people who weren’t on the list ended up dying because the Winchester’s lived? You know Dean was churning that over in his fly paper-like brain. We could see it on his face.

He’s looking out of the window as Tessa is talking and sees the nurse’s husband stumble out of a bar across the way and get into his car. He tells Tessa to give him a minute.

Back at Bobby’s, Bobby is out in the junk yard, a cocked shotgun in his hand, tracking Sam. He makes his way to what looks like a garage and opens the door. Just then, Sam clocks him from behind and hauls him into the garage.

Dean’s in the car with the drunk husband, trying ineffectually to get him to slow down, pull over, stop, but as Death, he can’t be seen or heard. The man is heading for an intersection and a red light—a bus approaching from the other direction. Unable to allow this death on top of the other death that wasn’t supposed to happen—and was his fault—Dean pulls off the ring, becomes corporeal and visible and grabs the steering wheel, plowing them into a parked car instead.

The airbags save them, though the husband is unconscious against the steering wheel. Dean looks down at the ring and whispers, “Dammit.” He climbs stiffly from the wrecked car, looking shaken and pale, and calls for Tessa. Says he lost.

Dean: Sam’s screwed. You happy? Least you could do is zap my ass back home.

Lacking any other ideas, he puts the ring back on and Tessa is behind him, watching him.

Dean: I lost the bet.

Tessa: I’m sorry about your brother.

Dean: Let’s just go.

He has unfinished business. Pain and regret shadowing his eyes, he returns to the little girl’s room.

Tessa: I thought you wanted the girl to skate by?

Dean: No one skates by.

Not even Winchesters who have a way of cheating the uncheatable. They each carry the burden of their deals and even when they win they feel a loss. He whispers to the sleeping dad to say his goodbyes and then…takes the girl. That just hurt me. Not that he did it, but that it happens. It all happens. *shakes self* Since I had Mo Chuisle (which was at the beginning of Season 2) child-related tragedies are simply harder handle. Which, I suppose, makes them that much more effective because of what they also do to our hero.

The girl stands at the foot of her bed with Dean and Tessa.

Girl: What about my dad?

*sniff* It killed me that for her it wasn’t about ‘why me’ but ‘what about my dad’…it just felt really real as far as how a kid would react. It’s how my kid would react.

Dean: He’ll be fine.

Girl: Really?

Dean: I have no idea.

Girl: I can’t just leave him. It’s not fair.

Dean: I know.

Girl: Then why?

Dean: Because…(he crouches down to her level, his face drawn) there’s a natural order to things.

Girl: The natural order is stupid.

Dean: I agree with you there.

Back at Bobby’s in the garage, Bobby is tied to a chair, his breath stuttering and anxious, trying to get Sam to not do this…he’s been like a father to him. Sam’s like, uh, duh, that’s the whole point. Sam pulls Bobby’s head back, exposing his throat and we see that the chair is set in the middle of some kind of sigil. Sam rears back a wicked large knife and just before he plunges it down, Dean is there, grabbing his arm, and slamming his other fist into Sam’s face, knocking him out.

Good Lord. *catches breath* I didn’t think they’d go through with it, really, but do they always have to cut these things so damn close?

Aside—I wonder how Dean knew to find them in the garage? And I guess we’re to assume that Tessa zapped him home again.

They put Sam in the panic room and tie him to the bed. Dean is wrecked, his eyes just…. He’s this side of the expression he had the last time Sam was in the panic room and Dean found himself praying in the junkyard.

Dean: I can’t keep doing this, Bobby. What am I gonna do? Tie him up every time he tries to kill someone? That’s not going to hold him. I mean he’s—

Bobby: Capable of anything.

I heard in Dean’s voice and his words both how being around HollowSam was wearing him down to nothing and how scared he was about the prospect of this truly being the only Sam they had left.

Dean looks at Death’s ring and says rather forlornly, “What am I supposed to do?”

That question, from that character, does painful things to my heart.

Sam wakes up and looks out through the little window in the door to the panic room, catching Dean’s eye. They just stare at each other a moment, Dean’s eyes in shadow, Sam’s eyes cold. Dean shuts the door and goes upstairs….

…to find Death sitting at Bobby’s table eating a hotdog. He says he brought Dean one—from a vendor in L.A.. Grey’s Papaya, I wonder? Dean sits down, carefully—instinctively holding himself in check, away from the other man at the table. He looks…weary. Worn out.

Dean: What’s with you and cheap food?

Death: I could ask you the same thing. Thought I’d have a treat before I put the ring back on. Heavier than it looks, isn’t it? Sometimes you just want the thing off.

Made me think of the ring Frodo and Samwise carried to Mount Doom. The weight of it. What it did to them.

Dean: I know you know I flunked. By the way, I sucked being you. But I’m sure you know that, too.

Death: If you could go back, would you simply kill the girl? No mess, no stomping your feet?

Dean: Knowing what I know now, yeah.

Death: I’m surprised to hear that.

Dean: I would have saved that nurse.

Death: Today you got a look behind the curtain. Wrecking the natural order’s not so fun when you’ve got to mop up the mess, is it? You throw away your life because you’ve come to assume it will bounce right back. The human soul is not a rubber ball. It’s vulnerable, impermanent, and more valuable than you can imagine. I think you’ve learned something today.

I agree…although, I’m not yet sure what we learned from this. That Dean values life? We knew that. That Dean would risk everything for Sam? We knew that. Maybe what Death was saying is that Dean risked it this time forgetting that he might not make it back. I don’t think Dean takes for granted the value of Sam’s soul—I think he feels that value very strongly. I think he’s learned a little more about what a soul is (because that’s confusing as hell in this ‘verse). Maybe…maybe he’s seen the value of his own soul? *ponders*

Dean: I think you knew I wouldn’t last a day. I lost, fine. But at least have the balls to admit that it was rigged from the jump.

Shallow moment? I loved how his mouth looked when he said the word ‘jump.’

Death: Most people speak to me with more respect.

Dean pulled back in, his face registering a reminder of who it was he was talking to once more.

Death: I’m going to Hell to get your brother’s soul.

Dean (totally taken by surprise): Why would you do that for me?

Death: I’m not. You and your brother keep coming back. You’re an affront to the balance of the universe and you caused disturbance on a global scale.

Dean: I apologize for that.

His eyes flinch as he says that—intimidated, I think, but Death’s literal proximity to him and reliving the abbreviated journey of standing in the Horseman’s shoes.

Death: Right now, you’re digging for something, Intrepid Detective. I want you to keep digging, Dean.

Ooo! Nice way to remind us of the noir-effect of this season. Dean’s role as the detective, seeing this through his eyes, discovering the mystery via the vehicle of his experiences, which is what grabbed me at the onset of this season and what holds me still.

Dean: You just gonna be cryptic?

Death: It’s about the souls. You’ll understand when you need to.

Add “value of souls” to your book of “what’s facing them in the 2nd half of the season.” One thing, though...if they are an affront to the balance of the universe, wouldn’t it have just been better to kill them? Unless Death is returning Sam’s soul to incent Dean (specifically) to keep digging into what the value of souls have to do with all of this ruckus…. There is something that the universe has to gain by Dean being alive and Sam getting his soul back. I’m just not sure what…yet.

Dean: Is this wall thing with Sam really gonna work?

Death: Call it…75%.

Heh.

With that, Dean goes running down to the panic room—panicking Bobby in the process—and demands Bobby open the door, now! They stand in the doorway and as they watch, Death appears. Sam. Is. Flipping. Out. He can’t get loose from the ropes, can’t get away from Death and is telling the Horseman to get away from him, don’t touch him.

Death tells him that he’s going to put a wall in his head and that it may itch, but he must not scratch it because he guarantees Sam won’t like what happens. He pulls Sam’s soul from a bag and it’s brilliant and gleaming. I’d half expected it to be…gray…or something showing its damage.

Sam turns to look at Dean and is begging—literally begging—don’t do this, you don’t know what it’ll do…. Dean stares back at him and the pain in his eyes is heartbreaking. Death begins to put Sam’s soul in and Sam screams in pain—much like when Cas gave him the angel scan. Dean’s face tightens, his expression mirroring the sound Sam is making.

And we fade to black. I guess the answer to my episode title questions were yes and yes. Dean learned that he couldn’t cheat Death—only not in the way I was thinking. It wasn’t that he couldn’t cheat Death (meaning he was going to stay dead) but that Death would not be cheated (meaning, you deny me the girl, I take the nurse). And Sam? Well, he ended up with a soul after all.

So, what are we left with? Sam—our Sam—returned? But with a 75% solid wall in his mind holding back Hell? Will he retain the memories built up from HollowSam? Will he remember the time he stayed away from Dean, knowingly allowing his brother to think he was in Hell? Will he remember the innocents he killed? Oh, the thought of it—Hell wall or no—just makes my heart hurt for him.

And Dean, how will he be now with his brother out of Hell, but Hell kept at bay? He’s still left with no one to talk with about his own tour—he doesn’t want Sam to remember his time there because it would destroy him. And will he be able to compartmentalize the guilt of forcing the soul back into Sam, knowing the risk? What about all he went through to get the soul—dying, playing Death, seeing the consequences to his actions?

Meanwhile, there are still Alpha monsters running amuck, a Civil War in Heaven, Hell with no King, a rogue angel to whom Sam owes a favor (even if he didn’t get to follow through with the spell) and who really hates Dean, and Death’s cryptic “it’s about the souls…you’ll understand when you need to.” Not to mention Lisa and Ben out there living their normal life, their footprints still tracking across Dean’s heart.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in the next 11 episodes, folks. While I hate cliffhangers, I expected no less mid-season. And honestly? Season 2’s cliffy was a little worse for me. I think because I spent much of the first half of this season disconnected from Sam. This one didn’t settle me as much as it tripped my intrigue trigger a bit harder than it’s been tripped up to now.

For those of you who read these each week, I wanted to say a very sincere thank you. As someone recently pointed out to me, there are indeed a lot of fish in the sea and a good number of reviews/metas on this show for you to choose from. And they range from quick recaps to longer, thoughtful and often educational metas. I’ve been told by some that they enjoy this ‘stream of consciousness’ style and by others that they really don’t need to relive the episode, they just want my take on it so they can offer theirs.

No matter if you read 50 other reviews or just mine, or if you take in each word I put on paper or skim to hit on certain parts, I am glad you’re here. And I thank you for taking time to comment.

The next half of the season starts up on Friday, January 28th. Unfortunately for this ramble, that will be the first (and probably only) episode I’ll have to miss at first run. My husband and I are combining a our 10th wedding anniversary and my birthday (which is on January 30th) and taking our first “grown up” trip away from Mo Chuisle that weekend and I will be sans computer. He’s forcing a technology shut down for four days. *smiles*

So, I’ll watch the episode and post the ramble the following Tuesday the 1st. I hope I don’t lose you with that delay and that you’ll be back to read and share your thoughts.

Thanks again for reading, and have a happy hiatus everyone!
 

 


Comments

( 104 Tall Tales — Tell Me A Story )
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marta_kent
Dec. 11th, 2010 08:30 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us! Posted it ;-) Still downoding 611, haven't seen yet. But can't wait! Going to read your review then.
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)
Marta -- thanks so much for posting on your site! I really appreciate that. I hope you enjoyed the episode and the review.

Happy holidays! :)
impala1967
Dec. 11th, 2010 08:40 am (UTC)
I am disappointed !!! not by the acting, Death was awesome and Balthazar ... yeah for the guy from Fringe. but the poor writing and inconsistencies ruined it for me.
Bobby was born last nite cause he opened that door. It's a wonder Bobby has lived as long as he has by doing stupid things like that.
Soulless Sam apologizing - why would he do that he doesn't care and he doesn't care what Bobby thinks, he has no emotions.
And last but not least adding to cannon to fit the story. If you go by tonites episode death touches you you die and reaper reaps your soul. So Dean has his ring and is death ... so has nobody died in the last year since death hasn't had the ring. And where was death when Tessa was trying to get Deans soul in S2E1 and when he was electrocuted.
Sorry for the rant but they did this adding willy nilly to cannon in BSG and it was all down hill from there. Do they think the fans don't notice stuff like this.
Have a great holiday and will look foward to your next review : )
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
Soooo sorry this is incredibly late. RL has been conspiring against me.

The acting has saved this season over and over, in my opinion. I'm with you on the inconsistencies, but as always, this show has found ways to keep me totally engaged. Music, acting...the pretty... ;)

So Dean has his ring and is death ... so has nobody died in the last year since death hasn't had the ring.

O.M.G. I can't believe I didn't pick up on that. Seriously! That's a great question!! I mean, if Death can be Death without the ring, then why does he need the ring at all, yeah? Goooood question.

Your rant is totally welcome -- YOU are always welcome here. I like how you make me think. Thanks for reading and I look forward to you returning!

Happy Holidays!
(no subject) - impala1967 - Dec. 18th, 2010 07:46 am (UTC) - Expand
koontah
Dec. 11th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
Dean's Time in Hell
Okay, now, for just one tiny second I want to have a disgruntled moment. Where’s Dean’s wall? Y'know? He had to go through Hell—and no, it wasn’t in a Cage being kicked around by two angry angels, but it was still torture…by Alistair, on a rack of pain. And with all the insinuations we’re getting from examples of other torture and Dean’s reactive, too-casual remarks about and reactions to rape, it was invasive, dehumanizing, and all together destructive torture.

From Season Four, forward, I've always felt the writers have kinda cheated the fans regarding Dean's little trip downstairs. I feel they've more or less swept the whole thing under a rug and moved on. Yes, clearly it affected Dean-still does. It's just that... (and maybe this is my personal POV, considering what I know of hell) ...it feels as though they've lost the point of pain. Did they do any research on victims/survivors of torture? How can you just stuff 30 years of agony under your pillow at night?
This is the thing about TV's limitations; you only have so much time to say something, only so much money to put something together. were there unlimited resources and time, I like to think that the writers would delve into that side of Dean. I think they should consider pivotal episodes like Lazarus Rising and Appointment and All Hell Breaks Loose as stories that needed two hours... but then, I'm a girl for details. if the hero suffers, I want to see that suffering. I want to LIVE those moments when the hero decides he needs to eat something and as he putting together a PB&J sandwich, he falls to pieces, crying, melts on the floor and can't get up for a long time-or until someone comes in and helps them to their feet.
Why is that so hard for TV? Again, time limitations suk. The story MUST BE TOLD. I'd make a crappy script writer.
Thank you, Amanda, for sharing.
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
Re: Dean's Time in Hell
...it feels as though they've lost the point of pain

Good observation.

if the hero suffers, I want to see that suffering. I want to LIVE those moments when the hero decides he needs to eat something and as he putting together a PB&J sandwich, he falls to pieces, crying, melts on the floor and can't get up for a long time-or until someone comes in and helps them to their feet.

Right there with you, sister. That's why I love to write. :)

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to them! I look forward to your return after the hiatus. :)

Happy holidays!
msninacat
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:05 am (UTC)
He’s just as cool as he was before, if that doesn’t sound too bizarre. Just this thin, angular, unassuming figure of a man with a soft, clipped accent who speaks with measured tones as if he has all the time in the world—which, if you think about it…he basically does. He’s subtly bad ass because he doesn’t have to do anything to frighten you. He simply has to exist. There is no defeating him, there is no escaping him. He is The End of all we know for sure and that is frightening.

Another amazing thing about this show. A bunch of fans saying "DEATH IS AWESOME......well he is..." lol I love this incarnation of Death and he works so well for the SPN universe.

Sitting down at the butcher’s bar one stool down from Death, Dean tells him that he wants Death to break into Lucifer’s cage. That Sam’s soul is trapped down there—along with their other brother, Adam.

At that, my eyebrows went up. Am I wrong in thinking this is the first time anyone—Cas, Bobby, Dean, Sam—has mentioned Adam being trapped in the Cage? Because it was a little surprising to hear Dean mention him.


I don't really think that they have mentioned Adam this season. And honestly I was hoping they wouldn't. Loose end or not, I could deal with not having his "convenient" presence around. To me, I could accept him being upstairs with Jimmy. Because technically, Adam came down as a body with Michael in him. His soul could have been left in heaven or not. But again, I think this season is pandering to the internet crazy fans more than any other season and it's just a personal blah of mine. But I think it's a moot point anyway. Of course Dean is gonna pick Sam. He never truly got to know or bond with Adam on the level he did Sam. And he tried to get him to stay out of things and stay in heaven but Adam decided he knew what was what so he got what was coming. Okay, seriously taking off my bitchpants now. I've gotten a little more accepting of Adam on rewatches but not so much that I want him back in the already too crowded stew of this season.

You ask me? If Michael really has been up to that as everyone and their brother are claiming? He’s kinda lost his place in Heaven. Talk about natural order of things…the reason Lucifer ended up down there to begin with is because he didn’t like the God loved humans more than angels. Michael taking his anger out on a human soul? Not gonna be cool in God’s eyes should He return to Heaven. Just sayin’.

Amen. Preach it girl.

Good Lord. *catches breath* I didn’t think they’d go through with it, really, but do they always have to cut these things so damn close?

I KNOW!! BAD SHOW. lol or good because you had us questioning it. ;D

Unless Death is returning Sam’s soul to incent Dean (specifically) to keep digging into what the value of souls have to do with all of this ruckus…. There is something that the universe has to gain by Dean being alive and Sam getting his soul back. I’m just not sure what…yet.

Maybe because the souls in purgatory haven't been properly reaped and that could be an affront to Death? Idk just throwing a cray cray theory out there. But they must have some significance if Crowley was trying so hard to get to them. The Winchesters have mucked up a lot of end games so Death feels pretty good that they can get to the bottom of this one for him? It's all so intriguing now. Last week, I was set in a mind frame that they were gonna fan service us to death but they showed me again. I should have known... Bad, Nina.

You won't lose me on your hiatus but I'll have to calm myself when it's not up until I remember. ;D

I do enjoy poking at things with you through your retelling. Many times I don't think of the really profound things until my rewatch with the hubby but your review keeps the mind flowing and is keeping me from letting the mass hysteria fandom overrun me. ♥


gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
Hey there -- so sorry it's taken me a bit to get back to you. RL has been Ka-Razy.

To me, I could accept him being upstairs with Jimmy. Because technically, Adam came down as a body with Michael in him. His soul could have been left in heaven or not.

Yeah, I agree. I would rather it have been that way, too.

Maybe because the souls in purgatory haven't been properly reaped and that could be an affront to Death? Idk just throwing a cray cray theory out there. But they must have some significance if Crowley was trying so hard to get to them.

Might be crazy, but I am with you. Purgatory has to still have significance to the story line. It was too 'out there' for them to bring it up with Crowley and then kill it with Crowley, y'know?

Don't worry -- I'll remind you that the ramble will be delayed. ;)

Thank you for reading and taking time to share your thoughts. I really appreciate it.

Happy holidays!
deangirl1
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:10 am (UTC)
Ok - you know I'm supposed to be studying... but there it is...
Yours is the ONLY episode response I read. And I read and respond because I adore discussing it with you. You always bring out something I hadn't considered, and I adore that you comment on the whole episode so minutely... and I love doing it back at you! So without further ado...

RoboSam attempting to kill Bobby is less shocking when you consider that TaxiDriverSam in Mystery Spot did the same thing WITH his soul - and was warned about it at the time by Gabriel... Hmmmmm - I was joking elsewhere that this would be the perfect time for show to bring the Trickster back...

The domino was really set in motion when Dean went back to the past -- if he hadn't Mary and Samuel would never have gone to the house of her friend - it was his info that sent them there...

It was Chinatown in Vanvouver...

I adored the stunt casting of Robert Englund as Dr. Robert(s)- heee -- he said a while ago to some fans that his wife is actually a Jared fangirl - has been since Gilmore Girls - LOL!

Dean's eyes rolling back in his head... guh... *iz bad...*

DEATH! The cool badass CANADIAN character actor...

I like how you refer to him as the end of all we know "for sure" - and I add the quotes because this is where we part philosophically. At the risk of being self-indulgent and scaring you off - and in no way disrespecting your own beliefs - for me, that is it. The end. When I die, the world, effectively ends. I want to believe there's more, but I'm a raging sceptic. And yet my sceptisim doesn't diminish my enjoyment of the show! Yes... even I have no idea how my mind works... not well....

I think that Dean's fear of Dean is not for himself - but always for Sam. He so badly wants his help to for Sam.

ADAM! Huzzzah Dean! Dean's choice here is going to eat at him. It's going to bother Sam the same way Michael Hall's death bothered Dean in Faith. And you know Sam will be pissy about it - and go after Dean for it. If Adam does get out, it will also earn Dean yet another enemy...

I still maintain - for the same reasons you allude to later that Luci and MICHAEL taking their anger out on Sam makes no sense.

As to the comparison of hells - I've been expecting it so long, I'm resigned to it - BUT here's one last thing to think about - how many times have we heard about Dean shoving everything down. He said it himself in Sam Interrupted. Lisa said it in You Can't Handle the Truth. I think that Dean is SO strong that he has erected his OWN drywall. On his own. With no help from other worldly powers.

TBC
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
Studying, schmudying. I like having you here better, so there. :) Sorry it took me a bit to get back to you, though. You don't even want to know the crazy that has been my life these last couple days. *counting down the days until I get a break*

I love that you read these. Love love love. That is all.

RoboSam attempting to kill Bobby is less shocking when you consider that TaxiDriverSam in Mystery Spot did the same thing WITH his soul - and was warned about it at the time by Gabriel

Good point -- although, part of me always thought that Sam knew that Bobby was really Trickster!Bobby when he stabbed him.

It was Chinatown in Vanvouver...

*laugh* Well, I kinda figured that. But I meant, where it was supposed to be for him, since they didn't say, Anywhere, USA, like they often do. I suppose it could have been Vancouver.

Dean's eyes rolling back in his head... guh... *iz bad...*

OMG I. Know.

When I die, the world, effectively ends. I want to believe there's more, but I'm a raging sceptic.

I hear you...which is why I added the 'for sure.' You wouldn't scare me off. :) We don't have to think the same to understand each other.

Okay, so no matter what I think about Adam, I am glad that Dean mentioned him. That it was Dean, y'know?

It's going to bother Sam the same way Michael Hall's death bothered Dean in Faith.

*cackles* Marshall Hall. I read Michael and I was like...the dude from Dexter?? Hee.

I think that Dean is SO strong that he has erected his OWN drywall. On his own. With no help from other worldly powers.

Ooooo -- I LIKE this. I like it a LOT!

Edited at 2010-12-16 01:16 am (UTC)
deangirl1
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:13 am (UTC)
GAH!
I hate LJ when they make me break a comment - serves me right for being so damn wordy! I know I'm doing this wrong but hope you can follow this.... GAH!

You said PETULANCE's ring!!! LOL!! I think RoboSam has been wearing that one and it IS working!! LOL!!!

I get that Sam should have a say, but this ISN'T Sam - I think show has tried hard to show that. He's dangerous and really downright evil - having him so close to killing BOBBY was show's way of demonstrating how evil. OUR Sam - the soulfulSam wouldn't want to be this way. I think he will thank Dean for stopping it - and then be pissy about it...

When Balty called Cas Sam's boyfriend, I SOOOOO wanted him to say, No - he's DEAN'S boyfriend (cuz he IS....)

Of COURSE Bobby added the trapdoor after the zombies! Live and learn. I adore how they write him. I wonder how much Jim adds to his own dialogue? The I was born at night line springs to mind. As an aside, I almost got to see Jim Beaver here in a play this weekend. Of course, I couldn't get any info on when he was on, until he tweeted he was about to go on stage -grrrr. I AM going to see Rob Benedict's band on Tuesday night - screw exams - and I don't care that I will have to go by myself.

Dean's double tragedy is that he had no childhood and he has no kids but he totally knows what it feels like to lose a child. I ADORED that he'd written BEN a letter. Not Lisa. Not Sam. Not Bobby. THAT says so much about our boy. I think part of why Dean was ok with dying in Faith was because he was ok with dying BEFORE both John and Sam. In fact, when Dean came back, I was afraid that Sam would try for HIS blood because he is more of a father to Sam...

Sam was handcuffed to the bed...

That final scene with Death and Dean - God. I just can't get enough of them on screen together. Somebody had better ask Jensen about that at a con!!! I will ask him in Rome! Yes. I'm going AND I have a meet and greet with him and one with Kripke! Really, I'm going just for Kripke....

Focus!!! I don't think that Dean sees the value of his own soul. I'm sure he's convinced that any value it had was lost in hell. I was heartened to see Death charge DEAN with this quest. It seems our boy is vital to this season's mythology after all. I said elsewhere that I always have Dean-coloured glasses on, so every episode has always been about Dean for me. And honestly, show has so alienated me from Sam that I don't feel that this is a cliffhanger at all. Also, we have previews for next episode -- which I think is acutally on the 21st - unless they've changed it again.

And now I must study. I owe you a response to my meltdown post. YOUR reply was, as always, a lifesaver. I'm trying to stay calm. But I'm scratching at my own drywall just now and really working that razor's edge. *sigh* That is the danger to living on the tipping point, isn't it?
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
You said PETULANCE's ring!!! LOL!! I think RoboSam has been wearing that one and it IS working!! LOL!!!

CRACKS UP!!! *then blushes*

Okay, whoops. I fixed it, but not before you had me cackling once more.

I get that Sam should have a say, but this ISN'T Sam

My. Point. Exactly.

I AM going to see Rob Benedict's band on Tuesday night - screw exams - and I don't care that I will have to go by myself.

I think this is so GREAT!! I am/was so excited for you. SEE?? See what you have available to you out there!! YAY!!

I ADORED that he'd written BEN a letter. Not Lisa. Not Sam. Not Bobby. THAT says so much about our boy.

I know!! When he handed that letter to Dr. Robert my heart flipped over.

I'm going AND I have a meet and greet with him and one with Kripke! Really, I'm going just for Kripke...

OMG...Rome...Kripke... *is so jealous* You have an enviable life, my friend. I love how you live it. Live it fully!

No worries on response. I took me like...five days? to get to this. All is well. I know you're there, you know I'm here. We're good.

Happy holidays!!
simplycolourful
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
God I hate cliffhangers, but I do like that Sam finally got his soul back, and since this is Supernatural it's pretty clear that Sam's gonna scratch at the wall.

I'm curious about the souls and I wonder how they play into the deal with the Alphas...


Hope you enjoy the Holidays and have a nice trip in January :)
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
I'm curious about the souls and I wonder how they play into the deal with the Alphas...

Me too!!

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate you coming by. :)

Happy holidays!
ptbaym10
Dec. 11th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC)
I've been reading your rambles for a while and I've got to say they're what I look forward to after I watch the show :) The whole episode tugged at my heart. With Sam just not caring and almost killing the man who was like a father to him... bugged me. Even without a soul I kind of hoped he would come to his senses, sadly that wasn't the case. I'm interested to see what happens if his soul is returned to him in decent shape.(I know it showed his soul being put back, but you never know.) Dean having to be death was interesting. His macho attitude was completely destroyed when the little girl came into play, which I understand. He was practically a father figure to Sam and then Ben so he knows what the man will go through when his daughter dies. Having a son myself, I don't even want to think about it. I like seeing the caring/soft side of Dean, but it still made me sad for him. On a side note, the fact that Ben and Lisa obviously live in Battlecreek, Michigan makes me laugh. I live about an hour away from there and I just can't imagine them living there or being around some of the people :) Again, thanks for such a great review of the show. Can't wait to start reading again at the end of January! Enjoy the Holidays!
ptbaym10
Dec. 11th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
That was in neat little paragraphs but like always on LJ I messed something up, sorry about that :)
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wrenny59
Dec. 11th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
Hi Gaelic! I always have to start off by saying how much I love you. Last night after watching as I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking about you - off in your house, writing about what we had both seen, and how I would be reading your thoughts the next morning with my morning coffee! How amazing is this! Don't know you, don't know what you look like, but I know your heart, and I know that we are so very similar in our thoughts, but that you are infinitely better at putting them together in paragraphs that make sense!
So enough of my Gaelic fan-girl squeeing.

Loved this episode. I'm so very visually oriented that it's hard to imagine being 'unhappy' with any episode that show puts out for us, because the pretty is just so brilliant. And while I am knocked out by the pretty that is Jensen Ackles, I also really love the faces of other actors. Balthazar and Death and Tess, all so Interesting to look at! Loved the lighting in the first part at the Chinese butcher shop - so bright and everything so sharp and lovely. I have to give props to those lighting people.

Yes, story is obviously important, but I am just not so critical as long as I'm entertained. Which I was. Inconsistencies don't bother me much. I get that this is not real-life, and that sometimes there will be a flaw or two, especially given that the writers are not the same people from week to week. Guess I just have a high thresh hold for that sort of thing, seeing as I just so appreciative of all I get from this series. Show is not perfect. OK by me.
Hope we get to see Death again. Gotta say he's one of my favorite side characters. Very complex - is he 'good' or is he 'bad'? Not one you can label. My favorite line - "Don't roll your eyes, it's not polite" HAAAA. Love his sense of humor. Also love how Dean behaves around him and how he has to keep his 'hubris' in check around Death.
Oh, my. It's a long way to January 28. My birthday! I will have a reason to look forward to it this year!
Hugs, hugs and more hugs!



gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
Don't know you, don't know what you look like, but I know your heart, and I know that we are so very similar in our thoughts, but that you are infinitely better at putting them together in paragraphs that make sense!

*rubs heart*

This touched me so much I thought I'd introduce myself. *points to icon* Me. *waves* Good to meet you. ;)

Inconsistencies don't bother me much. I get that this is not real-life, and that sometimes there will be a flaw or two, especially given that the writers are not the same people from week to week.

I love this outlook. Thank you for sharing that. :) I appreciate it.

Hey! Fellow Aquarian! We can share a birthday weekend. ;)

Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. I really appreciate it. Happy holidays!!
heartlessbytchh
Dec. 11th, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC)
---On top of that, the subject matter that this episode dealt with—the natural order of things—had me hurting in a very real way.---
Yes, me too. Especially when they did the storyline part of the twelve year old girl dying in the hospital. I was triggering pretty hard over that. BTDT
:(
Yes, I know you were thinking of me and I love you for that. I wondered how many other Moms that have lost kids were watching this along with me.
This natural order of things/Destiny thing is a very heavy subject matter to deal with anywhere, let alone a one hour tv show dealing with MOTW's. But yet I can't help but feel this is what makes the quality of Show so high. What keeps us coming back like junkies for our fix every week.

There's been several epis that showed Sammy that the monster inside could not be changed. Some were pretty brutal driving that point home.
I think this epi was a teaching epi for Dean. Teaching him that no matter what he tried, NOOT/Destiny could not be changed. When he said "No one skates by" in that bitter tone of voice, I was just crushed that he had to have that beaten into him like that. If that's true, why should anyone even bother to strive for excellence? Why should any of us even bother to get out of bed in the morning? Maybe Kansas was right after all.
heartlessbytchh
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
I loved how Dean's sacrificial nature showed when he took off the ring in that drunk driver's car. He knew he was giving up what he wanted to do for his brother.But yet he did it anyway. That tells me he's not just a mindless zombie bot that Show keeps around to haul Sam's coals out of the fire he's constantly getting himself into by his actions.

I think up to now that SimSam wasn't able to make valid decisions about himself and his life. To me, he's been like a loose cannon. A danger to everyone. So yes, I think Dean was totally in the right as far as having to make decisions for SimulatedSam. I would've expected no less of Sammy if it was DuplicateDean. When SimSam was "Sammy", he always had Dean's back. They looked out for each other and wee there for each other. That's the way Families should be but sadly are not.

And I think the way he talked about "that Sam in the cage" pretty much confirmed what I've thought all along about SimSam being some sort of a Doppelganger. A true "Empty Vessel". A pale copy of the original.

---The lesson of tipping the wrong dominoes, though, wasn’t one that just Dean should’ve had carry, in my opinion. It went back a lot further than that.---
This is what I was talking about awhile ago. Hasn't Dean had enough lessons and loss? Hasn't he given enough and given up enough? Or is NOOT/Destiny going to take everything and reduce him to a lump of quivering mess?

To put a spin on Plato's "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"
Who gives NOOT/Destiny her lessons?

I think this season has many undercurrents of hidden meanings that we don't even fully realize the significance of yet. I'm still catching stuff in the reruns on TNT of epis I've seen several times in the last few months. So much foreshadowing! And subtle hints of stuff in the future epis.
I'm freak enough I get off on that. Now when I watch shows I look for that and am disappointed when it's not there. It's a kind of a "Where's The Beef?" thing for me.



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pickamix
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
I appreciate your rambles if for no other reason than the fact that I don't really watch anymore and your posts fill me in in a way that makes me not hate the show. :) Like someone else said... they added things that weren't there before and that would have irritated me while watching but since I didn't watch... I'm fine. I'm not as invested.

I would never be able to be Death for a day as described by the show. Nope... not I... couldn't do it... would completely suck at the job.

So... it'll be interesting to see how Sam is after this.

See you sometime... perhaps I'll do more reading before the next ep is up.
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
Hey there -- sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. And thank you for reading, even though you don't watch. :) In fact, thank you for reading ESPECIALLY because you don't watch. *laugh*

I, too, would suck at the job of Death. Don't blame Dean for taking off that ring one bit.

I hope to see you before the end of January, but if not, I'll look for you then!

Happy holidays!
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borgmama1of5
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
"Dean doesn’t care about me. He cares about his little brother, Sammy, burning in Hell. He’ll kill me to get that other guy back."

That line was chilling in showing the disconnect of Soulless!Sam from himself. It really hurt.

This was an intense episode, and I am so pleased with how this season has been so tightly woven, no filler episodes, everything building.

And everything you said in your review about Dean--I wholeheartedly agree.

And Jensen Ackles really should get so many awards for his acting skills. Jared too!
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
Hi there -- sorry it's taken me a bit to reply. Busy busy busy.

This was an intense episode, and I am so pleased with how this season has been so tightly woven, no filler episodes, everything building.

I know, right? It's a total jigsaw puzzle, coming together piece by piece. While I'm looking forward to each episode coming, I'm also looking forward to the end when I can scan back and say, "ooohh, now I get it." :)

Jensen will never cease to amaze and entertain me. :)

Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. I look forward to seeing you "next year"! :)

Happy holidays!
mymuseandi
Dec. 11th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Hi! Wow, been a long while since i wrote a comment on your reviews!

Dean wants Death to get the two souls out (of course), but Death plays his wild card—he makes Dean choose, Sam’s soul or Adam’s. Like there was really ever going to be a choice—Dean didn’t go through all of this for his brothers. He went through it for Sam. It’s always been Sam. But, though you and I and Death knew Dean would choose Sam, it was (as I see it) Death’s first subtle lesson to Dean (in this episode) what it was like to play him. Proving to Dean that he could choose who was to live and who was to die.

Isn't it heartwarming to hear Adam's name though? So far, Even Sam had forgotten about him, but it puts a smile on my face when Dean mentioned Adam. He remembers his family.

That was the most telling thing HollowSam has said yet. The only reason it matters to him whether or not Dean cares is that Dean’s care literally knows no bounds and HollowSam wants to survive. And, as he said before, he sees himself as a separate entity from the soul trapped in the Cage—not as someone missing a part of his whole.

I don't blame Sam here. It's like people with amnesia, I suppose. You don't remember the old you, so when you talk to people who knows the old you there's a sense of disconnect. In the same vein I think that's how Sam is viewing it, like if the old me returns does this mean the "now" me don't exist anymore?

nd Dean, how will he be now with his brother out of Hell, but Hell kept at bay? He’s still left with no one to talk with about his own tour—he doesn’t want Sam to remember his time there because it would destroy him. And will he be able to compartmentalize the guilt of forcing the soul back into Sam, knowing the risk? What about all he went through to get the soul—dying, playing Death, seeing the consequences to his actions?

Guilty!Dean seems to be par for the course these days. But i do like him to move on, slow or not, so that he isn't stuck in the guilt, because it will eat him alive and where would Sam be then?

I enjoyed the episode, and i'm so thankful the matter of Sam's soul isn't being dragged so long. Can't wait for January!
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:06 am (UTC)
Hi! Good to see you! :)

You don't remember the old you, so when you talk to people who knows the old you there's a sense of disconnect.

I like that. It's a good way to think about it.

But i do like him to move on, slow or not, so that he isn't stuck in the guilt, because it will eat him alive and where would Sam be then?

Good point. I agree.

Thanks for taking a moment to comment. I really appreciate your time.

Happy holidays!
kimmer1227
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
The lengths Dean is voluntarily willing to go to for even the chance to save his brother—his brother, the one still trapped in Hell—had me watching almost this entire episode with my hand over my heart.

Amen!

I wish I had time for a proper response, but as always, I love your thinky thoughts. I'm so intrigued about where this story is going. I agree about appreciating this season in retrospect. Can't wait to find out.

Enjoy your mini vacation!
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
And as always, I love your comments! :) Yay!

Thank you for coming by and I am with you on the not being able to wait! *squee!*

I'll look forward to your thoughts when we call come back together again!

Happy holidays!
marlowe78
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
I think today will be a bit shorter, but we'll just have to wait and see. I've surprised myself on occasion.

1) consider Dean tougher than we thought because he was able to survive without a wall {which is unlikely}, or 2) accept that the Show is saying Sam’s Hell was so much worse he needs a (potentially fallible) wall to hold back the nightmares and utterly incapacitating psychic pain.

Well, I'm not so sure about that whole scenario. Like you and probably most people leaning more towards Dean, I'm pissed that they constantly refuse to say or hint at anything concerning Dean's time in Hell - or, better, what his Hell did to him. They hint at things, but so subtly that it's not even a hint.
Ah, whatever. But for the quote I took from you, I might add some ideas of my own.
I don't like any comparison, hated it when it was "just" Hell and people said Dean was weaker than John.
I think it IS about the time spent there, as much as the amount of torture a soul can endure. 1 year amounts to hundred years, and I'd say Sam had been in the Cage even longer (it is 11 episodes later).
John had been in Hell for hundred years, according to Alistair he never broke, though I'd say he'd never been given the choice Dean had, simply because he wasn't the "chosen one". But that's my personal fanon, so ignore it if it doesn't fit.
marlowe78
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC)
What I'm saying is that both things ring true.
Sam's Hell was worse than Dean's, not because of the physical pain dealt to him - I'd guess there is a limit, and Alistair was imo good enough to not leave a margin of non-pain. I'd say Dean was in pain constantly, and his 'breaking' was simply (though not simple at all) in the physical department, spiced up with whatever degradation was pulled. (My bet: every possible one).

Now, Sam was in a cage with two angels, who are able to twist time and reality, as we'd been shown. Demons don't have that ability, at least not topside, so maybe they don't downstairs? Maybe only very, very old ones do, like maybe Lilith, but not Alistair?
So, my bet would be that on top of hurting Sam's soul, they twisted time and space and place and twisted the soul right with it. Shuffling his sense of reality so much that he'd never know right from wrong, up from down. It'd be effectively rendered mad, crazy to the core. A bare smudge of who he was, except that we now know that souls never break, only bend until they're backwards.

So, is this considered 'worse'? Would it make Dean stronger to be able to deal with physical torture and the emotional effects (and the taunting, etc) of it without too much damage?

I'd say no.

Does it make Sam's experience 'worse'? Well, lets take a different word for it: severe.
Yes. I'd say hundred years being twisted by Lucifer and Michael'd be definitely more sever than forty years with Alistair. But not worse.
One shattered bone is bad and horrible. One heart-attack is frightening and might leave you badly scarred, emotionally.

Twenty broken bones wouldn't hurt less than one, but also I'd say you wouldn't feel each one as sharp as the one, simply because of the amount of pain everything else is in. The scale of pain might even be the same.
BUT twenty bones, twenty heart-attacks'd be a WHOLE lot more severe, would cause much more secondary damage, might make death much more possible.

So even though I hate the way they always seem to ignore Dean's time in Hell, I'm able to not only forgive them for doing that to Sam and the way they're - as far as I can see - dealing with it, but also applauding them.

It's ok. Not all good, because I STILL want some more Dean-pain from Hell, but for Sam, still with the threat of scratching the wall down, it's something I can live with, without being offended to death (or not watching, which is close to it)

And anyway, the writers didn't have much choice, did they? After all, Kripke put him in the Cage, and somehow, they'd have to get him out. Simple returning him, as good as new'd be as offending to Sam's character as it sometimes feels what they're refusing to do with Dean's, and I'm rather glad they did something that leaves it still THERE yet not in the front of everything.

There is one thing, though, that I'd add on top of Dean's time in Hell, something that very possibly Sam never had done to him.
Dean changed places, went from victim to perpetrator and tortured souls, twisted others, maybe some like him not really guilty of much, into demonhood.
That, I'd guess, is something that stays with him, fuels his already low self-esteem and the loathing of himself. He'd hide it and act over it, but it's still there. My guess is that he's seeing this as worse than his own torture, a betrayal of all the things he'd believed in and been taught: protect the helpless.

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anastdean
Dec. 11th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
Now what do we do? Hellatus sucks.
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
*sniff*

Sucks. Out. Loud.

Hang in there. We'll all be back together with the boys soon!

Happy holidays!
thruterryseyes
Dec. 11th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
I have too much to do to really give a lot of comment,I can think of a lot to say but I'm supposed to be out running errands I need to run and Bobby keeps drifting by and looking at me so i'll give just say this. It was good show, Death is facsinating and my main thought at the end was FINALLY!!!!! I don't CARE what happens now they finally resolved something.

Did you get the TV Guide with them on the cover??? If you did you were probably too straong to read the article that went with it.

I wasn't!!!

Wallows in lack of self control....
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:16 am (UTC)
You just use that icon to tease me, don't you? I know you. *arches eyebrow*

I'm with you on getting up this big step so we can get to the NEXT big step.

And no. I am made of fail. I haven't purchased the TVGuide yet...so no, I haven't read the article. Were there spoilers? There were spoilers, weren't there?! I KNEW it. I'm going to have to get a copy at some point.

Before they all get sent to fans overseas. Hee.
chiiyo86
Dec. 11th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
Hee, it was a good episode. And I loved the title - I knew this story and thought it was cool so I was happy they used it as a title. Fitting.

So...it kinda looks like we have two options: 1) consider Dean tougher than we thought because he was able to survive without a wall {which is unlikely}, or 2) accept that the Show is saying Sam’s Hell was so much worse he needs a (potentially fallible) wall to hold back the nightmares and utterly incapacitating psychic pain.

Well, I see a third one: simply consider that Sam has been down there a lot longer than Dean was (at least four times longer). So it doesn't have to that Sam's Hell was technically worse, just that he went there for a longer time. That's why they had to come up with a solution like the wall - which I think was interesting; lots of possibility with that.

Happy hiatus to you! (well, as good as it can be...)
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
Hi there! Thanks for reading -- I was worried my pessimism might've sent you away.

It was a good title, wasn't it? Nicely played, show.

Well, I see a third one: simply consider that Sam has been down there a lot longer than Dean was (at least four times longer).

Hmm. Okay. *ponders* I could go with that. I think I've been disgruntled about the comparison long enough anyway. It is what it is, and I've said my piece. Now I just have to move on and decide to enjoy it from this new perspective. This is one way I could do that. :)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. :)

Happy holidays!!
jesters_tear82
Dec. 11th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Our show got it's soul back *is supernaturally ecstatic*
Don't know if I told you before, I always take a quick peek at your ramble (the beginning & the end of it) while my episode downloades because I love your take on things.. your "spoilerage" (yes it's a word ;) is my sign of things to come. I value your opinion and will surely be back for more :)

I was very happy with this week's offering. It says so much when my two fave eppies of season 6 up until now feature less than 10 minutes of our boys in the same scene (this along with "Weekend at Bobby's"). Sera wrote the episode along with Robert Singer who interestingly is now a writer + one the best directors they have. These are people who've been with our show from the start and know their characters stronger & weaker points, not to mentions the fans' :) Also Sera is the one who wrote Death last time and she did a hell (no pun intended) of a job again.

I very much agree with some of the comments posted above. I think when Cas brought Dean back our boy we did see him struggling but then he had to put up his own wall to block the harsh memories. I don't think he's stronger than Sam just that they're different, like Sam said himself. Dean had to be the hero and save the world and look out for his brother so he pushed all his hurts down and since then so much has happened and we see his time in hell was replaced in his nightmares by fear of losing Lisa & Ben and by worrying about Sam when he was in the cage. Not to say it doesn't haunt him still, but he has such a load to carry on those broad shoulders *hugs him*. Sam on the other hand will deal now with the abuse of Luci & Michael + the horrible things he's done. His wall seems to be necessary because (in my opinion) he needs time to process everything. They've always been like that, Dean pushing down for the sake of everyone else & Sam over-thinking it. Maybe when the wall eventually crumbles he'll be able to cope, who knows.

Jensen just about killed me! Those eyes.. the best scene to me was when Sam & Dean gazed at each other via the small panic room's window.. & the end with Sam begging his brother to protect him but Dean is.. you could see him tearing apart when Death is shoving that soul in. I think the soul shines like the being that is Sam beneath all the pain - whom I miss and can't wait to see back.

* Dean as Death was so striking! It's very sad that he hasn't learned the lesson before, even in Faith someone had to die in his place but I guess this time with no deals made it wasn't a replacement, it just postponed the little girl's death in a while. When the girl asked what will happen to her dad it was like Dean asking Tessa what will happen to his dad & brother in IMTOD without him, that's such a loyal & fierce devotion and I loved seeing Dean mirrored in the little girl - "The natural order is stupid" Yea! but that's life for you.

* I don't know what Dean learned but it sure will be something that will affect the events to follow. Maybe it's about letting go? You can't always win.. Dean didn't get Adam's soul, didn't save the little girl.. It's sad but like you said -the boys are more afraid of life than they are of Death. Maybe Death wanted Dean to have some respect for him, remember he's "just" am man.
Death: I’m not. You and your brother keep coming back. You’re an affront to the balance of the universe and you caused disturbance on a global scale.

Dean: I apologize for that.


Death wants Dean to let go of his hubris but at the same time me thinks he needs the boys to solve this puzzle of souls.. maybe relating to Crowley's search of Purgatory? & to Belthazar's dealings. Yes I too love the film noir effect and wonder if now that SAM is back we'll get some glimpse into his side of the story. I would like that.

Overall AIS had some inconsistent points, let's disregard & be happy with what we've got! Thanks always for writing, hope you & hubs enjoy the vacation & double party :)

*dances around room with you to the sound of "Dust in the Wind" ;-)*
gaelicspirit
Dec. 17th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC)
Re: Our show got it's soul back *is supernaturally ecstatic*
Dean had to be the hero and save the world and look out for his brother so he pushed all his hurts down and since then so much has happened and we see his time in hell was replaced in his nightmares by fear of losing Lisa & Ben and by worrying about Sam when he was in the cage. Not to say it doesn't haunt him still, but he has such a load to carry on those broad shoulders *hugs him*. Sam on the other hand will deal now with the abuse of Luci & Michael + the horrible things he's done. His wall seems to be necessary because (in my opinion) he needs time to process everything. They've always been like that, Dean pushing down for the sake of everyone else & Sam over-thinking it. Maybe when the wall eventually crumbles he'll be able to cope, who knows.

I loved this paragraph! Especially pointing out that Dean always shoves things down for the sake of everyone else and Sam over-thinks it. That is so spot on. LOVE IT!

Overall AIS had some inconsistent points, let's disregard & be happy with what we've got

I agree. *puts 'go with it Gaeli' hat back on*

I'm ready for whatever they bring us next!

Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. I love hearing from you.

Happy holidays!
aacoustical
Dec. 11th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
"Okay, now, for just one tiny second I want to have a disgruntled moment. Where’s Dean’s wall?"

Actually, I take it to assume that Dean didn’t require one. Yes, there was torture and yes I’m sure it affected him mentally but I think the difference is that Dean’s /entirety/ was down there. He was damaged physically and as a result suffered mentally from the torture he received down there. It took a wear to his soul not of direct assault, but by secondary pain that his actual body had to endure. I think Sam needs a wall because it is his actual soul that’s down there. The glowing, lighty ball-y thingy is what is actually being pierced and poked and ripped apart. Not the vessel the soul is held within.

At least that’s my assumption.

What /my/ major question for the episode is … if Death didn’t have his ring … was he even Death? Like … I took it that the ring was the source of the Horseman’s “power” from what this episode told us. So … if the thing was buried and at the end of the episode Death had to put the thing on again to become Death … was he not Death without it? And if so then why were people dying if Death was non-existent? Or is Death always Death? Ugh. Migraine.

A smaller question I had was … when the little girl’s heart was suddenly healed it was called “a miracle.” So, is that what a miracle is? Whenever Death gets sloppy and doesn’t do his job? I’m intrigued.
andromakhe001
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:06 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean? Dean's SOUL was down there getting tortured, his actual soul, just like Sam's. It was his actual soul suffering all that abuse--being torn apart every day with special attention from Hell's head tortured who specialized in it. Dean's body wasn't in Hell, at all. His body got torn up by Lilith's hellhounds and was buried in the ground.

I'm curious as to why you would think that Dean's whole body was down there when they show Sam' weeping over Dean's dead body at the end of No Rest for the Wicked.
(no subject) - gaelicspirit - Dec. 17th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andromakhe001 - Dec. 18th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gaelicspirit - Dec. 17th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC) - Expand
bagginsdvm
Dec. 11th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
Death's ring & his words about the "weight" of it definitely made me think of the One Ring too. Also that it rendered the wearer invisible to the living. Then there was Bobby's "let's not do anything hasty, Sam!" comment. An image of Treebeard popped into my mind at that moment. LOL

I think this was the 1st time there was any mention of Adam. I was glad to hear Dean ask for him too, but of course Death was going to make him choose, & I knew there was only one choice for Dean. He's been back in his overbearing big-brother-knows-best role ever since he found out what's wrong with the Sam that was brought back from the cage, back in the role that he was tasked with the moment he carried his baby brother from their burning home. It is sad to see this again after all that happened in Swan Song, but I don't think he has a choice, especially seeing what Soulless Sam is willing to do.

I did feel for Soulless Sam & his desire for autonomy & self-preservation & his belief that Dean sees him as a separate entity from SamSoul, but of course this HollowSam is wrong. He proved that he has no compass & no morality. He needs to be human again, & that means getting his soul back. Dean once told Sam that they keep each other human, & that is all that he trying to do. I liked that Sam's soul was still brilliantly shining as Death took it from the bag. Damaged though it may be, it is still vibrant.

Death is a fascinating character. I was not surprised that he could easily retrieve Sam's soul from the cage. What is this task regarding souls that he has assigned to Dean? Even though he reminds the impudent Winchester to show him the proper respect, he seems to have a soft spot & a bit of respect for Dean himself. Somehow I don't see a character as powerful as Death stooping to use & manipulate Dean in the same way as demons & angels have for their own gain. Death is beyond that. He is cryptic in what lesson he wants Dean to learn, but I don't think he is lying to Dean.
I am excited for the rest of the season!

Gaelic, I'll certainly wait for your ramble after the hellatus! Have a wonderful birthday & anniversary! I'm a January birthday girl too.

gaelicspirit
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Hi there!! Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. This week has been nuts. NUTS I tell you!

Also that it rendered the wearer invisible to the living. Then there was Bobby's "let's not do anything hasty, Sam!" comment. An image of Treebeard popped into my mind at that moment. LOL

Exactly!! Haha! We can find so many different influences from our childhood(s) in this Show -- from Neil Gaimen to LOTR to Star Wars, just to name a few.

He's been back in his overbearing big-brother-knows-best role ever since he found out what's wrong with the Sam that was brought back from the cage, back in the role that he was tasked with the moment he carried his baby brother from their burning home. It is sad to see this again after all that happened in Swan Song, but I don't think he has a choice, especially seeing what Soulless Sam is willing to do.

True and I agree. It may not be a role he wanted, but it's the only role he can play right now.

Somehow I don't see a character as powerful as Death stooping to use & manipulate Dean in the same way as demons & angels have for their own gain.

I hope not. I'm not sure what Death could gain from using Dean -- personally anyway. I mean, he is the ultimate power in this 'verse. They've already established that everyone dies, so.... It will be interesting to see what Death was alluding to.

Thank you for the well wishes! :) I will look forward to seeing you after the break. Thanks so much for reading and taking time to comment.

And Happy Birthday to you, fellow Aquarian! :) May this next year of ours be filled with light.

Happy holidays!
ramblin_rosie
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
Hi, drive-by comment with a couple of thoughts (I've been reading your rambles this season and enjoying your analysis, even when I've been unhappy with the show):
- Re: the LOTR connection and previous comments (here and elsewhere) about SPN being Sam's story primarily: What people tend to forget is Tolkien's assessment that Samwise Gamgee is the chief hero of LOTR. And Dean is very like Samwise--I think that's one reason I love him so.
- The final exchange between Dean and Death reminds me a *lot* of Agatha Christie's Nemesis, in which Jason Rafiel's last act is to arrange for Miss Marple to investigate a murder by sending her a very cryptic letter that gives her no details at all and then sending her on a Historic Homes and Gardens tour--"It's like being asked to do a crossword without any clues," she complains. And she solves the mystery. What I'm wondering now is how far the parallels will go, given that the chief suspect in Nemesis is named Michael Rafiel (pronounced RAFF-ee-el)....
gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Hi, Rosie! Great to see you. :)

What people tend to forget is Tolkien's assessment that Samwise Gamgee is the chief hero of LOTR. And Dean is very like Samwise--I think that's one reason I love him so.

LOVE this. I agree.

Okay, I've never read Nemesis but your description has me incredibly intrigued and I love how you connected it to what they've set up with the storyline. AND the fact that the chief suspect is a "Rafiel"???? *grins*

I love it. This is going to be fun to watch!

Happy holidays!
qultng1
Dec. 11th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
A happy hiatus? Not too sure about that. lol The first part will be fine with all the festivities, etc.; but the second part, with the after Christmas let-down and the bleakness that is January...just UGH! :(

I think of Dean as more of a hero after his time in Hell because he wasn't given any help. Sure, Sam kept asking and Dean wouldn't tell because he didn't want to go over it with anyone. The memories are still there and he had to deal with them himself. Sam has Dean looking out for him. No matter what it's like for him, Dean will be right there, as he's always been. It kind of annoys me, but he's Dean; he can do nothing else for Sam.

When Dean finally got back from his first meeting with Death and Freddy said he'd been gone for 7 minutes, I was surprised that Freddy had worked to bring him back for so long. Then I thought, "of course he would! This is DEAN WINCHESTER!" *snort* I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but it would for me. :D

It WAS really hard to breathe during the poker game...and every time we went back to Bobby and Sam. Those scenes radiated the best tension EVER! It was a little jarring to switch back and forth between being able to breathe and then not again, but I loved it! :D

You know, when Dean was looking at Death's ring after he said he couldn't keep doing this, I was kind of wondering if he might try to kill Sam. It would put Sam out of our misery, but then there's that whole 'grand scheme of things' to consider. It'll make you nuts!

We DO have a lot to cover in the second half and I, for one, can't wait to get to it.

Have a great time out for your anniversary/birthday! *hugs*
gaelicspirit
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
Well, to help fill that January bleakness, I'm writing a story. Maybe it will help?

I think of Dean as more of a hero after his time in Hell because he wasn't given any help.

I like this. :) *hugs this sentence*

You know, when Dean was looking at Death's ring after he said he couldn't keep doing this, I was kind of wondering if he might try to kill Sam.

I thought about that in hindsight. I was too wrapped up in him while watching, but then as I looked back I though, "Ohhhh...wait a minute." I can understand why he'd feel led to contemplate that horrible choice. Poor Dean. Poor Sam.

*rubs heart*

I'm with you! I can't wait to see what they bring for us!

Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. Seeing you on my ramble always gives me that warm feeling -- like coming home. :)

Happy holidays, my friend!
(no subject) - qultng1 - Dec. 17th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Dec. 12th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
hey gaelic-it's meggin
This episode was intense. Not only in the myriad of expressions that Jensen made to so eloquently tell the tale of Dean's emotions but it was singularly focused on the main plot-getting Sam's soul back inside him, and it wasn't as burdened with the three or four subplots each episode usually carries with it.

I almost thought of it as Supernatural-Lite because of that (LOL) but I knew for sure that when I read your ramble you would have seen, felt and commented on the little bits that escaped me while I was being dazzled by Deans expressions. I swear to god that man has a natural gift-of facialmuscle/emotional co-ordination like athletics or artists have with eye/hand co-ordination. And like them it puts him over the top-in olympic status as it were in being able to tell a story with his face alone. (LOL) And you didn't disappoint thank you for putting into words what tugged at my heart through out this story.

I loved the chemistry of Death and Dean. And that Death "gets" something is very special about the Winchesters since his ol' buddy God keeps bringing them back-breaking his own rules of order in the universe to do it too-hehe. So I'm glad he's given a little assignment to Dean, cryptic, need to know basis but what a strange honor to bestow on a mere human. Maybe it's because they both share a love for junk food? I just hope we see Death again but not in a professional visit to the boys-not yet, not for along while.
Balthazar having a debt hanging over Sam's head-not good. But like you I am intrigued with the emotional backblast Sam may have to deal with if he does remember what he did during the year he had no soul.
And yeah as much as I would have loved to have seen Dean have some emotional meltdown because of his own memories of hell and the subsequent comforting ( it's all about the comforting of Dean for me (LOL) Fact is we didn't get it, probably won't get it and may have to settle for the great rational one of the earlier posts suggested-that Dean is so good at constructing walls that he built his own to deal with hell.
And lets face it Sam's emotional response will probably be just as lack luster due to time constraints too- damn! But it would have been nice to see the hurt/comfort. I'd even bake cookies and pass out boo-boo kisses-sighs and winks. (TPTB do realize that most of the fanbase is female and has nurturing instincts to spare don't they?)

Here's a million dollar idea for you. Bandaids with pictures of Dean or Sam on them! A kiss from these kings of pain would make the "Owies" go away faster! And be worn in style (LOL)

So yeah I will be jonesing for your take on the first episode after the hiatus- but I'm glad your hubs is taking you away and giving you the treatment a good husband should to deserve a gentle sensitive soul like you!

Till then- Happy/Merry...Love meggin
gaelicspirit
Dec. 17th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
Re: hey gaelic-it's meggin
I swear to god that man has a natural gift-of facialmuscle/emotional co-ordination like athletics or artists have with eye/hand co-ordination.

I so agree. He's completely captivating to me. I stumbled across a blog article about Supernatural being the "little show that could" and in the comments to that blog saw where there were actually people that were unimpressed and even turned off by him. I couldn't believe it.

Obviously, they weren't really people. ;)

I hear you on the time constraints. If they weren't limited to 45ish minutes, they could do sooo much more. Which, I suppose, is why we write/read fanfic. :) For the MORE!

I love your idea of bandaides! LOL! Awesome.

Thank you so much for reading and taking time to comment each week. I look forward to seeing your thoughts. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you this go-round. Life has been conspiring against me.

But I'm ever-thankful and I wish you the best of holidays this year.

Slainte!
primrose_1
Dec. 12th, 2010 10:21 am (UTC)
This is my favorite episode this season. First, it had references to a very old ghost story (geek out geek out) Then it had all those lovely layers, and was just a well-crafted story. It made me think of the Sandman, and my favorite version of Death. She deliberately breaks the "natural order" in one of her stories, and yes, has to pay the price for it. It's a chilling reminder that she IS death, and can be both kind and terrible.

I really wish that they could time things better with television series. January is bland and cold and long and awful, and I really think it's a highly appropriate time for new television episodes to look forward to. *grump*

gaelicspirit
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
YAY for stories!! Geek out to the nth degree! :)

I agree that they time breaks with shows at odd times. It would be nice to have something to look forward to when we're stuck inside freezing our...um...tushies...off.

Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. I really appreciate your time. More than you know! :)

Happy holidays, my friend!

PS
Posted a song rec to your Facebook wall.
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