We are getting to the end of our Hiatus Hunting Hindsight. This week we are looking back at 2 recaps of the penultimate episode of season four When The Levee Breaks.
Recap: When The Levee Breaks by Alice Jester May 14 2009.
Recapping this one has been near impossible. This has an extra special attention to detail, since so much unfolded, so get settled in and enjoy! Also, tons of screencaps in this one, since Jared, Jensen and even Misha gave us so much.
The opening shot profiled the slow churning devil’s trap ceiling fan of the panic room, filtering in the only natural light. Sam is in the same place where he was last week, still trying to comprehend what’s going on. You’re screwed Sam, that’s what’s going on.
Dean opens the small opening in the door, and there’s a very clever lighting trick that happens here. On Sam’s side, there’s a red light directly above him, giving him a red hue, probably signifying some sort of Hell. We know how this show has been messing with the color red all season. Dean is nearly monochrome, his steely glare looking washed out in the dingy light. Two entirely different worlds, separated by a thick iron door. Even if the intention doesn’t really go that far, it’s cool.
Sam isn’t happy. “Okay, let me out. This isn’t funny.” “Damn straight,” Dean says. Sam’s not coming out until he dries out. Sam apologizes, but naturally that does nothing. Dean tells him not to apologize, for its not his fault. “Not your fault that you lied to me over and over again. I get it now, you couldn’t help it.” Sam can’t believe that Dean is going there, calling him a junkie, but Dean mentions Sam’s strung out behavior lately. “You’re actually trying to twist this into some kind of ridiculous drug intervention?” An exasperated Sam asks. “If it smells like a duck,” Dean replies. It smells like a mess to me.
Sam tells him he’s not drinking the demon blood for kicks, he’s doing it to be strong enough to kill Lilith. Dean calls Sam’s behavior weak, not strong. Sam tries to hold onto his patience and tells Dean that killing Lilith is all that matters, but then loses it and accuses Dean of being so self-righteous he forgot about her. You see Sam, Dean holds all the cards right now, so pissing him off is probably not a good idea.
Dean says he and Bobby will kill Lilith, and Sam has a benchwarming seat to the apocalypse. Dean closes the slot in the door, and Sam goes nuts, pounding on the door and yelling at Dean to let him out. Dean tries to ignore him, but as he gets to the top of the stairs he stops, and his face tells it all. This is ripping him apart inside.
Birds and now I’m feeling like the world is going to end.
Sam is on the cot, and he’s jittery. Okay, more than that, the world is going fuzzy. This is just the beginning of some spectacular drying out scenes which Jared just nails. He’s completely awesome in this one.
Anyway, Sam gets up, a little dizzy, and goes over to the door to check it out. Yep, locked tight. He takes a long breath out and sees fog. Then the light goes off and on. Uh oh, spirit time. Sam yells out for help, turns and poof, it’s Alastair. Sam is completely freaked. I would be too, but I already know this is one awesome hallucination.
Alastair is complete with sinister grin and scalpel, and he’s deliciously evil. He announces with delight he has Sam all to himself, and flaunts the scalpel to “How will we pass the time?” Next Sam is strapped to the same torture table Ruby was in “Heaven and Hell,” except Ruby was naked in that and Sam isn’t. Oh come on Sam, you can’t hallucinate yourself naked?
Sam is terrified and pleads with Alastair who starts to slice anyway, because he’s evil like that. Sam lets out this long gasp of terror (complete with squishy sound effects) and then breaks into full fledged screaming, yelling “please.” Alastair stops while Sam whimpers, and thanks him in an extra creepy way how pleased he is with his politeness, before slicing more. Sam screams his fool head off, then we see him stretched out on his cot in the same position without restraints and alone. Remind me never to drop acid. That’s likely what I’d hallucinate now.
Two glasses of whiskey are poured while Sam’s screams ring in the background. Bobby hands a glass to Dean, and I guess Bobby is off the wagon. Yeah, Winchester strife will do that to him. A torn apart Dean asks Bobby how long this is going to go on. Bobby, who’s a little on edge himself, responds with some awesome sarcasm. “Here, let me look it up in my demon detox manual. Oh, wait, no one ever wrote one.” Not only is Bobby unsure how long this will take, he’s not even sure Sam will survive this. That bothers Dean more.
The phone rings and it’s Rufus, as in Rufus Turner from “Time Is On My Side.” We were told once early in the season Rufus would appear, but they must not have been able to work that out. Bobby tells him to “suck dirt and die” and instantly hangs up. Rufus immediately calls back, and judging by the look on Bobby’s face it isn’t good.
Back to our junkie, who wakes up, finding himself completely in tact. Alastair wasn’t real. You know what else isn’t real Sam? Your 14 year old self standing there in front of you. Yay, Colin Ford is back! It’s so cool they found a way to get him and Jared a scene together. He tells older Sam “The answer is yes, you’re hallucinating.” Older Sam is completely freaked, again. “It’s me, I mean it’s you.” I do so love it when hallucinations of my younger self have fun with me.
You gotta love the young spunky Sam, for he gives the grown up one a deserved what for. After he confirms that older Sam is losing his mind, younger Sam demands an explanation. They were supposed to be normal. Older Sam claims he tried, but it didn’t work out that way. “Sorry kid.” Likely story. Younger Sam pushes harder, because he’s mad. “Sorry kid? That’s what you have to say? It’s all we ever wanted. We were so close. You got away from dad, you quit hunting, you were going to become a lawyer and get married. Why’d you blow it?” Ouch, teenagers are pretty blunt, aren’t they?
Older Sam brings up Jessica, how “they” killed her. Oh, don’t go there. Younger Sam points out that if he hadn’t gone with Dean, she’d still be alive. Older Sam gives himself a very terse “I know.” Ooh Sam, feeling a bit guilty? Younger Sam digs that knife deeper, asking if Jess wanted him to turn out like this, asking if she’d be happy he’s using her as an excuse. Older Sam berates himself. “I’m sorry, I am, but life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would when you’re 14 years old. We were never going to be normal, we were never going to get away. Grow up.” Well that’s bleak. Younger Sam though gets the last word, since he’s cooler. “After all, how can you run from what’s inside of you?” His eyes turn yellow, and it’s great. That should unnerve older Sam a bit.
Back to Dean and Bobby upstairs, and Bobby breaks the news. Three seals broken in a single day. Ten species go extinct, 15 fishermen go blind in Alaska, and a teacher barricades herself in a school and kills exactly 66 kids. Well that’s morbid. Bobby, he of more level head, asks Dean if now is the best time for their “domestic drama.” That’s a diplomatic way of putting it. Sam can kill demons. He could be useful in halting the apocalypse. Dean, he of overly stubborn Winchester pride, takes offense to the idea of sacrificing Sam’s soul so he could be used as a “nuclear warhead.” Bobby still tries. “I love that boy like a son. What I’m saying is maybe he’s here right now instead of on the battlefield because we love him too much.” Dean thinks about it.
Oh boy, things are really going south for Sam now. He’s cross legged on the floor, shivering like someone without a coat in January but sweating like it’s July, and his face has changed into a ghostly grey and white. He spots a pitcher of water and a glass in the distance and craves it like a man in the desert, but he can barely keep it in focus so it’s not happening. He tries to get on his feet, but it’s too much of a struggle. Oh Sammy, I’ll nurse you back to health.
Better yet, it’s a good time for Mama Winchester to show up. Why not? It’s a party in Sam’s head, and all dead relatives are invited! Mary is in her nightgown, complete with bloody wound on her stomach. She points out to Sam he looks just awful. Mothers are known for their honesty! Sam’s face falls flat, for it’s another personal demon he has to face. “Let’s hear it. Go ahead”¦you’re disappointed. You never thought I’d turn out this way. I’m a piss poor excuse for a son. Your heart is broken. Am I close?”
For a boy that grew up without a mother, he hallucinates this motherly love bit really well. Mary is nothing but loving, supportive and encouraging. She tells Sam he’s doing the right thing and calls what he’s doing brave and practical. “Sam, I am so proud of you.” Has anyone ever told him that? Even Dean? That gets a small reaction from Sam, the kind you get when you’ve waited a lifetime to hear something so simple. I’m actually weepy now.
Sam then gets confused, asking about Dean. Mary claims Dean doesn’t understand. She comes over and sits next to Sam on the cot. “I was raised a hunter, from a long line. We understand that there are going to be hard choices, we do what we have to get the job done. Yes, our family is cursed, but you, you have the power to turn it into a gift.” At this point, she starts stroking Sam’s hair, and he closes his eyes and takes in this touch like it’s the most comfort he’s ever gotten in his life. It probably is. Jared’s subtle reactions to every bit of this conversation is brilliant. He’s truly convinced me that Sam has always longed for a mother.
Mary goes on, telling Sam he can use his gifts against them. “For revenge?” Sam asks. “No, for justice.” Oh, that word is so much better than revenge, even though in this context it means the same thing. There goes Sam self-justifying again.
“I know how scared you are,” Mary tells him, and Sam just crumbles. He tearfully admits, “What’s in me, Mom, it’s-” she finishes his sentence, “evil.” Sam is worried it’s stronger than him and what if Dean is right. Mary strokes him again, and tells him Dean can never understand how strong he is. She calls Dean weak, terrified, and tells Sam he has to go on without him.
“You have what it takes. You have to kill Lilith.” “Even if it kills me,” Sam mentions with an edge of fear. Mary’s silence confirms that to be true. “Make my death mean something. I’m counting on you Sam. Don’t let anyone or anything get in your way. Not even Dean.” She kisses his cheek and takes him in for a loving embrace, and Sam gets so lost in her touch. This is what he’s craved his whole life. Then Mary gently slips away, and Sam in heart breaking fashion realizes it wasn’t real. How can I be such a quivering mess 14 MINUTES in? How am I going to get through the rest of this?
Dean is alone in Bobby’s salvage yard, and Castiel appears. Dean tells him it’s about freaking time, since he’s been screaming himself hoarse for two hours. What’s really cool is that his voice is actually hoarse! I hope Jensen didn’t have to go through painful measures to get that to happen.
Castiel wants to know what Dean wants. Oh, where does he begin? Dean starts with what happened in Illinois, but Castiel won’t go there. “It’s nothing of importance.” Dean, who rarely stops to bite his tongue, of course has something uncomfortable to say. “You got ass reamed in Heaven, but it’s not of importance?” Castiel can’t talk about it, but everything about his troubled look tells us he’s rather traumatized by it. Sorry Cas, I only have hugs for one traumatized character each episode and this ain’t your week.
Castiel moves onto the subject Sam. Dean asks if Sam can kill Lilith? Yes, but there’s a costly process. “Consuming the amount of blood to kill Lilith would change your brother forever. Most likely, he’d become the next creature you would feel compelled to kill.” Man, for creatures of heaven, these angels don’t offer much sunshine.
Castiel doesn’t think it has to go that way though. They think its Dean who will do it, not Sam, but is he willing to accept it? Dean asks “If I do this, Sammy doesn’t have to?” Castiel gives him a vague answer, which means Dean is likely jumping to the wrong conclusion and Cas ain’t setting him straight. “If it gives you comfort to see it that way.” Dean hates that answer. “God, you’re a dick these days.” Hasn’t he always been?
Dean ponders and then says he’s in. That isn’t enough for Castiel. “Do you give yourself over holy to the service and God and his angels?” Dean, not one for reciting vows, replies “Yeah, exactly.” Castiel makes him say it. Dean does, but as usual has a twist. “I give myself over holy to serve God, and you guys.” Hee! I never tire of Dean’s attitude in these situations. That’s still not enough for Cas though. “You swear to follow his will and word as swiftly and obediently as you did your own father’s?” Now Dean looks like he wants to punch him. Way to twist that knife Castiel! Dean swears and asks now what. They wait. In the meantime, they have a stare off. Why not? Sam’s only rotting in the panic room.
Sam’s on the floor in the panic room, still a sweating, jittery mess. He looks at his hand, and sees his veins turning black. He gets up in a hurry and looks in the mirror, seeing black spider veins crawling through his face. Yep, he’s freaking out now. He yells for help, but Bobby and Dean are upstairs talking about Dean’s angel encounter and ignore him. Man, what does a junkie have to do to get attention?
Bobby thinks Dean is nuts for “signing up to be the angels’ bitch.”After all he’s said about them, now he trusts them? Dean points out he couldn’t trust them less right now. I mean they come across like shady politicians from the planet Vulcan.” Yeah, but Vulcan’s don’t lie. Except they do. They’re emotionless too. So, does this mean the angels were mirrored after the Vulcans? Makes sense I guess, but Dean is not that douchebag James T. Kirk.
Dean didn’t have any option, for he’d rather trust the angels than have Sam trust a demon. Bobby sees the point, but won’t belabor it much, for Dean suddenly realizes something’s wrong. There’s dead silence coming from Sam’s direction. Oh sure, ignore the cry for help and get worried when he shuts up? A little backwards you think?
Dean and Bobby rush downstairs in a panic, and open the viewing slot to find Sam having one grand mal demon seizure on the floor. He’s making all sorts of weird gurgling like noises and gyrating all over the floor with fingers curled, but they still question whether he’s faking it. Gee guys, maybe the best way to know is to go in and find out? Then Sam goes flying against the wall. Nope, not faking that.
Sam’s arms are flailing, his entire body is tensed up and he’s still making those noises while his eyes are rolling to the back of his head. If it smells like a duck… Sam gets tossed some more across the room until Dean and Bobby race in and grab him. They hold him down on the ground while Bobby takes off his belt and puts it in Sam’s mouth, giving him something to bite down on. I guess another man’s dirty leather belt is better than biting off your own tongue but, ick!
This part is really hard to watch. My stomach still turns at the thought of Sam having those hard convulsions on the floor, biting down so hard on that belt I’d though he’d eat it, his veins bulging out of his neck and the whites of his eyes showing since his eyeballs are rolled up. I’m getting weepy just describing it. Damn you show for making me care about these characters so much!
I’m not the only one having a hard time though, for Dean stares at Sam, completely unnerved. Bobby tries to get Dean’s attention, for they’re going to have to strap Sam down, but Dean’s too stunned to react at first. Finally Bobby gets through and Dean agrees while Sam is still seizing. Geez, how does Sam survive this? Awesome job Jared. It’s really convincing.
Later, Sam wakes up on the cot all better now. Whew, I was worried. Except his arms and legs are now handcuffed to the cot. Sam sees Dean at the foot of the bed, telling him they had to do that since the demon blood was flinging him across the room. Dean then doesn’t waste anytime asking Sam how he could do this to himself. Sam tells him he knows why. Oh, that’s right, Lilith, and revenge. “Revenge for what? For sending me to hell? Did you happen to notice I’m back, alive and kicking? So what’s the point?”
It’s the apocalypse stupid. Sam tries to explain and this scene exemplifies the awesome camera work we get from Robert Singer in this episode. His wide angle shots of the mostly empty room often show an isolated Sam in the center, accenting brilliantly the fact that Sam is lost in his own world. It’s great here especially, for until the camera pulls away and shows Sam talking alone, we don’t know Dean is a hallucination. Awesome storytelling by the camera there.
While Sam is having his phantom conversation with Dean, in which Dean points out God picked him to kill Lilith, the real Dean and Bobby upstairs realize Sam has taken a turn for the worse. I love how these two scenes are woven together, for they really heighten the drama of the situation. Bobby asks if they’re”absolutely sure” they’re doing the right thing. Dean says they saw what’s happening to Sam down there, the demon blood is killing him. Bobby’s had enough. “No, we are.” What they’re doing isn’t working, and he doesn’t know how much longer Sam will last. Dean stands his ground, refusing to give Sam demon blood. “And if he dies?” Bobby asks. “Then at least he dies human!”
Sam’s strapped to the bed, looking sick and helpless, while an angry not!Dean circles him, like a creature going in for the kill. “I know why you really drink that blood Sam.” A fatigued Sam pleads with him to leave him alone, but not!Dean keeps going. “It makes you feel strong, invincible, big bad wolf in a world of little pigs.” Sam tells him he’s wrong, but not!Dean keeps going. “It’s more than that isn’t it? It’s because your whole life you felt different, am I right?” Sam weakly tells him to stop. “I hit a little close to home, huh?” Sam starts to struggle against the cuffs to no avail, and must listen to this completely trapped.
“You’re not different because you were some a lonely kid or because of your weirdo family.” Not!Dean leans over and delivers the blow. “Because you’re a monster.” Sam yells at him to shut up, and goes crazy yanking at the cuffs now. Not!Dean lays into him more. “Always a monster. And you only feel right when sucking down more poison and more evil!” Sam is on the brink of tears, unable to hear anymore.
Back to the real Bobby and Dean. “I would die for him in a second, but I won’t let him do this to himself. I can’t. I guess I found my line. I won’t let my brother turn into a monster.” Back to not!Dean, who bluntly tells Sam “Monster, Sam, you’re a monster. I tried so hard to pretend we were brothers, that you weren’t one of the filthy things that we hunt. We aren’t even the same species. You’re nothing to me.” Sam’s falling apart now. “Don’t say that to me. Don’t you say that to me!” Sam turns away in agony, and we’re back to the wide shot of Sam alone in the room. Sam realizes it too, and sinks into the cot in exhaustion. That was one intense depiction of him going through his worst nightmare.
This part here reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in “Yellow Fever.” Dean hallucinates an evil Sam, who flings him against the wall and chokes him just before flaring the yellow eyes. That episode revealed Dean’s two greatest fears, going back to Hell, and Sam turning into a monster. The latter obviously stuck with him, for that’s pretty serious that he’d rather see Sam dead than become that monster.
Just when we’re catching our breaths over that intense moment, we get another shocker. Stop guys, you’re killing me! Sam is seen in the same position later, when it’s dark. He’s still chained to the bed. He sighs over his sorry predicament and then suddenly, the handcuffs one by one unlock on their own. Then the door opens. A confused Sam calls out, but no one is there. Just like any caged bird longing to be free, Sam in stealth mode goes upstairs.
Then we see Castiel hiding under the stairs. Cas, you bastard! What are you doing??? Cas does his angel mojo thing and closes the door with his mind, locking it tight. Sam gets upstairs grabs his coat, and brushes by a sleeping Bobby and Dean. Time to find his dealer.
Castiel is at a harbor, and while I’m no expert when it comes to the state of South Dakota, I imagine being a land locked state its a little short of harbors. Perhaps Castiel flew to Minnesota? Anyway, Anna appears, pretty much saying what we all want to, what the hell have you done you bastard? Sam drinking demon blood is “much worse than we thought.” We? Who’s we? No time to speculate, for two angel goons come to take her away. “You really shouldn’t have come,” Castiel tells her, completely riddled by guilt. Aw Cas, they didn’t completely ruin you with the ass reaming.
Sam is breaking into a car, and suddenly behind him is the click of a shotgun. Gulp! Oh wait, it’s Bobby. Sam, thinking what we all are, tells Bobby he won’t shoot him. Bobby tries to appeal to Sam, telling him to get back inside. Sam says no, and damn does he look bad. The makeup people are doing too convincing a job, for the way Sam looks, he should be on his death bed by now.
Bobby keeps the gun on him, telling Sam they’re only trying to help him. Sam again points out Bobby can’t shoot him, Bobby warns him not to test him. Sorry Bobby but even I see that’s a flimsy threat. Bobby pushes the shotgun into Sam’s middle, so Sam grabs the barrel and moves it slowly up to his heart. “Then shoot,” Sam says, getting all teary as he looks Bobby in the eye. Bobby gets teary, I get teary and then Sam ruins the mood by quickly grabbing the shotgun and knocking Bobby out with it. Sam feels guilty about it though, and reacts with a “what am I doing” look before throwing down the shotgun in disgust. He drives away, leaving an unconscious Bobby on the ground. Oh Sam, how could you?
Bobby and Sam open the panic room door and inspect, trying to figure out how Sam got out. The devil’s traps were broken, so the assumption is Ruby did it, even though she doesn’t have the goods to open the door. Dean thinks that’s a good enough reason to put killing her first on his to do list, and heads off to find Sam. “I thought you were an angel duty,” Bobby says. “I am, in my car, on the way to kill the bitch.” Dean is so good at spelling it out. Bobby points out that Sam will be impossible to find, but Dean has ideas.
Okay, this is a rare treat on this show. The next scene is in a nice, tastefully done hotel room. You know the set designers have been chomping at the bit to do one like this for a while. The camera makes sure we get a long look at this cozy room until it gets to Sam waiting on the couch. Yikes! He’s a mess. Usually he’s prettier than these motel rooms.
Sam is pretty jumpy, and obviously very broken by what’s happened. He also looks like a powderkeg ready to go off. There’s a knock and Sam opens the door, and Ruby is all smiles over the honeymoon suite. Yeah, I want to slap her too. Doesn’t she see what she’s reduced this poor man to?
Sam asks if she busted him out of the room. “How could I Sam? The whole thing is engineered to bite me in the ass.” Sam wonders who then, Ruby doesn’t care. Funny how no one wants to get to the bottom of that. Maybe next week. Sam wants to know where’s she been for three weeks. She’s been out tracking Lilith. Likely story. She’s trying to string you along Sam, so you’ll need her more than ever and be willing to do anything for your next fix. Dealers do that. Sam stands by the door, looking at her with his gaunt face and super sad puppy dog expression, and I end up picking up my own puppy and giving him a big hug. There’s just something about that look that got me in a puppy clutching mood..
Ruby lowers her guard a bit. “I’m sorry you’re hurting Sam. I had no idea Dean would do that to you.” “You and me both,” a devastated Sam replies. I guess it’s going to take him a while to get past this. Or never.
Ruby guesses the honeymoon suite wasn’t to impress her. Nope. Dean’s going to come after him and knows all his habits, his aliases, everything. Sam’s willing to do what it takes to shake him. Ruby, who’s standing on a platform near the bed so she can actually be eye-level with freakishly tall Sam, tries to be sympathetic, running her hand through his hair. “It’s sad. That things have gotten this bad between you two.”
Sam doesn’t care. He abruptly grabs Ruby and throws her on the bed. He climbs on top of her and after a few seconds of naughty foreplay (since blood play requires twisted rituals), slides down her in a sultry way and goes for what he really wants. The knife in her boot. Ruby gets turned on, while Sam stares at the knife in eager anticipation. These two are very sick puppies, aren’t they? Sam grabs her forearm, slices, and goes for his snack. She smiles as if this is better than sex. I’m sure for demons it is.
Dean is with his own girl, the Impala. He’s fixing something with the engine. Interesting parallel between the two brothers, don’t you think? Bobby tells Dean his car was found. In the same town where it was ditched, two cars were stolen. An older beat up Honda, and a very sweet Escalade. Dean says the stolen Escalade doesn’t sound like Sam, so that must be what he took. Dean’s off to check it out.
Sam and Ruby are in bed, both in their underwear. Okay, um, they’re sharing a bed and blood, but not, you know? These two are really strange. Sam is looking way better. They both are pretty cozy and casual, but I guess it is the honeymoon suite. Ruby tells Sam his appetite is getting stronger, which is good, for it means he’s ready to kill Lilith. Just in time too, for there are only two or three seals left. Sam is shocked. “Where are the angels?” Ruby shrugs, “Screwing the pooch.” According to the urban dictionary, that means “to fuck things up royally.” I’ll say!
So, Ruby decides to share a demon Sunday school story. The final seal is broken by “Lucifer’s first.” God prefers humans to angels, Lucifer gets jealous, and “twists and tempts a human soul into the very first demon as a screw you to God.” Sam, who even though he’s really smart, makes the instant assumption that was Lilith. Granted this show takes liberties, but from what I read Lilith pretty much turned on her own. Ruby doesn’t tell him different, only confirming she’s older than she looks. The plan is easy, Sam kills Lilith, Lucifer stays in his cage.
Oh, these poor Winchester boys. First Castiel tricks Dean into swearing an oath based on an uncertain belief (he’s saving Sam) and now Sam is being tricked by Ruby to believe killing Lilith will prevent the apocalypse. I’m willing to bet Lucifer hasn’t “twisted” a human yet, and that person ends up being Sam. Of course we won’t know until the finale, so all in good time.
Anyway, back to pillow talk, Sam asks Ruby if she’s been able to find Lilith. She’s found a member of her “entourage,” a personal chef. Sam asks what that means. “You don’t want to know.” So, because Sera Gamble wants to be as twisted as Eric Kripke, we find out. Two nurses in a maternity ward talk about a nurse in a nearby hospital walking out with two babies. The nurse claimed she didn’t remember doing it. They look at the roomful of precious babies, and the one nurse calls them “delicious” before her eyes go black. Way to bring up the Lilith baby eating legend guys!
Sam, who’s had a much needed shower and is looking great with his hair slicked back, talks with Ruby about finding this nurse. Ruby pulls out a knife and tells Sam he better help himself to “more” now, for time is running out. Sam gets this devastating sad look as he grabs the knife. “I wish he’d trusted me, you know.” Oh Sam, you do remember your brother. “I just hope, you know, when this is over, I hope we can fix things.” Ruby tries to care, but I think she’s dying to get off on Sam sucking her blood. That whore.
Bobby calls Dean, there’s a lot of demon activity in a town named Cold Spring near where the Escalade was ditched. Dean’s off to check it out. But Bobby sends his words of wisdom first. “Us finding Sam, it’s got to be about getting him back, not pushing him away. I know you’re mad Dean, I understand, you’ve got the right to be, but I’m just saying, be good to him anyway. You’ve got to get through to him.” Man is he a much better Dad than John Winchester.
Sam leaves the hotel room and you know what’s coming. There’s Dean, hiding around the corner, watching him go. Obviously, he’s working on that “to do” list first. Dean goes into the room, and Ruby’s alone in the room, back turned while she goes through her bag. She turns around, Dean attacks, stabs her in the arm, and they struggle for control until Sam comes in, grabs the knife from Dean, and pushes him away. I’m assuming Sam went outside and saw the Impala. It’s hard to miss!
Sam tells Dean to take it easy, but Dean is pretty mad. “Well that must have been some party you two had going, considering how hard you tried to keep me from crashing it. Well, solid try, but here I am.” Sam tells Dean he’s glad he’s there, for they can talk about this. “As soon as she’s dead, you can talk all you want.” Oh yeah, that’s being good to Sam. Way to listen to Bobby there Dean. Sam tells Ruby to get out of there. Dean says she’s not going anywhere, but Sam has the knife and stands in Dean’s way. She flees without hesitation, playing the scared damsel. Right, how much do you want to bet she’s standing in the hall after that, grinning from ear to ear over her evil plan to divide the brothers working famously.
.Dean’s madder. He tells Sam she’s poison, and look what she did to him. “She ups and vanishes for weeks at a time, leaves you cracking out for another hit.” Sam gives the now tiresome excuse, she was looking for Lilith. Dean can’t believe Sam is falling for that. “That is French for manipulating your ass ten ways from Sunday.” Ha! Great line. Sam tells Dean he’s wrong, Dean tells Sam he’s lying to himself. That part is true. “I just want you to be okay. You would do the same for me, you know you would.”
Sam wants Dean to listen, and throws the knife on the bed. He mentions the lead on a demon close to Lilith, and wants Dean to come along. “That sounds great. As long as it’s you and me. Demon bitch is a deal breaker. You kiss her goodbye, we can go right now.” Sam rolls his eyes, and says he needs her to help him kill Lilith. Dean turns around and swipes his face in front of the camera. That’s a clever way of showing he’s pulling together what little patience he’s got.
Sam knows Dean can’t “wrap his head around this” but hopes someday he’ll understand. “I’m the only one that can do this Dean.” Dean turns around, telling him he’s not the one that’s going to do this. Now this whole thing starts to resemble Sam’s earlier hallucination with Dean, except its real. It’s brilliant. You know, from this point forward, I’m going to show the dialogue. It says it all.
Sam: Right, that’s right, I forgot, the angels think it’s you.
Dean: You don’t think I can?
Sam: No, you can’t. You’re not strong enough.
Dean: Who the hell are you?
Sam: I’m being practical here, I’m doing what needs to be done.
Dean: Yeah, you’re not going to do a single damn thing.
Sam (in an angry outburst): Stop bossing me around Dean! Look, my whole life, you take the wheel, you call the shots, and I trust you, because you’re my brother. Now I’m asking you, for once, trust me.
Dean: No. You don’t know that you’re doing Sam.
Sam: Yes, I do.
Dean: Then that’s worse!
Sam: Why? Look I’m telling you-
Dean: Because it’s not something you’re doing, it’s what you are!
Sam looks at him with dismay.
Dean: It means-
Oh, this part kills me. Sam asks what, tears up and then says “no,” for he knows what’s coming next. Then he toughens up and tells Dean to say it. “It means you’re a monster.” That’s the crushing blow, right there. Sam lets the tears pool, pursues his lips and nods, obviously feeling the sting. Dean lets his customary single tear slide down his cheek as well. So this is the part where Sam sulks and leaves, right?
Wrong! This is super hopped up on demon blood Sammy, now with 50 percent more unpredictability. Sam suddenly goes into a rage, and clocks Dean one real good, knocking his brother to the floor. I think Dean just unleashed the “monster.” Dean gets up, looks at Sam with defiance, and throws his own fist straight at the camera. Time for a break. No! Not at the good part!
Luckily, thanks to fast forward on the DVR, I don’t have to wait long. Dean punches Sam a few times, Sam blocks and then goes to town. He punches Dean a few times, throws him into the mirror, and then throws him through the room divider, just like he did in “Sex and Violence.” No wonder they’re always getting rooms with those dividers. They make great weapons.
In going through the divider this time though, Dean also smashes through a glass accent table. He’s on the ground, helpless and hurt, with pieces of glass all over him. Sam steps through the broken part with a raging, out of control look in his eye. He comes over to Dean, kneels down, and starts choking him! For once Sam is the choker instead of the chokee, but doing it to a defenseless Dean? Wow, Sam has gone evil.
Dean fights for air and his eyes start to flutter, and then Sam lets go. Let me see if I can get through this next part without bawling my eyes out. Sam snarls at Dean and tells him in a very resentful voice, “You don’t know me. You never did, and you never will.” He goes for the door.
Dean, still lying on the floor, issues a final ultimatum. “If you walk out that door, don’t you ever come back.” Sam looks at him like that suits him fine and leaves. Dean rolls around on the floor, unable to get up and alone, and we graphically see his world of hurt, both physically and emotionally. Then I see the plasma TV on the wall in the closing shot, along with modern phone. Damn, Sam did pick a nice place.
This is where I went off and had my nervous breakdown before coming back and watching again, and again. Damn you Sera Gamble!!!! I love you babe, this was a masterpiece. Big season four finish next week! Stay tuned…
Elle2’s Review – When the Levee Breaks by Elle2 May 9, 2009
I loved this episode Sera Gamble you are brilliant
Finally, the long-awaited glimpse inside Sam Winchester’s head; it’s a mess in there. We’ve seen glimpses into Dean’s head several times over the seasons: What is and What Should Never Be, Dream a Little Dream of Me and a neat treat last week in The Rapture. That boy’s head is a lot clearer which is shocking considering what he eats I guess all that demon blood coursing through Sam’s veins is affecting his mind “˜cause he goes on quite a journey, a journey filled with pity, denial, self-justification and finally confrontation! no surprise, Sera Gamble wrote this.
There are so many layers to this episode and, if I tried to cover them all, I’d never get this done. I’ve watched it three times and even after the third time I found other angles I could develop but have decided to stick with what I’ve presented here. I’ll likely be searching some other sites to get insights from other writers and I invite you to comment on those aspects that you found especially compelling. Here we go!
I’m not drinking the demon blood for kicks:
No you aren’t, Sam, but your hallucinations give great insight into how you view yourself and how you justify your actions.
Stage one: Sam’s a victim, he’s helpless and he’s out of control. I’m not surprised that, after Dean locks the door and tells Sam he’s been benched, that Sam goes on a pity party. Imagining himself restrained and tortured by Alastair is his way of reminding himself that as a baby he was helpless while a demon dripped blood in his mouth and altered his future. The restraints are symbolic of how helpless a six-month-old baby is. His polite pleading with Alastair to stop shows the innocence of an infant who can’t formulate the thoughts of: “Don’t hurt me.”
Awakening Sam quickly moves past his feelings of helplessness, feelings he hates, and enters stage two where he denies all his former idealistic dreams. The very idea of telling a 14-year-old kid to grow up is so anti-Sam but unsurprising. Sam needs to do battle with the conflicting thoughts and emotions inside of himself, how he used to see things in a positive light, how he believed there was a life after hunting, how he had fallen in love and planned a happy, normal future.
As quickly as young Sam brings those things up and challenges Sam for abandoning them older Sam crushes those thoughts by saying there was never going to be anything normal and that things just didn’t “pan out” “sorry kid, grow up.” If he embraces those aspects of his personality, then he has to embrace that what young Sam is telling him is true, that he put himself in this situation and that he has failed himself; he has to concede that what he’s been doing is wrong and he can’t do that yet, so he ends that hallucination by supporting his position, he’s fated to turn evil so might as well get on with it or embrace it as a gift.
Stage three brings the balm to his weary mind. Note that he sees the pitcher of water and longs for it but never, not even when it’s all over, takes a drink; why should he, ‘mom’ has refreshed his soul. Having gotten through his sense of being a victim and suppressed any thoughts that might lead to him questioning his choices he creates the illusion of support. His churlish passive/aggressive behavior shows just how ready for the fight he is.
Needing to shore up his badly deteriorating defenses he conjures mom on the night of her death and then has her tell him all that he has deluded himself into believing, that he’s making the hard choices to get the job done, that he is cursed but strong and smart enough to turn it into a gift and use it against the demons, that he’s strong and Dean is weak, that Dean is terrified and should be left behind and that Sam has to make her death meaningful but not for revenge, no, better, for justice. Nice touch.
Lies catch up to us though and Sam’s catch up to him when this whirlwind tour of his fevered mind is interrupted with a dose of demon blood reality. Nothing like seeing your face lined with black veins and then writhing on the floor only to be hurled against the walls to shake you out of your delusions. The fact that stage four is a mixture of reality (the restraints) and fantasy (Dean’s presence) shows that Sam’s defenses are crumbling despite his best efforts. Finally Sam confronts himself!and he does it in the guise of Dean.
The fact that Sam chooses to see Dean here is telling on multiple levels, first of all, it’s an admission that Dean really does know him and this is important to Sam. Sam is also desperate to not lose his brother. It’s also an admission, albeit not a freely given admission but the subconscious is quirky that way telling us things we need to know not necessarily what we want to know, that what he’s doing is wrong. Sam tries every weapon in his arsenal in quick succession and misses the mark with each one: Kill Lilith, get revenge, stop the apocalypse, left with nothing but the naked truth Sam finally admits that it is his need for control that has driven him to choose this path. Pride has controlled him. For all that Sam thought he was in control he now has to face the fact that pride has been controlling him. Realizing he’s lied to himself he shifts gears and shows his greatest fear, rejection by Dean and losing Dean and he paints the portrait of what is to come later on.
This hallucination is the breakthrough, note after this round Sam fell asleep. His peace is short-lived though. Awakened and unexpectedly freed, even after having made a breakthrough, Sam is not out of the woods and like any junkie needing a fix, he goes in search of his dealer. The fact that he begs Bobby to kill him, however, shows that Sam is no longer lying to himself, at least not when he’s alone. He’s convinced he’s already the monster of his last hallucination and begs for release. Knowing that won’t happen he makes his escape. Adrift, alone he has nowhere to go but to the one person that, in his fragile and strung-out state of mind, can help!enter Ruby.
I’ll interject some words of a song I adore. I think much of what we’ve seen over two seasons from Ruby with respect to Sam, especially this season, are in these words:
SLOW FADE, Casting Crowns
Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near.
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray
The journey from your mind to your hands is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand, you just might be sinking.
It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade; it’s a slow fade.
Having just recently written in another article that Kripke is telling a complex story in masterful style and much of what is to be understood of this journey will not and cannot be fully understood until it is complete I’ll take a break from my dislike of Ruby [who by the way I believe we are meant to dislike as she is evil and thus I’m simply going with the flow J] and take a little trip down memory lane of this devious little thing that is Ruby.
Magnificent Seven: Appears mysteriously and introduces herself to Sam.
The Kids Are All Right: Time to dangle a carrot or two, she tells Sam there’s more to Azazel than he thought AND she says she can save Dean; Sam is more than willing to let her live.
Sin City: Further cementing her guise as helpful demon she repairs the Colt.
Malleus Maleficarum: A master stroke of manipulation. Ruby saves Dean’s life and by no accident is revealed as having once been human. Playing to his love for his brother and his growing fear of hell she ensnares Dean in her web and unbalances him a bit.
Jus in Bello: A test of Sam’s moral boundaries shows they’re slipping and proves that Dean remains an obstacle!not to worry, his deal is coming due.
No Rest For the Wicked: Sam’s desperate and Ruby is ready with the help!not really but it is time to start reeling Sam in. If only Dean hadn’t been in the way, not to worry though, Dean’s not long for this world courtesy of Lilith; By the way, how did Ruby get out of that devil’s trap? I think Lilith released her. Ruby does slip up a bit here and that’s why I think someone else released her from the trap. She’s been careful all along not to show her true colors but, once Dean trapped her and made it clear he was not going to release her, she slipped her mask: “I wish I could smell the flesh sizzle off your bones” Tsk, tsk, Ruby!that’s not very ladylike.
Lazarus Rising: [and pre-LR] Ruby came in all sympathetic and helpful, she even gave in when Sam rediscovered a portion of his moral boundaries!”Whose body are you riding?” Knowing this was make or break she shed one body and found another. Disarming him quickly by playing to his loss and emotions she went for the gold, revenge and hooked him. In Lazarus Rising she plays it very cool when Dean’s unexpected arrival could have thrown her plans awry; she backs off and this allows her an opportunity to gauge Sam, he’s not willing to stop. She’s got him.
In the Beginning/Metamorphosis: Finding Sam a willing if only slightly hesitant partner she quietly resumes her manipulation of him under the guise of training and saving people; how nice, she takes the freshly demon exorcised guy to the emergency room.
I Know What You Did Last Summer/Heaven and Hell: Time to reinsert herself into the boys’ lives. Sam has found a bit of his moral boundaries, unfortunately for Ruby, however, the upside is that Dean learns how Ruby “˜saved’ Sam’s life while Dean was in hell. This and a little torture at Alastair’s hands earns her a pass, again.
Criss Angel: Ruby gets her protege back and is in business again, she’s sure not to let up now and likely increases his “˜toning up’ schedule.
Death Takes A Holiday/On The Head of a Pin: No doubt Ruby’s efforts are paying off as Sam is now much stronger and no longer resistant, victory is at hand.
Which brings us to the present, having purposefully left Sam long enough to be weakened, feel his lack of control [something she knows he craves] she shows up at ‘just the right time’ and plays Sam to perfection. She comes not only with what he needs, but what he wants which is sympathy and information. She is contrite, she is informative, she’s sorrowful at the break between the brothers and she’s more than willing to feed his habit. She’s finally got Sam right where she wants him to be. Be careful what you wish for, Ruby, should the dog decide to bite the hand that feeds him!
You’re a dick these days
Kripke upends things again. We expect manipulation from demons but angels? Granted we know the angels are stringing Dean along giving him information on a need to know basis but a deal? Dean, Dean, Dean, you got played just as smoothly as Ruby played Sam in No Rest for the Wicked.
Castiel is extremely conflicted at what he did in getting Dean to swear his obedience. I also wonder at his cryptic choice of words. Kripke is known for his enigmatic wording , by the way, it’s fun to play with the thesaurus on your computer, cryptic and enigmatic are synonyms, hee, but I’m wondering at that final little bit tossed in there by Cas: as swiftly and obediently as your own father’s? Hmm, I’m remembering Dean’s less than swift and obedient responses to dad in Dean Man’s Blood and Devil’s Trap, perhaps this is a little wiggle room instilled by Cas? Time will tell.
The angels are proving what Kripke said from the beginning, other than Bobby there hasn’t been anyone introduced that truly has Sam and Dean’s best interests at heart [anyone that lives that is or doesn’t disappear like Missouri, Jo, Ellen]. The angels have wanted Dean’s obedience from the outset and he’s been slow to give it but, as Uriel so astutely showed in Heaven and Hell, apply the right pressure and Dean caves. Castiel never tells Dean that he can, through his obedience, save Sam from having to do whatever Sam is about to do; he simply infers it and let’s Dean’s love and devotion carry the day.
As for why he let Sam out, notice that happened after each brother reached a watershed moment. Sam realized he’d lost his internal battle, as I noted above in the progression of his hallucinations, and Dean found his line. Dean was not going to allow Sam out of the panic room to be turned into a monster and right after that Castiel opened the door. At the very least, by opening the door and affecting Sam’s escape Castiel has forced Dean into action since he’ll go after Sam. This will ensure Dean’s swift obedience as nothing else would have.
I know him ““ He doesn’t know me as well as he thinks:
They’re both right. Dean knows Sam very well as proven by the ease with which he finds him. However, Dean doesn’t know Sam as well as he thinks as shown by his choice of words [monster] and his issuance of an ultimatum. Really, Dean, you saw how well that fared eight years ago when John and Sam had this argument, what did you think was going to happen.
I find it interesting that in this scene we get throwbacks to Season 1 in two critical areas: first, Sam tries to kill Dean. He tried to do it in Asylum when he was under the influence of Dr. Ellicott, and he tries to do it here under the influence of demon blood. The difference between the two is that in Asylum Dean had unloaded his gun thus saving himself; here Sam stops himself thus saving Dean. The second throwback is in the ultimatum. We learned in Dead Man’s Blood that John had issued the very same ultimatum to Sam that Dean did here, both times ended the same.
Did Dean do the right thing locking Sam up and trying to “˜dry him out’? Absolutely, resoundingly yes. Going dark, camping near the gates of evil, using demon powers for good, disguise it how you want, is never right. You cannot scoop hot coals into your lap without getting burned, sorry, Sam, but you can’t. Sam’s had plenty of chances to turn back, his own conscience has been eating at him and he’s had examples of Jack in Metamorphosis and the tragedy of Charlie and Jay from Criss Angel as examples, he’s had warnings by a ghost (After School Special), Pamela (Death Takes a Holiday), Chuck (Monster at the End of!), a ghoul (Jump the Shark) and Anna (The Rapture) and now he knows it himself. His hallucination with Dean was really his own fears coming through!when Dean in person called him a monster, Sam had nowhere else to go and he snapped.
Why did Sam try to strangle Dean, was it to scare him off? Was he just out of control due to the monster comment and then ‘sobered up’ at the last moment? Just like John is a pressure point for Dean so is the idea of being a freak, a monster, evil is a pressure point for Sam.
So where do we go from here? Are we going to “Carry on wayward son?” “Will there be peace when we are done?” or “Will we cry some more?” I have no idea.
I do know this much, we must all be careful what we wish for. I’m in with the rest of you in wishing eagerly for this Thursday to come (or Friday for those of you in the Space Channel world, or in whatever way people get to see these episodes out there internationally) but here’s the rub, once this Thursday comes and goes, we’ve got about 18 to 20 weeks before any new episodes air. Hold on, I think it’s going to be a long, nail biting summer with a whole lot of “Damn You, Kripke”
So, next up is the season ending Lucifer Rising. What do you think of this episode now that you know how everything goes down. Was Dean wrong in the way he detoxed Sam? How does “at least he dies human” relate to Dean being willing to turn Sam inhuman by shoving an angel in him because he can’t live with Sam dead? How do you feel about Sam? Can the relationship with Dean ever truly be repaired after this episode? I will put my thoughts in the comments. What are your thoughts?