Page 4 of 4
When The Levee Breaks
I could devote an entire article to Sam's crumbling psyche here. As a matter of fact, I already did in my episode review. This is the episode where I feel I finally got to know what happens in Sam's mind. Let's summarize some of the inner fears that he wrestled with:
- Fear of torture. Who doesn't have that? It's a very real primal emotion, so why not get that one out of the way first? That could also be Sam's mind putting into a physical form the mental torture he constantly puts himself through, but I think I'm stretching.
- Fear of failure. Basically, he abandoned all his hopes and dreams for a better life. It still tears him apart, thus getting berated by his 14 year old self. That shows that subconsciously Sam still desperately wants to be normal, even though he's choosing not to for the greater good.
- Fear of isolation. Sam desperately wants someone who's close to him to understand who he is and be proud. That can only come from Dean, and Dean showed the ultimate lack of faith by locking him in the panic room to begin with. So his hallucinatory mind goes to the one family member that never alienated him, his mother. She tells him everything he needs to hear. She's proud and he has to make those rough choices. "Even if it kills me?" He asks. He finally can share with someone how the evil inside is consuming him and how much what he's doing scares him. She knows, she understands, she supports and encourages him, and even strokes him in comfort, which is what a good mother does for her boy. Then it all disappears, for it isn't real. My heart was crushed over that. When Ruby tries the same thing later, he won't accept it. It's not the same.
- Fear of rejection. Sam's most intense fear comes from a confrontational Dean, who berates him for being a monster. Sam, chained to the bed, could only listen in heartbreak. As soon as he escapes and hooks up with Ruby, he is very hurt over what Dean did to him, but still wanted to make things right. Since that last horrible confrontation was a hallucination, surely he could still reason with Dean.
Unfortunately, what he got is the worst thing possible. Despite Sam's heartfelt plea to Dean to trust him, Dean to his face calls him a monster, the absolute one thing he couldn't bear to hear. He would have to face his fate and die alone now. I found it really interesting that instead of angrily walking away, Sam reacts by punching Dean. The demon blood has made him unstable.
Naturally Dean punches back, but to see all that pent up rage take over Sam so much that he almost strangles to death his injured brother is a massive character defining moment. Sure, Sam's a little unbalanced right now, but he no longer needs big brother's approval. He'll carry on without him. Oh, the parting words though hurt, at least for a fan. "You don't know me. You never will." There's no way Sam is going to take to heart Dean's ultimatum not to leave. The damage is already done.
Ultimately, without Dean's support, Sam resigns himself to becoming the monster he was always meant to be. He focuses on the one and most important goal, killing Lilith. Not having Dean in his corner takes its toll though, for Sam has regrets. Maybe he can't do this on his own. Maybe he isn't doing the right thing. He questions until he gets the final blow, the tampered with voice mail in which Dean calls him a blood sucking Vampire, as well as a monster. That's all he needs. Killing Lilith is all that matters and he's ready to die. There he goes spiting himself again.
Of course Ruby's manipulation changes all that, and not only is Sam shattered by the result, now the world is too. That's where season five begins. Sam is in the worst possible place right now. Sam's only options at this point are redemption, insanity, or death. Guess which one I'm rooting for?
Coming soon, a deeper look at Dean through season four. His tale is a little more uplifting.