They’re baaaaack!! Hello, to the pretty… the pretty awesome!
“The Devil uses the truth to betray mankind because he is expected to lie…”
Oh, how I’ve missed these boys and their angst and their anger. I was curious about so many random things—what song they’d use in the “road so far,” what the opening title thingy would look/sound like, how they were going to get out this one…
“This has been a really stressful day.”
You’re not kidding, Chuck. Like so many of you, I was watching the clock today, balancing a fever-flushed three-year-old with the demands of contractor deadlines on minimal sleep. I was, in a word, touchy. But as the day edged closer to night and the hubs returned from work, I started to breathe a bit easier. Our guys were back tonight.
Going into this season, I carried with me many questions. Questions like… where is God? Will Dean have to become an angel to defeat Lucifer? What about his PTSD—will that reappear? What’s going to happen with Sam’s blood addiction? This kick-ass season opener answered some and posed many others. We are in for a helluva ride this year, folks. And I am in a comfortable state of gleeful curiosity to see if and how questions are answered as we continue our walk with our heroes into these dark, deep woods.
Okay, but first, I have to say… Vampire Diaries… really? Our show is so completely out of place in this channel of off-the-shelf TV Shows with pretty faces, empty problems, woe-filled voice-overs, and The Fray. I gave the last 30 mins a chance and the only thing good I saw was Ian Somerholder’s smirk. I’ll be tuning in at 7:58pm from now on.
We open with Thunderstruck and I could not wipe the grin off my face. NovembersGuest and lsketch42 both rec’d a vid that recapped Season 4 quite amazingly. This could have been hers, if she had chosen AC/DC. Happily, we pick up right where we left off, the brothers gripping each other’s coats, standing together, then running for the door, only to have it slammed shut in their faces.
Lucifer’s angel voice is deafening and the guys are driven to their knees, hands over their ears, and then… it’s Yosemite Sam. On TV. Talking to a cartoon devil. What the hell? They’re on… a plane, totally baffled, listening as the pilot is saying that they just passed over Hillchester on their way to Ellicott City. Total aside, I was wracking my brain to figure out why “Ellicott City” meant something until I remembered I used it in a fanfic. Which… doesn’t really bode well for me later in the episode, but we’ll get to that.
After a frightening exclamation of “Holy Crap!” from the pilot (and seriously, if you were on a plane and the pilot said that over the intercom, would you not just die right there?!), we cut to the opening title page. Blood in the water. Whispered voices. A heartbeat.
Somehow… the plane lands and the guys are in the Impala. I got this too-rushed feeling, like they were trying to pack things in tightly to give us as much information as possible but were leaving us with more questions. Mostly consisting of, ‘how the hell…’ I would have liked a reaction from Dean for having been on a friggin’ plane.
Sam tries to apologize, to address the Gigantic Elephant in the backseat, but Dean cuts him off with a, “It’s okay… we just have to keep our heads down, get through this.” Oh, so you’re going to play it that way, huh? This oughta be interesting… Dean declares they have to find Cas, so they head to Chuck’s place.
Which is utterly destroyed.
They’re surveying the damage, trying to make sense of it, when Chuck whacks Sam across the head with a… chair leg? Seeing that it’s Sam, he sputters with relief, “You’re okay!”
“Well… my head hurts,” Sam says.
“You went like full-on Vader!” I love this guy. He’s just so… you wanna hug him! “Your body temp was 150, heart rate 200, eyes were black…” These visions are very detailed.
Dean reacts to that last, though. “Your eyes went black?”
Sam glances back, a quick flash of apology and guilt swimming across his face. “I didn’t know.”
Dean has puzzled me so far. I couldn’t really get a read on him. His face is so stony, so set with determination that his jaw muscle is coiled. And he doesn’t really let us get a good look at his eyes. That alone was amping up the angst factor. I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel, if that makes sense.
Chuck reveals that the archangels ‘smote the crap’ out of Cas… that he exploded like a water balloon of Chunky Soup. Um, eww. Dean curses, calling Cas a stupid bastard for trying to help them. Even though he was an angel. Even though he knew exactly what he was doing. Even though he’d been party to this whole thing happening in the first place—whether or not he knew it. Dean still felt guilty that Cas was dead.
Then… Zach and two angel flunkies show up. Swell. Now the fun can begin. I swear that guy plays arrogant like it’s going out of style. Dean shifts slightly and puts himself between Sam, Chuck, and the angels. I loved how they shot several of these Dean-in-front-of-Sam shots. Dean was so in-focus he looked bright. And he stood in this shoulders-squared stance that exuded protection. Sam, however, was blurred-out, almost smaller. And he almost appeared to be ducking around his big-brother’s shoulders to see what was going on.
“Keep your distance, Asshat.” You tell ‘em Dean.
Zach taunts Dean, telling him that he had a chance to stop his brother and he couldn’t and it was “Apocalypse Now.” We all should’ve laid bets as to how long it would be until someone in this episode used that phrase. Zach basically just expects Dean to come with them. Says that Lucifer is circling, looking for a vessel—since he’s an angel and all, those are the rules—and when he finds it, it was going to be Four Horsemen time.
Dean’s having none of it. Zach notices Dean’s hand is bleeding and Dean yanks a pocket-door closed, revealing an anti-angel sigil, presses his bloody hand on the symbol and it’s bye-bye Zach.
“Something I learned from my friend Cas…” Aww, Dean.
Chuck sums up the whole situation with an eloquent, “This sucks ass.” Yep, he be a writer. Hee.
The guys are staying in yet another No-Tell Motel, this one complete with a twosome attempting a hook-up on the El-Train-like stairs leading down to the entrance. Sam walks into their room where Dean is reloading his .45 and tosses his brother a hex bag that will keep angels and demons both away. A trick he picked up from Ruby.
This reminds Dean that it’s been awhile since his brother’s last fix, so he asks Sam how he is. Sam says he’s fine. Whoever put them on that plane apparently cleaned him up. And here? I kinda thought they pulled a bit of a storytelling cop-out. Sure, later, we get a bit more about who planted them on the plane (and still… a plane?? Where is Kripke going with that?) and therefore ‘cured’ Sam, but… if they never touch on the blood addiction again, I’ll be a little disappointed.
Supernatural methadone or not. Like Dean’s PTSD, they had us with the blood addiction. They had us by the throats with that. And we are/were worried and scared for this character. It’s not enough to say, huh, guess I was cured. How ‘bout that? I just hope they bring it up again, use it somehow again. That’s all I’m saying.
Sam tries once more to apologize and Dean once more shuts him down, and this time, I felt the chill. And the desperate attempt to make it all okay. Sam’s “there’s nothing I can do or say to make this right” was his attempt at a request for absolution. Just forgive me, Dean, because I can’t forgive myself. But Dean’s bark of, “Why do you keep bringing it up, then?!” exposed so much more than he meant for it to.
He’s wounded. Deeply. And he has no idea what to do with that. Because he started this, even if Sam was the one to finish it. And he hasn’t been able to come to terms with that let alone with the fact that he failed to save his brother—not from Death, but from himself—and that Sam turned his back. Sam didn’t listen. Sam didn’t trust him. And now the Devil was out there. What do you do with all of that when your brother is standing there, alive, apparently healed, staring at you, begging for forgiveness with halted attempts at apology and limpid eyes?
If you’re Dean, then… you don’t think about it. Not yet, anyway. You square your shoulders, point out that together, you’ve made a mess, you clean it up. And you treat it like any other hunt. Only this time? You have to find the devil. Nice.
I may be struck by lightening for saying this, but… I think the devil may break my heart. The ‘vessel’ that he apparently chose had such a tragic story that it made me cry. Wife, baby boy murdered in their beds. Haunted by the sight of his wife in his bed, by blood covering him, by a crying baby on a monitor (that gutted me, seriously), by a crib overflowing with blood.
The writers did an amazing job with setting up this vessel as a sympathetic figure. Even before Lucifer visited him I was afraid for him. How do you live with that kind of tragedy? How do you go on? I’ll come back to him.
Okay, so because Chuck is being watched by the Ultimate Big Brother, he reaches out through IM and finds his Number One Fan… who just so happens to be a Wincest Fanfic writer. Okay. We get it, writers. You think fanfic writers are to be made fun of. And that they all write slash. Can we get over that already? Do we have to have the giddy writer who “just knew” they were really real the next time we see Chuck? I’d really like it if this was the last reference to fanfic—especially in that ‘vein.’ Because, c’mon!
Becky is the reason I don’t know if I should say anything in the writing class I’m starting next week about learning to tell stories through the fanfic genre. *sigh* But, I digress. When she finds the guys, her total squee at actually touching Sam Winchester was humorous. As was her exclamation that Dean wasn’t how she pictured. Definitely a SamGirl, that one. She shares Chuck’s cryptic message that the sword was in a castle on a hill made of 42 dogs.
Heh. Oh, Chuck.
Bobby shows up—and it looked like he drove the Impala. Did I miss something there? Weren’t the guys driving the Impala after the random plane ride? How did Bobby get it? Anyway, he is happy to see the boys in one piece, opens his books, and shows them Michael, who Dean says looks like Cate Blanchett. *laugh!* I love this guy.
They decide that they have to basically split up and search for clues when Sam just can’t… he can’t do it anymore. He has to have some relief from the guilt. He has to. He kinda stops, looking like he ran into a wall, and Bobby prompts him with a, “Kid, you okay?”
Dean tries to stop Sam one last time—not wanting to go into it, not wanting Bobby to know, not wanting to offer Sam that out, I’m not sure. But it doesn’t work. Sam tells Bobby the truth and Bobby stands up, stepping right up to Sam, and lets him have it with both barrels. He tells him this isn’t the kind of thing that gets forgiven. That if by some miracle they make it through this, he wants Sam to lose his number.
Sam utterly broke my heart. His face holds a destroyed expression. He took it, every word. His body kind rocked back with the physical impact of those words. His eyes flood with tears, but they don’t fall. He works his mouth to keep in the pain that you see written on his face. He swallows hard and nods, saying finally with a shaking voice that there’s a church nearby, he’ll go look up lore there. Bobby’s all, “you do that.”
And Dean? Dean just stands there. He watches Sam confess, watches Bobby rip into him, watches Sam leave. He stands so still that he doesn’t look like he’s breathing. My knee-jerk response was, say something, man—make Bobby stop! But then… I thought about it. Bobby had every right to be angry. He fought just as hard as Dean to keep Sam in that panic room. He bled for Sam—because of Sam—and he was betrayed by him. By a kid that he repeatedly dropped everything for, time and time again. By a kid that he kept reaching out to, offering help. That kid slapped him away with the butt of a shotgun and turned his back on every offer of help.
Sometimes when you’re angry, when you’re hurt to the core, words are said that you don’t really mean, and would take back when you’re calm, but they’re said anyway. Now, I know, demon, possession, all that. But even if it had been Bobby, he had the right to be angry.
And maybe Dean needed Bobby to be angry with Sam. He needed someone else to lash out at his brother because he wanted to, but he couldn’t. Not again. Not anymore. They’d been there, done that. And now anger didn’t have the same bite or justification for Dean. Now there was just hurt and the sting of betrayal and sadness for something he can’t get back. And he needed to watch Sam get ‘hit’ by someone else he loves just to affirm that he couldn’t do it himself.
Dean and Bobby regroup at the table o’books and Bobby starts musing about how John was right—that Dean would have to save Sam or kill him. And that it was on them that they didn’t do a good enough job saving him. Bobby’s talk about John triggers something in Dean’s impressive filing cabinet memory and he heads to his bag to dig out a Ziploc of business cards, pulling one from the deck. Castle Storage at 42 Rover Hill.
Okay, here? I had warning bells going off big time—but not about DemonBobby. I should have seen that coming, but it totally took me by surprise. My red flag was the storage unit. It felt too easy. I didn’t right away think that Chuck’s vision was “planted,” but I did detect some definite hinkiness afoot. However, that was blown to bits with DemonBobby beating the ever-lovin’ crap out of Dean. No blood, but plenty of blows.
As Dean is being picked up out of a pile of motel room wall by DemonBobby, the door opens, and in walks Meg with a Vin Diesel look-alike demon boy-toy. In her Meg-like way, she taunts Dean, finding Ruby’s knife, and talks and talks and talks… then kisses Dean—tongue and all.
“What’s that, peanut butter?” HA!
She says that Dean’s “surrogate Daddy” was awake in there and she wanted him to know what it was like to slice Dean up. We didn’t have time for the impact of what that might mean to Dean—it happened too fast—but for the second time in his life, Dean was held against his will, beaten, and nearly killed by the visage of someone that either was his father, or had stepped into that role. That’s gotta mess with his head a bit.
Bobby, however, hears Dean’s pleas and as Dean’s struggling against the hold of the demon, Bobby manages to shake free of the demon’s hold long enough to stab himself. Vin Diesel goes after Dean and Sam busts in, seeing the chaos and recognizes Meg right away—perhaps because they were rather intimately connected at one point. The fight is vicious and quick and Dean pulls the knife from Bobby’s body and kills Vin Diesel and Meg—in true Meg fashion—bails leaving her meat-suit on the floor of the motel no doubt to be used again.
See, Meg may have been annoying, but she did tell us one useful piece of information: demons were flocking to be the one to kill Dean. Because now that Lucifer was back, it was “heaven or hell” on earth. They were practically giddy. This year is not going to be easy for our boy or his brother.
The boys haul Bobby to the ER and ignore the nurse’s command to wait there, taking off to the storage unit because the demons know where the sword is and they have to get there first.
At the storage unit we are treated to one of the sexiest scenes in any TV Show since… well, since Season 4. The guys stand at the trunk, looking subtly to either side, open it up and reach in for their weapons. With precise motion, faces set and stoic, they each grab a gun, pocket it. Then Sam picks up a pump action shotgun, cocks it, and Dean grabs a pistol and twirls it around his index finger, palming it expertly before slamming the trunk closed.
**Gaelic must pause for a moment**
That was wonderful.
Moving on. They move into the unit, covering each other (like they always have—even if later we hear Dean say that something’s lost, there is one thing that will anchor them: their life-long partnership… and perhaps that hold will give them enough time to heal), see bodies of dead demons strewn about on top of the Devil’s Trap, and then see Zach and his flunkies standing further inside.
“Thank God,” Dean deadpans. “The angels are here.”
This is another of those Dean in front, Sam behind shots that I liked. It visually set up the old guardian persona and made me wonder… if all these demons are gunning for Dean, will Sam now be the guardian, and if so, will we see that stance reversed at some point?
And here, another of my questions is addressed… if not completely answered. Turns out that Dean is Michael’s sword. Zach stresses that they did lose it for a bit, until now. So, I’m wondering… does that mean that they didn’t know Dean was Michael’s sword until that moment? Or they knew and Dean had to come to them ‘willingly’? Not sure. Anyway, Zach continues his arrogant seduction of Dean by insulting him—which of course always works—saying that he’s just a human and a sub-par one at that. Dean realizes that Michael needs Dean’s permission to inhabit his body and is basically like, “eat me.” He’s unwilling to spend life as an ‘angel condom.’ (Did I mention I love this guy?)
So, in retaliation for Dean’s stubbornness, Zach breaks Sam’s leg. BAM! Just like that. Dean says no. Zach threatens Bobby—says he’ll never walk again. Dean says no. Zach gives Dean Stage IV stomach cancer. Dean doubles over in pain, coughing up blood, still says no. Zach removes Sam’s lungs and Dean is basically like, just kill us. Zach says he hasn’t even started. The boys are in dire straits. They are losing. They are in pain. They are… totally saved by Cas.
I whooped. Quietly, of course. But when Cas stepped in I tossed my pillow in the air with a yawp! Cas takes out the flunkies, and confronts Zach who is all “bu-bu-bu how…” Cas was ‘saved’ by a power greater than the angels—the same power that pulled the guys from the convent and put them on a plane (a plane?!?). Zach thinks it’s impossible—he was the one that said God has left the building.
“Put these boys back together and go. I won’t ask twice.”
The boys are staggered by the sight of Cas, and after Cas carves Nokian (?) sigils of protection into their ribcage, he vanishes in a whisper of wings. And I grinned. For two reasons. One—the ribs. Very significant in Biblical stories as Adam’s was used to make Eve. And two, because God intervened. And that’s not how He does things. God just doesn’t intervene—he gave us free will for a reason. He allows us to choose. Even if some believe He already knew the outcome of our choice, we still have that freedom. And I think that the angels took that gift for granted.
Because we’re allowed to choose, and not everyone down here has been making the best choices, they took that as God leaving the building. But I think this is a big, fat guess again. God intervened. That’s huge. Not really sure what it’s going to mean in the overall arch this year, but… it’s huge.
And, we’re back to Nick. Lucifer shows up as his wife, then says that he’s not really Nick’s wife, he’s an angel. Named Lucifer.
Nick, in an endearing burst of wry humor is like, “Naturally. Ah, could you do me a favor there, Satan, and remind me to not drink before I go to bed?”
This scene was very powerful—probably the most powerful of the whole show, second only to the ending. Lucifer says that we have the wrong idea about him—that he doesn’t lie. He tells Nick that his great sin was that he loved God too much and for that God betrayed him.
To quote an infuriating line from Star Wars, what he said was true, “from a certain point of view.” And that’s just it, isn’t it? That’s how the Devil gets us. Every time. By telling us the truth with just enough inflection here, just enough pressure there to pose it as coming from our need, our point of view, our truth. Because he did love God—what he didn’t love were humans. And he felt betrayed that God loved us more. More than him. More than the angels. And because of that, he was banished.
Because of that, a separation from God and from love and peace and happiness was created. Because of that, there is Hell.
But he didn’t say all of that to Nick. He didn’t have to. He’d hooked him by painting God as a betrayer. By asking a question we ask ourselves every day, all the time, when hope flees and tragedy strikes and your heart is ripped from your chest and you can’t figure out why. He simply said that Nick’s family didn’t deserve to be killed as they were—his baby didn’t deserve it—and God did nothing to stop it.
Because God doesn’t intervene. Not like that. If we ask to be forgiven, sure. If we pray for protection, maybe. If we ask… perhaps. But not like that. Bad things happen to good people. It’s the way of the world. But that’s impossible to simply accept when you’re the good person the bad thing has happened to.
Lucifer tells Nick with what sounds like sincere regret in his/her voice that he can’t bring back Nick’s family, but he can give Nick justice if Nick will be his vessel. And Nick, with a tear tracing a path down his face, says yes.
Back at the hospital, Bobby is yelling at the doctor and he damn well will walk again, you idjit. Which makes me wonder if Zach only fixed Sam and Dean… and left Bobby out of the equation when Cas showed up. They wonder now what and Bobby says that they just have to, “save as many as we can for as long as we can.”
But then, my hero emerges. Stepping forward, the familiar swagger in his step, lips pursed in determination, Dean’s like, “what if we win?” Angels, demons, the lot of them. They can take a long walk off a short pier. Get another planet for their war. This is ours. Humans. We do this ourselves.
Bobby’s like, “How we gonna do that, genius?”
Dean’s reply is so pure Dean it had me bouncing. “I have no idea. But I do have a GED and a give ‘em hell attitude and I’ll figure it out.”
Dean may be “nine kinds of crazy” but he not only just dropped a little fanfic seed on us with the GED comment—take that Becky—but he is made of awesome. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves, grab me a gun, and get into the thick of it. Bobby stops Sam on the way out and tells him that those things he said was all the demon talking. He said he’s never cutting Sam out. Ever. And Sam’s sad little smile of gratitude chipped off another piece of my heart.
Sam’s gonna kill me, I know it. He’s gonna make me want to know why others in my life can’t see the evil they’re walking willing toward before it’s too late. He’s going to make me wonder if they’ll be plucked from the explosion of their life and give a chance to find redemption and forgiveness. And he’s going to make me want to give it to them if it ever happens.
As they’re leaving the hospital, Sam suggests finding the Colt—which, yeah, where’d we last see that thing anyway?—and Dean says that everything he said in there was for Bobby’s benefit. They don’t stand a snowball’s chance. Whatever, Dean. I believed him. I think he believed it. I think he still does. Otherwise, he would have just given in and let Michael take over. Sure he’ll go down fighting like he said to Sam, but I also think he believes that maybe… just maybe they’ll figure out a way to stop The End of Days. Even if it doesn’t mean killing Lucifer. ‘Cause… well, even if they did kill Lucifer, humanity would end. That’s the prophecy. So… yeah.
Sam finally stops Dean, asking if he has something to say.
Dean’s face in that moment reminded me of a shot from Wendigo… only with years and Hell drawing lines around his mouth and eyes that weren’t there before. He was mostly in shadow, the planes of his face and his eyes cast into light. And that effect offered a kind of broken-hearted luminosity to his eyes that caught my breath.
“I tried, Sammy,” he says, finally pulling out the ‘Sammy’ after almost a full episode. “But I can’t keep pretending that everything is all right because it’s not.”
The thing is—no one asked him to. It was just the only way he could find to cope with the reality of his next words.
“You chose a demon over your own brother. I know you’re sorry… but… you were the one I depended on the most and you let me down in ways that I can’t even… I’m having a hard time forgiving and forgetting, y’know?”
And that’s it, right there. Dean’s foundation is gone. And the only thing he can do is keep moving, keep checking, try not to get slammed into the glass again, keep his feet under him. Doesn’t mean that he’s any less fiercely protective of Sam. Doesn’t mean he loves him less. If anything, it shows just how much he does love his brother.
“I just don’t think we can be what we were. I don’t think I can trust you.”
Sam’s flinch with those words hurt. Dean stepping away so that the final shot showed them apart hurt.
But when trust is shattered so violently—so blatantly—it’s not something that’s easy to gather back. It takes a long time. And even when you finally do forgive, you don’t forget. The person who broke your heart may one day be your friend again and you may once more share your life with them, but in the back of your mind is the shadow of doubt… what if.
It’s just a factor of being human.
And really, Dean hasn’t forgiven himself for the significant part he played in the onset of this downfall. There is a lot of stuff to deal with this year—and from my point of view, Lucifer and the Apocalypse is just one part of it. The big piece of the pie, the one that everything else hinges on, is trust. The brother’s trust in each other, in themselves, in help that’s offered, in what they know to be true.
Maybe they can’t be what they were. Maybe what they can be is something better.
Thanks for reading. See you next week!
- Where Am I?:kitchen table
- How Do I Feel?: contemplative
- Feeding the Muse:4 AM Forever by Lostprophets