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Stream of Consciousness, Episode 6.21

“I don't believe in happy endings, but I do believe in happy travels, because ultimately, you die at a very young age, or you live long enough to watch your friends die. It's a mean thing, life.” – George Clooney


Though they were shown together, I’m writing the rambles for the final two episodes separately as they were very distinct stories only dove-tailing together as any other episodes do. If you choose to read, I’d love your thoughts on both.

I’m hoping that I work my thoughts out on them as I write these. And I will admit: one is going to be easier to write than the other.

I’ll skip the THEN with this one as basically it was just a remember Lisa and Dr. Visiak? Okay, they’re gonna be back…oh, and here’s what happened last week with Cas in case you missed it.

NOW isn’t exactly now as the date reads March 15, 1937. It’s Providence, Rhode Island, and we’re in the old-fashioned study of a writer. A fire is burning desperately in the fire place, thunder, lightning, and rain are pelting the windows and jarring the writer as he pecks feverishly at the old-school typewriter. He’s drinking some sort of liquor. Made me chuckle a bit, that.

I always find it a bit easier to create with a glass of Cabernet next to me (one glass…I do have limits). I saw a quote once, though, that gave me pause: I’m a drinker with a writing problem. Made me think how it seems that sometimes, only the damaged can write the things I enjoy reading. Anyway! Moving on.

The writer is a scholarly-nerdish looking guy, oiled back black hair, thin, wire-frame glasses. I kept thinking I should know who he was, but I hadn’t watched the previews and I hadn’t been spoiled, so I was looking around the room for clues. Just as he types THE END, the door to the study opens creepily. Pulling open his desk drawer, the guys grabs a gun (a hefty one by the quick glance I got of it) and approaches the door, obviously frightened. There’s no one in the hall.

He shuts and locks the door, turning around and pours himself more whiskey/bourbon/whatever it was and just then, the window explodes into the room in a fury of glass and thunderstorm. A figure is standing in the shadows. It starts to approach him.

The writer stammers, “Please…we didn’t know…I’m sorry.” As he's backing away from the dark figure, he knocks his manuscript off of the heavy desk. Our focus is drawn to the manuscript as a terrible scream erupts off camera and blood splatters everywhere—and across the title page of the manuscript. The page reads, “Haunter in the Dark,” by H.P. Lovecraft.

I squealed a bit at this. Some of you might know I’m a huge Stephen King fan; I read in an interview by him once where he said that H.P. Lovecraft was an inspiration to him and for so many of the weird concepts and possibilities he creates in his stories. I hadn’t really investigated this writer beyond that, but I always thought If he inspired King, then he had to be pretty wonderfully twisted. I’m not sure how the man actually died…after this episode, I think I want to look into him a bit and see what they used and what they spun to make his lore and legend work for them.

I will admit that I thought he’d be a bigger player in the encompassing rest of the story, though. *shrug*

We move from 1937 to now now and are back at Bobby’s. It’s apparently the morning after Cas’ midnight visit to Dean. The boys are sitting in Bobby’s study surrounded by copious amounts of books. Dean has one open in his lap, but he’s not looking at it. He’s staring into the middle distance, obviously running last night’s encounter with his friend over and over in his head.

What could I have done – said – differently? Was I wrong? Why didn’t I see this before? How do I keep missing these signs from people I love? What is he doing? What are we going to do?

Sam, at Bobby’s desk, sighs a bit and looks up from the ginormous book he’s peering sightlessly into and tell Dean that at least he tried.

Dean: Fat lot of good it did. Why’d he even come? Samuel’s journals are pointless. Jebediah Campbell has squat to tell me about how to stop Cas from cracking open Purgatory.

I’m hoping, though, that those journals become more important in Season 7 when (and this is a bit of a spoiler jump past the next episode, but if you keep reading you’re going to find out anyway) they have no hope of angelic intervention for investigative help. Mainly because it would help make Samuel’s appearance and return in this season more meaningful.

It’s one of a list of things that still bugs me about the overall plot of the season: Samuel’s return and subsequent death. This may be me tugging at the loose thread that I should instead just cut off so that I can avoid unraveling the shirt, but…Crowley brings Samuel back to help find Purgatory since Cas won’t let him use the boys. He promises Samuel that he’ll bring Mary back as the incentive to work for him. Perhaps he even lies about where she is to prompt his obedience. We don’t know.

That’s the thing, I think. They don’t tell us enough details with some of the occurrences. Crowley ended up using Dean and Sam anyway, Dean had to go through the pain of not only seeing his grandfather back from the dead but seeing his extended family, killing a cousin, feeling a sense of betrayal when he found out that Sam had been hunting with Gramps the whole time he’d been separated from Dean. And then Sam -- our resouled Sam – was forced to kill his own grandfather. All because…why? Crowley wanted help that just wasn’t moving fast enough for him?

So, I’m hoping that we haven’t seen the last of Samuel’s influence; that the Campbell family library they found as a result of Samuel being back and Sam working with him will aid them in Season 7 in a way we weren’t able to see it work in Season 6.

Bobby comes downstairs and interrupts the maudlin frustration permeating the study. He tells them that the big deal isn’t the journals they have – it’s the journal they don’t. A journal of one “Moisha” Campbell (of the New York Campbells). Dean’s side-of-the-eyes glance when Bobby says this name is perfect. *grins*

Bobby reveals that Cas didn’t just come by for a midnight chat; he took Moisha’s journal. Sam, still sitting at the desk is all, uh, then we gotta get it back. Bobby hand Dean a manila envelope and says that they could just read the copy he made. *loves Bobby*

Bobby: Hi, glad to meetcha. Bobby Singer, Paranoid Bastard.

*hi-fives the grizzled old hunter*

So, they read. Dean comes in from the kitchen holding two cups of coffee and some papers. He hands one cup to Sam as he reads aloud. And, total aside? Something about that gesture…bringing his brother coffee…it said so much to me about where those two were now. Where Dean was in his head-space with Sam. They were back to being partners, a team, yes. But Dean had staked his flag squarely in Protective Caretaker Camp for Older Brothers. Others (like, admittedly, myself) might want more for him, but this is it for him in this moment: keeping Sam Sam and hunting down the monsters.

Everything else just hurts too much.

Dean (reading paper): Went to Dr. Phillips about the events of March 10th

Bobby tells them that happens to be March 10, 1937, and that Dr. Phillips is actually Lovecraft. Sam, bless him, immediate geeks out and has me grinning.

Sam: H.P. Lovecraft?

Dean, sipping his coffee, has a question mark painted all over his face.

Bobby’s like, Hello?!? Horror writer? Cthulhu?

Dean: Ah, no. I was too busy. Having sex with women.

*GUFFAWS* I love Dean. I just do.

Bobby: One notion that keeps coming up in his stories – opening doors to other dimensions and letting scary crap through.

Huh. Well, that definitely explains the world of weird that was King’s From a Buick 8.

Sam: So you think Lovecraft knew about Purgatory?

Bobby: All I know is, Moisha paid him a visit.

SO, they finally have a lead, right? To get to Purgatory first and stop Cas and Crowley from letting out all the monsters? I have to say this now because between you and me, I started to forget what the threat of Purgatory was to them.

For Dean, Sam, and Bobby, it wasn’t about the souls as is the apparent theme of the season. It was about the danger opening the door would pose to the world: releasing monsters for them to fight. Monsters like the Alpha’s they were dealing with at the beginning of the season (who…went away, apparently, when Mom came home).

Looking at it all through Cas’ eyes last week, I forgot about why it was scary to open Purgatory. I started thinking about Cas freeing those souls. Taking them up to Heaven – to fuel his war, sure, but at least they wouldn’t be suffering in Purgatory, right? So, it started to get turned sideways in my mind as to why Dean and Sam and Bobby were trying so bloody hard to stop him.

But…then I remembered the monsters. They’re hunters. Of course their focus is going to be on monsters. Stopping them from getting out. Stopping them from hurting people. Souls are secondary to monsters in their world.

We shift from Bobby’s, unexpectedly, to the Braeden’s. Ben is laying on his bed listening to his iPod (and I wish I could have figured out what song he was listening to because it sounded kinda cool) reading a graphic novel called “Cthulhu” (of course…why wouldn’t he be?). Downstairs, Lisa and a good-looking African American man are watching baseball on TV. Lisa brings him a beer, then snuggles down against his side. Ben confirms it later, but I could only assume that was the mysterious Dr. Matt.

Out of nowhere, a man crashes through the front door/window thing and grabs Lisa. Upstairs, Ben hears the commotion and sneaks to the top of the stairs, peering through the bars. Another big, scary man comes in behind Matt who has stood up to implore Big Scary Man #1 to let Lisa go. Big Scary Man #2 breaks Matt’s neck (gah!). Lisa sees Ben on the stairs and tries to turn Big Scary Man #1 away from the stairs, crying out as his grip tightens. Ben runs back up to his room, blocking the door handle with a chair.

As a mother, I can’t imagine what Lisa must be feeling right now. Terror for her own life, horror that she just watched her lover die, and absolute rage that her child was in danger and she was helpless to stop it. Guh, my belly just coiled at this part and it only got worse.

Ben calls Dean. We switch back and forth from Bobby’s to the Braeden’s as they talk. Dean on the phone is totally focused on Ben, his face tight, his eyes lazer-points of thought. Bobby is watching him, worried. Sam, though…his expression bruised my heart a little. I know he had to be aware of what Dean had gone through with Lisa and Ben because of him—leaving them, twice…scaring them when he was vamped, giving up on the normal he’d promised Sam he try for, all because of his love and devotion to his brother—and watching Dean go through this now was visibly wounding Sam.

Ben tells him that there are men in the house, they got mom, they killed Matt.

Dean: What are they? Did you see their eyes?

It was so telling that he said what. Ben didn’t see the eyes. Dean asks if he can get to Lisa’s closet – he left a shotgun in there. Ben can’t. Dean closes his eyes. For a brief moment I was reminded of this movie I saw once with Liam Neeson. I can’t remember the name of it straight off, but in it his daughter (Shannon from Lost) was kidnapped and she was on the phone with him. He asked her specific questions – enough information to help him find her.

Dean reminded me of Liam in this moment. Terror-filled about what was happening to this kid that he felt close enough to to be his, helpless to stop it, needing to focus him so that he could be saved. He tells Ben to jump out his window saying any bones he breaks won’t compare to what those men would do to him.

Ben goes to the window, but before he can jump, the men burst into his room. Dean is left yelling Ben’s name into the phone saying he was on his way, he was coming to get them now. He promises.

Dean: You with me, Ben?

Nothing. And then. Crowley picks up the phone. Sam is watching his brother and when Dean’s face shifts upon hearing Crowley’s voice, Sam’s eyes go almost flat with anger. I knew Crowley’s promise didn’t cover anyone other than Dean and Sam. I thought it would be Bobby, though, honestly. This is worse. This is much worse.

Crowley: Hello, Dean. Fancy a chat?

I noticed with this episode how Dean says the demon’s name. His lips push out and he says it like Cr-OWE-lee. When I’m talking about the demon, I find myself saying CRAW-lee. Funny what you notice at the end.

Dean threatens to kill him if he doesn’t let them go. It’s standard Dean – helpless or not, he’s still going to promise death to those who do harm to ones he loves. And he’s going to do his level best to follow through. I kinda hope he still gets his chance, as much as I love that British demon.

Crowley: Let’s get to the bit about how this goes. Your chocolate’s been in my peanut butter for far too long.

Hee. I love how they write Crowley’s dialog. I actually remember those Reese’s commercials.

Crowley ignores Dean’s threats, though Dean is pacing like a caged tiger in Bobby’s study, oblivious to the worried eyes pinned to him, his whole focus on putting weight to the threat in his words. Sam never takes his eyes off Dean. Bobby’s eyes kinda dart between the two. Crowley tells Dean that he is keeping them until Dean backs the hell off.

Crowley: I won’t hurt them – provided you and Jolly Green stand down. Got it? Splendid. Kisses.

Dean’s face as he shuts down the cell phone puts a whole new spin on “spitting nails.” He’s kinda bowed, his shoulders curled in a bit, and he looks – and talks – like he can’t quite breathe right.

Dean: He said Lisa and Ben keep breathing as long as we sit on our thumbs.

Sam: Think Cas knows?

Dean: Gotta assume he does.

That hurt a bit, his assumption. But, honestly? I couldn’t blame him. They found out so much about Cas in the recent days that they never thought he’d be capable of doing…knowing he’s working with Crowley is enough to not put anything past him.

Sam: What are we gonna do?

Dean: I tell you what we’re NOT gonna do. I’m gonna get them.

Atta boy! That’s my hero.

Sam: I’m coming with you.

Dean halts like he runs into an invisible wall, half turns and tells Sam he and Bobby have to stay on the Lovecraft thing. Sam’s eyes go hot and he tells Dean he’s crazy if he thinks Sam’s letting him do this alone.

Atta boy! That’s the Sammy I love.

Dean (looking at Bobby): This is a big ball. We can’t drop it now.

Bobby: Fine. But how are you two gonna find Lisa and Ben?

So, with those words, the teams were decided. No further argument from Dean about Sam accompanying him. Bobby fires up the Charger (yay!) and heads out to follow up on the Lovecraft thing. Sam and Dean summon Balty to the classic car graveyard behind Bobby’s house.

Balty: I’m sorry, boys, but do I look like a man servant to you? No? Then quit ringing for me.

Dean: It’s important.

Balty: I was drinking a ’75 Dom out of a soprano’s navel when you called. That was important.

Dean gives him the eyebrow shrug that basically says yeah, okay, I’ll give you that. Hee.

Sam tells Balty that Crowley’s alive and Balty, totally smug, says that they’ve been scooped – Cas already told him. Dean wants to know if Cas also told him that he’s Crowley’s butt-buddy (his words, not mine). Balty flinches slightly, his eyebrows folding. Sam presses the advantage and said that Cas and Crowley are going halvsies on the souls in Purgatory. Balty falters saying that yes, he knew, but it’s obvious this is news to him.

Dean: Look, Crowley and Cas took two people who are very important to me.

Balty’s like, and I care because….

Dean appeals to any shred of decency the angel might have, asking for help to save these innocent people. Balty’s like, hummm…and then leaves. Dean’s son of a BITCH echoes through the lot.

Sam: Let’s just call Cas. Maybe he doesn’t know anything….

Dean (his voice hard and hollow): We are Not. Calling. Cas.

Sam: So what then?

Dean just gives a helpless shake of his head.

Meanwhile, Bobby – cleaned up and looking like an investigative reporter for National Geographic – is interviewing some random guy who is apparently a collector of all things Lovecraft. This guy has a definite…um…respect…for Lovecraft's…talents.

Collector: He should be taught in schools. He’s up there with Dickens and Dean Koontz.

Heh.

Bobby: You must be catnip to the ladies.

Collector: I’m in a long-term online relationship.

Heh again.

Bobby asks him about March 10, 1937. The Collector wants to know if Bobby is working with the other guy – trench coat, looks like Columbo, talks like Rain Man. Bobby, his face shifting with the realization that they are still one step behind Cas, sits back slightly and tells the Collector that they’re with rival magazines.

The Collector tells Bobby that H.P. had a dinner party on March 10th – and the invited were six worshipers in a Black Magic Cult (he says it with capital letters). He says that they tried to open a door into another dimension. But, since there was no mention of cthulhu in the morning papers, they weren’t successful. He says he has a collection of letters about the night, but when he goes to get them, he sees that they’re missing. No prizes guessing who took them.

Bobby leaves and calls Sam – who is walking through the junkyard as he talks.

Bobby: Lovecraft tried to jimmy a dimensional door. Idjit.

He dug further and found out that every guest invited to the party was either dead or missing within a year. He’s going to have a chat with one of the guests that wasn’t invited. The maid had a nine year old boy and he’s currently locked in the same mental ward he’s been at since that night. *sad* He asks Sam if they have a lead on Lisa and Ben.

There’s a noise from the garage that Sam has finally reached in his trek through the junkyard.

Sam: We’re making a few inquiries.

We see inside the garage and Dean is torturing a demon, finally stabbing it to death with the Demon Killing Knife.

Bobby: How’s Dean?

I love that he asked. *rubs heart*

Sam: ‘Bout how you’d expect.

Back in the garage, Dean raises the bloody knife, saying, “Next customer.”

Sam steps inside the garage and there’s a bald-headed demon strapped to a chair in the middle of a Devil’s Trap. This whole scene made me hurt for Dean. First of all, the methods of torture used upon him and that he subsequently used on others during his tour in Hell have obviously not gone far from his mind. And with as caring as he can be to those few he lets in, he is definitely a dangerous person.

It made complete sense and was at the same time so very sad that he’d been pushed to this again – forgetting that the demons were possessing people. Two years ago, when Sam would dispatch demons in such a manner, it shocked Dean. It was one of the reasons, I think, that Sam thought Dean would understand his logic that using the demon-blood-enhanced-Force to pull the demon from the body without stabbing them to death was the better way to go.

But now, after all they’ve been through – after tours in Hell, after a year separated and a half a year with a stranger staring at him from his brother’s eyes…after loss after loss and facing down the Devil himself…after betrayal after betrayal and watching his last friend walk away from him – Dean has come back to using torture to get what he needs, damn the consequences of killing whomever the demon rode.

Sam: Dean, you’re running on whiskey and coffee…and whatever else you’re taking.

*yipe*

Dean: Yeah. And?

Sam: We’re grasping at straws here, man.

Dean (half-turning so that we see his profile, then darting his eyes slightly to the side to look at Sam): If I kill enough of these demons, eventually one of them’s going to tell me where Crowley is.

Sam: You’ve been at this for awhile. You need a break. Let me take over.

Dean moves away and Sam puts a hand on his arm to stop him. Dean pulls himself free.

Dean: Sam, back off! Lisa and Ben…wherever they are…it’s 100% on me. And if they’re hurt…. (his voice chokes off and he looks away) I’ll yell if I need you.

Sam looks almost chastised as he watches Dean return to the demon. Dean left them to protect them – and whether or not Sam remembers any of it, by now he obviously knows that truth. To have this happen to them despite Dean's efforts to the contrary…well, it’s killing him and Sam can see that. He leaves the garage and calls out to Cas.

Sam: Cas, I don’t know if you’re in on this Lisa and Ben thing, but if you have any heart…bring them back to us, man. Please. I’m begging you. I am begging, do you understand?

I love that he said ‘us’….

Cas doesn’t answer…but then we see that he’s standing there with his Invisibility Cloak on, watching as Sam walks past him. Next thing we know, Cas is walking into Autopsy 101. He confronts Crowley about taking Lisa and Ben – revealing to us that he knew nothing about it. Cas tells Crowley he should have talked to him first – to which Crowley snarkily replies that he’d rather ask forgiveness than permission. Cas repeats that he’s not to harm them.

Crowley: You’ve maxed out on putting humans off limits. You want to stop me? GO FIND FRIGGIN' PURGATORY!

Cas hears some kind of high-pitched sound and puts a hand to the side of his head.

Crowley: Call on the Batphone? Never call during business hours, do they?

Cas: I’ll be back.

He says it with as much inflection and promise as The Terminator. Turns out it’s Balty and he wants to know if Crowley is “in flagrante” with the King of Hell. Cas lies, saying of course not. Balty calls him on it, saying he's always been a rotten liar, and wants to know why. Cas says it’s a means to an end, but Balty wants to know what the end is. Cas tells him it’s to win the war.

Balty: I can only assume you’d be the vessel. Suck up all those souls into yourself. All that power.

Huh – I hadn’t thought of that. I had just been assuming the souls would go to Heaven to fight on his side or something – burn brightly there or something. I should have realized when we saw Cas use Bobby’s soul as fuel to save the boys in Frontierland that it would be more…personal…than that.

Cas tells Balty it’s the only way, Balty says it’s too much power and he’ll explode and take half the planet with him. Cas assures him with an eerie calm that that won’t happen. Cas demands to know if Balty is with him or not and Balty, with a shift of his eyes that may as well be fingers crossed behind his back, says in for a penny, in for a pound.

Cas wants to know how he found out and Balty says that Dean and Sam (only he calls them Cas’ howler monkeys) are just a touch worked up about this kidnapping business. Huh. Wonder why?

Anyway, Bobby is at the mental institution that is home to the now 80-something year old maid’s son. Cas had been there, too, it seemed. The Old Guy pegged him for a liar: He’s not who he says he is. He didn’t have the same shining about Bobby, though. Must’ve been the angel-thing that got the Old Guy. Bobby presses him for information about the dinner party on March 10th.

Old Guy: Everyone wants to know about the night with the great H.P. Lovecraft.

Then, sounding like the nine-year-old he was, the Old Guy leans forward and asks, “Do you believe in monsters?”

Bobby says he does and the Old Guy tells him not to say it too loud or they’ll lock him in here, rest of his life. So. Sad. He saw something real – something very real and very scary – and they thought him crazy and he spent his whole life locked in a mental institution. Makes me think about how close John or even Dean – at four – came to the same thing happening to him. If they hadn’t managed to fall off the grid, if they hadn’t been subversive and careful…yikes.

Bobby promises him that no matter what he says, he’ll buy it. The Old Guy says that the spell worked. The door opened and something came through but no one saw it except him. Bobby wanted to know how he knew.

Old Guy: It took my mother. It went into her. She wasn’t the same. She even smelled different. She disappeared and one by one, they all start dying.

Aww. I think I liked the Old Guy the best in this. He just got to me – especially the bit about her smelling different. I always say I could be blindfolded and pick my kid out of a crowd just by smelling her hair. You just…you know.

Bobby: Sorry. About your mom.

Old Guy (looking teary, sorrowful, and thankful all at once): You’re the first person who ever said that.

Guh. Good Lord in 80-some odd years no one told this man they were sorry for what he’d gone through? *loves Bobby more*

Old Guy (perking up): Hey! You wanna see a picture?

He hands Bobby an old picture of his mom and Bobby looks horrified, whispering, “I’ll be damned.”

I was like argh! Show us! Who is it?!? I had no clue. I should have, but I didn’t.

Anyway, back in the garage-of-pain, Dean is getting tired and sloppy. He fills a syringe with what looks like blood and approaches the beat-up bald demon still strapped to the chair spouting threats of skinning him and such before he kills him. Unfortunately, he drags his foot and smears the edge of the Devil’s Trap so before he can make good on any of his threats, the demon mind-thrusts him back against a parked van (presumably the one they used to round up these demons to torture) hard enough that it breaks the window.

Before Dean can do more than gasp, the demon breaks free and advances on him, grabbing him by the throat and telling him to shut up. Dean is quickly weakening. I had just started to wonder where Sam was when Cas suddenly shows up and fries the demon with his hand. Dean gasps, staggers loose, then gapes at Cas.

Dean (barely breathing): I didn’t ask for your help.

Cas: Regardless, you’re welcome.

Dean (walking past Cas and seeing the broken Devil’s Trap): Why are you here?

Cas: I didn’t know about Ben and Lisa.

Dean: Yeah, right.

Cas (looking sad): You don’t believe me.

Dean: I don’t believe a word you’re saying.

And though it’s sad, what’s happening to this relationship, I don’t blame Dean. Cas has lied to his face – for months – and Dean believed every word and found out that he was wrong about so much. His trust compass is totally screwed. I have a sister who has done that before. Lies with guileless eyes and you swear it’s the truth, but then you find out you’re wrong and no matter what she says, or how much you want to believe her or how innocent she appears, you are afraid to be wrong again. You’re afraid she’ll get you again.

Cas: I thought you said we were like family.

Dean, watching him speak, has tears in his eyes.

Cas: I think that, too. Shouldn't trust run both ways?

Dean (giving in): Cas…I just can’t—

Cas: I do everything that you ask. I always come when you call. And I am your friend. Still. Despite your lack of faith in me. I just saved you again. Has anyone but your closest kin ever done more for you? All I ask is this one thing.

This is hard, it really is. Because Cas can’t see why Dean doesn’t understand – or at least just trust him, regardless – and Dean can’t see why Cas doesn’t understand – or just trust him regardless. They both are convinced they’re right…and in their own ways, they both are. And both are too stubborn to give in. One doesn’t really know how and the other has had too far too many times.

Plus, I think it goes back to the analogy from last episode about Cas being a child in so many ways – especially when it comes to the human emotions he’s playing with. He may be confident about the power of the souls, but he has a lot to learn about the power of human emotions. They don’t follow logic. They’re stronger than logic.

Dean: Trust your plan to pop Purgatory?

I kept thinking in this moment that if Cas had just told him how he could guarantee that the monsters wouldn’t get loose – if he’d just give Dean some more details – Dean might’ve been willing to trust him further. But by just saying “trust me” after it had so recently been revealed that he lied about so much…no wonder Dean is gun-shy.

Cas: I’ve earned that Dean. I came to tell you that I will find Lisa and Ben. And I will bring them back. Stay behind me. The one time I ask.

(Well, it’s not really the one time, though, is it? He did ask that – and in a more violent way – when Dean almost said ‘yes’ to Michael. At least from my POV.)

Dean: You’re asking me to stand down? (His whole demeanor changes from weary sorrow to total anger as he advances on Cas.) That’s the same damn ransom note that Crowley handed me. You know that, right? No thanks. I’ll find them myself. Why don’t you go back to Crowley and tell him that I said you can both kiss my ass.

Dean turns away, swallowing, and puts the side of his fist to his mouth. Cas looks bereft for a moment, then leaves in an angel woosh.

Bobby’s Charger is outside a house with some kind of protection symbol painted on the door. He knocks and…Dr. Visiak opens. Ah-HA! So that’s who was in the picture. She invites Bobby in and he says that he knew how to find her because he knew of her safe houses—and this one isn’t very safe. He tells her he know what she is (though they never really tell us, dammit).

It’s a cute conversation – rather than a threatening omg you’re a monster conversation. She’s not exactly from Milwaukee and she kinda flubbed her age by about 900 years.

Bobby: What’s your game? Eve came through and raised all kinds of Hell quickly. What’s with the slow build?

Visiak says that they’re not all alike, even if she is from Purgatory. She says she is what she is (though…what that is we never find out) and she happens to be a friend. She says they’re lucky she came through – she likes it here. Bobby asks if she killed Lovecraft and she says, “Please. That guy couldn’t even write ‘Hello.’” She goes on to say she wants to help – why did they think she gave Dean the sword?

But…it leaves a hole. If Visiak didn’t kill Lovecraft, then what did? Seems like something else came through that opening besides her. Because something also killed the rest of those people. And since we never go there in the final two episodes, I’m hoping it’s a hole they intentionally left to allow the boys something to hunt – a real monster to fight instead of a season’s worth of Red Herrings. But…I’ll get to that in the next ramble.

Bobby warns her that this all comes down to one angel who is looking for Purgatory and if Bobby found her, Cas isn’t far away. He says the only way to stop him is to get ahead of him, but she won’t tell Bobby where Purgatory is because it’s too dangerous – for anyone. Bobby offers her protection, but she says he’s ‘just a man’ and she’s better off protecting herself.

Yeah, well, we’ve seen how ‘just a man’ has saved the world countless times, sister. You shoulda trusted him.

Back at Bobby’s, Sam’s pouring himself a drink and Balty pops in, calling him on it, saying that’s more Dean’s gig.

Sam: Stressful times.

Balty: We need to talk. Because…and I know I’m going to regret this, but…I’m officially on your team. You bastards.

Hee. I love snarky, British baddies. We need more next season.

Sam fetches Dean and they all stand in Bobby’s dark kitchen and hear Balty out. He’s on their side for survival. He didn’t like the answers Cas gave him and thinks Cas is insane for wanting to swallow a million nukes, so they should consider him their double agent. Plus? He found Lisa and Ben. But he can’t get them out because the place is angel-proofed.

Balty: Guess Crowley doesn’t trust Cas. Seems that marriage is going swimmingly.

Emotions follow thought like ripples across Dean’s face as he absorbs the implications of what Balty is saying. His instinctive self-preservation that led him to not trust Cas is being shaken a bit. He asks Balty to get them as close as he can. Balty agrees, but says that after that? They’re on their own.

He takes them to some alley behind a warehouse.

Balty: All right, boys. This is where I get off. God be with you and what have you.

They go into stealth mode and Dean knifes one demon, tossing him over a rail to Sam, who catches him and sets him silently on the ground. They go inside – Sam carrying a shotgun and Dean a knife and a bag o’weapons. Dean nods to Sam and says, “Be careful.” He goes one way, Sam the other. They move silently through the dark and look TOUGH doing it. But…it’s not good enough.

Sam, covering a hall and some boxes with the shotgun, gets jumped from above and knocked out. The demons drag him into a side room and lock him inside, unconscious. Whoops.

Meanwhile, Lisa and Ben are tied, sitting, to a post in some lower room. Three demons enter and head down some stairs to a table across the room. Ben looks really pale – like…vampire pale – and Lisa is watching everything. Next thing you know, the sound of a struggle is coming from the outside of the room. Demon #1 goes to investigate and the sounds increase. Demon #2 follows suit and BLAMMO! Demon #2 is blasted through the door. Dean fights Demon #3, dispatching him using The Knife and then kicks him back over the rail.

Bad. Ass.

Lisa: Dean, thank God.

Dean (hurrying down to them): Gonna get you outta here.

He cuts them loose and turns to lead the way out when Lisa surprises him, grabs the knife and then Ben, holding the knife to Ben’s throat. Ben is silent, scared. Dean is like WTH? He turns, eyes darting in a slowly dawning realization as Lisa’s eyes go demon black and she tells him that the brats going nowhere and neither is she.

Dean’s expression falls and then goes flat.

I started to think about the Old Guy knowing the moment the creature took over his mom – how she smelled different. I wonder how long Ben had known something was wrong with Lisa.

Demon Lisa: Crowley thought you might come, so he had me jump this hot little piece of ass for insurance.

Demon Lisa is fabulous. I don’t mean in a good way...except that I do. She’s wonderfully wicked. I think they should have had Lisa be bad a lot earlier in the season – would have added to her level of angst in Dean’s life. She was just very cruel. Well-played cruelty.

Dean advances but she presses the knife to Ben’s neck and tells Ben that she can hear his mother thinking. Dean tells him not to listen. Demon Lisa teases Dean that she was just going to say Dean was Ben’s real dad and the look on Dean’s face when he hears this is crushing. For one tiny, brief moment, he almost believes it. Then Demon Lisa says she’s kidding and who knows who Ben’s dad is – his mom is such a slut.

Dean: You shut your mouth!

DLisa: Oh, now you’re her white knight? She wishes she never met you, Dean. You’re the worst mistake she ever made. (She looks at Ben) Second worst. After keeping you.

Dean (to Ben): It’s not your mom. She’s lying.

DLisa: Says the C minus lay with ten miles of daddy issues. Whatever gets you through the night, Tiny Tim.

Dean advances again (and I have to say that ticked me off as well on his behalf).

DLisa: Back off cowboy.

She continues to taunt Ben. Dean is working a flask of Holy Water down his sleeve and calls out to Ben.

Dean: Ben, look at me. Look at me. You’re gonna be just fine.

Ben’s eyes are wide and afraid and they cling to Dean’s face desperately. Dean takes advantage of Demon Lisa’s attention on Ben and throws Holy Water in her face, pulling Ben away to safety. Demon Lisa launches at him and they struggle, Dean losing the knife. He yells at Ben to grab it, which Ben does. Dean backs away, not hitting Demon Lisa, who taunts him about that. Lifting his hand, Dean starts to recite the exorcism.

Demon Lisa shakes a moment, telling him he better stop. She hits him, chokes him and he keeps on with the rite. Then she grabs a narrowed length of pipe, backs away from him and stabs herself in the side. Dean chokes off the words of the exorcism, looking completely destroyed. He glances quickly at Ben, and then in a hollow voice, continues the exorcism. The demon ejects from Lisa and she falls to the ground.

Dean hurries over to her as real Lisa comes around and gasps out in pain.

Dean: I know, honey.

Oh, my goodness, my heart. When he said those words to her, pressing his hand on her wound and causing her more pain, but saving her life, my heart just flipped over.

I knew then what would happen with them and emotion welled up inside of me so that it sat like a football at the base of my throat. It’s just Dean’s plight, to be continually left alone even as he unconsciously, desperately reaches out. Sometimes he ends up pushing them away – like Cas – because the gray he’s learned to live inside just isn’t gray enough. Sometimes he pushes them away – like Lisa and Ben – because he loves them too much to risk hurting them as only his life can.

*rubs heart*

He breaks my heart. And God help me, I love that he does that to me. That a character can me feel such real, raw emotions. I love that I can’t let go of his plight days after I turn away from an episode. And I love that I worry about what is going to happen to him.

Ben is in shock, staring at his mom, unmoving. Dean is all motion, though. He is in a world of hurry and there’s no time to comfort or coddle. Suddenly I saw John Winchester in him, saw how he might’ve learned, might’ve reacted to a moment of tension and tragedy. Dean calls Sam on his cell, but gets his VM – because, of course, Sam is unconscious in a side room. Dean can’t get Ben to snap out of it with words so he smacks him. Ben grabs his cheek, but blinks and finally looks up at Dean.

Dean tells him, gently, that he has to pull it together, his mom needs him. Tells him to get the salt gun and that he’s going to have to carry Lisa, so Ben has to handle the gun. If anything comes at them, shoot it. Dean picks up Lisa, tells Ben to get the knife, and they head for the stairs.

Dean (to Ben, all business): Keep your elbows in, gun tight to your shoulder, and watch for the kick.

A bad guy comes immediately.

Dean: Ben!

Ben: KA-POW!

Bad guy down. Ben is staring at it, sick. In that moment I remembered the first episode when Ben wanted so badly to fire Dean’s gun, wanted to do what he did, pointing out that Dean had done it when he was Ben’s age. I remembered Dean’s vehemence that he never touch the gun, that Ben’s life was going to be different, that he was going to have choices. I remembered the moment in Ben’s room when Dean said he was leaving to protect him from this life and Ben said he was walking out on his family.

And still, they ended up here. Talk about a tragedy.

Dean (over his shoulder to Ben): Pull it together! Do you want your mom to die?

Harsh, but necessary. Sometimes there’s no time to use soft words. I’ve hated it, but sometimes I’ve had to say the truth to my daughter about her father’s health so she’ll know why she needs to be very, very good – extra-special good – on some days. I’d love her to believe in magic and unicorns forever and never see the more serious side of life, but that’s just not possible or realistic. I really felt for poor Ben, though. His innocence was shattered. Completely.

They get up the stairs and we hear Sam banging on the inside of the door where he’s trapped. Dean lays Lisa down and shoots the lock off of Sam’s door. Picking her back up once Sam is free, he tells his brother they need a ride. That’s the draw-back of angel transport, I guess. No get-away car. Sam handles that job nicely and boosts a Jeep Cherokee. Dean climbs in the back, cradling Lisa, and Ben sits in the front looking nervously over his shoulder.

Dean: She’s fine, Ben. (He voice is thick and shaky with worry, fear, and tears – he sounds just like he did at the end of AHBL1 when he held Sam in his arms in the mud of Cold Oak). She’s gonna be fine. Sam, you gotta go faster, man. She’s fine. She’s gonna be fine.

*Heart. Breaks.*

At the hospital, Lisa is hooked up to machines and Dean and Ben are flanking her looking numb and sad. Dean looks over at Ben and says, very softly, that he’s sorry.

Ben gets up and walks out and Cas is suddenly standing there.

Dean (his voice empty): What do you want? She’ll be dead by midnight.

And I remembered that Cas hadn’t found them for him. Hadn’t saved them as he said he would. Not that Dean agreed to the terms of Cas’ request. But this is what I’d wanted in a way – less angel intervention. I mean, it doesn’t stay that way in this situation, but…I wonder. I wonder if Dean would be better off if Cas hadn’t come to him in this moment. If nature had been allowed to take its course. I mean, he still loses them. Just…wondering is all.

Cas: I’m sorry.

Dean (sounding a bit like a child himself): I don’t care. It’s too little, too late.

Cas: Regardless, I didn’t come for you.

He moves over to Lisa and places his hand on her head, saying she’s fine now and would wake soon. Dean stands, close to tears.

Cas: I said I’m sorry, and I meant it.

Dean (choked up, forcing out the words): Thank you. I…wish this changed anything.

Cas: I know. So do I. All else aside, I just wanted to fix what I could.

Oh, the ending of this friendship, this brotherhood…it’s so sad. It’s not what I’d hoped for after watching everything through Cas’ eyes last episode. I suppose if I make myself, I can see why they are taking Cas down this road – turning it back to all the brothers have is each other. Which is both cool and completely tragic. They are destined to have such a lonely life, these two brothers. I would love more for them – and at the same time, I love that their unity is returning. It’s…confusing to say the least.

But I am missing Cas already. The one-liners of uncertainty he’d throw our way. I’d grown accustomed to it. And it’s going to be a strange change in Season 7. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Sorry.

Cas begins to walk from the room and Dean stops him, asking him to do one more thing for him. I knew exactly what he was going to ask, and I saw his logic and realized I’d known the minute he’d asked Ben to pick up the gun back in the warehouse that this was the only choice for him, the only way he could live with himself. But it hurt. It hurt on his behalf.

Moments later, Lisa wakes up and Ben is sitting by her, watching her. He tells her that they were in a car accident and she’s like, omg are you okay which would be any mother’s first reaction. He says he’s fine but she hit her head pretty hard. Dean, hovering outside the door, knocks on the frame. Lisa looks over and there’s a flicker of interest when she sees him (I mean, what woman wouldn’t look at him like that) but no recognition. Ben asks who he is.

Dean: I’m Dean. They guy who hit you.

Lisa (in a small voice): Oh.

Dean: I…lost control for a moment. I just…wanted to say I’m sorry. I’m real happy you two are okay. Glad…your life can get back to normal now.

Lisa (smiling at him): We’re okay. So that’s what’s important.

Dean gives them a shaky smile that’s happy and sad all at once.

Dean: I’ll leave you two alone. (He looks at Ben) You take care of your mom.

He turns away and there are tears in his eyes. Not once this whole time does he let them fall, though. He has to pause and brace himself against the wall as if someone just punched him in the gut. He pulls in a shaking breath and that’s when I realized I was crying. He may not have let them fall, but I did.

This is the woman – the family – that he thought of when he was making a choice to die. This is the family that his brother made him promise to go to after he made the choice to die. This is the family that sheltered him through a year of nightmares and loneliness, the helped him put the pieces of his shattered self back together again, that brought him into their home and made him feel worthy of love for a brief time. This is the family that he chose his brother over. This is the family that he left to protect. This is the family that was his only -- only -- contact with peace and hope outside of the only life he’s ever known.

And he has to remember all of that. He has to remember everything.

He leaves the hospital, rubbing a hand over his mouth. Sam is waiting for him in the car and they climb in, Sam watching him with accusatory eyes.

Sam: Dean, you have pulled some shady crap before, but this has got to be the worst. White-washing their memories? Take it from someone who knows—

Dean looks over at him and his expression is one in serious, physical pain. His eyes are red-rimmed and his face is tight.

Dean: You ever mention Lisa and Ben to me again, I will break your nose.

Sam blinks at him, shocked. “Dean….”

Dean: I’m not kidding.

The tears swim in his eyes and he turns back to the steering wheel.

The thing is, until Sam said something, it never crossed my mind that erasing their memories of him was shady. I mean, I did wonder if the white-wash came with an at-home clean up. They have a broken house and a dead man in their living room last we knew. That’s gonna be hard to explain or understand if Cas didn’t fix that, too.

But, I didn’t see it as shady because I saw why Dean felt he had to do it. All the pain in their lives came from him. From the moment he came back to them. And from his point of view, if they didn’t remember him, their innocence was returned. Ben never killed a man. Lisa was never demonized. They could live as they had before – as 90% of the population of this universe does. Clueless of what really lurks in the shadows.

It doesn’t necessarily make them any safer; I mean, technically they were only used because of what they meant to Dean. And Dean hasn’t forgotten. I mean, he doesn’t get to forget anything – even for one moment of peace.

He remembers Mary’s death, John putting himself back together again. He remembers keeping the truth about Monsters from little Sam and mending his father. He remembers the look on John’s face when he made him promise to save Sam or kill him. He remembers feeling Sam die. He remembers making the deal for his life. He remembers Hell – all forty years of it. He remembers fighting to avert the Apocalypse. He remembers a past where his parents were young and happy and a deal was made. He remembers seeing the future and Sam as Satan. He remembers searching for his brother in the eyes of the being pummeling him to death. He remembers watching Sam fall into the earth. He remembers the year without Sam and the six months with only the shell of him.

He remembers Lisa and Ben.

And I saw him feel the weight of those memories so keenly is bowed him in the hospital hallway. So this choice was the only humane thing he could do. It was, from his point of view, a gift of life to them.

But then, I heard Sam say “take it from someone who knows” and I realized that for Sam, what Dean did was unfair and took away a freedom that every human should be allowed: choice. He may understand why he’s not be able to remember Hell (in this moment) or all the horrible things he did while soulless, and he may agree to it, but it doesn’t mean he’s come to terms with it. And I could understand Sam seeing it as shady. I just wanted him to step outside himself for a moment and look at it from Dean’s viewpoint so that he didn’t hold it against his brother in the future.

Although, I doubt I have to worry about that. This was the writer’s way of closing the Lisa and Ben chapter in Dean’s life. Taking them from him without killing them (and recycling the Jessica storyline in a way). I highly doubt we’ll ever see them again. Doesn’t mean Dean won’t think about them and feel the pain of their loss, but I don’t think S7 will bring them back to him. If they did…it would just be to hurt him and there are plenty of other ways (as we’ve seen) to do that.

The boys drive away from the hospital and the final tag to the episode is of Visiak leaving her safe house, getting to her car and Cas showing up behind her looking dangerous and grim. He puts his hand on her shoulder and they vanish.

I’m going to roll right into the next ramble, but it’ll be a few hours before it’s up. That one is going to be a bit harder to write for a number of reasons (and I’ve discovered that writing these on Saturday is a bit hard with my Mo Chuisle anxious for Mama-time). I hope to hear your thoughts on both. I can imagine there are many – and that they’re rather diverse. I’m still sorting out what I thought about the finale.

But what I thought about this one…Dean is the kind of hero that would sacrifice his own heart and happiness for the sake of others, time and again. Because of that, he makes some tough choices but he also doesn’t see clearly some of the choices of others. He’s lost a love, a son (in a way), and a friend in this episode and all were because he felt he knew what was right. I can’t help but agree with the way he sees the world for the most part, though I know that it will always leave him lonely.

I just hope that when the dust clears and we reach the true end, while it may not be happy, he has the one person he’s sacrificed the most for by his side: Sam. Because if they end up losing that…the soul that is Dean will be empty and there’s nothing heroic about that.

Thank you, as always, for your time. I hope you found this worth it.

Slainte.

As the episodes were shown back-to-back, here's the link to the ramble for 6.22.
Tags: stream of consciousness
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