Healing Journeys


Thank you, Andrew Dabb, for giving me such an amazing episode for my first review on this site. “Road Trip” has it all—excellent writing, excellent performances, and excellent personal and mythological arc development.

I have enjoyed season nine so far, but I had a few niggling doubts about the exploration of the brothers’ bond. It’s not that I don’t think the boys could stand a real heart to heart; it’s that the first half of season eight left me gun shy. But it looks like Carver decided to take another pass through this story point, and judging by “Road Trip,” we’ll have few less pot (and plot) holes this season as we journey into dark territory.

The episode has so much goodness packed in, it’s hard to know where to start. Thematically, Dabb picks up the “I did what I had to do” refrain from the last episode and looks at it from a few different angles. Dean is teetering on the brink of broken as he keeps a lonely vigil over Kevin’s hunter’s funeral. His protective instincts have always led Dean to assume guilt when bad things happen, but this time is a little different. This time, he really is responsible and not because he was trying to save the world. He was trying to save Sam.

Dean is well aware his choice to lie to and manipulate Sam into accepting possession was problematic to say the least. That Metatron was then able to use Gadreel as a Trojan horse to strike at Kevin is almost more than Dean can bear. The entire situation leaves him coping by putting one foot in front of the other, focusing with laser precision on what he can fix. Perhaps to some viewers’ astonishment, that’s getting Gadreel out of Sam by killing the angel—and Sam in the process.

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I was not surprised at Dean’s decision. Despite his unwillingness to let Sam die, he has always cared about Sam’s soul and more than anyone else, knows what Sam sacrificed to define himself and take back his fate. In season five, Dean realized he not only had to accept Sam would sacrifice himself, he had to help his brother do it. And he did.

In season six, Dean realized having his brother’s body and mind alive on earth without his soul stripped away the sense of self for which Sam had sacrificed so much. Dean made the unilateral decision to force Sam’s soul back into his body even if it killed his brother. When Sam’s soul, rather than his life, is at stake, Dean protects it at all costs, because he knows Sam’s soul is what he truly loves.

So with a rogue murderous angel possessing Sam, Dean is prepared to try to put things right by killing Gadreel, even if that means killing Sam. He knows his brother well enough to know he would rather die than be the kind of vessel Lucifer had in mind. And Dean’s well aware of the irony that he himself facilitated the possession he now needs to end by any means necessary.

Fortunately, Dean calls on Castiel to help him, and Cas offers his friend two things: hope for a way to save Sam and a kinder way to view his flawed decisions. Without disputing the wrongness of Dean’s decisions, the angel tells him his motives do matter, that in fact in the end, motives are key. I loved that, because I think we are getting a good hard look at several characters’ motivations.

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Castiel has his own need to believe motives matter, because he too made flawed decisions for what he still thinks are the right reasons. I loved that he reframed Dean’s “dumbass” with “trusting.” Sam, Castiel and now Dean have all made dumbass decisions that at the core were about trust and love. I suspect that Castiel’s resurrections are a sign the angel’s willingness to follow his own sense of right represents how God hopes his angels handle the new concept of free will. And that concept includes the space to make mistakes.

Sam needs to learn this lesson as much as Cas and Dean do. He’s spent his life fearing what is inside him, looking at other lives with longing because he feels so flawed. I think it’s no surprise that young Sam, unable to articulate or understand his fears, chose to run away from his life as often as he could, and that pattern continued in his adult life until the Apocalypse made him take a stand and define for himself who he was.

That tendency to run seems to me to be integral to understanding why Sam was content to die. Last season, Sam was upset with Dean’s fatalistic view of life and acceptance of death, telling his brother he would teach him to hope. But in fact, we found out Sam was really operating on fear—fear that he was in some way permanently tainted and that Dean didn’t really love him or forgive him his errors.  

The scene between the brothers in “Sacrifice” when Sam finally articulated his fears and Dean reassured Sam of his love was very powerful. I was surprised when the season nine premiere, which directly followed the events in “Sacrifice,” showed Sam still ready to die. I wasn’t sure what to make of Sam’s mental state—was it really so different from his desire to die because he felt he just let Dean down over and over again? What changed in the short amount of time between leaving the church and Sam’s collapse?

I think there’s a case to be made that Sam’s desire to die was less Zen than a need to feel he was forgiven his sins, that he’d done enough to atone. Death gave Sam the choice to stay or go, which is different than we’ve seen with any other reaper. It was only his time if Sam wanted it to be so. That Sam decided he did want to die may mean he is still defining himself as flawed—and he’s running.

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All of which brings me back to this episode and what it sets up between the brothers. Dean, having allowed himself to be pulled out of balance by his fear of losing Sam, swings to the opposite end of the pendulum and decides he needs to leave Sam instead. He feels he is the flawed one, using and discarding people in his quest to do right, hurting everyone he loves. He’s been down this road of self-blame before, and I don’t think it bodes well that this time he’s travelling without Sam, because Sam has always been his anchor so he doesn’t go adrift.

But Dabb wisely adds in hope to the brothers’ heartbreaking scene. Sam is understandably upset with Dean, and he accepts it when Dean says he lives in muck and won’t bring anyone else down with him. But he does not agree with Dean’s assessment. He knows Dean is not responsible for the cost of war and that they are not the only heroes.

Ellen and Jo for example made a decision to die as hunters because they believed in Sam and Dean’s mission. Bobby not only died a hero, he also knew Sam and Dean saved his life the minute they entered it, as they gave him a reason to love. Dean’s friends may often die as collateral damage, but that’s because they are in the war alongside the Winchesters.  I think Sam’s statement to Dean that he has not understood the real problem will be key to the entire arc.

Sam chooses to stay rather than leave and his words leave an open door for Dean to walk through when he’s ready. That’s already a huge change in the relationship. Dean has already faced that holding on to Sam too tightly could very well cause Dean to lose everything important about their relationship—his willingness to kill Gadreel and therefore Sam made that very clear.

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What both brothers need to do now is admit to each other what drives their worst decisions. Sam has always wanted to be someone other than Sam Winchester, because of he’s afraid of what is inside himself. His willingness to die may well be another manifestation of not wanting to live as himself.

Dean has always felt he loves more than he is loved, and that fear colours the protectiveness he feels toward Sam, making him hang on too tightly, especially when Sam shows he wants to leave. Many of Dean’s issues began with John, who loved his son, but put far too much responsibility on him too young.

If both boys can finally admit to their fears, I think both the desire to run and the desire to hold on too tightly will finally dissipate, allowing them to truly feel they are together by choice, as “Sacrifice” suggested.  Sam and Dean have always been stronger together, and the bad guys know it, but each Winchester hasn’t had a clear perception of his own feelings, never mind his brother’s.

Wow, that was a lot about the bond! There was, of course, lots more meaty stuff going on. I loved both Castiel and Crowley in this episode, and both are also struggling with who they are and what keeps them from being what they want.

Castiel has chosen to be an angel, but he’s been changed by his brief stint as human—and perhaps also by his stolen grace. He is an intriguing combination of kindness and anger in this episode, and I wonder how much of the anger is human emotion and how much may be the influence of another angel’s grace. Cas’s expression when he punches out Gadreel is rather odd, as if there’s more going on there than meets the eye.

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Crowley is an intriguing blend of self-interest and empathy, as he begins his campaign to unseat Abbadon. I believe he genuinely feels badly about Kevin, and the demon knows exactly what to say to Sam when Sam remembers what happened to his friend. As Crowley says to Dean, he’s the goodest person Sam, Dean and Cas have to rely on at the moment.

I love when Crowley is an unwilling ally to the boys. Mark Sheppard does shades of grey as beautifully as he does snark. The demon showed why he’s a force to be reckoned with when he demonstrates to Abbadon her vicious nature will be a hindrance to her, not a help, in the battle for Hell. And is that yet another sign of the change in Crowley? I’m as intrigued to see what Hell will look like under Crowley as what Castiel’s vision of Heaven will be.

It’s a sign of how rich this episode is that I could go on—but won’t! Well, I have to mention how welcome it is to see both Tahmoh Penikett and Alaina Huffman back.  I’ll end by saying the performances this episode by all four main players were superb. The fact that such a sad episode made me impatient for more road trips shows how adept these actors are at playing all the notes of a scene.

Well done, everyone.

(Note from Alice - Join me in welcoming Gerry Weaver to our writing staff!  She comes to us from Blogcritics where she's been doing SPN reviews there for a few years.  We are thrilled to have her on the team).  
 


Comments  

Prix68
# Prix68 2014-01-16 17:25
Welcome Gerry. Thanks for really lovely review and analysis of the brother bond.
Prix68
# Prix68 2014-01-16 17:25
Welcome Gerry. Thanks for really lovely review and analysis of the brother bond.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-01-16 17:50
That was a beautiful review and a lovely Meta on the brother's bond as well. Looking forward to reading more such reviews from you in the future and :

Welcome to the Winchesterr Family Business! :D
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-01-16 17:50
That was a beautiful review and a lovely Meta on the brother's bond as well. Looking forward to reading more such reviews from you in the future and :

Welcome to the Winchesterr Family Business! :D
AntipodesAnnie
# AntipodesAnnie 2014-01-16 17:50
Welcome aboard Gerry, good to see you here
AntipodesAnnie
# AntipodesAnnie 2014-01-16 17:50
Welcome aboard Gerry, good to see you here
Vashti
# Vashti 2014-01-16 18:20
Welcome Gerry. I thoroughly enjoyed your review and it reflected many of my own thoughts about the episode. Your review demonstrated the thoughtfulness and insight that I have come to appreciate so much about the WFB website.
Vashti
# Vashti 2014-01-16 18:20
Welcome Gerry. I thoroughly enjoyed your review and it reflected many of my own thoughts about the episode. Your review demonstrated the thoughtfulness and insight that I have come to appreciate so much about the WFB website.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-16 18:42
Thank you, all. I'm delighted to be here and look forward to many interesting discussions with you!
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-16 18:42
Thank you, all. I'm delighted to be here and look forward to many interesting discussions with you!
Grace232
# Grace232 2014-01-16 19:15
Great review - and welcome! You gave me much to ponder, now that I have had a couple days to bask in the joy of such a great episode. I had similar thoughts to yours regarding Dean (but mine were less articulate), but your ideas on Sam were a new take for me. I did not think Sam was still feeling like there was something bad inside of him, but instead that the trials had purified him and he was finally comfortable in his own skin. I actually thought the reason Sam was saying yes to Death in I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here was because he thought saying no could lead to someone else being hurt - sort of another deal - and he asked for Death's assurance that if he died nobody else would be hurt. Your review is causing me to think about this some more, and I am looking forward to seeing Sam's state as we move forward. Thanks again for joining Alice and our other writers.
Grace232
# Grace232 2014-01-16 19:15
Great review - and welcome! You gave me much to ponder, now that I have had a couple days to bask in the joy of such a great episode. I had similar thoughts to yours regarding Dean (but mine were less articulate), but your ideas on Sam were a new take for me. I did not think Sam was still feeling like there was something bad inside of him, but instead that the trials had purified him and he was finally comfortable in his own skin. I actually thought the reason Sam was saying yes to Death in I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here was because he thought saying no could lead to someone else being hurt - sort of another deal - and he asked for Death's assurance that if he died nobody else would be hurt. Your review is causing me to think about this some more, and I am looking forward to seeing Sam's state as we move forward. Thanks again for joining Alice and our other writers.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-01-16 20:25
Welcome Gerry, I read almost all of your reviews on Blogcritics/ They are always a good read.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-01-16 20:25
Welcome Gerry, I read almost all of your reviews on Blogcritics/ They are always a good read.
Sams*Buddy
# Sams*Buddy 2014-01-16 21:05
Hey Gerry.... I can see you love this show too.

Looks like you've given this a lot of thought. I've only seen the episode twice, so I'm still sorting through the nuances.

Dean articulates his heart on his sleeve, so its easy to say he gets all the attention, but Sam isn't so vocal. One has to watch the subtle reactions in the background, and it looks like you've been watching some of the shadows.

(example: Deans "I'm leaving" speech. Dean gets paragraphs of dialog. Sam replies with a few words, and you have to watch his face to see that he wishes Dean would really LOOK at him, and SEE what Sam is at a loss to verbally convey.)

Its these understated insinuations that have made me the Sam girl I am.

Additionally, yeah, Crowley and Cas are fun to watch together. My favorite line is, "It's Crowley, he can always do something." :}

Anyway, well done. Welcome. I hope we hear from you regularly,
Sams*Buddy
# Sams*Buddy 2014-01-16 21:05
Hey Gerry.... I can see you love this show too.

Looks like you've given this a lot of thought. I've only seen the episode twice, so I'm still sorting through the nuances.

Dean articulates his heart on his sleeve, so its easy to say he gets all the attention, but Sam isn't so vocal. One has to watch the subtle reactions in the background, and it looks like you've been watching some of the shadows.

(example: Deans "I'm leaving" speech. Dean gets paragraphs of dialog. Sam replies with a few words, and you have to watch his face to see that he wishes Dean would really LOOK at him, and SEE what Sam is at a loss to verbally convey.)

Its these understated insinuations that have made me the Sam girl I am.

Additionally, yeah, Crowley and Cas are fun to watch together. My favorite line is, "It's Crowley, he can always do something." :}

Anyway, well done. Welcome. I hope we hear from you regularly,
JuliaG
# JuliaG 2014-01-16 21:25
Hi Gerry,

Interesting meta, but I don't agree with your starting point with Sam, that he "was content to die". Sam was not suicidal in the season opener. He said in his comatose mind that they had given up the trials so he could live but he was dying anyway (I'm paraphrasing).

Sam WAS dying. The Dean in his mind was him fighting death, the same as Bobby with the bullet in his head, or Dean in "In my time of dying". If Sam couldn't find a way to live, there were 2 choices: go to Heaven with his reaper, or stay on as a ghost. He did not want to be saved by supernatural means and hurt more people in the process. That's commendable and it's not being suicidal.

See, I think that Sam's issues were explored (although clumsily, I admit) last year. Sam wanted his brother's trust. This year, the show is exploring Dean's issues. I don't think that the problems in the relationship are equally shared at this point. Dean really messed up and he's the one that has to do the most work. He went way beyond holding on too tight: He knew Sam would rather die than being possessed by an angel, especially after Lucifer, but he did it anyway, and at this point, it looks like he would do it again. Something has to change.

I don't know if I went too far in my critic, but I don't understand the general confusion over Sam's mindset at the end of season 8, versus the beginning of season 9. Sam did not want to die and it was so clear to me.
JuliaG
# JuliaG 2014-01-16 21:25
Hi Gerry,

Interesting meta, but I don't agree with your starting point with Sam, that he "was content to die". Sam was not suicidal in the season opener. He said in his comatose mind that they had given up the trials so he could live but he was dying anyway (I'm paraphrasing).

Sam WAS dying. The Dean in his mind was him fighting death, the same as Bobby with the bullet in his head, or Dean in "In my time of dying". If Sam couldn't find a way to live, there were 2 choices: go to Heaven with his reaper, or stay on as a ghost. He did not want to be saved by supernatural means and hurt more people in the process. That's commendable and it's not being suicidal.

See, I think that Sam's issues were explored (although clumsily, I admit) last year. Sam wanted his brother's trust. This year, the show is exploring Dean's issues. I don't think that the problems in the relationship are equally shared at this point. Dean really messed up and he's the one that has to do the most work. He went way beyond holding on too tight: He knew Sam would rather die than being possessed by an angel, especially after Lucifer, but he did it anyway, and at this point, it looks like he would do it again. Something has to change.

I don't know if I went too far in my critic, but I don't understand the general confusion over Sam's mindset at the end of season 8, versus the beginning of season 9. Sam did not want to die and it was so clear to me.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-16 21:51
Quoting JuliaG:
Hi Gerry,

Interesting meta, but I don't agree with your starting point with Sam, that he "was content to die". Sam was not suicidal in the season opener. He said in his comatose mind that they had given up the trials so he could live but he was dying anyway (I'm paraphrasing).

Sam WAS dying. The Dean in his mind was him fighting death, the same as Bobby with the bullet in his head, or Dean in "In my time of dying". If Sam couldn't find a way to live, there were 2 choices: go to Heaven with his reaper, or stay on as a ghost. He did not want to be saved by supernatural means and hurt more people in the process. That's commendable and it's not being suicidal.

See, I think that Sam's issues were explored (although clumsily, I admit) last year. Sam wanted his brother's trust. This year, the show is exploring Dean's issues. I don't think that the problems in the relationship are equally shared at this point. Dean really messed up and he's the one that has to do the most work. He went way beyond holding on too tight: He knew Sam would rather die than being possessed by an angel, especially after Lucifer, but he did it anyway, and at this point, it looks like he would do it again. Something has to change.

I don't know if I went too far in my critic, but I don't understand the general confusion over Sam's mindset at the end of season 8, versus the beginning of season 9. Sam did not want to die and it was so clear to me.


Hi JuliaG! Thanks so much for your comment and I think there is indeed lots of room for interpretation of Sam's mindset.

To me, Death did not come to reap Sam because it was his time to go, as other reapers have done with other characters. At the last con, Julian Richings said he felt this visit by Death was different than his other appearances because Death both was and wasn't there (which is already confusing!).

He felt the log cabin in the woods with the welcoming and cozy fireplace setting was Sam's picture of how he wanted to meet Death and was still part of the discussion he was having with himself on whether to keep on fighting. When he finally banished Dean/hope, he turned to the cabin/Death.

In this read, Death comes because Sam calls him and he comes to listen and facilitate. Sam has the choice to keep on fighting or to let go and die. Death tells Ezekiel/Gadreel that it's Sam's choice whether it's his time to die.

Julian's read is just a read and doesn't have any kind of authority--I'm just using it because I liked the way he explained the cabin and that Death was kind of there and kind of not, because that was my read.

I felt that Sam called Death when he gave up hope, and during their chat, he was exploring what death would mean for him--and Death was allowing the discussion. Sam seemed to think he had choices when he asked Death if he could guarantee he could not be brought back if he chose to die.

I don't think the other choice was to be a ghost but rather to keep on fighting for life, the same debate he was having with himself in the car.

However, I can see the potential for other reads and I really hope we get more discussion on Sam's mindset as he made his choice.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-16 21:51
Quote:
Hi Gerry,

Interesting meta, but I don't agree with your starting point with Sam, that he "was content to die". Sam was not suicidal in the season opener. He said in his comatose mind that they had given up the trials so he could live but he was dying anyway (I'm paraphrasing).

Sam WAS dying. The Dean in his mind was him fighting death, the same as Bobby with the bullet in his head, or Dean in "In my time of dying". If Sam couldn't find a way to live, there were 2 choices: go to Heaven with his reaper, or stay on as a ghost. He did not want to be saved by supernatural means and hurt more people in the process. That's commendable and it's not being suicidal.

See, I think that Sam's issues were explored (although clumsily, I admit) last year. Sam wanted his brother's trust. This year, the show is exploring Dean's issues. I don't think that the problems in the relationship are equally shared at this point. Dean really messed up and he's the one that has to do the most work. He went way beyond holding on too tight: He knew Sam would rather die than being possessed by an angel, especially after Lucifer, but he did it anyway, and at this point, it looks like he would do it again. Something has to change.

I don't know if I went too far in my critic, but I don't understand the general confusion over Sam's mindset at the end of season 8, versus the beginning of season 9. Sam did not want to die and it was so clear to me.
Hi JuliaG! Thanks so much for your comment and I think there is indeed lots of room for interpretation of Sam's mindset.

To me, Death did not come to reap Sam because it was his time to go, as other reapers have done with other characters. At the last con, Julian Richings said he felt this visit by Death was different than his other appearances because Death both was and wasn't there (which is already confusing!).

He felt the log cabin in the woods with the welcoming and cozy fireplace setting was Sam's picture of how he wanted to meet Death and was still part of the discussion he was having with himself on whether to keep on fighting. When he finally banished Dean/hope, he turned to the cabin/Death.

In this read, Death comes because Sam calls him and he comes to listen and facilitate. Sam has the choice to keep on fighting or to let go and die. Death tells Ezekiel/Gadreel that it's Sam's choice whether it's his time to die.

Julian's read is just a read and doesn't have any kind of authority--I'm just using it because I liked the way he explained the cabin and that Death was kind of there and kind of not, because that was my read.

I felt that Sam called Death when he gave up hope, and during their chat, he was exploring what death would mean for him--and Death was allowing the discussion. Sam seemed to think he had choices when he asked Death if he could guarantee he could not be brought back if he chose to die.

I don't think the other choice was to be a ghost but rather to keep on fighting for life, the same debate he was having with himself in the car.

However, I can see the potential for other reads and I really hope we get more discussion on Sam's mindset as he made his choice.
E
# E 2014-01-16 21:52
Great, satisfying and detailed read Gerry! Welcome aboard!
E
# E 2014-01-16 21:52
Great, satisfying and detailed read Gerry! Welcome aboard!
percysowner
# percysowner 2014-01-16 22:13
Welcome to the site, it's great to have another POV on the episodes.
percysowner
# percysowner 2014-01-16 22:13
Welcome to the site, it's great to have another POV on the episodes.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-01-16 22:52
Welcome Gerry. Great, well-articulate d review and opinion. I look forward to more of your articles.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-01-16 22:52
Welcome Gerry. Great, well-articulate d review and opinion. I look forward to more of your articles.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-01-16 23:54
Nice to see you doing reviews here Gerry! I haven't read your other reviews but I have always enjoyed your comments on this site.

I agree with the people who say that Sam wasn't looking for death. I think he arrived at that conclusion due to the lack of a plan and was OK with it. I don't think he wanted to die and get "peace" as some have put it. However I do feel he was at peace with the idea that it was inevitable. He didn't want anyone else to get hurt as a result. This is not an excuse for what Dean did, in my mind. I think even with all that Sam has endured, he has the will to keep going and perhaps see a little of that end-of-tunnel light.

Welcome, and I look forward to the next one Gerry.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-01-16 23:54
Nice to see you doing reviews here Gerry! I haven't read your other reviews but I have always enjoyed your comments on this site.

I agree with the people who say that Sam wasn't looking for death. I think he arrived at that conclusion due to the lack of a plan and was OK with it. I don't think he wanted to die and get "peace" as some have put it. However I do feel he was at peace with the idea that it was inevitable. He didn't want anyone else to get hurt as a result. This is not an excuse for what Dean did, in my mind. I think even with all that Sam has endured, he has the will to keep going and perhaps see a little of that end-of-tunnel light.

Welcome, and I look forward to the next one Gerry.
BookLady
# BookLady 2014-01-17 00:18
Welcome, Gerry!

Thanks for your thoughts!

After nine seasons, this show is still able to stir up such rich analysis and conversations!

It'll be interesting to see where the writers will take us next . I hope to a place where the brothers understand themselves and each other better.

Ha! I'm deluding myself, right?!
BookLady
# BookLady 2014-01-17 00:18
Welcome, Gerry!

Thanks for your thoughts!

After nine seasons, this show is still able to stir up such rich analysis and conversations!

It'll be interesting to see where the writers will take us next . I hope to a place where the brothers understand themselves and each other better.

Ha! I'm deluding myself, right?!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-01-17 02:48
Welcome Gerry.I have read some of your reviews and had forgotten to book mark the website.I was first introduced to that website because of Alice's articles and I became a fan of Alice and Alice's articles but after I came to this website I forgot about the other website.I fortunately came to know about your articles but then was inactive for sometime online.I am Happy that you have started writing here as I have loved your reviews including this one.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-01-17 02:48
Welcome Gerry.I have read some of your reviews and had forgotten to book mark the website.I was first introduced to that website because of Alice's articles and I became a fan of Alice and Alice's articles but after I came to this website I forgot about the other website.I fortunately came to know about your articles but then was inactive for sometime online.I am Happy that you have started writing here as I have loved your reviews including this one.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-01-17 03:04
I liked this episode.Sam was allowed to have a voice and I am happy.I especially liked the way Sam reacted to knowing about his possession and Dean's part in it.He reacted in a very Sam like way.Angry but understanding and willing to give Dean space when dean wants to be alone.I also liked that he told Dean that it was not so black and white but to go and do his thing and to work it out.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-01-17 03:04
I liked this episode.Sam was allowed to have a voice and I am happy.I especially liked the way Sam reacted to knowing about his possession and Dean's part in it.He reacted in a very Sam like way.Angry but understanding and willing to give Dean space when dean wants to be alone.I also liked that he told Dean that it was not so black and white but to go and do his thing and to work it out.
Clair B.
# Clair B. 2014-01-17 08:27
Gerry - this is a great review. I was less than thrilled with the episode (I thought that most of the dialogue was stiff and often overly dramatic) but I love the layers you see in the episode; it's given me a welcome new perspective.

My thoughts regarding Sam & death (not Death) - I agree with you. At the end of this episode Sam said first "I was ready to die" and then it changed to "I was willing to die". Ready & willing to die doesn't automatically translate to "I want to die." If dying was what it took to accomplish what Sam was seeking (forgiveness for himself, safety for others) he was ready & willing to do it, as he was ready & willing to jump into hell with Lucifer. He wasn't looking for it, he didn't want it, but he'd do it if that was what was required from him.

Anyway - great review. Looking forward to more.
Clair B.
# Clair B. 2014-01-17 08:27
Gerry - this is a great review. I was less than thrilled with the episode (I thought that most of the dialogue was stiff and often overly dramatic) but I love the layers you see in the episode; it's given me a welcome new perspective.

My thoughts regarding Sam & death (not Death) - I agree with you. At the end of this episode Sam said first "I was ready to die" and then it changed to "I was willing to die". Ready & willing to die doesn't automatically translate to "I want to die." If dying was what it took to accomplish what Sam was seeking (forgiveness for himself, safety for others) he was ready & willing to do it, as he was ready & willing to jump into hell with Lucifer. He wasn't looking for it, he didn't want it, but he'd do it if that was what was required from him.

Anyway - great review. Looking forward to more.
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-17 09:20
Your review was articulate and insightful, as usual. I SO agreed with your assessment that Sam's willingness to die was him running away from the pain that is his life. Some times death is the easy way out. He certainly deserved the rest and reward, but his job is not done.

The beginning of season 8 has also made me very gun shy about Jeremy's vision of the boy's relationship. To make matters worse, Jeremy's interviews keep referencing their "changing, maturing bond". I actually stopped reading Jeremy's teasers because I DO NOT want a return to the distance that we saw before. I am hoping, as you said, he is taking a second pass at their bond to make it better.

You did a fabulous job sorting through everything that happened in this episode and you gave wonderful perspectives. Welcome to the team!
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-17 09:20
Your review was articulate and insightful, as usual. I SO agreed with your assessment that Sam's willingness to die was him running away from the pain that is his life. Some times death is the easy way out. He certainly deserved the rest and reward, but his job is not done.

The beginning of season 8 has also made me very gun shy about Jeremy's vision of the boy's relationship. To make matters worse, Jeremy's interviews keep referencing their "changing, maturing bond". I actually stopped reading Jeremy's teasers because I DO NOT want a return to the distance that we saw before. I am hoping, as you said, he is taking a second pass at their bond to make it better.

You did a fabulous job sorting through everything that happened in this episode and you gave wonderful perspectives. Welcome to the team!
Bevie
# Bevie 2014-01-17 10:53
Welcome Gerry!

Loved your take on the brothers' relationship bond.

Loved your review and looking forward to your future articles and reviews. :-)
Bevie
# Bevie 2014-01-17 10:53
Welcome Gerry!

Loved your take on the brothers' relationship bond.

Loved your review and looking forward to your future articles and reviews. :-)
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-01-17 12:13
Enjoyed your review, Gerry. Always like reading other people's POV about the show.

I have a slightly different take on Sam's willingness to die in 9.01 but, at the same time, can see why people have different interpretations . Unlike many earlier times in his life, I don't think he was running away from anything. In his conversations with "Bobby" in his mind, he was coming to terms with the fact that, while he's done a lot of bad in his life, he's also done a lot of good too. Accepting, and coming to terms with dying, and the fact that he was out of options (Sam's condition the doctor described to Dean sounded like he was clinically dead), is much different than wanting to die or being suicidal (as I've seen mentioned in other reviews). That's not to say that he won't continue to struggle with this (re: Daisy Duke's conversation with him in 9.02 that he's the reason her parents are dead) but, to me anyway, he looks like he's slowly coming to terms with, and finally accepting himself for who he is, warts and all. And, while it was viewed as OOC in 8.01 that Sam didn't look for Dean, an argument can be made that letting go of someone is a hell of lot harder than hanging on too tightly. We've seen the results of the latter over and over again on the show.

I agree they got a lot wrong on the brother's "maturing" relationship last year but I think they're on the right track this season.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-01-17 12:13
Enjoyed your review, Gerry. Always like reading other people's POV about the show.

I have a slightly different take on Sam's willingness to die in 9.01 but, at the same time, can see why people have different interpretations . Unlike many earlier times in his life, I don't think he was running away from anything. In his conversations with "Bobby" in his mind, he was coming to terms with the fact that, while he's done a lot of bad in his life, he's also done a lot of good too. Accepting, and coming to terms with dying, and the fact that he was out of options (Sam's condition the doctor described to Dean sounded like he was clinically dead), is much different than wanting to die or being suicidal (as I've seen mentioned in other reviews). That's not to say that he won't continue to struggle with this (re: Daisy Duke's conversation with him in 9.02 that he's the reason her parents are dead) but, to me anyway, he looks like he's slowly coming to terms with, and finally accepting himself for who he is, warts and all. And, while it was viewed as OOC in 8.01 that Sam didn't look for Dean, an argument can be made that letting go of someone is a hell of lot harder than hanging on too tightly. We've seen the results of the latter over and over again on the show.

I agree they got a lot wrong on the brother's "maturing" relationship last year but I think they're on the right track this season.
mary9930
# mary9930 2014-01-17 13:06
Wow Gerry. That was an amazing review! Sam's meeting with Death absolutely was different than maybe anyone else's. Death taught Dean what happens when you don't reap people who are supposed to die. The fact that Death presented it to Sam as a choice speaks volumes. If if were truly Sam's time to die, Death may offer him time to come to terms with it but I can't imagine Death letting Sam choose.
mary9930
# mary9930 2014-01-17 13:06
Wow Gerry. That was an amazing review! Sam's meeting with Death absolutely was different than maybe anyone else's. Death taught Dean what happens when you don't reap people who are supposed to die. The fact that Death presented it to Sam as a choice speaks volumes. If if were truly Sam's time to die, Death may offer him time to come to terms with it but I can't imagine Death letting Sam choose.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-01-17 13:35
Quoting mary9930:
Wow Gerry. That was an amazing review! Sam's meeting with Death absolutely was different than maybe anyone else's. Death taught Dean what happens when you don't reap people who are supposed to die. The fact that Death presented it to Sam as a choice speaks volumes. If if were truly Sam's time to die, Death may offer him time to come to terms with it but I can't imagine Death letting Sam choose.


That part left me a little confused. Was Death also acting in the role of a reaper, Death, or both? When he told Sam it was up to him, was he giving him the choice of life or death, or not moving on and eventually becoming a vengeful spirit? If, as Death, he was giving Sam the choice between life and death, would that be a first time he offered someone that option ?
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-01-17 13:35
Quote:
Wow Gerry. That was an amazing review! Sam's meeting with Death absolutely was different than maybe anyone else's. Death taught Dean what happens when you don't reap people who are supposed to die. The fact that Death presented it to Sam as a choice speaks volumes. If if were truly Sam's time to die, Death may offer him time to come to terms with it but I can't imagine Death letting Sam choose.
That part left me a little confused. Was Death also acting in the role of a reaper, Death, or both? When he told Sam it was up to him, was he giving him the choice of life or death, or not moving on and eventually becoming a vengeful spirit? If, as Death, he was giving Sam the choice between life and death, would that be a first time he offered someone that option ?
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2014-01-17 13:38
Welcome Gerry, thank you, that was such a great review. I'm looking forward to continuing on this journey with you. :-)
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2014-01-17 13:38
Welcome Gerry, thank you, that was such a great review. I'm looking forward to continuing on this journey with you. :-)
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-17 15:56
Quoting njspnfan:


That part left me a little confused. Was Death also acting in the role of a reaper, Death, or both? When he told Sam it was up to him, was he giving him the choice of life or death, or not moving on and eventually becoming a vengeful spirit? If, as Death, he was giving Sam the choice between life and death, would that be a first time he offered someone that option ?


It is confusing! :-) I think Death can act as a reaper - he told Sam he came personally as a mark of respect - so, I would say both. My interpretation of Death's interaction with Sam and with Gadreel is that he was not there because it was fated to be Sam's time to go right then--he tells Gadreel it's Sam's choice. And he just listens to Sam work through his thoughts on dying--he never tells him he has to go or be a vengeful spirit. He mostly just listens to Sam, other than telling him if he does die, Death can arrange that no one (read: Dean) can bring him back.

I think Sam was working through in his own mind whether he was ready to give up fighting to live and Death was allowing that.

But it is true that Sam was dying - not that instant, but there was no medical help to be had to save him. So eventually, the choice would have been to stay or go. But to my mind, that's not what was happening in the scene we saw. It's ambiguous enough that I'm very open to learning more in later episodes and changing my read. :P
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-17 15:56
Quote:


That part left me a little confused. Was Death also acting in the role of a reaper, Death, or both? When he told Sam it was up to him, was he giving him the choice of life or death, or not moving on and eventually becoming a vengeful spirit? If, as Death, he was giving Sam the choice between life and death, would that be a first time he offered someone that option ?
It is confusing! :-) I think Death can act as a reaper - he told Sam he came personally as a mark of respect - so, I would say both. My interpretation of Death's interaction with Sam and with Gadreel is that he was not there because it was fated to be Sam's time to go right then--he tells Gadreel it's Sam's choice. And he just listens to Sam work through his thoughts on dying--he never tells him he has to go or be a vengeful spirit. He mostly just listens to Sam, other than telling him if he does die, Death can arrange that no one (read: Dean) can bring him back.

I think Sam was working through in his own mind whether he was ready to give up fighting to live and Death was allowing that.

But it is true that Sam was dying - not that instant, but there was no medical help to be had to save him. So eventually, the choice would have been to stay or go. But to my mind, that's not what was happening in the scene we saw. It's ambiguous enough that I'm very open to learning more in later episodes and changing my read. :P
Manstrad
# Manstrad 2014-01-17 19:18
Questions... Did Cass have a different style trench coat?
Is it because he has a different grace?
Manstrad
# Manstrad 2014-01-17 19:18
Questions... Did Cass have a different style trench coat?
Is it because he has a different grace?
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-17 23:54
Quoting Manstrad:
Questions... Did Cass have a different style trench coat?
Is it because he has a different grace?


He does--it looks a little shorter to me. I suspect it was just a wardrobe thing, rather than a thematic thing. The thought of Cas shopping for it makes me smile!
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-17 23:54
Quote:
Questions... Did Cass have a different style trench coat?
Is it because he has a different grace?
He does--it looks a little shorter to me. I suspect it was just a wardrobe thing, rather than a thematic thing. The thought of Cas shopping for it makes me smile!
debbab
# debbab 2014-01-18 15:55
Dabb gives us the shut gun seat next to Dean in this episode, We go along for the ride and feel all of the emotions. Is it a Dean who is now willing to go it alone with the ferocity of the Purgatory Dean? The dialogue btwn Cas/Dean regarding trusting gave voice to the long time viewers. Sam's voice screaming as Gadreel is tortured by Crowley- it hurt to hear it and I was with Dean when he had to walk away from it. And Crowley- does shades of grey so well and only he could get away with such raunchy dialogue. Other players were superb.Gadreel has truly gone over to the villainous side of the ledger. And he too is trusting of that twerp Metatron. At least we know why there are no more prophets. The arc moved along. The lighting during Kevin;s funeral and when Dean leaves at the end is very effective. Does this mark the first time Dean decides to go it alone because of human choices and not supernatural ones? Sam has gone off before but when did Dean ever do so? Thanks for a great review. Welcome.
debbab
# debbab 2014-01-18 15:55
Dabb gives us the shut gun seat next to Dean in this episode, We go along for the ride and feel all of the emotions. Is it a Dean who is now willing to go it alone with the ferocity of the Purgatory Dean? The dialogue btwn Cas/Dean regarding trusting gave voice to the long time viewers. Sam's voice screaming as Gadreel is tortured by Crowley- it hurt to hear it and I was with Dean when he had to walk away from it. And Crowley- does shades of grey so well and only he could get away with such raunchy dialogue. Other players were superb.Gadreel has truly gone over to the villainous side of the ledger. And he too is trusting of that twerp Metatron. At least we know why there are no more prophets. The arc moved along. The lighting during Kevin;s funeral and when Dean leaves at the end is very effective. Does this mark the first time Dean decides to go it alone because of human choices and not supernatural ones? Sam has gone off before but when did Dean ever do so? Thanks for a great review. Welcome.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-18 16:17
Quoting debbab:
Dabb gives us the shut gun seat next to Dean in this episode, We go along for the ride and feel all of the emotions. Is it a Dean who is now willing to go it alone with the ferocity of the Purgatory Dean? The dialogue btwn Cas/Dean regarding trusting gave voice to the long time viewers. Sam's voice screaming as Gadreel is tortured by Crowley- it hurt to hear it and I was with Dean when he had to walk away from it. And Crowley- does shades of grey so well and only he could get away with such raunchy dialogue. Other players were superb.Gadreel has truly gone over to the villainous side of the ledger. And he too is trusting of that twerp Metatron. At least we know why there are no more prophets. The arc moved along. The lighting during Kevin;s funeral and when Dean leaves at the end is very effective. Does this mark the first time Dean decides to go it alone because of human choices and not supernatural ones? Sam has gone off before but when did Dean ever do so? Thanks for a great review. Welcome.


Thanks so much for the welcome and for reading! It kind of is and kind of isn't the first time for Dean to go alone, I think. In season 5 (can't remember the ep title off hand) when Sam tells Dean he thinks he should leave, he's expecting Dean to argue, but Dean doesn't. So to me, he and Sam mutually decided to separate, because they were on the same page. Then when Sam first wants to rejoin him, he says no. It took his journey to the future to remind him what he and Sam offer to each other. Their bond does make them vulnerable, but it also makes them strong.

The way I read it, what this episode offered that we haven't seen before is the boys in a dark place with each other and Sam deciding to stay. I think he made it clear he'll be there when Dean is ready to talk. I loved that, because it's a shift between them.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-18 16:17
Quote:
Dabb gives us the shut gun seat next to Dean in this episode, We go along for the ride and feel all of the emotions. Is it a Dean who is now willing to go it alone with the ferocity of the Purgatory Dean? The dialogue btwn Cas/Dean regarding trusting gave voice to the long time viewers. Sam's voice screaming as Gadreel is tortured by Crowley- it hurt to hear it and I was with Dean when he had to walk away from it. And Crowley- does shades of grey so well and only he could get away with such raunchy dialogue. Other players were superb.Gadreel has truly gone over to the villainous side of the ledger. And he too is trusting of that twerp Metatron. At least we know why there are no more prophets. The arc moved along. The lighting during Kevin;s funeral and when Dean leaves at the end is very effective. Does this mark the first time Dean decides to go it alone because of human choices and not supernatural ones? Sam has gone off before but when did Dean ever do so? Thanks for a great review. Welcome.
Thanks so much for the welcome and for reading! It kind of is and kind of isn't the first time for Dean to go alone, I think. In season 5 (can't remember the ep title off hand) when Sam tells Dean he thinks he should leave, he's expecting Dean to argue, but Dean doesn't. So to me, he and Sam mutually decided to separate, because they were on the same page. Then when Sam first wants to rejoin him, he says no. It took his journey to the future to remind him what he and Sam offer to each other. Their bond does make them vulnerable, but it also makes them strong.

The way I read it, what this episode offered that we haven't seen before is the boys in a dark place with each other and Sam deciding to stay. I think he made it clear he'll be there when Dean is ready to talk. I loved that, because it's a shift between them.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2014-01-18 20:07
Wow - what an incredibly insightful, lovely review. I don't visit the site as often as I used to for many reasons, but I please accept my hearty welcome! :)
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2014-01-18 20:07
Wow - what an incredibly insightful, lovely review. I don't visit the site as often as I used to for many reasons, but I please accept my hearty welcome! :)
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-18 20:37
Thank you, Bamboo24, for both the welcome and for reading! Hope to hear from you again.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-18 20:37
Thank you, Bamboo24, for both the welcome and for reading! Hope to hear from you again.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-01-18 20:42
Bamboo24@30- Hi! Miss you, come back more often! :-)
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-01-18 20:42
Bamboo24@30- Hi! Miss you, come back more often! :-)
E
# E 2014-01-18 21:11
I agree with njspn fan (#19). There are many ways to interpret Sam's actions in 8x23 as well as his conversation with Death in his coma state in 9x1. But I must disagree with the interpretation that Sam was 'running away'. Maybe I just have a problem with the actual phrase 'running way'… but I did not see Sam's willingness to die at the end of season 8 or the start of season 9 as running away. To say that makes Sam seem cowardly or childish (to me anyway); people who run away are those who are attempting to shirk responsibility or live in denial. I don't think that's what Sam was doing here as nothing about his conversation with Death showed that he was either denying what was happening to him or attempting to get out of his responsibilitie s. On the contrary, I think that Sam was taking the only recourse that was left open to him by facing the situation head on and finding the solution that was the most beneficial to everyone, everyone but himself that is. His removal from the equation assures that others will be safe, that he can't be used as a weapon, so he is willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good. How is this running away?

Sam has been used as a tool and a weapon his entire life. His decision to die and his conditions for going with Death (to make it so that he could NEVER be brought back and used to hurt others ever again) is really more of a sacrifice than a running away IMO. In some ways I think Sam wants to die still; and again, not because he's running away from his life, but because he continues to get used to wreck havoc on the world and he's tired of it. This time is wasn't even the Demon Blood, his Powers, The Yellow Eyed Demon, Ruby, Lucifer, Soullessness or Hellucinations that made him do these things, it was his own brother's desperation that put him at the mercy of doing these awful things against his will. I think Sam is willing to do just about anything to see that he is NEVER used in this way ever again, and the only way to do that in his mind is to die and make sure he can't be brought back. It's not about running away, its about claiming just a shred of control over his own actions and putting his foot down about how he's being manipulated and used continually to the detriment of others. Children run away… what Sam is doing is more noble than that. And THAT'S how I sees it! :lol:
E
# E 2014-01-18 21:11
I agree with njspn fan (#19). There are many ways to interpret Sam's actions in 8x23 as well as his conversation with Death in his coma state in 9x1. But I must disagree with the interpretation that Sam was 'running away'. Maybe I just have a problem with the actual phrase 'running way'… but I did not see Sam's willingness to die at the end of season 8 or the start of season 9 as running away. To say that makes Sam seem cowardly or childish (to me anyway); people who run away are those who are attempting to shirk responsibility or live in denial. I don't think that's what Sam was doing here as nothing about his conversation with Death showed that he was either denying what was happening to him or attempting to get out of his responsibilitie s. On the contrary, I think that Sam was taking the only recourse that was left open to him by facing the situation head on and finding the solution that was the most beneficial to everyone, everyone but himself that is. His removal from the equation assures that others will be safe, that he can't be used as a weapon, so he is willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good. How is this running away?

Sam has been used as a tool and a weapon his entire life. His decision to die and his conditions for going with Death (to make it so that he could NEVER be brought back and used to hurt others ever again) is really more of a sacrifice than a running away IMO. In some ways I think Sam wants to die still; and again, not because he's running away from his life, but because he continues to get used to wreck havoc on the world and he's tired of it. This time is wasn't even the Demon Blood, his Powers, The Yellow Eyed Demon, Ruby, Lucifer, Soullessness or Hellucinations that made him do these things, it was his own brother's desperation that put him at the mercy of doing these awful things against his will. I think Sam is willing to do just about anything to see that he is NEVER used in this way ever again, and the only way to do that in his mind is to die and make sure he can't be brought back. It's not about running away, its about claiming just a shred of control over his own actions and putting his foot down about how he's being manipulated and used continually to the detriment of others. Children run away… what Sam is doing is more noble than that. And THAT'S how I sees it! :lol:
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2014-01-18 22:33
A wonderful first review for the site!

I like how you focused a lot on the hope that's hidden under the consequences of what we saw in "Holy Terror" coming to roost here in "Road Trip."

I think you're onto something when it comes to Sam's motives at the beginning of the season. I also think you're right about Sam and Death's conversation. I think the language there is key---and I'm hoping that as we see the back half of season nine unfold, we see Sam reach an understanding that he's not tainted and that Dean has forgiven him for any sin.

As for that parting conversation, I agree. Sam left the door open for Dean. I think he understands that Dean must do some of this alone, at least for awhile, so that he can clear his head. It's something Sam's wanted to do at times in the past for various reasons, so he's not going to impede his brother when he needs to do the same.

I am also intrigued by Crowley. What will he do now and where will he go with his shred of humanity from his near cure? How long will he be ally to the Winchesters?

I think it's interesting you point out Castiel's face after he decks Gadreel. It's one of those expressions I always paid close attention to when I rewatched the episode. I wonder just what humanity is in the angel, too, It's intriguing that two supernatural beings have humanity laced into them and I love how they're playing with that this season.

I'm glad you're on the team. Thanks for the review!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2014-01-18 22:33
A wonderful first review for the site!

I like how you focused a lot on the hope that's hidden under the consequences of what we saw in "Holy Terror" coming to roost here in "Road Trip."

I think you're onto something when it comes to Sam's motives at the beginning of the season. I also think you're right about Sam and Death's conversation. I think the language there is key---and I'm hoping that as we see the back half of season nine unfold, we see Sam reach an understanding that he's not tainted and that Dean has forgiven him for any sin.

As for that parting conversation, I agree. Sam left the door open for Dean. I think he understands that Dean must do some of this alone, at least for awhile, so that he can clear his head. It's something Sam's wanted to do at times in the past for various reasons, so he's not going to impede his brother when he needs to do the same.

I am also intrigued by Crowley. What will he do now and where will he go with his shred of humanity from his near cure? How long will he be ally to the Winchesters?

I think it's interesting you point out Castiel's face after he decks Gadreel. It's one of those expressions I always paid close attention to when I rewatched the episode. I wonder just what humanity is in the angel, too, It's intriguing that two supernatural beings have humanity laced into them and I love how they're playing with that this season.

I'm glad you're on the team. Thanks for the review!
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-19 13:05
Quoting E:
I agree with njspn fan (#19). There are many ways to interpret Sam's actions in 8x23 as well as his conversation with Death in his coma state in 9x1. But I must disagree with the interpretation that Sam was 'running away'. Maybe I just have a problem with the actual phrase 'running way'… but I did not see Sam's willingness to die at the end of season 8 or the start of season 9 as running away. To say that makes Sam seem cowardly or childish (to me anyway); people who run away are those who are attempting to shirk responsibility or live in denial. I don't think that's what Sam was doing here as nothing about his conversation with Death showed that he was either denying what was happening to him or attempting to get out of his responsibilities. On the contrary, I think that Sam was taking the only recourse that was left open to him by facing the situation head on and finding the solution that was the most beneficial to everyone, everyone but himself that is. His removal from the equation assures that others will be safe, that he can't be used as a weapon, so he is willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good. How is this running away?

Sam has been used as a tool and a weapon his entire life. His decision to die and his conditions for going with Death (to make it so that he could NEVER be brought back and used to hurt others ever again) is really more of a sacrifice than a running away IMO. In some ways I think Sam wants to die still; and again, not because he's running away from his life, but because he continues to get used to wreck havoc on the world and he's tired of it. This time is wasn't even the Demon Blood, his Powers, The Yellow Eyed Demon, Ruby, Lucifer, Soullessness or Hellucinations that made him do these things, it was his own brother's desperation that put him at the mercy of doing these awful things against his will. I think Sam is willing to do just about anything to see that he is NEVER used in this way ever again, and the only way to do that in his mind is to die and make sure he can't be brought back. It's not about running away, its about claiming just a shred of control over his own actions and putting his foot down about how he's being manipulated and used continually to the detriment of others. Children run away… what Sam is doing is more noble than that. And THAT'S how I sees it! :lol:


Hi E, thanks so much for reading and commenting! I love the rich dialogue a really good episode inspires and that there will be differing interpretations .

I appreciate the way you mentioned definitions of "running away" may be important, because that's my thought after reading your comment. I don't think we have extremely different interpretations of Sam, but we may have different ways of explaining some of his choices. I can say I have never, ever, thought of Sam as a coward. Ever. He's the guy who faced off against Lucifer and jumped into the pit to save the world. And is shoulder to shoulder with Dean on taking on the bad guys.

The kind of running away I see Sam as having a pattern of doing is trying to escape his feelings of being tainted by finding another life, being another person. It's an internally focused fight he's having with himself, trying to define who and what he is in the face of cosmic forces who specially bred him for a role he refused to play.

To me, Sam's strategy of looking at other people's lives and wishing he lived one of them is completely understandable, but ultimately doesn't address the real problem: his acceptance of himself, with all his history. I think that self-acceptance is the goal of his over all arc, and to have that, he has to stop thinking he needs to be somebody other than Sam Winchester.

I also think that Dean, as is often the case with those we love and hold dear, has both hurt Sam by not trusting him and healed him by believing he can be his best self as himself. The Winchesters' bond is both a place of vulnerability for the boys and a place of strength. It depends on how they are communicating with each other.

I think the same kind of duality exists for Dean in the bond. As the older brother who often stood in as a parent for Sam and was charged with his safety from the time he was a child, Dean gave up many of his needs and wants to take care of Sam, and Sam was too young and too used to the way things were set up to really appreciate that. Sam's not selfish--that's a normal child/parent dynamic. And given that Dean was the caregiver, there's no way Sam running away as a child wouldn't affect Dean or hurt him. His dad held him accountable to a ridiculous degree.

I think Dean's dfficulty letting go of Sam has been as well set up and is as understandable as Sam's wish to leave his Winchester life behind--and these two needs inevitably bring the boys into conflict. But that conflict doesn't preclude each brother from ultimately being a source of strength for the other, because I think each one does believe in the best of the other. It's just that sometimes one brother will have trouble communicating that and sometimes one brother will have trouble hearing that. So human.

I hear what you're saying about Sam not wanting to be used or controlled ever again, and I agree--and that part Dean will have to process and see how his actions have hurt Sam. I think he's well on his way there.

But I also see Sam's willingness to leave his life as being tied in to his previous pattern of wishing to walk away from being Sam Winchester because of all the pain and shame and anger that he has to grapple with. I think he still needs to take a good look at why he called Death.

I suspect the boys will both have something to say to each other as they work through this breach.

I loved hearing your perspective and no doubt we will learn more about Sam's state of mind as the season goes on. Just writing that makes me happy, as to my mind, that was missing for almost all of last season.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-19 13:05
Quote:
I agree with njspn fan (#19). There are many ways to interpret Sam's actions in 8x23 as well as his conversation with Death in his coma state in 9x1. But I must disagree with the interpretation that Sam was 'running away'. Maybe I just have a problem with the actual phrase 'running way'… but I did not see Sam's willingness to die at the end of season 8 or the start of season 9 as running away. To say that makes Sam seem cowardly or childish (to me anyway); people who run away are those who are attempting to shirk responsibility or live in denial. I don't think that's what Sam was doing here as nothing about his conversation with Death showed that he was either denying what was happening to him or attempting to get out of his responsibilities. On the contrary, I think that Sam was taking the only recourse that was left open to him by facing the situation head on and finding the solution that was the most beneficial to everyone, everyone but himself that is. His removal from the equation assures that others will be safe, that he can't be used as a weapon, so he is willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good. How is this running away?

Sam has been used as a tool and a weapon his entire life. His decision to die and his conditions for going with Death (to make it so that he could NEVER be brought back and used to hurt others ever again) is really more of a sacrifice than a running away IMO. In some ways I think Sam wants to die still; and again, not because he's running away from his life, but because he continues to get used to wreck havoc on the world and he's tired of it. This time is wasn't even the Demon Blood, his Powers, The Yellow Eyed Demon, Ruby, Lucifer, Soullessness or Hellucinations that made him do these things, it was his own brother's desperation that put him at the mercy of doing these awful things against his will. I think Sam is willing to do just about anything to see that he is NEVER used in this way ever again, and the only way to do that in his mind is to die and make sure he can't be brought back. It's not about running away, its about claiming just a shred of control over his own actions and putting his foot down about how he's being manipulated and used continually to the detriment of others. Children run away… what Sam is doing is more noble than that. And THAT'S how I sees it! :lol:
Hi E, thanks so much for reading and commenting! I love the rich dialogue a really good episode inspires and that there will be differing interpretations .

I appreciate the way you mentioned definitions of "running away" may be important, because that's my thought after reading your comment. I don't think we have extremely different interpretations of Sam, but we may have different ways of explaining some of his choices. I can say I have never, ever, thought of Sam as a coward. Ever. He's the guy who faced off against Lucifer and jumped into the pit to save the world. And is shoulder to shoulder with Dean on taking on the bad guys.

The kind of running away I see Sam as having a pattern of doing is trying to escape his feelings of being tainted by finding another life, being another person. It's an internally focused fight he's having with himself, trying to define who and what he is in the face of cosmic forces who specially bred him for a role he refused to play.

To me, Sam's strategy of looking at other people's lives and wishing he lived one of them is completely understandable, but ultimately doesn't address the real problem: his acceptance of himself, with all his history. I think that self-acceptance is the goal of his over all arc, and to have that, he has to stop thinking he needs to be somebody other than Sam Winchester.

I also think that Dean, as is often the case with those we love and hold dear, has both hurt Sam by not trusting him and healed him by believing he can be his best self as himself. The Winchesters' bond is both a place of vulnerability for the boys and a place of strength. It depends on how they are communicating with each other.

I think the same kind of duality exists for Dean in the bond. As the older brother who often stood in as a parent for Sam and was charged with his safety from the time he was a child, Dean gave up many of his needs and wants to take care of Sam, and Sam was too young and too used to the way things were set up to really appreciate that. Sam's not selfish--that's a normal child/parent dynamic. And given that Dean was the caregiver, there's no way Sam running away as a child wouldn't affect Dean or hurt him. His dad held him accountable to a ridiculous degree.

I think Dean's dfficulty letting go of Sam has been as well set up and is as understandable as Sam's wish to leave his Winchester life behind--and these two needs inevitably bring the boys into conflict. But that conflict doesn't preclude each brother from ultimately being a source of strength for the other, because I think each one does believe in the best of the other. It's just that sometimes one brother will have trouble communicating that and sometimes one brother will have trouble hearing that. So human.

I hear what you're saying about Sam not wanting to be used or controlled ever again, and I agree--and that part Dean will have to process and see how his actions have hurt Sam. I think he's well on his way there.

But I also see Sam's willingness to leave his life as being tied in to his previous pattern of wishing to walk away from being Sam Winchester because of all the pain and shame and anger that he has to grapple with. I think he still needs to take a good look at why he called Death.

I suspect the boys will both have something to say to each other as they work through this breach.

I loved hearing your perspective and no doubt we will learn more about Sam's state of mind as the season goes on. Just writing that makes me happy, as to my mind, that was missing for almost all of last season.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-19 13:24
Quoting Far Away Eyes:
A wonderful first review for the site!

I like how you focused a lot on the hope that's hidden under the consequences of what we saw in "Holy Terror" coming to roost here in "Road Trip."

I think you're onto something when it comes to Sam's motives at the beginning of the season. I also think you're right about Sam and Death's conversation. I think the language there is key---and I'm hoping that as we see the back half of season nine unfold, we see Sam reach an understanding that he's not tainted and that Dean has forgiven him for any sin.

As for that parting conversation, I agree. Sam left the door open for Dean. I think he understands that Dean must do some of this alone, at least for awhile, so that he can clear his head. It's something Sam's wanted to do at times in the past for various reasons, so he's not going to impede his brother when he needs to do the same.

I am also intrigued by Crowley. What will he do now and where will he go with his shred of humanity from his near cure? How long will he be ally to the Winchesters?

I think it's interesting you point out Castiel's face after he decks Gadreel. It's one of those expressions I always paid close attention to when I rewatched the episode. I wonder just what humanity is in the angel, too, It's intriguing that two supernatural beings have humanity laced into them and I love how they're playing with that this season.

I'm glad you're on the team. Thanks for the review!


Thank you so much! I really enjoy reading your nuanced reviews, so it's great to hear your comments on my take on the ep.

I'm really intrigued, too, on Crowley and Cas and their parallel journey. I am struck by Cas's expression after the punch every time I watch--it's almost shifty, or at least something not quite positive. The stolen grace has to have some impact, which is interesting, as Crowley's forced blood intake is also having an impact on him.

I sense a meta article in the making! I do have some thoughts on what the overall theme of this season is, now that we've seen all the arcs laid out.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-19 13:24
Quote:
A wonderful first review for the site!

I like how you focused a lot on the hope that's hidden under the consequences of what we saw in "Holy Terror" coming to roost here in "Road Trip."

I think you're onto something when it comes to Sam's motives at the beginning of the season. I also think you're right about Sam and Death's conversation. I think the language there is key---and I'm hoping that as we see the back half of season nine unfold, we see Sam reach an understanding that he's not tainted and that Dean has forgiven him for any sin.

As for that parting conversation, I agree. Sam left the door open for Dean. I think he understands that Dean must do some of this alone, at least for awhile, so that he can clear his head. It's something Sam's wanted to do at times in the past for various reasons, so he's not going to impede his brother when he needs to do the same.

I am also intrigued by Crowley. What will he do now and where will he go with his shred of humanity from his near cure? How long will he be ally to the Winchesters?

I think it's interesting you point out Castiel's face after he decks Gadreel. It's one of those expressions I always paid close attention to when I rewatched the episode. I wonder just what humanity is in the angel, too, It's intriguing that two supernatural beings have humanity laced into them and I love how they're playing with that this season.

I'm glad you're on the team. Thanks for the review!
Thank you so much! I really enjoy reading your nuanced reviews, so it's great to hear your comments on my take on the ep.

I'm really intrigued, too, on Crowley and Cas and their parallel journey. I am struck by Cas's expression after the punch every time I watch--it's almost shifty, or at least something not quite positive. The stolen grace has to have some impact, which is interesting, as Crowley's forced blood intake is also having an impact on him.

I sense a meta article in the making! I do have some thoughts on what the overall theme of this season is, now that we've seen all the arcs laid out.
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2014-01-21 02:16
Great job! I hadn't really thought that maybe Sam was running by being alright with the idea of dying ... interesting take on it! Looking forward to your insights moving forward!
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2014-01-21 02:16
Great job! I hadn't really thought that maybe Sam was running by being alright with the idea of dying ... interesting take on it! Looking forward to your insights moving forward!
racestaffer
# racestaffer 2014-01-21 09:14
@35 - Ah. Actually got misty readying that... and it's the first time in a very, very long while that that's happened during SPN discussion -so thank-you.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-21 09:48
Thank you both for reading! This was such a layered episode there was almost too much to write about. I hope we see that trend continue tonight. So much angst, mixed with laughter. Perfect combo.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-01-21 09:48
Thank you both for reading! This was such a layered episode there was almost too much to write about. I hope we see that trend continue tonight. So much angst, mixed with laughter. Perfect combo.