I am not a professional wrestling fan, and that is being generous. If I were to put it more plainly, I would have to say that I abhor professional wrestling. Everything about it, from the human brutality to the fake theatrics, offends me. So “Beyond the Mat” is clearly not going to be added to my list of favorite episodes. Just as “The Vessel” was visually powerful, I found this week’s episode to be visually, shall we say, unpleasant. Because I was distracted with my dislike for the story’s basis, I was not innately drawn into the drama. “Beyond the Mat” was the first episode written by John Bring, who [correction] is a writing assistant for Supernatural, so I am not going to be critical. I think it is fair to be extremely forgiving of what seemed to be a lack of subtlety or intrigue in the monster of the week plot. On first watch, the brothers, the hunt and the plight of the innocent victims were less than compelling (but again, wrestling).  The chess game going on between Crowley and Lucifer was far more intriguing. These were long term characters who were desperately strategizing to change their position on the board, gaining then losing the advantage. Their relationship to the season’s myth arc was obvious and interesting, and their acting was dynamic.

My second viewing of the episode was a little different, though. There were lessons to be learned from the wrestling tour’s troubles. Dean certainly took to heart some of the things said by his childhood idol, Gunnar Lawless, and if I consider the setting of the story, why would one expect the world of wrestling to be subtle? The entire sport is rough, even garish. It would be disingenuous if its characters were portrayed as anything other than brazen, in your face, macho roughnecks. Yet, just as the truth about what goes on in the ring is hidden from public view, so was the story behind the wrestlers’ lives hidden. A crossroads demon had his hooks into the champ? Why bring up crossroad demons in season 11? They haven’t been a big part of the story (as opposed to a convenient device to make Sam feel guilty) since… one of the brothers was fighting for his soul, which was before the brothers met Castiel, or Lucifer, angels or Crowley. The condemned was someone who Dean ‘worshipped’ growing up. Dean also worshipped his father, who was mentioned more than a few times in this story.  Maybe there’s more to this story than first meets the eye, so that’s where we will begin unraveling the truth of this week’s threads.

Traumatized Children and their Families

11

Top Notch Wrestling brought back a lot of childhood memories for the Winchester boys.
Dean: You remember Top Notch wrestling? Those, uh, wrestling shows dad took us to when we were kids. Came across an obituary last night. Larry “The Hangman” Lee died. He was dad's favorite. Every time that noose would come out, dad would be up on his feet. Yeah, that was one of the few times I ever saw him actually happy.

Dean was thrilled to reconnect with some of the happy memories of his childhood.
Dean: Well, you drink enough, it'll be just like old times.
Sam’s childhood was also reintroduced through his “first crush” on Rio, and with Dean teasing him,
Dean: Rio? You dog. Did you tell her you used to have a poster of her over your bed when you were a kid?
s11e15 445

Even Crowley got in on the act of remembering his childhood. His personal lockup had a picture of presumably him as a child in Scotland (never mind the detail that an abandoned, orphan waif would not be the subject of a painted portrait), with Crowley remarking,
“Ah, the good old days.

In revisiting the past, we were also reminded that Sam and Dean’s young lives were less than ideal.
Dean: I... Worshiped you, growing up. You know, when I was... when I was 10, I got my first B&E from borrowing some family's pay-per-view so that I could watch the cage match between you and the Tower of Power.

Gunnar: I'm not sure how I feel about contributing to your juvenile delinquency, but appreciate it all the same.

“Beyond the Mat” finally turned the focus of the season-long theme of traumatized childhoods away from victims and strangers and aimed it squarely at Sam and Dean’s difficult early years. John Winchester was referenced in Dean’s discovery of the obituary that established the premise for the entire story, but the drunk dad sitting behind them at the match rekindled Sam’s memories of John as well.
Drunk, Doomed Dad: Beer's cheap, kid's entertained... parenting. Remember, don't tell mom how many I've had.
Sam: Yeah. Now, that brings me back.
Dean: You want to not try and ruin one of the nicest things dad ever did for us, please?
01

The young boy being entertained by an over indulging father was the present day personification of young Dean. When Gunnar gave his glove to that little boy, Dean assuaged his disappointment saying, “It's all right. I'm not a child.”, but in fact Dean wanted to be that little boy in that moment. Just minutes later, that boy’s life became hauntingly similar to Dean’s, and he joined the long line of children traumatized by the supernatural when his father was also killed by a monster. Knowing exactly how he felt, Sam consoled the boy, and Dean identified with him saying, “Poor kid.” Then Rio emphasized again that there was another fatherless child,
Dean: Did you know the deceased?
Rio: I sold him some tickets. He had a kid, right?

The scenario of a boy who is taken to a wrestling match with his father, then loses him to a demon attack, that is in a round-about way connected to a crossroads deal for a soul, is a very strong parallel to how Sam and Dean lost their dad. This is all very curious. Why is John being brought up so prominently at this point in the series? Gunnar called everyone “kid”, reinforcing him being a stand-in for John. When tying up Dean he said,
Sorry kid. I don’t want to do this.
He dismissed Harley in the bar saying,
Kid, I got no worries about that.
He even attempted to plead his case to the crossroad demon saying,
“He’s just a kid”.
04

In return, Harley referred to Gunnar as “old man”, a slang term often used to refer to one’s father. When Dean first met Gunnar, Dean called him “sir” which was how Dean always addressed his dad. When Gunnar entered the arena, Dean chastised Sam, telling him, “Hey, Get up. Show some respect.” just as an older brother would teach manners to the younger sibling he largely raised. References to John were infused throughout the episode. The thwarting question is “Why?”

The parallel went beyond individuals, connecting the wrestlers and the entire Winchester family unit. 

Rio told Dean,
"Maybe my boys are right. Maybe we really are cursed…."
then later,
“I can only afford to travel my boys.”

How many times has Sam wondered aloud if they were cursed? The parallels between the Winchesters and the wrestling company were reiterated several times. When the aged wrestlers were each introduced at the wake, the brothers’ expected future was paraded in front of them:
Dean: “The Scream” Casey Lyons. There's Wrecking Ball Calhoon. Wow. The Brooklyn Beast?
Sam: What happened to 'em? They're all...Broken.
s11e15 123

Rio reiterated the parallel between the Winchesters’ lives and those of the wresting has-beens, saying
We spent a lot of time on the road together. We're like family, and lately, I've seen too many of my boys be put in the dirt. I knew Hangman for 25 years. He was a good man. Great family. I just can't believe he would do this.
Sam: Do what?
Rio: Kill himself.


Her assessment of the Hangman as a “good man” reflects the many times Dean and Sam have tried to evaluate their own worth and morals. Gunnar judged himself:
“I've never been a good man. I look in the mirror and I hate the face looking back at me.

There are a few broken mirrors in Dean’s history as well. After it was all over for Lawless, Dean disagreed with the man’s harsh judgement of himself,

Dean: Lawless was a good guy. He didn't deserve to go out like that, you know?
Sam: Dean, you know what? He made a bad decision.
Dean: We've been there. Yeah, you, me, now Cas.
Sam: Dean, we'll get him back.
Dean: We will. We just got to... Keep grinding. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how hard it gets, you got to keep grinding.   And that's how we're gonna win.

Which leads us to how the wrestler’s saga influenced Dean’s thinking, and perhaps his final decision, in his fight with the Darkness.

The Darkness and Amara


Did Dean learn something about being too hard on himself, Sam and Cas when they’ve made mistakes? Might Gunnar’s end help Dean choose something other than a self-flagellating sacrifice of himself when the final opportunity to be a hero presents itself? Last week’s focus on sacrifices and this week’s focus on self-worth seem to be leading to a climactic evaluation of whether someone’s death is deserved or heroic.

“Beyond the Mat” asked the audience to remember the past through the dialog’s obvious references to the boys’ childhood. More importantly, though, I believe we were being told that their recent past, just a few years ago, when John made a deal and was killed, when Dean made a demon deal and went to hell, when Sam trusted Ruby and released Lucifer – all those mistakes or “bad decisions” will become relevant again. John seemed to be relevant again. Will the “Father figure” (capitalization intended) be of literal or figurative importance in the final confrontation with Amara?

s11e15 228

Dean admired the wrestlers. He identified with the basic instinct and desire to fight. He even jumped into the ring, acting out a fantasy about having thousands cheer as he battled some legendary, larger-than-life bad guy.  How did he not see the connection that that was already his life? In sympathizing with the wrestler’s plight, the parallel to his hunting life was made perfectly clear:
Dean: Town after town, putting your ass on the line for next to nothing? No money. No glory. Wow.
Sam: You realize you just literally described our jobs.

Gunnar and Dean even compared the scars they’ve each received on the job:
Gunnar: I've been beat up, spit on, stabbed, roughed up, but I will be damned if I didn't always get back up. One thing I learned... you got to keep on grinding no matter what's thrown your way.
Dean: Damn, you're awesome.

Gunnar was living a version of Dean’s life. Both sold their souls and were sliced up by attacking hell hounds, but as Farawayeyes so eloquently pointed out in her review of “The Vessel”, motivation and the reason for sacrifice make all the difference in the world. Gunnar sold his soul because he was desperate to be recognized for his talent (or for money or fame or other self-indulgent reasons). Dean sold his soul for love of others. Gunnar killed innocent people to delay his damnation. When faced with his final hour, Dean gave his brother advice and love, and stood his ground. Gunnar came around to finding his courage in the end, but his journey took several innocent people with him.

As obvious as Gunnar’s parallel is to Dean, the wrestler’s parallel to John is also important. John also sold his soul (again for more altruistic reasons than Lawless). Was the whole  point for Dean to receive advice from his “dad” to find the resilience and just keep “grinding”? That might have been what Dean needed to hear to motivate him to keep going in his battle with Amara. His final words of encouragement and determination to Sam seem to indicate that it worked. The lessons in mistakes, courage and meaningful deaths also have foreboding messages, though, and they may all play a part in Dean’s state of mind at the critical last moment. What do you think?

Betrayal and Weapons of War

s11e15 492 Cas Crowley

Crowley and Lucifer’s drama more openly laid the groundwork for the final battle with Amara.
Lucifer: You really thought you could double-cross me? Me? You know I invented the double-cross? Like, literally.

Was Lucifer referring to when he betrayed God, or was there another double cross he perpetrated? I have theorized that there is much more to the story of how Amara was originally trapped and jailed. Did Lucifer betray Amara? His egotistical bragging about the double cross screamed importance, but Crowley’s repetition of the claim brought even more attention to its significance.
Crowley: You really think you could double-cross me? Me?! I perfected the double-cross. Like, literally.
I’m sure we’ll learn the secret of the final battle that entrapped Amara in the critical last few episodes, but all this talk of double-crossing just piqued my curiosity. Simmons' betrayal of Crowley also foreshadowed a future double-cross.

s11e15 508

The details of how the Hands of God can be used as weapons against Amara are being slowly revealed. Something Crowley said was worth noting:
So, if this can hurt something as powerful as the Darkness, I wonder... What can it do to you?

He didn’t presume it would kill Amara, just hurt her. Maybe the touch of God’s power weakens her long enough for forces to overpower and trap her. We’ve seen her weakened once already, by Heaven’s smiting or consuming angel grace (We don’t exactly know which…although a reader sent me a great theory about this that I’ll have to reveal at some point).  Maybe being touched by pure Good takes away the power of pure darkness. It’s a working theory anyway.

s11e15 519

The Rod of Aaron was also a “use once then discard” deal, so I can already hear Sam or Dean say “We only have one shot at this so make it count!” in some critical, dramatic moment in the final season 11 episodes.  A curious inconsistency, though, is slightly troubling. The Arc of the Covenant relic shot through one submarine’s hull, thousands of feet of ocean (they mentioned the depth of the sub so someone can look that up), and the hull of a war vessel on the surface of the water, destroying both the sub and the surface vessel. Why, then, was the power of the Rod of Aaron stopped by just one tiny demon body? Simmons was killed (notably sacrificed herself, which is worthy of discussion on the sacrificing theme of season 11) but Lucifer’s body behind her was barely scratched. Is there a difference in power between God’s relics, or is this just the result of a tiny detail overlooked by a new writer? There isn’t enough evidence to be sure yet. What is your opinion?

The emergence of a crossroads demon was also interesting as it applied to Crowley. That was his recent past. That was his “job” before Yellow Eyes and Lillith were killed and he assumed the throne of Hell. Why was his past also being resurrected? All of this fits together somehow, we just need more pieces to the puzzle.

Last season, we ended up learning that the most innocuous monster of the week stories held the biggest clues to the season’s myth arc climax. Maybe that will be true of this episode. It held enough mystery that I’m not willing to dismiss it and to respect that there really might be quite a bit more to this episode than I originally thought...

s11e15 577

…but I still don’t like wrestling.

How about you?


Pictures courtesy of http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk
Transcript courtesy of http://transcripts.foreverdreaming.org



Comments  

Jen
# Jen 2016-02-26 04:36
Hi Nightsky I put a comment on Bookdal's - Lets Speculate. And I'm queit proud of myself I think it reads similar to what you wrote. See everything I'm learning is paying off. I will paste it here and see what you think :):):)

This was a very lite episode to lead into a 4 wk Hellatius. I think the story has been told and this was a good way to say "The End" Everything that everybody has been chatting about ended in this epi.

Love, Family. Trust, Sacrifice, Truth, Fight, Never give up, Beleive in yourself, Doubts, Faith in yourself and each other, Everything they have tried to point out to Sam & more so Dean and us the veiwer all finished with this episode. If we havn't learnt by now if we weren't paying attention we won't win the battle with either Lucifer or Amara. From here on their on their own the Battle begins

The episode itself was ok we had a new writer ? (Correct) a good start and hopefully better to come. I have loved all are Guest Stars so far this season and all episodes except a couple have been up and beyond brilliant. Not bad for 11 yrs. "Beyond the Mat" wasn't as punchy as some episodes, lost a bit of interest here and there, story line a bit fragile. I was hopeing for something more gripping or with a few more threads for us to speculate on to get us through Hellatius. We all have very vivid imagination so by the time we check out various episodes over the next couple of weeks I'm sure we will have everything worked out. Good to see Crowley back & at full strength this will be a good start to 3rd installment of Supernatural
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-02-26 09:37
I hadn't really thought about those last lines of Dean's being the summary of everything so far, but since this was the last-before-the -break-before-t he-end-run, his words are more powerful. They were a great 'this is what I've learned" ta-da moment. Thanks for pointing that out!
`luciano
# `luciano 2016-02-26 04:36
I personally love wrestling. So all what you said, accompanied with some other things, accompanied with wrestling! WOW I LOVE THE EPISODE
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-02-26 09:39
Thank you for speaking up as a wrestling fan. I was hoping to hear from someone who was drawn into the ep. I really wanted/want it to be popular so the new guy gets a win! I so sympathize with how he must have felt having his first show air!
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2016-02-26 09:50
Even if I am a foreigner I did watch Smackdown and RAW when I was younger. I liked it for some reason but when my friend took me to see a show in my country. A small one like was in this episode it was amazing. I actually was not that into it anymore that time but there with the atmosphere I couldn't prevent myself of cheering and yelling there out loud with the other people. (And if Sam and Dean would have practiced in this episode together? Cheers!) :D

- Lilah
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2016-02-26 06:25
Interesting thoughts about the episode. Actually few things caught my eye on the episode and I started to think about them. I did love that Crowley had payed attention and figure out he did have one of the HOG's in his private warehouse. I don't think they will pop up too regularly though. That is not actually what bothered me. The thing that bothered me was that Crowley could use the HOG in the first place. But I will led it slide because they have not laid any ground work for who can use the weapon. Originally, like in the Arc of the Covenant it was very specific who could touch the arc or be even in the same room with it. This was used also in the Raiders of the Lost Arc where "Nazis and bad men" were punished from being and opening the arc. In bible only the fully holy men, I think it was high priests could open and touch the arc. Lower priests could be in the same room but regular people couldn't. If one tried they would be punished and die what I recall. I think you can guess what I am trying to say. How, on earth, a KING OF HELL can use the weapon without exploding to atoms. Even Lucifer would be nono in my book. We know that humans won't survive it and a powerful being like Crowley can survive it because he is stronger than human but point is. He is BAD. BUT, as you pointed it out. Why mere demon interrupted the blast and saved Lucy? Maybe Crowley couldn't use the full force because he is bad? Maybe there is real lore influence to the story. Also they needed a servant of God to kill the false prophet so maybe Dean could use and survive the HOG if you look past canon?But he wouldn't knew it and he would think he would die as he sacrifices himself to use one?

Quote:
The Ark of the Covenant (Hebrew: ?????? ?????????? ??rôn Habb?rît, modern pron. Aron haBrit), also known as the Ark of the Testimony, was a wooden chest clad with gold containing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments as well as, according to various texts within the Hebrew Bible, Aaron's rod and a pot of manna. When carried, the Ark was always hidden under a large veil made of skins and blue cloth, always carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the priests and the Levites who carried it.
(Could this be one they find, a pot of manna as one?)
It does seem that all the HOG's are one hitters and I am not sure if they are used in final battle. We might get a surprise or they might be used. Searching them feels little bit like finding the rings of the horsemen. I liked the MOTW to have crossroads demon and hell hounds and you are right. It did feel like it had hidden story and some clues for us for the rest of the season. The CR demon felt like the old demons before they came bureaucrats.

Quote:
And also I did snort to the quote: "What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area." Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard, The Fugitive,

It is one of my favorite movies. Misha is doing a great job playing Casifer. Some people in twitter said even that he had the voice of Pelegrino in the episode. He has toned it down also a lot. I think the trouble is because we have gotten used to Cas and that he is "One of the good guys" that him playing something different with Casifer might bother some. For me he just creeps me the fudge out and I wan't Cas back. (The creeping out is a good thing btw) It is so wrong to have Lucifer in his vessel. It is like a loved member of my family would turn to mass serial killer who wanted me dead but I wouldn't know it and would still trust him/her. Just Brrrrrrrrr...

And about the "dad" theme... I don't know... Might we get John Winchester back in some form? Who knows. Maybe he is in the Empty?

That is all I could think up now.

- Lilah
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-02-26 09:43
I was actually going to write about the Hands canon ( I just can't abbreviate it HoG ;) ) - that a human won't survive it but Crowley obviously did. I thought that might mean that Cas or Crowley have to be the ones who use it in the final battle. Darn it - in writing about the other stuff I actually lost track of that point, so THANK YOU for bringing it up! Everyone, consider this an addendum to my review!
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2016-02-26 10:09
Or, I'm wondering if Sam is going to be the one who ends up using the HOG and sacrificing himself because Dean can't kill Amara. Or maybe both of them together. It would be fitting if they both touched one and saved the world again.
samandean10
# samandean10 2016-02-27 08:35
Quote:
It would be fitting if they both touched one and saved the world again.
I like this thought Sylvia. In general I'm not crazy about the idea that we will now see various HOGs found, used, and discarded. But if they are going to continue to play a role, I would love it if the brothers found the mother of all HOGs (maybe one related to brothers? like Cain and Abel? is there such an artifact?) that they would be uniquely positioned to use, and that they use it together. That would even make a fitting end to the series.
samandean10
# samandean10 2016-02-26 14:02
Great read Nightsky. I thought about what you wrote and I have a slightly different perspective on what Dean learned from Gunnar. Gunnar told him that you just have to get up every time you're knocked down and keep grinding it out, but that is not what Gunnar did. He tired of grinding it out, while being unable to obtain the elusive championship. Essentially he lost faith in his ability to achieve his goal, so he opted for the quick, sure option- the demon deal. He learned that taking the seemingly easier path can lead to tragic consequences, which ruined his life. The championship lasted but a week, and Gunnar was left with ten years of being at the demon's beck and call, committing terrible acts that he did not want to commit. The lesson for Dean is that he can NEVER stop fighting Amara. While giving in to the bliss that she promises him must have an immense appeal for Dean after all of the horrors of his life, Gunnar's example reinforces what he has observed over the course of his life: that taking the supernatural path for finding happiness is guaranteed to bring more pain than joy. Unlike Gunnar, Dean has decided to never stop grinding it out, and to never surrender to his desire to submit to Amara. He has been experiencing grave doubts about his ability to resist Amara, just as Gunnar had lost faith in his own abilities, but Dean now feels a renewed determination to NEVER give in to Amara, and a new faith in his and Sam's ability to prevail over their supernatural enemies. At least I hope so!:)
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2016-02-26 23:38
Interesting observation S&D. Maybe Gunnar kept grinding in the past before his pact with the devil (and I can't remember if he was referring to that earlier time period) but once he tapped out and made the deal he certainly couldn't make that claim anymore. And it's possible that he was including the time at the end of the ten years where he had to do what he had to do to keep his end of the extended agreement as I'm sure that he might have felt that may have fit the description as well. Listening to him when he was talking about having to keep grinding he made it sound as if it was a good, noble, strength of character, pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of thing and for him, it wasn't. The fact that Dean took the advice and is using it to fuel a new found determination to put his shoulder to the wheel and keep fighting, to do what is needed and not give up - just like the Lady of Letters and sub crew last week - is a testament to his true self. Our boy knows what has to be done, he just gets a little "lost" sometimes. :) Dean may not be in full fighting form right now but it looks like he's gotten his determination and will back. I think he just caught up with Sam and is back in the game however it unfolds. Their combined "Damn straight" says everything we need to know. Sam MF Winchester and Dean BAMF Winchester are back.
samandean10
# samandean10 2016-02-27 08:42
Quote:
Dean may not be in full fighting form right now but it looks like he's gotten his determination and will back. I think he just caught up with Sam and is back in the game however it unfolds.
I agree and I'm glad he has reached this point. It's fine for Dean to suffer some self-doubts, but if he continued to exhibit a defeatist attitude about the Amara connection it was going to resemble MOC Dean from last year, and I grew tired of that. THIS is the Dean I know and love, the one who has said on numerous occasions "we'll kick it in the ass like we always do." I have loved the brothers this year and how they interact. And I have LOVED seeing the Sam of old, the same guy I fell in love with in S1. But now I feel like we're going to have back the Dean I fell in love with as well.
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-02-27 21:30
Quote:
I have loved the brothers this year and how they interact. And I have LOVED seeing the Sam of old, the same guy I fell in love with in S1. But now I feel like we're going to have back the Dean I fell in love with as well.
YES!
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-02-27 21:33
Quote:
Our boy knows what has to be done, he just gets a little "lost" sometimes.
I've honestly thought about what they are both up against. I don't know how I would find the courage. I suppose they've built up to this level of challenge with all the fear they've faced in their lives, but I think I'd be in a ball, in the corner of some room, rocking and humming to myself. I don't know how they keep going against such insurmountable odds.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2016-02-28 04:01
I would've crumbled a long, long time ago!
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-02-27 21:28
Quote:
Unlike Gunnar, Dean has decided to never stop grinding it out, and to never surrender to his desire to submit to Amara. He has been experiencing grave doubts about his ability to resist Amara, just as Gunnar had lost faith in his own abilities, but Dean now feels a renewed determination to NEVER give in to Amara, and a new faith in his and Sam's ability to prevail over their supernatural enemies. At least I hope so!
I like your perspective! I think that is a very real possibility.
Sugarhi15
# Sugarhi15 2016-02-26 15:39
I, like you, saw more to the ep. I found the ep to be metaphorical. Wrestlers, demons..wrestli ng ones demons...that anvil hit hard. Even though deans playtime in the ring mightve been for laughs, i took it to be more....dean wrestling his own demon..his fear in regards to amara..perhaps it was her he was fighting in the ring. In the end though we have dean with a renewed and less defeatest attitude...i think dean has learned alot since walking in sam shoes(and vice versa) but maybe what dean needed to see was the fallibility of a hero...to recognize we are all human and we all screw up...it isnt always necessary to beat yourself over and over for it....you keep grinding...you make it right..and let it go.

Im not sure about john, but there is another father who has been referred to as a deadbeat dad...so is God in fact closer than anyone thinks?
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-02-27 21:35
Quote:
wrestling ones demons...that anvil hit hard
I totally missed that 'anvil'. Never occurred to me. Nice one, especially about him seeing the fallibility of his hero.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2016-02-26 16:10
nightsky, I always love your articles. Just a couple of thoughts. Re HoG They are supposed to be containing only a tiny particle of the power of God, how can they help to defeat Amara then in the first place, who is equal to God in full power? All HoG pl seems to be a red herring, just like Colt in Season 5. I don't think that all power of this particular HoG was spent entirely of the third rank demon, it seems that the Power of HoG wasn't just enough to defeat Lucifer as he was the strongest among the God's servants, that's also why I don't think that the answer to defeat Amara lies in HoG at all. If it couldn't defeat Lucifer, how can it defeat Amara?
But I think that reminiscence of John is very important and is a kind of foreshadowing, but I don't think that John and Mary are in the Empty.
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-02-27 21:42
I don't think John and Mary are in the empty either. I think they're in Heaven, in witness protection :D
Very interesting thought about the HoG being a red herring like the Colt. I need to see another use of the weapon to judge whether Simmons getting in the way and actually stopping the blow was a writer fluke. The power blast should have gone straight through the wall if it could penetrate several iron hulls of ships! Something doesn't fit yet. Really good theory that they might be just distracting us. If so, it's working! I like this plotline. It makes sense though that the boys would pursue several wrong paths before finding the right one. If they didn't, we'd all cry foul that they found the answer too easily. Still, I totally buy that a God-level weapon could knock Amara out/down long enough to trap her.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2016-02-28 05:11
I was kicking around the idea that when using the Hand of God that your INTENT may matter. For example - Could the female spy have gotten more juice out of the artifact? Her intent (which she herself stated) was only to destroy the ship and by doing so kill herself/sigil and the sub enabling Dean to get home rather than allowing the artifact to fall into the WRONG HANDS. *Sorry* Who knows what else it was capable of? True Crowleys intent was certainly there. His attempt to kill Lucifer was intercepted and thwarted by his minions sacrifice/love( ?) but maybe because of Crowleys demonic nature and unpure soul Aaron's rod would only HAND OVER TO HIM a little of its power. *Again sorry* Perhaps he was only able to use it at all because of Sam's partial blood cure. That little touch of humanity? You've really got to HAND IT TO Crowley for the doublecross though. *Okay, this is getting a little ridiculous. Once more, my apologies. I promise, no more. ;) Mainly cause I can't think of any at the moment...*

My other thought was that perhaps each Hand has a certain percentage of God infused power based on their importance. A remnant of the Arc of the Covenant as opposed to Aaron's staff? I'd say no contest there. You have to wonder then how much power would there be in say, the Spear of Destiny if wielded by the correct individual? Ah, wouldn't it be sad if once Dean became one with Amara that Sam had to stab him with it, which then kills Amara but they all fall into the Empty? Yeah, no. This is why I dont write.

Trying to puzzle out how this all ends, I can't see how Dean with his connection/bond to Amara is going to come out of this alive. I keep trying to figure out how it might be Sam and if it is I don't think it would be by anyone's hands but more of a sacrifice he makes. I can picture him pulling Dean/Amara into the Empty with him - as he himself said to Lucifer, being willing to die and see his family die for the good of all. Or Sam will accept the job of using the most powerful Hand *that one was unintentional* against Amara resulting in both their deaths. Too bad they can't use Deaths scythe against her but that crumbled away after Dean struck the death blow. *Oh my* If this is ultimately an attempt to correct some supposed wrongs at the end of Swan Song -as I read somewhere - then there are few options. Dean dies, Sam lives. Dean and Sam both end up in the CGI hol- I mean the Empty. Or they both live. Or they make Amara see the big picture and turn her around. God apologizes to them both and there's a big group hug. And then Amara, God, Lucifer and Death all throw Sam and Dean into the Big Empty. Not to be confused with the Big Easy. Which is a much nicer place to visit. The End. Okay I lied. It's my first draft. Fan fic, it's a guilty pleasure... ;)
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2016-02-27 00:05
Just musing here. I was thinking about how Amara was somewhat affected by the combined smiting power of the angels. She also seemed to be weakened when she ingested the angels grace that tried to help her in the forest. What if there is a way to combine the power of SEVERAL Hand of God's? (I know, I'd hate that too) Or what if the angels could channel A Hand of God into group smiting? If not to kill, to stun. Then again maybe Grace is the key and the possibility that that could be combined with the power of a Hand of God?
Another thought. Up until the angel in the forest the only "absorbing" Amara had done came from humans or demons. So, one soul or no soul. When she sucked out the littlest angels Grace did she also suck out the vessels soul? A double whammy. No wonder Amara said she hit the spot. Could that have been too much power to.absorb at the same time? Technically she's human (?) maybe that's the limit of what her "vessel" can handle?

Like I said, just kicking around some ideas. Salt and burn, comment or throw in some of your own as I'd love to hear them! :)
samandean10
# samandean10 2016-02-27 08:59
Quote:
Technically she's human (?) maybe that's the limit of what her "vessel" can handle?

Is she really human? The way in which Amara has manifested has always puzzled me a bit. Why did she need to possess a baby? Is the baby's soul still in there? Presumably. But can Amara leave that vessel and take another one? I guess the vessel she is in has been modified somewhat for her use since it aged more than 30 years in quite a short time. (Kind of like how I feel sometimes. :) But I digress). So maybe this vessel is quite different from a typical vessel. I think at this point we have so many more questions than answers, and I don't see the show addressing them all. But there are numerous interesting possibilities for resolving the Amara situation. While it seems like maybe we're not done with HOGs, I don't see it being the angels that ultimately defeat Amara. that would be quite anticlimactic. But can the brothers handle a HOG and live to tell the tale? (NO dirty jokes Alycat- this is a PG rated post:))
disgrruntled viewer
# disgrruntled viewer 2016-03-06 14:23
Ladies, one more consideration. I seriously think that Big Empty and The Darkness are the same, you know the opposite of the Light or The Being in philosophical sense
samandean10
# samandean10 2016-03-06 16:49
That's an interesting thought disgruntled. It's true that we heard absolutely no reference to the Big Empty until right after The D was released. So it seems that there must be some strong connection between the two. Was the Big Empty the place created to imprison the D? And now that it is unlocked others can be sent there, as Billie threatened Sam? I admit to being very curious about how the show resolves this plot.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2016-03-06 17:24
I just think that the Light, the Being, the Creation are the same thing which has their opposite which is the Darkness, the Nothing, the Big Empty. So I think that the souls Amara has eaten are in the Big Empty, though I don't know how Amara and the Big Empty are exactly interrelated, if my explanations make any sense.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2016-02-27 01:18
What if Dean lets Michael (or Cas) take him as a vessel so that when Amara bonds, absorbs, combines, melds, or whatever with Dean she takes in both and it weakens her enough that Sam can then kill or cast (and subsequently Dean and whoever is aboard him at the time) into the "Big Empty". (I know - it sounds just like the Purgatory storyline - shuddup!) I call it the "Big Empty" because it's more like the "Big Easy" and who doesn't like New Orleans, am I right? Cajun food, Mardi Gras... and is it just me or does Billie sound like she's rockin' the Southern drawl?

I think I'm onto something here... we have so many players on the board right now - sucking, absorbing, bonding, melding - somebody damn well better be seriously possessing somebody else by the end of all this! Either that or there's going to be one Hell of an orgy by the Season finale and wouldn't that be a great way to wrap up the year!!! Just think of everything we'd have to discuss over hiatus. Oh my... ;)