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Stream of Consciousness, Epi 9.23

For the first time in an SPN finale, I heard the lyrics to "Carry On Wayward Son" differently. Instead of focusing on there'll be peace when you are done, the words noise and confusion resonated for me. With as much that happened in this episode, right now it feels like so little was actually resolved and so much more was stirred up. I suppose that's the point of a finale: get us geared up for the next season.



I gotta be honest, the conflict I talked about in the Ramble for 9.22? It's not gone. It's just...shifted. And once more, they shoved so much into the last few episodes that, while shocking, the end didn't feel satisfying from a story perspective. However, from a character perspective -- and from the perspective of the relationship with the brothers -- this episode came full circle on several levels and the performances kinda blew me away.

I think the only way I'm going to be able to untangle my thoughts is to write a reaction from each side struggling within me: the Dean!Girl and the Storyteller.

Dean!Girl Reaction

Oh, my heart hurts. And I'm staring laser-beams at the writers right now. Even though I had a bad feeling that this would be where they would take us, I'm still trying the River Tam method of killing them with my brain. Because, seriously.

They made him the righteous man. They sent him to Hell. They tortured him until he broke. They resurrected him. They sent him to Purgatory. They put him in the impossible situation of a warrior standing on the sidelines, unable to protect the one person he died to save. They stripped everything from him -- hope, brotherhood, balance -- and gave him power to take out the bad guys not telling him what changes it would bring about. They killed him. Again. And then they turned him into a demon.

The righteous man is a demon. It was the thing he feared after selling his soul to save Sam -- not dying, but becoming a demon. It was the thing that haunted him when he came back, the fact that he'd acted as one of them in Hell. And now...he is one. I'm resistant to accept this. This can't be his reward. This can't be his destiny. This can't be how it all ends for him. There has to be redemption after all he's fought for, suffered for, died for.

There has to be salvation for a soul that would choose death rather than become what the Mark was turning him into. What he did not want to become. They saved Sam -- returned his fractured soul to his body and let him fight his way to repairing it so the good side, the light side, won out. Dean deserves at least that chance. Because I need him back! I need him to be good because until now he's the only one (left) who I've known always to be good. Sam has gone soulless and had channeled demonic power. Castiel went all God-like on us and ingested then freed the Leviathan. Dean may have made some bad choices, may have made some mistakes, but he's always been good.

I was willing to accept his journey through this supernatural world they live in to require him to be touched by supernatural powers. I was willing to embrace his path taking him dark, believing that his heart and his light would win out in the end. And it did! He chose to not be what the Mark was changing him into. He chose to tell his brother he was proud of them -- the biggest compliment of the Winchester family (passed down from John) and closest thing to "I love you" as these two come -- and die. And the Mark didn't let him.

I am not willing to accept Demon!Dean for very long. It's not his purpose, it's not who he is. So he had better get his chance to be who he is once more (with or without the Mark) in Season 10 or...else! I know I sound dramatic, but I FEEL dramatic right now, dammit! *laugh*

The thing I will grant the writers, though, is that they didn't have Dean go after his brother (thank God). At then end, the brothers were together, united more so than they'd been all season. There was no Cain/Abel situation and I am quite grateful for that. I much prefer Dean being a demon (which is a personal journey for him that he can overcome {with help}) than Dean killing his brother juiced up on the Mark. He'd never overcome that (and honestly, neither would I). Of course, there's always Season 10...but I'll worry about that in October.

Storyteller Reaction

We got what we asked for: a storyline for Dean that stayed about him through the end of the season. And, it's a different path than they've taken Dean on before. They've killed him -- several times over -- but they've never made him dark. And after what we've seen this season (and the 8 prior) I shiver with anticipation at what Jensen will be able to do to turn our hearts inside out. What's more, when Jensen is on his game like that, it seems to bring Jared's performance up a notch and these two just own their roles. Even if they're not 'behaving' as we might want the characters to, they're doing so really well. *grins*

And Crowley was right: Sam summoning Crowley to make a deal and save Dean was expected. And, quite honestly, rather blatantly hypocritical after all he said to Dean earlier in the season about taking away his choice and allowing him to die. Sam had to be feeling the lowest he's ever felt as he carried his brother's dead body into the bunker and laid him out on the bed, reminiscent (though he wouldn't know it) of Dean doing the same for him in Cold Oak, to cause him to summon Crowley with hopes of making a deal.

So, they broke pattern in one sense -- no brother sacrificing for brother this time. No brother dying for brother. Just...brother dying. I can't help but think, though, that unless they are planning to (IMO) completely destroy this show and the reason so many of us fell in love with it, they are going to have to do something to bring the boys back together -- as brothers, fighting the good fight. Which, is expected, predictable. But I LIKE predictable in this case.

And these current circumstances could lead to some pretty interesting situations -- what, with no leader for Heaven now, and Castiel's grace fading away. Sam's going to be more or less on his own, unless he seeks out some other hunters (which, he probably will so that we can get some fresh faces in there and allow the boys to have some filming breaks). Crowley has his human-blood humanity thing going on, but there's nothing saying that anything of Dean -- our Dean -- will be inside his demon self. There's nothing saying that Dean won't be your basic demon...just one who has the power of the Mark of Cain/First Blade. Well, nothing except Cain himself, I suppose. Cain was able to fall in love and settle down...maybe that's the kind of demon Dean is...? *shrugs* I don't know what to think beyond guhblackeyesno at this point.

Then there's the fact that they didn't kill Metatron, just turned him into a "regular angel" and threw him into Heaven's jail. I was really hoping for death by Blade or Angel Sword there, especially after he told Cas that Dean was dead, but I guess not killing him says more about Castiel's soul than seeking revenge would have. And while they broke the angel tablet, there could be need down the line for the scribe of God. Especially since they haven't yet reversed the spell to let all of the angels (and lost souls who've died since the Fall) back into Heaven -- at least not blatantly. Unless we're just supposed to assume Heaven's open for business again? I would have thought that would have been a Really Big Deal, so I'm guessing not.

Bottom line is, I gotta hang with this and see where they take it. There's always a point in the Heroes Journey where everything seems hopeless and it seems there is no light and no way out. And it's then when the true measure of men is taken and we see what the heroes are made of. So, I'll keep on this journey with our boys as long as the road we follow leads us to a hero's redemption and a brotherhood repaired.

Otherwise, it just feels like loose threads fraying further and much beloved characters fading away.

Rambling Thoughts of Other

There was so much focus on the angel and demon story lines in the last several episodes (the 'spinoff' not withstanding) that I feel like we lost some serious time with the story of the brothers, Dean, and the MoC. Like the fact that Dean is getting sick to the point of throwing up blood when he's separated from the Blade and doesn't kill when he feels that 'high'...that could have been shown to us two episodes ago. And had it been, it might've added weight to the fact that he wouldn't let Sam hide the Blade away. And the most telling lack of character-correctness with so much story crammed into so little space was Sam. They basically had him shut down after his declaration at the end of The Purge and the "not brothers" edict he forced them to live with.

I actually had to consciously check my reaction to Sam at the door through most of this episode. Next Season, one of the things I hope we get to see is inside Sam's head. And not in the way they've shown us previously -- with him mentally struggling with Lucifer or (quite literally) trying to pull himself back together. I mean, I want to see why he does what he does, says what he says. I want to know what drives Sam now, post angel-possession, post-trials. I want to know what he wants out of this life. I want to see his thoughts about his brother. And I think his discovering he's lost Dean to a demon because he didn't know enough about what was happening with Dean might be the catalyst for such a thing.

I was frustrated the he just put Dean in the 'dungeon' and walked away, and that he put the Blade in a box and then left it out in the open. Hide it, at least, man. I mean, it's not like Dean is Superman and can't see through lead, for Pete's sake! I was frustrated that he not only took his brother's resourcefulness for granted in getting out of the dungeon (he wasn't tied up and Sam knows what sort of supplies they kept in there), but he didn't fully appreciate Dean's connection to the Blade -- even after what he'd seen Dean do several times over with the thing in his hand -- and what Dean might do to get the thing back.

I was disappointed that he just walked away and shut the door leaving Dean in that room without saying anything to him other than there's something wrong with you. And while I know they had Gadreel bleeding out on the floor, I was frustrated that after locking Dean up, Sam's first focus was on Metatron and not on, say, putting out feelers or doing some research on what was going on with Dean, what the ramifications of the Mark+Blade might be. Cas could have gone after Gadreel while Sam tried to find a way to help Dean.

Sam allowed Crowley to live after Abbadon was killed. He was the one pushing for Dean to end Crowley next, but for reasons we were never given (Gavin? fear of Dean's blood lust? mercy?) he didn't bring it up when they had Crowley in their sights. And he knew Crowley had led Dean to the Blade. So he could have summoned Crowley himself and pressed him for answers. He could have found out about the kill-or-die impact the blade had on Dean. But he moved on to Metatron, figuring that to be the bigger threat, bigger need.

I couldn't help but wonder if the situation was reversed would Dean have done the same thing. Or, if he would have put everything on hold to find out what was going on with Sam and find a way to fix his brother. Seems like that's the path he's taken before....

I was disappointed that when they met up once again in that trailer park, Sam was antagonistic. And that he cut Dean off when they stood at the trunk outside of the homeless camp when Dean started to bring up what had been going on with them over the last few months. But...then I started to realize that I've been wanting something from a character who is not built to provide it and my frustration is my own fault. Sam's never going to take back what he said because at the time, he completely meant it. And he's never going to apologize, either, because at the time, he felt he was completely in the right.

I do that in life, too. Especially with family -- siblings, most directly. I think things like, why can't they realize this and this when those things are so clear to me and the end result would be so much better (IMO) for all involved. It's hard, sometimes, to realize that what seems so clear and right from one person's perspective is not even in the realm of possible thought from another's.

I wanted Sam to have this grand epiphany and say something that would give Dean some kind of reassurance and peace that he's loved by the one person he loves most in the world. But Sam can't do that because he hasn't untangled his own thoughts yet. Theirs is such a complicated relationship that Sam can't take back one statement without erasing all of them, and he apparently still felt like 90% of them applied.

The only he could do, was be there. The only thing he could do to show Dean that he was loved, despite their differences, despite their harsh words, was to tell Dean they were in it together. The only thing he could do when words were left unspoken was to go after Dean and try his level best to haul his brother's broken, bleeding body out of danger.

Sam did what a brother would do. He went back in; he tried to save him. He was too late, but he tried.

And Dean's last words to him were heart-breakingly perfect. Dean was proud of them. Not just proud of Sam -- them. Together. Brothers. God, I didn't cry at the time, but I am close to it now. *lump in throat* Because Dean's love for his brother burned past the blood and the beating and the effects of the Mark, and Sam's reciprocation was clear in his strong arms and wavering denial that Dean was dying and his ragged tears.

There's nothing as painful as regret, no sadder words in the English language than, "if only." And when Crowley doesn't come to Sam's summoning spell, and when Dean emerges from that room with the eyes of a demon, Sam is going to be left with a sh*tload of "if only"'s to contend with. And maybe he'll be reminded of his previous desperation to save his brother when Dean went to Hell. And maybe he'll be reminded of the sacrifices that Dean has made regardless of the cost, of the hurt to himself. And maybe he'll understand the choice Dean made when he allowed Gadreel to save Sam. And maybe he'll accept that tricking Sam was the only thing Dean could do.

He'd said he was okay with Dean taking his shot, for better or worse. He'd said he accepted whatever was going to happen. And yet, he also couldn't let his brother die, not without trying to save him. And clearly not without trying to find a way to bring him back.

It's cliche, the saying that comes to mind: you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone. Sam's smart, he's tough, he's cunning and he can be more ruthless than Dean (sans Mark). I  have no doubt that if he chooses to, he can find a way to bring this back around. I just hope he does it before Demon!Dean causes more damage than our Dean can live with.

I'm disappointed that Metatron wasn't killed, but like I said above, I can see reasons why and uses for him. I did love, however, Castiel turning Metatron's own arrogance around on him -- though I was surprised that such a "master storyteller" didn't see that one coming. I grew tired of trying to figure out if what was happening was something Metatron knew about or if we were just being played along with the angels. I still can't figure out if he knew abut the Blade before Dean revealed it. I think yes, because he knew about Abbadon, but he also seemed pretty surprised to see it. I hope that if they do use him in S10, it's sparingly. I'm tired of manipulation -- and of writers using "writers" to voice their disgruntled opinions (PCA, anyone?).

I'm going to miss Gadreel, but I'm glad his sacrifice meant something. He was redeemed after all and will be remembered for more than "letting the serpent in." I wish we'd been given some indication as to whether Heaven was open to souls like Kevin, but they were focusing so much on the shocking ending with Dean that we didn't get much closure there. Not even to what's to become of Castiel and his fading grace.

I was surprised to not see much more than eyes welling up when Castiel was told that Dean was dead. I honestly thought he'd beam down the minute the other angels swooped in to grab Metatron. ETA: I forgot. No wings = no 'beaming'. So, Dean was technically too far away for him to get there and do anything. Still, the fact that he was apart from the brothers at the end was necessary for the black-eyed moment, but felt odd to me that he wasn't there with them after what he'd learned. I feel for him, though. He's always tried so hard to help, to do what's right, and he always gets the short end of the stick.

But something Gadreel said had me looking at Castiel differently. Gadreel killed himself for the mission: protect humanity. It had always been about the humans, that's why God created the angels: to watch out for and protect those who couldn't/wouldn't protect themselves. I think that, aside from Dean and Sam, Castiel has lost sight of that. He's been focused on Heaven and Hell, angels and demons for so long that he's off-mission. I wonder if Gadreel's sacrifice and Dean's...transformation...will push Castiel back on track and if that will help him get his grace back.

So...now we have a King of Hell who has a human-blood addiction and finds Hell 'complicated' but has a new BFF in Demon!Dean Winchester. And we have a leaderless Heaven with the closest angel capable of taking over losing his grace by the minute. We have a lone hunter who doesn't have a clue what he's up against and will have to do some all-night cramming if he wants to save his brother -- and possibly the world from his brother. And a former-hunter-turned-demon who bears the Mark of Cain and is a complete wild card at this juncture.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm kinda glad I have four months to process and prepare for the next season because the circumstances of the story have become so much bigger than two brothers from Kansas whose family motto is saving people, hunting things. And I really miss those brothers.

LOVED:

  • Jensen's performance, the whole way through, but most especially in two specific scenes:


  1. In the dungeon when he summoned Crowley, the expression on his face as he processed the kill-or-die impact of the blade. His skin actually seemed to grow tight across his cheekbones, hollowing out his eyes in a look of denial and shock before he downshifted into wrath directed at Metatron.

  2. The way he made Sam stop, unable to keep going, and made sure to haul his exhausted, pain-filled eyes up to look right at Sam so that he could say, "I'm proud of us," just before he went completely boneless. The way he simply was...gone, just falling forward into Sam's arms just broke me. It was so well done.


  • Sam's tears. I know that sounds sadistic, but Sam's grief over his brother helped erase so much frustration I'd had with him over the course of the season and had me feeling sympathy for his road ahead.

  • "Wookie." OMG, I was dying. Especially that accompanying proud grin.

  • The fact that they used Muncie, IN, again. It's my hometown! The last time they mentioned it was the gathering of the gods at a random No-Tell Motel (and I think Gabriel died there, too??).

  • Using Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" again...they used it in Season 1 as well.

LIKED:

  • "This is not a bomb we're talking about; this is my brother."

  • "Game of Thrones is complicated. Shower sex is complicated. Hell ain't complicated." Dean saying 'shower sex' has the power to melt my brain. What?

  • Gadreel reminding Castiel and Hannah about the angels' true mission, and warning Castiel to move to the other side of his cell before he became an Angel Nuke.

  • "You never learned how to tell a good story." "But you did."

  • The fact that they didn't go the Cain/Abel route (at least in this season).

Meh:

  • Metatron. His whole manipulative storyline. They way he played angels and humans alike -- wearing the right clothes, being all humble and giving, performing the random miracle, his very being showing what sheep we all are. They way he spoke about God, angels, and humans with such contempt. His arrogance. And most of all the fact that Dean didn't kill him with the Blade when he was "God" and the angels didn't kill him when he was just a "regular angel." All that blood and pain and effort and death...and the slimy little bastard is still alive. *growls* He wasn't a scary Big Bad (even when he was beating the crap out of Dean). He was an infuriating one.

  • The fact that Crowley kept the fact that what turned Cain into a demon was dying and having the Mark bring him back a secret until the very end. I mean, sure, I get it -- shock factor. But it seemed...I don't know. Convenient. Plus somehow I felt like we already had the idea that the person bearing the Mark was immortal, basically. Did I/we just make that part up? Or did someone (Cain, Crowley) actually say that prior?

  • Enough meta -- Metatron talking about PCAs, Crowley talking about making deals becoming expected...just let us escape again, writers. Let us pretend you're not so aware of us next season, okay? Write like it's season 1, 2, 3 again, where you were just telling a story and it didn't matter how many fans loved which brother or who shipped what pairing or if character A was part of the "core cast" or not. Write the story that honors the characters and let us choose to escape into it.

Question:

  • Just one: was it the Mark, or the fact that Crowley brought the blade, that caused Dean to wake up as a demon? Would he have stayed dead if the Blade had never been rejoined with the Mark? I wonder....


Episode in Recap(ish)

The Road So Far did include our anthem, which will always and forever make me think of our boys, but it fell flat for me this time. I have become discouraged thinking that there really will be peace when they are done. I feel that there will always be reasons for them (and us) to cry at this point. So, it kind of hurt to hear it with this recap of the major events of the season, to be honest with you.

The opening was right where last episode ended -- and like many of us suspected, Gadreel wasn't dead, just wounded. Dean was lit up, though, man. Crying out with effort, practically growling with it. Sam gets in front of him and tells him to drop the blade, Dean snarling at him to move. Cas tackles Dean from the back and Sam grabs the blade saying forcefully, "Let it go. Let it go."

Dean pins a look on his brother and finally does. The next thing we know, Cas and Sam are locking him in the 'dungeon' where they'd kept Crowley prisoner for so long and just tell him that he has to stay there until they figure out what's wrong with him. Yeah, right. The fact that they left enough supplies in there with him to summon a demon is just...ridiculous. WTF were they thinking?

Dean: You two are gonna take Metatron out yourselves? That's smart. You (Cas) lost your angel army. And you (Sam) are trying to lock up the one guy who has a shot at killing that son of a bitch! Helluva plan, fellas!

They just turn and walk away, shutting the door behind them. And y'know...Dean lets them, too. He could have charged past them, fought them, forced them to knock him out, tie him up. But he lets them shut the door with just a Guys...Sam...Sammy! plea following behind. That's interesting, in retrospect.

Sam puts the Blade in an metal box while Cas is like, Dean's right. I lost my army. Sam says that Gadreel can help, but oopsie, Gadreel has had enough pain for one day, thanks, and slipped away, leaving a trail of blood in his wake.

In the dungeon, Dean is puking his guts out in a corner, hard enough that he's throwing up blood. He staggers to a cabinet thing and gets a glimpse of himself in the mirror, seeing the blood on his lips. Not good.

Up in Heaven -- and did you guys pick up on the fact that Metatron's "office" was in Heaven prior to this episode? I managed to somehow miss that fact -- Metatron is typing, telling an angel flunky named 'Neal' that he's writing a marvelous story about love and heartbreak and love.... Neal thinks it sounds like The Notebook. Dude, I'm a total sucker for that movie. Go ahead and judge me. I don't even care. hashtagRyanGosling

Metatron wants Neal to help him pick an outfit that makes him look "pathetic" and Neal's trying to get to the point of Metatron's plan -- discovering that M thinks uniting all the angels "under the banner of Heaven" is a little like winning a People's Choice Award -- not quite the real deal. *eye roll* Anyway, Neal had rigged up this sound system/signal blocker thing so that all angels (in Heaven and on Earth) would hear him and only him. He starts this smarmy, politician, kissing babies kind of speech about them  accepting him as their new God and saying that Heaven's door will be temporarily closed as he goes off to do something, but not to worry, all will be explained and it will be "glorious."

Meanwhile, Sam and Cas have been following Gadreel's attempted escape and find an abandoned car (I guess Gadreel learned how to boost cars while in Sam?) covered in blood and Gadreel laying a few feet away in the grass. He shrinks back from them in fear at first, but Cas says they aren't there to hurt him and heals him, even though it weakens him. The angels both share that they heard Metatron and Gadreel says that what Metatron wants? Is humanity.

Sam = worried face.

Crowley is in the middle of a massage -- he wears his stress, apparently...we have that in common -- when the room shakes and the masseuse says he's being summoned by a Winchester. He shows up in the dungeon across from Dean and instantly asks what the smell is -- clearly meaning Dean's puke.

Dean: What the hell is happening to me, you son of a bitch?

Crowley: Liquor before beer? Bad taco? How should I know?

Dean (voice ragged, face thin, eyes hollow): I can't turn it off! Ever since I killed Abbadon it's this whole other thing. I get this...high and I need to kill. I mean I really really need to kill. And if I don't--

Crowley: You yack your guts out.

Dean does that mouth thing that always gets me -- where he looks like he is trying to form words but can't quite get the sound through his throat.

Crowley tells him that it's the Mark -- the more he kills, the better he feels. The less he kills, the less better he feels.

Dean: How much less better?

Crowley: I would imagine the least less better.

Dean: So...dead. Cain had the Mark; he didn't die.

Crowley: Cain was a demon. Your body's not strong enough to contain the Blade's power.

Dean: What if I get rid of it?

Crowley: Do you want to get rid of it?

What Dean wants is Metatron, and he needs Crowley's help to get out of that room and get the Blade. So, naturally, when Sam, Cas, and a healed Gadreel return (with Gadreel hilariously echoing Crowley's opening line with, "What's that smell?") the box that Sam LEFT OUT ON THE TABLE is open and empty. Sam calls and leaves a message for Dean. Cas questions if it was Crowley -- why, I don't know...who else would Dean willingly work with?

Sam: Who else would he summon? He and Crowley have been bromancing over the Blade ever since Dean got the Mark.

With the history that both Sam and Cas have with working for and with Crowley, this turn of events really shouldn't have surprised either of them. Gadreel finds out that Dean has the Mark of Cain and cut him with the First Blade and says that Dean could be their best chance. Sam, though, bless him, takes a bit of offense to that.

Sam: Sorry, guys, I'm a little less than eager to hear our best chance is arming the warhead and hoping it hits the mark. This is not a bomb we're talking about; this is my brother.

It was nice to hear him say that word.

Gadreel says Dean wouldn't be doing it alone and proposes that he and Cas sneak into M's office in Heaven and break the connection M has with the angel tablet where he's pulling all of his God-like powers from.

In Muncie, IN, we see a woman on the phone, walking down a sidewalk, yelling at her ex that their son is on drugs, and then stepping out into the street and getting hit by a car. A man who appears homeless approaches the group who has gathered around the woman -- who has clearly been killed by the impact -- and as we later see caught on video, heals her, whispers to her where he's heading next (which we don't hear a location for that, I don't think) and introduces himself as Marv...his original name from back when we first met him.

Elsewhere, Dean, Crowley, and the Blade walk into a bar (insert joke here). Dean sits down and pulls out a laptop, ordering coffee, black. Crowley gives him a hard time about taking up the waitress's table and not even ordering something she can earn a tip off of, so Dean adds a burger and fries to his order.  Crowley starts ruminating about how this is all they do, head from town to town, searching for evil, and wonders if this is it, all there is.

Dean gives him a dead-eyed stare and Crowley's like, sorry...human blood.

Dean: So, you're full-metal douche again. That's fantastic. Would you like a stuffed bear?

Crowley: Just trying to make conversation.

Dean: How's Hell, Crowley?

Crowley: Hell's fine. Like a Swiss watch. Don't worry about Hell. Hell's complicated.

Dean: Game of Throne's is complicated. Shower sex is complicated. Hell ain't complicated. Your problem ain't Hell. It's you.

Crowley: Fair enough. What's your problem?

Dean's problem is Metatron, but he can't find him because there's zero angel activity. Enter two demon goons with a phone and that viral video from Muncie, and Dean's on the move, paying for his food, but leaving it untouched, saying he's not hungry.

Elsewhere, and a playground that fronts the door of Heaven, guarded by two angels (one of whom is Azreal), Cas and Gadreel pull up in Cas' Caddy. Gadreel asks what Cas' plan is and Cas holds up handcuffs saying, "Wookie," with this adorable grin. I admit I laughed out loud. All they needed were storm trooper uniforms. *grins*

Gadreel leads a cuffed Castiel up to the angels, saying he's captured the leader of the Rebellion and the two angels say the spell has to be redrawn. Luckily they have a handy sandbox for just such an occasion.

In Muncie, Dean and Crowley pull up to a trailer that belonged to the Miracle Lady and Sam is waiting out front. Dean tells Crowley he's "got this" and steps out to confront his brother. Sam starts off with attitude.

Sam: Guess one of us doesn't need a demon to help follow a clue trail.

Dean glances back at Crowley, leaning against the Impala.

Sam tells Dean that he's already talked to Miracle Lady. Dean response attitude for attitude like this intervention isn't going to work and I am not going to explain myself to you.

Sam: I sorta got that. Thought you might like to know that while you two've been playing odd couple, your real friends -- like Cas and Gadreel -- are out there right now risking their asses to help you win this fight.

It rubbed me wrong that Sam included Gadreel in his argument. Yes, Gadreel was helping them, but to call him out as one of Dean's "real friends" in that way felt disingenuous. Not three episodes ago, Sam himself wanted to kill Gadreel, so... yeah. Sam continues by saying that Dean made the fight more complicated by stabbing the one angel who could get them to Metatron.

Dean: You mean the angel that took you for a joyride? The angel that slaughtered Kevin? That angel?

Sam: Who you let in the front door in the first place. You tricked me, Dean. Now I'm the one who wakes up in the middle of the night seeing my hands kill Keven, Not you. So, please. When you say you don't want to explain anything? Don't. I get it.

Does he? I mean, he seems much quicker to forgive Gadreel than Dean. He wants Dean to accept Gadreel as their friend despite the fact that Dean was betrayed by the angel, and yet he's still bringing up the betrayal he feels from Dean tricking him. You can't have it both ways, says me. If Dean is to forgive and accept Gadreel as one of their "team" then I think some other forgiveness should have been happening, too. Of course, none of that matters now...but that's how I was feeling as I watched that scene.

Sam: I also get that Metatron has to go. And I know you're our best shot to do that.

Dean (lifting chin, seeing a chance to connect): I'm gonna take my shot. For better or worse.

Crowley is listening closely.

Sam: I know.

Dean: No matter the consequences.

Sam: I know. But if this is it, we're gonna do it together.

Sam tells him that Metatron whispered his next location to Miracle Lady. Crowley's like, let's get gone. Dean tells him, basically, to take a hike. Crowley said he'd wish them luck if he thought it would do any good, and vanishes, leaving the boys alone with the Impala.

Back at the playground, the door to Heaven is opened, Gadreel and Cas step in and are greeted by angels working in Metatron's outer office. They step into the inner office but before they can do anything, bars and walls appear, boxing them each into separate cells of Heaven's jail and Gadreel is kinda freaking out to be trapped there again.

Meanwhile, in some homeless camp under a bridge and near -- naturally -- an abandoned factory of some kind, Metatron shows up and somehow a homeless woman recognizes him from the viral video (not even going to ask where a homeless woman saw a viral video). She wants him to fix her friend George, who has diabetes, so "Marv" does. However, an anti-Metatron angel is living among the homeless, calls out Metatron for who he is. It gets a little sketchy for a moment for the former scribe of God until Miracle Lady shows up and between her and George and the video-enhanced homeless lady, the people turn on the anti-Metatron angel, killing him, and call "Marv" their messiah. *eye roll again*

It's night by the time the boys arrive at the homeless camp/factory thing from Muncie. Dean's getting weapons from the trunk and touches the blade, closing his eyes as if he's getting a hit off of it. Looks like Sam sees that, too. He comes up and tells Dean about the homeless camp and the people there calling M the new Jesus.

Sam: You good?

Dean: Yeah, I'm good.

Sam picks up the blade from the trunk and for a moment Dean looks panicked, but then Sam hands it to him in an obvious show of faith.

Dean: Listen, Sammy. About the last couple of months....

Sam: I know. So, before we find something else to fight about, tell me. You ready to gut this bitch?

Dean doesn't give Sam a chance to finish his grin. He clocks him, hard, knocking him out. He bends down, checking Sam's pulse and adjusting his arms to a more comfortable position, then says softly, "Sorry, little brother. Not your fight."

In Heaven Jail, Cas is pleading his case to Hannah, but of course, she wants proof. Shocker.

Dean walks into the homeless camp and the video lady says, "You're Dean Winchester."

Dean (more than a little surprised): How did you know that?

Apparently M has been expecting him and is inside the abandoned factory thing praying for their forgiveness. Dean sees the blood on the ground and is disgusted. He heads inside, scoping the place for Metatron, looking all sorts of dangerous.

Meanwhile, Gadreel -- his back to both the camera and the bars of the jail, which was telling -- is talking to Hannah (outside the cells) and Cas about how he thought of nothing for 1,000s of years but his own redemption and realized he lost sight of the mission: protecting those who would not/could not protect themselves. None of them are bigger than that. He warns Castiel to get to the other side of his cell, turns around and reveals the sigil he's carved into his chest. He wants to be remembered as one of the angels who gave Heaven a 2nd chance...and stabs himself, nuking the place.

Castiel steps free of his cell and asks Hannah if now she believes them.

Dean finds Metatron sitting calm, cross-legged, like Ghandi. Metatron throws out some rhetoric about people needing someone to follow. Dean calls him a Bernie Madoff with wings -- saying he's a fake, basically. Metatron gets up and rants about how much God hated his job and that people prayed and fought wars in his name and still died and they thought it was because they hadn't prayed hard enough when, according to M God didn't even know their names, but of course he does. He can save humanity. Dean, with hate in his eyes, says sure you can, so long as your mug is in every Bible and WWMD is on every bumper.

Metatron: And? You're blaming me for giving them what they want?

Dean (unwrapping the Blade): I'm blaming you for Kevin. For taking Cas' grace. I'm blaming you for the Cubs not winning the World Series for the last 100 friggin' years. Whatever it is, I'm blaming you.

Metatron challenges him -- what happens if he dies and all that's left are panty-wasted angels and Dean. Dean moves closer saying the only thing he heard was that Metatron died.

Metatron: Fine. We'll fight. I don't know what you expect is gonna come of all this...unless that's why you're stalling, because you know nothing is going to come of all this unless your pals succeed upstairs.

Dean = blink, blink

Metatron tells him Cas and Gadreel are in Heaven Jail all very Emperor in Jedi, "I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive." So, Dean swings, and the fight, such as it is, is on. He does get one good hit in, showing that the Blade and the Mark gave him a bit extra juice, but it's not enough. His hand is shaking from the power of the Blade and even that is not enough.

Metatron begins to systematically kick. his. ass.

Cas, though, has gotten into Metatron's office with Hannah's help. He's looking for the tablet while Metatron is throwing Dean against the walls and pummeling him bloody.

Metatron: You're powered by the bone of a jackass and it's just awesome. Next time? Try to be powered by the Word of God.

Sam shows up in the homeless camp, pulls out his gun, waving all the crazy homeless Metatron followers back and demands to know where Metatron is. Cas is still looking for the tablet. Metatron beats Dean almost senseless -- it's worse than when Cas beat him last season, worse than when Sam beat him in Season 5, because Dean isn't letting it happen -- he's trying to fight back and he's out matched. However he sees the Blade and while slumped, bleeding, against a wall, he opens his hand to summon it to him.

Cas finds the tablet.

Dean gets the blade.

Sam runs in.

And Metatron stabs Dean with an angel sword through the chest.  It was shockingly unfair. And I think I made this little "oh" squeaking sound.

Sam sees it happen, sees Dean gasp from pain and drowning on air and screams, "NO!" Dean looks over at Sam...and Cas breaks the tablet. Dean falls to his side as the ground shakes. Sam runs to Dean and pulls him up and before Sam can use the angel sword on Metatron, the now "regular angel" beams up to Heaven.

Metatron finds out that Gadreel is dead and accuses Castiel of breaking the tablet to save Dean.

Metatron: That was your goal, right? You draped yourself in the flag of Heaven, but ultimately it was all about saving one human, right? Well, guess what? He's dead, too. And you're sitting in my chair.

At the news of Dean's death, Cas looks gutted, his eyes widening and tearing up, so that he barely registers the cuffs that appear on his wrists, pinning him to the chair.

Back in the factory, Sam is desperately trying to stop Dean from bleeding.

Dean (voice broken, utterly pain-filled, and shaking): Sammy...I gotta get outta here before he comes back.

Sam (scared, breathless): Shut up...We'll stop the bleeding, find a doctor, a spell...you're gonna be okay.

Dean (grimacing in pain, reaching for Sam): Listen to me. It's better this way.The Mark is making me into someone I don't want to be.

Sam: Forget about the Mark. We'll worry about the Mark later....

He puts Dean's arm around his shoulder and pulls him him.

Back in Heaven, Cas is using the old "you'll never get away with this ploy" to get Metatron to spill all the details of his nefarious master plan to rule over all angels because they're sheep who don't care about their mission.

In the factory, Sam is practically carrying Dean out.

Dean: What happened to you being okay with this?

Sam: I lied.

Dean: Ain't that a bitch.

In Heaven, Metatron is still rambling about how awesome he is and how much Castiel sucks and just before he goes in for the kills, Cas reveals his clever plan -- the special angel-only mic that Neal rigged in the beginning has been on the whole time and all the angels heard. Hooray! They run in, pull their swords, capture Metatron and free Cas.

In the factory, Dean makes Sam stop, unable to go on. Sam leans his brother against something, standing close to keep him upright. Dean drags his eyes up to Sam's, puts a hand on the side of Sam's face briefly, and, gasping with pain and the inability to breath with a big hole in his chest, proceeds to shatter my heart.

Dean: I gotta say something to you. I'm proud of us.

And then he's just...gone. He collapses, falling forward, his head on Sam's shoulder, arms lax.

Sam (cupping Dean's face): Wake up, buddy. Hey...Hey! Dean. DEAN!

He pulls Dean close, clutching him, and cries. *sniff*

Hannah and Cas throw Metatron in Heaven Jail. Cas tells Hannah he's no leader; he just wants to be an angel. But he'll die if his grace isn't replenished. Which...is a problem. I actually kind of thought he'd beam down and use the last of his grace to bring back Dean. Guess I was WAY wrong there.

Sam takes Dean's body back to the bunker and lays him down on his bed, staring down at him with red-rimmed, tear-filled eyes. He leaves to the main room, sitting in the dark, drinking whiskey. Then he heads to the dungeon where the summoning stuff was left behind.

Sam: Dammit, Crowley.You got him into this mess; you'll get him out or so help me God....

However, in Dean's room, Crowley is sitting looking at Dean's battered body and his final speech holds sway over the final moments of the episode.

Crowley: Your brother, bless his soul, is summoning me to make a deal and bring you back. Exactly what I was talking about. It's all becoming so...expected. You have to believe me -- when I suggested you take on the Mark, I didn't know this was gonna happen. I might not have told you the entire truth, but I never lied. I never lied, Dean. That's important. It's fundamental. But, there is one story about Cain that I may  have...forgot to tell you. He, too, was willing to accept death rather than becoming the killer the Mark wanted him to be. So, he took his own life with the blade. Except, as rumor has it, the Mark never quite let go. You can understand why I never spoke of this.

He pulls out the Blade, puts it in Dean's hand, and rests it against Dean's bloody chest.

Crowley: Why set hearts a-flutter at mere speculation? It wasn't until you summoned me -- not, until you left that cheeseburger uneaten -- that I began to believe, maybe miracles do come true. Listen to me, Dean Winchester. What you're feeling right now is not death. It is a new kind of life. Open your eyes, Dean. See what I see. Feel what I feel. Howl at that moon.

Dean's eyes pop open then and they're full-on, demon black.

Not quite the 'miracle' I wanted to believe in. But like I said to a friend earlier today, I'm part of this ride to the end. Right now, I'm just glad for a bit of a break to process, heal, speculate, and prepare for the next round.


I have to put this outside the cut, as not everyone reads all the way through the recap. I've been writing these Rambles each episode since Season 3; some of you have been reading and commenting since that time, some of you simply read, some of you are newer, some just happen by. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the gift of your time reading and commenting, if you choose to comment.

I know there are tons of different places you can find reaction reviews -- many of you write one yourself. And I know they range from clever & funny to educated & insightful. Mine is just...emotion. With some thoughts and reasoning peppered in, but nothing ya'll wouldn't get to on your own. Not the best out there, for sure. But I hope they have entertained you. And I am appreciative of your comments; I'm going to miss you over the hellatus. I'm going to miss interacting with you guys almost as much as I'll miss watching our boys. *smile*

So...have a good four month break. And if you come back on October 14th, I'll be here. Carrying on...and hoping for that promise of peace when they're done.

Slainte!

Tags: episode review, ramble, stream of consciousness, supernatural, what do you think?
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