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Stream of Consciousness Two-fer: Episode 8.20 and 8.21

To make up for not being able (or in the right head-space) to post a ramble for 8.20 last week, I'm giving you a two-for-one this week. I actually wrote the Ramble last week, needing the distraction, but waited to post along with 8.21. These two are just the ramble and the list, not the recap.

I hope you enjoy.

Ramble for Epi 20: “Pac-Man Fever” (written April 25th)

First and foremost, I really enjoyed this episode. I have some quibbles and a “wish I would have seen” – but overall, very well done, very nuanced, and very entertaining.

One thing I’ve noticed about this season is the way the writers are using other characters to help tell the story about where the boys are in their current journey. Amelia, Benny, Kevin – they all showcase a moment, a viewpoint, an emotional spectrum that our boys are experiencing. Next to Benny, Charlie is my favorite of these additional characters.

Her story this episode, though, was a little tough for me to watch. My father passed away the Sunday before Epi 20 aired (which is why you’re getting this Ramble as a ‘two-fer’) and Charlie having to come to terms with letting go of her mother had me working to clutch my pillow and rub my heart at the same time. Death – whether sudden or expected – is a change that we are never prepared for. That kind of a loss, that shift of our norm, of what we know to be real, true, right is not something anyone is prepared to accept.

I’m going to be working on accepting it for a good, long while.

But to see the reason Charlie was so rogue and all alone, to see the tragedy of her story, that was just so sad and so touching and so layered. I liked learning that about her, even as I hated what we had to learn. And I loved the moment Dean realized who the woman on the bed was, that he told her how amazing her daughter was, seeming to know instinctively (perhaps from latent memory of his own) that she was somewhere nearby and could hear him. I loved knowing that Charlie’s mom read her The Hobbit and that’s where she got her love of all things geek (makes me think of my Harry Potter, NeverEnding Story, Percy Jackson influence of Mo Chuisle and where that will lead, though she’s only 6).

The thing that got me from a show perspective, though, is the very War Games-esque realization that Dean found to save Charlie: “The only way to win is…not to play.”

She stopped the loop, woke up from the djinn reality, and in doing so saved both herself and Dean. And yet, when she left, and asked Dean if he was going to ‘stop playing’ his reply was never. I have to wonder a bit about that. The theme of sacrifice that I mentioned with the 8.19 Ramble was still prevalent in this episode, though it was technically a MotW episode.

Sam’s continued sacrifice to the trials is working him over big time; he’s visibly weak, sick, off his game. He’s stumbling, unable to hit targets, bleary-eyed, and sleeping for over 12 hours. And yet he’s determined to keep hunting, to stay in the game, to keep playing. Likewise, Dean is finding more and more of the burden of their job – the simple nature of the business of saving people, hunting things – falling to his shoulders. He wants it there. He wants to be able to protect Sam, take care of him, save him.

It’s always been his one job – no amount of time or Hell or demon blood or betrayal or Purgatory is ever going to change that. It’s who he is at his core, and even though circumstances (and a very stubborn brother) took these trials out of his hands and put them into Sam’s, it doesn’t mean Dean isn’t surviving his own trials. Having Sam sick, hurt, weak, and continuing on while Dean is powerless to protect him from it – that is Dean’s trial.

From my viewpoint, the boys always have a choice to not play. They don’t have to save the world – it doesn’t have to be them. But they see a clear need, and a means to accomplish it, and they can’t turn their backs. They won’t.

It seems that for Sam, another epithet is true: the only way out is through. He’s so worn down right now with the havoc that the trials are rendering upon him, he has no choice but to finish them and hope that when all is said and done, the “sub-atomic” changes to his body culminate in something he can live with. Or through. Depending how you look at it.

And though one could potentially argue that technically, Dean could choose to “not play” – just because Sam is completing the trials doesn’t mean Dean has to keep going – that’s just not how our boy works. There isn’t really life for Dean without Sam in it. His brother is his purpose, end of story. That’s why his answer of never was so swift. There’s not even a possible question in his mind that he won’t see this through – he might not be able to carry the burden of the trials, but he can damn well carry his brother.

But that’s what makes me ponder all of this. I know I’m over-thinking it – don’t know if you noticed, but I tend to do that…on occasion – but I have to wonder about trials designed by God, written by an angel on a demon tablet to close the Gates of Hell, with the angels scrambling to secure an angel tablet and all the secrets and lies and subterfuge from both Heaven and Hell…I just wonder if the only way to really win this is for the boys to – once and for all – stop playing their game.

I don’t know that they really have a choice now, with Sam all sickly and stuff, but I wonder if there’s going to be that twist…like Indiana Jones and Last Crusade: choose wisely.

I thought Jared did a great job playing on Sam’s weakening state – though his continued stubbornness to keep hunting had me frowning at him. What is he trying to prove – who is he trying to fool – by continuing to insist that he’s “fine” when he’s clearly not?? Dean already knows he is sick because of the trials; Sam’s already confessed to his brother that he didn’t want to admit he wasn’t okay, how does more of the same help him? *sighs* Stubborn Winchester men.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the opportunities Sam’s stubbornness gave us to see how Dean handles his brother. I think one of my favorite scenes was at the shooting range, Dean hitting two dead-center, Sam…not even close. Not even on the paper. And that being enough for Dean to drive his stay here and rest point home. I did see a tweet from Jared about that scene where he said they cut his line, “Can I move?” A homage to Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid where the Kid – who’s supposed to be a crack shot – can’t hit a tin can…but says he’s better when he moves and proves it by fluidly riddling the tin can with holes. That would have been funny. I think the boys could have really pulled that off. *grins*

I also liked that it took two hits for Sam to knock his brother out, showing us how truly off his game Sam is and, I suspect, setting us up for Sam to fall pretty hard next episode. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Dean’s tight-faced, sharp-eyed worry as he watched Sam stumble about has me wondering how long he’s going to let this go on. I was right there with him when he got fed up with his brother at the crime scene and walked away, leaving Sam and Charlie with the body. There’s only so much stubbornness you can save someone from. Besides, Charlie was there. If Sam had collapsed or something, Charlie could have gotten help. Dean can’t babysit his brother 24/7 and if Sam’s going to be stupid about this, well, maybe he just needs to be stupid once in awhile.

I enjoyed watching Dean and Charlie work the case together. I pretty much like Dean working with anyone, but I think he and Charlie are really symbiotic in a fun, none-dramatic way.

If they had had more time with the episode, I would have liked to have seen Dean and Charlie fighting the uber-vamps in her dream-game a bit longer. Dean in uniform? Are you kidding? Keep him that way and actually let him do some fighting, showing the impact of the dream-hits and wounds on his unconscious body in the real world. Give Sam something visible, tangible to see, illustrating what Dean’s going through. Make Sam worry about Dean – even just for a little bit – while he’s struggling with the teen!djinn.

If I had one complaint about this episode it would be that the djinn reality didn’t last long enough – it would have been cool to have Dean get bloodied a bit trying to save the patients before he had his epiphany with Charlie. It just seemed to be a bit, I don’t know…vanilla of a storyline: Sam is weakening, Charlie’s found a case for the boys (as an obvious distraction from her having to deal with her mother), Dean helps Charlie, Sam (still weak) has to fight djinn while Dean is stuck in Tron-world.

Am I being too picky? I think maybe I am. As a whole, it was an entertaining and moving episode. I think I’m just looking for more concern for Dean midst all the worry for Sam and the toll the trials are taking on him. And I can see a lot of potential for it, too. I think perhaps I’m allowing what I enjoy when writing fanfic to seep too much into what I’d like to see in the show. *bad Gaelic*

Sorry about that, folks.

The thing that is pretty fantastic when it comes to Dean’s character right now is how he’s showing emotion. I mean, think about it – when he came back from Purgatory, he was closed off, dangerous, almost Terminator-like in his approach to the job. It was a necessary and understandable by-product of surviving 24/7, 360 degree war. The only place he really seemed to relax his shoulders and show his heart was around Benny. He had to get used to being around Sam again and he was hurt that Sam hadn’t looked for him and – almost worse yet for Dean – had abandoned Kevin.

(Aside – interesting how desperate Sam was to find Kevin before they got mired in Charlie’s case. Now that he’s neck-deep in the trials with the prophet his only means to decipher what’s next for him, the idea of abandoning the kid is abhorrent. Okay, end aside.)

But after they each made their choice – Sam saying goodbye to Amelia, Dean to Benny – Dean started to soften around the edges a bit. He started to be the guy we always knew him to be around Sam. It was as if he made a choice, inside where no one ever sees: this is who I am, this is where I am, this is how I need to be.

Outwardly, he still pulls out the game face, wears the mask, gets the job done. But there have been enough still, small moments where we’ve seen his heart in his eyes when he looks at his brother, when he thinks about their path, when he fears for their journey. It’s in those moments that we see Dean real, raw, exposed, no pretense, no preservation, no wall between his heart and the harsh reality of the world.

Like…when he confessed to Sam that the only light in his world was the idea of Sam living a long life, surrounded by grandchildren, even though he knew his own life was going to end bloody…. Or when Sam convinced him of why Sam should be the one to do the trials because Dean was worth more than just supernatural cannon fodder…. When Naomi told him that Sam was going to Hell via the Purgatory route…. When he asked Benny for the ultimate favor, and had to take his friend’s life, in order to save Sam…. When he found Sam in the woods, hugging him so tightly with relief that he’d returned (relatively) unscathed he made Sam wince.

When Charlie told Dean she loved him, I felt my heart fold a bit around the edges at the look on his face, the creasing of gratitude around his eyes. I couldn’t remember when anyone had just said that to Dean – just outright said that they loved him without any agenda. John told him he was proud of him, and yeah, Sam said, “you’re my brother and I still love ya” when he was drugged to the gills, but just to have a friend tell him he was loved…I don’t think I’ve seen that before.

And to have that honesty preceded by Charlie’s declaration to Sam that if anyone can get through the trials, it would be Sam…that really had to mean something to Dean. Because he needs Sam to get through them. If there’s any hope of Dean surviving, then Sam has to survive. And since Charlie had read their whole history as told by one Carver Edlund, she knew this to be true.

(Aside again – no wonder she loves Dean, after reading that entire back story. How could you not love him?!)

The best scene, for me, was Dean walking back into the bunker, Sam rising with rebuttals, anticipating protests, and Dean not pausing, not once, as he crossed the room and grabbed up his brother in a tight hug – which this time, Sam returned.

For Dean, the journey of learning about Charlie’s past, the loss of her parents, the payments to keep her mom with her despite the fact that she was for all intents and purposes gone, the realization that the only way to survive was to let go, and the automatic choice to never stop playing weighed heavily on him. He’s been through too much and is too tired to not show his brother how much all of this is getting to him, how much Sam means to him. And without actually saying the words, how much he loves Sam.

This month taught me the harsh, searing truth that we aren’t guaranteed anything in life. Not our next breath. Not a painless life, not a painless death. Not the time we hope for, not the time we think we need. Not even the love of our family, our friends. We are blessed to have any one of those things. And when it hits us – like it hit Dean there at the end of the epi – that we do have them, even if we only have them for a moment, we have to embrace that moment, that gift, that blessing, and we have to let it matter.

That’s what I see right now with Dean: it matters.

 Things I Loved:

  • Dean’s fluid approach and tight hug of Sam at the end. That was in the top 5 brother hugs of the past 8 seasons.

  • Dean in uniform. Seriously. I can’t even….

  • Charlie and Dean’s perfect, friendly, Star Wars-homage exchange of “I love you.” “I know.”

  • Dean hitting the target dead-center; Charlie hitting a double-tap to the head.

  • Charlie telling Sam that if anyone can survive the trials, he can.

  • The boys agreeing that they want to find every copy of Carver Edlund’s Supernatural books and burn them.

  • Dean telling Charlie’s mom that she had a fantastic daughter.

  • The FBI-outfit montage. I know, I’m a geek, but dude. C’mon.

  • Dean kissing the top of Charlie’s head after he hugged her goodbye. For all his “it’s going to end bloody” and not being the one known to be ‘touchy-feely’ he sure does garner tight relationships with the other characters and it’s Dean who (more often than not) they are drawn to. He needs people. More than he perceives people needing him. He needs them and he loves them. He really does.

Things I Liked:

  • Sam’s “close enough” comment after he re-tried the shooting range and at least hit the paper.

  • Agents Hicks and Ripley. Aliens shout-out FTW.

  • Charlie saying she wouldn’t forget the pie when she headed off for supplies.

  • Charlie asking the coroner for fashion advice to give the boys time to look at/for the bodies.

  • Dean trying to get Sam to rest, take it easy, get better.

  • Dean being the one to judge Charlie’s FBI ensemble.

  • Dean killing the first djinn.

  • Charlie’s car. Because, OMG. *shakes head*

  • Sam’s smile at seeing Charlie get out of her car.

  • Dean holding Charlie as she realized that she had to let go of her mom. *sniff*

Things that were meh:

  • Okay, the dreamroot. Really guys? I guess I can see where they might have had the dreamroot in their trunk stash o’stuff (though it would have been good to see one of them run out to the Impala to grab it), but that was just bit too wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am for me. And also the way Sam’s 2nd punch sent Dean perfectly slumped into the chair. *laugh* Sprawled on the floor is more realistic and just as effective (says I).

  • The fact that there were suddenly two djinn. That seemed a bit too unexpected. Plus, the mother/child bad guy thing’s been done. Although, it was a good thing the 2nd djinn was more of a fledgling, else Sam couldn’t have taken him down.

  • The fact (which I already mentioned) that the djinn reality didn’t last long enough.

Things to add to my list of questions:

  • Why did Charlie have so many fake passports? What would she be using the passports for? And if she was savvy enough to make fake passports, why did she not have a better excuse than a convention in Topeka (which could be easily confirmed with some google-fu) as to why she was in the area?

  • How is it that the dreamroot allowed Dean to enter Charlie’s djinn-enhanced dream? I can’t remember – does is have to do with drinking a hair or something, ala Harry Potter’s Pollyjuice Potion?

  • How many think the fact that the MoL bunker is a Bermuda triangle for cell phone signals will come into play? It’s kinda like the Enochian carvings on their ribs (which, I’m guessing, were invalidated with trips to the Cage and Purgatory…?). I think that’s pretty cool and really hope they didn’t just drop that nugget.

  • So, in addition to a kick-ass library, a biggest telescope this side of the Mississippi, and a bedroom for Dean, the MoL bunker also has a shooting range. I dig this place. Anyone else curious as to what else this place holds for our boys?

As we’re a week later, and this is a two-fer, I’m skipping my usual recap and will roll right into the next Ramble.

Episode 21 – “The Great Escapist” (written May 1st)

Okay, now I’m wishing I’d actually posted that ramble when I wrote it last week because of some very specific points/lines that come up in this episode, which was, I have to say, a fun piece of storytelling. I really feel like things are starting to come together and I am looking forward to the last two episodes of this season with great anticipation.

I did read an interview by Carver today – even though I’m spoiler-free – because I needed to feel the anticipation for what is to come. This episode gave me the feeling that interview did not. He honestly may as well have said “no comment” to every question asked because he was playing things very close to the vest. My biggest hope, admittedly, is that the pieces we see coming together story-wise have some kind of satisfactory pay-off for Dean.

I see all kinds of satisfaction coming our way for Sam. His ebb and flow this season has been pretty profound. He started off Mr. Normal Life, having given up on his brother, on hunting, on everything he’d been taught growing up. He continued on almost defensive of those choices, not offering any explanation other than your basic hey, I have a right to a normal life, plus I met a girl, and besides, we had an agreement when asked why he didn’t look for Dean.

But then he made a choice and with that choice, once more shouldered the burden of hunting with that earn this mentality that took him into a storyline that was like a 180 degree turn from where he started this season. The h/c junkies have gotten some serious suffering from the younger Winchester these last few episodes (seriously, I actually wish hurt!Sam did something for me...) – and I don’t expect an end to it much before (if at all) the screen goes dark on May 15th. I think all of this suffering, the trials he’s going through, the changes to him on the “sub-atomic” level…well, I think we learned what the pay-off is going to be: purification.

Gotta admit, I didn’t see that. I knew he was being changed, but I didn’t think about it burning the demon blood out of him. For some reason, I thought a trip to the Cage had scrubbed him clean of that. He hasn’t been able to use his demon-force powers, his ‘guilt’ was gone…I had (mistakenly) assumed the demon blood was, too.

But, if the end result is as Dean so desperately hopes – Sam is okay once they complete the 3rd trial – and is what Sam suspects – he’s being purified – then I can (for probably the first time since I accepted the course of the storyline) understand why it had to be Sam, and not Dean, who completed these trials. Because Sam has had something – while not evil – unclean inside of him since he was six months old. It wasn’t his fault, as Dean has repeatedly told him, but nevertheless, it’s been there. And he’s had to live with it, and because of it, his family and every one he loves has suffered.

If he’s finally free of it, I can embrace his completing these trials. It closes a loop in the mytharc that’s traversed 8 years and it brings some resolution in (what I feel is) a very satisfactory way for this character.

However, Dean…I still need more for. All he’s suffered, all he’s survived…I want his standing by his brother, caring for him, protecting him, sacrificing for him to matter. I want it all to matter for Dean as Dean has realized it all matters to him. Does that make sense?

If the amulet story died in a motel trashcan and the righteous man was only good for breaking on a rack in Hell and Michael could use a half-brother as a vessel, then I would love to have some pay-off for Dean to have completed his own trials of keeping his brother moving, upright, so that Sam can complete the God-trials and show him that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t Hellfire.

But that’s me playing Frogger with the next two weeks. *patience Gaelic*

I’ve said before how it’s oddly ironic that our show manages to always resonate with something going on in my real life. These last two episodes have been a prime showcase for that. Over the last week, my 4 siblings, my mother, and I have struggled to deal with my dad’s death in very different ways. Personally, I’m not sure where I should put any of my feelings, so I’ll skip over them for now because I actually have a SPN-related point to make.

We have all been so busy trying to handle the numerous details that we haven’t really given each other room to feel. Two sisters, specifically, have been struggling – primarily because they are as alike as they are different (though don’t tell them that). In trying to smooth over a particular rough patch, I appealed to the older one to try to look at the world through the eyes of the younger. They had been raised by the same man, but not even close to the same way. They had different degrees of protection and provision and understanding – but none of that mattered now. What mattered was that she find a way to see where the other was coming from.

I have exhausted myself over the last two days trying (hopefully not in vain) to get this point across and provide some balance to our familial universe and as I watched our boys tonight, I saw – oddly – the same thing happening with them.

I see Dean working each moment to accept that he can’t fight the tidal wave of the trials, so he’s trying to swim with the current, stay ahead of his brother and clear a path. He’s watching Sam’s weakening state like a hawk, being the caretaker he’s had to be so many times in his past. I see him working to get Sam’s logic, rolling with the blows coming at him – like Sam burning up with fever and not eating and the Superman-like tinnitus coupled with Sam’s epiphany that the trials were purifying him – and not letting it rock him from his purpose.

I don’t quite see Sam looking at the world from Dean’s eyes, though. I see him too mired in the weight of his own experiences to see that this whole experience is like another level of Hell for Dean. And I don’t know if Sam’s really capable of that – right now with all he’s dealing with…or ever. But I don’t know if it’s essential for their mutual survival. As with my sisters, just one of them needs to tilt their head a different way, take on a different perspective, and a strange kind of unification results.

It’s not sustainable, and it’s not exactly fair, but it’s something.

And there’s something to be said for the trail-enhanced clarity Sam’s experiencing. His memories are returning from his early, early years and it’s showing sides to both of them, such as remembering that even as a little kid he felt unclean. Or remembering that Dean read to him. Not more than 6 or 7, Dean read his brother comics about heroes and quests and valor – Knights of the Round Table and the search for the Holy Grail.

Kinda makes me wonder what the pay-off might have been had Dean gone through the trials, especially if this is right and the pay-off for Sam is purifying him of the demon blood. Dean was the righteous man. He’s willingly sacrificed himself, soul and all. Wonder what there would have been to ‘cleanse’ Dean of, or if it would have been a different transformation entirely….

 Seeing Dean watch Sam remember moments of their childhood was breath-catching. Seeing Dean watch Sam come to the realization of how he was being changed had me rubbing my heart.

I also wonder about what Metatron said to Dean at the end – that it’s about choices. That it’s always been about the choices we make (which is as big of a running theme as sacrifice) – harkening back to what I was thinking in the previous episode about choosing wisely – and that it’s going to ultimately be about what they’re willing to give to finish this thing…and what the world will look like when it’s done.

Is it going to come down to playing or not playing after all? Dean can see the world through Sam’s eyes right now – he can see why Sam’s making this effort, or at least an interpretation of why. It no longer matters if he agrees or wants to happen. They’ve reached a point where (as he and I both said) the only way out is through. To end Sam’s suffering, they have to complete the trials.

But what will the world look like? They think (as anyone would) that the world would be better off without the demons…but the angels (with the exception of a few) in this verse aren’t exactly virtuous. And if the world turns into a John Lennon song, what then? Will it come down to a choice between sacrificing Sam or sacrificing the world?

One of the things I am mulling over is the way Metatron – the scribe of God – hungered for stories. I absolutely loved how he said that, “Storytelling is the true flower of free will.” When we create stories, we become gods of tiny, intricate dimensions. There’s been an undercurrent of admiration (or frustration, depending) from the demons and angels alike for the resilience and imagination of humanity and this angel who’s stayed hidden for millennia is no different. Of course a writer would crave stories.

But what (if anything) does that mean for the mytharc? Is it just a clever way of adding a layer to an angel? Or does it have something to do with the endgame of the trials? Is this all just…a big story? I mean…the first prophet the boys encountered wrote an entire series of stories about their lives and their destiny.

Maybe it’s not the story aspect, but the idea that with storytelling comes free will.

Is there something to this recurrence of the free will theme – Castiel breaking Naomi’s hold on him, Sam going through the trials and once and for all being rid of the demon blood, Dean choosing to keep playing the game even though it will probably cost him everything – that will ultimately confront the boys at the end of all things?

(Or am I just waaaaay over-thinking everything and it’s just simply about completing trials, getting rid of Sam’s demon blood, and the brothers being brothers again? *honestly does not know at this point*)

The 3rd trial sounds impossible, but with only two episodes to go – and with the writers having shown they can cut holes in canon to free an innocent soul from Hell – I think they’ll find a way to accomplish it…the question will be if they choose to complete it. I mean, I honestly think they were close to ‘curing a demon’ with Meg, had Crowley not killed her (or…did he?).

I’m quite curious to find out what ‘curing’ really means. Fixing what Lucifer broke. Restoring their soul, giving them something selflessly, making their heart grow three sizes larger, Grinch-style?

Oh, so it turns out that I was wrong about Kevin. But that was actually okay with me. I liked that our friendly neighborhood prophet outsmarted Crowley by picking up on fake!Dean and fake!Sam. And I like that he got away holding the other half of the demon tablet. And I like that he was willing to die rather than give up the information to Crowley again. But I think my favorite moment with Kevin was the tiny temper-tantrum he threw on the automated video to the boys that would only be sent to them if he were dead: “I’M DEAD! Screw you! Screw God! Screw everyone!”

That was the most real he’s been since he first got prophet-ized. His tears as he apologized for not getting the job done…*rubs heart*

But I loved Dean’s reaction – the angry slam of the chair as he stalked out, hands threaded behind his head as he worked to channel his impotent anger into something he could actually use. Losing Kevin…that just went against everything he fought for, believed in. And not only that, but they needed him. I was relieved when Metatron – the angel who was, basically, responsible for Kevin being a prophet in the first place – saved Kevin for the boys. He deserved to be saved. And they deserved to have something work in their favor for once. It’s nice to know that there are a couple of angels who are still (somewhat) angelic.

Bringing me to our favorite angel, Cas. He went through the wringer in this episode, didn’t he? Naomi has certainly messed with his noggin if he can’t even remember being part of Passover, but Metatron’s explanation for what the arch angels have been trying to do since humans were still “naked apes” shown some “well, duh” light on their tactics. If Metatron is right, God left Heaven long ago. Cas just didn’t realize, apparently. Either that, or time is just lost to him when he’s a wave of celestial intent.

And the arch angels have been vying for power over Earth, using “lesser” angels in their war, for a long, long time. Whatever Cas knew or didn’t know, his instincts were right on. And despite Crowley’s clever idea of melting down an angel sword (seems odd that it could be melted, but whatever) into bullets and shooting Cas in the gut, Castiel stuck to his instincts. I didn’t see the Fifth Element-like location of the tablet, but I have to admit that was clever. Now I just worry that Naomi can restore her control over Cas at the 11th hour since he’s no longer actually touching the tablet.

But at least he’s back with the boys now. With the tattered remains of Team Free Will reunited, it almost feels like they have a chance, despite the apparent impossibility of their next task. As Sam said, at least they’re heading somewhere, they have a direction.

Choice. Sacrifice. Survival. Changing.

It’s been quite the distance these brothers have come since Dean found his way out of Purgatory. Sam’s weakness gives him no choice but to complete the trials…and keeps him close to his brother. I just hope that if one ends, the other doesn’t. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next week.

Things I Loved:

  • Dean making John Winchester’s famous ‘kitchen sink stew’.

  • Dean walking away from Kevin’s video, slamming the chair, pissed.

  • The way Dean’s eyes widen and seem to swallow the world as he listens to Sam remember he felt unclean even as a little kid. His heart was right there.

  • Castiel’s messy hair the first time we saw him. He looked more human than ever.

  • Using Biggersons because “there’s just so many….”

  • Sam’s shaky, desperate voice as he tries to convince Dean to go to the Two Rivers Tribe.

  • Sam still managing to correct Dean’s non-PC reference to ‘Indians’ rather than ‘American Indians’.

  • Sam remembering Dean reading to him when they were both really young. I read to my siblings, too. I hope they remember.

  • This line: “What kind of an angel are you?! We’re the friggin’ Winchesters!!”

  • This line: “It all matters.”

  • Kevin standing up to Crowley, willing to die than give in.

Things I Liked:

  • This line: “I was born to direct.”

  • Crowley saying he could have played fake!Dean himself. Something about his wanting to be Dean and not Sam had me smirking.

  • Kevin testing the fake!Winchesters by sending them out for food…when there were leftovers in the fridge. *laugh*

  • The ice bath (though…Sam being underwater, unconscious, had me head-tilting…that wouldn’t have flown in fanfic…just saying).

  • Dean’s face-shrug when Sam said, “We’re the friggin’ Winchesters!”

  • The fact that Metatron was a Nerd.

  • Dean telling Metatron that he should have been looking out for Kevin.

  • Crowley crafting angel bullets. Sucks for the angels, but I thought it was a bit clever.

  • The stacks and stacks and stacks of books in Metatron’s hotel room.

  • The fact that the boys now have all of Kevin’s research. I know they know the 3rd trial and it might not matter, but I like that they have all that information with them now.

Things that were meh:

  • Okay, while fever-drunk Sam remembering Dean riding a farting donkey was smile-worthy, didn’t Dean say that he wished he’d been able to see the Grand Canyon? I mean, wasn’t that a thing that spawned many a fanfic because DeanGirls everywhere wanted to give him his chance? It was in Croatoan, the one regret Dean had from their many journeys. So…how is it that they rode to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on donkeys with John when Sam was four years old? Tsk Tsk, writers.

Things to add to my list of questions:

  • So, if Cas isn’t touching the angel tablet anymore, can Naomi control him again?

  • Crowley has the angel tablet, but no prophet…raise your hand if you think that’s going to blow up on them in the final episode in some IdidNOTseethatcoming manner.

  • How do you ‘cure’ a demon?

  • What will the world look like with no demons and arch angels scheming for control?

  • What will the sacrifice be that will leave us cursing at the end of the season?

  • ETA: Anyone else completely freaked out by the burned-out-eyes lady in the decimated Biggersons repeating, "You have to stop"? That was creepy.

If you guys are okay with this format…I may just wrap the season up thusly, rather than adding the recap as I’ve done previously. Would really love your thoughts.

And, as always, thanks so much for reading.

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