Supernatural began with the destruction of the nuclear family—and ten years later we see that theme continue with the Novak family in “Angel Heart.”
The episode revolves around Claire Novak’s search for her missing mother. She’s desperate for answers, needing to know why her mother left her after Castiel possessed her father, Jimmy. Most of all, Claire needs closure—as do all the Novaks—surrounding the irrevocable loss of their nuclear family. In the aftermath of its destruction, however, Supernatural proves yet again that this is not the end—it is only a beginning. For Sam and Dean, it is helping Claire here that helps remind them why they do what they do. For Sam and Dean, it is their unconventional family tree that they’ve built through the years that makes what they do worth it—and pushes them to fight all the harder for each other.
First, let’s look at Amelia and Jimmy Novak.
In the beginning of the episode, we watch Jimmy Novak enter a house and a woman rush down the stairs, calling his name. It’s Amelia, overjoyed yet tentative at seeing her long lost husband returned to her after all this time. As they reunite, however, it becomes clear that this touching scene isn’t all that it seems. They are emotional as Jimmy repeatedly tells her that he’s sorry—and then he starts to ask about Claire, wanting to know how their little girl is. Amelia is pulled from this moment as she realizes her arm is bleeding profusely, and she is jerked awake to realize it was all a dream.
A man is cutting on her, and we see the trademark wisps of her soul seeping through the cut and feeding into him. He soothes her and pushes her back into the dream reunion with her husband—but this time it seems to be different. Amelia hears Jimmy as if he’s far away. It’s foggy and even more unreal than their last reunion. And as she struggles to reach through to Jimmy, it seems he’s stuck in a loop, simply asking the same questions, repeating the same lines as if in a play.
When Castiel and Sam make it to the house Amelia is being held hostage at, she is pulled into the same dream sequence, running to meet Jimmy and go through the torturous loop yet again. And yet, this time, she is revived to come face to face with Castiel himself. In that moment of consciousness, she starts to attack the angel. She tells him, “I tried to find you! You took my husband!” Castiel doesn’t deny, he doesn’t fight back, he simply tries to soothe her and as she finally calms down from the jarring experience of seeing her dead husband’s face worn by the angel, they can finally talk.
Amelia is devastated to learn that she’s been stuck in this loop for two years. She tells him, “This whole time I was dreaming of finding Jimmy and putting my family back together. You’re not him anymore. I can tell. ” Castiel confirms it, sorrow in his face as he does so. Yet, Amelia doesn’t seem totally hopeless. She tells Castiel, “Not if Claire is still alive—she’s all that matters.”
In the aftermath of Castiel’s insertion into their lives, the Novak family was broken apart and destroyed. Jimmy was gone, forever to be under the guise of the angel. Amelia, wanting nothing more than to put her family back together, went after him. It was the only way she saw them reclaiming what had been taken away from them. If she could find Castiel, she could bring Jimmy home and put everything back together. Her quest left her vulnerable. It’s what allowed someone like Holloway to snare her and feed upon her for so long. And yet, Amelia’s reasoning had been to do this for Claire. She had sent one last postcard to her, saying, “Claire, I’ll be home soon. We’ll be home soon.”
To restore their nuclear family was the only way she could see this ending—was the only way that it could end happily for the Novak family. By the time Castiel finds her, however, that was just as false as the Heaven she was being thrust into repeatedly by the Grigori angel. Her nuclear family would never be complete again. It was irrevocably destroyed and now there was only one outcome that could come for her and the Novaks: closure and new beginnings.
As Claire arrives with Dean and she rushes to see her mother, they are reunited for a brief moment. Rather the Grigori had arrived or not, this was goodbye for them. Castiel had tried to heal Amelia, his restored grace no match for the wounds inflicted upon her over the two year period. She was too damaged, too spent from being used for the angel’s feeding. This becomes obvious as Claire tries to lead her mother out of the barn to freedom. Amelia is too lethargic and unable to stand on her own two feet. Her body is so drained from the time she’s been unconscious and the times the Grigori fed upon her. It was already too late.
And yet, Amelia can make one last gesture in goodbye to her daughter—she can do one last thing that affirms her love for her child and prove that she had never given up on their nuclear family. As the Grigori moves to stab Claire with his sword, Amelia jumps in between, taking the fatal blow instead. She will not allow this angel to kill her daughter. She will not stand by and let another angel ruin the last thing that mattered to her. It is a tragic end for Amelia—and yet it is still only the beginning for her, too.
In the moment she finally arrives in Heaven, she is the one to enter their house and find Jimmy rushing down the stairs to greet her instead. He is relieved and joyed to see her—even if there’s a bittersweet flavor in their reunion. Amelia is finally able to enjoy the reunion she’s been teased with for so long, able to reconnect with her husband and share the news that will allow them both to find peace in the losses they’ve endured since Castiel and the Apocalypse and everything entered their lives and rocked it to its very core.
Jimmy, no longer on the script she’s seen him mimic so many times, asks genuinely about Claire. Amelia can tell him the truth. She has seen Claire and she knows that their daughter is strong and capable. She tells him, “Oh, Jimmy, she grew up so beautiful. She’s so strong.” It is this statement that allows them to embrace and bask in their reunion.
And it allows them to find the closure they needed for so long. They can now be at peace. They can now let go of the horrors and the struggles that they’ve had to bear. Now, they can allow their nuclear family’s destruction to be in the past—knowing that they are together now in Heaven and that their daughter is strong and well on Earth.
But how does this story provide closure for Claire? How does she deal with the aftermath of her nuclear family’s destruction—and how does she find the new beginning in it the way Supernatural has so often shown us through the years?
When we’re first reintroduced to Claire in season ten, she is a wayward and angry teen. She is cynical. Claire, for the last few years, has spent time bouncing from home to home to home, trapped in the foster system and juvenile homes. She has fallen in with the wrong crowds such as Randy—all in the hopes that she can reclaim what she lost when her nuclear family was ripped from her. Claire has been so focused on what she’s lost and has struggled for so long to find her new place without it that she hasn’t taken the time to truly rebuild or find the new family that she could be a part of. Her anger has festered, her insecurities have flourished, and her grief has overwhelmed. Claire, in many ways, cannot move on until she has found the closure surrounding the loss of her mother.
Claire has learned the truth about Castiel and Jimmy. She knows her father is in Heaven. It’s her mother that she needs answers about now. It’s this case that won’t let her go and she can’t find that new beginning until she knows for certain what happened to Amelia. We see her search begin in a bar as she questions a man that she knows her mother was going to meet before her disappearance. She is adamant that he help her. She tells him that her name is Amelia. The man refutes knowing her, and as he leaves the bar she follows.
It’s when he shouts at her, “I don’t know Amelia Novak!” that outs him as being the right lead to finding her mother. Claire, however, can’t get more from him as he knocks her out and forces her into the hospital with a concussion.
When we see her next, it is with Castiel, Sam, and Dean all coming to check in on her and learn why she was attacked by a bar. She denies being there. And when Sam asks her, “What were you doing in an alley outside of a bar,” she retorts, “Wrong place, wrong time, story of my life.”
She finally reveals that she was there to find her mother—because after all “mom’s the only one left I can tell off.”
But it’s obvious that for Claire it’s more than that. She uses her anger to hide her hurt, her worry, and her pain. She doesn’t want to tell her mother off. She wants to know what happened to her so she can either move on or reunite with her. Before they can tell her that they’ll help her find Amelia, Claire flees the hospital. Upon returning to her hotel room to make another run for it, she finds Sam waiting for her in her room.
This surprises and then angers her. She snaps at Sam, “I didn’t ask for your help.”
And yet, it is this intrusion that will help Claire to find her new beginning. Sam looks around her motel room, spotting the maps and information posted on the wall. He remarks, “This is good. I’m impressed.” The praise comes with no strings. He doesn’t demand anything in return for it—or the help he gives her in finding a way to hack into her mother’s credit card statements—save that she at least listen to them. All he wants is for her to give them a chance to help her. This is reaffirmed when Sam tells her about why they hunt, “To help people. To make a difference.”
Claire is stunned that their reasoning is so straight forward, so simple. It’s something she sees reflected in her interactions with Dean. As Castiel and Dean go to investigate Ronnie’s death, Claire tags along. She sees them try and piece the clues together and sees the darker side of what they do in person as she’s confronted with Ronnie’s dead body. It is a bit unnerving, and yet gives her another step to finding her mother. Dean may have raised a fuss when she inserted herself along with Castiel, but in their interactions at the crime scene he is patient.
That patience continues after Dean is left to babysit her while Sam and Castiel chase down the farm house they know Holloway owns. The motel room is full of tension as they both sit together. It’s clear that neither of them want to be there, and so Dean quips, “Alright. You know what, if we stay cooped up in this motel room all night I’m gonna lose my mind. ” Claire remarks, “Spoiler alert: you already have.”
And yet as she follows him out the door to the mini golf course outside, she realizes that Dean wants to just relax and let her relax. Like Sam, he doesn’t demand anything from her. He doesn’t exact any price for taking her to this course. Instead, this is just a moment for them to unwind and for Claire to take her mind off of the fact that Sam and Castiel are looking for her mother—that they might find something she isn’t ready to see. Dean is playful, patient, and sincere in his moments with her. His overjoyed reaction to his hole in one makes her pause and look at him skeptically. He crows, “It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” And when Claire doesn’t get the Caddyshack reference, Dean quips fondly, “I’m done with your whole generation.” It cuts through the tension between the two, allowing her to see beyond the man she last saw at Randy’s or the man that could have killed the two campers she met—but didn’t. Here’s a man that is willing to let her be a teenage girl and to take a breather. She returns the favor when she makes her own hole in one, quoting Happy Gilmore to Dean’s disgusted amusement.
But it isn’t all fun escapism. Dean also gives her a chance to find some of the closure she needs from the loss of her nuclear family. He corroborates what Sam said about their goal in hunting: that they try to help people. Claire scoffs that they didn’t help her family—a truth that still haunts her. He tells her, “Claire, what happened to your dad, I’m sorry, okay, I really am. But, uh, there’s something you gotta know; your dad’s sacrifice was not meaningless, okay he gave up his body, his vessel. Because he did that, Cas was able to save the world, the world. Your father’s a hero, he did not die in vain.”
This is something that Claire needed to hear. While Castiel didn’t do this alone—Claire needed to know that Castiel had done something, that Jimmy hadn’t given up his life for nothing. Claire needed to know that her father was a hero. It’s something she hadn’t heard. It wasn’t something she could find in the foster homes or with people like Randy. This is a statement that allows her to find closure in what happened to her nuclear family. It’ll allow her to close this chapter on her life. The loss of her father will always hurt on some level, but now she knows that it wasn’t in vain, that her father had done something that led to good—that he had helped others by allowing Castiel to be on earth in his vessel.
This closure is reflected again when Claire rushes with Dean to the farm house. Reunited with her mother finally, Claire is able to show her true feelings for her mother. She isn’t angry. She doesn’t “tell her off” as she claimed to Sam. Instead, she is overjoyed and the little girl that she was all those years ago emerges again when her mother’s arms wrap around her. They grieve together the loss of their nuclear family, relieved that they get to see each other yet again.
Unfortunately, this reunion is short lived as the Grigori comes to confirm what Castiel already proved true when he couldn’t heal Amelia. There’s no saving her. She’s been too damaged by what this Watcher Angel has done to her. And as Claire shoots the gun Dean gave her, striking the angel in the chest repeatedly, she’s faced with the fact that this angel will kill her and her mother. He’s raises the sword that he used to kill Ronnie, and moves to stab her through when Amelia jumps in front of her and takes the blow.
This is a tragic end to the reunion they shared. This is a tragic and final end to their nuclear family. Amelia’s death leaves only Claire alive. Claire is the only Novak left to take on the new beginning on earth.
Before the angel can move on Claire, though, Sam, Dean, and Castiel arrive to take up the fight. It’s brutal, quick, and dirty as the angel takes on all three, knocking each one aside over and over. Sam holds the angel while Dean beats on him. Castiel tries to stab him with an angel blade. The Grigori at every turn beats them back. It isn’t until he triumphantly holds an angel blade above Castiel, preparing to kill the angel that he’s struck down. On the other side is Claire, stabbing her mother’s murderer through.
As she returns to her mother to cradle her, she is repentant. The young girl that had been so angry and full of wrath for being abandoned by her parents is contrite as she holds her mother’s cooling body so close. She becomes the young woman Amelia tells Jimmy about here, whispering brokenly to her mother, “I’m sorry.”
And yet, this isn’t the end for Claire. Her nuclear family may have been irrevocably taken from her,but this is a beginning for her, too. As they return to the hotel to make their goodbyes, Sam, Dean, and Castiel each embrace her and allow Claire to know that she is no longer alone. She doesn’t have to do this by herself. Her new family is in them and those they have built their unconventional family tree with. The door is open at Jody Mills, where she can join Alex until she’s on her feet. Dean tells her, “We’re here if you need us—anytime.”
In true Supernatural fashion, the nuclear family may have ended, but in its ashes it has found a new beginning for Claire in a new form in a new family and in a new way of life. She can now move forward rather than looking backward. She isn’t trapped with the questions. She isn’t weighed down as much by what has happened. Instead, she has had closure to allow her to find a future. It may be in “doing homework” and learning more about angels and the sword she claimed. It may be in going to school. It may be in both. Claire can now do something more than search for her lost parents, fight to bring back what can never be fixed and build new.
She can take the Winchester lesson and find new family and build from there.
But what about Sam and Dean? How does this case help them learn and how does it reaffirm what they do? How does it help them to “keep fighting?”
Let’s begin with Dean.
At the start, Dean is reluctant to join in on helping Castiel with Claire. He tells the angel, “Cas, we’re always glad to help, but Claire and I aren’t on the best of terms. I mean, should I even be here?”
And as they enter the hospital room and see Claire, she snaps, “Why did you bring him!” Dean gestures towards Castiel in a “I told you so” manner, standing as far back from the bed as possible. If he could have gotten away with it, it’s easy to see Dean making his way out into the hall. He wanted to get out of this room and get away from this situation as fast as possible. Granted, after the last encounter he had with Claire, it’s no wonder that Dean would be hesitant. He had killed her last father figure and she had set up two people to attack him. Bad blood seemed to flow between them, and that makes Dean wary of getting too involved with Claire or her search for her mother.
As Castiel and Dean make their way to the bar Claire met Ronnie at, Dean asks Castiel point blank, “Where does it end? I’m not trying to be a dick, but truth is you’re not her dad, in fact you’re not anything to her except a constant reminder of someone that’s gone.” As Castiel protests, he tells him, “She’s been surviving on her own for quite a while now and I think partly because she doesn’t have anyone to answer to—there’s nobody holding her back—I’m saying she might be stronger on her own.”
It’s easy to see that this statement is about Dean’s situation as much as it is about Claire. Dean knows that the more Castiel meddles the messier it might become for Claire. After all, it was Castiel’s possession of Jimmy that had kicked off this whole domino effect and to continue to do so could only make matters worse for the young woman. But between the lines about Castiel and Claire’s relationship, Dean’s also talking about himself.
We know that Dean has considered bolting in order to save Castiel and Sam from having to kill him. He confronted that solution when he faced his hallucinations with the Werther Box. Either he stays and lets them take him out, or he eventually runs and gets away from those he cares about so they’ll be safe from him when he loses his battle against the Mark. Dean is clearly trying to push Castiel away somewhat, that he’s preparing a get away perhaps, and that he understands why Claire may have wanted to do much of this alone.
But as they continue to help Claire with her search, we see Dean start to soften. We see him start to embrace the case—albeit too much at times—and we see him start to see why he does this. Dean needed to see from an outside perspective why he hunts. He needed someone to ask those questions, to press for answers about what happened to Jimmy Novak and what it all means. Dean needed reminders of why his choice to possibly flee in order to save his brother and friend from facing him down later isn’t necessarily the answer.
Dean questions Ronnie—harshly. The other man wants nothing to do with them or their quest to find Amelia Novak. The more he resists talking, the more violent Dean becomes. He brutally slams Ronnie’s head into the table repeatedly, getting him to cough up his information. Most of this heightened aggression is clearly the Mark of Cain pushing him—but we can tell underneath all of this brutal anger that Dean does care about Claire. He may not know her well and he may not be invested the same way Castiel is, but she’s yet another person that he can help. She’s just like any other case he’s taken on over years. Dean barely knows any of the people he helps, so helping Claire comes natural. It’s one reason why he keeps hunting. He wants to help others. The Mark, however, pushes him too far and makes him much more violent than necessary to do it.
This leads him to being benched by Sam and Castiel. They sandwich him between them, both pushing him to back down and allow them to search the farm house without him. Dean will stay back with Claire. When Dean protests, Castiel snaps at him, “No fighting, both of you.”
Left with little to do, Dean decides to take Claire out to the mini golf course. It’s a mundane activity. It’s a contrast to the interactions he’s shared with Claire in the past. Dean isn’t violent here. He isn’t aggressive—despite his excited quoting of Caddyshack. Instead, Dean is simply taking the time to show a young woman what it is to have fun. He’s taking his years of experience in helping his brother keep his mind off things from when they were kids and applying it here. Dean doesn’t expect anything from Claire. He just wants her to have a bit of a breather. He wants her to have fun. In this moment, Dean sees her as their latest client, the latest person they’re meant to help. If he can’t help her directly in the case, he’ll help her by allowing her to just be a young woman for a moment.
As she starts to ask him about Castiel, saying, “Like uh, Castiel, helped my dad?” Dean stops to tell her that Castiel is a hero. As much as Claire needed to hear this for closure and the ability to begin her new life, Dean needed to say it and hear it so he can remember why he wants to keep hunting and why its important that he keep fighting the Mark—and perhaps to find a cure for it, too. They do help people even if it does get messy sometimes. They do make a difference. They have saved the world more than once. When it seems hopeless as the Mark sometimes may make it seem, Dean needs to remember all the good it can bring and not dwell on the bad.
When Claire drops her putter into the hole to prove they’re now done with their game, a light bulb goes off in Dean’s head. The hunter may have been taken off the case for the moment, but his hunter brain never stopped. He instantly sees the putter for what it represents in the case—a sword. Dean crows, praising the young woman, “Claire, you’re a genius!”
Back at the hotel, Dean switches into full hunting mode, combing through texts and searching the Internet for various clues to reveal what type of sword might have done this to Ronnie. If they can figure that out, they can figure out the type of angel that is holding Amelia hostage. Claire points out an illustration in a book, giving him the answer.
Dean, knowing that they’re after a Grigori, tries to call both Sam and Castiel to find that they’re both out of reach. It leads him to take Claire to the farm house where they find Castiel and Amelia first. By witnessing the reunion Claire shares with her mother, Dean is able to see yet another reason why this is all worth it. This is punctuated by Claire’s genuine thank you. He could have easily kept them oblivious at the motel room, sat and drank beer and watched TV ignoring her. Dean could have easily let the case lie and left it to Castiel and Sam to report back. Instead, he chose to go with her and see this through and do what he could to help her. Her thank you gave him yet another reason to reaffirm what he had told her about Castiel and about what they do.
When Sam and Dean are reunited, both brothers report to one another that they’re after a Grigori. Knowing that the angel is no longer in the house, they realize he must have gone back to the barn to take on Claire and Amelia. Dean, too aggressive earlier with Ronnie, can let that loose here. It is in this fight that Dean can use that pent up anger and fight to help take down the angel. Dean has no reason to really hold back here. He can punch as hard he likes, he can make stabs or kicks at any time, and pour all of his pent up energy pushed upon by the Mark to good use here. As his brother holds the Grigori in place momentarily, Dean relentlessly hits him. And each time he’s knocked away, Dean charges back in, fueled by this fight.
Once it is over and they know Claire has achieved her sought after revenge, they can finally make their way to the motel. As it is time to say good bye and let her go off to Jody Mills or anywhere she may choose, Dean shows one last moment of honesty and gentleness—perhaps showing his other statements to Castiel earlier may not come to pass. He may not leave them after all. He may not follow through with his plan to distance himself from them in the end. He gives the young woman a gift—the movie Caddyshack and a book on angelic lore. When she rejects the second gift, he frankly points out the sword, quipping, “Did you honestly think I didn’t see you take this?”
When Claire asks him if he’ll be okay, he doesn’t hide behind any placations. Dean says, “Me? I don’t know. But I will keep fighting. I’ll keep swinging until I got nothing left.”
If he found the will to keep going, if Dean found the reason he does this in helping Claire after what he’s endured first in facing Cain and then facing his inner thoughts with the Werther Box and comes to the conclusion that he must find the good in their hunts, then he has succeeded. By not dwelling on the bad, Dean may be able to push it back with good.
But what about Sam’s portion of this case?
When they arrive to see Claire, Sam is gentle when speaking with the young woman at every turn. He wants to know why she was at that bar, why she was found in that alley. Even when he’s demanding she tell them what happened, he’s sensitive. He says, “Look, we’re not leaving until you tell us what the hell really happened. So if you want us gone, talk.” As she tells them about wanting to tell her mother off, he’s saddened by this revelation. Sam doesn’t push, however. He simply asks her when anyone had heard from Amelia last. It’s the only way they’ll get to the heart of the matter—and answer the questions Claire needs answers for the most.
As she enters the hotel room after her hospital escape, we see Sam waiting patiently. He employs his trademark empathy with Claire, making it easier for her to open up little by little. She is like any other person they’ve helped through the years. After his conversation with Charlie at the cabin, we can see that his words about loving this life are true. He genuinely wants to help Claire and he wants nothing from her in return. All he wants to do is help her.
So he teaches her how to hack credit cards, set them up for herself, and praises her on her hunter’s wall. When she asks him about why they do this even though it doesn’t pay the bills, he gently tells her, “To help people. To make a difference.” Sam means this whole heartedly. She’s just a young woman who needs help to find her mom from a possible rogue angel. If he and his brother and Castiel don’t do this, who will?
Claire, however, remains angry about her mother. She sticks to her story about wanting to tell her off, and that her mother has ruined her life. After she snaps at him, “You always get along with your mom?” Sam becomes even more open and honest with her. He’s not angry or bitter by this response. He knows that she doesn’t know his story or what has happened to him in the past. Sam, patient and gentle as ever, simply replies, “Never got the chance to find out. My mom died when I was a baby.” To give her more understanding of why he wants her to keep trying, why she shouldn’t give up on her mother or trying to be happy about a reunion with her, he continues on, “I got to know her later in life. And yeah, I suppose we got along okay.” She’s puzzled by this, knowing that when someone dies that’s it. For Sam, however, that’s not the case. Death isn’t always goodbye. Sam sharing this intimate portion of his life with her allows her to see it from a new perspective, even if she tries to brush it off and claim that her situation is different. Her mother didn’t die. Her mother simply left her.
After Dean and Castiel come back from investigating Ronnie’s murder, Sam shifts his gears from Claire to his brother. He may be intent on helping yet another victim of the supernatural, but Sam is still focused on Dean and the Mark and their situation. He knows that he must remain vigilant. Sam is concerned about his behavior at the bar—as Castiel had told him, “Dean snapped.” Instantly, he sides with Castiel on keeping Dean away from the house Holloway has to be holding Amelia at. He’ll go with the angel and investigate. They’ll find out what has happened to Claire’s mother—and they won’t risk Dean succumbing further to the Mark if they don’t have to.
As he rides with Castiel to the farm house, the angel expresses doubts about meddling in Claire’s life. He wonders if he should leave her alone. Sam is adamant in his response. He tells him, “What? No, man, she’s family—-well, I mean, she’s not exactly family but she’s close enough. I mean, you two have have history, simple as that.”
Sam knows that his brother may not agree with him on how to go about curing the Mark—particularly the plan he’s been working on in secret—and yet when he makes this statement to Castiel, he’s speaking as much about the angel’s meddling in Claire’s situation as he is about his extreme efforts to save his brother. When he says, “Going it alone, that’s no way to live. You being there for her even if she thinks she doesn’t want you to be there for her, that’s good for both of you—in the end, ” we know he is speaking about what will happen after he succeeds. Not succeeding isn’t an option he’s willing to contemplate clearly.
As Sam pushes into the house, he is met by the Grigori. The angel overpowers him and handcuffs him to a chair, wanting to draw out his death slowly. He tells Sam about how his kind has been feeding off of humanity since the dawn of time. All the while, Sam is working a nail free from the chair so he can pick the lock and make a get away. He knows that it is up to him to get out of this chair, and so he does what he must. He owes it to Claire, he owes it to Amelia, he owes it to Castiel, and he owes it to Dean. Most of all, Sam knows he owes it to himself to keep fighting to get out of this so he can keep doing what he told Claire he and his brother do.
The Grigori is displeased by Sam’s accusations. He calls the angel out, telling him, “You’re not an angel. You’re a monster.” It gets the sword shoved into his face.
While the Grigori may want to kill Sam slowly, it’s clear that the angel has other matters to deal with. He knows that Sam can’t possibly be alone, so he must make sure to neutralize any other hunters coming to interfere in his operations. When Dean and Castiel come up to the house, Sam has managed to break free from the chair and is holding a weapon aloft ready to strike. Upon seeing them, they all realize that the angel must be back at the barn. As a group, the make their way there and fight as a unit. For Sam, this is what he wants out of their life as hunters. He easily slips into the fighting, assisting both his brother and Castiel, taking the blows and delivering them at each turn. Even though the Mark is still a pressing matter, Sam enjoys being able to fight with his brother, to take part in this dance, and to do some potential good in removing this monster before it can do this to others the way it has Amelia Novak.
Afterwards, Sam’s gentleness returns and he assures Claire that she has a place to land. He tells her that “Jody Mills is good people.” They may have finished this case, they may have given her closure on the destruction of her family, but Sam shows her through this that they’re not going to simply abandon her the way so many have before. They’re here for her. It’s a crucial outreach reflected in all three. He’s proving to her that her loss is not the end—there is a new beginning if she’s willing to take it.
As they watch her drive away, Sam knows that their own personal fight is only beginning. He knows that this case gave them all closure. It allowed them to close a chapter on Jimmy Novak, to help a young woman start the new life she’s been unable to find, and to reaffirm that they do help people even if the ending isn’t always perfect.
In the end, Sam knows that they’ll have to hold onto that. In the end, Sam has found hope that they can.
After all, in their line of work, death isn’t always goodbye. An ending is not always simply that. Sometimes, in endings there are new beginnings. Sometimes, it is those beginnings that give him more reason to keep fighting—no matter what.