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Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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Dark Side of the Moon: "Thanks, Dean. This is great!"
sophie_deangirl
If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise. -Robert Fritz

On a long journey of human life, faith is the best of companions it is the best refreshment on the journey and it is the greatest property. -Buddha

Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can - - and surely will at times -- fail. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk.
-Dr. Joyce Brothers



This episode was BY FAR AND AWAY the most disheartening, cruel, spirit-shattering, disillusioning, agonizingly depressing episode EVER and I LOVED every moment of it as hard as it was to witness.

If taken on it's face value, that is, that it wasn't yet another trick manufactured by Zacariah, that everything that had happened was all about Sam's and Dean's memories then Dean was demoralized purely based on what Sam perceived were his happiest times, none of which included Dean. A brother who gave up everything for him, his life and his soul.

We've all discussed at length about how the very core of Dean, for better and for worse, has been his family and, of course, specifically Sam. One can argue to death that it's because of that devotion, which some might label "obsession", and the resulting neediness, lack of true self-identity and self-confidence that comes with that kind of devotion has driven Dean to make terrible and some might say irresponsible decisions, but one thing is irrefutable: Dean raised Sam as best as he could under difficult circumstances and for that sacrifice alone, Dean deserved better than what he got. I thought that Sam's excuse of not having any control over what memories came to the forefront completely selfish and self-serving. Yes, he had no control, but clearly there was a reason behind why those particular memories surfaced such as maybe a desire of Sam's to escape his family, a desire he's had for a long time. Just like there must have been a reason why Dean's memories were of he and Sam lighting fireworks together on 4th of July, 1996, of him comforting his mom:

"Dad would never let us do anything like this. Thanks, Dean. This is great."

Sidenote: Colin Ford was so WONDERFUL and plays the young Sam just heartbreakingly sincere!!! When he hugs Dean...I was a puddle! It was great to see him again! I'm glad that he keeps coming back. He's been stellar and versatile, playing a young Sam both sentimentally and scarily.

"It's okay, Mom. Dad still loves you. I love you too. I'll never leave you."

The words about never leaving his family have been Dean's life mission until he left Sam for Hell, a journey precipitated by the need to bring Sam back to life, to perceive Sam's death as a failure on his part. As painful as the evil Mary later points out about everybody leaving Dean, there's a heroic truth to it that has nothing to do with escaping Dean himself and you hope Dean can see through that.

Dean has never left his family where he could possibly avoid it. Mary didn't have a choice either. She made a deal to give John life again, to selfishly have that normal life she wanted just as Dean did for Sam, selfishly being unable to let Sam go or to imagine a world living on without him. Though it hasn't been openly expressed, Mary probably paid the price for her contract by going to Hell too. Could this be why Ash hasn't been able to find her or John in Heaven? One wonders.

John left to sacrifice himself as well, dooming his soul to Hell in order to wrench Dean from death, not realizing what doing that would do to Dean and the survior's guilt it would inflict. Taking the actions of his parents into perspective, if Dean was destined to do anything, it was to sacrifice himself for Sam. It was practically in his genetics. So neither John or Mary left to escape Dean as evil Mary made it sound.

Sam, on the hand, left both times of his own free will. He made the choice to run away to Flagstaff where he happily lived on funyuns and Mr. Pibb for two weeks, never worrying about what Dean was going through looking for him. Then again when he had left for Stanford, the worst night of Dean's life. For Sam to say that he didn't think his leaving was hurting Dean is to reveal how little he understands his brother's feelings. Sam emphasized that it was to get away from their dad, but Dean, now, can't help, but wonder:

"Yeh, he wasn't the only one you got away from."

Sam's memories of leaving his family, of leaving Dean being his idea of Heaven can't help, but injure Dean, quite possibly permanently scarring whatever was left of his belief in his brother. They were barely starting to patch things up between them. I think that this divide will be next to impossible to overcome. Still, the very nature of the mythology is all about family, accepting them, warts and all, so in the end, I believe that somehow Sam and Dean will cross that divide, but I have to admit I have no idea how they'll get there and I'm a glass half full kind of person. The DeanGirl in me still believes Dean doesn't have it in him to not place himself in harm's way in order to save someone, especially someone he loves and I don't question that Dean still loves Sam, but his faith in him and in himself like Joshua said is on seriously shaky ground.

I loved that Mary calls Dean her angel:

"You are my little angel."

Though it probably didn't mean anything other than as an endearment, you can help, but make the connection from The Song Remains the Same when Mary buys a ceramic angel when she was pregnant with Dean. Also, I love the idea that Dean was an angel to his mother. Maybe that might be his greater calling? I got a giggle that we learned Dean's love for pie. Hee!

Credit goes to Sam for realizing how long Dean had been cleaning up John's messes:

"I just never realized how long you've been cleaning up Dad's messes."

Dean's memories revolved around family, his family. Sam's memories did not and Dean's pain was raw and searing:

"Come on! Your heaven is somebody else's Thanksgiving, okay? It's bailing on your family. What do you want me to say?"

When Sam tries to explain that his idea of family isn't the same as Dean's because he didn't have a mother who cut the crusts from his sandwiches, it comes off hollow because he's missing the most important point: Dean is his family and you can't help, but wonder why Sam can't see that:

"Yeh, but I'm your family, I mean, we're supposed to be a team. It's supposed to be you and me against the world, right?"

"Dean, it is."

"Is it?"


This moment is yet another nail in the coffin of their disintegrating relationship. It is also yet another reason for Dean to wonder if he should just give in and become Michael's vessel. Once again, Dean finds himself feeling insignificant, basing his existence on how his family values him. To learn that Sam hadn't valued anything he had ever done for him to be included in even one good memory, Dean is on the verge of surrendering to his worthlessness.

Sidenote: I found it interesting that Sam pulled a Route 66 postcard. The name of one of the episodes in Season 1.

We do learn that Sam isn't shirking his long term fate:

"No, no, um...okay, you, I get, but me? Maybe you haven't noticed, but I've done a few things..."

"You thought you were doing the right thing."

"Last I checked, it wasn't the road to Heaven that was paved with good intentions."


Even here, before Dean puts Sam's memories into perspective, Dean is absolving Sam, giving him an out, a reason for his actions. Perhaps it's enabling, but to Sam's credit, he has no delusions about his actions and to Dean's credit, he's trying to be a supportive brother, to be just as culpable. He and Sam against the world. Again, a sweet glimpse into how they were trying to repair their relationship.

I LOVED the return of Ash and Pam!! Chad Lindbergh was AWESOME and I missed him. If Andy (Gabriel Tigerman) had been there, I would have been in reunion heaven, no pun intended. Ash brought a much needed touch of humor. His perspective on Heaven was cool, that everyone who dies creates their own personal, "private Idaho". It makes sense that he would develop a "holy rolling police scanner" to find them. I found his revelation about Sam and Dean dying many times, interesting:

"This ain't the first time you've been here. I mean, you boys die more than anyone I've ever met."

ADDENDUM: Forgot to elaborate here. It's interesting that Sam and Dean don't remember their previous deaths and maybe even for Dean, mercifully, his time in Hell. Joshua confirms later that the plane ride was God's way of absolving them of their sins so that they could gain entry into Heaven, but it makes you wonder if losing that knowledge, that experience will change their view on things? I mean Sam still remembers unleashing Lucifer so it's apparent he knows he shouldn't be in Heaven, but I wonder about Dean. You'd think it would be a good thing that Dean doesn't remember Hell, but maybe that guilt is necessary somehow.  it gives one pause.

I just giggled when Dean told Pam that they got Ash killed too and Ash says that he's cool with it. So funny!

Pam's appearance served as yet another convincing argument for Dean to become Michael's vessel. Dean has been arguing saving humanity from getting killed in the cosmic pissing match between Michael and Lucifer and Pam argues that what's so bad about a few casualties when they would end up in Heaven? Pam seems truly at peace, but Dean argues that existence in Heaven is just Memorex, a reproduction of earthly life, that the only real thing is on earth. I love that Dean is still defending humanity and its right to exist. Pam then says:

"Attic is still better than the basement."

It's hard to argue against Pam's belief that dying and ending up in Heaven as not so worst case a scenario on some level, but Dean feebly still hangs on to wanting to save humanity, to prevent as many casualties as possible. It's his family motto, "saving people, hunting things". He can do no less or can he?

Second only to finding out that Sam prefers a Heaven, maybe even a life without him was having his mother, granted puppeteered by Zacariah, but at that point, Dean had been so emotionally battered, he probably didn't have any defenses left, question why everyone leaves him:

"Everybody leaves you, Dean. You noticed? Mommy, Daddy, even Sam. Ever ask yourself why? Maybe it's not them. Maybe it's you."

The fact that her eyes turned yellow, reminding them both of the demon who started the cycle of pain for the Winchester family in the first place, feels terribly wrong in Heaven.

It's then that Joshua appears, but sadly, he may have saved the boys from Zacariah, but he just piles on more bad news onto Dean. Turns out God wants them to "back off". In Dean's words:

"So He's just going to sit back and watch the world burn?"

Then he bitterly compares one absent father with another:

"Forget it. Just another deadbeat dad with a bunch of excuses, right? I'm used to that. I'll muddle through."

But you're not sure if Dean believes that he can and Joshua catches it, maybe even feels it. Jensen plays that moment achingly well, so much so, you can feel how resigned Dean must feel. Once again, "How does Jensen do that?"

Like Famine, Joshua questions Dean's conviction:

"Except you don't know if you can this time. You can't kill the devil and you're losing faith in yourself, your brother and now this. God was your last hope. I just I wish I could tell you something different."

It's another setback, perhaps the very last one that Dean will survive. When they are returned back into their bodies, he looks completely drained and devoid of any conviction. So much so that the most devastating moment EVER was watching Dean drop his amulet, the quintessential symbol of his relationship with Sam, the gift that Sam had given to Dean one Christmas and that has NEVER left Dean's neck until Cas had asked for it (and even then resisting at first), into the waste paper basket. I gasped so hard I thought I was going to faint. That action was more than just a nail in the coffin of their brotherhood, it spoke to Dean's feelings toward it. Knowing what he knows about Sam's feelings about family, about him, you feel that Dean now considers the amulet a sham, just a thing with no meaning. Sad in retrospect because Sam had kept it around his neck when they had buried Dean. In that one way, Sam hadn't left Dean and Dean didn't leave Sam. Poignantly sad.

ADDENDUM: Forgot to mention another thing about the last scene and the terrible synergy of the amulet in it. There was Cas giving back the amulet saying that he didn't need it anymore, that it was worthless and you can help, but think that Dean was thinking the very same thing about it, that he didn't need it anymore and that it was useless only for completely different reasons than Cas. When Dean threw it away, you knew that it was all about what he had learned in Heaven about Sam. The amulet was no longer a symbol of love between two brothers, it had become more like an albatross, a reminder that what they had now, maybe for a long time was all a lie. That hits you like a ton of bricks!

What hurts even more is that now, Sam is the last man standing in the belief that they can still fight, but it feels empty, as if Sam is just saying it to prove himself to Dean, that they are in it together and maybe proving to the world that he can stop a Hell on earth. Sam may be resigned to ending up in Hell himself when his time is up, but not to bringing it upon the world because that would only make him the true monster he had never wanted to be.

The episode was filled with awful and bleak revelations and served to break down the spirit and conviction of a righteous man. If this is all a test, to gauge Dean's resolve and maybe his worthiness, then Dean is slipping and slipping fast. No one can blame him, but you can't help, but hope that Dean recovers his footing and realize that he is the only one who can stop it and that it's the content of his character that will win the battle not becoming a shell for someone else to use as a weapon.

Oh, I could go on and on. The episode was that tragic and that thought provoking. As scared as I am of what's to come, I can't wait to watch Dean emerge from his "funk" because I am as certain of that as I am of Sam and Dean reconciling if not without a lot of pain and suffering before it's all said and done.

Thanks for reading as always. Here's to this week's 99 Problems and the return of Gabriel/Trickster. I LOVE him!

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

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Dean raised Sam as best as he could under difficult circumstances and for that sacrifice alone, Dean deserved better than what he got.

I completely agree!

As painful as the evil Mary later points out about everybody leaving Dean, there's a heroic truth to it that has nothing to do with escaping Dean himself and you hope Dean can see through that.

I hope so too! I have a feeling he might not, though. After all the times he's been left, I think he can't help but wonder if he really is the cause. He might know in his head that he isn't, but knowing something in your head is very different from feeling it in your heart.

When Sam tries to explain that his idea of family isn't the same as Dean's because he didn't have a mother who cut the crusts from his sandwiches, it comes off hollow because he's missing the most important point: Dean is his family and you can't help, but wonder why Sam can't see that:

So well said! Dean might not have cut the crusts off of Sam's bread, but he still took care of him, did the best he could.

To learn that Sam hadn't valued anything he had ever done for him to be included in even one good memory, Dean is on the verge of surrendering to his worthlessness.

I agree! They weren't kidding when they said that they were going to take Dean as low as he can go.

"No, no, um...okay, you, I get, but me? Maybe you haven't noticed, but I've done a few things..."

"You thought you were doing the right thing."

"Last I checked, it wasn't the road to Heaven that was paved with good intentions."


I loved that scene too. One thing that bugged me about it though was that Sam always seems to forget that Dean has a pretty deep darkness of his own. I can't help thinking when Dean says that Sam thought he was doing the right thing, he's subtly implying, "At least you *had* good intentions. I didn't. I knew what I was doing in the pit, and I did it anyway."

"That action was more than just a nail in the coffin of their brotherhood, it spoke to Dean's feelings toward it. Knowing what he knows about Sam's feelings about family, about him, you feel that Dean now considers the amulet a sham, just a thing with no meaning."

Again, so well said! Poor Dean...

Awesome blog as always! :)

-Laughter

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