6.22  The Man Who Knew Too Much:  I'm Not Leaving My Brother Alone Out There


 
Memory endgame:
Castiel drops Sam's mind-wall,
Takes a power trip.
 

Episode Summary
 
Fleeing from the police at night, Sam took shelter in a closed bar. The pretty bartender, wanting no trouble, asked him to leave, but relented when he desperately asked for time to think. When she asked who he was, he admitted he didn't know, saying he didn't remember anything. All he remembered was being woken up on a park bench by two cops whom he promptly and instinctively had knocked unconscious, to his own surprised dismay. She advocated taking him to the ER, but he refused, saying he didn't have time because he thought he had to be somewhere, that there was something really life-or-death important he had to stop. Glancing around the bar, he was drawn to the bookshelf on the side wall, and pulled out a copy of The Haunter Of The Dark and Other Tales, a collection of H.P. Lovecraft short stories. She asked if he was a horror fan, and he said he really thought he was – and then he collapsed, overwhelmed by a flashing sequence of fragmented memories: Dean leaving the hospital after giving up Lisa, Ben's face in the car, a man jumping, Balthazar in Bobby's house, Dean's and Bobby's faces, lighting a brazier in a summoning spell, the lit neon sign for the Nite Owl hotel. Scared by his collapse, the bartender said she was taking him to a doctor, but he asked instead for a computer. Searching the web, he found the Nite Owl Hotel was a real place two towns over. Thinking he might have been staying there, he got up to leave, but the woman, asking how he would get there, insisted on driving, saying she wouldn't be able to sleep if she let him go off alone, and was dying to see how it all turned out.


 
At the hotel, figuring out where to start, Sam said the ground floor corner room nearest the fire escape would be his first choice, because it offered the quickest getaway. Going to the room, he knocked, but got no answer. Discovering the door locked, he borrowed the bartender's credit card to jimmy the lock, and walked into a room with the walls covered in a hunter's collage. The woman observed it was all very Beautiful Mind meets Se7en, then found a stack of fake ID's with different rock star names: Jimmy Page, Neil Peart, Angus Young. She said she was starting to freak out, and he agreed he was, too. One news article on the wall caught his eye: a report on the missing SFU professor Eleanor Visyak – and he collapsed again under an onslaught of memory.
 
He saw Dr. Visyak in an alley leaning against a wooden pallet, and then saw himself walking down an alley with Bobby and Dean, asking where she was. Bobby called her cellphone again, and they heard the phone ringing down a cross alley. Following the sound, they found her dying. Wryly observing she could have used Bobby's help after all, she said she'd gotten away from her captors, but not before giving them what they needed to open the door to Purgatory. She said she could have handled the demon, but when the angel stepped in, she broke. She said they needed the blood of a virgin and of a Purgatory native, and noted the first would be easy and they now had plenty of the latter. Dean asked if they'd already opened the door, but she told them it would happen tomorrow, at the eclipse of the moon. She apologized to Bobby, but died before she could give them the location.

 
Castiel appeared and said he was sorry this had to happen, saying Crowley got carried away. Bobby rounded on him angrily, but the brothers held him back, and Dean angrily observed he couldn't even see how totally off the rails he was. The angel said he didn't care what they thought, and asked them to please go home and let him stop Raphael. Dean refused. Castiel said he wished it hadn't come to this, and then said when it was all over, he would save Sam, but only if they stood down. While Dean asked in confusion what he would save Sam from, the angel disappeared; then reappeared just behind Sam, touching him on the forehead as he turned – 
 
– and in the hotel room, as she rushed to his side, he looked up and said his name was Sam. She asked what he remembered, and he described being with two guys, one a male model-type and the other an older man named Bobby. Seeing an address book on the nearest pile, he picked it up and paged through it, finding an address but no phone number for a Bobby Singer in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She apologized, but said this was where she had to get off, and he assured her it was no problem. She asked how he would get there, and he wonderingly picked up the keys that were lying by the address book, saying he guessed he would take his car. Out in the hotel parking lot, he immediately recognized the Impala as his. The bartender said she didn't feel right about letting him go alone, saying she had a bad feeling, after seeing the weird hotel room and the fake ID's, that he might not like what he found when he remembered things. He rhetorically asked what other choice he had, but as she started to answer, he heard a noise, and realizing it was a gun being cocked, he tackled her out of the way as a shot broke the passenger window. Looking for the shooter, he saw – himself, looking smug and cold as he slowly lowered his gun. Behind him, the woman called his name, Sam – and then called him Sammy. Her voice became Dean's, quietly pleading for him to snap out of it, as Sam lay unconscious on the cot in Bobby's panic room.


 
As the Rolling Stones' “Play With Fire” played on the radio in the panic room and Dean paced, watching Sam, Bobby entered the panic room with a fresh bottle of whiskey to replace Dean's nearly empty one, asking if there was any change. Worried and frustrated, Dean said he had to do something to help Sam, suggesting “dreamscaping” his head, but Bobby warned they knew what Castiel had done, bringing down the dam that had been protecting Sam from his memories of Hell, and they couldn't imagine what horror was loose in his mind. Bobby noted they only had sixteen hours to stop Castiel and Crowley opening the door to Purgatory, and said he was already down one man and couldn't afford to be down two. Dean protested they had no leads on Castiel or Crowley and hadn't heard anything from Balthazar, so all they had was Sam going through whatever he was experiencing. Pouring Dean another drink as well as one for himself, Bobby quietly reminded Dean this was exactly was Castiel wanted – for Dean to fall to pieces and be ineffective – and advocated he think instead about doing what Sam would want. Calming a little, Dean told Bobby to find Castiel.
 
In his mind, Sam drove the Impala through the night with the same song playing on the radio, asking the woman curiously if she smelled whiskey. She asked him about who had shot at them, and he lied, saying he hadn't gotten a good look. When she advocated going to the cops, he refused, saying his friends could help, but she countered that he didn't even know whether they were his friends. Back in the panic room, Dean used a flashlight to check the responsiveness of Sam's pupils, and as the light shone in his real eye, Sam was blinded by light in the dream and slammed on the car's brakes, bringing the Impala to an abrupt stop in bright daylight. Disconcerted, he scrambled out of the car, saying it had been night but now it was day, and the woman said it had always been day. As he wondered what was going on and she announced she was all filled up on crazy for the day and was going to leave him, Sam heard rustling in the woods near the car. Cocking his head in the direction of the threatening noise, he told her to get into the car, and then followed his own unconscious urge to open the trunk, discovering the weapons cache with surprise. Without realizing it, he picked out his habitual handgun and shotgun, and headed off into the woods with the shotgun at the ready. 


 
His soulless self got the drop on him, disarming him and asking if he was really that gawky. Soulless Sam tweaked him to realize he was dreaming, noting that when Castiel had brought down his mental walls against the Hell memories, he had shattered into pieces. Observing he'd run their body for a while with consummate efficiency, his soulless self claimed souls were weak, a liability, and someone needed to take over. Sam fled as his soulless self shot at him. Pausing in his flight, Sam found his handgun in his hand, and then kept running until he came to a little stream. Pursuing with methodical relentlessness, soulless Sam spotted his target's jacket in the brush by a stream, and placed three strategic shots before he realized the jacket was an empty decoy. With realization came a single shot from behind, and soulless Sam fell, revealing Sam, frightened but resolute, behind him. Dying, soulless Sam chuckled that if Sam thought he was bad, he should wait until he met the other one. When he collapsed, light blazed from his body into Sam – and in the panic room, Sam went into brief convulsions that subsided even as Dean, terrified, grabbed him and held him down.


 
In the dream, Sam returned to the car and his companion, announcing that he remembered who he was and everything he'd done in the past year – and he remembered her. Through the eyes of memory, we saw soulless Sam facing off against a red-eyed demon who held the bartender as a human shield, threatening to kill her unless Sam walked away. Instead, soulless Sam coldly shot her, saying the demon had lost his leverage, and then took down the demon. In the dream, blood from the gunshot wound began to stain the woman's shirt, and she said she'd warned him he might not like what he found. Sam apologized, saying he was sorry, but she said he wasn't as sorry as he was going to be, and vanished.


 
In the panic room, Dean was nursing another glass of whiskey and watching his brother when Bobby appeared at the door with Balthazar, who looked at the new paint on the walls and observed they'd finally gotten the angel-proofing right. Dean asked what had taken him so long, and Balthazar admitted he'd been having second thoughts about betraying his powerful friend Castiel. Ultimately, however, he handed over the address in Kansas where Castiel and Crowley were planning to open the gate; the mansion where Crowley had been doing his monster-torture. He refused to take them there, however; saying he'd stuck his neck out far enough already, he disappeared.


 
Castiel was waiting pensively in Crowley's empty torture room when the demon arrived and presented him with a sealed jar of blood, half virgin and half Purgatory monster. The angel said he was renegotiating their terms to give Crowley nothing, not one single soul. When the demon objected, saying he wouldn't dare, Castiel said he wouldn't hand all that power to the king of Hell; that he was neither stupid nor wicked. He told Crowley to flee or die, and Crowley fled.
 
In his dream, Sam found Bobby's house curiously vacant, with all the furniture draped with white sheets but many candles burning in cobwebbed candelabra. He saw a shadowed figure sitting at a bare table in the dark kitchen. The figure didn't respond until he shouted at it, and then just slowly raised his head and greeted him without surprise. Sam asked which one he was, and the figure asked if he didn't know. As he slowly stood up, the scant light revealed a broken version of Sam, his skin mottled and clothing caked with old dried blood, and he said with weary despair that he was the one who remembered Hell.


 
In the panic room, Bobby finished packing their combat kit, including the two angel swords they'd collected over time, and told Dean it was time to go. Dean laid the piece of paper with the address they'd gotten from Balthazar on the bed beside Sam, weighting it down with Sam's handgun, and told Sam that was where they would be. Voice breaking, he told Sam to get his lazy ass out of bed and meet them there.


 
In his dream, Hell-Sam told Sam he wished he hadn't come, but Sam responded he didn't have any choice. He said he'd figured his body was at Bobby's, since he'd been smelling Old Spice and whiskey, and thought if he could get there in the dream, he could snap out of it. Hell-Sam said he had to go through him first, explaining that he had to put all the pieces of himself together before he could wake up, and Sam realized that meant he had to know what had happened in the cage. Hell-Sam said he didn't want to know and Sam agreed. Pleading, Hell-Sam encouraged him to stay in the dream, to just find and stay with the bartender or Jess, saying Sam couldn't imagine Hell and wouldn't be strong enough to deal with the memories. Sam concluded that he had to, because he wasn't going to leave his brother alone out there. Hell-Sam reluctantly came around the table, picking up the knife that had been by his hand, but he offered the blade hilt-first to Sam, saying he wasn't going to fight him, but this was his last chance. Sam took the knife, and Hell-Sam wished him luck, telling him he was going to need it. Scared and sad but determined, Sam stabbed his doppelganger, and as light poured from the doppelganger's body into his, Sam convulsed on the cot in the panic room.


 
At Crowley's mansion, Castiel sat contemplating the jar of blood when Balthazar arrived, asking why Castiel had summoned him. Castiel said Dean was on his way, because someone in their camp had betrayed them by giving away their location. Balthazar asked if he knew who it was, and Castiel said he didn't know, but needed Balthazar to find out, saying he would take care of Dean himself. As Castiel turned away, Balthazar asked if he was all right, and Castiel said bemusedly that he was doing his best in impossible circumstances, but his friends abandoned him and plotted against him, and it was difficult to understand. Balthazar said Cass would always have little old him, and Castiel suddenly appeared behind him, stabbing him through the heart with his angel blade, sadly agreeing he would always have Balthazar as the other angel died in an explosion of light.


 
Shortly after, Dean and Bobby parked the Impala on a road in sight of the mansion. Bobby spotted at least a dozen angel guards, and proposed trying to sneak past them since they couldn't possibly take out that many. Before they could move, however, they heard a distant, heavy thumping sound so deep it made ripples in the puddles on the street, and then they saw a massive cloud of demon smoke shot through with light blazing through the sky and blotting out the moon even as the eclipse began. They bolted for the car, but before Dean could drive off, the cloud swept over them, flipping the car and passing by to envelop the house. 


 
Inside the mansion, Castiel was studying the Purgatory spell when he heard screams and groans from upstairs as the cloud hit. Crowley appeared, telling him he shouldn't underestimate the king of Hell, and saying it was time to re-re-negotiate their terms. Castiel tried to smite him, but nothing happened, and Crowley said he was being protected by his new partner – and Raphael appeared on cue. Castiel warned that Raphael would betray him, but Crowley, pointing out Castiel was no better, added that Raphael had offered him protection against all comers in exchange for the Purgatory blood, and he had taken it as the best offer available. Raphael chided Castiel for thinking he would let Castiel open the door and take in that much power, saying that if anyone was going to be the new God, it would be Raphael. Crowley offered Castiel two options – flee, or die – and the angel pensively picked up the jar of blood, then tossed it to Crowley even as he disappeared. 
  
As the moon became fully eclipsed, Crowley began intoning the spell as he and Raphael stood in front of the wall on which they'd painted the complex spell sigil in blood. Outside, in the flipped Impala, Dean and Bobby woke up and crawled out, making their way into the house. Stealthily entering the room where the ritual was underway from a door high in the back wall, Dean threw one of the angel blades, hoping to take out Raphael, but the angel caught the blade in flight without even turning around to see them. Crowley gestured, flinging Bobby down the flight of stairs and hurling Dean over the railing to crash down on a table and then to the floor, saying he was busy but would be with them in a moment. Outside, Sam arrived at the flipped car, staggering under the impact of memories of burning alive, but grimly shoving them down and moving on.


 
Crowley finished the spell, but nothing happened. As he wondered if he'd said it wrong, Castiel appeared, calmly telling him he'd said it perfectly, but what he'd needed was the jar of blood in Castiel's hands. Crowley realized Castiel had substituted on the toss a jar of dog's blood for the one containing the mix of virgin and monster blood, and also saw Castiel's jar was empty. He asked how Castiel's ritual had gone, and the angel bowed his head, then radiated blinding light. Quenching it, he smiled and told them they couldn't imagine what it was like, having millions upon millions of souls all inside of him. Crowley prudently took his leave, but Raphael couldn't. Castiel cruelly teased Raphael about someone having clipped his wings, and when Raphael protested that he'd let the demon escape, but not his own brother, Castiel observed he had plans for the demon. He snapped his fingers and Raphael exploded. The angel blade fell to the floor.


 
Dean and Bobby stared in shocked horror, but Castiel just smiled and turned away, saying he'd saved them again. Treading cautiously, fearing to detonate the unpredictable fuse on the Castiel bomb, Dean agreed and thanked him, and Castiel, still smiling, observed they'd doubted him and fought against him, but he'd been right all along. Playing along, Dean agreed that he was and said they were sorry, and then proposed they just defuse him. Castiel asked what he meant, and Dean observed he was full of nuke and it wasn't safe, so they should return the souls to Purgatory before the eclipse ended. Castiel said the souls belonged with him, and when Dean protested they were scrambling his brain, Castiel said pleasantly he wasn't finished yet, because Raphael had many followers and he needed to punish them all severely. Facing insanity driving power, Dean begged him to listen, saying they were family once. He said he'd lost Lisa, Ben, and Sam, and pleaded with the angel not to make him lose Castiel as well. He said Castiel didn't need all that power any more and should get rid of it before it killed them all. Castiel said he was only saying that because the angel had won and Dean was afraid. He said Dean wasn't his family, that he had no family – and Sam, coming in from behind, scooped up the fallen angel blade and stabbed him in the back, gasping with the effort of staying in the moment. Castiel didn't even react, simply reaching back and pulling out the blade. He said he was glad Sam had made it, but the angel blade wouldn't work because he wasn't an angel anymore. He proclaimed he was their new God, a better one, and ordered them to bow down and profess their love to him, or he would destroy them.


 

Comments  

percysowner
# percysowner 2011-05-31 09:15
I loved your review and I look forward to your analysis of the overall season. Like you I enjoyed this season more than many people. I think the writers may have been a tad too ambitious, leading to some dropped plotlines (The Campbells, the Weapons of Heaven), but I think it hangs together in an interesting way and that when rewatched it will be much easier to see how earlier elements of the story fit into the entire narrative.

I do put Castiel's final descent earlier than you do. At the very least, breaking Sam's wall was an act of cruelty that wasn't necessary, in as much as Cas had the power to teleport Sam. Dean and Bobby to the middle of nowhere in Europe to keep them from bothering his final move toward Purgatory. I also think his decision to fight with and kill Rachel who was only fighting for the morality that they both had been raised with was an indication he had gone off the rails. I can also make the argument that once Balthazar threw in with Castiel, gave him ALL the weapons of heaven and agreed to change history to give Cas a working advantage in souls that Cas no longer needed the Purgatory souls. If he was going to break the deal, that was the time to do it.

Admittedly, I am one who doesn't care if Castiel can be redeemed, or even if he should. I have viewed Cas in a more negative light than many fans since the beginning and I truly believe that he was only a loyal friend during season five and therefore this fall has been in the making since his introductions. In some ways I think his part in the storyline parallels Ruby's. He was a supernatural being that started out as untrustworthy and his race was shown to be either disinterested or actively hostile to humans. The angels as a whole saw humanity and the Winchesters as things to be used in their prophecies and human casualties were not a consideration. Knowing this, Dean came to trust one member of an untrustworthy race and remained blind to Cas's "regrettable actions" until he was brought face to face with them after trapping Cas in the ring of fire.

The Message of Supernatural is that non-humans should not be given unreserved trust. Sam broke this rule with Ruby, who appeared to be doing helpful things for the world right up until the end. Similarly, Dean broke the "don't trust the Supernatural" rule with Castiel because of a year of support and loyalty, which followed a year of deceit and betrayal as Cas played his part in helping to permit Sam to break the final seal. In the end Cas was like taming a tiger. It may look as if they are under your control, but in reality they are a different species and can lash out at any time and revert to their inbred natures.

I am also less certain than you, that Castiel didn't realize that taking in all those souls would give him godlike power. The initial deal included a 50/50 split with Crowley and that might have left him non-godlike. Raphael immediately recognized that taking in all those souls would give him godlike powers and although Castiel has been portrayed as being "not the sharpest knife in the drawer" previously, I can't believe that he didn't recognize exactly what taking in that much power would do.

I want to say, you have been a great addition to this site. I have followed you on lj and I am glad to see you posting your thought provoking articles here.
LordAniline
# LordAniline 2011-06-01 22:59
Percywowner, I'm a long time admirer of your cogent and pertinent writings. I totally agree that Cas' descent started early, hinted when he refused to answer soulless Sam's prayers. In "Family Matters" Cas made it clear that it was impossible to rescue Sam from the cage, which of course we all know that Cas in fact tried already and was partially successful. One would think after being empowered with 50,000 more souls that Cas could have gone back for the rest of Sam, but instead he tried very hard to convince Dean in "Caged Heat" to leave Sam to be tortured for eternity, and then got royally pissed off that Dean rescued Sam from Hell and yelled at Dean that he should have killed Sam instead.

Then in his final act of cruelty, Cas shattered Sam and put a conditional on saving Sam only if Dean didn't interfere. And since Dean didn't, Cas had no intention of saving Sam. Thankfully, Sam was stronger than Cas gave him credit for and saved himself.

I also agree that Cas did not need the purgatory souls to win the war as he controls an army and the heaven weapons, forcing Raphael into retreating. Even IF Cas didn't realize taking the souls would make him godlike, he definitely knew when Raphael said it would. It was the umpteenth opportunity for Cas to turn back, but he didn't.

It always grated me since season 4 that Cas never took personal responsibility or accountability, so it was of no surprise to me that Cas wanted to equate himself with God. Why should he own his misdeeds and culpability when he is convinced of his own superiority? Malignant narcissists are constant liars, convinced that the worlds revolves around them and everybody else are bit players created for the sole purpose of loving the narcissist.

Overall I really enjoyed how season 6 coalesced by the finale. Most of SPN's finales are incomplete stories, this one is just less traumatic than the others.
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:00
Thanks, percysowner! Glad you've enjoyed!

We disagree a bit on Castiel simply because I don't believe he ever consciously intended to take on the mantle of God. I do think he was unconsciously seduced by the power as he approached it, thinking of what he could/would do with it, but I don't believe he intended it. I do agree that what he chose to do was wrong, particularly as he became monofocused on one single strategy and discounted all other opportunities (uniting other angels, employing the power of the Heaven weapons - although I had my own issues with those!) that might have worked to counter Raphael. But I really don't think Castiel anticipated experiencing the arrogance that ingesting all those souls brought with them.

You're right that I failed to point out Castiel's deliberate decision to break Sam's wall purely to distract Dean as the earlier crossing of a line; that was brutal, and not something Dean will find easy to forgive ... although since Sam found his way home afterward, Dean might forgive where he otherwise never would have. Hurting Sam will always be the fastest way to gaining Dean's enmity!

Your point about Supernatural having a theme of NEVER trusting the supernatural is definitely a worthy one to contemplate. Thanks for that!
AndreaW
# AndreaW 2011-05-31 10:27
Another great review. Thank you for sharing. :-)

The parts about the brotherly bond were the ones that impressed me most. Like you, my heart also melted when Sam chose to face his private hell rather than leaving his brother alone. I never doubted that everything to Sam is about Dean, like everything to Dean is about Sam. Even Sam's descent into darkeness was about Dean. The explanation for his descent is complex and involve more than one reason but I believe that, deep down, he wanted to prove to Dean that he was not just some freak; he wanted to show that he could do something good out of his freakness. One scene that comes to my mind is when Sam hallucinates about Dean in WTLB; he was desperate when fake Dean told him that he was a monster and that he, Dean, didn't care about him.

This is a love story unlike any others, and that's why this show is so special to me. I'm looking forward to seeing how the brothers will deal with this new challenge - Sam's condition - in Season 7. September can't come soon enough!
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:02
Thanks, AndreaW! I'm right with you in believing these brothers have always been about each other. And I can't wait to see where season 7 takes both us and them!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-05-31 14:28
What a great article! I appreciate your insight into these episodes. I love SPN so much that I don't take time to analyze it, that's why I keep coming back to the WFB every day to see what the writers have posted.

I agree with you about the season being much better than what a lot people have said about it. I've watched the season over from beginning to end a few times already, and I love the progression. I love deep and dark, but when I've had enough pathos, I start all the way back in season one. Yes I am a true fan! It nearly broke my heart when Sam said he couldn't leave his brother alone out there, but then again, I expected nothing less of him. This is what keeps me coming back to the Winchesters over and over, the love that these two brothers have for each other. I know I would willingly die for one of my siblings if they were in mortal danger. You can't choose your family, but when you have a good one, you better do the utmost to keep it.

Again, thank you for the great article, I'll be looking forward to Hellatus now just to read what else you have to say!
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:07
Thanks, Sylvie! I will try to have worthy things to say over the summer hellatus!

This show always has been and always will be about the brothers; and that's what keeps me invested in it to the point of writing hours of analysis every week!
Bevie
# Bevie 2011-05-31 16:40
Aw rats! The site ate my post! :-?

So I'll just reiterate how much I enjoy your thoughtful deep reviews and am looking forward to your season 6 review.

I loved season 6 more than 4 or 5 just because the brothers are back together like they should be, on the same page and loving as in seasons 1, 2 & 3. Although the horror was what brought me to check out this series it was the love between them that keeps me watching and I'll be watching til the bitter end. (the talk about Butch and Sundance is making me a little nervous as I do so hope the series ends with some deserving rewards and a lot of hope for the boys and not a dramatic leap to the death together) :cry:
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:16
Thanks, Bevie!

Isn't it funny that, however far apart our reasons for watching the show in the first place, we almost all come back precisely because of the bond between the brothers? Unlike you, I watched the premiere despite it being styled as a horror story; as a rule, I hate horror films, if only because the characters pretty much have to choose to do the dumbest possible things in order to keep the story from ending when reason would otherwise dictate it should. *grin* That wasn't the case with Supernatural, and I was hooked on the brothers from the start.

And I'm with you in hoping the guys don't go out in the end in a freeze-frame, black-screen blaze of glory. Give me one last iteration of "We've got work to do" as they toss weapons in the Impala's trunk and drive off into the sunset ... perhaps to appear on the big screen later!
Melanie
# Melanie 2011-05-31 18:34
"Jared Padalecki did a wonderful job playing four different aspects of Sam: memory-wiped dream-narrative Sam, soulless Sam, Hell-Sam, and imperfectly reintegrated real-Sam. He succeeded in making them all distinctly different, and yet all Sam. They all walked, talked, and moved differently, and to accomplish that in the course of a single episode was an acting tour-de-force."
I agree with this so much. In the season premiere, before we knew about Robo!Sam, Jared's performance was so textured that we knew something was amiss. He was Sam . . . .but Not!Sam.
To me Jared's work has been wonderful all season. Robo!Sam, to me - mileage may vary - injected an unpredictabilit y that was interesting and exciting. And what I loved about the reintegration is that now, Robo!Sam isn't behind the wall anymore.

"I wonder whether we might see partial echoes of the different Sams in the new season as he tries to balance all the memories and sort out who exactly will be in charge; whether there may be crisis moments when soulless Sam or Hell-Sam manage to take the lead, for example, or if real-Sam will always manage to keep hold of the reins. Real-Sam was in charge at the end, holding on by sheer grim determination, but I wonder how long he'll be able to keep that up. I do trust he will endure and triumph in the end"
I so, so hope that this is what we see in S7. I'll be greatly disappointed if Cas 'fixes' Sam quickly and easily.

Thank you for all your insights, Mary. I have really enjoyed S6 very much and I think theme-wise and in structure its a much stronger season than S5.
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:20
Thanks, Melanie!

I emphatically agree that Jared did a bang-up job this season. I'm betting Sam won't be simply or easily "fixed" come season 7; there's just so much story potential in his reintegration that I can't see this writer's stable ignoring that. I know I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-31 19:14
Bardic, amazing review.

I hadn't thought of Soulless Sam being tentative about killing Narrative Sam. It makes sense. Who is to say that if he had successfully done it that he would have ended up in control? When he figured he had talked Narrative Sam down, complete with a taunt out of Lucifer's book no less, I think then he felt confident enough, hence shooting the jacket thinking he had made a kill shot.

I think, in terms of the next season, Sam will have to deal with this on his own. I don't see Cas as he is in this current state actually helping him in any meaningful and beneficial way. And if Cas should end up losing his new God-like powers, he probably won't be able to do so, either. It's beyond him to actually fix. I think he simply said he would because of his hubris and crazy power trip. At that stage, Cas believed he could do anything and what would fixing one man's damaged psyche be to him?

I wonder if we'll see Sam's many sides warring with him---if sometimes Hell!Sam or Soulless Sam will find a way to drive the meat suit at times. I think it could be a fascinating avenue if they pursue it correctly.

The line that made me pump my fist, outside of Narrative Sam's big line about not leaving Dean outside was actually Hell!Sam's line that Narrative Sam wouldn't be able to handle those memories. Hell!Sam is just as much Sam as the others that he fractured into, and as we all know, Sam is STUBBORN. Give him a challenge and tell him that he CAN'T do something and he'll go out of his way to prove you wrong. I think Hell!Sam said it deliberately, knowing it and Dean would be the strength that Sam would need to endure what would happen next. Hell, even Lucifer found out the hard way just how stubborn Sam can be and lost. Sam is far too stubborn to simply go to a vegetable state.

Having restarted the season (I just saw the Third Man), I got the hints that we might actually get to deal with Dean's trip downstairs---an d now that Sam actually remembers, we'll deal with his issues as well. We can certainly hope, since Dean has never truly talked about---and what struck me is how hard he tried to draw it out of Soulless Sam---albeit he didn't realize at the time that Sam had no soul. Dean seemed actually open to discussing it. Let's hope he'll still be that way in the next season.

No matter what Cas's powers are or will be in season 7, this is something both brothers must do THEMSELVES. I think and hope that's what we'll get.
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:27
Thank you, Far Away Eyes!

Like you, I don't see Castiel "fixing" Sam in season 7; I doubt he'll have the juice, and even if he does (though I really don't see him continuing with the God-thing), as you point out, he wouldn't have the incentive. I think this one's going to be on Sam, with whatever help and support Dean and Bobby can give him. And doing that would necessarily involve Dean dealing with his own issues as well.

I can't wait to watch!

And I loved your point about Hell-Sam deliberately inciting Real-Sam to the stubborn determination to succeed precisely to prove wrong the assertion that he couldn't! Definitely a red flag to wave in front of the Sam-bull ... *grin*
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-05 21:45
It's always been both Sam's biggest strength and weakness. He takes being stubborn to a whole new art form, really.

And yeah, is it September already?

I'll settle for July, though. I get to go to my first convention and as it gets closer the more nervous I get.
AndreaW
# AndreaW 2011-05-31 21:52
"I so, so hope that this is what we see in S7. I'll be greatly disappointed if Cas 'fixes' Sam quickly and easily."

That would be terribly disappointing, no doubt. I love Sammy and I'm no sadist, but he made a choice and was told that there would be consequences. So seeing how he deals with those consequences promises great drama. And if both boys get to share their mutual experiences, it gets better.

I really, really hope they won't have Castiel to fix things in a clumsy attempt to redeem him or show him as a benevolent god. Maybe he does it because he can, just to show his newly gained powers. That would suck. Sera, if you're reading us, don't even think about it!
Kayo
# Kayo 2011-05-31 23:05
Wonderful review, as usual! Your reviews are the only ones I read now, as I can rest assured that they will be clear-eyed, insightful, and unvitriolic. Like you, I enjoyed season 6 very much. I love challenging stories that twist and turn. I hope you plan to share more of your thoughts with us over the Hellatus. :-)
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:30
Thanks, Kayo! I definitely plan to be writing things over the summer; I think I'll be looking back over past seasons for character and thematic things. And I've been working on a meta about guilt, blame, and proximate cause ... that will probably incite some comment when it goes up!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-06-01 03:31
Hi Mary, and thanks for this interesting read.

The style of narration chosen in this episode had quite an impact on me, and to me (based on personal professional experiences with a patient suffering from dissociative identity disorder) the story of Sam here read like various personalities that emerged based on his traumatic hell experience.

No worries, I'm not going to repeat it here, since I've given it a lot of thought in my review and you've probably read that and thereby know what I mean.

What was fascinating to me, though, was the 'battle' for dominance within Sam's head. Usually, with that specific disorder, there is one persona in charge who also knows about all the others (while the others often have no knowledge of one another).

Here the only persona having cognizance of the other 'parts' was Soulless Sam. He had been in charge quite a while, before the soul got 'crammed back in' and messed his dominance up.

So, I would like to congratulate you on your correct assessment in regard to this matter - it was not about actually 'killing' Soul Sam, but taking charge. Or, well, taking it back. This is an important distinction.

To me it would be wonderfully fascinating, if the writers were to pick that up. What if Sam truly emerged as a multiple personality, with several pieces... Sure, according to psychological research this is not possible in adulthood, but who says creative licence wouldn't work?

It would give Jared great moments to play against himself. He is always utterly amazing in those scenes, and I'm sure he would welcome the challenge.
But, of course, that's not for me to decide. However, I'm very curious, very, where season seven will lead us.

Be well, Jas
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:37
Thank you VERY much, Jas! I'm glad you're validating the observations I'm hatching out of my very-long-ago psych classes!

I'm finally catching up on everyone else's reviews; that's the hardest part about mine taking so bloody long to write! I always appreciate your very professional take on the psychological underpinnings of the characters. I love the depth the Winchesters have; it's extraordinary!

From a writing perspective, I would think the idea of playing with Sam's fragmented psyche almost impossible to resist, so I'm with you in hoping we might see that as an aspect of season 7, and a new challenge for Jared to play.

Be seeing you here this summer!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-06-07 13:38
You bet! :-)
Junkerin
# Junkerin 2011-06-01 05:34
Hi Mary
I just checked the callender it´s first of June, so I belive we have to wait.

I liked season 6 and I hope for season 7 it doesn´t get toooo dark.
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 21:39
Oh, rats - you mean we really do have to wait? Shucks!

Thanks, Junkerin!
miggymom58
# miggymom58 2011-06-01 13:27
I loved S6. In fact I've loved each new season better than the last. That can't be said with many shows. But this is a journey, more like reading a good book.
S6 was uncomfortable – and that’s not a bad thing to me. I enjoyed that things weren’t right out there (I also enjoy the parts left to our imagination – I don’t want every little question answered.) S5 we knew exactly what they were up against from the jump, and the mystery was how would they get out of it. S6 was more “what’s going on?” and I really enjoyed the ride.
For S7 opener it’s “How are they going to get out of this situation?” As with any good story, there are things I don’t like, but that doesn’t make the story bad, it only adds to the story itself. Castiel is a great character, Misha is a great actor, but how do you move the story along when the angel friend keeps popping in to Save the Day? Actually I wondered how they would pull it off in S6, but I shouldn’t have worried.
This show excels at so many levels and this S6 finale really was beautifully done. Cast & Crew deserve the highest praise – as usual.
Thank you so much for your review, I do so enjoy reading the articles from this site. I’m always seeing things from a different view point and whether I agree or not, I am happy to find articles about the show and not about the... hmmmm...how do I say that?
Keep up the good work!
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2011-06-05 22:03
Thanks, miggymom58!

I've loved every season of this show for different reasons. Well, always for the brothers, of course, but to me, each season has had something particularly to recommend it. Season one was a spectacular start, and we got to see the brothers beginning to realize who their adult selves truly were after a period of separation. Season two made things spectacularly deeper as we saw the brothers dealing with John's death and their own perceptions of their roles. Season three, although truncated by the writers' strike, gave us Dean facing not just mortality but damnation, and Sam desperately determined to save him. Season four - the most tightly scripted of the seasons, I think, although season six shared a lot of that pre-planning - brought Dean back with new realizations about himself and ran Sam down the Hell-bound road of good intentions. Season five wrapped the first story arc in a way different from Kripke's initial idea (Dean having to kill Sam) precisely because the brothers had developed beyond the simple good/evil story engine he had initially envisioned; thus, we saw Sam finally achieving redemption through sacrificing himself, while Dean matured to accept Sam as an adult empowered to make his own decisions. Season six took us down a new path without discounting or forgetting where we'd been, but did it in a whole new way, and in the process, reestablished the full depth of the brother bond.

I suspect we won't see angels popping conveniently in and out in season seven; while I think Heaven and Hell will always be part of the overall story, I'm guessing they'll shift to more off-screen developments that now only occasionally impact our brothers directly. If I were to guess, I'd think Castiel would lose his godlike powers and have to deal with fixing what had gone awry in Heaven, while Crowley concentrated on cementing his power base in Hell - and while both those things would intersect with the brothers' activities on Earth, they wouldn't be the focus of them as they were in seasons four through six.

But that's just my guess ... *grin*
shaaben
# shaaben 2011-06-07 09:45
"while Dean matured to accept Sam as an adult empowered to make his own decisions."

I always had trouble with this Kripke's claim. It's "easy" to accept somebody when they are about to commit suicide to save the world. It's a deathbed kind of thing.

In a way I thought that RoboSam was necessary for Dean, he had to experience a Sam who truly didn't care about him and compare this Sam to the other Sam who did love him but due to Dean's nearly impossible high expectations, fall short of "proof" in Dean's eyes.
percysowner
# percysowner 2011-06-07 13:56
I love this interpretation. Dean, due to his understandable abandonment issues always viewed Sam's need for independence and control over his own life as indicating that Sam didn't love Dean. Soulless!Sam showed Dean a Sam that really didn't love, like or even care about Dean. I hope this helps Dean to view his relationship with Sam in a more healthy light. I hope he can see that Sam wanting his own life had everything to do with Sam and nothing to do with how he felt about Dean.
shaaben
# shaaben 2011-06-07 21:32
Same here, percysowner! I always thought Dean needed something drastic to shake him out of his abandonment issues regarding Sam. And along comes RoboSam who doesn't care one iota about Dean but returns to Dean nonetheless and sticks with him. Classic case of being given what you need and not what you want.
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2011-06-05 23:52
It's been more than 2 weeks since the finale aired & I am still thinking about it daily. No other show does this to me!!

Jared was just amazing playing all the "pieces" of Sam plus the reintegrated Sam, & I really do hope that the writers give him the chance to explore that territory further next season (and in turn, let Jensen show his skill in revealing more of Dean's story too).

My initial, knee jerk reaction to Castiel's declaration of godhood was "Oh no, they didn't just go there! Not my beloved Cas!" And Misha really sold that too, leaving me feeling very cold toward the angel that had broken my heart with his fervent prayer to his Father just 2 episodes earlier. However, your thoughts about the direction his character could take next season have left me hopeful for his redemption.

Jensen & Jim were awesome as usual! I am delighted that Crowley is still out there so that we'll likely see Mark again. I'm going to miss Balthazar, but am excited that I'll get to meet Sebastian in Vancouver come August.

I think I've enjoyed this season as much as any of the others, but we indeed need to see how this story arc concludes in season 7 before we can really judge this one overall.
Thanks for a fantastic review!

Dawn