The Dark Night of the Soul
We are the pilgrims, Master: We shall go
Always a little further, It may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,
White on a throne, or guarded in a cave
There lives a prophet who can understand,
Why men are born
– James Elroy Flecker
My thoughts are finally beginning to settle down, after this two hour finale of my favourite show. It was not surprising to me that I seemed to be bereft of words or coherent thoughts, since this show has been known to do that. To many of you, kind readers. To me. This show did this one small thing, again: it touched my soul.
It seems to be unimportant a thing, to have your soul touched. But it’s not. My soul is not an innocent one. It has been scarred by several moments in my life that caused me great pain and made me learn at what cost survival sometimes comes. There are many souls like that among us. Souls that have been burnt, souls that remember struggle and agony, and some that barely remember affection. Those of the brothers we love are such souls, and their loved ones, like Bobby, live in that neighbourhood, too.
With being so utterly affected, all I was capable of – at first – was be silent, with a brain turned to stone I felt like sinking into an abyss where my spirit seemed to lose itself for a while But this was and is also a magic moment involving great emotional turmoil and passionate enthusiasm. And so I am facing, with a glass of red Boutari wine, these episodes again, trying to put to words what goes on in my mind – and soul
With the promo trailers of these episodes in mind and the recap, I thought I knew what was coming. Well, how wrong I was I wasn’t prepared enough. But thankfully the story of Lovecraft did a lot to take me well into the tale here
In his Rhode Island home, Howard Phillips Lovecraft is typing, fervently, to finish his story. It is going to be his last one. He is nervous, agitated, every loud noise makes him jump. He has reason to be uneasy – as we will learn later he opened the door to another dimension, unaware that his revolver will not kill the thing coming for him.
We are not to dwell upon this writer’s death, as we are catapulted back to Bobby’s place where the Winchester clan are going through various Campbell journals, when Bobby finds that Castiel did “not only stop by to mend fences’ – he also took a journal of one Moishe Campbell, “of the New York Campbells‘, ha, so there were also some Jewish hunters? (And suddenly a hilarious scene from Love at First Bite springs to my mind in which shrink and vampire hunter Van Helsing tries to ward off Dracula with a Star of David well, we don’t learn, unfortunately, if the New York Campbells ever made that mistake.)
However, Bobby, you wonderful sleuth and paranoid bastard (love that line!), made a copy of the now stolen journal. And in it our guys find that Moishe went to talk to Howard Phillips Lovecraft about events happening on March 10th, five days prior to the latter’s death.
Ha, this is one of the endearing scenes of this episode – Sam getting enthusiastically interested in H.P. Lovecraft, Dean being utterly confused, first because of the New York Campbells and now about the unknown horror writer. Well, multi-tasking was not a forte of young Dean who was busy having sex with women I do miss the cocky, flirting Dean. I do. There is a hint left of the guy.
So Bobby describes one current of Lovecraft’s work. Moishe believed that the author did engage in serious business there, and – who knows – perhaps they performed some kind of ritual together, since on the same day, Lovecraft was delivered to the Providence Jane Brown Memorial hospital where he died of intestinal cancer five days later (I’m sensing some evil angel might have given him cancer, final stage?) – okay, that’s the historical fact. In our story here, Lovecraft gets chopped up by a monster. Well, cancer is something like that, too – it eats up your body, only much, much slower That must have been some dinner party on March 10th some kind of ritual going on with his six guests, actually co-worshippers of a black magic cult, as Bobby will learn later from his Lovecraft “expert’.
I believe the brothers would like to delve into the lore behind Lovecraft, but a distressed call from Ben opens old wounds and new fears. The boy is reading Lovecraft’s Cthulhu myths, when two demons burst in and kill Matt, Lisa’s new boyfriend (again I love it how the show plays against clichÃ© and brings another mixed-racial love story). So Ben calls Dean – the first thing that springs to his mind, obviously. He never deleted Dean’s phone number.
In an instant, Dean is back to protector mode, checking “did you see their eyes? Teeth?’ to find out at least something to help Ben before he can actually get to the perturbed boy. But – he can’t help him. He knows he can’t, not from here, not at this moment. And he doesn’t have an angel at his side to zap him there in a heartbeat. Perhaps all of this might be dawning on Dean, as Bobby and Sam watch astounded and worried while Dean asks Ben to jump, even at the chance of breaking bones. “The bones you break won’t compare to what they’ll do to you. You’ve got to jump.’
“I won’t hurt them, provided you and Jolly Green stand down.’
Too late, though. Ben is as gutsy a kid as they come and prepares to get out of the window, but the demons get a hold of him. And Crowley installs the worst possible fears in Dean’s mind. This is what Dean was afraid of from the moment he found a home at Lisa’s place. Staying with them, he had been able to salt all possible entrances, keep holy water and weapons at striking length, but now now he was many miles away, blackmailed by their demonic enemy and deserted by their heavenly ally.
This threat ambushed the unsuspecting Dean viciously, violently, much like love does sometimes. And his love for the boy and his mother toss him on a possible kamikaze run. He needs to save them. “You gotta be nuts if you think I’m gonna let you do this alone!‘ Sam throws back at Dean who wants to go off by himself. The door to the skyscraper of guilt in Dean’s soul has been ripped open, again, and – man of honour that he is – he considers it his duty (and deepest need) to go and save them. Alone. He considers it to be his mistake and his fault. That’s just how the elder Winchester ticks when it comes to people dear to his heart.
With Bobby staying on the Lovecraft case, Sam and Dean summon Balthazar who appears – leaving his seductive scene of drinking a 75′ Dom PÃ©rignon out of a (I assume) stunning woman’s navel. And, well, too me it seemed that this angel was not entirely filled in on Castiel’s plans, but – for loyalty and embarrassment reasons – he admitted to know all of Castiel’s little games. I didn’t buy it, though. Balthazar has, for a while now, appeared to be not entirely attuned to Cas’ machinations. And Dean, wonderfully, pushes the right buttons – simply because this angel has his doubts and there is still some decency left in him. Angels are supposed to help the innocent or at least were, in earlier and perhaps clearer times. And he will. Just not immediately.
In the meantime, Bobby visits a freaky, relationally disturbed Lovecraft fan, one supposed to own various (helpful) letters of the writer. And some information on the guy not to be found in books? Alas, Castiel has been there before and nicked some of those letters. But Bobby would not be Bobby was he not to find out more about the guests “that died or disappeared within a year.‘ Except the nine-year-old son of Lovecraft’s maid. Poor boy. Imagine what that experience did to him – in particular since he hasn’t left the mental institution ever since.
At this moment, someplace else, Dean probably is in one of the darkest places he has ever been. He shows another face of despair, and that is a very gloomy place. The darkest night a soul can be trapped in, I’d say. It’s so dark that he doesn’t want Sam present. Guilt and fear are eating away at his weakened body (since he has lived on coffee, booze and probably some meds) and soul (freaking out that because of him Lisa and Ben might get hurt – though I’m sure he means “killed’). Any means are welcome at this moment, and Dean returns to the torture techniques he learned in hell. No matter, though, how inventive he administers them, it takes him a long while to finally get the desired answers.
It’s breaking my heart, really, to see Dean in so wretched a state. He never wanted to pick up that knife to torture again, he wanted to leave that dark part of his life behind, heal from it – yet now he chooses to use what he knows to save the woman and the boy he loves. I believe Dean never stopped loving them or stopped considering them his family. They were somewhat of a safe haven for his troubled soul. The thought alone of what might be happening to them must make his blood curdle. He can’t even stand Sam at his side.
And his brother does back off – he knows at this point, he needs to leave Dean be. He isn’t able to reach him sufficiently enough to make him take a break or leave any major parts of this operation to his younger brother. The biggest help Sam can offer at this point is: have Dean’s back, no matter the cost or the means. It saddens Sam. My God, it saddens me!
So – Sam prays to Castiel, literally begging him to bring Lisa and Ben back. And Castiel is there, listening, obviously moved by Sam’s words, but doesn’t reveal himself. He didn’t know. Apparently, Crowley has a talent for keeping things even from an angel. Though Crowley is keeping to Cas’ order not to touch Sam and Dean – there was not a word in the small print about Lisa or Ben. Cas failed to negotiate those terms. Perhaps he should have watched more of Jack Sparrow’s exploits to know how important exact wording is