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Stream of Consciousness, Epi 10.11

“Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.
But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them, too. That is rare and pure and perfect.
Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear

I love our Show despite; I love the character of Dean Winchester because.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the Oz storyline in our Show. I know, I can hear you now: "Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and wendigos you're okay with, but wicked witches and wizards appear and you've got issues??" Hey, everyone has their line. Mine, apparently, stops at the yellow brick road. Maybe it's because I live in Kansas and you can't go anywhere and say where you're from without some reference to Oz or the smirking, "You're not in Kansas anymore," comment. Personally, I'm hoping that since the key is broken, we're done with Oz. So...due to my own sour grapes, I'm choosing to skim past the Oz aspect of "There's No Place Like Home" in this Ramble and focus instead on the interesting layers of dark and light that the clunky Oz storytelling revealed to us.

I've always loved Charlie. Felicia Day seems like someone I'd love to hang out and eat ice cream and gummy bears with while we binge-watch four seasons of Game of Thrones together. She's just fresh and fun and genuine and so it was jarring to see Dark!Charlie. I thought for sure she was possessed -- especially when she was holding the council woman hostage and asked, "Who?" when the boys demanded she let her go. But it was infinitely more interesting to consider the fact that Dark!Charlie was actually still...Charlie. Just a part of her personality that she spends a decent amount of time repressing. It goes back to Castiel's line in the last episode that there's a little monster in all of us. We all have our ying and yang. Both sides of the duct tape. I could go on and on, espcially if I slip into Star Wars analogies. But I'll spare you.

I loved the overlay with Dean's dark side. Last season we had the Ghostfacers come in and twist our kaleidoscope a bit so that we could view what was happening between Dean and Sam through the lens of another story. This time, not only do we get to see Dean's struggle against the darkness a bit differently, but he does as well. I also loved how it made me think of reality for a moment. I typically select entertainment to watch and read that is a pure escape. I watch shows like Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Supernatural, Arrow, Banshee, Sons of Anarchy and read authors like Stephen King, Joe Hill, Joe Hart, Chuck Wendig and Neil Gaiman purely so I can step away from reality. My life is too real sometimes, y'know?

But an interesting thing happens: in order to draw us in and ground us in the unreality, these stories tend to ground their characters in very real emotions and realizations. Watching Dean fight to stay in the light, push himself as far from temptation and the precipice of an abyss he can't fathom the bottom of had me holding my breath a bit. Each time his hand would shake, each time he'd look almost longingly at a bottle of booze (his proven escape), each time memories slipped across his eyes or his voice tightened, I found myself drawn closer to the screen. Because you could see it sneaking up on him in the quiet moments, when his guard was down, or through the cracks of his shields that he hasn't had time to repair. Watching him struggle and surrender and fight and give and loathe himself the whole while because he has this vision in his head of what is good and right and pure had me feeling a kinship to him that I honestly haven't felt since...Stull.

It made me think about how without our darkness, we couldn't even see our light. It made me think about how it's possible to love someone and hate their choices, or to protect someone you know in your bones is a horrible person. It made me think about the beautiful and complicated journey it is to be human -- how we can hurt and still go on, how we can sin and be forgiven, how we can be loved when we don't love ourselves.

Without turning this Ramble into a therapy session, I'll just say that watching Dean fight his darkness, trying so hard to do what Sam is encouraging him to do and find a way to live with it as Cain did, and yet still tremble and still doubt and still rage and still look at himself in the mirror with eyes swimming with shadows tugged at something inside of me and reminded me how and why this character owns me. It wasn't his most emotionally powerful episode or his most outwardly compelling, but I think that's why it got to me. The subtle resonance of his internal struggle crept up on me, grabbed me from behind, and didn't let me go.


  • Dean making egg-white omelets. For both of them.

  • "Demon tramp stamp."

  • "Our Charlie - wouldn't hurt a Hobbit, practically sparkles?"

  • The way Dean referred to Charlie as a 'good kid' and as someone who no matter what deserved the benefit of the doubt. His faith in her and instinctive protectiveness made what happened at the end have so much more of an impact.

  • The health-food stakeout in the Impala.

  • Alias' Gabriel and Collins. Nice Genesis shout-out there.

  • Charlie's quest to find the man who was responsible for her parent's death. That was believable and good closure for that part of her character's story.

  • Charlie referring to Dean and Sam as 'Rocket' and 'Groot' from Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a funny twist on their size and personalities (gentle giant vs a scrappy scoundrel), but then I remembered this line from Rocket about how he never asked to be torn apart and put back together and turned into a monster. In fact, the more I thought about it -- Groot sacrificing himself to save his friends, Rocket's defense mechanism of sarcasm and solitude, pushing everyone away to protect himself, but coming through in the end every single time...it suddenly felt like one of the best analogies every made for these two. And yes, I may have seen GotG a few times. Chris Pratt is possibly my new virtual boyfriend. So there.

  • Dean's surprised, "Oh, crap," gasp when he realized that Dark!Charlie's thigh-muscles were no match for his neck.

  • Good!Charlie unable to pick up the pretty bartender [and am I crazy, or did that bartender look an awful lot like Braeden from Teen Wolf?] and instead wanting to "sip club soda and send her to college."

  • For once I liked the way the storyline harkened back to an already-told version of the same theme: pulling oneself back together. Sam had to do it when his soul was fractured back in Season...what was it, 7? Reassembling his Id, Ego, and Super-Ego was no easy task, but telling Dean, "Hey, I did it, and you've got both dark and light in the same psyche, so you're a step ahead of the game," isn't really going to do that trick. Watching Charlie physically deal with her two halves, though, now that sends Dean a message.

  • "Skip to the end, Dragon tattoo." *guffaw*

  • Dean's stall tactic with Russell Wellington.

  • The fact that both Charlies could detect something was off about Dean. It's a good wake up call to him that he's not hiding his pain as well as he thought -- or used to be able to.

  • "No right, no wrong, just us and them." This I didn't so much like as found compelling. The idea that being dark sets you free -- just like the idea of Purgatory being pure -- has got to be very tantalizing to Dean. It's what appealed to him when he was a demon...not the evil-ness, but the fact that he didn't have to answer to anyone or anything, not even his overbearing conscience. To be free of obligation, consequence, regret, pain, loneliness, burden...it's like an open bottle of vodka to an alcoholic. No wonder he was shaking.

  • Dark!Charlie getting one over on Dean and stealing the Impala. Clever girl.

  • "I learned it by watching you." Okay, I may be showing my age, but how many of you guys immediately flashed to that '80's-era anti-drug commercial with the same line?

  • Dean being so focused on protecting Good!Charlie from Dark!Charlie that he forgot the fact that every punch he landed on Dark!Charlie hurt the one he was protecting and that jarring realization slamming down on him like a ton of bricks when Sam carries Good!Charlie outside. The gutted, aboslutely horrified look on his face, the way not only his hands but his whole self shook with the realization that he'd done that...he'd hurt her...was the kind of wake up call he needed, and a much more effective one than whatever that randomness was with Claire and those drifters last week.

  • The fact that Dean's face was still bruised and battered two days after the fight with Dark!Charlie -- showing he'd not been simply beating on her, he'd been fighting to protect her as well.

  • "Book of the Damned." "Sounds legit."

  • Charlie forgiving Dean, despite the fact that he doesn't forgive himself. Or maybe because of that fact. And telling him that he has something that Cain didn't: "You are a Winchester."

  • "Prove it."

  • "You good?" "No." "You can do this, Dean. WE can do this." Loving Sam's support of his brother right now. How he's actually being a brother after I've wondered for so long if he knew how to be the brother Dean needed him to be. Love him proving me wrong.


  • Basically everything about the Oz storyline from the broken key, to the split wizard. Done.

  • Dean being the one to protect the bad guy. I like how it ultimately worked out, of course, but really, the guy's barely hanging on and so everyone agrees that the best thing is to send him into a room filled with gasoline holding a lit match?

  • Again, bodies, people. Charlie killed a man. Fingerprints everywhere. Just once I'd like to see them clean up a crime scene they'd created. Or at least worry a little bit about being arrested.

  • The wizard 'Force-choking' Sam. Laaame.


  • Okay, first off, I'm confused. In the THEN, Sam says (which I missed this nuance last week) that Cain still has the Mark. As though Cain and Dean both have it. Which is his basis for saying that since Cain is living with it, Dean can learn how to, too. That gave me a double-take. I thought that when Cain gave it to Dean, he gave it up. What's ya'll's take on this? Did I hear Sam wrong? Am I confused? Are there one or two peeps walking around on Earth with this hair-trigger tattoo?

  • Last season, Dean resisting the pull of the Mark's urges actually made him sick -- throwing-up-blood-sick. What say you about why that's not happening now? Just not enough time yet? He was a demon and that changed his molecular structure? The Blade isn't in close enough proximity? The writers basically forgot about that part?

  • Was it me or did it seem like Russell Wellington knew Charlie a bit too quickly? He'd gone through alllll of that to keep himself protected from prosecution for killing two people and Charlie walks in -- years after all of this happened -- and he knows her immediately as Celeste. I thought that was a bit too easy.

  • Still wondering why they aren't heading out to Cain's place, even with Charlie on the way to Tuscany to find the Book of the Damned. Maybe they're just afraid of him? I mean, he is the first demon after all. *shrugs*

That's really all I've got for this one, folks. I have a rejuvenated investment in Dean's fight and internal struggle and journey. As many have said, I'm in it for the long haul, to the bitter end, but there are times where I simply sigh and wait for the next moment where they will once more hook me in. Dean's story is compelling; Sam's support is healing, and the way they are blending is intriguing enough to help me overcome any plodding storylines or plot contrivances. I can escape into the brothers and enjoy.

Thanks again for reading, you guys. I know I have failed you once more not getting to the replies for 10.10 before I wrote and posted 10.11, but as I said before I did/do read them and I truly appreciate the gift of your time spent sharing your thoughts, reactions, and answers to questions posed herein. It's not you demanding it; it's me feeling as though I owe it to you. One day I might catch up in time to reply. BUT! Until then, I love hearing from you and I hope you enjoy.



( 23 Tall Tales — Tell Me A Story )
Jan. 30th, 2015 05:16 am (UTC)
I loved the fact that Dean is on a health kick and poor Sam has to apparently be on one too... That kinda cracked me up a little.

I am also not a fan of the Oz storyline. Not one of my faves either. I think it’s just ... a bit of a stretch and I think that is a legit gripe. I mean I know they’ve had fairytales and what-not but they have always been dark. To be ... Wizard of Oz is JUST a story and seemed a bitch far-fetched to make it real. But .. you know. Just my opinion.

I LOVE Charlie. I love that Dean keeps calling her Kiddo.

Dean’s face outside when he realised what he had done by beating on Dark!Charlie ... gah ... that boy.

I, too, was shocked by Sam’s “Cain is living with it” stuff. I thought he passed it on. Does this mean Dean cant get rid of it? I don’t get the point of the whole passing the torch thing if you still have to live with it.
Jan. 30th, 2015 04:35 pm (UTC)
So, I'm glad I am not the only one who thought Cain gave up the Mark.

And this epi has me flirting with the idea of writing a short missing scene....
Jan. 30th, 2015 05:24 am (UTC)
Interesting you brought up last season's Ghostfacers ep--I had the same initial reaction to both of them--basically ducking so the anvil leftover from "Hunter Heroici' wouldn't smash me...

Also interesting that you mention Sam's 3-part split at the end of year 6--that would be a much more fascinating parallel to explore--or hello, Sam's demon blood addiction?

OTOH the final scene with Charlie and Dean and then Sam and Dean basically made up for the annoyances that came before.

Interesting catch about 'Cain still has the Mark'--I would think Sam should have said something like, 'Cain lived with the Mark peaceably for 100+ years'...hmmm...

Poor Dean...you just know it's going to get worse before it gets better...

Jan. 30th, 2015 04:38 pm (UTC)
Yeah, see, I totally thought Cain gave up the Mark, but others apparently were clear that he just...I don't know, transferred the power or something. Hmm...*ponders*

And I would love them to align what has happened to Sam in the past to what' Dean's going through. :/
Jan. 30th, 2015 05:36 am (UTC)
Happy birthday! <3

Oh yeah, Cain still has the Mark. If you watch the episode where he gave it to Dean he still has it on his arm when he's about to fight the demons. Which makes sense because the mark is a punishment for him, the marking God gave to him for killing his own brother and so everybody would know who he is and that he can't be killed otherwise the person that does is screwed (which hey! Cain asked Dean to kill him DEAN DO NOT DO THAT MAN). So if he could just give it to someone else, and be free of it, wouldn't he had done that a long time ago?

I think it's more like he transferred the mark, like a photocopy, but he still has it and I'm sure he can just take it back. Now would he want to? That's another issue altogether.

Edited at 2015-01-30 05:38 am (UTC)
Jan. 30th, 2015 02:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi!
Thank you for the bday wishes! *big grin*

See, all this time I've been looking at this like Cain gave up the Mark. That's why, I thought, that he had to find someone 'worthy' to bear it and why he asked Dean to come back and kill him when he asked. But I suppose that his also bearing the Mark makes sense for that last as well b/c as the only other one with the Mark, Dean would be the only one who could kill him.

This changes my perspective a bit. Must ponder.

See ya soon!
Jan. 30th, 2015 08:47 am (UTC)
Cain still has the Mark.
Maybe someone answered this already - sorry if they did. I think he meant that Cain had lived with the mark for a very long time without killing before giving it to Dean. HOWEVER, I've always wondered how he killed all those demons at the end of that episode... so I don't know. Maybe he still has a shadow of the mark?

Dean resisting the pull of the Mark's urges actually made him sick
Again sorry if I'm answering after someone... This was after he came in contact with the blade. Before that, he was just more violent, and more hungry. He was binging :P

it seem like Russell Wellington knew Charlie a bit too quickly?
I think this was because Dean had already told him that she was after him. When she came in, he knew who she was. I also think that after that torture incident that was in the papers, he may have been expecting something. The knowledge of what he had done would have bothered him at least.

Still wondering why they aren't heading out to Cain's place,
I wondered too until I realized that Cain would have left that place after killing the demons. He wouldn't be at the same house anymore so they are now looking for him.

I think I talked a bit about this ep in last ep's comments. To summarize, I do think that Dean's guilt has a big part to play. You mentioned it a bit here - how he remembers the freedom he had as a demon.

By the way, I've posted a birthday post in my comm. I'll send a pm in case you don't see either of these.

Happy Birthday!!

Jan. 30th, 2015 02:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the birthday wish and giftie! I'm on my phone now and it won't let me comment over on your page, but when I get on my computer I'll head over there! :) I like angst, so it's all good.

As for the Mark being on both Cain and Dean - I had been going all this time thinking Cain gave the Mark over to Dean, finding him worthy to bear it. This view point of Cain still having it changes my perspective a bit.

And that makes sense that Dean got sick resisting the Mark with the Blade nearby. I just wish he'd say something to Sam about it - I don't know if Sam understands how hard Dean fought to resist the pull and live with the ramifications before.

Thanks for taking time to reply! :)
Jan. 30th, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
I just wish he'd say something to Sam about it - I don't know if Sam understands how hard Dean fought to resist the pull and live with the ramifications before.

Ooh, good point. Sam probably doesn't know about the puking blood, considering how communicative Dean is. I doubt Cas knows about that part either. Great that it's not happening with the blade far away, or with Dean's body having been physically transformed into demon for a time, or whatever it is. But Sam and Cas kinda need to know that resisting was hurting him physically.

I love your Rambles, and getting them late doesn't really affect me. I see you had a birthday, I hope it was a good one.

Jan. 30th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
What a great review and I agree, Dean is going through so much and will continue to go through much more.

Thank you for sharing.
Jan. 30th, 2015 11:18 pm (UTC)
"I'm not a huge fan of the Oz storyline in our Show" - me neither, I thought Slumber Party was awful but I agree that this was a much better episode. Ignoring the Oz stuff, I liked seeing the two sides of Charlie and Dean's attempts to control the Mark were both funny (egg white omelette!) and moving (the way his hands shook when he held the knife). You completely summed up how I felt about Dean in this episode too, loved this...

"watching Dean fight his darkness, trying so hard to do what Sam is encouraging him to do and find a way to live with it as Cain did, and yet still tremble and still doubt and still rage and still look at himself in the mirror with eyes swimming with shadows tugged at something inside of me and reminded me how and why this character owns me."

Happy Birthday!
Jan. 31st, 2015 02:34 am (UTC)
Hi, Gaelic- LJ is telling me it's your birthday--I hope it was a good one!

I actually enjoyed this episode quite a bit--much more so than the Dorothy and the Wicked Witch romp from last year. This one was more personal, and the magic that came from Oz was darker. For me it suited the tone of the show better, and I liked it that the Wizard is "a bit of a jerk", and I liked the way the whole thing was resolved. (BTW, don't they have the Wizard's keychain now? Don't know if that means that they could go back if they wanted, since the portal key is broken, but still--I kinda hope that they don't just throw the keys in a box in the Bunker!)

On the question of cleaning themselves out of crime scenes--well, we know they do this. They've mentioned it before, and I think we're just meant to take it for granted that they are doing this. Also, since they've officially been declared dead at least twice now, I wonder if the Feds would pursue them at this point. Dean probably cleaned off that knife without even thinking about it--of course that leaves the problem that "Mr. Presley" :-) was the last one in the room with the victim, and promptly vanished into thin air. APB, anyone?

What made this work, though is everything you mentioned. Charlie's "little sister" status. Dean's failed fight to stay clean, and Sam's support. The split personality motif which echoes strongly with Dean's efforts (btw, have you read "Locke and Key" by Joe Hill? I'm seeing some parallels between that tale and this episode!) Acting, all around stellar. Just an enjoyable night with my boy (my husband) and our boys--for me.
Jan. 31st, 2015 03:23 am (UTC)
Thank you for your review. I enjoy yours because you try to be positive. Not as good an episode as I had hoped but like you I knew I wouldn't like the whole OZ thing.
Jan. 31st, 2015 09:11 am (UTC)
I'll just say that watching Dean fight his darkness, trying so hard to do what Sam is encouraging him to do and find a way to live with it as Cain did, and yet still tremble and still doubt and still rage and still look at himself in the mirror with eyes swimming with shadows tugged at something inside of me and reminded me how and why this character owns me. It wasn't his most emotionally powerful episode or his most outwardly compelling, but I think that's why it got to me. The subtle resonance of his internal struggle crept up on me, grabbed me from behind, and didn't let me go.

I feel the same, only I'd never be able to say is as well as you did :)

This episode had its glitches and dull moments (I'm right there with you about the Oz stuff), but despite that it really resonated with me in a way that actually hasn't happened in a while.

I'm glad you're continuing with the Rambles. It doesn't matter if they're late, I'm always gonna love reading them.
Jan. 31st, 2015 04:14 pm (UTC)
As always, I so enjoy your Ramble. I am with you on the power of story as far as Dean's inner experience went. I disagree about the Oz stuff. I actually find it really fun and wish they'd explore it more. The entire notion of various fairy realms is intriguing, and they've barely explored any of the possibilities in that direction.

One of the things I liked best about this episode, and my BFF who watched it with me felt the same, was how unexpected Charlie's situation and behavior were. We were like: WHAT? Charlie's got Dean in some kind of thigh lock? Holy crap. As you noted, the parallels going on were really effective. If Charlie has a dark side that dark...then...Dean... Oh God. And the struggle to keep that darkness contained, and to live with knowing it's there, resonates. I was so excited, too, that they reached back and were consistent with Charlie's entire story, just like they were with Claire's. I love it when things are tightly tied together.

We are also both on Weight Watchers (again) because we have a photo op with J2 in Vegas coming up. (We're both 50+ and acting like we're 12, but Real Life is tough and we need this. The goal: no fat rolls to be felt if one of the Js puts an arm around us for photo op.) So we related, eating our pathetic 2 point WW ice cream bars during the show, to the despair over egg white omelets and also kale. *snort* I was like: "Dean, no... not you! You shouldn't have to suffer this particular indignity of counting your fraking calories." I just wanted to hug him.
Jan. 31st, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC)
The fact that Dean is on a health kick really dragged it home to me how hard he's trying to keep his sh*t in order and how much the mark is effecting him O_O

As always, a fantastic review which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you for taking the time and making my day :)
Feb. 1st, 2015 01:15 am (UTC)
Loved the Ramble! The "oh crap" moment was one of my favorite as well. I liked the whole episode. And I thought Jensen was outstanding. I loved his attempt to be healthy, eating and sleeping right. There was slight humor, but he didn't overplay it. And in the rest of the episode he just broke my heart.

As for the MOC, I thought the same thing as you. But I went back and looked at the episode and they do show that Cain still had the mark even after he transferred it to Dean. So I guess he can copy it to others. That may mean that there is a way for Dean to get rid of it. It just feels like it should be easier to get rid of a copy. Now I wonder if Cain wasn't waiting for someone like Dean to come so that he could finally be killed. Maybe that is the only way for him to be killed. But then he would just end up in hell according to his deal with Lucifer, so I can't see why that would be an improvement to his situation. Unless Cain's being killed by the blade by another MOC would somehow change things. I think I have speculated myself into a headache.

One thing I adored was Charlie's unfailing loyalty to Dean!

Sorry I am late to the party.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 03:54 pm (UTC)
I also picked up on what Sam said about the mark but I thought I'd missheard but if you heard it too then I'm not sure what to think about it.

Also, I want some of last seasons Dean, feeling the affects of the mark and getting ill from it, they only touched on it slightly last season, I want much more of it this season!!

An ok episode, I wasn't a fan of Oz either :)
Feb. 3rd, 2015 05:21 am (UTC)
When this episode introduced us to Charlie, I thought she was possessed. I like what the writers were trying to tell us in this story as they showed there is a bit of darkness in us all. (I didn't like the Ghostfacers episode last year, it felt more like being slammed on the head)
I guess this would explain why Sam leaves Dean to watch the bad guy. Really! Deep down Sam must really want to trust Dean to control himself.
I know I keep repeating myself, but I love that this season we see the brothers working together to get rid of the MOC.
I have some of the same questions as you. What are the Winchesters doing with all the dead bodies and/or crime scenes? Also now that Charlie was captured on video beating someone up who can be tied to Russell, is she a suspect in his murder? Or is Dean because he was the last visitor that day?
I have to agree with your burning questions. Why don't the brothers try to find Cain or do they have Castiel working on that and I've forgotten?
Until next time, take care.
Feb. 5th, 2015 05:05 am (UTC)
I just got around to watching this one tonight—basketball games, changed satellite providers and thus DVRs, download, blah blah blah—and I really, really liked this episode. I barely noticed the "Oz stuff," because...

I have a rejuvenated investment in Dean's fight and internal struggle and journey.

... yeah. I've always liked Charlie anyway, and, as clunky as their attempts at moralizing can be on this show, her story and the Winchesters' parallels, the things she said, all made me actually care about Dean's struggles again.

As an aside, the fact that Charlie said "I forgive you" three times in the episode seemed like deliberate symbolism to me. What do you think?
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:24 pm (UTC)
Ooo -- I like where you're going with the 'forgiveness' symbolism, especially since she said it once as 'Dark!Charlie.'

Maybe that's part of the trick to living with the Mark. Cain threw away the Blade to live with and love his wife, but he still had the Mark. Maybe it was a matter of Cain forgiving himself, or believing that his wife -- or perhaps God -- forgave him that put him on the road to acceptance.

Feb. 5th, 2015 07:06 pm (UTC)
I am late yet again, and find you have completely caught my thoughts and questions in your next two posts. Suffice to say: I love Charlie and Felicia Day; Dean's absolute convection that Charlie must have reason for her actions and his willingness to throw down for her= our Dean, not just DemonDean; and not much on the whole Oz story except that it provided a framework for Charlie to return. It seems to me that there maybe some new hope for Dean in learning to integrate all of his history, thoughts, memories and feelings into one true persona rather than to fragment and label parts of himself as dark, unworthy and unforgivable.

On another note, Happy Birthday from one Aquarius Gal to another. Best hopes for a year of health, happiness and joy for you and yours!
Feb. 5th, 2015 07:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the birthday wishes!! :)
( 23 Tall Tales — Tell Me A Story )

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