Gaelicspirit (gaelicspirit) wrote,
Gaelicspirit
gaelicspirit

Stream of Consciousness, Episode 8.10

Welcome back! I hope you all had a decent hiatus. Mine was…interesting, to say the least. But it’s good to be back, to have our boys in our living rooms again, and to Ramble On with you.

Not for the first time, I have mixed feelings about an episode. Gotta say, that was bittersweet and somewhat painful.

Also, not for the first time, I’m going to be using this Ramble to work through some feelings the episode triggered for me. Throughout the entire episode, there were places I understood, places where I saw both sides, places I didn’t quite agree, and places that just plain hurt.

I think the plot was nicely thickened in this episode – the reveal of an Angel Tablet that could lock angels in Heaven was a nice ying to the Demon Tablet’s yang. And now it’s not just a search, but a race. Of course, the boys don’t know about it yet, but they will, and when they do, the fit will hit the shan, that much is certain. But the character choices and ramifications throughout this episode more or less overshadowed any plot advances for me. I react to this show and it’s primarily because of the characters, so plot, while important, always comes second where Supernatural is concerned.

I think, perhaps, I hold these characters to an unfair expectation. The writers are working to keep them human and real in a very unrealistic environment. They are working to maintain typical reactions in an atypical situation. So, I’m trying to keep my expectations realistic when they want to slip up to pedestal level. But with these two playing Big Damn Hero every episode, can you blame me?

Overall, both boys were angry enough in the first part of the episode that there was one moment I actually just wanted them to pound on each other and get it out, already. Beat on each other until they’re exhausted and burn this angst out of their system. I know I’d said in (several) previous Rambles that it’s been a realistic play out of sibling issues, but I didn’t realize how tired I was of them being at odds until it was still there after several weeks away.

I think the way things were “resolved” made sense with the storylines they’d introduced – one made me happy, one made me sad – but the end was one of those moments that left me wondering why we make the choices that we do, why sometimes we do so much for our family when it’s not always family who makes us happy, fulfills us, completes us.

Oddly enough? When the brothers sat next to each other on the couch at the end, nodding at each other, choices made, I almost felt like they were doing it for us. Not for each other.

I know that sounds crazy, but I suppose I needed them to show us why they were choosing to stay hunting with each other – something other than there was still work to do. I wanted to see a he’s m’brother moment or an inkling of that kind of moment. But…really? I felt as tired as they looked. Like, here they are, together, ready to once more face a foe that most likely would get them killed, but someone had to do it so it may as well be them.

Don't get me wrong - I didn’t get the feeling that they regretted their choices. I think they both were honest with themselves about what they felt they needed to do. But I also didn’t feel the giddy relief I would expect to feel when finally seeing both of them choose hunting with their brother over any other path. They’d each lost something – something they wanted. But both knew it wasn’t something they could have with the life they apparently feel destined to lead. *sad*

The bottom line is this: the show has always been about the brothers for me – the other characters matter in as much as they affect the brothers. So, I want to be happy that they’re together again. But something is stopping me from exhaling.

I also have this…nagging feeling of being off-balance. I think it was more than appropriate for Dean to say he was wrong for sending the fake text – especially as it seems he didn’t take into account the extent of how Sam would react to it – but I felt there needed to be some give on Sam’s side about things, too…like maybe apologizing for leaving Dean handcuffed to a radiator after Martin knocked him out. Something other than simply…not leaving.

But! That’s my own hang-up kicking in. It’s me allowing my personal filter to slip over how I view these characters and applying what I’d like to have happen (as in, with life) to the Show. So, take it with a grain of rock salt.

I’m happy the bickering and biting remarks are (hopefully) put to bed; I’m sad they seem to have approached their lives as if this were the only solution. I hope I get back to feeling the groove of the Winchesters kickin’ ass and taking names very soon.

I miss that feeling.

So, we had a couple ultimatums dished out; both seemed to be (and this is just my opinion) centered on what Sam wanted. Sam (initially) didn’t want to entertain the idea of rejoining his brother unless Dean was done with Benny. And, Sam had to choose if he wanted Amelia or hunting.

Let’s discuss the Sam/Amelia thing first, mostly (sorry!) to get it over with. Okay, open and honest hour…you ready? The Amelia storyline has been my least favorite of all 8 seasons. I disliked this one more than soulless!Sam, and if you read my S6 Rambles, you know I didn’t like that one very much. There were a number of reasons it didn’t gel with me. In my opinion, there was more chemistry between Sam and Sarah from S1 (in one episode) than there was between Sam and Amelia.

They didn’t sell me on it. I felt like we knew Sam loved Amelia because we were told he did, not because we felt it from him. Mostly I felt like her dad hit the nail on the head: Sam was flailing, lost, drowning after what happened to Dean and he recognized in Amelia a kindred spirit and grabbed hold. She was his leaking life raft and they were sinking together. The healthiest thing he did (though he didn’t recognize it) was choosing to leave.

Not only that, but there were aspects of Sam’s personality because of and around Amelia that made me actually dislike him at times – and while Dean’s always been my hero, I’ve never disliked Sam before (soulless!Sam doesn’t count – that wasn’t really our Sam). But the situations this storyline put him in and the choices he made and the way he behaved made me want Amelia gone so Sam could come back.

Now, before you throw virtual rotten fruit at me, I’m not saying that he (or they) can’t be with someone. I liked Sam with Sarah. I liked Sam with Madison. To be perfectly honest, there were times I even liked Sam with Ruby.

It wasn’t the fact that he was in a relationship; it was how it was handled. The not looking for Dean and abandoning Kevin; the way he couldn’t let it go, even though he’d chosen to leave – and he made Dean pay for his choice by his sullen attitude. He just wasn’t happy and that permeated everything he did and said. Then, Don’s return sealed Sam’s fate. If he’d made the choice to go back and be with Amelia – even though he said she made him happy – he’d be choosing to permanently affect two lives, most likely in the negative: Don’s and Dean’s.

As soon as the writers had Don return I knew Sam’s relationship with Amelia could only end in tears. If they had written Sam returning to that motel, they would have irrevocably changed the moral fiber of his character to such a degree, I don’t know if I’d recognize him anymore. That’s what I mean about holding them at a pedestal level. He’s human. He loves her. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he’d want to return to her and try to make it work – wait out her divorce to Don until they could marry and be together forever. I mean, it happens in real life, right? But that’s not our Sam, and while I knew there was only one way this could end (and continue with the Show we know), I was still relieved to see his choice.

That said I have to admit…it leaves me with that “other shoe” feeling. This isn't the last time we'll see Amelia. And...I gotta wonder if she’s going to be used as they used Lisa. If she’ll be back to tear into Sam’s heart when he least expects it. I’m ready to see a new angle to Sam’s story. Something that has me engaging with him again, not working to see his viewpoint. But with our Show…you never know.

Okay, so the other ultimatum – Dean ditches Benny. This one hurt a bit. I like Benny. Not only that, I like Dean around Benny and the fact that he has this friend. Thinking back, the original plan post-Purgatory was not for them to pal around together. It was for them to go their separate ways. But neither of them, it seemed, factored in how much they’d come to depend on each other during their Tour in Purgatory. Or, really, how much Benny depended on Dean as Benny’s the one who called Dean to re-engage, not the other way around. Three times, in fact.

Hearing the edge to Benny’s voice, the desperate shake of an addict about to backslide calling their sponsor because they want another hit, another drink, another whatever it is that holds them prisoner…it was heartbreaking. I didn’t know what Dean would do. At the end, when Sam went out to “clear his head” I was honestly wondering if Dean would leave to help Benny and Sam would return to find him gone and get pissed and go to find Amelia, prolonging the agonizing familial fighting that has been working us over the first half of the season.

But Dean, being Dean, chose Sam. As he has all his life. As we knew he must because that’s how he’s hard-wired. Because he loves his brother and knows what he needs in life – to be hunting, Sam by his side. You could see how hard it was for him to make that phone call, how that choice just gutted him, and how in the back of his mind, he knew that he may have just signed Benny’s death sentence (and, quite possibly, that of some innocent bystanders if Benny falls off the wagon), but he had to choose Sam.

How could he not? He’d literally died and gone to Hell for his brother. He’d also died to get Sam’s soul out of the Cage. He’d sacrificed everything for Sam. He wasn’t going to go rogue now, not after all he’d gone through. I just wish choosing Sam didn’t mean leaving Benny – regardless of if that had been their original plan. They made me like Benny, dangit.

That’s the tough thing about this choice – Dean liked Benny, too. He might not be family as Cas has become, but he’s Dean friend and Dean trusts him. And now he’s had to turn his back on him, leaving him out alone in the world when they could have each had an ally. *sad*

My heart panged a bit when Dean admitted to being tired of all the fighting. He just wanted Sam happy; at one point it didn’t matter if that meant Sam was hunting with him or not. There comes a time when principles are hollow and it doesn’t matter anymore if you didn’t really do anything wrong.

A little over two years ago, I got into a ridiculous fight with my sister. It was a little like the fake text thing. I felt something was a misunderstanding that she felt was a purposeful slight. And things spiraled from there. I didn’t talk to her for over two years. I did write her letters, sent her birthday and Christmas cards, that sort of thing. I’m her big sister, after all. But I didn’t call. The ball was in her court. Because I had done nothing wrong, regardless of her perception. It was her job to decide to forgive me and reach back.

Then over Christmas my Dad got very sick while my parents were visiting me. I was at the hospital with him, talking to doctors, handling two stubborn parents, all that fun stuff. And I knew she was getting information 2nd hand and I knew that had to be scaring her. So I called her. My hands were shaking the entire time, but I was just so tired of fighting. I was so tired of standing on my principles. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t done anything wrong – I needed her to be okay.

So, when Dean gave Sam that out, saying he could handle this – admitting he was jealous of Sam’s ability to distance himself from the job – I felt his words echo inside of me. He didn’t want Sam to go anywhere – he’d said it before. He was happiest doing the job, Sam by his side. But needed Sam to be okay, and if Amelia made him happy, then so be it.

But when Sam admitted to being unsure, showing the first sign of doubt that he wanted out, that he was done with hunting, Dean pounced on it with a swiftness that had me rubbing my heart. He said goodbye to Benny, making his choice. Aside – if Sam had chosen Amelia after that? Don’t even get me started.

The thing that killed me is that Benny didn’t fight it. He accepted it as if he’d been waiting for it – which he probably had since they had said they’d go their separate ways. But even though he was hurting in a big way, he didn’t condemn Dean for his choice. He didn’t rail at him or fling hurtful words. He simply said goodbye. *rubs heart*

Though again, as with Amelia, I have a feeling we’ll see Benny again. And my fear is that he’ll be used to try to break Dean. I hope not. Unlike any other secondary character outside of Cas and Bobby, I like Benny and the dynamic he brings to the story and to Dean’s character. I want Benny to be a force of good. Somehow. I want him to overcome his addiction – or at least control it – and if we see him again, I want it to be to save Dean. And Sam. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants? Benny saves Sam after having found a way to live drinking blood, not humans. A girl can wish, I suppose.

Finally, Cas. Good gracious, what are they doing with our favorite angel? He’s apparently been tortured, had something…implanted…into him, it seems. And it’s not just Cas Naomi is controlling, but all angels. What the hell? I think the bloody tear is a sign that their control is weakening, though. That and the flashes he had of Naomi and Heaven. I hope so because we’ve seen so many different iterations of him I’m not sure I could get my head around another.

And he’s trying so hard to atone yet Heaven isn’t letting him. It’s heartbreaking. Dean knew something was off from the jump and now, with Sammandriel’s murder, his worry has spiked to new levels. It’s not even like he can keep track of his friend – and with Cas unwittingly lying to them, the complications multiply. I hope they don’t use that as a wedge; if anything, I hope it’s something that trigger’s Dean’s protective instincts.

They’ve taken Amelia from Sam and Benny from Dean. Castiel has to be saved or we have the slow stripping away of all allies and friends once more. And I can’t imagine Dean handling that very well. Not after he went through so much to get Cas out of Purgatory – refusing, even, to search for an escape until he’d found Cas.

Okay, so let’s get to it as I know more will occur to me as I move forward.

Things I loved:

  • The way Dean studied Sam in the cabin at the end, his eyes both measuring and pleading
  • Dean snoring. Seriously. I can’t even….
  • This line: “That’s his serious face, yes.”
  • Sam jumping forty feet in the air when Cas suddenly shows up beside him on the park bench
  • Cas healing that baby *guh*
  • Dean’s expression when Kevin tells him that he can enjoy the world after he saves it

Things I liked:

  • Cas showing up saying he had “what they needed” with Sam by his side
  • Cas telling the boys to “stow their crap”
  • The way Benny’s voice shook. I know. I’m awful. Don’t judge me.
  • The fact that Dean drove all the way to Kermit to finish his conversation with Sam
  • The sad string melody at the end; it reminded me of the music in the Firefly episode “The Message”

Things that were meh:

  • So an angel sword can kill demons, too? Is that new information? Because it kinda seems like it might’ve been handy to know a few seasons back….
  • Amelia’s whole “I have a life, a man who loves me, who I don’t want to hurt, and I think about you ever night and every morning” speech. Just…yeah. No. Sorry. *hides*

Things that made my teeth hurt (a new category specially created for this very thing):

  • The torturing of Sammandriel. Those spikes in the head and the twisting of the screws and the screaming…gahh! I almost wanted to cover my ears along with Cas.

Things to add to my list of questions:

  • Okay, what the hell is up with Naomi and the Angels? I wonder if this regime of control was instituted after Castiel laid waste to Heaven and took out 1,000s of them. What – aside from protecting the Angel Tablet – is their endgame here?
  • With this new tidbit – and the fact that Naomi pulled Cas out of Purgatory – I still wonder if it was the angels who gave Benny the inside scoop on escaping Purgatory
  • Wonder if Amelia went back to Don after making her choice….

Okay so we got a Road So Far, Bob Seger’s Katmandu rolling in the background. Interesting choice, though I always love that man’s voice. Anyway, if you saw the first 9 episodes, you’re good.

In the NOW we see poor Sammandriel all bloody and tortured, tied to a chair with what looks like an ice pick sticking out of his forehead. Ouch. He manages to power it out and has enough time to whisper/call to Naomi that Crowley has…. But then some dude in a white lab coat comes back in all tsk-tsky and says they have to turn off the angel radio again and shoves the ice pick back in while Sammandriel screams. Double ouch.

In Kermit, TX, Sam’s in a motel – looks like the exact same one he lived in when he met Amelia – and is drinking a beer on the couch. There’s a knock at the door – it’s Dean. Sam’s pissed face is epic as he nearly closes the door in Dean’s face, but then relents and lets him in.

Dean (sarcastic): Who’d you expect?

Sam (pissy): Long drive?

Dean: Wouldn’t have had to make it if you hadn’t hung up on me.

Sam: I heard all I needed to hear.

Dean: You heard what you wanted to hear. I told you Benny wasn’t killing. I watched him end the fang banger that was.

Heh. Fang banger. That’s a new one.

Sam: How about Martin? How’d he end that?

Dean: Martin didn’t give Benny a choice. It was self defense.

Sam (incredulous): Seriously, Dean? That’s the story you’re going with? The vampire was the real victim here?

Dean: That’s the truth. There was a time when that meant something.

Sam (pissy face again): Yeah. No kidding.

Dean (confused): What does that mean?

I’ll admit, for a moment, I was confused, too. Hey, it had been a whole hiatus. I forgot about the cell phone thing for a second.

Sam: You think this is just about Benny?

Dean: What the hell are you talking about?

Sam: What the hell do you think I’m talking about?

Dean (from confused to disbelieving): Amelia?! C’mon, man, I sent you that text ‘cause I needed you to—

Sam: What? Tear ass to Texas? To be afraid that what happened to Jessica – to everyone we cared about—might’ve happened to her?

Aww, Sammy. *pets him* I’m glad he said it out loud like that because it was clear from Dean’s expression he hadn’t really thought about how it would have affected Sam; he was just thinking about his own endgame.

Dean: You were gonna kill Benny. What was I supposed to do?

Sam: Is that what we are? You save a vampire by making me believe that the woman I love might be dead?

Wow – I don’t think he said he loved her before. That was kind of a big reveal there.

Dean (sounding tired): What do you want to hear, Sam? That I was wrong? Fine. But…if you had just heard me out – if you had trusted me, this could have all been avoided.

Sam: No, you didn’t want me to trust you; you wanted me to trust Benny and I can’t do that.

I disagree. I think Dean simply wanted Sam to take him at his word – that he knew Benny, he’d survived Purgatory with Benny, and Benny had saved his life. He wanted Sam to say, I got it, I believe you, you know this guy and I know you and that’s enough for me.

Maybe that wasn’t a fair ask based on some of Dean’s previous actions, but that was then and this is now and, I believe, that is what Dean was asking and what hurt him that Sam didn’t – or couldn’t—do.

Dean (turns away from Sam): Okay, well then, what the hell do we do now?

Sam: Depends on you. On whether you’re done with him.

Oh, boys. At this point I just wanted to grab them by the collars and knock their heads together with a Cher-worthy snap out of it!

Dean (turns around and looks at Sam): I don’t know.

He holds his eyes steady on Sam for a moment where Sam doesn’t say anything back, then he walks out muttering, “Glad I made the drive.”

Y’know, that was a pretty long drive just to make sure Sam heard the rest of the conversation. That says something right there. It was that important to him.

Elsewhere at a playground, a tired, haggard mother is trying desperately to comfort a crying baby. Cas shows up, says the baby’s been crying for two days, that she has a hernia that’s hard to detect. He touches the baby’s forehead, healing her, and she calms. The mother smiles, looking up at Cas, grateful, but Cas is gone.

I couldn’t help but think if only….

Suddenly Cas is back in the Heavenly Waiting Room and Naomi’s behind her desk telling Cas that Crowley has Sammandriel, though she’s not sure exactly where. She speaks to him as if he’s under hypnosis – this will be Cas’ idea, not Naomi’s, not Heaven’s. That sort of thing.

Next thing we know, we’re at Rufus’ cabin (that is a helluva lot of driving – I can’t imagine what he pays in gas) and Dean is asleep on the couch, semi-propped up, a beer nestled in the crook of his arm, snoring. It’s freaking adorable.

Cas shows up and is staring at him. Dean apparently senses it in his sleep and rouses enough to get startled awake by suddenly seeing Cas loom over him. He jerks, spilling his beer all over himself and the couch.

Dean: Dammit, Cas! That’s just creepy!

Cas tells him that Sammandriel’s been taken and at first Dean’s like Samma-who? Then he remembers the hot dog vendor vessel, Alfie. Cas tells him that he heard his distress call – and slips in there that he’s been helping people *smiles* -- and that Crowley has Sammandriel in the “general vicinity” of Hastings, NE. He needs Dean’s help because this would involve (gasp!) talking to people.

*laugh!*

Dean gets up and heads to his laptop, teasing Cas that he thought the angel was a hunter now. Cas concedes he wanted to be, but he lacks a certain…skill.

Dean opens his laptop but the Busty Asian Beauties web page instantly pops up. Whoops. He closes the screen and says to Cas over his shoulder, “You saw nothing.”

Hee.

Cas discretely turns his head until Dean’s minimized the site and turns back when Dean’s all, “What am I looking for?” Cas says that when angels are tortured they scream (uh, duh) and their screams cause a ripple effect of strange occurrences.

Yeah. Like Gaelic covering her head with a pillow and crawling behind her couch. What? That’s strange! Hush, you.

Cas asks where Sam is and Dean replies tersely that Sam’s gone, but it’s okay, they’ll find Alfie themselves.

Meanwhile, Sam’s back at the hotel, drinking beer and this time watching a special on the dung beetle. Fascinating. Again, there’s a knock at the door but this time it’s Amelia. Apparently, she ran off after she saw him at the bar last night – because, she said, Don was heading out of town (as he’s wont to do since he’s returned) and she had somewhere to be. That seemed weird – she heads to the bar to make sure it was Sam she saw peeping in her window, then runs off right away? *hand wave*

Sam tells her he thought she was in trouble, that’s why he’s here. There’s a bit of talk about how she was settled in and content, but now Sam’s here and he might not want to make trouble, but she’s apparently willing to because she closes the gap between them and lifts her lips for a kiss. That he gives her pretty easily.

Back in the Angelic Torture Chamber, the dude in the white lab coat has fitted Sammandriel with a silver head vice with several screws all around it. He turns the screws, Sammandriel screams, it’s all rather awful. But then Sammandriel goes kind of blank and starts rambling in Enochian. Elsewhere, a business man is walking down a sidewalk when he hears a bush talking to him.

Yeah, you heard me.

He stops, stares, bewildered. Then, quite suddenly, the bush bursts into flames, knocking him back into a fence and burning his face and hands. Ouch. Later, a suited-up Dean and Cas come into his hospital room posing as reporters there to interview him about his “ambush.” Oh, Dean.

Business Man: I’d laugh, too, if it didn’t feel like the sun just ate my face.

Cas (in a stage whisper to Dean): That’s a metaphor.

Dean pauses a beat and gives Cas a slow glance before returning his attention to the Business Man. The man says that bush talked – it sounded like Klingon. Dean says that he’s going to need the exact words.

Business Man: You serious?

Cas: That’s his serious face, yes.

Dean pauses another beat. Hee.

So, the guy tells them and Cas later reveals it was Enochian for “obey.” He says that for that to happen, Sammandriel had to be in a lot of pain. Yeah, I’ll say.

Dean says he can’t be too far; they’ll start with the bush and work their way out, looking for somewhere swarming with demons.

Back in Texas, Amelia appears in the bathroom door way, post coital, wearing Sam’s big ol’ shirt. Sam’s in the bed all buff and shirtless. He’s pouting a bit, asking her what she wants him to say. It was great? It was a mistake? Sadly, he couldn’t even be happy when he was with the person he had been acting like he’d rather be with the whole time he was hunting with Dean.

They talk and say that if they wanted to be together, they needed to think about it. Amelia’s like – all or nothing. All with her, or all with his other life, the one he says she doesn’t want to know anything about. They decide to wait two days – meet at the motel at 7:30. Either one will be there, both would be there, or no one would be there. And they’d know.

Back in Nebraska, Dean, Cas, and the Impala pull up to abandoned warehouse #9 where some bums are warming their hands around a burning garbage barrel – only they’re not bums. They’re demons. And the place has anti-angel sigils.

Dean: You, me, and the Demon Knife ain’t gonna cut it.

Cas: I’ll get Sam.

Dean: No! We don’t need Sam.

Cas: You just said—

Dean: Look, if Sam wanted in, he’d be here. I got a better idea.

His better idea is Kevin Tran – who is living on an old barge called the Fizzle’s Folly. Garth isn’t around, and neither is Mama Tran, and Kevin looks worn and weary as he tries to translate and figure out half the demon tablet.

Dean wants the recipe for a demon bomb. Cas says he’ll fetch all the stuff.

Back inside the warehouse, Crowley comes in and we finally find out that the white lab coat dude’s name is Viggo.

Crowley: I’ve given you every torture instrument known to man, short of a Neil Diamond album.

Dude! Don’t slam the Jazz Singer.

Viggo tells Crowley that he found the angel’s “transmitter” and Crowley realizes that the head screws have tapped into Sammandriel’s “factory settings.” He sets about seeing what makes the angel tick.

Back on the Folly, Dean is pacing and Kevin is working.

Dean: C’mon…how long does it take to get a cat’s skull from Egypt?

Kevin puts on earphones to block out Dean’s nervous complaining. Dean tries to get his attention and fails. He leans in closer.

Dean: Your mom is hot…I’m serious, your mom is one sexy—

His phone rings, thank goodness. Dean talking dirty about Mama Tran isn’t an image I want to hold onto. It’s Benny, sounding far from okay.

Dean: I thought I told you to go underground.

Benny (standing off in some trees at a park, those blue eyes covered with dark glasses, face angled toward a group of people at a picnic or some such): I’m so far under, I’m breathing through a straw, Brother.

He continues, apologizing for what went down with Martin – which Dean doesn’t blame him for – and it’s quickly clear that he’s using Dean like a sponsor. Says he’s going through a rough patch and wonders how close Dean is to the Catskills. Dean’s on the other side of the country, though, but promises to head that way when this job is done to grab a coffee with his friend.

After he hangs up, he circles in front of Kevin, finally getting the kid’s attention. He asks Kev where his mom is and Kevin says she’s somewhere safe – he sent her away because she was too distracting. Dean’s like, dude, that’s your mom, but Kevin says he can’t enjoy the world he needs to save. He’ll enjoy it when this is over, but right now, there’s nothing more important than translating that tablet.

That dedication gives Dean pause and he nods slowly, thinking.

Somewhere in Texas (presumably), Sam’s sitting on a bench watching a happy couple walk by and Cas scares the bejeezus out of him by appearing suddenly by his side.

On the Folly, Dean is finishing off a bag of chips when Cas swooshes in, saying he got what they need.

Dean: ‘Bout time!

He turns, sees Sam behind Cas, and his eyes go cold.

Dean: What’s he doing here?

Sam: Don’t worry, Dean. Once we save Alfie, I’m out.

Dean: Once we save Alfie…don’t hurt yourself, Sam. Cas and I can handle this.

Y’know, when Dean first told Cas they didn’t need Sam, I heard it like this is the choice Sam made and I’m dealing with it. Here, though, he sounded bitter, almost petulant. Interesting.

Sam: Not according to Cas.

Dean (to Cas): I told you we didn’t need him.

Oh, for the love of….

Cas: We need everything, Dean. And I need both of you to stow your crap! Can you do that?

*high fives Cas* Thank you!

Annnddd…it’s a Winchester stare-down.

But, apparently the answer was yes because the next thing we see is the three of them arriving at the abandoned warehouse in the Impala. Cas draws a sigil on Sam’s hand to show them what they had to look for and destroy in order for him to be able enter and save Sammandriel.

Cas: After killing so many, I need to save at least this one.

Aww, Cas. See, Naomi may have planted the “this is your idea” seed when she ordered him to rescue Sammandriel, but I believe that was genuine Cas right there.

Dean (pulling out the Demon Knife): Let’s do this.

Cas gives Sam the Angel Sword and tells him it works on demons, too. Sam’s look pretty much echoed mine. That would have been helpful to know about 3 years ago.

The brothers approach the warehouse where various and sundry demons are milling about. There’s a whistle and a demon turns to follow the sound, rounding the corner and seeing Dean standing there (all cocky and adorable). Sam kills the demon and Dean’s like, not my best work, but it’ll do.

They head inside and take out one of the four sigils, then split up. The entire time they’re in the warehouse looking for the sigils, they can hear Sammandriel screaming in pain. Crowley discovers the area of Sammandriel’s cortex that protects the Word of God. Dean destroys another sigil. Sam gets a 3rd, but then gets jumped by a demon (who, incidentally, looked like the Vin Diesel- look alike demon from Devil’s Trap in S1). Sam kills that demon, but is immediately jumped by another.

Dean shows up out of the blue and gets that one.

Sam (breathless): Thanks.

Dean: C’mon.

They hear running coming toward them and skid to a halt, watching the demons approach, then they light up flares, trigger the demon bomb and toss it, blowing the demons back and turning them into smudges on the wall.

Viggo hears the explosion and says, “We seem to be under attack…maybe we should go.” Crowley, however is all shut it – he’s too busy getting to the bottom of what Sammandriel knows about the Word of God.

Dean destroys the 4th sigil and Cas shows up, but is staggering and weak – due to the other sigils. He says he’s not at full power, but they can’t wait; Sammandriel can’t last much longer. Sam gives Cas the Angel Sword and Dean tries to get the door that separates them from Sammandriel open.

Cas, though, is buffeted by flashes of Naomi coming toward him with some sort of drill that looks like it’s going for his eye. He is rocked by this, covering his ears to block out Sammandriel’s screams and ending up cowering in the corner, fear etched on his face.

Dean (out of breath from trying to get the door open via the handle): All right. Plan B.

Sam: We have a Plan B?

Dean throws his body against the door. Sam’s like, oh, right, that Plan B, and gets in on the game, alternating with his brother.

Inside, Sammandriel’s Enochian rambling reveals that there is an Angel Tablet and Crowley’s like great day in the morning! Just then, the boys burst in, but Crowley is gone. Viggo grabs a stabbity thing and goes for Dean. Sam heads for Sammandriel. Cas stumbles in.

Before Sam can get to the angel, another demon enters and grabs Sam. It’s a melee – but the cool thing about it was that Dean. Kicked. Ass. Of course, first he was thrown through a window and got his head rattled but good, and was half-choked by Viggo, but he kills the demon that is working over Sam, tells Cas to get Sammandriel out of there, and then goes in for the kill on Viggo.

Done and done.

Outside, Cas is with Sammandriel, telling him that he’ll take him home, but Sammandriel says he can’t – he told Crowley secrets, things he didn’t even know he knew about Heaven and Naomi.

Cas is like, who’s Naomi? But then things get a bit confusing as he’s bounced between the Heavenly Waiting Room and the ground next to the Impala where he’s holding onto Sammandriel. Naomi orders him to kill Sammandriel, saying the angel was a traitor – had revealed the existence of the Angel Tablet. Cas is full of questions, his expression tortured with confusion and self-loathing.

Naomi tells him to tell Sam and Dean that Sammandriel was compromised, he came at Cas and Cas acted in self defense and now he has to return the body to Heaven. Cas does everything she orders – to the letter. But before he can finish the lie and blink out…blood begins to run down his right cheek like a tear drop.

The boys run up, skidding to a disbelieving stop and stare at Cas and the body of Sammandriel in confusion. Dean sees the blood and is all, you okay? His expression is a war of worry, fear, and doubt. Cas tells them thank you for everything and then he’s gone. Dean steps into the space where Cas had stood, looking troubled.

Back at the cabin, Sam paints the sigil Cas showed him on the door, protecting their conversation from Cas’s eyes and ears.

Dean: Okay, what the hell?!

Sam: I know!

Dean (face tight, body tense): I told you something was off since he got back from Purgatory.

Sam: You think someone’s messing with him? Angels?

Dean: Why would the angels have him kill another angel?

Sam looks as lost as Dean. Taking that in, Dean seems to deflate a bit, his shoulders dropping, his face smoothing slightly.

Dean: Y’know what, man? I got this.

Sam: What?

Dean: Don’t you have a girl to get back to?

Sam: Since when were you on the Amelia bandwagon?

Dean: I don’t know. (crosses the room and grabs a beer from the fridge) I’m just tired of all the fighting. (Sam blinks, his face smoothing out as if relieved that Dean admitted it first) And…I don’t know…maybe I’m a little bit jealous. I could never separate myself from the job like you could.

Sam is quiet. Thinking.

Dean: Maybe it’s time for at least one of us to be happy.

Sam: You being such a big hugger and all? (Dean half-smiles) She does make me happy. And she could be waiting for me if I went back. I’d be a very lucky man if she was.

Dean just watches him, taking in the moment, waiting. It’s a cusp; they can both feel it. If Sam chooses to leave Dean and Amelia’s not there, Sam’s still chosen to leave. Coming back wouldn’t be impossible, but it certainly wouldn’t be the same. And Dean is letting Sam work through it – he’s said his piece, he’s made it clear what he wants. Nothing he could say or do in that moment would make a bit of difference. Dean was living this life with or without Sam; he didn’t want to be alone, but he also wanted his brother to be happy.

Sam: But…with everything staring down on us…with everything that’s left to be done…I don’t know.

Dean: Huh.

Sam: Yeah.

Dean: Well…whatever you decide, decide. Both feet in or both feet out. Anything in between will get you dead.

Sam: I keep hearing that. I’m gonna take a walk. Clear my head.

Dean watches him go…and in writing that out, I think I just realized something. I think Dean calling Benny had partly to do with Sam’s ultimatum…and partly to do with the advice he just gave Sam. He couldn’t have one foot in the hunting world and one foot in the gray of having a friend as a vampire. He wouldn’t hunt Benny – not unless Benny gave him a reason to, which is what he’s always said – but he also couldn’t keep yo-yoing himself. He had to be a hunter, both feet in.

*ponders that a bit more*

Benny is at the tailgate of his truck, drinking the next to last bag of blood in his cooler, and subtly glancing around. His phone rings and his voice sounds so relieved to hear Dean on the other end, I think I whimpered a bit. Dean braces himself and tells his friend he’s not going to make it. Benny’s like…now? Or at all?

Dean: Everything you’ve done for me…I’m not gonna forget it.

Benny (sinking down to sit on the edge of a stone wall): End of the line?

He says it as if he’d been waiting for – or perhaps dreading – this day.

Dean: End of the line.

Benny: Yeah, well…I never liked these cell phones anyway.

Dean: You stay good, all right? (pauses, swallows, braces self again) Adios.

He has to pull in a rough, shaky breath.

Later, he’s sitting in the cabin, at night, alone on the couch, watching boxing on TV. Back in Kermit, we see Amelia walk into a dark, empty motel room, her face falling with realization that Sam’s not there. Then at the cabin, we see Sam sit down next to Dean with two beer and bowls of food. The boys nod at each other, choices made.

And now…we start on a fresh path. I hope.

Thanks as always for hanging with me, guys. Hope to hear from you – and I promise not to take forever and a day to reply to your comments this time. I think we get a few back-to-back new episodes in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to see how they’ll play out this journey of my favorite fictional brothers.

Slainte!

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