Warning!!!! If you have not seen tonight's episode, "Slice Girls," read no further! Here there be spoilers...and dragons. Definitely dragons.
First and foremost, I have to say I'm glad they addressed the issue of Dean using protection or not because seriously, Dean Winchester, master of the one-night-stand, better be using condoms, damn it! All right, with that off my chest, let's move on to the good stuff.
To Kill Or Not To Kill?
The biggest question of this episode for me is would Dean have killed Emma if Sam hadn't stepped in? Yes, he had his gun drawn. Yes, Emma had a knife. Yes, she was plainly telling Dean she was out to get him. But it's my belief that he would not have shot Emma unless she attacked him first and really tried to hurt him. Dean, right or wrong, went into caregiver mode with Emma. He can't help himself. He'll always hesitate to kill a child or someone he sees as a child because of his experiences raising Sam. And unless that person is an imminent threat, he won't take action. I think Dean felt Emma was still far enough away from him, and he hoped he could get her to change her mind before he had to shoot her.
So then Sam came in and made the decision for Dean. Fair or not? Did Sam jump the gun on this one? Should he have waited until Emma attacked to fire the shot? I think Sam here was acting in pure "protect Dean" mode because he's worried that Dean isn't caring for himself right now. He sees Dean drinking more and more, sees Dean checking out, and he's worried that Dean is getting careless with his own safety, so he feels like he has to step in and handle the situation. I think that's why Sam was angry at Dean at the end of the episode, too. Maybe he used the Amy argument to get the conversation going, but really, he's scared that Dean is spiraling so far down that he won't be able to pull him back up again. And he might be right because...
Is Dean Suicidal?
Dean has always been okay with dying, but as Bookdal and I discussed in our lengthy post-episode Twitter extravaganza (follow her @bookdal; I'm @Ardeospina, if you dare) being okay with dying and being suicidal are two different things. Going all the way back to "Faith" in season 1, Dean has supposed to die or died so many times now that he's felt for a long time that he's living on borrowed time, that if his number finally gets called, he'll be okay with that. But the way Dean is acting right now feels different than that. I think Dean is barely hanging on, and maybe he didn't kill Emma right away because he's trying for suicide by job, maybe letting himself get killed as his way out. He's mentioned pulling a Thelma and Louise this season, said he was going to take his "beautiful mind brother" and drive off a pier. Maybe Dean's not drinking to dull the pain of losing his friends and family, or not solely that. Maybe he's drinking to dull his own suicidal thoughts so he won't do something drastic. He already feels like he's living on borrowed time anyway, so maybe now he's just that much closer to the edge.
But what about Dick Roman and revenge for Bobby? Dean does seem motivated by that, but I don't think it's enough. He's not the same as his father and Sam when they're on a vengeance quest. He's not as wholly encompassed by it, not as 100% focused and driven and goal-oriented as they are. Which isn't to say that he's not intent on revenge for Bobby, but Dean has always been a more emotional person, and his emotions affect him and his actions to a greater extent than I think his brother's or his father's did. I think this is all just finally too much for Dean, and he's having a hard time figuring out where to go from here. He doesn't have Bobby or even Cass to help steer him in the right direction anymore, and he's not sure he can rely on Sam because Sam isn't well, either. Dean's worried about Sam's mental health and doesn't want to further burden him with his problems, so yet again he bottles it all up until he's going to explode. Or implode.
So, news of future episodes is saying there's a psychotic break ahead for Sam. At the beginning of the season, he rebuilt his sanity based on the fact that Dean was Dean, and he could believe it would stay that way. Does Dean lose his way so badly that Sam can't believe in him anymore, thus causing his fragile sanity to snap? Does the weight of having to carry Sam's mental health on his shoulders cause Dean to collapse, thus sending Sam into insanity? What a vicious cycle that would be.
Is Bobby A Ghost?
I'm with Dean on this one. I think Bobby is a ghost. Even though we got confirmation that they burned Bobby's body, I think he's still around helping out his boys whenever he can. And I think he's haunting the flask. That's right, I think Bobby is tied to the flask that Dean is carrying around. Nothing ghostly happened until he got it back from Lydia's, even though they had been working the case before that. Or maybe, like Sam said, I just want it to be Bobby because I miss him.
Bits and Pieces
- I laughed when the professor was so incredulous about a tomorrow deadline for that research. Bobby would have found it in two hours. *sigh* I miss Bobby.
- I liked that morgue tech. He was super helpful. Let's keep him.
- I guess Sam's not the only brother to have a thing for sleeping with the supernatural. Props to Lydia for getting us some shirtless Dean, though. Looking good, Dean. Looking good.
- But the handprint is gone! I'm sad about that. I felt like that was a physical reminder for Dean that even when he was at his worst, someone still cared enough to pull him out of it. I guess when Cass healed Dean in "Swan Song," he fixed that, too?