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Stream of Consciousness, Episode 6.22

"Warriors take chances. Like everyone else, they fear failing, but they refuse to let fear control them." - Ancient Samurai saying

As the episodes aired together, if you missed it and would like to read, here is the ramble for 6.21.


Sometimes I use quotes because the circumstances scream for them. Other times I use quotes because I don’t know what else to stay. This is one of those times. This ramble is going to be harder for me to write because when this episode ended, I simply sat there. I think I may have said, “Um…?” But it was one of those moments where I was like…really? That’s the end?

I can’t begin to express how happy I am that we have a Season 7 to continue this story. Because if we hadn’t? And they’d decided to end it with that? I would have been utterly crushed. I remember thinking that the last episode had been filmed before we found out that we got the next Season. This would not have been an easy-to-live with cliffhanger. I thought Angel’s series-ending cliffie was hard – what with them cornered and facing-down all sorts of baddies. But this? Yikes. So, yay Season 7!

The challenge I’m having most with this episode, though, isn’t the totally-didn’t-see-that-coming ending, or inevitable hand-waving. It was that I didn’t get that Oh, I get it feeling I’d been hoping for. We knew back at episode 6.11, Appointment in Samarra, that it was about the souls. Not that we realized that was really going to be all it was about. I mean, at least I didn’t.

We had a season’s worth of Red Herrings and while that’s an interesting tactic and gave us plenty of speculating fun and kept the boys busy for 22 episodes, I felt it was a little too loose. There weren’t enough real clues along the way to make this last episode as satisfying as I’d wanted it to be.

I don’t want to spiral downward with gloom and doom – especially after trying to spin the positive in an experimental season. But I’m not sure the experiment worked completely for me. I think there are some purposely-placed holes – like the creature that really killed Lovecraft, and why Eve keeps laying eggs even after she’s dead, and why hurting her hurts her monsters – but I think there were some open-ended threads that I was, quite honestly, expecting to be tied up in this episode.

It just felt like a lot was slammed into us at the end and perhaps I need to give it some more time to process – more time than a steam-of-consciousness review allows for – but all-in-all, I wasn’t as taken in by this finale as I’d been by the previous five years. And that’s okay. It really is. I imagine that there are many out there for whom this season worked quite well and I’m happy for them.

And it’s not to say that this season has been unsatisfying. We’ve had some shocking episodes – like Live Free or Twihard -- some truly hilarious ones, some that were heart breaking, some that were just hands-down fun, and some that were less than stellar. And that’s par for the course for every season, really. I suppose I just had a different sort of expectation with the way we began, experiencing the mystery through Dean’s eyes.

If I try to look back and find the glimmer of I get it, I can see that the soul stage really was set from the beginning. The Alpha monsters, the resurrected Grandpa, the Mother of All, it was all just a cluster of distractions to keep us (and the boys) from the very simple plot that carried throughout. Maybe it was the overall pacing that caused it to go a bit sideways for me here at the end. Maybe by staying unspoiled I’d worked up ideas on my own and was disappointed when those ideas weren’t even close.

Whatever the reason, I come to this ramble rather subdued and wondering how they’re going to get out of this mess – because we left them in a bit of a pickle there at the end and only the devious minds of the Supernatural writers are going to be able to get them out of that in a believable fashion.

That said, though? Before we get to the end, we are given the gift of the THENs and the traditional, wouldn’t-be-right-without-it, season recap set to “Carry On My Wayward Son.” I’d been in tears at the end of 6.21, so I’d stepped away to refuel and recenter. When that song started, I whooped aloud and the hubs looked at me with a half-grin and said, “You are unbelievable – weren’t you just crying?”

“Yes, but…that was then. This is now.” *grins*

Every time I hear that song, I think of our boys. It is their theme and I hope that if Season 7 is truly Lucky Number 7 (and making our journey with the boys the Magnificent 7) then we do see them finding peace when they are done.

But enough of that. Let’s get to it, shall we?

We start with a crazy camera work – kinda like when Dean was being chased by the Red Cap in Clap Your Hands If You Believe -- and are centered on Sam’s face. He’s running, hell-bent for leather from the cops. Terrified, he ducks down an alley, pressing himself against the wall. As the cop car slows and starts to shine his light down the alley, Sam sees and entrance marked “For Deliveries Only” and ducks inside.

There is a pretty, brunette bartender wiping down the bar. She tells him they’re closed. Sam ignores her and moves across the room to the window to peer outside. Panting, he tells her that he just needs a minute to think. She had gripped a baseball bat, but when he turns those puppy-dog eyes on her, she lets it go and allows him his minute.

She has this awesome, throaty, Princess Leia/Kathleen Turner voice that I only get when I’m sick. Watching him pace and try to catch his breath, she asks him what his name is. Sam looks at her with stricken eyes and goes a little pale as he says that he can’t remember. He doesn’t remember anything.

She pours him a drink – which is always the best thing to do when you find an amnesiac *arches eyebrow* -- and asks him if he has his wallet or ID. He doesn’t. She asks what the last thing is that he remembers and he says that he woke up on a park bench, the cops shining a light in his eyes, and he instinctively knocks them out cold.

Girl: Some instinct.

Sam: I know. Who even knows how to do something like that?

The girl wants to get him to the ER but Sam says no. He gets up and turns away from her, his face knotted up as he tries to remember.

Sam: I don’t have time. There’s…something I gotta do.

Girl: Hey, hey. Just relax. You can’t poop it out. It’ll come to you.

So, I was desperately trying to figure this out, trying to put the pieces together from where we’d left off in the previous episode. The truth didn’t occur to me until later. I know, I know – ya’ll probably were there from the start, weren’t you? I could only try to figure out if he’d been knocked unconscious and that’s why he was on the park bench…but then…where was Dean? That was the biggest thing going through my head for a good portion of the beginning: Sam’s in trouble, where is Dean?

Sam smiles at the girl and then something catches his eye; he moves to a bookshelf (which should have been my first clue…a bookshelf…in a bar?) and pulls out a book by H.P. Lovecraft.

Girl: You a horror fan?

Sam: I think so…something about this—

And suddenly he’s assaulted by random flashes of images from the last episode and a motel sign for “The Nite Owl.” (Which…where have we seen that hotel before? Was it the one where Dean and Bobby found Sam in Season 4? I know it’s been in something else, I just can’t place it.)

Next thing he knows, he slumped forward breathing hard and the bartender is like, seriously, doctor. Now.

Sam: You got a computer?

Apparently abandoning her quest to take him to the doctor, she gets him her laptop and they look up The Nite Owl – it’s two towns over.

Girl: You think you’re staying in this town?

Sam: Maybe.

Girl: Maybe you’re a hooker.

Hee.

Sam thanks her and tries to go. She says she’s coming with him. Sam’s like I could be anybody; you’re nuts, but she pulls the whole I can’t in good conscience let you go alone, I’d worry too much, etc. If this were fanfic, I’d peg her for a love interest, but since it’s Show I was thinking demon or other not-to-be-trusted being. Darn you, Show. You make me so suspicious.

So, they drive to The Nite Owl and Sam says he’s staying in a ground floor, corner room, nearest the fire escape. Quickest get-away. She’s eyeballing him with more worry for herself than concern for him at this point. They get to the room – room 107 if you’re curious – and Sam knocks, then tries the knob. Locked. He asks her for a credit card and she’s all are we checking in? *snickers*

He uses the credit card to jimmy the lock.

Girl: Dude, who are you?

Sam (equally worried): Good question.

They enter into a room filled with articles and maps and pictures all pinned and/or taped to the wall. Lines and strings connect a number of dots. They both gape at the amount of information on the walls.

Girl: I like what you’ve done with the place. It’s very…Beautiful Mind meets…Se7en.

She finds a stack of IDs with his picture on them for Jimmy Page, Neal Hurt, Angus Young and she starts to get really freaked out. It was around this point that I began to suspect we were trapped in Sam’s dream somehow, but I hadn’t really pinned it yet. Just then, Sam sees a newspaper article about a missing professor and it’s Visiak’s picture. The image of Visiak sends him to the ground in pain as more images slam into him.

And suddenly, through Sam’s memory, we’re in an alley with Sam, Dean, and Bobby and they’re trying to find Visiak who’d called Bobby for help and said she’d meet them there. Bobby calls her again and they hear her cell phone and track the sound until they find her slumped behind a crate next to a dumpster. She’s obviously wounded – shows them a huge, growing spot of blood on her side beneath her coat.

Visiak: They took me. I got away.

Bobby: Oh, Ellie, what have they done to you?

Visiak: Everything. The demon I coulda handled. But when the angel stepped in….

*gulp* I know that to Cas she was a monster from Purgatory, but hearing her say that turned me a bit cold and gave me the feeling that Cas was no longer the angel who’d sought to explain himself to his Father two episodes ago. Lacking an answer, lacking assurance, lacking absolution, he’d done just what he said he would: whatever he must.

Bobby glances back at the boys, his eyes angry. Visiak tells Bobby that she gave up Purgatory to them. That they needed virgin blood – which was a milkrun for them – and they needed blood of a Purgatory native, which they have plenty of now.

Dean: Have they opened it yet?

Visiak: Tomorrow. Moon. Eclipse. Sorry, Bobby.

Bobby cradles her head and asks her where they are, but it’s too late. She’s gone. And suddenly Cas is behind them. Dean looks surprised and uncertain – understandable considering the back and forth he’s been with his friend in the last couple of episodes. But Bobby is pissed. He lunges at Cas when Cas says that he’s sorry this had to happen – that Crowley got carried away. Dean and Sam hold Bobby back.

Dean (to Cas): You don’t even see it, do you? How totally off the rails you are?

Cas (almost tiredly): Enough. I don’t care what you think. I’ve tried to make you understand, but you won’t listen. So, let me make this simple. Please go home and let me stop Raphael. I won’t ask again.

Dean: Good, ‘cause I think you already know the answer.

Cas: I wish it hadn’t come to this. Rest assured, when this is all over, I will save Sam, but only if you stand down.

Dean (with a confused flinch of his eyes): Save Sam from what?

And just like that, Cas is behind Sam. He touches his head and we’re immediately back in Room 107 of the Nite Owl. Sam is on the floor, gasping for breath and he looks up at the Girl who is hovering over him, uncertain.

Sam: Sam. My name is Sam.

Okay, between ya’ll and the wall, I understand why Cas did what he did – in fact I’m a little surprised he didn’t do it sooner because the one thing that might, might keep Dean tethered is putting Sam in danger. It was the only reason he ever worked for a demon, it would be the only reason he’d let Castiel alone to do the same. But I’m glad it was more like a last-ditch effort than the first thing Cas did, that’s for sure.

But I wonder…how could he promise to fix him? Did he just mean he’d replace the wall? Because if he’d had the power to truly fix him…why didn’t he do it back when they were all friends? Just…has me wondering.

The girl asks him what he remembers and Sam pulls himself shakily to his feet.

Sam: It’s spotty. I was with two guys – one was a male-model-type (HA!) and the other was an older guy named…Bobby.

At first I was surprised he remembered Bobby’s name and not Dean’s until I realized that Visiak said Bobby’s name out loud and that’s why he knew it. He casts about the room and finds an address book. Flipping through it he finds Bobby Singer in Sioux Falls, SD, and says he has to go there. The girl is like, I’m really sorry, but this is where I have to get off. Guess South Dakota was a little too crazy for her.

Sam’s totally understanding about it – says she’s done too much for him as it is. She asks how he’ll get there and he looks over and sees keys.

Sam: Guess I’ll take…my car.

They go to the lot and he immediately spies the Impala, knowing for sure that it’s his. She tells him that she doesn’t feel right about him leaving like this and that she has a bad feeling that whatever he’s looking for he’s not going to like what he finds. As she’s talking, Sam hears or senses something and glances to his right. In a flash he knocks the girl to the ground just before a bullet shatters the passenger side window of the Impala.

The girl is like, what the hell?!

Sam stands up and sees…himself. Looking like RoboSam. Holding a gun on them. Staring in horror at himself, he hears the girl's voice calling Sam! Sammy! and in another series of flashes we are pulled from Sam’s consciousness to see Dean sitting next to the cot in the middle of the Panic Room at Bobby’s house, calling him Sammy, trying to get him to wake up.

The Panic Room is now painted with angel protection charms. How sad is it that they’re in a room that protects them from both angels and demons. Tattoos against possession, ribs branded to keep from being tracked…they are well and truly alone. No allies except Bobby. Thank goodness they still have Bobby.

Dean: Sammy, snap out of it. Please.

He looks exhausted. On the radio, the Rolling Stones are singing about “Playing with Fire.” He gets up and starts to pace. Bobby comes in and asks if there’s been any change.

Dean: Can’t just sit here, Bobby. I’ve got to help him. Dreamscape his noggin’…SOMETHING.

Bobby: You know what Cas did. The dam inside your brother is gone and all hell is spilling loose. We don’t know what’s going on in there.

Dean: I don’t care! We have got to do SOMETHING.

I kinda wish they had dreamscaped his noggin. I liked that Sam had to put himself back together again so that we could close the rather messy chapter they started with that whole wall notion in the first place, but it would have been interesting to see the brothers working together. But, that’s not how it went.

Bobby: And we will! But right now we’ve got 16 hours until they pop Purgatory. I’m down one man, I don’t want to be down two.

Dean: We’ve got no line on Crowley, no line on Cas, Balty’s MIA…. All we’ve got is Sam going through…whatever the Hell this is.

As a total materialistic aside? I love Dean in that shirt. It’s my favorite of his limited wardrobe.

Bobby (pouring Dean a drink): This is exactly what Cas wants – for you to fall to pieces. Let’s try to think of what Sam would want.

Dean takes the drink and says, “Find Cas, Bobby. Find him now.”

Okay, so…I just want to put this out there. I liked what they did with Sam. A lot, actually. But. I wish Dean had been able to play a bigger role in that storyline here in the finale.

The thing I struggle with sometimes is that I have attached myself to these characters as if they’re real people and in control of the direction they go when in fact there are writers in a big white room somewhere deciding their fate. And so I work to see the ‘why’ of this and the ‘reason’ for that when sometimes I just can’t because the filter I see the world through doesn’t mesh well with the filter the writer sees the world through and I end up going well, okay, if that’s the way you want it…I would have done it differently, though.

So, because this is not my story, I’m entertained with the way it turned out. However, I do wish Dean had been able to do more with the one thing he’d fought so hard for all Season: save Sam. He gave up everything to get Sam back – he died for Sam’s soul. Yes, he came back but at what cost? And what a risk. They put so much emphasis all season on Dean’s role being Sam’s brother. Protect Sam, leave Lisa and Ben for Sam, center his life once more around Sam. And I’m actually quite happy with that – not saying I wouldn’t want both of them to have something outside of hunting and each other, but if this is their destiny, then so be it.

But, they put Dean through all of that all season only to force him to sit next to his comatose brother, in a protected Panic Room, and do nothing to save him. No deal with Death to reconstruct the wall. No dreamscaping to help Sam fight his demons. Nothing. When it came to Sam in this finale, he just had to wait and watch. That was a little disheartening. Thank goodness there was this Purgatory thing they had to deal with, huh? *smiles*

Anyway, enough about how I wish it had been done. It’s not about me. It’s about them. And where we are with them is back in Sam’s mind. He’s driving the Impala and the same Rolling Stones song is coming from the radio. He asks the Girl (and I don’t think we ever did get her name, did we?) if she smells whiskey – showing that parts of reality are sinking in through his consciousness.

She’s still shaken up from the fact that they were shot at. He’s managed to convince her that she’s safer with him and that they just need to get to Bobby’s.

Back in reality, Dean is shining a light into Sam’s eyes, checking for pupil reaction I assume. In the dreamscape, Sam flinches back from the light and slams on the breaks. It’s light outside.

Sam: No way.

He gets out the Girl follows him.

Sam: It was night, and now it’s day.

Girl: It was always day.

Sam: What the hell is going on here?

Girl: I’m all filled up on crazy. I’ll see ya!

She starts to stalk off (going where, I’m not sure, since they’re in the middle of nowhere surrounded by woods) and Sam hears a noise off in the trees. He stops her and tells her to get in the car, indicating there’s someone/something over in the trees. He heads to the trunk, seeing the cache of weapons – and it wasn’t the nicely organized cache, either, it was like a total jumble of guns. He grabs a shotgun and what looks like Dean’s Colt and heads into the woods.

Because that’s smart.

Okay, I’m going to try to explain these next parts of the Sam dreamscape without totally tangling myself up – and without doing a blow-by-blow because that’s just boring. Sam – our Sam – is searching in the woods and realized that the other Sam – RoboSam – that shot at them back at The Nite Owl is hunting him. RoboSam gets the drop on Sam, disarms him and empties the shotgun.

As he slings insults at Sam for being gawky, RoboSam begins to circle him. Sam looks scared to death. He’s convinced he’s hallucinating, though RoboSam tells him that normally you’re awake when you’re “tripping balls.” So, Sam realizes he’s dreaming. RoboSam is full-on snarky, cold, cleanly cruel – just as we’d seen him at the beginning of the season.

The Sam-on-Sam play here is reminiscent of 2005 Dean vs 2014 Dean in Season 4's The End.

The big difference for me there was that I liked both versions of Dean. I’ve never liked RoboSam and spent 11 episodes trying to find a glimmer of our Sam in him. RoboSam tells Sam that they’re inside his head – Cas brought down the wall and Sam couldn’t take it. He shattered into pieces. Three of them, to be exact. *pets Sam*

They’re now circling each other. Sam is in a brown coat and RoboSam’s coat looks the same only it’s denim green. The way they hold themselves is different, too – Sam (currently shaking from fear) seems smaller somehow, as if he’s bowed. RoboSam is square-shouldered, confident, and cocky. Sam is staggering, breathing hard, rocked by all this information while RoboSam is cool and seems to find Sam’s shock amusing.

He tells Sam that that they're not alike. Sam is jello while RoboSam is not handicapped – saddled with a soul.

RoboSam: I used to skipper this meat boat for awhile. It was smooth sailing. I was sharp, strong. Souls are weak. They are a liability. Nothing personal. Someone's gotta take charge around here, before it’s too late.

What I find interesting is that in the first 11 episodes when RoboSam said he was still Sam, he was right. This…jerk…is part of who Sam – our Sam, the one we love – is. Sam just controls that side of him, uses it to channel himself through the tough times and the situations he doesn’t want to have to think about. He goes on autopilot to kill what he has to kill or bury (or unbury) what he has to bury. He shuts off, in a way, and this is the part of him that is left. I am just thankful that it’s only one part of him because the Sam we had for the second 11 episodes is the only Sam I want to see, to be honest.

Sam takes off running as RoboSam shoots at him, missing. As he’s running, he suddenly finds that the Colt he brought with him is in his hand. He sees a clump of trees down by a river and heads to it. RoboSam is moving slowly, steadily, hunting him like a serial killer in a horror flick – the kind that never actually has to run after the fleeing victims but still manages to catch them. He sees Sam’s brown coat huddled in that clump of trees and fires.

Turns out, Sam tricked him and it was just his coat. Sam steps out from behind a tree and shoots RoboSam in the back. RoboSam falls forward and as he’s dying gasps out, “You think I’m bad, wait until you meet the other one.”

As soon as he’s dead, his…life force or whatever...goes into Sam – who in turn writhes and shakes on the bed in the Panic Room, scaring the bejeezus out of Dean. As soon as Dean touches him, though, he goes still and we’re back in the dreamscape once more. Sam heads up to the car and the Girl is standing there, waiting for him.

Sam: I remember who I am. Everything I did this past year. And I remember you.

We see a memory of RoboSam confronting a red-eyed baddie holding the Girl hostage. RoboSam shoots the Girl in the stomach and tells the baddie, “You just lost your leverage,” before killing the baddie.

I knew then that “the other one” RoboSam referred to was going to be the piece of Sam that remembered Hell. Because those were the only memories he didn’t have now, and I was really not sure how that was going to go. Sam was shaking bad enough confronting his Robo Self.

And now we have further proof that RoboSam pulled no punches with the innocents – just as he and others had said. He was empty and cold and all I can say is that it’s a good thing Sam has the souled part of him to keep him in check. The one thing this leaves me wondering, though, when it comes to the over-arching plot and RoboSam is…why did he come back to get Dean? If he said that family holds you back, and he didn’t care about Dean, why did he pull him out of that life and back into his? I was expecting some kind of a reveal when he got those memories back – some reason this all started with them being reunited. Or maybe something involving Cas in some way since Cas pulled him out. But…maybe I’m just over thinking it all.

The figure of the Girl standing by the car starts to bleed right where RoboSam had shot her.

Girl: Didn’t I tell you to turn back? That you wouldn’t like what you saw?

Sam: I’m so sorry.

Girl: Not as sorry as you’re gonna be.

She fades away, leaving Sam alone. I think this “shattered Sam” approach is clever. I mean, in a way I felt the writers had painted themselves into a corner with this resouled/wall idea. They’d built the Hell memories and the year-without-a-soul memories up to be SO BAD that Sam would be a drooling vegetable if the wall ever came down. Only…they couldn’t keep the wall up because it was just…yeah. It wouldn’t work long-term.

So the wall had to come down and I thought this was a clever way to deal with these horrific memories. It would have been incredibly boring to watch Sam on the cot, sleeping, while Dean fretted at his side. The only glitch is…they left it open with the Hell, burning images, PTSD flashes, so…not sure how they’re going to fix that. But I’ll get there in a bit.

Back in the Panic Room, Dean is drinking and watching Sam. Bobby shows up with Balty – who can’t enter the Panic Room because, he says, they finally got the angel-proofing right.

Balty: How is sleeping beauty? You didn’t steal a kiss, I trust.

*shakes head* Oh, Balthazar, you old scalawag.

Dean: What the hell took you so long?

Balty: Honestly, I was having second thoughts about whether to help you. I was thinking maybe I should rip out your sticky bits instead.

Dean draws back slightly at that – but it’s a good reminder to these guys that they are, in fact, dealing with Very Powerful Beings. Balty decided instead to help them out by giving them the address of where Cas and Crowley are. I only saw the paper for an instant, but I saw that it was someplace in Kansas. Of course. Where all the big bad must go down.

Dean asks him to let them pack up and then zap them there, but Balty says no.

Balty: I’m betraying a friend here. A very powerful friend. We all are. So, I think I’ve stuck my neck out enough already. Good luck.

Dean looks over his shoulder at Sam, dread in his eyes.

Back in Autopsy 101, Cas is sitting rather dejectedly, looking…done. Just…done. Crowley comes in and hands him a Jar O’Blood.

Crowley: Purgatory powershake. Half monster, half virgin.

Cas: Thank you.

Crowley: You seem even more constipated that usual. May we get you some colon blow?

Cas (looks up and his eyes are eerily calm): I’m renegotiating our terms.

Crowley: Is that so?

Cas: You get nothing. Not one soul.

Ooo – a double cross!

Crowley: Can’t help but notice it seems a bit unfairly weighted. (His voice rises) I brought you this deal!

Cas: You think I’m handing all that power to the King of Hell? I’m neither stupid nor wicked.

Crowley (ranting further): Have you forgotten that you’re the bottom in this relationship?

Cas (his voice dead serious): Here are your options: flee or die.

Crowley: We made a pact. Even I don’t break contracts like this.

Cas: Flee. Or. Die.

Crowley: You can’t trust anyone these days.

He flees. Or, rather, goes to his own personal Plan B, his parting words prophetic.

Back in the Dreamscape, we’re at Bobby’s house. The study and all the furniture is shrouded in shadows and covered in sheets. Candelabra’s are burning everywhere. Sam enters, gun drawn, and comes around the corner. He sees a shadowed figure sitting at the table in the kitchen and shouts, “HEY!”

Figure: Oh. Hey, Sam.

It’s Sam’s voice, only…broken.

Sam: Which one are you?

Figure: Don’t you know? (He stands up and his face is covered in blood) I’m the one that remembers Hell.

In the Panic Room, Bobby is packing up and Dean is looking at Sam, holding the address.

Dean: Sam, this is where we’re gonna be. (He tears up.) So, get your lazy ass out of bed and come meet ups. Sammy…please.

He puts the address down next to Sam on the cot and holds it down with the silver Colt he carries – looked like the same one Sam used in the Dreamscape.

Back in the Dreamscape, HellSam is still in the shadows, his voice shakily confronting Sam.

HellSam: Wish you hadn’t come, Sam.

Sam: I had to. In the real world, I’m at Bobby’s. This whole time, I smelled nothing but Old Spice and whiskey. If I get back to my body, I can snap out of it somehow.

HellSam: You have to go through me.

Sam: Why?

HellSam (his voice growing teary, sounding young…like a whipped, forgotten orphan): You have to pull yourself back together again before you can wake up and I’m the last piece.

Sam: Which means…I have to know what you know.

HellSam: You don’t want to know it.

Sam: No. But I have to.

HellSam: Don’t. Stay here. Find that bartender. Go find Jess. Don’t do this. I know you. You’re not strong enough.

Y’know…he said the same thing to Dean once upon a time (and while I know this was only a fraction of Sam saying it to himself, it’s still Sam) and Dean proved him wrong. Over and over they have proven that they ARE strong enough. This is just Sam’s turn to prove it to himself.

Sam: We’ll just have to see.

HellSam: Why is this so important to you?

I was dying to hear the answer to this question. For Dean, it’s all about Sam. I wanted confirmation the reverse was also true.

Sam: You know me. You know why. I’m not leaving my brother alone out there.

Thank you, Show. I needed to hear that.

HellSam moves around the table and picks up a knife. Sam points his gun, instinctively.

HellSam: I’m not going to fight you. But this is your last chance.

Sam takes the knife.

HellSam: You’re gonna need it.

Not sure exactly what he means by that – but I suspect he’s insinuating that he’ll want to kill himself when he remembers Hell. But…well, Dean was strong enough to handle it without anyone -- anyone -- to talk to about it. He survived torture on the rack, breaking, and becoming the torturer. Sam was there longer – and in a different place – but if Dean can handle it on his own, then surely Sam can handle it with someone who has an idea of what it’s like to talk with about it. It goes back to that WWII analogy I made awhile back: a Veteran of the European theater and a Veteran of the Pacific theater experienced very different forms of War Hell. But they have a common ground to meet on and share their experiences: War.

I believe in Sam. He’ll be able to handle it. You hear that, writers? He’ll be able to handle it.

Sam stabs HellSam and braces himself for the white light to hit him. When it does, Sam in the Panic Room does this weird…hip thrust maneuver as he writhes on the cot. Alone. Next to a gun. I was worried for a moment.

Back in Autopsy 101 – which is apparently somewhere in Kansas – Cas is holding the blood jar. Balty shows up, answering his call. Cas tells him they have a problem – Dean Winchester is on his way there. Something in me grins whenever they refer to Dean as a “problem.” Balty tries to play the I had no idea card, but he lies even worse than Cas.

Cas says they have a Judas in their midst and Balty, trying for the snark he’s been known for, guesses it’s Cupid. Cas stands with a look of sad realization as the fact that his friend is lying to him – and was the one to betray him – sinks in. Balty asks what he wants him to do with Dean and Cas says he’ll handle him. He turns away, worrying Balty with his strange, calm behavior.

Cas: First Sam and Dean and now this? I’m doing my best in impossible circumstances. My friends…they abandon me. Plot against me. It’s…difficult to understand.

Yeah, I’d imagine it would be. Because no one is being clear with each other – no one. No one is saying, this is why I’m doing this they’re just saying trust me because I know I’m right. It’s so frustrating the way they’ve written this. It’s very dramatic, yes, but sometimes drama is just…well, too dramatic. *smiles*

Balty tells Cas that he’ll always have “little ol’ me.” But by that time, Cas has already made his decision. He’s blinks behind Balty and stabs him with an angle sword whispering, “I’ll always have you,” in Balty’s ear as the irreverent angel dies.

I’m going to miss that guy. I really am.

We move from Balty and Cas’ tragic last embrace to see the Impala rumble up to a stop a ways away from the building. The hunters get out and Bobby is looking through binoculars, telling Dean that he sees a dozen angels, maybe more.

Dean: How the hell are we gonna take out that many angels?

Bobby: We don’t. We’ll ninja our way in.

Dean: Awesome. Until they hear your knee squeak.

Bobby: Shut up.

Dean: What, now you have thin skin?

Bobby: No, shut up!

Hee – I liked that little normal exchange. It helped remind me that these were two guys who are really familiar with each other, have been fighting together a long time and it felt, well, real.

Bobby hears something and as soon as Dean shuts up, he hears it, too. Like heavy footsteps or thunder. The puddles around them quiver with the vibration.

Bobby: What the hell is that?

Dean (looking at a puddle): T-Rex, maybe?

Bobby looks to the side at the beginning eclipse and sees a huge black cloud of demon heading right for them. He whispers, “Holy Mother of—“

Before he can get the whole thing out, Dean’s pushing him toward the car.

Dean: Get in the car! Get in the car!

Dean climbs into the driver’s side and Bobby's behind him in the back seat. Before they can escape, though, the demon cloud hits the Impala and flips her onto her roof, tossing them around like monkey’s in a barrel.

*whimper*

The Impala…. *sniff*

Inside Autopsy 101, Cas is reading the Pop Open Purgatory spell when he hears commotion outside the room. Suddenly, Crowley is in the room.

Crowley: Never underestimate the King of Hell, darling. I know a lot of swell tricks. Now it’s time to re-renegotiate our terms.

Cas tries to zap him, but it doesn’t work. Crowley says he’s safe and sound under the protection of his new partner: Raphael.

Whoops. Not cool.

Raphael (wearing a woman and just feeling all manner of weird to me because of it) walks up and greets Castiel. Cas looks terrified.

Cas (to Raph): Consorting with demons? I thought that was beneath you.

Raph: You’re doing it; sounded like fun.

Touche.

Crowley says that Raph has offered him protection in exchange for the Purgatory blood. Cas warns that Raph will betray him at the speed of thought…but, um, it’s not like Cas behaved any differently toward Crowley with his whole “flee or die” ultimatum. Raph, looking incredibly full of him/herself, says that if anyone is taking in those souls, it’s going to be him/her. Raph planned on being the ‘new God.’

Cas warns Crowley that Raph is going to bring on the Apocalypse and Crowley’s basically like, maybe you should have thought about that before you screwed me over. He turns the ‘flee or die’ option over to Cas. Cas picks up the jar o’blood and tosses it at Crowley, then vanishes as Crowley catches it.

Crowley starts the Pop Open Purgatory spell. The shadow of the Earth encompasses the moon. Dean and Bobby lay bleeding in the broken Impala. It does not look good.

Then Dean stirs and wakes, calling Bobby’s name weakly, then with more strength saying they have to get out of there.

Inside the building, Crowley and Raph continue the spell – and Raph looking more and more hopped up on the very idea of power. Dean and Bobby sneak into the room. Dean throws the angel sword and Raphael catches it without looking. He/She turns slightly to look at them. Crowley throws Bobby down the stairs and flips Dean over the edge of the railing so that he crashes hard down on a table, bending it, then rolling off to lay motionless and groaning on the floor.

Outside, we suddenly see Sam staggering around the Impala. He looks weak, sick, and he suddenly get a flash of himself in Hell, burning. He gasps, grabs his head, then shakes it off. Now, we can probably assume that he woke up pretty much right after they left South Dakota – which is why he got there so quickly. And sure, we can say he stole a car, or took one from Bobby’s graveyard of cars. But I had to think…with those kinds of flashes, how the hell did he make it there?

He staggers around the broken Impala and we return to the building where Crowley and Raph are finishing the spell. Nothing happens. Dean is peering up from the floor, trying to get his breath.

Crowley: Hm. Maybe I said it wrong.

And from nowhere, Cas shows up, holding a blood-smeared jar.

Cas: You said it perfectly. All you needed what this.

Dean and Bobby slowly struggle to their feet. Dean is holding his left arm tight to his side. He’s looking at Cas, totally unsure what to think. Cas looks at him with this half-smile that at first I thought was akin to the wink Dean gave Sam in The Beautiful Room back in Season 5, but I realize in retrospect that it was less it’s all going to be okay and more I told you I got this.

Turns out Cas had the real blood and Crowley and Raph had been working with dog's blood. Poor pooch. Raph tells Cas enough with the games and that’s when Crowley realizes that Cas’ jar is empty.

Crowley: How did your rite go? Better than ours, I’ll bet.

Showing just how well it went, Cas smiles slightly, looks down, then glows blindingly bright for a moment. When he goes back to normal, Dean’s watching him, waiting. Bobby is trying to watch everyone at once.

Cas: You can’t know what it’s like. They are all inside me. Millions on millions of souls.

Crowley: Sounds sexy.

Dean looks at Bobby with a confused expression. He’s still holding his side. His face is too blood-free for me, though – after being flipped in the car and thrown into that table, he should be a wreck. But, at least he’s not standing very straight and he's breathing a bit shallow.

Seeing that things were not going to go well for him, Crowley says, “Exit stage Crowley,” and leaves. Cas looks almost mockingly at Raph.

Cas: What’s the matter Raphael? Someone clip your wings?

Raph: Castiel, please. You let the demon go? But not your own brother?

Cas: The demon I have plans for.

Dean swallows, hard. Cas snaps his fingers and Raphael explodes all over the wall. It’s…gross, actually. And terrifying. The angel sword Raph had been holding clatters to the ground. Right about this moment, I got a really bad feeling. Dean and Bobby gape in shock at Cas.

Cas looks over at them, his expression, his voice, everything a very scary-calm.

Cas: So you see, I saved you.

Dean approaches carefully, holding his arm very still, wincing a bit. He looks like there are a few things broken inside him. He talks to Cas as if he’s talking to someone holding a loaded weapon, or a bomb trigger. Slowly, gently, trying to talk him off a ledge.

Dean: You sure did, Cas. Thank you.

Cas: You doubted me. Fought against me. But I was right all along.

Dean: You were. We’re sorry. Now…let’s just diffuse you, okay?

Cas (looking at Dean): What do you mean?

Dean: You’re fulla nuke. It’s not safe. So, before the eclipse ends, let’s get the souls back to where they belong.

Cas (with that scary calm still in place): Oh, they belong with me.

Oh, Cas. Where did you go? They didn’t kill him, but they may as well have. Our “Balki Bartakomous” of Heaven is gone. And it just…it’s sad. I know, I know…continue the story, change it up, make it so that the side players stay side players and it focuses on Sam and Dean. But the hell the writers put these boys through – making someone a part of their lives (and ours), making the boys care for them, sacrifice for them and then…take them away.

It does make for good drama, but man, does it hurt. Especially because these characters are so real to me – to so many of us.

Dean: No, Cas. It’s scrambling your brain.

Cas: I’m not finished yet. Raphael had many followers and I must punish them all severely.

Gah – on a bit of a power trip there.

Dean (advancing slowly, painfully): Listen to me. I know there’s a lot of bad water under the bridge. But we were family once. I woulda died for you. Almost did a few times. So if that means anything to you, please… (his voice cracks) I’ve lost Lisa and Ben…Sam. Don’t make me lose you, too.

Bobby’s been watching Dean approach and is looking a bit lost and fearful and I don’t blame him one bit. I was feeling the same way.

Dean: You don’t need this juice anymore, Cas. Get rid of it before it kills us all.

Cas (looking smug): You’re just saying that because I won. Because you’re afraid.

Dean blinks at him. I blink at him. Bobby watches them. A hand (and I tell you, this hand looked a lot like Bobby’s) picks up the angel sword.

Cas: You’re not my family, Dean. I have no family.

Out of nowhere, Sam stabs Cas from behind with the angel sword. Dean looks at his brother in complete shock. I’m kinda there with him because, seriously, no one saw Sam come into the room? It’s a small room, one entrance – behind where Dean and Bobby were standing. He would have had to enter and circle around to pick up the angel sword from behind Cas in order to stab him and no one saw? That was a big hand-wave to me.

But, it didn’t matter, I guess, because the angel sword has no effect on Cas. He’s not an angel anymore, you see. By absorbing all those souls, he’s become a god. I can suspend a lot. A LOT. Especially when it comes to this show. But I can’t see Cas as the new “God” as in the one and only. He’s as powerful as a god-like being, but that’s where I draw the line.

But, Cas says he’s their new god. As they stand and stare in disbelief, he straightens to his full height and tells them, “You will bow down and profess your love unto me your Lord, or I shall destroy you.”

Way to go Old Testament on them, Cas.

So, we’re left with Sam having his memories returned – all of them – but with debilitating flashbacks of Hell. Dean and Bobby, their bodies beaten and broken and no miracle healing from a friendly angel on the horizon. And Cas, the new Zod (sorry, but...it just felt like it fit). They're all stuck in the room, the humans left with an impossible choice.

Good Chuck Almighty. *wink*

My hope for next season is that we have less Red Herrings, more monster hunts, a mentally-healed Sam, an at-peace-with-his-destiny Dean, and a way for Cas to be redeemed. I don’t know if I can hope bigger or more specific than that at this point because they left me feeling a bit hollow. The bottom line is, though, we have another season of trials and triumphs ahead of us. A season where they can carry on, and because they are so real to us, because we care, “new God” or not, we’ll be there.

I hope I didn’t let those of you who really enjoyed this episode down by having a more-subdued approach to this finale. Prior to watching, I skimmed through the rambles for the finales of Seasons 3, 4, and 5. I just didn’t feel the same energy this time, and I’m sorry for that. I do thank you for reading, though. Those of you who take time to share your thoughts with me, I thank you sincerely. You make the time it takes to write these up very rewarding – whether or not we completely agree on our takes.

My wish for you all is that you enjoy the hiatus (summer or winter, depending on where you are) and that we come back together again in September with renewed energy, revved and ready to see how our heroes get out of this mess.

Slainte.
Tags: stream of consciousness
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