I’m writing this first part before The Viewing. I wanted to be able to thank you all with a clear head—and even unspoiled I can pretty much guarantee you I won’t be clear enough to do that when 9pm CT rolls around. Writing these episodic rambles has been a joy...and a burden. There are times I reach the end of the day and want to just watch. And there are times I can’t help myself; I have to react. But regardless of either case, those of you who have commented—either here on my LiveJournal, or on other sites where the review is posted, or via a PM just letting me know you read—have truly touched me.
Offering your thoughts in this forum—whether or not you agree with me or with the others that comment—is a gift. It’s a gift of your time to me and a gift to everyone else who reads of your viewpoint. And I want you to know that I am grateful for it. Some people have faded as the season has progressed—and I miss hearing from you. But I completely understand why. I just want each of you to ‘hear’ that knowing you read makes the effort of writing these with each episode so very much worth it.
*BIG GROUP HUG*
Okay, enough with the chic-flick moment. I’m off to watch and then Ramble On!
*has trembling hands, a lump in throat, and still-teary eyes*
I came in here to write and saw this in an email from a good friend and fellow fan who also lives here in Lawrence: “I feel like someone ran me over, wrung me out, tossed me in the dryer, stomped on my chest, and then tossed me off a ten story building. Good. Grief.”
This one is gonna be long, ya’ll. And there will be tears as I go.
I don’t think I’d been this worked up about an episode since the Season 2 premiere. There was so much riding on this. So much had been built up, cranked up, offered to us…. We’ve been led and teased, pushed and pulled…. Many have followed, some willingly, some begrudgingly. But here we all are. I sat down to watch, pillow pulled up against my chest even before The Vampire Diaries had ended because I just knew…I knew.
This was going to gut me. And so help me, I was going to enjoy it. I don’t want to think too long about what that says about me.
Even though I worked to be unspoiled, there were still comments dropped and insinuations made in conversation or by accident that had me 1) worrying for the fate of Cas or Bobby and 2) convinced that something awful was going to happen to the Impala. The only thing that kept me from worrying too much about the fact that the unspoken catch to Sam’s Big Idea meant that he would be going in the cage with Lucifer was the fact that we’ve been green-lit for a Season 6 and both actors have signed on to be a part of it.
Okay, folks, does Kripke know us or what? When he opened The Road So Far with Carry On My Wayward Son, I literally whooped. I’m talking hands in the air, face-splitting grin, yee-haw, whooping. My husband simply cocked an eyebrow at me and put on his Boze Earphones to block out all sound and leave me in peace with my heroes. The song took us through a recap of Season 5 and man…MAN what a whirlwind this has been. This whole story. This whole journey.
When The Prophet Chuck’s voice came on, narrating as we saw a grainy, 60’s-era film of an engine being dropped into the chasse of a classic, American-built automobile, I took a breath, brain clicking. He talks about the Caprice rolling off the line on April 21, 1967, to great celebration. Then, three days later, another car is assembled and no one takes much notice. It’s our Impala.
And it turns out that this baby that we’ve lusted over (c’mon, like you haven’t), admired, mourned, cheered, written multitudes of fic about (the throaty roar of the engine, the familiar creak of the door hinges) is the most important object in this war.
My throat closed at those words, and it only got tighter from there.
The first owner was a Sal Moriarty. Which, I kinda had to grin at that name because whenever I hear Moriarty I think Sherlock Holmes. I have no idea if that has any meaning at all; I just thought I’d mention it. Sal drove around the country giving Bibles to the poor (with an Angel figurine hanging from the rear-view mirror) getting folks “right” for Judgment Day. Chuck’s voiceover mused that Sam and Dean don’t know that fact, but he was willing to bet if they did, they’d smile.
When Sal died, the Impala ended up in a used car lot in Lawrence, KS, where John ended up buying it on almost-but-not-quite-impulse. And that, Chuck says, is where our story begins.
I have to confess that in that moment, my heart cried. I really fell for the red herring bread crumbs that had been tossed our way that something horrible was going to happen to the Impala. I couldn’t exactly figure out what…I just…I was actually sadder at the thought of this episode ending with the Impala destroyed than I was with the thought of Bobby dead.
I know. What is wrong with me?
And we have Dean in the leather jacket, walking out to Sam sitting on the hood of the Impala. Dean. In the leather jacket. I don’t know if it’s because we haven’t seen it in so long or what, but good GOD he looked amazing. Just…kick me in the gut amazing. For a moment, all I could think was I’m not going to see him all summer….
Anyway, Dean snags a beer from their beat up old green cooler, and Sam’s all, “What’s going on?” Dean tells him that he’s in with the whole “up with Satan.”
Sam: “You’re gonna let me say yes?”
Dean: “No. That’s the thing. It’s not on me to let you do anything. You’re an–overgrown—man. If this is what you want, I’ll back your play.”
There you have it, folks. The whole struggle at the beginning of the season, the time apart, the coming back together with the argument that Sam is his own person and Dean needs to start seeing him that way, comes full circle in this reluctant acceptance speech.
Sam: “That’s the last thing I thought you’d ever say.”
Dean: “It might be.”
Dean: “Not gonna lie to you. Goes against every fiber I got. Watchin’ out for you—it’s been my job. It’s who I am. But you’re not a kid anymore. I can’t keep treating you like one. Maybe I got to grow up a little, too.”
Oh, how I ached when he said that. There is nothing harder in life than letting go. I will stand by that statement. It’s my whole struggle with faith. To let go? To trust like that? To have that kind of faith? Takes an insurmountable kind of strength.
Dean: “I don’t know if we’ve got a snowballs chance—but if anyone can do it, it’s you.”
Those were exactly the words Sam needed to hear. You could see it crawl across his face—a surge of relief chased by fear. A kind of: This is what I said I wanted…his faith…did I know what I was asking for?
Sam tells his brother that he let him out; he has to be the one to put him back in. And it’s fitting. It’s full-circle. I didn’t WANT it to happen. I didn’t want to see Sam say yes and see him play Lucifer again. I didn’t want any of this, really. But only because I love these characters. As a story, it’s really fitting. The only thing that tripped me up was the stress from Season 4 that only the righteous man who started it could finish it.
I’m not sure if perhaps I missed something there, or if maybe it’s just not well and truly finished. Or if there was an interpretation of “finish” that I didn’t apply. I had been going with the theory that Dean was the righteous man who broke in Hell and broke the first seal, which meant that Dean was the only one to truly “finish it.” But perhaps finish it didn’t mean “kill Lucifer” or “stop Lucifer” or “keep Michael from fighting his brother” or any of those things. Perhaps “finish” simply meant “prevent the world from ending.”
Just before we part from the brothers, the camera pulls up and we get a gorgeous long shot of the two of them leaning on the Impala as she sits midst the bodies of dozens and dozens of other cars in various stages of disrepair. It’s rather a gorgeous shot, that. And held some sweetness in it.
But, the next thing we see is a totally squick-inducing shot of a couple of demons hanging above a Devil’s Trap by their heels, their blood filling like…four gallon jugs. Gack. Apparently Bobby had known where some demons were holed up and Team Free Will kicked in the door and got all the “go juice Sammy can drink.”
Dean’s trying to be nonchalant as he talks with Bobby, acknowledging that no, he’s not okay, but that’s not really gonna chance anytime soon is it, so let’s figure out our next step. Bobby goes over some different locations with random omens and Detroit’s on the list. Dean’s like, that’s where he is. Bobby throws in the doubt card, but Dean’s sure.
A glance at Sam and the kid is NERVOUS. The air around him fairly shimmers from it. I think my gut tightened into a knot in that moment to add to the physical tension this episode worked up inside of me. In the Impala, Cas is asleep in the back, the boys in the front.
Sam comments that Angels don’t sleep. Well… we already knew Cas had been essentially humanized. However, Cas’ zzz’s give the boys a chance to talk some stuff out they hadn’t addressed yet.
Dean: “Sam, I got a bad feeling about this.”
This is truly the most classic Star Wars line ever. For me, it’s better than “May the Force Be With You.” Mainly because it is always such an understatement—but also because Han used it and he didn’t have the benefit of the Force.
Sam: “You’d be nuts to have a good feeling.”
Heh. Dean has big doubts about Detroit and thinks the Devil knows more than they think he knows. Sam says they just have to hope that he doesn’t know about the rings. Which…right then you knew he was going to. Dammit.
Sam: “On that note, there’s something I gotta talk to you about.”
For one split second, I thought he was going to bring up the amulet. I really, really thought that might come into play with this episode. I haven’t actually given up hope that it won’t in Season 6, but I’ll tell you about those thoughts later.
Sam: “This thing goes our way, and I triple Lindy (huh?) into that box, you know I’m not coming back.”
Dean: “Yeah, I’m aware.” Too, too calm, that reply.
Sam: “You gotta promise me something.”
Gaelic: Oh, God….
Sam: “You gotta promise not to bring me back.”
Dean: “What? No, I didn’t sign up for that. Your Hell is going to make my tour look like Graceland.”
Sam says something about it being too risky, but my ears were ringing a bit with the implications and the repercussions and the memories.
Dean: “I’m not gonna let you rot in there.”
Sam: “You don’t have a choice.”
Dean: “You can’t ask me to do this.”
Sam: “I’m sorry, Dean. You have to.”
Oh, God. This hurt, ya’ll. Because you heard both sides with ringing clarity. Both of them had been where the other one now sat. Dean, facing Hell, asked Sam to live his life. Sam, facing his brother’s imminent demise having to promise to NOT do what he ultimately spent the whole time Dean was in Hell trying to do.
I’m not even going to worry about any of the inevitable thought lines out there that when Dean was in Hell, Sam was destroyed and he didn’t give up and he searched for a way to bring him back, but at the end of this episode we didn’t get the same indication from Dean. It’s a totally different situation in my mind, and so much has happened to the two of them between Dean’s death and Sam’s sacrifice…different times, different promises. That’s all.
Dean: “What am I supposed to do?”
This question was so weighted. It was the same one he asked of…God, or whoever was listening…as he sat with Sam’s dead body. Without Sam, without that job, without that purpose…he simply doesn’t know who he is, why he’s there. In his mind, in his heart, Dean is defined by what he thinks he can do for others, and without them—especially the one that has always counted the most—Dean is lost.
But Sam, God freakin’ bless him, knows this. He knows his brother better than anyone. And regardless of how absolutely terrified he has to be about what he’s about to do—not just say yes, but willingly fall into Hell—he knows he can’t just leave Dean to flounder lost and alone in the world. He knows that the only way he can be strong enough to do what he has to do is if he KNOWS Dean is in the world. And he also knows that in order for Dean to stay in the world, he has to give his brother a mission, an order…a promise.
Sam: “Find Lisa. Go live a normal, apple pie life. Promise me.”
Dean looks away and we see his profile, stoic, silent. *gut twists*
They’re in Detroit. Bobby (who was apparently following them in the Mystery Machine) spies two demons in an upper floor of a run-down looking apartment building above a Chinese Restaurant. Dean is NOT. HAPPY. As he strides past Bobby, declaring he knows the Devil is there, his face is so tense it looks like he’s going to break his jaw. His body language has me almost pulling away from him: Do not eff with me.
Bobby and Sam face each other and I felt tears build.
Bobby: “See you around, kid.”
Sam: “Yeah, see you around.”
They hug, and a tear fell. I didn’t even bother to wipe it away.
Bobby (voice thick with emotion and choked as he tries to be firm, tough): “You fight him tooth and nail. Keep swinging. Don’t give an inch.”
Sam: “Yes, sir.”
Bobby turns away and Sam faces Cas with a hand out to shake. Gives him the whole, “Take care of these guys, okay?”
Cas, ever blunt, but this time with sad eyes full of regret, says: “That’s not possible.”
Sam: “Then humor me.”
Cas: “Oh! I’m supposed to lie…uh, sure! They’ll be fine!”
Guh. Even Cas’ clueless honesty wasn’t enough to crack a smile for me. I was just…gutted. Dean is at the trunk, waiting. Sam moves back there, then looks up at his brother, asking if he minds not watching. After a moment, Sam slams the trunk lid down (and he’s presumably drank all four gallons of blood…gack) and he’s all, “Let’s do this thing!”
He strides across the street, Dean at his heels, and bellows: “All right! We’re here, you sons of bitches! Come and get it!”
DemonGoons come out and Dean, ever cocky, says, “Hey Guys…is your father home?”
The demongoons haul them roughly up to where Lucifer is waiting.
And…we’re back to The Prophet Chuck’s Voice Over Designed To Kill Me as we see a shot of the Impala, looking lovely and powerful, her Ohio plates shining (though, I’ll never really accept them…I miss KAZ2Y5), sitting in a field. We get a shot of the weapon-filled trunk as Chuck talks about the things that she doesn’t have and the things that she does. And then he tells us about the stuff that’s important.
As he talks, we see shots of the boys as, well, boys. Little kids, playing with their toys. In their home. I always contended that the Impala was their home. I know I’m hardly the only one. I remember, though, when I was writing my first fanfic back in October of 2006 and I was drawing it to a close, I wanted them to be able to go home. After all I put them through, I just felt they needed a place to be them in a location that was uniquely theirs. And then, when those creaky doors opened inside my imagination, I realized…they already were.
Chuck’s V.O.: “The Army man that Sam crammed into the ashtray—it’s still stuck there. The leggos that Dean shoved into the vents…to this day, heat comes on, they can hear ‘em rattle.”
You see the boys carving their initials into the dash and I couldn’t help but think of my childhood home and the one stair—third from the bottom—that still creaks because my sister and I…well, let's just say there was some exploration that involved a hammer and a screwdriver. Or the footprints in paint on the back hall floor that my mom left there because my brother accidentally tracked them there when he was three. And now he’s 28 and it’s precious to see. Or the marks on the wall that measures how we grew over the years.
All the random things that just makes a place home.
Chuck: “These are the things that make her theirs. Really theirs.”
There’s that heart-stopping shot of the semi slamming into the Impala and then a shot of the partially-built body of the car with Dean’s legs sticking out from under her.
Chuck: “Even when Dean rebuilt her form the ground up, he made sure all these things stayed. ‘Cause it’s the blemishes that make her beautiful.”
And just as he says that, there’s an amazing shot of grease-smeared Dean cranking something in the undercarriage. It’s wonderfully timed, I have to say. Because he was beautiful in that moment. Broken heart and all.
We switch to Lucifer breathing on the glass of the upper room.
Chuck: “The Devil doesn’t know or care what kind of car the boys drive….”
And then suddenly, I knew she was going to make it. I don’t know why that did it for me, and I still wasn’t sure the role she was going to play, but I knew it was going to be so much bigger than just destroying her. She was family and this whole thing has been all about family. From the very beginning. Brothers, sons…those that are tied by blood and those that aren’t.
Lucifer: “Sorry it’s so cold. Most people think I burn hot. It’s actually quite the opposite.”
Well…someone’s been reading their Dante.
Dean: “Well, I’ll alert the media.”
The exchange between the boys and Luci is…well, to say tense would be a significant understatement. Sam is practically vibrating he’s so revved up for this. He’s scared as all get out, but so freakin’ determined to do this right that he’s pale. Dean…he looks sick and angry and like he wants to throw Sam over his shoulder and run as far and fast as he can. But he holds himself completely, almost unnaturally still.
Lucifer is all, yeah, okay, so…why are you here?
Sam tells him that he wants to say yes. And then kills the two demongoons that hauled them in here. With his mind. *gulp*
Lucifer: “Chock-full of Ovaltine are we?”
Sam tells him that they get it, the fight’s gonna go down, they just want off this ride. So, make the deal of the century, save Dean, his family, and Sam’ll say yes. Lucifer is like, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know about the rings. *yipe!* Sam tries to deny it, but Lucifer isn’t buying it. With creepy calm, he walks between the brothers, doing that finger-tap thing that says, I’m thinking about this very seriously.
Lucifer: “A wrestling match inside your noggin. I like it. Just you and me. No tricks. You win, you jump in the hole. I win…well…I win. Fiddle of gold against your soul….”
I couldn’t help it…I started humming Devil Went Down To Georgia. Only, y’know, they were in Michigan, so, yeah that didn’t last.
Sam, low, to Dean: “So he knows. Doesn’t change anything.”
Dean, voice shaking: “Sam….”
Sam, very very determined: “We don’t have a choice.”
Dean, his voice breaking with the word: “No….”
Sam, to Lucifer: “Yes.”
I felt something kinda…tip inside of me at this. Like that first plummet when you’re riding a roller coaster. Up until this moment I wondered if they were going to get out of it somehow. If God might step in. If Dean might call down Michael. But then that brilliant light illuminated everything and Dean flinched and turned away and we were in it, boy. We were in the thick of it.
Sam and Nick are on the floor, out. Dean is breathing hard and anxious. He draws out the four rings and tosses them against a wall and starts to Latinate. Or maybe it was Enochian-ate. Or Aramaic-ate. Who knows. It’s the words given to him by Death to trap The Morning Star, the ultimate fallen angel, so they were pretty powerful. The wall cracks and sucks in and a vortex appears. Wind whips around Dean and he turns when he hears Sam stir.
Going to his brother, Dean helps Sam off the floor.
Sam: “Dean! I feel him!”
Dean holds Sam’s arm for a moment, then yells: “You gotta go now, Sammy!”
Sam walks to the vortex. And then his face goes utterly, completely calm. It’s 2014 Sam/Lucifer all over again. He turns to Dean, wind twisting around both of them, the vortex behind him and says, “I was just messing with you. Sammy’s long gone.”
No wind, no vortex, no rings.
Dean looks…freaked, worried, tight…mad as Hell.
S/L: “I told you…this would always happen in Detroit.”
And then…no Sam.
Dean turns in a slow circle, hands to his head helplessly, tears in his eyes. Good. Freakin’. Lord. I needed a minute after that.
The next part was better than I thought it was going to be. I don’t mean for that to sound judgmental, but the truth is, watching Sam struggle inside himself with Lucifer wasn’t really The Battle I really waned to see. I think Jared did a fantastic job, though—it felt like there were two people having that conversation and not one man with himself. I am continually amazed by the paragraphs Jensen is able to speak with a subtle shift of expression in his eyes. But I don't often see the same in Jared. Tonight, though, this scene? He brought it. The Sam in the mirror was angry, desperate, crazed, fighting. The Sam/Lucifer on in the room was controlled, smug, convinced...hideous in his evilness. Nicely done.
I am hopeful, though, that we’re done with Lucifer’s End Game. I’m hopeful that all of this your true nature is me bullshit that Luci was feeding Sam’s psyche is done and done. Nobody could go through what Sam’s been through all of his life, and what he went through tonight, and come out even close to normal.
If there’s hope for his character to stay interesting (at least to me), then he needs to be able to acknowledge this soul destruction and work to heal from it. Not have it brought up by entities more powerful than he is time and time and time again. Sam/Lucifer is in a room with a bunch of people…it’s unclear at first if they’re demons or captives, but I assumed demons. They aren’t moving. That don’t even look alive. Like wax figures, really.
Sam—our Sam—is in a broken reflection in a mirror. The conversation Lucifer has with Sam is done facing off with the mirror, and it was a clever tactic to keep you mindful of who it was that was speaking at a given time. Of course, Lucifer starts with the whole poor, misunderstood me tactic. Saying he’s not the bad guy, all that jazz.
Sam (seething): “I’m gonna rip you apart from the inside out.” Atta boy.
Lucifer: “Such anger, young Skywalker. Who are you really angry with? Me? Or that face in the mirror?”
*rolls eyes* It’s tired. Let it go already. Though, the Star Wars/Skywalker reference? Nice! Talk about coming full circle. Luke had to go Dark Side for a bit, too, remember.
Lucifer tells Sam that he’s been waiting for him for a long, long time and wants him to admit that he can feel the exhilaration of..joining…with him. That they’re two halves made whole. He says that his family was “foster care at best.” They weren’t his real family.
Sam: “That’s not true.”
I half expected him to follow that by saying that’s impossible…but that might’ve been taking the Star Wars thing a step too far.
Lucifer: “All those times you ran away, you weren’t running from them, you were running to me. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I let Dean live. I want him to live. I’ll bring back your folks. I want you to be happy, Sam.”
Sam: “I don’t want anything from you.”
I could totally feel Sam’s struggle here. Does this feel bad because it’s supposed to feel bad? Because you’ve always been told that it should feel bad? Or does it feel bad because it really and truly DOES? How can you trust your own gut, your own instincts when you have the devil crawling around inside your skin? How do you keep clear what’s YOU and what’s HIM?
Lucifer: “Not even a little payback?”
He tells him to look closely at the people in the room. It’s a grade school teacher Sam had. And a friend named Doug that he had when they were in East Lansing. And Rachel, his prom date. All Azaezal’s gang, watching him, herding him, shaping him since he was young. Lucifer suggests they…blow off a little steam together.
Meanwhile, Dean, Bobby, and Cas are watching news reports of the world falling apart. Dean’s twitchy, ready to figure out something to do next. Cas is all, let’s just drink ourselves into oblivion and wait for the blast wave.
Dean: “Thank you, Krokowski.” Huh? I didn’t get that one. “How do we stop it?”
Cas: “We don’t. Lucifer will meet Michael on the chosen field and the battle of Armageddon begins.”
Dean’s voice is shaking with need and fear and frustration: “There’s gotta be something we can do.”
Cas: “I’m sorry. It’s over.”
Dean: “We are not giving up!”
Bobby looks…shell-shocked. He looks at Dean and says that there was never much hope to begin with. He’s just…run out of ideas. Can’t blame him. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, after all. And he’s fought uphill all this way.
Dean, though, looks like he can’t believe this shit he’s hearing.
Next thing we know, Sam/Lucifer is sitting in the middle of…carnage. He looks over at his reflection and our Sam is panting and looking…guilty and afraid.
Lucifer: “Are we having fun yet?”
And then Chuck decides to completely rip out our hearts by showing our boys in 'better' times. Our boys, too. Not little kids depicting who they were. We see Sam (with SHORT, cute hair) grinning at Dean as they played pool. Multiple, gorgeous shots of the Impala on the road. And over it all, Chuck’s voice.
Chuck: “In between jobs, Sam and Dean might get a day or a week and spend the time lining their pockets. Sam used to insist on honest work, but now he hustles pool like his brother….”
Seriously, how could you NOT love these guys? I ask you? I DEFY anyone to watch this section and the Greatest Hits section that comes later and not fall so hard for them you break something when you land.
“They could go anywhere, do anything. They’d drive 1,000 miles for an Ozzy show. Two days for a Jayhawk game.”
*pauses to shout: ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK GO K.U.!!!*
I just have to say that I love love LOVE that they slid that in there. I mean, they’re from Lawrence, after all. You can’t be from Lawrence and not go buckets of crazy over the Jayhawks. It’s…required.
“They would sit on the hood and watch the stars for hours…without saying a word.”
Gorgeous shot of a night sky shot-through with starlight and our boys doing just that while sipping a beer.
“It never occurred to them that, sure, they never had a roof and four walls, but they were never, in fact, homeless.”
OH, boys. Kripke said way back when this started that this was a story about family. And along the way, he redefined that word. For all of us. Because somehow? He made fictional characters family to us. And he made a car family to them.
Chuck’s phone rings and he picks up, answering: “Mistress Magda?” Um, no. It’s Dean.
Dean: “Whatever happened to Becky?”
Chuck: “I had…too much respect for her.”
Dean: “You really got a whole virgin/hooker thing going.”
Chuck: “This can’t be why you called.”
Dean’s sitting in the Impala, alone. And it was the saddest thing I’d seen in a long time. He tells Chuck about Sam saying yes, and Chuck, of course, knows. Dean wants to know where the fight’s going down—which, great idea, that! I wouldn’t have thought “ask Chuck” if they hadn’t led me right to the obvious answer—and Chuck says the Angels are keeping it on the downlow, but he saw it anyway. One of the perks of being a prophet.
Okay…I’ve said before that I didn’t know anything about fanfic or fandom or fananything prior to the end of the first season. That was when I first discovered this world. Sometime just before the 2nd season started, I saw a place on TVGuide.com where you could submit questions to Kripke and he’d answer some of them. I took a chance—I didn’t think he’d answer mine, but he did.
I wrote in that I was initially caught by the show because it originated in Lawrence, KS, where I lived. I figured that the creator of the show had to be from Lawrence, because it’s such a small, non-descript town I couldn’t figure any other reason to pick that as the character’s hometown. Then I saw that Kripke was from Akron, OH, so I wondered why he chose Lawrence.
He answered that he chose it because of Stull Cemetery—located right outside of Lawrence—and if I lived here, then I knew the urban legends associated with it. Well, sure…it’s another one of those requirements for living here. The actual cemetery itself is run-down, the church isn’t even standing anymore because so many people over so many years have graffitied the crap out of it. The tombstones are barely there, really. But the place is still creepy as hell, no pun intended. And for the first Kazcon (fan-run convention here in Lawrence), people got to go there on a tour.
So…when Chuck told Dean that the fight was going down the next day, high noon, at Stull, my first thought was basically, “Son of a bitch! Kripke really did have a five year plan!” My second thought was that Dean had a helluva long drive ahead of him to get from Detroit to Lawrence.
Dean is at the Impala and Bobby and Cas are walking toward him looking world-weary and cautious. Bobby says he knows Dean is going to go do something stupid. He has that look.
Dean: “I’m gonna go talk to Sam.”
Bobby: “You just don’t give up….”
Gaelic: Hell no, he doesn’t!
Dean: “It’s Sam.”
He puts twenty-eight years of worry and pride into the way he says that name.
Cas: “You couldn’t reach him here; you’re certainly not going to be able to do so on the battlefield.”
Gaelic: Argh! Cas! Either help him or leave him alone!
Dean: “Well, if we’ve already lost, then I got nothing to lose, right?”
Cas: “The only think you’re going to see out there is Michael killing your brother.”
Dean’s face doesn’t shift. It doesn’t change. It stays stone-solid and determined. But his eyes…his eyes are wrecked. “Well, then I ain’t gonna let him die alone.”
Bobby takes a breath and shares a look with Cas.
And then we’re at (a very fake-looking, but nicely run-down) Stull. This first part was pretty much my least favorite of the whole amazing episode. Sam/Lucifer facing off with Adam/Michael. Yep! Michael chose Adam, and Adam was there, ready to throw down with his brother. I was beyond struggling with the but but but what about what you said here and here and here. I kinda reached a whatever, Show. I'll go with it. It was what it was, and this is the path they’d taken with the story, and my heart was already trashed five ways from Sunday and it wasn’t over yet and I didn’t know what they were going to do to everyone and so if Adam was here, Adam was here.
So be it.
Lucifer and Michael use their chosen vessels to have themselves a bit of a reunion chat, though. About how it’s been awhile and neither can believe it’s finally here. And they don’t have to do this, oh wait, yes they do it’s their destiny. Lucifer tries again with the “It’s not my fault” argument. God made everything and that means God made Lucifer who he was…he needed the devil…blah blah blah.
It’s not that I didn’t think the performances weren’t good—they were. Sam-the-vessel was very compelling and Adam-as-Michael was…fine. It’s just that enough already, Lucifer. I didn’t buy for ONE SECOND that if Michael had said, “yeah, okay, let’s just not do this” Lucifer would have walked away. It was all just more of his ploys to win, to distracted, to disarm. He could never fight clean and fair.
They overlaid the fact that Michael was “the good son” and had to obey and Lucifer told him that he didn’t have to always follow orders—echoing previous struggles between Dean and Sam and their exact same roles with John. Illustrating the point that these forces have been at work in the lives of these two from the word ‘go.’ Michael tells Lucifer that he’s a monster, and Michael has to kill him. Lucifer is all, “If that’s the way it’s gotta be, I’d like to see you try.”
They start circling each other like a pair of Alpha Males, tensing up, readying for the throw down.
And then…THE MOST AWESOME MOMENT EVER!
The Impala’s engine roar’s, distracting and confusing the Angels, causing them to turn to the entrance where Dean sits behind the wheel of that beautiful, black, beast. He shoves a cassette into the tape deck…and Def Freakin’ Leppard’s Rock of Ages blasts out from the speakers. Fanfriggintastic. Though, in retrospect, if they were going to go with Def Leppard...Armageddon It might've been more appropriate. But whatever! We had CLASSIC ROCK again!! :)
It was pretty much the only thing that slapped a grin across my tear-streaked face. Well, since the beginning montage, anyway. Dean exits and leans on the car, casually stating, “Howdy, boys. Am I interrupting something?”
Dean walks up to Sam/Lucifer and says, “We need to talk.”
S/L: “Dean, even for you, this is a whole new mountain of stupid.”
Dean: “I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to Sam.”
(How much do I love this guy???? THIS MUCH.)
Michael gets full-on pissy: “You have no right to be here!”
Dean: “Adam, if you’re in there, I’m so sorry.”
Michael: “Adam isn’t here right now.”
Dean: “Well, you’re next on my list, Buttercup, but right now I need five minutes with him.”
amyblair3 !!! Buttercup! That is all.
Michael advances on Dean: “You little maggot. You’re no longer a part of this story!”
And out of nowhere, Cas yells, “Hey! Ass-butt!!”
He throws a Molotov cocktail at Adam/Michael and with a high-pitched, painful scream, the Angel and vessel burn up and poof away. Everyone has ducked away and Dean looks over at Cas. “Ass-butt?”
Cas is panting a bit nervously: “He’ll be back.”
Sam/Lucifer, meanwhile is looking like, what the hell is going on here??? He looks at Cas with utter contempt: “Did you just Molotov my brother with Holy fire?”
Dean shoots Cas a nervous glance.
Cas kinda backs away and stammers, “Uhhh…nnnooo?”
Sam/Lucifer: “No one dicks with Michael but me.”
Spoken like a true brother, that. He snaps his fingers and before anyone has time to even gasp, Cas is…blown up. Not with flames or fire or anything like that. He’s just a bunch of bloody, meaty, goo. I did not see that coming. But…beloved character dead. Check! There’s blood all over Bobby’s face and he looks shell-shocked once more.
Dean looks back at Sam/Lucifer: “Sam, can you hear me?” His back is to the Impala.
Sam/Lucifer: “I tried to be nice for Sammy’s sake, but you are such a pain in my ass.”
He grabs Dean by the lapels, lifts him up, and throws him against the Impala so hard his back breaks the windshield. OUCH. Bobby shoots Sam/Lucifer. My heart dropped at that. S/L turns away from Dean, which was the intent I’m sure for Bobby shooting him, but then S/L twists his fingers and Bobby’s neck follows with a snap.
I gasped and covered my mouth. No amount of “I think Bobby’s gonna die” prepares you for ACTUALLY SEEING IT HAPPEN. And so…so fast.
Dean screams: “NO!”
S/L replies: “Yes.”
And then he drags Dean off the hood of the Impala and slams him back across it. Dean’s bleeding from the mouth and in a shaking voice looks at his brother and says, “Sammy? You in there?”
S/L: “Oh, he’s in here alright. He’s gonna feel the snap of your bones! Every single one! We’re gonna take our time!”
As he speaks he’s beating the ever-lovin’ CRAP out of Dean. I mean…broken nose, broken eye socket, blood streaming from all points of his face, only one eye barely open. In a destroyed voice, trembling from the impact of Lucifer’s fists, he says:
"Sammy…it’s okay. I’m here. I’m not gonna leave you. I’m not gonna leave you.”
That? Right there? *broken heart, tumbling onto the floor* It was everything to me. Every loose end, every convenient plot devise, every pulled-out-of-their-ass writing moment…none of it mattered to me because I watched for that. Not the beating (though, yeah, I do love my heroes overcoming brokenness), but those words. “I’m not gonna leave you.” Dean’s character. Being the only brother he knew how to be. That’s why I watch.
*shrug* Maybe I’m easy.
And then we see why the Prophet chose to write about the Impala as The Most Important Object. A glint of afternoon sun catching off the chrome and shines in Sam’s eyes and suddenly…they’re Sam’s eyes. And he’s seeing his reflection and he’s seeing into the car and he’s seeing the soldier jammed into the ashtray and suddenly we’re seeing a rush of moments from the last four seasons. It’s like the Winchester Brother’s Greatest Hits. It choked me up and made me rub my heart. It was all moments of them. Sam and Dean. Laughing fighting living…pranks and near-misses, saves and smiles, shotgun blasts and graves dug...no one else, nothing else, just the brothers and it rushes to a close and ends with Dean pulling Sam in for a hug.
Sam gains control and looks down and sees Dean beaten and broken and bloody. He lets go and Dean slides to the ground, leaning against the Impala. The Impala that he brought to this fray. The Impala that helped remind Sam about his true family. His brother. His home. And because of those memories he was able to wrestle control away from Satan.
Sam: “It’s okay, Dean. It’s gonna be okay. I’ve got him.”
He tosses down the rings, Latinates (or whatever) and the vortex opens in the middle of Stull Cemetery. As it always was supposed to. Sam looks at Dean and nods and Dean’s face is too broken to be readable, but his lips quiver as though he’s about to cry.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Adam/Michael is back saying, no, no, don’t do this, I have to fight my brother, it’s my destiny, blah blah blah. Sam surrenders, goes to fall back into the vortex and Michael grabs his arm and…they both fall in. So Michael is stuck in the box, too. There’s a bright light and the hole closes and Dean rolls his head away, beaten and heartbroken.
But…they won. Dean chose the world over his brother’s life. Well, rather, he chose to back Sam as SAM chose the world over his own life. And they saved everyone. Well...almost everyone. Bobby and Cas were...gone. Had they ended it there, it would have been tragic and poetic and fitting and right and would have folded my soul in on itself. But…there’s another season. So there were some adjustments to be made to our players. Because at that moment, the last one standing wasn't really standing at all and was so beaten he might not have been standing for long.
Dean is kneeling over the place where Sam fell in, holding the rings. And suddenly Cas is there. Raised, once more, by God. Not only alive, but new and improved, apparently. My wish was granted—he’s an angel again. He heals Dean, heals Bobby (much to the older hunters shock and awe), tells Dean that no, he’s not God. But thanks for the compliment. And...they leave the battlefield.
He and Dean are in the Impala and Cas is saying the he’ll return to Heaven because now that Michaels in the cage with Lucifer, it was total anarchy up there. Dean is…angry. Says Cas is God’s bitch again. Cas points out that God helped. Maybe more than they realize.
Dean: “Easy for you to say. He brought you back. What about Sam? What about me? Where’s my grand prize? All I got is my brother in a hole!”
Cas reminds him: “You got what you asked for, Dean. No paradise, no Hell, just more of the same. Which would you rather have—peace or freedom?”
Guh…always with the sucky choices. Is it truly impossible to have both? A life without pain, a possibility for companionship, and his brother safe and sound? Why is that too much to ask for him? Will Dean ever really get to be happy? Get to be at peace? Is he destined to forever struggle and fight and climb and work?
With those words, Cas poofs out of there and Dean grumbles about him sucking at goodbyes. And then…we come to our end. Which I know will leave a significant portion of people disgruntled, but I have to say…I didn’t mind it. Not really one bit. I felt it wrapped up this story the only way it could, the only way they designed it to. They didn’t kill the devil, they didn’t destroy Michael. They trapped them both—because both still have to be in the universe for there to be any hope for balance.
And, as Chuck so eloquently rambled himself: “Endings are hard. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch. There’s always gonna be holes. And since it’s the ending, it’s all supposed to add up to something.”
Bobby and Dean hug goodbye and Dean has tears on his face. Chuck lets us know that this is the last time Dean and Bobby will see each other for a very long time—and that Bobby will be hunting a rugaru outside of Dayton next week. So, we go into Season 6 with a big unknown for Bobby—the status of his soul. Does Crowley still have it? Is he trapped in a 10 year deal? How’s that gonna play out?
And, according to Chuck, and echoing with truth in my gut, every part of Dean wants to die or bring Sam back. But he’s not gonna do either. Because he made a promise. More or less. We didn't actually hear it, but it was implied and I got the impression that it wasn't something Sam was going to let go with just Dean's usual avoidance tactic. So...he extracted that promise. We just didn't see it.
He goes to Lisa’s house and she breathes this sigh of relief that makes me love her for him.
Lisa: “Thank God. Are you all right?”
Dean (voice cracking): “If it’s not too late (on so many levels), I think I’d like to take you up on that beer.”
She invites him in and just wraps her arms around him and holds him tight while he buries his face into her shoulder, tucking up against her neck, and she comforts him by whispering that it’s going to be okay.
Chuck is sipping whiskey as he puts the finishing touches on his Swan Song. He says that this has all been a test for Sam and Dean…that they stood up to the test and made their own choice: they chose family. And really, isn’t that kinda the whole point?
Then, with this funny little secret smile, he says, “Nothing ever really ends….” And poof. He disappears.
Chuck as…God. Huh. Not something I thought of. Not once. But looking back…thinking about an ArchAngel living the life of a Trickster…thinking about Joshua saying God was on Earth…thinking about everything The Prophet knew…in way, it kinda makes sense. Or, I’ll let it make sense if that’s the direction they’re going.
‘Cause when it comes down to it, I just want to be entertained. I’m not looking for a new gospel. I’m not looking for a cause. I’m not looking for a manifestation of my own personal belief system. I just want a hero who is real and who is broken and who never stops fighting and who loves and who hates and who lives and bleeds and despairs and rejoices and gets dirty and cleans up and looks good doing every single one of those things. I want the escape and I want to fall in love each week and I want to be inspired.
And I have been. I have been 100 times over.
So, if the prophet is/was God? I’m good with that. Because he made it so that people were healed and people could go on…and people returned from Hell.
We see Dean at a table, looking pensive, sad, and just…so, so tired. A blur of Ben is facing him, and Lisa approaches from behind with food. She asks him if he’s okay and he’s offers her a half smile that doesn’t reach his eyes saying, “Yeah, I’m good.”
And…maybe he will be. One day. Maybe he’ll learn how to be okay without Sam. Maybe he’ll heal inside from the wounds and battle scars that his time back from Hell cut into his spirit. Maybe…but it’s not going to be for a long time.
We pull away from the house and see a streetlight that blows out, and standing beneath it…is Sam. Unmarked, whole. He’s looking in the window with an unreadable expression on his face. It’s hard to tell if it’s acceptance, contentment, satisfaction, or betrayal. He’s just not easy to read for me period—and even more so in this moment.
And we fade to black.
The thing I don’t like is that with that expression I was unsure if God saved Sam from Hell and kept Lucifer in the cage, or if Lucifer figured out how to exchange himself for Michael and is inside Sam. I don’t like that possibility. I want to be done with the devil and all of his tired woe-is-me-ness. Evil, fine. Demons, sure. Ghosts, werewolves, chupacabra, poltergeists, vampires, rugarus…whatever. Bring ‘em on. Just no more Satan. He’s a whiner.
So, here’s what I’m choosing to believe until I’m proven otherwise next September: it’s Sam standing there. Our Sam. He was saved or he escaped from Hell. We’ll find that out later. He was brought to Lisa's to show him that Dean was safe and was fulfilling the promise he made. And now Sam’s going to go on walk-about for awhile. Not tell his brother he’s alive. Let Dean live this apple-pie life, thinking that this is the only way Dean could have a chance at being happy.
He’s going to go be his own brand of hero for awhile. And it’s going to be part of the next season, them finding each other. Because even if Dean is tucked into Lisa now, so to speak, he can’t stop being what he was born to be: a hunter. He can’t ignore evil. And he’ll have to go out and find it just to keep it from finding him.
So…that’s what I got. I hope those of you who waded through this tome found something worthwhile in it. And I’d love to hear from you. Even if it’s to say that you think I’m full of crap. I’ll only cry a little bit. *wink* Thanks for helping to make this season an amazing ride, ya’ll.
As an FYI, the wonderful swordstress from sn.tv has asked me to write up a Season 5 reaction/recap that she can post on site she admins that discusses shows related to or stemming from Joss Whedon’s influence—and since some of the SPN crew have worked on Whedon’s shows, well, there’s a gap bridged. The site is: http://www.whedonage.com/index.php I’ll be posting it on my LJ, too. It won’t be for a few weeks, though.
In closing, to paraphrase The Princess Bride’s Dread Pirate Roberts: I do not envy us the summertime of no new episodes, but at least they’ll be back! So, in the meantime, rest well, and dream of heroic Winchesters!
Until next season…Slainte.