WINCHESTERMEMORIES:
Misty, Water-coloured or Painted by Someone Else?


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"Remember that time...?"
 
"I can't recall the specifics..."
 
It's the experiences we live through that shape the people we become. But the way we remember those events also plays a huge role in the way we define ourselves, and the identity we create.
 
One of the fascinating elements of The Great Escape was the memories that came rolling off Sam, like the heat waves generated by his dangerously high fever.
 
He remembered a strange symbol he'd seen during a course at Stanford.  The symbol ultimately leads them to Metatron.
 
He remembered Dean reading to him as a little boy (confirming what fanfiction writers have theorized for years).  That memory was heartbreaking for Sam to share, and for Dean (and all of us) to hear.  Sam had always felt different.  He felt dirty and like he could never be pure enough or good enough.  Even as a child he could sense the taint of the demon blood.
 
And he remembered a trip to the Grand Canyon when he was 4 and Dean was 8.  Dean rode a farting donkey, which means he had a farty ass!! (Ha! That pun was too good to resist Of course, this should be our first clue that something is amiss.  It's Sam who is supposedly toxic after half a burrito!!)
 
This particular memory has fans scratching their heads.  Hang on, we thought.  Towards the end of Croatoan didn't Dean say "All this driving back and forth across country, you know I've never been to the Grand Canyon?"
 
The Great Escape was written by the very talented Ben Edlund, who is known for his ability to tie things together, and the way he remembers and respects the boys' history.  But it is true that even the great among us can have a brain fart, or a memory lapse.  So, perhaps the continuity checkers weren't quite as thorough as they should have been. (Remember they forgot to apply the scar from Cass's hand to Dean/Jensen's shoulder for a rare shirtless scene. Then they had to go back and explain that when Cass saved the pretty at the end of Swan Song, he also erased the scar.)
 
Or, is it possible that referring to the Grand Canyon was an intentional lapse of total recall?
 
Perhaps Sam had a memory implanted.  Or perhaps Dean has had a memory erased.
 

fakesamandean


The subject of memories, and tampering with memories was suggested by almost everyone in this episode.  Crowley was playing with Kevin's mind through the use of Fake!Dean and Fake!Sam.  In fact, he referenced having to scrub Kevin's short term memory several times.  Luckily, Kevin's long-term memories stayed put and gave him a point of reference.  It was through being able to compare his memories of Real!Dean and Real!Sam to the demon versions that he was able to recognize he was being conned.
 
Over in Naomi's torture office, she told Cass how many times she had wiped his memories clean.  She reminded him she had deleted his memory files over and over and over again.  Yet some of those recollections and remembrances have obviously left an impression.  He has always been a rebel, always the spanner in the works, always the one to admire and emulate the courage of a friend who says "Bite me".  Cass has always been the one to see the value, strength and beauty in humanity.
 
This emphasis on memory, and how easily it can be corrupted got me remembering Jeremy Carver's comments at the beginning of the season about perception, and how maybe all was not as it seemed"¦ is not as it seems.
 
Hmmmm...
 
With all this memory-wiping going on, I'm wondering if the brothers are having/ have had their memories wiped, or at least tampered with on several occasions.  

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We got a hint of this with Cass giving Dean a different interpretation of their escape from Purgatory.  Dean was certain that he had failed Cass, that he had not held on tight enough and that it was his fault Castiel did not come through the portal.  Then Cass reappears, taps him on the forehead and gives him a different interpretation. In this one, Cass actively resists being pulled into the portal with Dean and chooses to stay behind.
 
As well, this season we've seen the return of a handful or actors from previous seasons. Think of Ty Olsson as Eli the vampire in Bloodlust coming back as Benny the vampire who helps Dean in Purgatory.  Victor the psychotic hunter in Freaks and Geeks was the pediatrician/shritga in Something Wicked.  One of the alternative-Kevin prophets was the shop owner who sells the wreaths in A Very Supernatural Christmas. And based on next week's sneak peek, a key witness from a Season 1 episode (Wendigo) comes back in a pivotal role.

SPN 0577

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Some of the recasting could be do to the fact many of the actors are drawn from the Canadian talent pool in Vancouver, where the show is filmed.  Seems plausible.  After all, it's not like it hasn't happened before. The actor who played Dean's Amazon daughter Emma in Slice Girls was Missy Bender in The Benders.   But still, there are so many this year.
 
Add to that there have been many echoes of seasons past, of  characters past.  Dean's speech to Sam in Southern Comfort, where he lists Sam's choices and/or mistakes is reminiscent of the verbal and physical fight the two had in Sex and Violence.  The difference this season is that it was only Dean under the influence of something supernatural. 
 
The mother/son Djinns in Pac-Man Fever¸ are a little like Amy and her son in the Girl Next Door.  They're not exact replicas.  In PMF the son had just started to hunt, and Mom was helping to clean up his mess.  In GND, the son wasn't hunting yet, but he needed what his mother hunted.  However, in both cases, the child sees the parent killed, or the parent's body.  Wow!  What 2 brothers have been in a similar situation? 
 
Of course, Trial and Error had massive callbacks to Season 2's Crossroad Blues, right down to baying hellhounds and goofer dust.
 
There have been so many subtle nods to the past through this season.  But perhaps the most obvious was the beating Cass gave Dean in while they searched for the angel tablet in Goodbye Stranger.  It was so very reminiscent of Luci!Sam beating Dean in Swan Song.  Everything from the shooting angles, to the bruising was similar.  It was also akin  to the beating that Dean received at the hands of Alistair in On The Head of a Pin.

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     Dean's face in  On The Head of a Pin 






vlcsnap 00357



                                                                          Dean's face in Swan Song








bustedupdean2



  Dean's face in Goodbye Stranger









Coincidence?  Maybe. Director's choice?  Maybe. But, I'm a tiny bit suspicious that what is actually happening is that Sam & Dean's memories are being twisted ever so slightly. Jumbled up a little.  Given a stir.  I'm starting to wonder if all those memories, those incidents and people are like chess pieces.  They're being moved around a giant game board for someone else's strategic advantage.
 
Playing with memories and words reminds me of a course I took in university.  It was the Bible as Literature, and it was absolutely fascinating.  The professor was fluent in many languages including Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.  He was also quite proficient in ancient Aramaic as well.  He had spent countless hours studying in the Vatican Library, comparing original texts to their translations through the centuries.  I remember one lecture, watching with amazement as he started with a verse from our present King James Version and then moved backwards through the translations to end up at the original text. But the problem was that the original text didn't actually say what the translations did.  Through the many scribes and authors, a key piece of punctuation and an accent which dramatically changes a word's meaning had been lost, and added.  One simple, small error in translation and the entire meaning of a phrase changed.
 
The same is true of memory.  Blur the edges a little here.  Insert a little extra detail there.  Suddenly the memory is entirely different. 
 
I used to watch "Quantum Leap". It was a great scifi show about a physicist named Sam Beckett who travelled through time trying to right wrongs.  He saved innocent people by rewriting history. But all those leaps left holes in his memory.  He referred to it as making Swiss Cheese of his memory.
 
Is it possible that Sam and Dean have Swiss Cheese memories from all their time travel, and their many deaths and resurrections?  Or if not Swiss Cheese, maybe someone or something is turning their memories into fondue.  Maybe their perception of events this year is just a tad off, or a little skewed or being manipulated on purpose. 

EH032

The basic facts remain true, and mostly accurate. Dean had spent a year in Purgatory.  Sam is still doing the trials. They've foundthe Men of Letters bunker.  But behind the scenes someone is tampering with their memories, giving them a cleaning here, a rewrite there, all to push the Winchesters forward, or to pull them back.
 
Memories are crucial to our survival.  In order to read, write, drive a car, even walk and talk we have to remember all the steps that make those actions possible. In the case of physical things, they become a muscle memory.  Do it enough times and your body takes over, even if your brain can't.  We saw evidence of that in A Terrible Life when Dean Smith and Sam Wesson could still fight even though they weren't hunters.   
 
But more than that memories are what makes us, us.  They are how we learn from experience, or why we fear having the same thing happen again.
 
Good memories give you the courage and strength to either move forward, or to stop and reconsider and maybe not do something.  (For instance, rethinking closing the Gates of Hell)  A bad memory can cripple you with fear and hold you back, or make you charge ahead blindly in the hope the outcome will be different this time (Like maybe failing to consider the consequences of closing the Gates of Hell).
 
Sam and Dean's memories of love and loss are the bond between them.  Those memories fuel their desire to make the world a better place.  But they're also what causes them to act recklessly, and drives their hunger for revenge. (However, experience suggests this hunger can never really be satiated).
 
If you were a supernatural entity with the ability to shape, control and manipulate the memories of the Winchesters, imagine how powerful you could be.
 
Hmmm"¦
 
I seem to remember I had more to say, but now I've forgotten just what it was.

SamandDeanoncar

Comments  

KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-05-06 22:07
Quote:
Or, is it possible that referring to the Grand Canyon was an intentional lapse of total recall?
I hope this is right! I just wrote a comment on Alice's review that the theme of the year is perception, so it might've been a deliberate ploy... not a mistake. I still think Jeremy Carver might pull the rug out from under us in the final episode this season... I guess time will tell :-?

Sometimes I just have to laugh at the SPN fandom (in the nicest possible way, because I truly love it)... we get served one of the best episodes in the history of the show, yet get completely out of sorts about one line (which may or may not have been a simple mistake). :lol:
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-05-07 10:07
Quote:
we get served one of the best episodes in the history of the show, yet get completely out of sorts about one line (which may or may not have been a simple mistake).
You have pegged us in one phrase! :lol:
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-06 23:18
Pragmatic Dreamer I am with you on this! I'm really beginning to believe that the Winchester's history is being messed with, not by the writers (accidentally) but by Crowley (the writers, deliberately) and the writers have been giving us hints all season. (If so they REALLY deserve some Dr Pepper!).

So that the scene in the first episode with the shadowy figure is Crowley overseeing one of the changes - where instead of leaving during the day after talking to Amelia (Amelia IV), Sam sneaked away in the dark.
Maybe the sudden non-death of Don III (or possibly Don IV)
John Winchester had a step-dad
Sam can do reverse exorcisms (I suspect that was just a cool idea of one of the writers)
The fact that Sam had the car loaded as if he were a hunter still.
Maybe Dean's (possessed) memories were of new timeline instead of old.
John Winchester had time away from hunting to teach Dean to cook (well he could have learned when he was an adult I guess)
They went on vacations.
Sam and the mystery of the season ...

(I am pretty sure there have been several more 'wait, what?' moments, but I can't think of any at the moment)
A lot of those can have rational explanations but it would be plenty cooler if they were the result of someone that D&S rescued no longer being rescued - butterfly effect.

I hope this post makes sense, it seems a little jumbled ...
Leah unlogged
# Leah unlogged 2013-05-06 23:52
What isn't Mark Sheppard in? :lol:
Leah unlogged
# Leah unlogged 2013-05-06 23:55
Meant for st50 below. :-*
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-06 23:55
Anything he isn't in they need to get on that right away :-)
Leah unlogged
# Leah unlogged 2013-05-07 00:10
Oh right eilf, it completely slipped my mind lately about the shadowy figure and some of the other stuff you mentioned, as well as Sam seeming not all that surprised to see Dean. Somewhat yes, but he thought he was dead so he should have been floored at seeing him again. I think I have blocked some of that out :D

If it turns out the Winchester history is being messed with I would volunteer to deliver a case of Dr Pepper, in fact I would be chuffed to do so. ;-)
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 00:14
:D 8) but would you be WELL chuffed?
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-05-07 07:13
Indeed I would :lol:
st50
# st50 2013-05-07 07:16
:D ;-)
If they could actually pull this off, I would carry the bloody cases of Dr Pepper on my back all the way across the country and deliver them personally.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 19:13
I'm out of shape so they'd end up with like a single can, but I would happily deliver a couple hundred with my car if they make this all work in some grand plan. :D
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-05-07 19:25
I was wondering when you would weigh in. :lol:
Now where is E with the green faces??
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 19:51
E secretly adores Dr. Pepper, but is afraid if she admits it people will suspect we are the same person. :D Because someone obviously so brilliant(being that we always agree) could never really be such as heathen as to mock the nectar of the Gods.
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 20:10
Poor E, stop trying to make her ill! So many green faces...
E
# E 2013-05-07 21:53
:-x :D
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-05-07 20:23
If I remember correctly there was a certain someone who volunteered to do the "I'm a Pepper" dance. Hmmm, who was that again?
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 20:44
I will totally do it too. If the season all ends up turning out brilliantly and most especially if the make the Sam thing work for me, I will probably do it out of sheer happiness!

eilf, she brings it on herself by hiding her forbidden love.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-05-07 21:02
:lol: "her forbidden love"
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 21:22
The Beverage of Her Desire
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 21:22
Pepsi and Me
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 21:49
BLECK! Pepsi I'll make the :-x now. Comparing the two is blasphemous. Okay, I'll post this and then I will stay on subject I swear Admins. I hope I didn't mention this before, but did you see the thing on the Daily Show (do you get the Daily Show) where they were talking about food companies working for the perfect blend of tastes in order to make them addictive. And Dr. Pepper was like the first to do it!!! Of course it was the first soda too so... But still I found that so funny. That's what I'd been telling people for years!!
E
# E 2013-05-07 21:54
Diet Coke..... with lime!!!
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 22:03
"Dr Pepper and me" isn't as much fun as a pun!
(apologies from me too, Pragmatic Dreamer)
E
# E 2013-05-07 21:52
Blick and ick. In this one area, we tragically disagree.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 21:58
It's okay to admit your true love, E. This is safe place. :D
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-05-07 23:07
I admit to having a little fanfic in my head now about E and her "Forbidden Love". Don't worry E, your secret is safe. The lead character's name has been changed to protect your privacy. She will be known as D.

(I apologize too Pragmatic Dreamer, no more from me tonight. :-) )
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-05-07 13:45
Exactly! You're perfectly right to question everythng you've seen and heard this season.

From that first birthday scene in the park with Sam and Amelia, we all started to question whether his memories of her were real as this was an echo of a dream that Dean had about Lisa.

How coincidental is it that Don turns up right at the time when it's convenient for Sam to leave Amelia? Everyone thought that was more than a little hinky.

We have two versions of Sam leaving Amelia. In the first version there's the perception that he left during the day and in the second version Sam sneaks out in the night while Amelia lays there watching him do this. If she knows he's leaving and he knows she's awake then why is he doing this late at night?

The mysterious figure that watches Sam leave Amelia.

Amelia and Sam at the El Sol bar, that same bar was seen in Sam's dreams in season 6, when he encountered his fractured selves. That bar has also been seen at other times in other hallucinations and dreams.

Is it a coincidence that Sam shows up at the cabin just when Dean gets there?

How did Benny find out about the portal if he's been trapped in Puragtory since the 40's? Where did he find/learn that spell to get himslf out? He certainly didn't know about it before he went to Purgatory.

Why did Henry Winchester's spell move him some 40 years into the future to meet his grandsons, when he only crafted the spell to take him back home to John?

Why do we keep getting conflicting information about Crowley? Generally crossroads demons tell a person that they are given ten years to settle their affairs before their soul is due but in Trial and Error, we are told that Crowley didn't do that in Ellie's case.

How do Crowley and Naomi know each other?

If what Crowley said to Kevin is real, then what did he mean when he said he was forever? exactly how old is he? And what is he? He's certainly no run of the mill (King of the) Crossroads demon.

This entire season is rife with such questions and I have to believe many of them are deliberately placed by the writers (to drive us all nuts if nothing else.)
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 19:16
lkeke35, Great points! I'm starting to get really excited again, but almost afraid to in case we're wrong again.
st50
# st50 2013-05-06 23:21
Teehee!
This makes me think of the Silence on Doctor Who....The creatures you can't remember having seen, unless you're looking directly at them.....
Of course, Mark Sheppard was in that one....
Writers Conspiracy? ;-)

Actually, I think you're on to something, too.
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-06 23:25
Dr Who / SPN crossover! (I think there is already a name for that isn't there?)
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-05-07 01:18
OMG st50 The Silence scarred the crap out of me. Creepy stuff!

Thanks Pragmatic Dreamer for this great piece. There was so much emphasis on memory wiping in the last ep it started to jump out and bite us with a WAIT ONE MOMENT kind of moment! All the times (bar the last) that Sam and Dean came back from Heaven, we know they were wiped. We saw how Cass obliterated Dean from Lisa and Ben's memories just like that...these beings are capable of very powerful things. Who knows what those pesky angels (or possibly demons) have been busy doing!

Carver's comments on perception and some of the things he has said in various interviews regarding the finale - or rather tapdanced around - the great EVADER - certainly sound like we could be in for a big surprise, the kind where we all go back and read our summations of episodes and the events that occur therein and suddenly feel like dumb asses! Happens to be all the damn time! :D

And maybe it'll all come down to that shadowy figure, because I refuse to believe it was Don, because that's lame! So maybe, that's where it all started! YES!

Eeeeee! I was excited before, now I'm really excited (and totally terrified!) :P

Thanks!
Darya2
# Darya2 2013-05-07 01:46
eilf- the term you're looking for is SuperWho :D

Eeee, if eilf's speculation is right and the person watching Sam does turn out to be Crowley's minion butterfly-effec ting everything this whole season ends up being one big Mystery Spot. I'll add to the list- both boys being back together at the same time.

They'll need a truckload of Dr. Peppers by the way, and I don't care if I'm in India and far away, I'll speed-courier some to you guys coz I'd want to contribute!
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-05-07 01:50
LOL sweetondean :D

I'm also terrified, but I've been preparing myself for Jeremy Carver turning the tables on us all... I wonder if he haunts the message boards like Kripke used to & has been rubbing his hands with glee over the fact that we're all still so clueless about what is going on. Maybe that's why we're not getting any producer previews from him anymore. He just wants us kept entirely in the dark ;-)

I also never believed it was Don outside Sam's house because he was portrayed as a reasonable man; not a stalker. I always thought it was Naomi... but it could well have been Crowley... after all, he was the one who told Sam he was all alone in this world at the end of season 7. So, it wouldn't surprise me if Crowley has been manipulating him. He may also have had a hand in getting Dean out of purgatory... we still don't know who told Benny about the portal.

Maybe, Crowley found out a lot more about purgatory after the Leviathans got out... remember, he was insulted by Dick Roman and helped the boys get rid of him. But, during that year, he may have discovered the portals between heaven and hell and earth. He could've been keeping an eye on Sam while he arranged to get Dean out. But, still, we have the question of why he would he want the brothers back together...

Also, there has to be a reason that we were told that Naomi and Crowley have a history. Maybe they are both capable of wiping/changing memories. Perhaps they are both toying with the boys. But again, what do they have to gain by doing this...

I guess we'll find out soon enough :-?
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-05-07 02:07
I've been thinking about this some more & I just can't shake the feeling that neither Crowley nor Naomi would've wanted the Winchesters back on the job... because they are capable of hurting them both.

So, is there someone else who could've been watching Sam/telling Benny how to get Dean out of purgatory...

What about the Alpha Vamp? He saw how the Winchesters got rid of the Leviathans, so he knows they might be capable of closing the gates to heaven and hell. I'm not sure how he would know about the tablets, but if there is one for the Leviathan it's a fair bet there would be one for other Supernatural beings.

Who would benefit the most if they closed the gates to heaven and hell? Maybe the monsters? Just a random thought (as I've obviously got too much time on my hands today) ;-)
Darya2
# Darya2 2013-05-07 02:25
You know, this is never ever ever going to actually happen on the show probably, but let me just put it out here anyway because I have too much time on my hands today too.

The only ones right now I can think of who'd REALLY want the brothers back together at the beginning of the season are the brothers themselves. It would be tres cool-- and kinda mind boggling too-- if it was one of their future selves that told Benny about the portal. (I gave myself a headache just typing that)

In reality, before the beginning of the season, both brothers and mostly nobody else didn't even know about the demon tablet, or that it contained any info on how to close the gates of hell. All that was revealed AFTER they were together. How then could anyone want them to come together at that time, or get Dean out of Purgatory, when the "closing the gates" mission is still in the future? (Unless it's a benefactor FROM the future, which could also be Metatron or someone)

So it would be a bit like Henry Winchester being killed trying to rescue Sam and Dean and his consequent absence in John's life probably shaping John into what he is now-- a kind of time loop effect, but in reverse, where someone goes to the past to affect the future.
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-05-07 02:33
I knew someone would put a hole in my theory pretty quickly :lol:

At the end of season 7, Crowley wanted Kevin, so I assume he had the Demon tablet already & suspected there might be others. Naomi was actively trying to keep the angel tablet secret this season, so we can bet she's known about it for a long time. So, that takes us back to those two shady characters... but I just can't figure out what they gain by putting the brothers back together...

My head hurts too ;-)
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-05-07 06:48
Darya2, you just hurt my brain! :o
Darya2
# Darya2 2013-05-07 10:43
Haha, I live to please :D
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 20:21
sweetondean,KG_ SPN,Darya2, all of you have such amazing ideas. Before I read THAT article and had my meltdown. I really thought there had to be at least 2 players on the board pulling the boys in opposite directions. One wanting them to hunt and one trying to keep them apart and away from hunting. But BOTH Naomi and Crowley it would seem would want them not to hunt. So I thought maybe it was Metatron but that obviously isn't the case. So maybe there is a third player on the board or like Darya suggested maybe that player is themselves from the future. (Very cool idea)

I think we can obviously rule out Crowley as the helper because although he has used them in the past, he would have no use for them in this situation that I can see. But I didn't think he could be the one manipulating Sam into not looking and settling down or whatever because he's never been shown to have those particular kind of powers. But since he had Ion on his side. I think that could easily explain any manipulations (I'm ignoring THAT article here). And maybe he didn't just kill Sam because he knew (though Ion) that Dean would be coming back and would be gunning non-stop for Crowley if he did. But if he manipulated Sam memories into saying he never looked and wanted to give up hunting than he might alienate Dean or at least make them less effective.

Because not only are they strongest together, they are also the ones who can and have damaged each other the most. So separating them or putting them at odds makes perfect sense.

Now Naomi is much harder to figure out. (if I'm not completely of the rails already) She may have been afraid Crowley would find the angel tablet and wanted Dean and Sam hunting again I suppose, but if that is the case why wouldn't she have nudged them in that direction. They didn't find out about it until well into the season. So that does really seem right. Or perhaps she thought Cas would come out with Dean and she would use him to nudge them but he stayed behind. But it definitely seems like there is some other motivation at play here.
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-05-07 23:20
Crowley did say "I was born to direct" - maybe he's been directing/manip ulating people throughout the whole season :lol:
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-05-07 23:21
If this is true... maybe Meg isn't dead... another Crowley production???
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 23:30
That's true! It would be just like Edlund to stick a line like that in there. It would be in Crowley's personality.

About Meg, that would fit much better with demon lore than Meg suddenly becoming "good" actually. But why would she help the brothers get the angel tablet, if she was working with Crowley? It's all very confusing.
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 23:41
So last weeks episode referenced / contained 'writers', 'directors' and 'actors' (with Crowley's boat being SFX(?)) we think that the film team free will is watching in Clip show is a final product?

And who is the producer?

An old video in an abandoned 50's bunker? ... 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42
BookLady
# BookLady 2013-05-06 23:49
I've been lurking for a little while and I'm a relatively new fan to the series so my knowledge of the show's canon is nowhere as extensive as most of yours, but I had to comment on this thread...

What I find interesting is the play of story and memory in The Great Escapist. Memories become part of our story, the story of our families, of ourselves. As Pragmatic Dreamer wrote - they make us, us - but they are also filtered through our perceptions which are not always accurate because they are often colored by emotion and self-image. In Sam's story of himself, he is unclean. Dean sees himself as a failing the people who need him. He remembered that he failed to save Castiel from Purgatory. These are their perceptions, their stories of themselves.

So, the mistake we have all been wondering about could be as simple as - in Sam's story or memory, Dean rode a farty donkey on a trip to the Grand Canyon and in Dean's story he's never been there. Not a mistake on Edlund's part, but a recognition that although Sam and Dean are brothers and share many experiences, their memories or stories are not the same. I'm sure we've all had or heard arguments of - that never happened or I never said that - because we are all individual and so are our perceptions and memories.

Once we relate a memory to someone else, it becomes a story as colored by our perceptions. Is it real? To us, yes, but to others, maybe not so much. So we are all storytellers. And, of course, Joseph Campbell said that all Story is part of a collective memory.

That brings me to my next thought, Metatron is fascinated by Story. Why? Because angels don't have memories; they don't have stories - except maybe Naomi and she is a storyteller in this episode when she tells Castiel of his past.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 21:09
Welcome BookLady, lots of good thoughts. I like the idea that Castiel hasn't been as formed by his memories because so many have been erased. Perhaps he had learned similar lessons as the did with Dean before but because they were taken away they didn't impact as much his early decision with Dean. But they couldn't completely memory wipe him yet because they still needed him to interact with the boys. Or perhaps because of what he had done before (such as questioning actions) God allowed him to retain more this time. Or perhaps his rebelling or whatever got him to become favored by God and chosen to help the Winchester's and that is also the reason he keeps not dying.
BookLady
# BookLady 2013-05-07 00:02
Sorry - went over my character limit, apparently.

Metratron, in escaping his angel past, is a storyteller also, when he relates his experiences as God's scribe and his decision to hide away. I also see another angel who left the angel life, Gabriel, the trickster, as a story and memory creator, as opposed to a memory eraser.

I'm wondering has Sam ever related as much memory or family story in any other episode as he does in this episode? If not, could it be becauseof the Trials and his connection to Metatron, his stories or memories have been re-awakened? He's been able to pierce through the fog of erased or altered memories - the work of the angels?
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 17:16
Hi Booklady (welcome!), your comparison of how two people remember differently a single event is interesting.

I agree with you and also think that retelling an event solidifies the memory of it. So you tell a story with a line said by a different person or an event slightly out of sequence, and that flows well so the next time you tell the story you use the same change and after a while it becomes how the event happened. You actively begin to remember it that way. (maybe that is just me, I have a very bad memory for most things :D ). Perceptions really are very important in determining where the truth is in a story.
It is really sad the idea that angels have no real connection to their pasts because their memories are gone. Someone suggested that the angel tablet resets all angels - it occurs to me that the opposite might also occur (though it is less likely) where the use of the angel tablet allows the angels to remember what has really happened to them all the way through their individual existences. That would be mind-blowing for them, wouldn't it?

I wonder has Metatron ever had that happen or is he the lone angel (who isn't in charge) who remembers everything exactly as it happened?
keslei
# keslei 2013-05-07 01:03
I really like a lot of what's said here, so much that I'm leaving my first-ever comment - some things had already partially occurred to me, but you really fleshed them out and helped me make better sense of my thoughts, and brought up some points I hadn't considered. I just got back from seeing Oblivion, and so was already thinking a lot about memories and how they shape us, even if we don't remember clearly (or at all), and how powerful they can be as a driving force for life. Thanks for an intriguing perspective here - I would absolutely love it if the writers are really heading towards something like this.
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 17:17
It would be amazing wouldn't it :D
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-05-07 10:23
Thanks for this great article Pragmatic Dreamer, it sure makes you think on not only the last episode, but the whole of season 8. Are we the ones who've been manipulated I wonder? :-?

I really loved your story about the course you took on the Bible as literature. Any text can be reinterpreted to have different meanings when it suits the purpose. I don't think Ben Edlund tripped on the Grand Canyon memory, I'm sure there is more to it than meets the eye. ;-)

This is certainly a great test. Bring up a childhood memory with your siblings and see who remembers what. I get enough of "don't you remember?" from mine! :lol:
Grace232
# Grace232 2013-05-07 12:38
Wow. Talk about a game changer. The possibilities just blow my mind. Let me start by saying I absolutely loved the last episode. If I could find a better grade than A+, then I would use it. I thought the Grand Canyon thing was weird, since the writers, and certainly BE would remember that - but the rest of the episode was so great, I did not care. BUT now - the possibility that it was an intentional clue - and that all the other inconsistencies we have all been bitching about this season and chalking up to bad writing were ALSO clues - and we have missed them because we have all been so busy being critical - OMG. My head hurts! Wow! I almost wonder if after they saw us all criticizing things like John's father being referred to in In the Beginning and then the brothers talking about him leaving the family in As Time Goes By, the writers thought, " Hey, maybe we are being too subtle - Ben, hit them over the head with one in the next episode you write, so they can't miss the clue this time.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-05-07 13:17
Excellent review of this episode. This season has definately generated a lot of thought and discussion among the fans (and me) and I love that.

I've been telling my friends, since I got burned by the Dean /Cas memory thing, that I've taken Carver's words to heart and also taken everything that everyone has said and done this season with a grain of salt.

I have always thought of Dean as an unreliable narrator because he sees everything through the lens of his lack of self worth, so the Puragatory memories didn't surprise me.

I did get a heads up that not everything people will be saying and doing ths season will be kosher, including the things the writers show us, as they have always been playful with viewer perceptions from the beginning.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-05-07 17:17
Because I couldn't help myself.... did I miss anyone?

Eli the vampire/Benny the vampire
2.03 Bloodlust
8.01 We Need to Talk About Kevin
8.02 What’s Up Tiger Mommy
8.05 Blood Brother
8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin
8.09 Citizen Fang
8.10 Torn and Frayed
8.19 Taxi Driver

Matt who liked bugs/Samandirie l AKA Alfie
1.08 Bugs
8.02 What’s Up Tiger Mommy
8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin
8.10 Torn and Frayed

Mother in Croatoan/Mary Lew
2.09 Croatoan
8.06 Southern Comfort

Shop Keeper with wreaths/Potenti al Prophet
3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas
8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin

Mother of Changeling kid/Elizabeth
3.02 The Kids are Alright
8.09 Citizen Fang

Mike the mechanic/Sherif f Jake Miller
1.09 Home
8.11 LARP and the Real Girl

Shtriga/Victor
1.18 Something Wicked
8.18 Freaks and Geeks

Victim of wendigo/Priest
1.02 Wendigo
8.22 Clip Show

:o
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 18:28
Back after Hunteri Heroici I did a list of the first few episodes repeat characters (because I can't help it either :D ). I used IMDB which is cheating...

I thought maybe Sam was having hallucinations and populating them with people he had met:

Here it is:

Episode 1 Benny / Eli (Bloodlust)

Episode 2 Mr Vili / The Reaper (Faith), Samandriel / Matt Pike (bugs)

Episode 3 Detective Pike / Newscaster (Weekend at Bobbys), Paul Hayes / Superintendent (No Exit), Officer Levitt / Roger (The Rapture)

Episode 4 – none

Episode 5 Mike Carpenter (though that probably doesn’t count - it being Mike Carpenter and all)

Episode 6 Mary Lew / Mrs Tanner (Croatoan), Dave Wright / Deputy Doug Wallace (Faith), Chester Lew / uncredited (Folsom Prison Blues)

Episode 7 (actor) Douglas Newell – neither one of his characters are listed on IMDB (Supernatural Christmas)

Episode 8 Amelia’s Father/ Jerry Panowski (Phantom Traveler)
love2boys
# love2boys 2013-05-08 13:34
Humbly offered: These are the ones I came up with. I am so mixed up I don’t know if they are duplicates.

8.09 Citizen Fang
Kathleen Munroe (Elizabeth) played Annette Doolittle in the episode 3.02 The Kids Are Alright.

8.10 Torn and Frayed
_____(Viggo the torturer) played Evan Hudson in 2.08 Crossroad Blues.
Tyler Johnston (Samandriel) played Matt Pike in 1.07 Bugs.

8.11 LARP and the Real Girl
______( Sheriff ) played “Mike,” John’s partner in the garage 1.11 Faith.

8.13 “Everybody Hates Hitler”
John Desantis (Golem) played Freeman Daggett in 3.13 Ghostfacers.

8.14 Trial and Error
John Stewart (Carl Granville) played the pizza delivery guy in 4.05 Monster Movie.
8.15 Man's Best Friend with Benefits
Serge Houde (cop Kevin ) played the father in 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things.

8.18 Freaks and Geeks
Aiden Huff (Victor) played Dr. Hydecker, better known as the Striga in 1.17 Something Wicked.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-05-07 18:43
Pragmatic Dreamer, this was a very interesting article. Just when I thought I had put the early season behind me, you pull us back in with your thinky thoughts. I had to remind myself of some of the stuff that transpired. I would love for there to be some behind the curtain manipulations going on!! Thank you for getting my head buzzing again (I think :D ). Bye the way, love how you ended your article!!
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-05-07 19:29
I struggled with the Grand Canyon slip...I'm okay with however it turns out, slip of writer's pen or deliberate hint at something more.

Right now my stance is that this incident demonstrates to me one thing - that if you're beloved for what you bring to the show as Edlund is, you get a pass. That's fine, I get it. It's a contradiction that I still find fascinating, however, given that this one is so blatant and actually expressly goes against canon. Like, literally. All other complaints, it seems, have focused on explanations and developments that were merely "new" and previously unknown. People were uncomfortable with them and claimed that they were "trashing canon." To me there's a definite confusion here regarding the definition of terms. Canon, to me, is what we've been expressly shown and told. A character making a different choice than we'd expect, even if that choice is poorly explained, is not contradicting canon (poor storytelling to me, is not equivalent to contradicting canon). The introduction of a new creature or spell or trick that was previously unknown adds to or expands the canon, rather than changing it. But a "mistake" that directly opposes something a character said in a previous season? Well, I guess it is "acceptable" for that to be explained away, merely because of the author at the helm. I'd still classify myself as relatively new in learning the ways of the fandom...and this very intriguing. :P
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 20:04
Bamboo, you know I think it is because it is such a doozy (sp?) of a canon break that people are giving him the beneft of the doubt.

It isn't like it was an off the cuff remark in a not well known episode, it contradicts a) Hunted and the big reveal that has impacted the entire series and b) Jump the Shark where Dean (and to an extent Sam) is so angry at the favorite treatment of the youngest son. So here we are, canon break !!! and it is that Dad took them on a HOLIDAY (but not to a baseball game) and Dean has seen the Grand Canyon. What? Really? This mistake?

Initially I thought it was just a (really unnecessary) slip but the more you look at it, and BECAUSE of it being Ben Edlund not in spite of it, people are saying ok, we'll wait and see.

I suspect that if it does turn out to be just an error then there will be a lot more complaining and it won't matter who the writer was.

I head that someone asked Jensen at the last con about the continuity and he apparently said 'yes it would be good to have a show bible on set ...'. But they DO have a show bible on set - Kevin Parks. I think that we are being punked, I wait to be proved wrong :D (I hope I am not wrong *fingers crossed* )
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 21:39
eilf, actually personally I was originally just giving him a pass because I considered it such as minor mistake because it referred to 1 line in season 2. But you do make an excellent point that it might make John seem like a different sort of father than what we've been shown, so I will agree it is probably a larger mistake than I originally thought (if it is one) but it still doesn't disrupt that much canon even then. If John did 1 nice thing out of all the years of being a hardass, it doesn't really effect my view of him. Because it could be easily explained by something or someone making him feel guilty and they were in the area. So he took a day off and took them to the Grand Canyon. It still wouldn't make him father of the year in my eyes :)

But I the more people talk about it, the more I think that it probably was deliberate.

Bamboo24,if it wasn't deliberate than I will not argue at all that it goes against canon. And maybe because Edlund has built up such good will over the years people are willing to cut him a little slack. But I know for me if he had written Taxi Driver my complaints would have been just as harsh. Well maybe not because if he had made mistake that large I really would have just taken for granted that something more was up. Because he just doesn't do things like that. But those 2 writers are known for being a uh... not so detailed oriented so people, so people aren't really willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that something more it up. But if in some bizarro universe Edlund wrote an episode like that and it wasn't explained by the end of the season, I would have been worried he was suffering from a brain tumor or had been killed by Leviathan and been replaced. Because you know they can't copy genius :D

In fact I think people are continuing to mention the Grand Canyon because again he is normally excellent on canon. Especially on something so concrete. Been or not been as opposed to not explaining HUGE MASSIVE HOLES in the plot that therefore create HUGE MASSIVE PROBLEMS with the lore. I know you don't feel that that episode had such problems but I'm trying to explain the difference for those of us who did.
eilf
# eilf 2013-05-07 22:01
Yeah, my other point was going to be that they basically broke us this season - the canon changes from Sam to reverse exorcisms to John's father to Crowley's deal with whatsername to everything that happened in Taxi Driver. I think it just got to the stage where people went "ok, sure, whatever".

It sounds like I am complaining here but not really. I am playing devils advocate a bit because basically as long as my boys are on screen emoting and communicating with each other (oh and with other people too) in a somewhat logical-for-the -character way then you can sell me pretty much anything :D (despite all my complaining a couple of weeks back - Kelly I believe the article you were not-mentioning is the same one with the fan-baiting headline that has me boycotting Zap2it? )

However if there is method to the madness then I will be vastly entertained instead of just very entertained.
Darya2
# Darya2 2013-05-08 03:08
Huh, totally with you on this one, eilf. I'll take anything too, with a grain of salt, mind, because I'm such an optimist :D

But the Grand Canyon slip is rather strange. I didn't think much of it when the episode aired- yeah, okay, it's just a line- but then it isn't. I remember reading in someone's Season 8 wishlist last year that John is their father and his name has been dragged through the mud already, that they wanted it to stop(was it Alice's, actually?) and this season they seem to be going out of the way to do that!

So yeah- he took them on vacations? And there are just SO many mentions of him this season, starting from Castiel in Hunteri Heroici to the Henry Winchester thing, to the kitchen sink soup mention last week. Intentional? And anyway, it is just honestly weird that BE would pick the Grand Canyon as his locale for that story. It could have been ANYWHERE, the memory could have been ANYTHING, right? And seriously, no one on set noticed this? Bit hard to fathom.

Fingers crossed so hard that there is indeed a method to the madness.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-05-07 23:23
eilf, I definitely agree that there was some "breaking" happening and I will be the biggest supporters of this season if the do make all the (or even most of the) pieces come together. But if they don't I will still be watching though (just watching and really annoyed) as long as they fix that one crucial thing for me. The rest of it, I'm like you, I really WANT them to make it work but will be okay, not ecstatic but okay, if they don't. I still don't know if I will be sticking with it if they don't somehow fix the Sam not looking thing, but I think you are probably right, she was fan-baiting. I'll tell you what (sorry been watching a lot of King of the Hill reruns), if they fix this, I pledging never again to read a interview by Carver or Singer before the season is over. They mess with your head. :-) So did Kripke but I guess I trusted him a little more for the overall storylines than I do either of them. But I suppose that could change with Carver, depending on how the season goes.
Alize
# Alize 2013-05-08 01:05
So I have to share my thoughts, because the closer we get to tomorrow night the more I obsess over figuring all this out. I too am still fairly new to the series, so if my canon is a little off, please let me know.

What if the writers are doing a twist on angel lore and Crowley was originally a Nephilim? From what I've read (and there are conflicting views on this) the Nephilim were "sons of God" or fallen angels that hooked up with "daughters of men"-so angel/human pairings, or they were the offspring of these pairings, and were the Giants that are referenced in the Bible, like Goliath. However, even the Giant concept is open to interpretation since some translations have it as "great" or "powerful" rather than physically giant.

The first story with the Nephilim involves 200 of them descending to Earth with 10 leaders amongst them (funny enough, one named Azazel...), and procreated with human woman, and taught them magic and used up humanity's resources. When God found out what was going on, he caused the great flood of Noah's time to get rid of the Nephilim, but he let a small portion of them remain as demons to tempt humanity until Judgement Day.

What if Crowley is one of these Nephilim that was allowed to stick around after the flood? And just as a side note, there are parallels between the flood of Mesopotamia and Gilgamesh and the Noah story.

He could have had history with Naomi, like an angel to angel relationship before he took a human woman-I don't know if we've ever been told that angels don't do that. I know traditionally the angels are male, but the show already turned that on its head, so why not have an angel scorned?

Finally, Nephilim and fallen angels in general can cause visions and false perceptions of time, which there are countless examples of in the Bible, and which Crowley does amazingly well as we saw with Kevin and the boathouse.

Now, why he's so concerned about getting all the tablets if he is Nephilim is beyond me-I can see why he wouldn't want the boys to close the gates of Hell, since he wouldn't have a home, or he would be trapped forever, seeing as he's now a demon. Maybe he needs the angel tablet to exact revenge on Heaven for casting them out so long ago.

At this point, I'm just thinking out loud-let me know your thoughts because this totally worked when I started it and now I'm not sure where to go with it. :)
Darya2
# Darya2 2013-05-08 03:40
This is interesting, because I did wonder a while back about Nephilim being in Supernatural (mind you, that's because I read all the Young Adult crap these days :D ) It would be a good explanation for what Crowley is (neither a fallen angel, nor a demon)

The Nephilim were supposed to have awesome powers, but were discriminated as impure and evil, because of the way there were created. They're also supposed to be immortal, so even if Fergus McLeod was indeed who Crowley was, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine he could be around with Naomi back in Egypt.

And it's interesting Azazel was the name of a Nephilim too!
Great post, I could totally buy this explanation.