Oh, Show. How you twist me up and wring me out. My heart. She hurts. But this is why I love you.
“My charade is the event of the season….”
Okay, I am filling my promise(s) – on time and not tired. Or at least not as tired as I was last week, how’s that? However, with that, I’m warning you that this Ramble may hold more than its fair share of emoting. And pondering. And the like. Plus there will be musing. If you’re good with all of that, we can go on.
Oh, but I just want to say one more thing. I’ve always liked Castiel as an additional character on our Show. Differently than I liked Bobby, but just as much. I love Misha Collins’ delivery and humor and the way the character relates to and affects Dean. I liked Dean actually having a friend. But that said, my enjoyment of the show was never hinged on Cas’ being part of it all. I was sad when he ‘died’ and missed him because in my opinion it always helps to showcase the wonderfulness of our heroes by being able to see them through others’ eyes. That and, it helps grow their characters when they have others to bounce off of, so to speak.
I was looking forward to this episode based on last week’s previews, but I went into it with zero expectations because I didn’t know how the writers were going to want to tell their story and I wanted to be entertained – and I was. A lot of times, I can more or less gauge where different fans will fall on one side or the other, but I have to say with this one? I’m not sure what die-hard Cas fans are going to say. All I can say is I really enjoyed this one and more so than ever, I’m looking forward to where they go from here.
From my perspective, they did a great job bringing Cas back – Misha was excellent in how he played Emmanuel sans Cas memories – and I think that where he was left at the end of the episode solves one problem in a way I could accept and creates a new one I can’t wait to see how it plays out. The only trepidation I had about Cas coming back right when Sam was totally losing it was the same thing that had always irked me when he was around before – he healed them. With a quick fix.
But this time? I was ready for that quick fix (not that it was quick, but I’ll get to that). I needed Sam to be better. One more episode of Broken!Sam might’ve sunk me – and not from the omg Sam’s getting too much attention angle. From the I don’t want to have to bear Sam’s torture anymore angle. We’ve talked in comments for previous episodes about the odd appeal of hurt/comfort. But for me? The hurt that Sam was going through was not appealing; he made me want to protect him, mother him. There was nothing toe-curling about it. I wanted to cry, look away, fast-forward through his scenes.
You can take that as you wish.
It wasn’t that I was disinterested in what was happening to him; on the contrary. It was simply too much for too long and by the time the healing came I felt such a relief that it was finally all over and things can move forward for our boys that I didn’t care about the angelic aspect of it. So, whether it was always planned to have Cas return to fix what he’d broken, or if it was due to “fan input” when Cas ‘died,’ I don’t really care. I like the character and was happy to see him again; I also thought it was a believable way to fix Sam, and I’m SO glad it’s done.
The thing I find the most heartbreaking about the course of this story (the overall story, not just the episode) is the role Dean’s been forced into. Like that line from the Kansas song, it’s all a charade, and I don’t know that he even sees it. He’s "getting over it," "shaking it off," whatever “it” is – even the thing he didn’t think he could get past? For the sake of Sam, he does. He just steps right over that big ol’ black line he hadn’t been able to cross and says please save my brother with his whole being.
And I really don’t know where he’s going to take it – where the writers are going to have him go with it. A continued upward trajectory of ‘dealing with it’ until he breaks from the strain? Or just…dealing with it, period? I want to see it get to him, all of this loss, all of this having to shake it off, all of this fear and worry and protection that turns him inside out and is only numbed through alcohol. I want it to get to him, for him to look at it, wrestle it to the ground, defeat it, and emerge stronger for it. *shrug* We’ll see….
*shakes self* Onward, yes?
THEN, Cas broke Sam’s brain, Sam isn’t sleeping, and Lucifer is Sam’s bestie. NOW, the umbrella that contained all of Sam’s ‘crazy’ has blown away and he’s stumbling down some railroad tracks, behind graffitied warehouses, in the ghetto, running from Lucifer and other people who may or may not be there. He doesn’t even look like Sam, really. It’s like watching a scene from The Basketball Diaries.
He stumbles into an alley and a tweeker there is all get the hell outta here, but Sam says no one is after him. No one real, anyway. Lucifer is there, taunting him, mentioning that Sam ran away after Dean passed out (and I couldn’t understand all of what he said, but I thought I heard something that made me think the two of them had been drinking and Dean fell asleep, but Sam didn’t).
Lucifer: You’d be sleeping now if the Devil would leave you alone. Stupid Satan….
Sam is grinding the heels of his hands into his eyes and pressing his palms against his temples saying he just needs some rest. This whole scene made me check my own disconnect of what Sam’s going through. I have been viewing it through a disassociated lens because 1) it’s a supernatural affliction brought on by Hell and a broken “wall” and 2) he was able to ‘handle’ it using his scar and we didn’t see much of it all for several episodes.
But as some who read this ramble know intimately, this is very real for some people. And maybe it is the Devil speaking to them, keeping them awake, pushing them to do things they don’t want to do. It honestly took until this episode for that point to take root for me. Perhaps because of who it was happening to, but also because of why it had happened in the first place. In a reply to a comment I said something about war triggering very similar maladies in some soldiers; that helped me find a way to relate to what this character was dealing with.
Anyway, the tweeker asks Sam how many days he’s been up and Lucifer answers that this is day five. The tweeker offers Sam a way to knock out (and that’s how we know it’s Gotten Really Bad) and next thing we know, Sam’s in the front seat of the tweeker’s beat up (parked) car, nodding off while the tweeker is passed out behind the wheel. The sound of shattering glass jolts Sam awake and he stumbles out of the car to stare in horror at a large metal pipe shoved through the front windshield – only, no, wait, just kidding! It’s not really there. Lucifer is next to Sam and starts singing again.
Sam stumbles away and Lucifer tells him that his taking pills is just “bringing free drugs to the party” because he’s inside Sam. Sam is staggering away from Lucifer as Luci tells him the longest a ‘normal’ person has gone without sleep is 11 days and hasn’t he always wanted to be normal? Sam’s pale, panting, eyes bruised and bugging out to stay conscious. He’s totally a mess. He’s running to get away from Luci…and runs directly into traffic, getting hit by a car.
Dean bursts into the office of a Dr. Kadinski with a nurse at his side like a guard dog telling him he can’t just come in he needs to be scheduled. Dean’s like, well, schedule me, then!
It reminded me of a line from Good Will Hunting where Robin William’s character tells Will that he wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, “because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms visiting hours don't apply to you.”
Dean was set and ready to tell her what she could to with her procedure until the Doctor tells her it’s okay because he realizes that this is “Sam Smith”’s brother. Dean wants to know why, if Sam was admitted for a car accident, he can’t see him. Doc tells him that Sam was treated for a broken rib and some lacerations. But…he was in their locked psych ward because he was in the middle of a full-blown psychotic episode.
Resistant as ever to anyone classifying his brother a ‘crazy’ or anything close to that, Dean says that he’s not Norman Bates or anything, but the Doc says that they have to do a chicken and egg thing for Sam’s insomnia – is it a result of his condition or is it causing it?
Dean tells him the ‘sleep thing was new,’ and I felt so badly for him. I mean, how can he tell the doctor anything that might help him help Sam that doesn’t involve Hell and then end up getting admitted himself? As the Doc is talking, Dean has Mega-Worried Face: jaw coiled, skin tight beneath his eyes, lips rolled in against his teeth. The Doc takes him up to the locked ward to see Sam, saying they pumped Sam as full of sedatives as is safe and he won’t go under.
As Dean walks in, Lucifer is sitting on the table in the corner of the room telling Sam that when he didn’t have a soul, he didn’t need to sleep (which just prompted all sorts of questions for me on the physicality of sleep deprivation and did that mean that soulless!Sam wasn’t really human since his organs didn’t need sleep and so on). Sam…well, Sam looks just…done. Although, on a purely superficial level? I dug the scruffy beard. Sam should be scruffy (but well-rested) more often.
Lucifer: Ah, Mr. Helpless! Pull up a six pack, buddy!
Dean (to Sam, hesitant, unsure): How you feeling?
Sam: Cancel my UFC fight.
Lucifer: Keep that sense of humor. It’ll get you through this.
I wanted to hate him. I really did. I wanted to be irritated with him for breaking up a good brotherly moment, too. But unfortunately his performance was so spot-on and purposely irritating and insanity-inducing I just couldn’t.
In a darker, older role-reversal of Faith, Dean is telling Sam he’s going to find him some help. I could almost see S1 Sam telling a bruised, pale Dean that he’s not going to let him die. And, predictably – just as Dean had – Sam tells him not to, that the last faith healer they found had a reaper on a leash (to which Dean has to turn away when replying that he remembers that quite well, thank you very much).
Sam: Don’t do this to yourself.
Dean: If I don’t find somebody….
Sam: Then I’ll die. Cas warned you about what would happen….
Ouch – I know Sam’s too tired to worry about curbing his words, but that kinda stung. I mean, sure Dean was warned about sticking Sam’s soul back in his body, but what was he supposed to do with it once Death got it out of the cage? I suppose one choice would have been to end soulless!Sam's existence and ask Cas to deposit Sam’s soul in Heaven so that it would be at peace, but after having recently died to make the deal to get Sam’s soul out of the pit, I don’t know that Dean was thinking beyond “get Sam back.”
Dean: Screw Cas! Quit being Dali-freaking-Yoda about this. Get pissed!
(When he said, 'Screw Cas,' I heard echoes of Dean's pained, "Dad's an ass. You don't do that! You don't lay that kind of crap on your kids!" back in S2's Playthings.)
Sam: I’m too tired. This is what happens when you throw a soul into Lucifer’s dog bowl. You think there’s just gonna be some cure out there?
Dean’s eyes KILL ME DEAD in this moment. The emotions that blink through them as Sam’s saying this literally had my heart panging. Yes, he knows Hell. He knows torment. But he doesn’t know what it was like to be bunk-buddies with Lucifer in the Cage, and there is so much regret there that he shouldn't carry – if he’d known Sam was alive that whole year everyone hid it from him, if he’d picked up on the cause of Sam’s behavior earlier, if if if…would Sam be this damaged? And then there’s the fact that Cas broke the wall, and Dean trusted Cas, and and and....
Lucifer: Oh, you guys are having a moment.
Dean turns away and walks out without saying a word to Sam. He’s already said what’s important anyway. He’s going to find someone to help. Somehow. He’s back at the cabin they holed up in before and he’s going through Bobby’s Black Book of Emergency Hunting Contacts, leaving messages, asking for information, for help.
Aside – the number he leaves for a call back? Has a Lawrence, KS, area code. I loved that touch. *grins*
While Dean tries every number in the book, Sam’s getting his vitals checked by a nurse, Lucifer ‘helpfully’ peering over her shoulder. Y’know, not that I in any way want him to…I just have to wonder about the fact that Sam’s not tried to end it all. He may have acted like he believed there was no solution when Dean said he was going to find help, but the fact of the matter is, even with all this mental anguish, he’s still here, and he’s still making it through – heck, he even finds a ‘hunt’ in the psych ward. So he obviously still has some sort of hope. Some drive to live.
We have a short montage of Dean hitting dead ends, getting frustrated. Lucifer reading aloud from a medical book and self-diagnosing. Sam taking his meds (though fat lot of good they seem to be doing). Dean gets up after crossing the last name off a list, tosses the black book on the table helplessly, and heads to the fridge for a beer. Just then the book “somehow” falls off the table. Frowning, Dean turns, picks up the book and a business card for Mackey’s Taxidermy falls out. He sees the number on the back and calls Mackey. *thank you, Bobby!*
Sam’s nodding off sitting up until the Doc comes in…only it’s not the doc, it’s Luci talking about the elegant torture he has in store for him because he wants Sam to ‘engage’ and muses that this is just like in the Cage. Sam tries to eat but sees maggots in his food, drops the sandwich and backs away. In related news, I’ve recently sworn off lunch meat. *blech*
Just then, a random girl with a large bandage on her neck appears in his opened door, then hurries off.
Mackey returns Dean’s call. Wherever he is, he’s standing outside of his Jeep with a deer carcass strapped to the roof, ready for taxidermification (yes, I just made up that word). I got a good feel about this guy – would like to see more of him in the future. He’s very no-nonsense, an interesting face. One you wouldn’t mind having around as an ally. I hope Dean kept that card.
He tells Dean he’s sorry about Bobby, and then says he thinks he has someone who might be able to help. Dean gets up, pacing as he’s listening. Mackey tells Dean how he'd heard about this guy called Emmanuel for a couple months – how he’d been healing the sick, curing the crazy, all that jazz. Naturally, he thinks there’s something in the milk and wants to find the sucker and punch his clock.
Dean nods appreciatively, already liking the way Mackey presents information. Gotta be a lot easier to talk to someone who thinks like him than it was to talk with Frank.
Mackey finds out that to reach this Emmanuel fellow, you get to him through his wife, Daphne out in Colorado. So, Mackey goes out there, tells Daphne that he’s going blind – which was the truth, he said, his right eye is burned out. She tells him to go home, that Emmanuel will come. He sets every trap, every test in the book.
Dean’s like, “That’s what I woulda done.”
Only when Emmanuel shows, he passes them all. Nothing weird about the guy – except that he’s the real thing. Touched Mackey and his eye was healed.
Dean = THUD. The look of do I dare to hope that flits across his face is heartbreaking.
Back at the psych ward, Lucifer is using a megaphone to get to Sam. The pretty girl with the neck bandage comes back and hands Sam a candy bar she stole from someplace, saying she noticed he wasn’t happy with his ‘in-flight meal.’ Her name is Marin (love that name) and knows his name is Sam.
Somewhere, presumably in CO, Dean is pulling up to a house – and what is he driving? Looks like a Plymouth something…? Any ideas? *wants our Baby back* -- and heads up some stone steps to a porch. He knocks on the door and a guy answers saying that he’s Emmanuel, but that Daphne’s resting. He steps outside to talk on the porch with Dean, when Dean suddenly sees a woman tied up to a chair through the window. Just then, the guy’s eyes go black.
I actually said, oh, God, out loud at that moment. It has been so long since we’ve seen any demons that I forgot what a jolt it could be to have them go all onyx-eyed on us. Dean was as caught off-guard as I was and the demon slams him against the front door hard enough to crack the glass. Ouch! Dean’s all, hold up! Didn’t you get Crowley’s hands-off memo? The demon’s like, what have you done for him lately?
Here’s the one place in the story that I’m still a bit foggy on – why the demons are after Emmanuel and why they feel like he’s worth so much more to Crowley than keeping Dean alive? I’m jumping ahead a bit, but whatever. I got the impression that Meg was the only demon who knew who Emmanuel really was; the others just knew he was a healer. What were they going to use him for? Did ya’ll get that part? ‘Cause I didn’t really. Not even when Meg was telling Dean. Especially when Meg was telling Dean. Rachel Miner’s Meg is my least favorite demon-ally. Her brand of sarcasm is hard to wade through to find the meaning a lot of the time.
ANY.way, the demon basically tells Dean he’s fair game and attacks, but our boy kicks some serious demon ass in this episode, shiving the demon with the Demon Killing Knife before it can get its grubby hands on him. *bravo!*The demon goes all red and glowy as it dies, then falls down the stone steps in front of the house, right at the feet of…duh, duh, duhhhh….Castiel.
Dean’s focus is first on the dead demon, then he registers that someone is standing there. When it filters through who it is (this all takes seconds, but you see the stages of realization on Jensen’s expressive face), Dean = THUD. Again.
Inside the house, Cas/Emmanuel is untying Daphne and Dean is standing in the archway of the room, watching. Daphne calls him Emmanuel and then Emmanuel turns and introduces himself to Dean, holding out his hand to shake. Dean takes it, stutters over his own name, looking as if he’s trying to remember exactly how to breathe. He is, in a word, gobsmacked. The shock of what he’s seeing overlayed with the desperation of his situation and the normalness of this environment contrasted with the return of the demon…he’s spinning.
Gotta hand it to him, though. A lifetime of playing so many different roles outwardly to the world gave him some mad acting skilz.
Emmanuel: I saw his face. His real face.
Dean: He was a demon.
E: A demon walking the Earth….
D: DemonS. Loads of them. You don’t know about—
He stops himself, unsure just how to proceed. Daphne is awed that he saw the demon's face, and says that it was after Emmanuel, then Daphne turns to Dean and says that Emmanuel has special gifts.
D: I heard that about…Emmanuel. That you can heal people up.
E: I seem to be able to help to a certain degree. What’s your issue?
Dean does that thing that kind sucks the breath from me – he moves his lips around words he can’t quite seem to get out, trying to find a way to say what he needs to say without letting anything he can’t control escape. After a moment, he says, “My brother.”
Said brother is lying in bed asleep and Lucifer wakes him up by lighting firecrackers and playing “Wake Up Little Suzie.” Lucifer was making ME a little crazy. Seriously. It takes me so long to get to sleep that when I’m woken up (and it’s usually by a munchkin with a nightmare, nothing as scream-inducing as firecrackers) I want to come unglued. He was that good.
Lucifer: You’re keeping it together better than I thought. The way someone pinned under a bus keeps it together.
Sam: None of this is real.
Lucifer: And yet…it doesn’t really matter.
Oh, Sammy. *rubs heart*
An orderly brings Sam’s meal and Sam asks about Marin – finding out that her being here wasn’t “because of an accident.” And then Sam rolls away from the food, jerking and covering his ears as Luci continues with the firecrackers. That’s when the protection feeling was really triggered.
Dean and Emmanuel are in the Car Of Unknown Origin, on their way to Sam (and I have to say that this drive was the first time in awhile I felt they really showed the distance between locals and didn’t just slip through a fold in the space-time continuum to get from one place to another -- they go through two nights and a day). Dean is trying to figure out how to talk to this person next to him and starts with the safest question, asking him about Daphne. Emmanuel says that she found him and cared for him when, a few months ago, he wandered (naked) across her hiking path. He had emerged from a river without a memory of who he was or where he was.
Daphne said that God wanted her to find him. Dean asked who named him Emmanuel. Apparently bouncingbabynames.com did (*laugh*) – and appropriately so, as it means “God with us.”
The thing I loved about how Misha played Emmanuel was that it was Cas, only with a tempered, more human softness. He didn’t talk with that deep, Batmanesque voice, nor were his rhythms stilted and awkward as if he were unused to the English language. But he still had the Cas-like guileless way of answering questions. He still spoke without slang and he was still direct – almost uncomfortably so in some instances. It was a perfect delivery for this character. And I have to say, I really enjoyed having him on screen with Dean again.
Dean tells him the name works for him, but muses that it must be weird not knowing who he is. Emmanuel just shrugs that off saying it’s his life, and it’s a good life. But then Dean’s pain bubbles to the surface a bit and he shows a flash of his cards.
Dean: What if you were some kind of bad guy?
E: I don’t feel like a bad person.
Back at the psych ward, Sam’s getting weaker and Marin brings him another candy bar. Only problem is he’s too weak to open the wrapper. The only value the Marin story had, for me, was to show us that Sam may be going crazy because of Lucifer and sleep deprivation, but he’s still Sam. He still has that drive to live, to help people. Figuring out what was haunting Marin gave him something to do other than stare at those four walls, a way to feel useful and a focal point other than Lucifer.
She tells him the doctor answer for why she's there is because she’s “psychotically depressed with suicidal (something…didn’t catch that work, but basically tendencies?).” The non-doctor answer is that she just wants it all over and she feels like crap. She knows that Sam hears voices and through a bit of a dramatic back and forth, we find out that she also hears a voice – her dead brother’s – and that she was blamed for setting a fire that he actually set (but who’s going to believe her, right?).
In the car, Emmanuel is asking Dean about Sam condition. Dean says it’s not exactly a medical diagnosis.
E: I can cure illness of a spiritual origin.
D: Okay, well. Someone did this to him.
E (surprised by the realization): You’re angry.
D: W’yeah. Dude broke my brother’s head.
E: He betrayed you, this dude. He was your friend?
Dean looks askance at Emmanuel with this…weight in his eyes. *rubs heart* He just made my heart ache in this one, ya’ll.
D: Yeah, well. He’s gone.
E: Did you kill him? I sense that you’ve killed a lot of people.
D: Honestly…I don’t know if he’s dead.
He starts talking…almost like a tiny dam inside of him broke a bit and in the shelter of the dark car he can confess pain acted upon him by this friend to this friend because this friend has no idea Dean’s talking about him. It had to have been one of the Top 5 surreal moments for Dean (right up there with meeting his mom and dad before he was even born and seeing his father's spirit).
D: I just know that this whole thing couldn’t be messier. I used to be able to just…shake things off. Whatever it was. Might take me some time, but I always could. What Cas did…I just can’t. I don’t know why.
E: I doesn’t matter why.
D: ‘Course it matters.
E: You’re not a machine, Dean. You’re human.
*LOVES him for saying that*
Dean looks out the side window, unable to accept that ‘out’ for this perceived weakness inside of himself.
E (after a pause): Your friend’s name is Cas? That’s an odd name.
It's daylight and Dean pulls up to a convenience store and tells Emmanuel to wait outside. Okay, so…maybe you all saw something I didn’t, but what I saw was Dean standing outside the cooler, checking his phone, then seeing a man’s reflection in the security mirror, pulling his Demon Killing Knife and turning to attack. I didn’t pick up on how Dean knew the man was a demon – but however he did, it’s a good thing because he was able to get the knife out in time to kill that demon.
Bad part is, the fight broke his cell phone. Dangit.
He starts to head out and two more are blocking his exit. Dean does that tired-neck-roll-ala-Indiana-Jones then flips the Demon Killing Knife around and attacks. The two-against-one ratio isn’t working in his favor (not to mention that all the driving and searching for something to save Sam has left Dean a little light on the sleep himself) and he’s overpowered, the knife knocked from his grip. Thing 1 throws him against a shelf, sending the whole thing – and Dean – tumbling into a pile.
Dean’s struggling to get up when suddenly the point of the Demon Killing Knife pokes out of the now-dead Thing 1 and Thing 2 smokes out of there (presumably leaving the human host dead or unconscious because he’s summarily forgotten). Dean thinks it’s Emmanuel come to save him, but when the dead demon falls, it reveals…Meg.
Okay, tooootally surfacey of me, but did she look like she’d put on some weight to you guys? Her face was much rounder (making her eyes look smaller). For some reason, it took me a bit to get used to her. I miss Nicki Aycox.
Anyway, Dean closes the shop and grills Meg and this is where I got foggy again on why she wanted Emmanuel/Cas – it was either to get back in Crowley’s good graces, or use Cas against Crowley and smite the King of Hell once and for all. Either way, she wanted to use Cas as a weapon, I got that much. But Dean’s like, no figgin’ way – we’re saving Sam. They reach an uneasy stalemate where Meg comes with them to keep an eye on Emmanuel/Cas – promising not to give the big secret away until Sam’s healed. Plus she gives Dean back his knife.
I gotta say…I don’t know if I get Meg’s involvement, really – why Dean didn’t kill her when she gave him back the knife, I don’t know. She said she’d helped him – alluding to him owing her – but he rightly turned it around to Meg only helping herself. Why he let her live, though, I don’t get it. I’m sure story-wise she’s necessary for things to come, but unless Dean has a plan for using her, I think it was just a convenience of storytelling. I’m having to ponder a bit on a hunter who killed Amy because she was a monster and would kill more people (and rightly so) being willing to work with a demon. But, I’ll let it go. I’m sure it will all come together down the road.
SO, Dean and Meg head back out to the car and Emmanuel recoils from Meg’s true face. Dean reluctantly says that Meg is a friend (practically choking on the word) and Meg’s all smarmy and coy comes thisclose to telling Emmanuel who he really is until Dean’s all, can we GO?
Sam, whose body is slowly starting to shut down from lack of sleep, is intent on helping Marin with her problem. She brings him another stolen chocolate bar and Sam talks with her, deducing that there is some blood on a bracelet her brother made for her. He says he can help her, but needs her to get a lighter.
Back in the Most Uncomfortable Car Ride In The History Of Ever, Meg is in the back seat and Emmanuel is sitting worried-faced and shifty-eyed in the front.
E: This silence is uncomfortable. Is there something I should know?
D: Meg has that affect. Awkward, y’know?
E (turning to glance back at Meg, says sympathetically): That must be difficult for you.
Meg: Dean was making a joke.
E: Oh. (Small laugh)
It’s so much like something Cas might do that Dean shoots him a look and I couldn’t blame him.
Back with Sam, Marin pick-pocketed a lighter and Sam and she put a ring of salt in the room – Sam making Marin to most of it because Lucifer is being a PITA – stand in the center, and burn the bracelet (but not before Dead Brother shows up and blows out lightbulbs and throws chairs). I had to wonder…in a secured, locked-down ward would there be in-room security/surveillance cameras? Monitors in the halls? Something? I don’t know. But they vanquish her brother and Sam sends Marin packing before the orderlies show up to grab Sam (who isn’t really up for resisting too much).
Sam blurrily wakes up to a light in his eyes, the Doc checking him and Lucifer peering over the Doc’s shoulder.
Lucifer: His soul is broken, Doc. Can you give him a pill?
The Doc says it might be time to talk surgery options – only not lobotomy. I’m not sure what surgery they’re talking about if not that, but they don’t get into it.
Dean, Emmanuel, and Meg show up at the hospital and see that the entrance is surrounded by demons. Sadly, there is only one Demon Killing Knife. Meg’s giving a hard time about how they are going to get past the demons and Dean pulls her to the side, away from Emmanuel, to get her to shut the hell up, but Emmanuel overhears.
E (to Dean): I gather we know each other.
Meg: Just a dollop.
E: You can tell me; I’ll be fine.
D: How do you know? You just met yourself. I’ve known you for years.
Meg: You’re an angel.
Dean gives her a seriously?! look.
E: I’m sorry. Is that a flirtation?
HA! Man, I missed him. LOL!!
Meg: No, it’s a species. A very powerful one.
D: She’s not lying. That’s why you heal people. You don’t eat. I’m sure there’s more….
(Made me wonder about the kind of married life Emmanuel and Daphne shared.)
E (Looking a bit shellshocked): Why wouldn’t you tell me? Being an angel, it sounds pleasant.
D: It’s not. Trust me. It’s corrupt.
Meg: You used to fight together. Bestest friends, actually.
E (the pieces coming together): We’re friends… (takes a deep, shaky breath) Am I Cas?
Dean doesn’t move. He looks like he’s barely breathing.
E: I had no idea. I don’t remember you; I’m sorry.
Meg tells him that he can smite all the demons down there and get them inside. Emmanuel turns away saying he doesn’t remember how. Dean comes up to him, his face earnest, pleading.
D: It’s in there. I’m sure it’s just like riding a bike.
E: I don’t know how to do that, either.
Dean executes a perfect oh, you gotta be kidding me eye roll, but Emmanuel says he’ll try. He heads down toward the entrance with Dean worried that it won’t go well and Meg all, go get ‘em, tiger.
Emmanuel walks right up to a security guard demon. The demon blinks, all, I know you! You’re dead!
E: Yes, I’ve heard.
He touches him, burning out his demon soul with the white, angel light and as he does, the memories return – Castiel entering the barn where Dean met him the first time, seeing his wings spread. He kills more demons, more memories come, and so on until he remembers breaking Sam’s wall, remembers absorbing the Purgatory souls, remembers apologizing to Dean before the Levis were unleashed upon the Earth.
Meg and Dean head down when it’s clear, and Meg's all, That was beautiful, Clarence.
Dean, though, looks hesitant, unsure, hopeful, as he says, “Cas?”
Cas (voice deeper, but not Batman-deep): I remember you. I remember everything.
Dean looks like he can’t decide if he’s afraid or relieved. Cas looks near tears. He can’t come to grips with what he did…what he became. He wants to know why Dean didn’t tell him.
Dean: Because Sam is dying in there!
Cas: Because of me.
That was oddly satisfying. I didn’t realize I needed Cas to own what he’d done – not just the Purgatory thing, but specifically to Sam. I thought it was just a part of the story to me until Cas admitted that he was the reason all of this was happening to Sam, the reason Dean had been through the wringer about his brother. And then I felt a strange sort of weight lift.
Cas walks off and Dean goes to follow, telling Meg to stay put. Meanwhile, inside, Sam’s on a gurney being wheeled into another white room. He’s strapped down and an orderly is telling him that he’s going to get electroshock therapy; only it’s being cranked way up in order to “experiment a little.” At first I thought it was Lucifer again – he had me unable to figure out what was real and what wasn’t – but then the orderly’s eyes go demon-black and I knew we were in a bit more trouble than a hallucination could bring about.
Back outside, Cas has made it to the car before Dean catches up to him. Cas is sick about the death toll – in Heaven and Earth – because of him.
Cas: We didn’t part friends, Dean.
Dean: So what?
Cas: I deserved to die. I can’t fix it so why did I walk out of that river?!
Dean is practically vibrating with the need to get Cas to help him, regardless of what he did, what he was responsible for. He needs Cas right now. Needs Cas to understand that maybe he can’t go back and undo all the chaos he caused, but that second chances weren’t always random. And maybe this time he got one not to wage war (as is what happened the last time he was brought back from death) but to mend fences. To heal more than just bodies and minds; to heal souls. Friendships.
Dean opens his trunk and I caught my breath. No matter what old beater they were driving, no matter how many cars they’ve had to switch up over the last few months, he’d kept it. The trench coat. It was bloodstained and wrinkled, but to Dean, it symbolized Castiel. His friend. The same being who broke his heart and his trust and created a rift inside him that he couldn’t get over, was the only one who could help him now.
So, Dean stepped over that rift, handing Cas the trench coat and silently pleaded for the angel to get it.
Which, he did – Sam’s writhing from the jolts of shock coursing through him and just as the possessed orderly goes to kick it up a notch, Cas is there smiting the hell out of him. He takes the gear off of Sam, and looks at him sadly.
Cas: I should never have broken your wall, Sam. I’m here to make it right.
He touches Sam’s head and Sam looks up at him, blearily, and sees Lucifer instead of Cas, saying, “You’re not real.”
Cas looks distraught. “Oh, Sam. I’m so sorry.”
I was sorry, too! I was like no way are you going to put Dean through that and then NOT let Cas heal Sam! *stomps foot*
Sam’s back in his room and Dean and Cas are leaning against the far wall, looking at him. Dean has his arms wrapped around himself like he can’t get warm, his face tight with worry. Cas tells Dean that there’s nothing left of Sam’s wall to repair – Hallucifer has stomped it to nothingness.
Dean (looking at Sam’s pale, bruised face, his eyes staring at ‘nothing’): There’s nothing? He’s gonna be like this until his candle blows out?
I flashed back to my chronic disease analogy. Eventually, depending on the disease, the chronic nature of the affliction can ultimately cause death. And when Dean said that, I thought of how many people live with that – a loved one living out each day in pain or suffering until one day…that’s it. It’s a reality that too many have to face and the look on Dean’s face as he tried to process that just broke my heart.
After everything, all of it, he was going to lose Sam to this. And no crossroad deal was going to save him this time. *sniff*
Cas (looking truly bereft): I’m sorry. This isn’t a problem I can make disappear. (pause) But I may be able to shift it.
Cas goes over to Sam, sitting next to him. Sam stares at him in terror, seeing Lucifer dressed as a doctor with a scope on his forehead. Cas looks back at Dean saying It’s better this way; I’ll be fine when Dean comes forward demanding what the hell.
Cas: Sam, this may hurt. And if I can’t tell you again, I’m sorry I ever did this to you.
Cas touches Sam’s head and this cool effect of red glowy light comes from Sam’s head, through his eyes, up through Cas’ arm, lighting his veins and crawling up to his head and turning his eyes red. Sam’s gasping from the pain, and then pulling away even before the glow is gone from Cas’ face. Dean is crossing the room to him. Sam gasps out Dean’s name, then stares at Cas in wonder.
Cas looks up, but instead of Sam, sees Lucifer, who says, “Hello, brother.” Cas backs away to the other side of the room as Lucifer laughs.
Okay, couple of ponderings here. First, if Lucifer was in Sam’s broken head because Sam had been in the Cage, I find it interesting that it was still Lucifer when Cas “absorbed” broken bits. I mean – what did he shift out of Sam and into him, exactly? Sam still has his memories; remembers what happened to him and why he was there (as we find out in the coda). If it was just the psychosis, or whatever, of someone who had tortured or caused him pain, I wonder why for Cas it wasn’t someone like…Raphael.
Also, though he looked practically catatonic at the end (which I’ll get to), I wonder if he told Dean so confidently that he’d be fine because his vessel isn’t bound by the same human, physical limitations as Sam’s had been – he doesn’t eat, sleep, etc. He’s physically like Sam had been when he was soulless. So in one respect, he could contain whatever this is indefinitely. However, I do feel bad for Emmanuel’s wife, Daphne, and wonder if she’s going to come looking for her husband when he doesn’t return. I wonder if they told her where they were going.
In the coda, Sam and Dean both walk out of the hospital, Sam still a bit scruffy, but looking so much better. I don’t know if they just gave the docs the slip or proved that he was cured, but hey, here’s our friend who could use your help…. *shrug* The point is, they left, and Cas stayed behind, sitting on the bed, staring at the wall, looking like he was doing everything possible to block Lucifer out. I wonder if ‘Cas’ took another vessel if the ‘crazy’ would die with Jimmy (because that body is done for w/out the angel host).
But then…we wouldn’t get Misha, so they’d never do that.
Sam doesn’t want to leave Cas there, but Dean argues that they can’t protect him out in the world and that he’s safer there. Only one demon (apparently) knows he’s even alive and Sam argues that leaving her alive and knowing about Cas feels a bit like a deal. Dean says it’s not a deal, it’s a “mutually assured destruction.”
I think Dean just wanted to get Sam as far away from that place as possible, honestly.
Sam’s doesn’t like this whole enemy of my enemy is my friend crap and Dean snaps that Meg’s not a friend – they don’t have any friends. All their friends are dead. He gets in the car and a look of sorrow crosses Sam’s face – but it’s sorrow for his brother more than anything.
They drive away and we shift to Dr. Kadinski interviewing a new staff member – none other than Meg. She gets hired on and I have no idea what her little scheme is there. Just keep an eye on Cas? Use him? Take him to Crowley? *ponders* The possibilities are vast and has me very intrigued. And there’s no way they’ll leave Cas in that place; there will be a way to fix it. And I’m thinking it’s going to come from the fact that he’s an angel and we now have demons back in the picture again.
All in all, a very satisfying episode, setting up pieces for the next move and solving problems that had been exhausting this viewer. I was pleased – and I’m ready to see what next week’s episode brings! Terry, you’ll be here with me to watch that one. Bring on the Baileys. *grins*
Parting words: To all you gorgeous people who take time to comment on this ramble (not that the rest of you aren’t equally as gorgeous, I’m just talking to these guys at the moment), thank you and if I haven’t responded to your comments from 7.16, I will.
I want to make sure I read and respond to what you said and not just wave as I run past. Some weeks, finding time for that is harder than others, but I promise to respond to each comment. Thanks for your time!