"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." -- Buddha
With the backdrop of the beautiful sunny day, a forest resplendently green, we can't help but remember that the last time we were in a somewhat similar setting was when Dean admitted to Sam that he shouldn't be alive, that he was dead and should've stayed dead, we now witness Sam admitting that there is something in him that scares him, that he doesn't trust himself either. He suggests that they go their separate ways and Dean, with obvious pain at the idea, agrees. And so they split up. Our boys are on their own and our collective hearts break and I used a boatload of kleenex!
What another FANTASTIC ending!!! And the episode just reeked of aching sadness. Blogs past have talked about how the Winchesters are the best when they are united and together and though at the end of all this mayhem, they will be, I'm as sure of that as I am of Dean saving the world, this episode showed that no matter how painful it is to accept, they need time away from each other. It's a good thing, for now. And not just because of Sam. Sam is trying, trying really hard. It's not difficult to see his sincere efforts, but the fact is, he is a locked and loaded loose cannon worse than that, he's not sure of himself. War's observations weren't lies, they were just harsh truths and they allowed Sam to see that, by his own admission, he's been trying to rationalize his actions and the dark feelings he's been having. He can't keep doing that anymore. He's trying to face who he is, but the fact is he doesn't know who or what he is right now and that scares him and well it should. Jared was simply amazing in that moment!
The beauty of the ending was all of the great symbolism in it. From the forest setting to watching Sam walk away, to Dean closing his eyes and reluctantly agreeing with Sam to separate, to Dean offering Sam the Impala (holy crap, Batman, that was totally unexpected and yet a gesture that would never have occurred in the past --all the more reason to see that Dean loves Sam, would still do anything, give up anything for him), to Dean calling him Sammy. It was SO BITTERSWEET!
Okay, from the beginning. I LOVED that there was another The Road So Far! I never tire of these vignettes. It shows Sam's evolution as well as what's happened to this point and also re-introduces Ellen, Jo (it was great to see them both back after a long absence) and Rufus, to the song, Long, Long Way from Home by Foreigner, a personal favorite of mine. It fits PERFECTLY! Both boys are a long, long way from home in more ways than one.
Seeing Bobby in the wheelchair with no healing in his immediate future, hurts so much, but Bobby will bounce back. He's not one for self-pity or surrendering to it at the expense of the battle. You know that he will put aside his situation for the boys. He'll use his anger productively by channeling it towards the battle ahead. He's probably more pissed and maybe even afraid that he won't be in the fight with his boys, to help them. I think that bothers him the most. Okay, admission, Dean's x-ray of his ribs? HOT! Silly as that sounds, I was chatting with my friend Tiffany and being the unrepentant DeanGirl that I am, all I could think about was how even Dean's ribs carved with an Enochian Sigil (I had to look this up...make no mistake, the writers, they DO their homework and research. Thanks to Tiffany's spelling I found this) are SEXY!!! I just hung my head in shame, but not for long. Hee. I have no shame when it comes to Dean.
The confrontation with Cas was amazing. Seeing Cas stand up for himself was AWESOME. It hurt to hear him say that he had lost everything for nothing because Dean couldn't get to Sam in time to stop him from starting the Apocalypse. In my eyes, I thought it was an unfair accusation. Cas took too long to take a stand before he sent Dean over to Sam, but I applaud his conviction about his belief in God and I know that Dean respected it. Interesting that Cas called Sam. Why not Dean? Wonder why that was? Probably doesn't really matter, but I wonder nevertheless. I LOVE Cas's declaration that he was going to find God. No small feat that. I LOVE the idea that God has placed Himself in a sort of witness-protection program of His own to observe and act as He feels needed. AND OH!!! Dean's amulet!!! What an AWESOME idea to make Dean's amulet, as Sam put it, an EMF meter for finding God!!! I LOVED THAT IDEA!!! Oh and giving the amulet to Cas was the first sign of the separation to come. That amulet, given to Dean by Sam has never left either brother's neck and yet Cas asks for it to find God and you can't help but feel the loss. I LOVE that Dean resists at first. He may be in an uncertain place with Sam, but he still holds his connections to him dear, so giving the amulet away even if for the good of the cause, it's a disconnection between the brothers that hurts tremendously! I LOVE Dean saying that he felt naked without it. You can believe the underlying emotion in that line. I WAS SO happy that they explained the amulet's purpose, other than being a symbol of family from one brother to another. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but the idea that it serves an even greater purpose than just being a piece of jewelry is a GREAT idea. Bobby's parting words were HILARIOUS! SO BOBBY! He puts aside his issues for the war at hand, but then whips a zinger about God bringing him legs. He's SO AWESOME! I hope his situation is temporary just because it makes him vulnerable and I don't want anything more to happen to Bobby. Anyone who can resist possession to save someone he loves deserves a break AND a medal.
I LOVE their entrance into the town of River Pass, CO, like 2 gunslingers coming into town to the tune of Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum. It's moments like these that remind me of what they once were together. Oh, that War drives a cherry red Mustang is cool because in the texts, his "horse", in this case, an iron horse, is red. Again, the writers they do SERIOUS research, no one can dispute that. It was a great way to introduce one of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The actor, Titus Welliver, who played him was great. He's done some stellar villain work on other shows. He plays War so cool and matter of fact. My friend Tiffany noted just like Fredric Lehne did with Azazel. I wonder if we'll see the other 3, Conquest, Famine and Death...pretty likely we will since all have to appear eventually in the Apocalypse. I did some research too and they sound cool:
Conquest, white horse, uses a crown and bow, "kills the beasts of the earth".
Famine, black horse, uses a weighing scale (interesting), to bring famine. No surprise there.
Death, pale horse, uses a scythe (no surprise there either), he's followed by Hades, kills with death and disease.
Lovely motely crue (tipping my hat to the rock group) they are.
LOVED Ellen's introduction, but poor Dean, he's always getting holy water splashed in his face then when she lectures them about not keeping contact, his "yes, mam" melts me! A show of respect that I admire. Jo's appearance is too brief, but you can tell there's still an uncomfortableness between her and Dean.
When Dean and Sam go to the sporting goods store (or Dean does and Sam goes to the Quick-Mart), their first real sign of significant strain is seen when Dean doesn't trust Sam enough to be out among demons. I don't blame Dean at all. In the end, he was right even though Sam didn't think so then. It's only later when he kills what he thinks are demons and sees their blood (we learn later that there are no demons, just War manipulating humans to believe there are demons and having them kill each other out of paranoia-- kill first, ask questions later) does he realize he's having a difficult time resisting tasting it, wanting that power back.
I loved it when Dean and Sam ready the "troops" though I find it HILARIOUS that War pretends he's a total goof with a gun. I loved when Dean asks where the soldier served after he sees him disassemble the gun then the soldier says that it takes one to know one. There'a kinship there that I loved. Then when the soldier asks Dean where he served, Dean says Hell matter of factly as if it was a war zone like any other war zone then when pressed says Hell again. What I love about this episode is the transition that's being made for Dean to be battle ready. He's really developing into a commander, the kind of leader that he has to become in order to lead humanity into the battle for their very souls. He has to convince them it's a battle that has to be won for the good of humanity. I love that we see Dean second guess his instincts. When Sam gets captured, his immediate response is to run after him, to save him, but he stops himself, just barely and you can see that it's not without a profound sense of conflict. It's not like him to not come to the rescue of Sam, but in a painful way, he has to think more with his head than with his heart. Not easy for Dean. Leading with his heart is how he rolls, it's what makes him the compassionate man that he is. He makes the admission to Sam later that he can't go after him and protect him like he used to anymore and as hard a choice that is, it is logical and necessary. Dean is evolving into what he will have to be when all is said and done. I know he won't become a robot, a soldier without feelings, but I think the harsh decisions ahead will come from having to make sacrifices in order to win the war. Dean in Jus in Bello said that if winning a war meant being less than human, he didn't want to win. I know he still believes in that because he's brought up twice with Zacariah his concern for the human cost to the "pissing match". He still puts humanity first just like he does with Sam even though right now, he can't with Sam. The bigger picture has to come first. Whether he can realistically play legit in a war where both angels and demons alike don't care about the cost in human lives is a matter that remains to be seen. I hope so. If Dean has his way, then yes, I know he'll do it or try really hard not to lose sight of what he's fighting for.
Sidenote: When Sam shoves Dean when Dean challenges Sam going out with Ellen, it felt like being punched in the gut ourselves. It also demonstrated again Sam's insecurity, he reacted defensively about not being trusted even though there was a good reason for being distrusted.
My faith in Dean's ability to figure things out was affirmed when he realized what was happening in the town. I know Sam suspected something awry when he saw War twist his ring in the background, but War had to give him hints. Dean used all the clues available from the townspeople, figures out that it's the 4 Horsemen, not even the priest makes the connection between the polluted river and the shooting star. I LOVED that Dean made the connection of the cherry Mustang as War's "ride". You also had to giggle at the way Dean says it would be the way he'd ride. So much of the personas of Dean and Sam have been about Sam being the brains, the research guy, the smart one and Dean being just the muscle, but I LOVE these moments when Dean will come up with the solution or extrapolate on a theory like he did with the Siren, recalling the Odyssey and joking that yeh, he reads. I thoroughly enjoy it when he does that. Dean's knowledge of the passage in the Bible was impressive. Yeh, he reads, all right.
I REALLY enjoyed War's interaction with Sam. It's enlightening and as I said before, Titus Welliver does a great job at making War seem almost benign, like he's just there to fulfill what he was meant to do along with this 3 compadres/siblings. It seemed almost natural the way he puts it. The best part was his observations of Sam. It seems the best readers of Sam's true nature are the demons. Does it mean that they do because he's more like them? Interesting theory. The fact that War says that he can see inside Sam's head and that he tells Sam to save his protests for Dean, really demonstrates how much Sam is lying to himself. I also LOVE that War, like Casey back in Sin City, points out that he didn't have to do much to get the humans to fight among themselves, suspect each other, kill each other. It's a glimpse into human nature that doesn't paint us very pretty. It demonstrates that given the right conditions, the perfect fear factors, we, humans, we are quick to judge and exact punishment in the name of protection veiled by paranoia. This can also hark back to Season 1 in The Benders when it was plain old humans who were doing the most disreputable things to other humans, hunting them down. Dean made a keen observation then about getting demons, but that people were crazy. This paints humans in a bad light and makes you wonder why humanity is worth saving at all given all of its flaws, but you know that Dean believes that it is. His observation to Cas in It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester was telling of that, watching children at play and how satisfied he felt at saving them, both him and Sam. I LOVED that War points out that Sam's good intentions aren't what they seem and can lead him down the path to Hell. It's the same message that Pamela gave him. For Sam, it all comes down to good intentions. He still wants to convince himself that his good intentions are honest and meaningful, but he's finally seeing with the help of War reading him SO well that what he thinks are good intentions, aren't, that they are just excuses he gives himself to get what his true, deep down desire is and that's power and power over others, humans and demons alike, a need to be superior over everyone. It's hard to imagine in Sam, but if you incorporate his history and his past, it's not a hard leap to make that Sam's insecurity about himself and maybe even his self-esteem in general revolve around wanting power over others. He even hinted at it when he told Dean that killing the teenager felt awful and that he wished he could go back to how he "saved" people from possession before. Justification. The fact that he left the host alive was rationalization for using his "gifts", but by removing the possession, he had power over another person, another demon and he liked it. Hard not to see that.
It was a very telling episode. It allowed Sam to come to terms with what he's been doing, admitting that it wasn't just about the blood or Ruby or anything else. It was all about him and that he doesn't trust himself either because he doesn't understand what's happening to him, why he is thinking the way he is and whether it's a permanent situation or something he needs to work through and get control over. So he leaves on his own journey to self-awareness and self-understanding, a journey that he has to take alone though you can see the hope that maybe Dean would argue for him to stay, expecting a fight, but not getting one.
Regardless, our worst fears have been realized, the boys are a house divided, at least for a few episodes. It sounds like they reunite in Episode 5 so there's something to look forward to. Dean and Sam will find their way back to each because despite the distance they are brothers and not the brothers from What is and What Never Should Be, but the brothers who have been through everything together and remained dedicated to each other, would still die for each other in a second. They will hopefully rediscover each other in new and restorative ways making them closer, stronger, better. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and may give the needed perspective.
It was yet another FANTASTIC episode. Can't wait for next week's! Oh, after watching Fringe turn a favorite character into an evil one through a kind of alien possession and HATING that they did that, I appreciate Supernatural all the more for not resorting to black and white distinctions and layering everyone, angels, demons and humans alike. It's a great show for doing that.
Thanks for reading as always! Forgive any mistakes. Believe it or not, I wrote a lot of this blog on my iPhone.
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