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Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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When the Levee Breaks: "If you walk out that door, don't you ever come back!"

*taking a deep breath


*taking another deep breath



Does that say it all?  I've been left feeling dread, conflict, shock, sadness, anger, confusion, gobsmacked and much more by this episode.  So much so, I don't know where to start.

Well, I guess first, it's easy to see that I LOVED this episode, but I was also left trembling by all the various implications revealed in it.  I am feeling so much conflict. I KNOW that simple conclusions can't be made, but after this episode, I so wished it was back to black and white and not this awful shade of grey we're in. Just about every assumption I've made has been tossed upside down.  I felt just as uncertain about who to trust and who's doing the right thing as all the characters were.  There was so much to process in this episode and the final result for me was nothing short of dread, trepidation, and a deep sense of foreboding for what's to come. It left me shaken to my core.

I've always thought that Sam's decision to drink demon blood, no matter what the justification he gave was inherently wrong.  I still do. Despite the small sparks of the Sam we used to know trying to convince himself that he's making the best of a bad hand dealt to him as a baby, there is this darker shadow of Sam who is enjoying the transformation, reveling in the power he's able to tap. You can't miss that. The satisfaction is written all over his face. When he came to the conclusion that he couldn't escape his demon heritage he stopped trying so now that he's fully become what he never wanted to be, a monster, different from everyone else. He probably figured that his humanity had already been forfeit so why not twist it to his advantage?  It's all Sam sees and you can't help, but wonder why he is so, if you'll pardon the expression, Hell-bent, on heading that way.  Could revenge be all that it's about? I can't believe that and later, once again at the end of the episode, Sam reveals an issue he's had from when he was a kid.  Authority figures.  Dad telling him what to do and then Dean. You can tell that Sam has also resented not being trusted.

"Stop bossing me around, Dean! Look, my whole life you take the wheel, you call the shots and I trust you because you are my brother. Now, I am asking you, for once, trust me."

Dean says no  and says:

"If you walk out that door, don't you ever come back."

Words that John Winchester said to Sam and with it, we come almost full circle in the worst of ways. Revenge driving intent and Dean becoming John Winchester with those awful words.

I'll fully admit here that Dean may have, temporarily, I hope, nailed the coffin closed on this chapter of his relationship with Sam. I refuse to believe that it's the end and in my heart I know that it never could be. Speculate all you want, but I KNOW in my  heart of hearts that Sam and Dean will find their way back to each other with new understanding. I just don't know how or how long it will take to get there.

Though I whole heartedly understand Dean's pain and insistence that Sam remain human, die human as opposed to a monster, I can also see that maybe Dean was hoping for too much because Sam seems to have already passed the point of no return.  Bobby was once again the voice of reason for Dean and I breathed a sigh of relief  that he wasn't killed off in this episode, but there's still one more to go *gulp, not going to think about it.

Bobby proposes what he knows is something neither of them want to admit, hate to think about, but is wise enough to voice.  Maybe it's too late to save Sam, to save his humanity, that maybe going through the withdrawal will kill Sam instead of bring him back to normal, and with that reality faced that they should consider using Sam.  Dean can't even consider it:

"So? What? Sacrifice Sam's life, his soul for the greater good? Is that what you're saying? Times are bad so let's use Sam as a nuclear warhead?"

"All I'm saying is maybe he's here right now instead of on the battlefield because we love him too much."

Could love be blind or be blinding Dean? It certainly seems that way at times.

I can't blame Dean for his hope here. Selfish? Pehaps, but no less loving in its intent.  Plus, in my view, Dean has a first hand understanding of what Sam's fate will be after it's all said and done and what he says about sacrificing Sam's soul for the greater good reveals that. Sam has considered the short term view of what his actions will exact, the death of Lillith, for sure, stopping Lucifer from rising and the Apocalypse, a fringe benefit, but the long term view? If he dies in the battle or if they live through it, thereafter, Sam will be facing eternal damnation in Hell for turning into a full demon or something equally evil.  He has no chance to escape it.  One would argue it's already too late, but I, like Dean, want to believe that if the demon blood can be reversed somehow, that returning Sam to humanity somehow, will spare him that fate. Naive, yeh, probably. I SO see Dean's motivations riding on that belief, because Dean knows what a life in Hell will be like and there won't be an airlift out of there for Sam. Also, I can see Dean repeating what Sam did, when Dean was sent to Hell. He'd be trying to find ways to get Sam out and that would consume what life he would have left. I can see that there is a blind spot with Dean that has him focusing solely on saving Sam from that alone, preventing him from seeing that it may be too late. If that's the case, I can't slight Dean for that.  Don't want to.  It's driven by love and I can't find fault in that. 

I think that Sam also resents that Dean is the presumed "anointed" one.  I think that he really wants to prove himself, that drinking all the demon blood to lose his humanity will have been worth it and the right choice because he saves the world.  I don't think he's even considering what the consequences might be if he fails.  It's not in his equation.  Sam simply believes that he won't fail, even though you can see he's worried about it. He should be.  Any shred of humanity left in him should be. Still, he can't consider it because there is no Plan B in his eyes if he fails or maybe he doesn't want Dean to be Plan B, to be overshadowed for all his efforts and good intentions.  Now, I know how I sound there, I know I'm making it sound like Sam doesn't care, but think about it. If Sam fails, then everything he's told himself about drinking demon blood and becoming, probably evil, will have been for nothing.  Sam can't consider that.  For me, it's a selfish mentality. Dean, at least, hates the idea that he may have to end the Apocalypse, that the whole kit and caboodle is in his hands to save. He doesn't see it as heroic, see himself as heroic, just a guy in a rock and a hard place who knows he needs to get the job done or else all is lost. He's the epitome of a reluctant hero.  Some might say that's the sure sign that Sam is right, that Dean isn't strong enough or can't make it happen because he's afraid. I say that real heroes do have fear, because fear keeps you sharp and smart, keeps you knowing what the costs are.  Fear isn't a weakness in my book.

Sam's withdrawal from the demon blood gives him some real doozy hallucinations. And man, Jared must have gone hoarse doing those screaming scenes. Phenomenally convincing. Seeing Dean's face listening to him is agonizing.  *HOW DOES JENSEN DO THAT? You see that Dean doesn't want to do it, hates hearing Sam suffer, even asks Bobby how long it will take.  Bobby's humorous retort is pure priceless Bobby.

"Here, let me look it up in my demon detox manual, oh wait, no one ever wrote one."

The humor is a welcome if brief break in the moment and just made the idea of losing Bobby UNTHINKABLE!!!

The conflict Sam feels is played out in Bobby's panic room. You know that every person that entered and talked with him was just a reflection of his own feelings.  No one was putting those people in his head, making them say what they were saying, it was all Sam in different voices. I have to admit the hardest voice to hear was the one coming their mom, Mary.  Oh my goodness I was SO angry because you KNOW that the real Mary would NEVER, EVER put down Dean like that.  The progression from person to person was interesting.  The next to the last being Mary and hearing what she had to say and her words best reflected Sam's justification to himself about what he was doing.  Maybe, for me, it hurt that he used Mary's image, a woman he's never met or knew, as his way of comforting himself because if his mom was proud of him, he could be proud of himself.  This is Sam's delusion.

Imagining Alistair torturing him, just like Alistair tortured Ruby in Heaven and Hell, was an interesting choice.  One I wasn't expecting to see in his hallucinations.  His presence could have meant a number of things such as a reminder of the fact that Sam destroyed him or that since Dean had been tortured by Alistair, Sam was giving himself a taste of what Dean might have gone through, perhaps applying a little punishment to himself for his decisions. Again, Sam's conflict showing. To hear Sam begging Alistair to stop cutting into him was both painful and vindicating for me.  I hoped that by imagining the pain that Dean must have felt for at least 30 years at the hands of Alistair in Hell, Sam was somehow acknowledging that no one, not even the powerful Sam Winchester could have withstood the pain. Christopher Heyerdahl is just mega creepy as Alistair and does an AMAZING job of making my skin crawl and I mean that as a compliment. 

Colin Ford's appearance as young Sam was just WONDERFUL. Colin has been a great young Sam in previous episodes.  He's a great actor and cute too!  I LOVED that young Sam appeared to remind Sam of the quest to be normal and how he almost had it in his grasp.  When young Sam bitterly tells grown up Sam that if he hadn't gone off with Dean, Jessica might have lived, you can hear the sting of blame there for Dean in his voice. I know he still blames himself for Jess's death, but you can't miss the accusatory tone towards Dean too. I loved it when young Sam accuses, "How could you do this to me? I thought we were going to be normal." Then when young Sam says, "Maybe you're right. Maybe there's no escape. After all, how can you run from what's inside you?" and his eyes turn yellow!! Scary! There are many of those moments in this.

Then there's Mary standing there in her nightgown, stained with her blood. Sam expects her to tell him what we all think she would, that's he's a disappointment, "a piss poor excuse for a son", but instead he says it and she rebuts his assessment and this was killer for me, he has her saying that he's being brave! Something that Dean has said about how his mother would want him to be brave from Dead in the Water. OH! I was spitting bullets! How can he have her say that and say that she's proud of him?  Oh, and when she says that having come from a long line of hunters, she understands that there are hard choices to be made, it's at this point, you realize how much Sam doesn't know anything about his mother, that Mary HATED the hunting life and wanted out. Ironically, just like Sam did in what seems centuries ago. If he really knew Mary, he'd know that. Sadly, only Dean knew that and clearly, he didn't tell Sam that about her.  Also, he uses Mary to twist his quest for revenge and redefines it as a quest for justice.   Gotta tell you that when she says:

"Dean can never know how strong you are because Dean is weak. Look at what he's done to you? Locking you in here? He's terrified. He's in over his head. We have to go on without him. You have what it takes.  You have to kill Lillith."

And then she says:

"Make my death mean something. I'm counting on you, Sam. Don't let anyone or anything get in your way. Not even Dean."

I wanted to cry.  Both for Sam's delusions and for the way that he was using them, especially his mother's memory to justify his actions and hating hearing Mary put down Dean.  It hurt so much, knowing that Mary didn't want either of her sons to become hunters in the first place.

Dean's meeting with Cas was uncomfortable.  There was conflict within Cas, you could almost see Cas fighting a natural inclination to want to still help, but whatever happened to him, it has either scared him or made him realize that what he feels, what he wants, doesn't matter and suddenly he's the good little soldier again. Cas tells Dean what he already knows, that Sam will have to drink much more blood to kill Lillith and by taking in that much blood, Sam will be altered to the point of no return, that he would become the monster Dean would have to kill. Cas tells Dean that he believes it's Dean who will stop everything, not Sam, and you can't help but notice that it's a solution that Cas, maybe even Heaven itself, believes will drive Dean to make his choice because it will keep Sam from becoming a monster and stopping it himself.  They know that Dean would put himself in the line of fire to save Sam. It's second nature to him and they exploit it as much as the demons do.  The only thing left for Dean to do is vow allegiance to God and his angels. 

Yet Dean's first concern is Sam:

"If I do this, Sammy doesn't have to?"

Always Sammy first.

The most chilling line is:

"If it gives you comfort to see it that way."

It's so ambiguous and non-committal and Dean knows it, but doesn't see another choice.  He agrees and the oath he has to repeat feels more like a trap.  Even the dig about following orders like he did with his father seemed particularly pointed and cruel.  Deep in my heart, I know that somewhere Dean is crossing his fingers so that his promise won't count and even if not that, I know that other than being brainwashed, when faced with an order he can't carry out, he will defy it.  He's no longer the unquestioning soldier son of John Winchester.  It will be that underestimation of him that will be Dean's ace in the hole.

The scariest part for me though comes later when we find out that it's Cas who frees Sam. I'm not all together certain why and when Anna appears, she questions it as well, just before Cas consigns her to an uncertain fate. Watching Cas do those two things, maybe not without conflict, Misha plays the pain pretty well, I was completely wondering if the angels were any better, but like Dean, what were the choices? 

An even scarier and just plain AWFUL theory came to mind when Sam ran off.  What if Cas was ordered to free Sam to test Dean? And if the test was to see if Dean could stop  Sam, then Dean failed and failed miserably. More importantly, how will that play out for Dean when he is called upon to do battle.  Will he have to rectify that choice on top of breaking the first seal? Man, how much more can you pile on the poor guy? I LOVE Bobby questioning Dean's decision to join up with the angels, but I was also reassured when Dean pointed out that he didn't trust the angels at all, if anything, he trusted them less, viewed them as just as manipulative and secretive as demons (his description a lot more colorful with the Vulcan reference), yet he didn't think he had a choice.

Sam's last hallucination is of Dean.  At first you're lulled into thinking that it's the real Dean and he just wants some answers. It's such a wonderful and painful moment, you see Dean seemingly reach out, telling Sam that going after Lillith for revenge for sending him to Hell is meaningless because he's there. When Sam points out the Apocalypse to him, Dean, seemingly without acting as if he was taking the credit, says it's his "gig" not Sam's that God chose him.  It's then you realize that Dean is just another hallucination and he applies the cruelest cut of all to Sam and when Dean calls Sam a monster at the end, it's just confirming to Sam that Dean has already judged him, that there's no turning back, that Dean will never understand him and in his mind, never has and never will.

I love that Bobby poses one more time if what they are doing to Sam is the right thing, that they are killing him, that the cold turkey approach isn't working. When Bobby proposes that they give him demon blood to save him because he isn't so sure he will live without it, Dean says no and you're both shocked and understanding at the same time.  I understand that Dean's decision of not giving Sam the demon blood to be be cruel, seemingly to be consigning his brother to likely a painful death and I'm willing to concede that maybe Dean's insistence to keep Sam human might be a misguided conviction, but I SO see Dean's point too. As I said before, Dean could be seeing Sam's descent to becoming a demon as a death sentence all on its own, that it would be consigning Sam's soul to Hell and I can see Dean wanting to prevent that with everything in him. Clearly by the end, he didn't succeed and it's very possible that Dean will pay for his decision, but at this very moment I just saw a loving brother wanting to save his little brother's soul.

"No. I'm not giving him demon blood. I 

"And if he dies?"

"Then at least he dies human!"

Then later:

"I would die for him in a second, but I won't let him do this to himself. I can't.  I guess I found my line. I won't let my brother turn into a monster."

I loved that when the real Dean is saying he won't let his brother turn into a monster, hallucination Dean is calling Sam a monster and you know the accusation is coming from Sam and that he really believes his brother thinks he's a monster  already and that he's nothing to him.  Again, something that becomes the sad truth at the end.

I also love that when Sam escapes, it's Bobby he faces.  I LOVE that Bobby can't kill Sam and I hate that Sam knocks him out. I LOVE that Bobby shows such turmoil and compassion for Sam here. Jim Beaver just brought home the emotional moment full tilt.  You can see the love he feels for both boys and you wish that it had been him who had raised them.  Bobby can't kill Sam or even hurt him and it's that vulnerability that Sam exploits, though not without pain and regret.  

When Sam and Ruby connect again, I found it hard to witness the seemingly veiled innocence that Ruby continues to show Sam and it's even more sickening when Sam just takes what he wants from her, not that she's resisting or anything.  He's angry that she's been unreachable and you hope that he might see that she's using him, but then she tells him she's been working to get more information about Lillith and just have to say because I'm not going to harbor too much on it, but ewww that Lillith likes having babies for meals...Yeesh!  Way to gross a person out. Speaking of meals, Sam, more hungry than usual...a good thing? Ewww again!

Ruby insinuates that Lillith is Lucifer's First (had a Buffy deja vu moment there when she said that) and is the only one who can give Lucifer his freedom so what does that say to Sam? That his whole mission to kill Lillith was right all along, that if he stops her, he stops everything, Lucifer and the Apocalypse.  

This discovery lent me pause.  

Lillith is presumbly the only one who can free Lucifer and start the Apocalypse.  According to the angels, Dean, being the righteous man who drew blood in Hell and breaking the first seal, is the only one who can stop the Apocalypse and I'm assuming Lucifer rising too since they "seem" to be a package deal...a part of me wonders if they are though.  Anyway.  Seems to me if you take those facts into consideration, 2+2 equalling 4 and all that, then the big battle for supremacy should be between Lillith and Dean, that Dean has to stop her, not Lillith and Sam yet Sam continues to insist that Dean doesn't have the emotional or physical wherewithal to get the job done. Isn't that beside the point?  This is prophecy we're talking about. Presumably their destinies are already fated and in Prophet Chuck's case, written (love that he's coming back for the big finale) so how can any of it be changed? Sam can't be so blind to his mission that he can't imagine that when the time comes, the angels or Heaven might give Dean the tools to stop everything.  He sees Dean powerless as he is now, but doesn't seem to consider what Dean could become.

Another pause for thought here.

Just what exactly does that mean for Dean? Being called to duty, as it were?  Anna alluded to it in On the Head of a Pin with her statement to Cas inferring that Dean was the best "weapon" they had.  Interesting idea since Dean refers to Sam as a "nuclear device" to Bobby.  Are the angels, the assumed good guys here, going to turn Dean into a weapon, as much as Sam seems to be turning into?  If that's so, you gotta figure that whatever confrontation that's coming in the future, it will likely make the fight they just had in the hotel room seem like a pissing match.

Also, I hate to think it, but when Dean was talking to Bobby on the road to Sam and to kill Ruby:

"Us finding Sam, that's gotta be about getting him back, not pushing him away."

"RIght."  -- Dean seems dismissive here and it hurts.

"I know you're mad, Dean. You got a right to be, but I'm just saying, be good to him anyway,  You gotta get through to him."

Dean hangs up abruptly and you wonder, did Dean care anymore?

As has been for every episode, once again the ending, just KILLED!!!!! I became a total wreck.  In the brief moment when you see Sam pleading with Dean to trust him, I found myself saying, "please Dean, don't push Sam away, even if you can't believe him, just this one more time, let it go, give Sam one more chance."  And Dean didn't.  He calls Sam a monster and a hatred so long bottled up and so contained explodes and they beat each other up again.  Sam seems to win, but the scary part (boy, there were a lot of them in this episode) was Sam strangling Dean.  It wasn't just a fight reaction.  Dean was down and then you saw Sam's hands around Dean's neck and I jumped. Sam ended up stopping himself, but I didn't see it coming from compassion or even love not even a momentary flash of realization of what he was doing and how wrong it was.  He just stopped as if granting some kind of mercy then he says what he's been wanting to say all along:

"You don't know me.  You never did. You never will."

Again, sorry for the lack of vocabulary, but that was heartbreakingly final.  At least for now, the Winchester brothers are no longer together, will likely not fight on the same side and may be each other's destruction. It's all looming badness, sadness and nothing to even hang hope on. I've never felt so hopeless for our boys as I do now.

This episode did a WONDERFUL job of leaving me feeling so confused and conflicted that I, myself, am not sure what I'm feeling or should be feeling.  It was SO easy to believe that the angels were good and the demons evil.  It was easy to claim that Dean was right in trying to stop Sam from drinking more demon blood, but by calling him a monster, the very thing Sam fears and hates about himself, did Dean doom Sam and himself, maybe the whole Apocalypse by maybe pushing him completely over the edge?  It's all so UNCERTAIN!  My friend Laughter's Melody felt numb by episode's end.  I can't blame her.  All I feel now is an arctic chilling cold that I can't seem to shake and I have a feeling that there will  be more agony to face next week.

Thanks for reading!  Hang on to your amulets everyone.  Lucifer Rising is next!  Comments always welcome.

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He's the epitome of a reluctant hero. Some might say that's the sure sign that Sam is right, that Dean isn't strong enough or can't make it happen because he's afraid. I say that real heroes do have fear, because fear keeps you sharp and smart, keeps you knowing what the costs are. Fear isn't a weakness in my book.

Awesome point!!! I totally agree, fear is a good thing. Personally, I think a little fear might help Sam, because, as you said, he's not thinking about things in the long-term. Fear of what he's becoming might be enough to make him see just what he's risking. I also think there's a difference between being reluctant and being afraid...Dean's reluctant, but I don't think he's afraid for himself. If anything, I think he's more afraid for Sam.

Maybe, for me, it hurt that he used Mary's image, a woman he's never met or knew, as his way of comforting himself because if his mom was proud of him, he could be proud of himself. This is Sam's delusion.

I LOVE this point. SO VERY TRUE! I think that's what bothered me about it the most too. I also can't help wondering if perhaps the demon blood has some sort of consciousness of it's own, if somehow it was influencing what Sam was seeing, trying to get Sam to do what it wanted. The blood originally came from the YED...I wouldn't put it past the YED to leave something of himself behind that way, maybe as an insurance policy to make sure that "children" obeyed him. Maybe that's what helped the other chosen children turned evil so quickly? Jake and Ava both seemed to do pretty quick 180s as far as personalities go...

When young Sam bitterly tells grown up Sam that if he hadn't gone off with Dean, Jessica might have lived, you can hear the sting of blame there for Dean in his voice. I know he still blames himself for Jess's death, but you can't miss the accusatory tone towards Dean too.

I agree, I could hear that too, and it made me cringe! Sam's always insisted that he doesn't blame Dean, but deep down, I think he does...maybe, before, it wasn't enough that he really felt it or acknowledged it, but maybe the demon blood somehow enhances all those bad emotions until they become overwhelming and controlling.

He's no longer the unquestioning soldier son of John Winchester. It will be that underestimation of him that will be Dean's ace in the hole.

Once more, such a fantastic point, and so true! That has changed a lot for Dean, and I don't think he'll ever be an unquestioning soldier again. He was disappointed by his commander one too many times.

Are the angels, the assumed good guys here, going to turn Dean into a weapon, as much as Sam seems to be turning into?

I really think you might be right! As much as I love Dean just for being Dean, I don't know if I picture the angels simply throwing him into battle without doing anything to give him an advantage, and as you said, maybe turning him into a weapon. They have simply relied on him as a human hunter so far, but this seems to be the big final battle...wouldn't they want every advantage they could get? *bites lip* A part of me loves the idea, but another part of me is worried, lol!

Sam strangling Dean. It wasn't just a fight reaction. Dean was down and then you saw Sam's hands around Dean's neck and I jumped.

You know, it sounds funny, lol, but believe it or not, that didn't really sink in for me until a few hours after the episode. When I was heading for bed I literally stopped and went, "Sam tried to kill Dean. SAM TRIED TO KILL DEAN!" I agree, the hardest part about that is that it wasn't really during the fight. Dean was down, and Sam was ready to finish him off. In a way, I think it was an echo of what we saw with the Siren. Dean had been about to kill Sam, and so this time Sam was showing Dean that he's "better." I also think that maybe it was a threat... "Come after me again, and this is what will happen." I don't think Dean will go down easily the next time they fight though...

As always, an AWESOME, AWESOME blog! :)


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