The brotherhood on display in the last few episodes has been fantastic -- very Kripke-era, IMO -- but recently even the sub-plots and other characters have engaged me. And seeing the possibilities come together -- with only five episodes left -- is exciting. I dare say this is the first time I've actually been truly excited to see what happens next since Season 5. Now, don't get me wrong, I love our Show. I love everything about it, even the necessary hand-waving, occasional eye-rolling, and the dramatic sighs that are heaved here and there (all by me, mind you). I love it because it's more than just a Show. It was a catalyst for discovering a way of life that now defines me, for building a family not of blood, and for recognizing how to define my own truth. This Show wasn't singularly responsible for all of that, but it started the landslide and for that, I am forever dedicated.
But it sure helps dedication shift to pure enjoyment when the brothers are acting like brothers and the storylines start to zing.
Okay, I may jump around a bit here rather than going down the Triangle of Like as I did in the previous Ramble, but this one has my thoughts bouncing like a marble in a pinball machine. The big 'shocker' at the end with Sam seeking out Rowena to help him didn't really shock me all that much. Sam is breaking my heart right now. He was willing to torture a demon just to find Dean. To save him? I do not doubt he'll willing do whatever he thinks he must, up to and including dealing with the Queen Mum of Hell. He was willing to die to close the gates of Hell. He was willing to die to trap Lucifer in the Cage. Sam is more than willing to sacrifice himself for what he believes is the greater good but what he's completely missing is what Dean is trying to tell him (awkwardly and practically coded): the consequences outweigh their worth.
Dean being adamant about burning the Book of the Damned because the price for black magic was too high to pay just to save him is his way of trying to stop the repetition of history. It's his way of being willing to die (figuratively) just as Sam had been, rather than make a deal or curse someone else or break a promise just to save his life. But Sam's whole identity, his whole life is wrapped up in his brother (just as Dean's has always been) and he can't bear the thought of losing Dean again. He is doomed to repeat history -- make a deal, exact a price that will inevitably have universal implications, sacrifice himself even -- for the sake of his brother's salvation.
The way they're playing off of each other is fantastic -- you can almost see the hope, pain, fear, and desperation they're each feeling emanating from each like an aura, crossing over each other's parameters like a Venn Diagram, the intersection of emotion too bright to look at. Sam -- and subsequently Cas -- keeping the Metatron secret from Dean is going to come back and bite them in the ass. Especially now that the little cretin has the Demon Tablet -- and don't tell me that he wasn't lying when he said there's nothing on the tablet about the Mark. Keeping that secret, though, is the only way Sam can protect both of them from Dean's crushing desperation while he maintains his search for something, anything, that will fix this.
It's what they do, right? Charlie said it perfectly: death or tears. They save the world at the cost of their souls and when they're in danger of losing each other, they turn themselves inside out to find a way to stop the inevitable. Who among us who has lost someone dear to them wouldn't want to do the same? I mean, sure, we're bound by laws of reality, but in this 'verse, you can be pulled out of Hell, summoned from Heaven, shattered (literally) and rebuilt. You can have an angel heal you by living in your skin and you can be a demon and be cured by human blood. There is nothing that isn't possible when trying to save someone you love.
The thing is - they need to learn from this. Learn something else I mean. What Sam seems to have learned from Dean is that the right course of action when your brother is in danger of dying or becoming something he's not is to lie and go behind his brother's back and make dangerous deals that his brother would never have wanted just so that he doesn't have to live with his brother dead. Dean taught him that really well. And what Dean seems to have learned from Sam is that when the choice comes down to his life or the world, his life means nothing and it's best for everyone involved if he simply accepts his fate and makes the ultimate sacrifice regardless of how much it will destroy his brother. Sam was a really good teacher of that lesson.
Unless we're being primed to see one of them die for the other again, they need to see the faults in the old lessons and level up. Otherwise, I feel we are going to be forced to survive another heart-wrenching finale this season (ala S3 and S5).
Dean is trying so hard to keep it together. To be himself as long as he possibly can. He doesn't want to die, and he certainly doesn't want to be a demon. He fights the nightmares and the pulls of power and the instincts of the curse with every ounce of strength he has -- you can see it in the clenched jaw and eye shifts. You can see it in how even when he's jammin' to The Boys Are Back In Town with a grin on his face, there's a tightness around his eyes that exposes just how thin his skin really is. Each moment of his day, he is one wrong word or one sideways glance or one ancient Sumerian spell away from having his humanity disintegrate and being lost forever.
The honesty between them, ironically enough, has such an impact. Dean telling Sam that the Mark is a curse and revealing that Rowena tried to kill him and Sam blurting, "I can't lose you!" just hit me in the gut. Even Dean's reaction of, "you change your mind on that, because that's not what you said before," was honest. Sometimes truth has edges and those edges cut and even if you didn't mean to be the one holding the strop, you've sharpened those edges into a weapon. Dean still carries residual pain from Sam's declaration last season, and no amount of Sam fighting for him now will erase that. It just takes time and Dean making the conscious choice every day to remind himself to let it go. I know exactly how that feels. Sometimes, family is nothing but edges.
Charlie's story is an interesting one. She's gone from quiet, hacker, geek-girl, to resilient, sword-wielding hunter. Seriously, when the fit hits the shan and I become a hunter, first thing I'm doing is getting a sword. It worked for Michonne! I like that she found the book and that we learned from Jacob Stein that she'd been in Russian and hitched a train in, what, France? ANYway, she was a bad ass getting that book, stitching up her own gunshot wound, and translating the Book of the Damned. She's like Sam, Dean, and a pixie stick all rolled into one.
I love that Cas got his grace back, and how frustrated he was the entire time he was traveling with Metatron. But I wish these guys weren't so easily swayed by their own kindness. Cas was too distracted by Metatron's endless prattle to realize that the conniving SOB was playing him the whole time. And I love the question Metatron set in all our minds: what was Castiel's plan? What's his end game? What happens once he saves Dean and/or rounds up all the wayward angels? He doesn't really belong anywhere anymore (or so Metatron insinuated). Still, seeing Cas back at full power -- albeit with broken wings -- was a sight to behold. As was the meeting of Cas and Charlie. I hadn't actually realized they'd not met before. I love that he healed her and seemed baffled by her at the same time.
SO, we've got Sam still in possession of the One Ring -- er, sorry Book of the Damned -- willing to walk into Mordor and meet up with Rowena. Her terms are not going to consist of unicorns riding on rainbows, either. There will be mayhem and chaos and Sam will be right in the middle of it. Not only that, but Rowena clearly will use Sam in her revenge against Crowley for kicking her out of Hell. Which will start a chain of events in that Crowley has of late been a bit of a...well, not a pal but at least not a full-on enemy, even perhaps an ally to Dean. Plus...the Stein family isn't going to stop searching for the book. I'm sure there's more out there, and I'm willing to guess that there's either other golden compasses out there or someone is going to find it on Jacob's body. That's going to be a problem for everybody. Then there's Metatron -- human, free, running amuck with the Demon Tablet. Add to that Dean being a bit of a ticking time-bomb and you've got yourself a perfect storm of possibilities to round out the final 5 episodes of S10.
I'm ready. You ready? *grabs pillow*
- Charlie with a sword. Seriously, that's my first purchase when the zombie apocalypse hits.
- The bad guys using Captain Jack Sparrow's compass to track the Book of the Damned.
- "Sorry, Gambit. Finders keepers."
- Metatron having a conversation with himself about being human + Cas' epic scowl as he is forced to listen.
- "Can I just kill him now?" "You know I can hear you, right?"
- Cas punching Metatron FTW!
- Dean. In. A. Hoodie. That needs to be stated once more. DEAN IN A HOODIE. And it was grey. I mean, I can't even.... *fangirl down!* *fangirl down!*
- Dean speaking truths to his brother. <3
- "More on that later."
- "Winchester accounting. How may I help you?" Not just the witty greeting but the way his voice sounded like honey over gravel.
- "I'm in a phone booth. I didn't know these existed outside of Bill & Ted's." Me neither, honestly.
- Did I mention Dean in a hoodie?
- Dean calling Charlie "kiddo." *melts*
- "Bring snacks."
- The lead-lined, warded box. There's all kinds of stuff in that bunker, man.
- Dean jamming to Thin Lizzy's The Boys Are Back In Town. And smiling. And banging his hands on the steering wheel. And smiling some more.
- The boys talking about taking a vacation (although that also gave me a bad feeling as being 'due for a win' and planning vacations are just as bad as saying "we've got all the time in the world"...).
- "Oh. Em. Me."
- Cas being 1000% done with the whole Metatron situation.
- So, it's totally gross and is weird to put in the 'likes' list but...the fact that the Book of the Damned is written on pieces of a nun's skin in her blood was just Ka-Reepy. That and the fact that it whispered to Dean...it wanted to be found...it wanted Dean to use it so that it could exact it's dark consequences (as though it's actually sentient) was a genious way to get me to agree that destroying yet another possibility for helping Dean was the right choice to make.
- That whole scene where Dean suddenly finds himself standing on the other side of the room holding the book and has no idea how he got there, then has the strength of will enough to hand the book back to Sam.
- "Let's never speak of it again."
- "And you call yourselves nerds. C'mon, you got this!"
- Sam noticing that Dean is affected by the book by just the lines of his body, the way he has to force himself to face front, and putting the Book back in the box.
- The library scavenger hunt. I want to do that with book quotes someday. Without the whole angel sigil attempted murder involved, I think it would be a blast!
- Charlie referring to the Steins as the supernatural DuPonts.
- "I don't have a death wish! Even if I did, I can't die with this thing on my arm." Ah, so he does know that he's, essentially, immortal as long as he has the Mark.
- "Until what? Until I watch you become a demon? I can't lose you!" <-- Dean's reaction to that. Not the words he chose to push Sam back and remind his brother of how Sam had hurt him, but the knowledge that Dean's not being able to fight off the devil inside will destroy Sam and there's nothing Dean can do about it is killing him.
- "It's like a buddy comedy...without the comedy." "Or the buddies."
- Metatron comparing Cas to Kane from Kung Fu. *laughs*
- Charlie boiling down the whole "he saved you by doing something you didn't want and so you were mad at him and said something that hurt him" situation.
- Sam recalling school and Jess. *rubs heart*
- "You're the Dread Pirate Roberts of hunting." Though, the analogy is a little off because the DPR was all about having a different person live the same life, not the same person going after one more job. But I give her full props for The Princess Bride shout-out.
- "This is my life. I love it. But I can't do it without my brother. I don't want to do it without my brother. And if he's gone, then I...." *clutches heart* Kill me now, Sam, geeze.
- Grace-filled Cas and his broken wings. *sudden urge to play Mr. Mister*
- Dean getting jumped by the Steins in the convenience store. I mean, seriously, all the convenience stores in all the world, and he walks into that one.
- "My friends call me Jacob." "Well, I ain't your friend." I just loved how Dean's voice sounded there. Totally confident and disgusted at the same time.
- Dean and Charlie fighting off the Steins as Sam makes like he's burning the book.
- The fact that Jacob Stein saw Sam switch out the book.
- Cas meeting Charlie. Full stop.
- "I thought you'd be shorter."
- "Did we just become best friends?" Just remember, Charlie, bunk beds are a bad idea. *grins*
- The Who's Behind Blue Eyes. I mean, seriously? Could there BE a more appropriate song for what's happening right now? It was geared toward Sam, obviously, with his moody beer drinking, but it's for each of them. No one knows what it's like to be fated to telling only lies...but my dreams they aren't as empty as my conscience seems to be.... It's both of them, individually and together. Well done, Music Department.
- Sam going to Rowena for help. Yes! I liked it! Because it pulls the story lines together and shows how dark Sam is willing to go. I could easily put it in the next category as well because it's the same thing with them, over and over, and this can only end in death or tears. Or both. But for the sake of enjoyment and the way they're directing the story line, I like it.
- Ok, Charlie providing that long exposition in a phone booth when the bad guys are after her, not such a great idea.
- The whole trucker angel/angry cupid thing. If what we were to take from it was that Metatron was willing to save Cas, then, eh. I didn't really care about all that.
- So, no one looked at Charlie's wound?
- Metatron hiding the demon tablet and Cas' grace in the same place. For such a conniving little bugger, that seemed kind of short-sighted.
- The fact that I now really want pizza and beer and neither are on my diet.
- Do you think Rowena wants Crowley dead? He's going to have to be part of her terms, I know that much.
- How do you think the Demon Tablet will work into all of this? Part of the spell to remove the Mark, perhaps?
- How bad do you think the fall out will be when Dean finds out that Sam and Cas were lying to him about Metatron? Or do you think he'll realize why they did it and let it go?
- Where will Charlie go now? Will she still be in danger from the Steins now that she no longer has the book? Will she be a full-on hunter?
- How much misery are we going to be in five weeks from now?
Thanks for reading, ya'll.
Dean in a hoodie.