Don’t you just love it when an episode focuses on both brothers and has a plot that equally exposes what’s going on inside those heads of theirs? Even better, that both brothers are written in character? Remember when that used to be a regular thing? My inner fan girl is flailing in happiness. See, that isn’t so hard, is it?
Bravo, bravo to writer Robert Berens, who chalked up another winner this time with “The Werther Project.” I’ve really grown to love Berens’ style, which is focused on telling a fluid story while respecting the parameters of the “Supernatural” universe. Throw in some great dialogue that gives richness to the characters and this is the kind of episode I wish we had every week. Entertaining, suspenseful, unpredictable, balanced, and for once I don’t feel like I’m at the firing range taking potshots at all the holes littering the plot. It allows me to focus on what’s important, which is these characters that we love so much.
For any of us that had doubts that Sam is feeling guilty about what he’s been doing, his little adventure in the house put that to rest. I love that his inner guilt was boldly expressed by the hallucination of the latest innocent victim. Applied with a sledgehammer expressed. Sam’s subconscious is not subtle.
Suzie: I survived 40 years in this house. Locked down and one visit from a putz like you…
Sam: I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
Suzie: Lot of good sorry does. Look at me…LOOK AT ME (points to her corpse). There she is, the first casualty of your misguided mission. But what’s another human life to you? Anything’s worth it as long as you two make it out alive. And how’s that search going? Any closer to a cure?
Sam: This isn’t real. You’re not real.
Suzie: You think Dean’s the wild card, the loose cannon. But don’t you see, making deals with witches, opening pandora’s box down there, you’re the reckless one. You’ll do anything to cling to that doomed brother of yours. How many more will die Sammy? You know it, you have to be stopped. And the only one that can stop you is you.
Now, granted the hallucination was an enchanted spirit designed to use words to get Sammy to blow his brains out, but that last sentence certainly packs a punch, doesn’t it? “The only one that can stop you is you.” Yet Sam carried on. He nearly died bleeding himself dry just so he could get those codes to Rowena to save Dean. I do accept though that by the time he was near death, he was probably so far out of his mind he didn’t realize that he was about to die, but the foreshadowing is obvious. As long as Sam tries to go it alone, he’s sealing his doom.
I do wonder if Sam’s desperation led to carelessness in this situation. He knew from the tape that a violent enhancement would be released, but he opened the box anyway when time ran out. Did he think the spell would work, or did he not finish it? Either way, he did cause Suzie’s death because of it. That’s another death in attempt to save Dean, the first being Lester early in the season. Given the fact that Sam almost died himself, it means that he is unable to draw that line and will do anything. Yet turns out, Suzie was wrong. There is one other person that can stop him.
To satisfy the Mark, Dean is going back to his days in Purgatory. He’s taking on whole vamp nests by himself and feeling good doing it. It’s primal, it feels right, and he can get away with it. So no wonder when he was affected by the enchantment he went back to that primal place with his old pal Benny. (Kudos to Berens for finding a perfectly plausible way to bring Ty Olsson back). It appeases the killer within.
Dean is hiding his own shocking secret though. Okay, it really isn’t that shocking. But one has to wonder, why did Dean bring this up with himself?
Benny: So can’t leave, don’t want to stay, bit of a bind, ain’t it? Good thing there’s always a third way out. You can’t say you haven’t been thinking about it.
Dean: That ain’t gonna happen, ever.
Benny: Come on Dean, I know you can see it, the purity, the honor.
Dean: There’s no honor in that.
Benny: You just want to wait for the mark to reclaim you? Go out swinging, die top side, then what? Maybe kill a few humans, kill Cas, kill your brother, yeah, that’s mighty honorable.
Dean: Shut up.
Benny: Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot…about your plan. You’re going to get Sam and Cas to put you down? You really think they’re going to keep that agreement? Come on. Dean, let’s say they do. Do you think they will ever recover from that? It will…ruin…them. This little backup plan of yours I know you’ve been thinking about it for a time. I know it’s been gnawing at you. You can’t leave that job to them.
I highly suspect that Dean knows what Sam is up to. I don’t think he’s in the dark as much as we think. Sure, he may not know that Sam is consorting with Rowena, but he knows his brother isn’t giving up the search for the cure. Knowing what Sammy is doing to save him, as he’s done with Sam in the past, he also realizes that taking on the burden of having to kill his brother is a fate worse than death. It would destroy him. His fallback that he keeps going until Sam and Castiel end him is loaded with flaws and he knows it. Now that this thought has surfaced though, will he start working on another plan B?
Dean’s current MOC predicament had one plus though, it likely got him out of hot water with the Werther box enchantment. He walked through the whole thing with his hallucination and realized death for him would lead to something much worse. That meant Sam would have to face the unspeakable. The one thing he could never do himself. That’s probably why Sinclair’s box only had a 98 percent lethality rate. There’s always that special case. He was able to deliver the message to Sam that his brother needed to hear…
Sam and Dean
“The universe is started to tell us something we both should already know. We’re stronger together than apart.”
I think the outcome was pretty freaking obvious, but sometimes obvious is needed to get the point across or better yet remind fans what show we are watching. The box required a lot of blood from a member from the Men of Letters. Enough to bleed him dry. In order to conquer the beast, there needed to be two. Interesting how the MOL ancestors never figured that out. No, it took two extraordinary brothers.
That doesn’t mean they won’t fight and disagree though. Brothers fight. Brothers don’t always see eye to eye. We saw an interesting role switch, a parallel to when Sam was infected with demon blood. At least Dean didn’t use the word “freak.”
Dean: Especially with you looking at me like that all the time.
Sam: Like what?
Dean: Like that. Like I’m some sort of a diseased killer puppy.
Both brothers aren’t necessarily in hero mode anymore. It is pure survival mode, and the events of both season 9 and 10 have reinforced that. Sure, each has a conscience and wants to help others, but they’ll never put others ahead of each other. Despite all the secrets and deception, it’s all so they can be out there together. Without one, the other will fall hard. It’s taken them a long time to get to this point, despite all their sacrifices for each other through the years. Now they know for sure one cannot survive without the other.
That explains why Sam carried on with his deception at the end, despite the taunting of his inner monologue. His brother must live. The stakes are so high, time has become crucial as well. I was a little stunned to see Sam chain up Rowena, refusing to let her go until she does what she promised. Oh, I cheered too (she did have it coming), but this type of treachery is not Sam’s style. It again shows how desperate he is. I still think this is all going to backfire on him somehow, but I like that Sam is still maintaining a level of control. This can’t go well though as long as Dean is in the dark.
What I’m most curious about is what is Dean going to do about his hidden secret? How does he plan on freeing Sam and Castiel from this burden, or will he? Will he just keep taking out vamps and other monsters to satisfy the Mark? I suspect this little adventure is going to prompt some sort of action instead of the denial he’s been in so far. If it doesn’t, I’ll be highly disappointed.
Most importantly, when will Sam and Dean share with each other their burdens? Both work on a solution together? Yeah, it’s probably going to escalate until something goes very wrong and feelings are hurt. That’s their MO. After all, there are definite flaws in the brotherly relationship. These brothers are human too. But they’ve always realized at the crucial moments that without each other they are nothing (think “Sacrifice”). Dean probably remembers getting himself killed when he went to face Metatron alone in “Do You Believe in Miracles.” Will they see the light in time this season? I’m dying to find out.
Google maps alert: It is a 5 1/2 hour drive from Tulsa, OK to Lebanon, KS. You’re welcome.
Did anyone else notice Sam had one of those pine tree air fresheners in his car? I still say that Sam needs to get his own car and give the Impala a sibling. Come on, even Castiel has the Lincoln.
Why was imagined Rowena about 1000 times better than the real one? She was far less annoying, that’s for sure. I figured something was up when she showed up with the blue eye shadow and royal blue dress. Isn’t an exaggeration of colors always a clue? Well, it should be. Plus, she used Harry Potter-ish type magic. Only a non-witch would imagine that!
“Tall, white fella…pretty hair.” Yep, that’s our Sammy. When a bitter old recluse notices, then you know Sam’s hair is legendary!
This is the second year in a row Robert Berens has bled Sam nearly dry. So is that his fallback? Can this be a yearly thing, please? Woozy and pale Sam is kind of sexy.
Who else was freaking out over that scene in the kitchen between Dean and Suzie? It was tense! Ten seasons and this show can still do this to us once in a while. Great job.
Overall grade, an A. The writing was just so superb. I’m wallowing a bit over having three great ones in a row after getting spitting mad over the horrible “Paint It Black.” Thank you show. There are four episodes left. Don’t screw it up guys.