"It was when Lucifer first congratulated himself upon his angelic behavior that he became the tool of evil." -- Dag Hammrskjld
"Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to your ruin." --Aesop
"Evil is always possible. Goodness is a difficulty." --Ann Rice
Though the episode, compared to the first two, seemed almost quiet in its revelations, it was a great episode. Not that there weren't any exciting and funny moments, there was plenty of that, but the boys' separation weighed on the episode for us fans. There were nuances that left us fans wanting, hating that the separation happened, but knowing it had to be in order for the brothers to gain the proper perspective of each other as individuals before they can come together again as a team, as a family.
However, though Dean's declaration of feeling good for the first time in years now that he's separated from Sam sounded harsh, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing for Dean to say that he's happy being on his own even, if for now, it's tinged with a little bitterness. I also think the statements he made were a defense mechanism (you can't help but see the furtive glances he's made to the empty passenger seat next to him, both at the start of the episode and when Cas disappears -- in that scene, a metaphor could be drawn that Cas leaves Dean alone too). Dean's whole world is different now. Who among us hasn't reveled just a little at being on our own for a little awhile, wished for time away from responsibilities, worries, woes, being depended on and from some of the people we deal with everyday even ones we love dearly? I don't think it makes us bad, it makes us human. Dean hasn't been able to really do that. Hell doesn't count, hardly a relaxing vacation in the Bahamas that trip, BUT one could make the argument that being away in Hell, going through what he did, alone without anyone there to help him, gave Dean perspective as well. So now he is on his own and there's a feeling of empowerment that he's never had before. Being Sam's caretaker, protector has been a duty he's carried for years and what he thought was all he was defined by. I think he's learning that's not the case. I think he's entitled to be a little selfish just for a little while.
Jensen played this scene with enough ambiguity that you might, at first, easily just jump to the conclusion that Dean's just still angry, that his comment was pointedly digging at Sam, that his absence wasn't being keenly felt. Yeh, he probably is still angry, but that's not all there is. I think it's just a temporary rationalization. I think he does miss Sam, but feels frustrated at himself for feeling that way given what he still perceives as a betrayal by the one person he trusted the most. In the shadows of Jensen's expressions you know that he's hurting and that there is pain there, a bitterness that still stems from the betrayal, but also pain from a sense of loneliness despite his words, a denial that he can be without Sam. Dean is rediscovering himself. Reassessment and re-evaluation never comes without some pain. In the end, it will be a good thing for Dean and he'll bring back to the table a better understanding of himself and his relationship with Sam. Rest assured, Dean will always love Sam, he just may not put him first anymore and that's not necessarily a bad thing especially in shadow of the war ahead. Dean needs to get a little hardened, but Dean will never be other than the caring person he is. I believe that completely. He just won't be that martyr Dean anymore and that's a good thing too.
All of us have to feel good in our own skin, with our own company before we can truly give ourselves fully to others. As Dean said, he's been so "chained" to his family, he hasn't been able to really feel what it's like to be on his own. He's always feared that condition, that he would be paralyzed, non-functional, or worse yet, worthless without his affinity to his family. It's only now that maybe he's getting to enjoy time with himself. Still, you know that deep down he'll feel Sam's loss and come to an understanding and forgiveness once he deals with the betrayal. I think it's something you just can't get over that easily. For better or worse, Dean has defined himself and his identity with this family, Sam, specifically, and because he's done that, the betrayal stung that much more. He had depended on Sam for that self-worth, yes, probably too much, but it took Sam choosing a demon over him to make him snap out of his reliance on him, to make him face that maybe he was doing that too much, that in the end, he has to rely on himself, but that realization will never diminish the love he feels for his brother. Mary said it best in her blog of Good God, Y'all when she mentioned that Dean offering the Impala to Sam was the sincerest gesture of love and trust Dean could have possibly shown. That offer alone tells us that he trusts Sam. It's how Dean rolls, it's the essence of who he is. He just needs the time to understand himself before he can understand Sam. That's part of the process of maybe finally growing up fully into a full-fledged Dean, his own man.
Once again, the ending defined this episode. Mark Pellegrino is proving himself to be the perfect choice for playing Lucifer! He plays Lucifer with a soft seduction that barely underlies a sense of evil. He claims to be telling the truth, both to Nick and now to Sam and you can believe that and the slippery calm of his demeanor is highly seductive, the tone of his voice so even and convincing and in many ways his arguments strangely logical. Mark does this AMAZINGLY WELL! You find yourself falling under the spell that he's casting, that Lucifer is like this hypnotic voice telling you to kill your hope, to surrender your soul and that you'll like doing it. It was a powerful scene in all it's quiet sensitivity. Using Jess to penetrate Sam's dreams as he did with Nick with his wife was a great device. It was great to see Adrianne Palicki (learned recently she's dating Alan Tudyk, currently playing Alpha on Dollhouse, but is probably better known as Wash from Firefly and Serenity) again though too bad Jess was just an illusion, trickery by Lucifer to catch Sam vulnerable, but then again, it made sense. Sam being destined to be Lucifer's vessel didn't really come as a surprise. It almost felt as inevitable as Lucifer made it sound and for every declaration from Sam that Lucifer was wrong, that he wouldn't give him his consent, Lucifer countered with a cold, icy calm and certainty that it was SAM who was wrong. It made you believe that Sam had no choice, that all his good intentions had been for nothing, after all. Lucifer had made it sound like such a foregone conclusion that it could easily make Sam lose all hope for change, for redemption and horrors, and maybe make him just give in. Lucifer hasn't cloyed Sam with the prospect of revenge or justice as he had with Nick, but you can't help, but feel Sam losing his grip on his determination.
Jared was PHENOMENAL in this episode. You cheered Sam on as he fought the hunters, resisted swallowing the blood they had tried to force feed him, and everything seemed and felt like Sam would overcome his temptations, that there was still hope for him, even Sam felt it when he had told Jess that she was wrong about people changing, that they can, deep down thinking that HE can change himself and his circumstances. Lucifer's attempts at breaking Sam down was all the more powerful because of what Sam was feeling just before it. SamGirls must have enjoyed the first scene with him shirtless. We need more of Dean that way too...whoops, sorry, lapsing into my DeanGirl there. Seriously, even with Dean and Cas's partnership providing the light-hearted and admittedly profound moments (God is dead), more on that in a minute, this was Jared's episode, this was all about the "first contact" of Lucifer and the revelation that Sam is to be Lucifer's vessel, though it wasn't quite the bombshell that I think it was planned to be, it had no less the impact in the seemingly unavoidable fate that Sam is facing. I LOVED that War said he knew what Sam was thinking and that Lucifer said that he knew Sam better than he knows himself. If Sam is in denial and if what Lucifer said is all true, then Sam really doesn't know himself or who he really is which makes him at the mercy of Lucifer's interpretation. STILL, I maintain that Sam has to realize that he DOES have free will. HE has to give consent. Just like Dean has to give consent for Michael to take him as a vessel. Unless there is some way to defeat his free will, Sam just HAS to remain resolute in his determination that he will refuse to consent no matter what Lucifer says. Now, two things could interfere with that in Sam's case. Suddenly Sam is the insecure one, the one who is uncertain about himself so his insecurity might make him resign himself to his fate, TOTALLY wrong assumption, but we do things in despair that have no logical explanation most of the time. If Sam convinces himself that he has no choice, that he can't avoid it, he could succumb to it and would still be applying his free will, disparaged as it would be to be driven to that kind of surrender. Dean has already been tested with coercion, threatened with harm against his loved ones to submit and he resisted, but Sam hasn't been tested that way yet and given his separation from Dean and the circumstances surrounding it, Sam might be misguided into sacrificing himself to save Dean in order to redeem himself for not saving Dean in the first place. Dean has come to terms with the harsh reality that he can't succumb to the bargaining of his loved ones. Dean showed Zacariah that no matter what he does to Sam or Bobby, he would not consent. You'd think Zacariah would've realized that Dean had reached his acceptance of the situation and the sacrifices that might have to be made to maintain his free will as well as win the war and that he can no longer make Dean do anything he doesn't want to do, not even with Sam as a bargaining chip. Lucifer is not going to be that easy a sell, he's going to keep breaking Sam down until Sam comes to a different kind of acceptance. Sam might sacrifice himself to save Dean or Bobby, to play the martyr this time. WONDERFUL moral ambiguities all around.
I loved the beginning with the parallels between the brothers' lifestyles. Sam burning up his IDs from the hunting life...interesting symbolism played out with those losses of identity then Dean presenting his ID. Sam cutting lemons, Dean dispatching a vampire, both swiping their faces of lemon juice and blood respectively, Sam wiping counters, Dean wiping the blood off the Impala. All to the strains of Simple Man by Lynyrd Skinner. How I miss these great musical montages so when they're done so beautifully, they are appreciated so much more and this particular one did a great job of comparing Sam and Dean's lives and how different they are now. It was both poignant and sad.
Dean and Cas together was just a hoot. It illustrated how completely alien the idea is for us that Dean could have any other partner or compadre at his side than his brother. It's completely unimaginable. The scenes with Dean and Cas are just classic. Dean is HILARIOUS at times like when Cas just appears and surprises him then is so close to him that Dean reminds him of "personal space". Jensen's comic timing never ceases to amaze. I LOVE that Cas asks for Dean's help to find Raphael. You can see Cas is as close to revenge for Raphael "killing" him as he's ever shown in any other situation. I ALSO LOVE Cas's admission that he needs Dean because no angel would dare hurt Michael's vessel. I LOVE that Cas has also been left out in the cold by his fellow angels and that Dean is the only person who can and will help him. He even says "please" and Dean, his compassion always there despite the tough exterior he puts up, agrees and you can see on Dean's face his willingness. HOW DOES JENSEN DO THAT? Gotta love Cas's complete naivete and honesty. He hasn't got a deceptive bone in his body and Dean has to work with the raw material when they interrogate the sheriff. IT JUST CRACKED ME UP! Also, when they go and see Donny Finnerman, wrecked after a visit from Raphael, Dean assumes that's his fate when Michael "jumps his bones" and Cas corrects that Michael is much more powerful and that it will be far worse for Dean. It just makes you shake your head and go, "poor Dean." Nothing is easy for this guy!
Sam's relationship with Lindsay is touching, innocent. I thought it was awesome that Sam bulls-eyed on the dart board. Training from Dean for scamming, maybe? Like pool? Yup, the man has mad skills all right. OH and doing the NY Times Saturday crossword. Smart too, not that we didn't already know that about him, but somehow hearing a woman say that he does the crossword is sigh-inducing. Give me a smart man any day and if he's handsome to boot. Jackpot. Nothing sexier than a man with a brain. I also love that Sam, no matter how hard he tries, can't completely divorce himself from the concerns of the world and the coming Apocalypse and the very real and sincere need to help. That's never been in question. I love that he works at keeping his distance from hunting yet helping hunters. Still, in the end, he becomes the hunted. When he refuses to help the hunters and one of them is killed, then a demon reveals what Sam did and what he possibly could be, the hunters lose it and try to "reactivate" Sam's dark side. It's a cruel lesson in being unable to escape your actions and their repercussions, but in resisting being "turned" by spitting the blood out, Sam reaffirms himself and he dares to hope again that he can beat his destiny, only to have Lucifer dash them again later. The news story about the fires, it reminded me of the fires we've been experiencing here in California and it hit close to home a little. There is an Apocalypic feel to it.
The moment with Cas and Dean talking with Raphael was sobering and yet it also solidified the notion that angels are no better than demons in their brutality and cold-heartedness. It also can't be of any comfort to Dean. It was depressing enough to see how an archangel destroys a vessel's mind, but to see Raphael denounce that God is even alive, (which Dean has accused to Cas), to have someone who is supposed to have implicit faith say that God must be dead to just stand by and let the Apocalypse happen can't give Dean a vote of confidence about Michael, let alone give consent and allow Michael to hijack his body to become his vessel. In the end, this moment didn't instill much confidence. But what it does do is confirm Dean's suspicions and one's own hope that Dean sticks to his decision NOT to become Michael's vessel.
I loved this episode. It was a more solemn, more sobering episode. Though there were lighter moments, for the most part, it was filled with disheartening ones that made us feel that our boys are damned if they do, damned if they don't and that there are very few allies to recruit or rely upon. There's also this distressing notion that destiny, if fulfilled, intends to pit one brother against another. Lucifer's vessel versus Michael's vessel, the identities of our brothers erased, their bond a mere memory, surrendered for the greater cause, the battle of good versus evil, Paradise versus Hell on Earth and yet also depicting a Cain and Abel scenario as well. It left me wanting and more than a bit sad, but I have faith it will be temporary and like our brothers, we'll survive the separation stronger and more reassured.
Thanks for reading as always. Forgive the mistakes as yet again I wrote this on my iPhone. Can't wait for next week's look at post-Apocalypse Supernatural style.
Posted via LiveJournal.app.