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 Open Couch to Exile on Main Street

Or

It runs in the family! 
  

This seems to be what a passionate relationship with a tv-show must be like - you wait and you wait for the new season to come around, and then you sit there, spellbound, hardly breathing. 

I've had my heart broken before. In real life by twists of fate, by bad choices I made or by falling for the wrong guy. In the fantasy world of literature and movies it happened, too.  I cried my eyes out over Imitation of Life and Legends of the Fall, and hardly survived Anna Karenina. But usually it doesn't happen too often.  I have a tight grip on reality. Or, I try to have!
  
This show, however, is an exception that proves me wrong. Repeatedly. I felt the familiar cracking inside my chest several times since I began watching this show, and this new episode demonstrated to me - again - that Supernatural will continue to do so. So, it will remain a love-hate relationship of loving the characters, the story, the exploits, hating the pain that barely ever ceases to torture these guys we have enclosed in our souls. Five years and counting. I love my life.
 
There is no The Road So Far montage this time - just a few glimpses of Swan Song, perhaps to say: "don't enter if you haven't watched the show so far" or to invite newbies and not confuse them with too much information. But we get a fabulous new title card - shattering glass (to me it looked like ice or a mirror and I love the idea of hell being a cold place, very Dante and Milton). Yes, this is a whole new show. And yet it is exactly what we have loved since it first graced our screens: two brothers in a relationship that is filled with pain, angst, loss, in short: glorious drama.
  
 
  
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Sam's words before he disappeared in the deep pit of hell echo in Dean's dreams -  perhaps almost every night, and as he wakes up (shortly before the alarm clock hits off) his eyes speak of his troubled mind. A year has passed, but it doesn't appear as if Dean's wounds have healed. Not by far. Perhaps he's found a little peace, living his "normal, apple pie life" -  cooking breakfast, working, showing little Ben the ropes of fixing a car, finding tenderness with Lisa, barbecuing - we see the similarities of Dean using a saw on wood and on vampires, cracking open some wall or a coffin (and I wouldn't be surprised if Dean experienced those montaged pictures himself, memories sneaking up every time he closes the trunk, goes through his tools, opens a beer bottle, perhaps we were given a glimpse of Dean's mind in that sequence).
 
 
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And the "practically respectable" Dean is unable to relax. Looking cosy on the outside in his sweatpants and t-shirt, he still drinks a tad too much and keeps checking the house. He certainly is not a Beautiful Loser, as the Bob Seger song we get indicates, but he is without doubt beautiful and lost. Like a fish stranded on land. The old instincts are hard to shed, aren't they, Dean? He still is a protector. Holy water and gun under the bed. Devil's trap beneath the front door carpet. Lisa could have given him peace of mind, had he been able to let that happen, but he probably wasn't capable of that - we learn later that he assembled a mountain of books trying to find a way to free Sam. His mind was never entirely free. For moments perchance, when he played with Ben, found understanding with Lisa, got money for work. But his past was his present, too.
 
His smile hardly ever reaches his eyes. Sitting in a bar with nice Sid, he's acting. Dean is playing the role of the "husband", the inconspicuous neighbour, the guy who used to work in pest control. Telling the truth without actually telling it. Masterly, Dean. And so lonely. 
 
As the waitress passes him the bill with her phone number on it, he is not aware that he was just touched and poisoned by a Djinn (later, as we meet the Djinns I noticed I've seen that girl before, but only as I re-watched the episode I recognized her in this early scene)  Chicks might dig the unavailable guys but this Dean isn't interested. He is monogamous. The flirty guy from the early seasons is gone indeed. He's tired, on his way home when a scream attracts his attention and leads him to a hotel in renovation (DJ Sam? Nice one, Sera Gamble!). He follows scratches and blood, quite nervous (and why not, he hasn't had much training lately but still enough experience to impersonate successfully a police officer when checking with police later on). And is led by scratches to a shed the following day and almost shoots a Yorkie (I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been the one from Yellow Fever - this episode already (after ten minutes) feels like a surreal journey. Like a mirror in which I find What Is And What Should Never Be in more ways than just the Djinn. I'll get to that in a moment.


 
Yes, Dean, possums kill. Clowns, too. This is as awkward as it gets. Sulphur at the door? Don't hold your breath, dear Winchester. It will get worse. 
 
 
 
And there she is - the Impala, hidden, but well taken care of, her trunk still a weapons store. Dean is in panic. Something has come, he is sure of it. He has to be ready. He has to protect Lisa and Ben. Lisa, though, knows her man. She knows something is going on, and I wonder how much exactly Dean told her about his life. I assume, she knows a lot. But not the gory details. 
The moment she's out of the door, he continues his preparations, not prepared, though, for Yellow Eyes, the ultimate fiend of his young life. Fredric Lehne is back! One of my all-time favourite baddies of this show. He does a great job. Mean as ever. And scary as hell. I do believe -for now- that he was mysteriously resurrected, indeed shaken loose in the apocalypse. Everything is possible with this show. So, right now I'm joining Dean's hallucinations.
 
“You had to know we were coming for you sometime.’

 

you can’t outrun your past’ - yes, true. Dean must be so shaken up by meeting the demon who was responsible for his parents’ deaths, that of Jessica, of Sam becoming Lucifer’s champion is a bit much. He is unable to really fight back. His worst nightmares are coming true, it seems. Lisa and “the hell of a kid’ will suffer because of him. I’m quite sure that some of this must be racing through Dean’s mind. Again the guilt re-surfacing. Dean bringing bad news. 
 
Zorro-Sam appears and drives that needle with the antidote deep into his chest thereby making the illusion of Azazel vanish. But Dean collapses. He almost died and the serum knocked him out. Before he knows what happened he wakes up with Sam sitting across from him.

Sam smiles. But that smile, gorgeous as it may be, also doesn’t reach his eyes. “I was expecting, I don’t know, a hug? Some holy water in the face...’ Come on Sam, give the guy a minute. He just woke up to another hallucination of his dead brother- Who could stomach that?! Seeing things that were not real? Poisoned? You are throwing too much into your brother’s disturbed face.
 
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So,
Sam proves that it’s him – silver knife into his flesh, salted holy water- it is really him. What follows is one of the most heart wrenching scenes of this episode. “Sammy-?’ “yeah, it’s me’ And there is the hug. Dean desperately embracing his brother. We don’t see whether Sam hugs him back, but it feels to me as if he doesn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam just stood there, detached, arms at his sides. But that’s just me.  

What hurts me the most, apart from Dean’s moving quiet happiness to see his brother, is the smile Sam shows in that moment. The kind of smile we’ve seen on Lucifer’s face. It feels wrong. While I’m still inclined to think that this is indeed Sam here, his demeanour feels bizarre, and it tears at my inner peace violently. For me, this is a face of a man in pain, carrying a smooth mask to hide the cruelty of that emotion, holding it all in. A mechanism Sam has been known for. 
 
  
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Sam has been back about a year. My God. You’re really getting it rubbed in, Dean-  and Sam gives him some kind of explanation why he had not turned up during that time. There is a lot of truth to it, I believe, but not the whole truth. He might have thought that letting Dean go and build a new life with Lisa and Ben was the right thing. My guts, however, are screaming like on fire right now. There is more. A terrible “more’. A “more’ we will learn about later in the show (great job, folks, torturing not only the brothers, but us viewers, too. Personally, I didn’t expect anything less). 

Whatever made Sam decide not to make himself known to Dean were good reasons, I am sure. Sam hasn’t changed that much while in hell. The driving force of both brothers has always been love. Sometimes misguided, sometimes selfish, sometimes pain-driven, but always love. A fact so deeply rooted in their being doesn’t disappear, not even after hell. The time Dean spent in hell didn’t change that, though he needed some time to be reminded of it. And  -even though Sam has been Lucifer’s toy - it is still in Sam. I believe that. But it’s driving a blade into my soul to see him like this. 

The younger Winchester has no idea how he came back. Doesn’t know who pulled him up. Or so he says (something tells me that’s also not entirely true, but perhaps too terrible to tell right now).

Still, after Sam had given the ultimate sacrifice in Swan Song, why shouldn’t it have been God himself (hello Chuck?!) to bring him back. We learned in the final episodes of last season that God encouraged the liberty to make decisions. In the end “they chose family’. They, the Winchesters, did the choosing, defying all temptations and obstacles that were thrown onto their path and did what they considered right. And God seemed quite satisfied with that. He gave Man free will. And Man enforced it, saving the world along the way. Sacrificed himself. There is no greater love, the Bible tells us (I bet even the one Supernatural uses). I would love to see some reward for that. Well, for now, there is none, for Sam is just as disturbed as Dean, just in another colour. 



 "My god, you have delicate features for a hunter."
  
Which might be a reason why he has been hunting with the Campbell clan. Three cousins and Grand-pa. Okay. How did Samuel get back? Oh, my mind is racing. What kind of deal has been made to bring him back from the dead? They are introduced in a manner that makes us mistrust them, and it hits home with me. I don't trust them. Especially not the girl and not Samuel. They, in particular, seem wrong. 
 
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Dean panics. Of course. He has Sam take him back to their house, but no one is there. Only the pictures that tear at Dean’s sanity. He’s freaked out. He needs to get them away instantly. Not just away - he delivers them into the hands of the one person he trusts the most, Bobby. 

However, that trust suffers a serious blow a moment later as Dean discovers that Bobby knew about Sam and didn’t tell him.  Has Bobby ever looked better? Whatever he has been doing, it made him look a bit more at ease, healthier. But not less stubborn. 


Dean: “You knew? You knew Sam was alive.’
Bobby: “yeah.’
Dean: “How long?’
Bobby: “look-’
Dean: “How long!’
Bobby: “All year’

Oh no- the pain in Dean’s face is horrific to watch. Disappointment, disbelief,fear, loneliness. How can you keep breathing, dear?

Dean: “You gotta be kidding me’
Bobby: “And I’d do it again’
Dean: “Why?!
Bobby: “because you got out, Dean! You walked away from the life (note hunting gets a new name, “the life’) And I was so damn grateful-you got no idea’
Dean: “Do you have any clue what walking away meant for me?
Bobby: “yeah , a woman and a kid and not getting your guts ripped out at age thirty, that’s what it meant.’
Dean: “that woman and that kid, I went to them, because you (Sam) asked me to’
Bobby: “Good!’
Dean: “good for who? I showed up on their doorstep half out of my head with grief. Who knows why they even let me in. I drank too much, had nightmares. I looked everywhere. I collected hundreds of books trying to find anything to bust you out!
Sam: “You promised you’d leave it alone’
Dean: “of course I didn’t leave it alone! Sue me!  (turning to Bobby) A damn year? You couldn’t put me out of my misery?’ (Suddenly Ellen comes to my mind, how she slapped Dean in Good God, Y’all, because he had not called her to let know that he was alive. 

Bobby: “I get it wasn’t easy. But that’s life. And it’s as close to happiness as I’ve ever seen a hunter get. It’s not like I wanted to lie to you, son. But you were out.’
Dean: “Do I look out to you?’

 

It is a typical Winchester tradition of one brother making decisions that might not sit well with the other; when Dean sold his soul to resurrect Sam he did it because he could not bear the fact that Sam was dead, not taking into account (and perhaps not caring) how Sam would feel about it.  When Sam did his demon-blood training with Ruby and eventually decided to go on his kamikaze
trip to kill Lilith he also did not allow Dean’s protests to change his mind (demonic manipulation included). And this time, Sam probably wasn’t able to bear the thought of Dean losing the home he had found. 

When Sam asked Dean to go to Lisa, he did it to give Dean peace of mind (if possible), but also to be able to die in peace, knowing that his brother would have a shot at a normal life, the kind he had hoped to find a long time ago with Jessica. It seems natural to me that Sam wanted to protect Dean from running off with him and leaving Lisa and Ben. Again, I believe there is more  to the story.

But, as it has been about free will and the right to make your own decisions, it doesn’t seem right to take that decision away from Dean. However, I do understand. There were times in my life when I went through some kind of hell and didn’t tell my parents. They could not have helped me, not really. All I would have given them would have been worry and sadness. Had I asked them
whether they wanted to know, they -of course- would have said yes, but I decided to protect them. I made the decision for them. It might not have been the bravest move to do so, but to me it felt the right thing. I assume Sam acted out of similar reasons.
 
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Ilove the following scene between Lisa and Dean on the stairs. Anyone out there who didn’t like Lisa before must have fallen in love with her finally. That woman is great. She is gutsy. She believes in Dean. She understands as far as she is capable. She tried to give the guy who “basically just saved the world’ and showed up with “a few issues’ a home. “It was the best year of my life.’ Despite everything. I could imagine Dean waking up from nightmares, screaming, and Lisa being there, trying to comfort him. It takes a lot of soul to put up with a traumatized veteran, no matter the fields of war he fought. 

“See, it’s almost like I’m a professional.’

Sam has a Batmobile. I’ve been searching the internet for that black car, and it seems to be a new Dodge Charger SXT (feel free to correct me, should I be wrong), damn expensive car, where did you steal that, Sammy? It’s a cool, devilish, modern car (with an i-pod inside, I bet), but it doesn’t beat the beauty of the Impala- but, it suits this Sam - his emotional detachment fits perfectly with this modern, cold metal. An armour. He needs it. 
 
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So, the brothers return to the Campbell lair (if they can afford cars like this, why not a decent place to stay where you don't have to be expecting cockroaches to share the shower with you?). Dean guesses there is no plan - he doesn't know that the Campbells are running their own agenda. They have a plan, but they're not letting him in. Instead they dismiss him as non-professional. But, don't you just love Dean for his feisty retort? 


 
So, Dean will play bait, and they get to their home where Gwen disses Lisa's magazine and others touch the pictures. I am surely not the only one who felt protective about that stuff, just as Dean does. And the "golf scene" is nice. 
 
Sam: Golf? Really?
Dean: it's a sport.
  
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Nice dig at the sport Jensen Ackles loves. Are we witnessing a little inside joke here? It might have been funny in another context. Here, in the heavy atmosphere of this episode, any kind of mirth gets stuck in my throat. A lot is going on on this planet. Aœber-monsters raging around. Nightwalkers being around during daytime, enough to scare the living daylights out of regular hunters, eh? He might be of proud hunters’ ancestry, going back all to the Mayflower, but does that really mean something to Dean right now? I doubt it.

Both brothers are bait. Okay. Waiting for the Djinn to make their move. Which gives them a moment to talk. Or not. 


Sam: “You okay?’
Dean: “Oh, yeah. This is crazy. You, grandpa? Whoever brought you back-
Sam: “They don’t wanna be found.
Dean: “But who are they, what do they want? Why?’
Sam: “ That’s a good question.’
Dean: “Do you remember it?

Sam looks at Dean, knowing exactly what his brother is asking about, but buyingtime with “What?’
Dean: “The cage.’
Sam: “Yeah’
Dean: “You wanna-”
Sam: “No.’
Dean: “If anybody can relate-”
Sam: “Dean, I don’t wanna talk about it. I’m back. I get to breathe fresh air, have a beer, hunt with my family, see you again. So why exactly would I wanna think about hell?




 
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No kidding, Sam. He is freaked out. There is one little moment, a flicker in his eyes that indicates that the thought alone might be able to bring him down, before he pulls his armour back up. The not-working smile to hide it. This is no emotionally dead Sam. He perfected his ability to put away his emotions even more. To protect himself. And probably Dean, too. Being in hell, getting
tortured, as Dean experienced it, was horrific enough. I assume that being ridden by Lucifer might not have been a piece of cake, either.

For the time being, with what we’ve seen in this episode, what I find in Sam and his way of dealing with his life is a deeply traumatized person, detached, disturbed, dreading any memories.  He most likely needed to go on like this, putting away his emotions, controlling them, because, if he gave in to the pain that’s obviously there, he would lose it. 

I’ve seen that so often in my field of work. The holding on to any kind of control possible to be able to function somehow. If they let go of that hardly kept up control, everything can break down. I fear if Sammy let go at this moment, he would drown in whatever is going on beneath that calm exterior we have never encountered in this manner. It breaks my heart to see him like this. 

He has been doing what he’s good at - hunting. A job where no emotion whatsoever may be required. Make out the target, find out its weaknesses, act. All you need is your brain, your logic. You can leave the painful emotions outside. Well, or inside. 

If Sam had gone to Dean early on, I doubt he would have been able to survive, just as Dean was not capable of letting Sam in for quite a while after coming back from hell. If I don’t see it, it doesn’t see me. He needed some time perhaps almost this whole year, to come to terms with his existence. There probably is a storm going on inside. But all we see is the eye of the hurricane. And that is absolutely still. 

“This is happening because of me!’

There is no time to get deeper into this, as Sid and his wife are being killed by Djinn next door. So, Dean gets there as fast as he can, reacting on instinct and driven by guilt. Because of him, he feels, these people die. Again.

Oh, these Djinn are really sophisticated. Their tattoos grow on their arms like chameleon war paint. And they are enemies to be reckoned. Oh, hello, waitress! “That’s for our father, you son of a bitch.’ It is a problem that there is no back up for this moment. Dean fighting the two, Sam being driven into a corner by the other, who gets back up after the girl finishes Dean. 

The Winchesters’ fighting skills as a team are diminished. Their goals are not exactly the same. And Sam in the end uses brute force to bash the Djinn’s head in. With the golf club. Nice touch. 

Dean is caught in his worst nightmare, indeed. Azazel showing up, pinning Lisa to the wall, feeding little Ben with blood. Lisa keeps telling him that “It’s not your fault’, but this is exactly what Dean is thinking. Because of him, Lisa will burn on the star spangled ceiling. Because of him Ben might become another Sam, haunted by the kind of evil curse demon blood brings in its wake.
As the hallucination reaches its crescendo, Dean is near death.

  
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The Campbells really took their time to come to the rescue, getting rid of Sam (by sending him over to get Dean) so they can kidnap the female Djinn - before the boys get back. One of my hypotheses here is that they need a Djinn to extract their toxin to produce the antiserum. Like milking a snake. Or there might be another agenda altogether. I think there is more. The venom thing would be too obvious for our show. It usually is a more complicated background.
 
A background we, as fans, will have to wait for. They love putting us on the rack, don't they? 
 
The house is a mess. Eventually, Sam suggests Dean should come with him, however, Dean decides to stay. 

Dean: “I did this to them (Lisa and Ben). I made them vulnerable the moment I knocked on their door. I can’t undo that. But what I can do, is go with the best option.’

Sam: “I hear ya. I guess I just -wish you were coming, that’s all.’

Dean: “Why?’

Sam: “Don’t be stupid.’

Dean: “No, I mean it. You know plenty of good hunters. I’m rusty. I did something seriously stupid going out there. I almost got us both killed.’

Sam: “that’s exactly why I want you.’

Dean: “What are you talking about?’

Sam: “You just went. You didn’t hesitate. Because you care. That’s who you are. Me? I wouldn’t even think to try.’

Dean: “Yes, you would.

Sam: “No, Dean. I’m telling ya, it’s just better with you around. That’s all.’


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Dean doesn't argue anymore. He knows that he won't bring Sam around. And he must be as confused as it gets. So, he has to let him go. Again. But Sam is indeed gone already. He declines Dean's generous offer of taking the Impala, because he has his car set up just as he likes her to be. 
 
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 There is no hug, not even a handshake as they say their good-byes. The way Dean looks at his brother makes me think that he just wants to hold him close and never let go, as if he could undo it all- But Sam’s attitude would not allow that. He’s guarded. There is not room for closeness.

Dean lets Sam go. This time he needs to do that. Again, actually. He did so when he agreed with Sam’s plan to trap Lucifer. 

Dean will cling to the one constant in his life that never faltered - being the protector of his family. With Sam refusing to be protected (and after stepping out of his brother’s shadow by the end of the last season) and capable of doing that on his own (and Dean knowing that he had to let his brother grow up), Lisa and Ben are his responsibility now. Would we ask Lisa, I guess she would not concur. But Dean considers them his family now. His responsibility since evil came to their house because he was there. Of that he is convinced. 

And Dean is so familiar by now with being in desolation, that he might have forgotten how to be happy. Deep down, in the subcutaneous levels of his psyche, his misery is another factor that he can count on. He knows his pain - the kind that “makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of’ (to quote Shakespeare once again). Long ago, Dean lost hope of ever living a peaceful life. Or of finding peace of mind. I doubt that he will ever be capable of letting go of his ever present melancholy that he had accepted for a long time now.

Exit on Main Street reminded me a lot of What Is And What Should Never Be. Not only because of the Djinn storyline that is clearly connected to it, but because of the relationship of the brothers. In the second season’s episode’s parallel universe they are not close, not at all. Sam is ashamed ofhis brother, the beautiful loser (forgive me) who even forgets his mom’s birthday. The only thing that connects them there (as well as in reality) is the hunt. Without that, they have nothing and even the moments they hunt the Djinn together are short. 

The Sam we meet in that episode is also emotionally restrained, at least in regard to Dean. He’s doing his own thing, just as in the sixth season’s opener. He’s holding on to what he thinks is right, his independence. I believe, even in the Campbell clan he keeps to himself. It’s the protection he needs. Beneath that detached facade Sam still loves his brother. Why else would he ask him to come with him? He doesn’t pop the question with the passion we’ve seen him show in the past. It actually is an awkward moment. And the most of expressing his feelings as we can expect from Sam at this point. We saw some of this back in Mystery Spot. A Sam who had a perfectly set up trunk for his weaponry. A man who kept away from his loved ones, like Bobby.  

This time Sam had gone to Bobby after he came back, though. It might be that Bobby saw more of Sam’s confusion than he lets on, and perhaps he even helped him find the cousins and Grandpa. Or they found them.

“It wasn’t greeting card perfect, but we were in it together.”

This episode leaves me with many questions. Some I already mentioned above. I also wonder if we’re going to find out what effect all that demon blood Sam had to swallow had on him in hell. Are other hunters still gunning for him - and that’s another reason why he kept away from Dean? Did Castiel, who doesn’t answer his prayers, have his hands in the whole scenario? And how much do the Campbells know? 

If Grandpa made it out, what about Papa Winchester? Personally, I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan simply wasn’t available or too expensive to be hired for this show- even if they wanted to bring John back. I would have loved his reaction to his sons, though. To see them so changed, so in pain and so strong- I guess it would be a healing experience for all of them.  

Most of all: what happened to you, Sammy? What did you experience down there? My couch is always open- ah, well, dream on, crazy shrink.

I can imagine that Sam didn’t want to destroy the normal life Dean was slowly settling into by showing up. There will be a lot of ranting within the fandom, I’m sure, about that and how Dean can decide to stay with Lisa in the end and choose her over Sam. To my opinion, we should not judge before we know more of the picture. 

I need to praise the performances here. Jensen Ackles again displays so much acting skills I need to get a grip. And Jared Padalecki doesn’t seem afraid of allowing Sam to appear unappealing or even appalling. He walked that fine line before, but here in this season I think we’re going to see more of that. I’m very curious. Plus, on a personal shallow note, both actors are older and it suits them wonderfully. There is a knowledge and maturity in their faces and eyes that will enrich their performances and add the kind of nobility we don’t often find in Hollywood, yet alone on a TV screen. 

This was a promising first episode to an already intriguing sixth season. The theme of family is still there, but with a twist we can’t fathom as of yet. For me, it will fuel my brain and continue to inspire me. I love this show. Did I mention that?


Thank you.


(I found the screencaps at home of the nutty.) 

Comments  

Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-09-27 13:16
Glad you liked the episode Jas...It was great having the brothers back on the screen after so many weeks. I liked it too. We all wanted Dean to go with Sam, but Dean needs someone to 'need' him and someone to protect. Sam lost that, and who knows if he will be lucky enough to get it back. They never do well when apart, as each completes the other, so until they are 'back', the show loses all the chemistry it had. It was very apparently lacking in this episode. Granted... that is exactly what they wanted.

Hopefully the writers will get them back before to many episodes have passed.
AndreaW
# AndreaW 2010-09-27 13:43
Hi Jas

I love your reviews. It's always a pleasure to read your open coaches. By the way, it's a pity that darling Sammy can't lie down on you coach. He badly needs it and Im' sure you would take very good care of him. ;-)

I'm glad you liked the season opener as much a I did. People keep saying it was awkward and so it was. But I think it was meant to be awkward. I felt it myself but at the same time it got me very excited with what this season has in store for us.

Regarding Sam's Monalisa smile, acording to producers this is a season of mysteries; nothing is what it seems and everyone has ulterior motives behind their actions. I think Sam's enigmatic smile is meant to do what it did: to introduce doubt. As for myself, I only read sadness in it. But that's me.
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2010-09-27 14:31
Thanks Jas, I was looking forward to your article and your professional-vi ew on it all.

Somehow after watching it the first time I kind of felt a little empty inside. Maybe after that long hellatus I just expected to much. But just like Sablegreen said I miss the brotherly love.

While reading your article a few things came to mind.

First: In the pilot Dean tells Sam: "Dude I am 26 years old" We had five season plus one year between season 5 and 6 ergo Dean should be by now 32. But Bobby says: "yeah , a woman and a kid and not getting your guts ripped out at age thirty". To my counting Dean is past that already. (Somebody please correct me if I am wrong)

Second: I don't think Samuell wanted to take the djinn with him secretly. I believe Sam knew that they would take at least one djinn back with them. It just so happens that Dean needed help and Samuell knew that Dean rather be safed by Sam than one of the Campells plus Sam would prefer to save his brother himself.

Third: When Dean offers Sam the keys to the baby he pulls them out of his pockets. The question here is: Did he carry them always around with him during the whole year even though she was under a tarp. And if so what is your professional mind making of that?

Resume for me of this ep: I want the brothers back together again!!!! On the other hand I don't want Dean to leave Lisa and Ben. Though I am here in between a rock and a hard place. Just can't make my mind up.
Eva aka Pinkfox
# Eva aka Pinkfox 2010-09-27 14:53
I loved what you wrote about what is going with Dean and Sam mentally. I saw many of the same things, but you managed to pull it together in a way that I couldn't... Thanks for helping to put me my own puzzle pieces into place....
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-09-27 14:57
That was great Jas. You and I are alike in one way, that is this show can crack your heart in two like it does mine. My heart broke for Dean this episode twice, with Sammy and Bobby. I couldn't understand how those two could let poor Dean suffer the torment of thinking his beloved little brother was in hell for a whole year. I think Dean could use a little time on your couch because of that, as well as Sammy and his emotional withdrawal problems.

Sam seemed emotionless to me this episode, but the Campbells (not taking to them) seem an emotionless bunch as well. Very unappealing. Perhaps spending a year with that group is not doing Sam any favours. I particularly was hurt by Sam's declaration that he would not have gone to the neighbour's rescue as Dean did. Then I remembered way back in season 4, in 'Rapture', his disassociation with any empathy whatsoever when crosswiring the car for Mrs.Jimmy and Clair. "Here's your car" or something to that effect without explaining about the hot wiring or even looking at them. So cold!

Anyway, as I posted in Alice's review, I so do long for the day when we can get back the chemistry between these brothers. The chemistry that made me become a fanatical fan of this show. That unspoken love that just jumped off the screen and warmed my heart and made me love these two boys like never before have I loved a fictional character. Jensen and Jared made these two characters people I never want to be without! Even now, with that chemistry missing. :sad:

Have I mentioned before that I thoroughly LOVE this show? ;-)
elle2
# elle2 2010-09-27 16:20
Jas,

Great Open Couch.

Like you I'm really excited about this new maturity we're seeing. Honestly, the boys, as in characters, have been maturing all along, it's just that with the injection of a whole year, the changes are shockingly obvious. Thank you, Sera Gamble, for going this route. It makes it almost a whole new show and yet, I know the crux is still family.

Like AndreaW and others have said, this was awkward, uneasy, edge of your seat 'cause I'm not sure what's happening and to me it made it so much more special. I have no idea where they're going and after a season of knowing the ultimate battle was going to be with Lucifer and that of course somehow they were going to win, I'm liking this newer, uneasy, awkward, I-have-no-idea- where-we're-goi ng vibe.

Bring it!!
CitizenKane2
# CitizenKane2 2010-09-27 22:13
Thank you, Jas. I also enjoyed reading your (also) insightful review of 6.01. :-)
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-09-28 04:42
Sablegreen, AndreaW, Yirabah, Eva aka Pinkfox, Bevie, Elle2, CitizenKane2 - thank you so much for commenting!

Sablegreen, dear, I believe the brothers will come back together. It is an asset the show can't allow to get lost, true. I also think that their relationship will be another one. Matured, wounded, yet loving. Grown up and real. I always loved that about this show. They experience cruelties and are changed by them. But, also, I think we won't lose the core of what we loved about the brothers. Have faith.

AndreaW, it that's only you, add me to it. That smile didn't reach Sam's eyes. It was a front to hold the raw emotion in. From what we know about the character, that seems utterly logical. And, yes, I would indeed take good care of Sammy ;-)... sigh...

Yirabah, I guess the emptiness you felt after watching it the first time was the depression that coloured the whole episode grey. It might just have slipped from the tv screen into your mind... no worries there.

About the keys to the Impala... since we don't see explicitly how Dean gets them to give them to Sam (and he has them in his pocket, too, as he rushes to her in that shed to get his hunting tools), he probably carries them with him at all times.
I would assume that for one those keys give him some kind of inner hold, the home of so many years, memories of what they went through together and most of all - of Sam. There are no pictures of Sam around the house (something most grieving people have, pics of their lost ones). My guess is that the keys to the car fulfil that role pictures or clothes etc would normally do - provide the grieving with something touchable to find something familiar. Does that help you?

I'm afraid, we will lose Lisa and Ben within this show. My only hope is that they won't kill them off. I would love it best, if LIsa made the decision to leave instead of some demon devouring her. That, at least, would not add another layer of guilt to Dean's already torn conscience.

Eva, thank you. I am honoured to have been able to provide some assistance with that!

Bevie, you're so right - my couch is open to Dean as well, of course (though I would have trouble concentrating, I guess, as he has never looked better...oops.. .). I felt a lot for him, and I'm sorry if that didn't come across.

The Campbells - if they are indeed so emotionless it might suit Sam, as he obviously tries to keep his emotions in. It might be helpful to him in that regard. No one asking about how it felt down there.

Please, by all means, keep mentioning how much you love the show. I agree in all points with your praise of the show and the leads.

Elle2, I, too, love the curiosity it left us with - where is this going? What will happen? We don't have the hints of a story arc anymore, as we used to while the Apocalypse was pending. This is as new as the first season. And I love it. So, let's love it together. Oh, yes, bring it on!

CitizenKane2, always a joy to me if I can make you enjoy what I have. Thanks.

Folks, thank you so much for your elaborate opinions. This is the greatest rewards we, as writers to this site, get.
Be well and happy, Jas
Anonymous
# Anonymous 2010-09-28 10:08
When I saw Sam I recalled Linkin Park's Robot Boy . It looked like he didn't actively participate in any part of the hunt. It was like agreeing to what others said but not suggesting anything himself. Complete 180....
boobula
# boobula 2010-09-28 12:09
Jas, your insights are amazing as usual. I realize why I love your writing so much. My bestest friend is also a therapist. As I read your thoughts I hear her voice. I know weird, but somehow very comforting. She is my friend always, even when I get in my strange anti-social moods and blow everyone off for weeks. She has stuck by me and given me space when I needed it and dragged me out when I didn't know I needed it, but did. Hey, and free sessions over coffee win win. The street runs both way for us though. One Christmas she was in meltdown mode, while trying to finish up her doctorate. She wasn't letting anyone in her house. And poof there I was at her door. "Ok you can come in for a minute" turned into 6 hours. But enough of that.

Exile on Main St.... Where to begin. Well, I watched the episode with my favorite aunt. She is a fan of the show, but the regular kind. Not a super-fan, obsessive, possessive and protective like many of us. We watch new episodes together, and she will watch the repeats if I am there. She likes more than she dislikes, but monster-of-the- week and stand alones are her favorites. This did not make that list. Which of course sent my head spinning in a thousand different directions.

I re-watched the episode alone and decided to give myself some time to marinate. Three days to be exact. So for three days I avoided theWFB, recaps, reviews, and anything that may contain comments, critiques, and criticisms. Now I do have job where I work weekends, so it's not like I just sat around and ruminated for three days.

I am a Deangirl and have been from the jump. I have my reasons. But I love Sam too. And the riff between them causes me much distress. I really liked the episode, but I was having a bit of a problem with it and I couldn't figure out why. Monday night when I watched it for the 3rd time, I just started to cry. I happened during the opening montage, when Dean got in bed with Lisa, she cuddled up next to him and under the bed is a shotgun and holy water. "You just don’t need it all". It finally hit me. My heart is broken. I was crying for Dean, Sam, Lisa, Ben, and Bobby. But I was also crying for myself and all the people who have gone from this life to the next. I was crying for my husband, gone almost 4 1/2 years; my grandma, gone 4 years; my Mom, gone 10 months. Along with everyone else I have loved who have moved on to their next adventure. Then there is my ex, with whom I have remained in contact since our split 7 months ago, via phone and text messages. I still regard him as a friend. He stopped in at my job the day of the season premier. He looked really bad. His health has deteriorated greatly since I last saw him. Our break-up was bizarre to me. Things were awesome and in about 2 weeks it all went to hell. Looking back now, I believe he found out he was ill and didn't want to put me thru again what I went thru with my husbands illness.

I understand his thought process, but that doesn't mean I'm not pissed. I should have been a part of the decisions and not had it made for me. I get that he was trying to protect me, but we all know how well that turns out. He knows me well enough to know I would have never left. Hmmm... Sounds kinda like a certain Winchester we know.

I understand why Sam and Bobby didn't tell Dean that Sam was back. I also completely feel how crushed Dean is. The people who care the most can't always see what they are doing to us and vise verse.

So the pacing may have been a bit off, more questions have been created than answered, Cass is still MIA for the moment. The boys are different, but a year apart would do that to them. And I must say maturity really does look good on them. Bobby included.

What Sam has become scares and saddens me. But I have faith. Dean's catch 22. Staying with Lisa and Ben to protect them and leaving with Sam to help him, breaks my heart. But I have faith.

In the end, our show is back and I couldn't be happier. It makes me think, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry. It gives me hope and a vehicle with which to deal with the trauma that can be real life. And it gave me all of you here in our Supernatural family. The episode may not have been the best ever. But it makes it near the top of my personal favorites list.

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Yes, my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

I wouldn't have missed the dance for anything! And I for one and gonna keep dancing til the very end!
Jeannine
# Jeannine 2010-09-28 14:52
Oh Jas, you always put into perfect words exactly how I feel about these episodes. Once again, a wonderful job!

I've often told my friends I'm not a Dean-girl or a Sam-girl though I do tend to favor one or the other depending on the moment. Right now, I'm liking the new badboy Sam. It's not what he says or his facial expressions (or lack therein). It's his body language, the way he sits or stands or even walks that just exudes confidence. Gone is the awkward young man we met in Season 1 who hunched his shoulders to look smaller. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

Oh I agree completely that underneath that shell is a shattered man barely holding himself together and my heart breaks at the thought of it. But I also see the strength too.

As for Dean, I am so glad he's been with Lisa. She has been so good for him. He may not realize it, but a great deal of the darkness that was in his heart seems gone now. Sure he doesn't seem happy, but he's no longer suicidal either.

So I mentioned this before when we were giving our comments about the ep, I spotted Sam's Dodge Charger immediately. That car just makes me droolly and Sam's is perfection. Exactly the way I would want one, if I could ever afford it. ::sigh::: To dream of being independently wealthy someday.

I can't complain much about this ep as season premiers go. It provided everything needed: reveals and mystery to get you to come back for more. Giving glimpses into the main characters and hinting at the people they've become in that year but making you want to know what happened that got them to this point. I personally am looking forward to seeing where this new storyline is going to go.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-09-28 16:41
Hi,anonymous, boobula and Jeannine!

It might be that Sam appeared like that, Anonymous. Perhaps he learned that listening closely to those 'strange' Campbells is better than anything else. Perhaps he doesn't trust them entirely, either.

boobula, dear, I don't think that your friend acts so caringly because she is a therapist. I think she does it simply because she loves you... I've met therapists who were so different and cold.. I hope I will never be... I think we just have those instincts for our friends, the people close to our heart...

I hear you - I know how it feels to lose almost everyone to illness or whatever twist of fate. I have lived there for quite a while, and there are moments when I think that a heart never entirely heals.

I thank you so much for telling me/us this about you - In my second re-watch I started crying in that scene where LIsa snuggles up to Dean and kisses his hand, so tenderly. That brought up memories for me, too. I am not surprised anymore that this show does that.

The motives of people who make decisions for us or without our knowledge are so often in the dark. I don't really know how I would deal with it. But sometimes, I believe, being protected in that manner must not be a bad thing. After all, it is also a face of love, isn't it?

And, yes, the show is inspiring. Life is painful, traumatizing to so many of us. I am happy and honoured that our site has given you a place to come to to enjoy, ramble, share or simply drool...

Jeannine, I love that you saw the strength in Sam, too. He is certainly more aware of who he is and of what he is capable of (which might also scare him out of his wits, at times, I reckon)

And, yes, I totally dig the Batmobile, as well. Didn't know about that car (ignorant European here, not familiar with most US cars...). I hope something great happens to you someday and that car will find a home in your garage!

Thank you so much, everyone, for your comments. You humble me. Love, Jas
Julie
# Julie 2010-09-29 11:14
You already know where I stand about all this , on the same page as you !
I can see why some people felt unhappy with this first one but I certainly didnt at all, to me it is just the beginning - the set up for all that is to follow and Oh how all that is to follow scares me .
There were so many unanswered questions, resentments and issues which at some point will have to be faced and we just know that once again it`s going to be hard but fascinating to watch.
I worry about your boy as there`s a lot there for you to work on at the moment I think. He really needs his space on the couch at the moment.
But you know I am still angry with Bobby ( who thought I`d ever say that!) To leave my boy suffering for a year in a pit of grief. That`s a grievance that still has to be addressed .
Other major issues - Campbells, as I have said before, dont trust them as far as I could throw them - any of them - but grandpa is creepy too
And please dont let them kill Lisa and Ben, that would just be too much.
I will just resevre my place and hang on for grim death, we are going to be very busy here I think over the next few weeks. Glad to have such good company .
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-09-29 16:19
Julie, my dear, thank you so much for commenting here! This is what we writers kinda live for, so thanks for feeding me!

I sometimes wish, sentimental-rom antic-silly girl that I am, that Sam would indeed settle in on my couch and let me take care of him. Ah, well, talk about nonsense. I hope he will get his crying time some day in the show and someone will be there to hold him when that happens.Same goes for Dean. He will need care, too. The Winchesters are too often alone in their sadnesses. That's a place too lonely to bear.

Love, Jas
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-09-29 20:42
Jas, yay for the couch being open again! I really enjoyed your review. I think this season is going to be a treasure trove of angst and pain for you to analyze, and I can't wait to read all about it.

I'm glad you liked Lisa as much as I did! She's perfect for Dean and where he's at emotionally right now. She knows exactly when to be understanding and when to not put up with any of Dean's crap! I'll be super sad if anything happens to her or Ben.

Sam is just so broken right now, too. It's painful to see him like that, like there's no spark of life in his eyes. He's just going through the motions. I'd almost rather have angry Sam back because at least that was something.

And Dean. Oh, Dean! I worry that he's never going to be truly happy no matter what he does because he just doesn't know what that is, what it means. I don't think he's been truly happy since he was 4, and who can remember how they felt at that age?

Lastly, one minor thing, but when Lisa was on the ceiling burning up, she was saying "It's ALL your fault" not "It's NOT your fault," which is so much worse. Dean's nightmare scenario indeed.

I'm hopping off the couch until next week.

Flamey
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-09-30 03:35
Flamey, dear, how could this place not open now that our beloved Winchesters are suffering again, and we with them...?

I share your worries concerning Lisa and Ben. They are just sweet, good people, loving, caring, Dean needs that so much. That's what I meant, Flamey, he has forgotten what happy means, I could even imagine him being scared out of his wits at the mere thought of it because he might be afraid that if he allowed himself to be happy, he'd lose it again in a second.

What LIsa says to him on the ceiling -I went through it several times to hear her, but it comes across as Not You Fault. Perhaps the internet site I downloaded it from played some tricks on the audio, because I have had trouble understanding some passages throughout the episode. I trust you here. Since you close-captured it, I'd say, you are my expert :-)!

See you here next week, love Jas
Valerie
# Valerie 2010-10-02 20:57
Hi Jasminka
I'm sure you know by now but just in case you don't, Sam hugged Dean back. I don't know why it was not shown but you can see it here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfQk4DgYOBg
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-10-10 22:25
Great article Jas. Always love to read what you have to say. I want to make comments on two points.

1.) Why didn't Sam and Bobby tell Dean that Sam was back. This is a big stickler for me. I understand that they didn't tell Dean out of their love for him. Bobby not wanting to because he was happy that Dean got out of the hunters' life and had a family and normal life. Sam wanting not to tell Dean because he was happy that Dean was finally able to experience the family life that he knew Dean longed for deep down. But yet, Dean, while content at times, was miserable under the surface because he knew of the tortures that his brother was experiencing in Hell. How can anyone find peace while knowing what is happening to the one person you love most in the world. While I understand Sam's and Bobby's intentions, it doesn't sit right with me. All last year the brothers kept harping on Team Free Will and how they weren't going to allow the angels to get them to be Lucifer and Michael's vessels because they felt that they should have the option to choose for themselves what they will or won't do with their lives. The same philosophy should be in play here. Sam says that he didn't tell Dean that he was back because he knew that Dean would come right back and start hunting with him. I counter that and say, "how the heck do you know that that is what Dean would have actually done!" If he knew his Sammy was back and no longer being tortured in hell then he would be allowed to let go of that angst and concentrate more fully on his life with Lisa and Ben. I think there would have been a very real chance that he would have chosen to stay with Lisa and Ben. But we will never know because Sam (and Bobby) took that choice away from him.

When you talked about it was doubtful Sam would have been able to survive had he gone straight to Dean and that he needed to come to terms with his existence, his storm inside - I can buy that reasoning a lot more for his purpose of staying away from Dean. But I still think, to put Dean's mind at ease, they should have at least told Dean. Sam, could then have told Dean he needs some time alone and maybe Dean would have obliged him that. But to let a loved one continue on in such agony and pain because of his thoughts about what is happening to Sam in hell, is just inexcusable to me. Bobby and Sam should have told Dean, period, end of discussion.

2.) When you talked about Dean and the pain that is in his soul. Although he may have found some peace with Lisa, I would guess that the depression and PTSD that he was experiencing all through S4 and S5 was still very much a part of his life during that year without Sam. Something like that does not suddenly diminish and go away. It takes work, long hard work to get past the issues surrounding the pain. So when you say that "Dean has forgotten how to be happy and that deep down in his psyche his misery is another factor that he can count on, and that he knows his pain," this all rang so true to me.

When you are living in a depressed state, your pain, whatever kind it is, is a constant companion. You live, breathe, eat this pain. It becomes an old, familiar friend. You do "count" on it to always be there. And you kind of expect it to be there. So when there are times that it may not be there, life feels kind of foreign or strange and you don't quite know what to do. So, a lot of the times, you want that familiar pain, that old friend to come back - you miss it in a sense. I am sure that Dean has forgotten what it is like to be happy, to feel that inner peace. Although he longs for it and wishes for it, the times that he may have experienced a little slice of it, it was like a foreign object in your eye, you wanted to get rid of it. You only want to have the old familiar things around you. Dean needs to realize this, and until he realizes that he CAN let go of this pain, that he doesn't need to hold onto it anymore as that "factor he can count on," that there is something better out there for him, if he would just let it go, and by letting go, I mean just saying sayonara, in your mind talking to the pain and letting it go. It's as simple and hard as that. Until he does this, he won't be able to start truly healing and begin to find the true happiness and peace that he so longs for. I think with Sam being back, he has a chance at that. But now that he is hunting again, all bets are off. That's another reason why I think it would have been better for Sam and Bobby to tell Dean that Sam was alive earlier than they did. It would have allowed Dean time and opportunity to put aside some of this pain and with the help of a good woman in Lisa, he could have made great strides in completely healing his soul from the torment and pain that has been his constant companion for far too long. I know I lived with my pain for far too long and had I the love and support of a wonderful companion, I might have been able to snap back sooner than I did. But I ended up doing the hard work on my own, with some support from friends, and what little my parents could give me, but I did make it out and I know that Dean can as well. I just hope that now that he is back in the hunters' life, he can find a way to let go of his melancholy and find a little peace.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-10-11 15:39
Valerie and Evelyn, thank you for commenting, ladies!

Valerie, thanks for this link. I have seen it by now, true, but chances were I had missed out on it as I haven't the time to roam the internet for scenes like this, and I'm very grateful when someone like you takes the effort and time to point it out to me. I'm happy that Sam hugs Dean back. That's the only thing that would feel RIGHT to me, despite all the reasons not to.

Evelyn, I understand what you mean. Thank you again for your trust of sharing some private thoughts. I understand your reason for not accepting Sam's choice of not telling Dean that he was alive. And you're absolutely entitled to think it inexcusable! My role is more that of an advocatus diaboli, and having once been in a not-quite-simil ar situation where I thought only to protect my loved oned from some terrible news, I can relate to the choice Sam made here.
I trust we will learn why he chose that path instead of telling Dean and helping him out of his misery. It was a cruel decision. But I still believe, Sam did not do it out of malice but of mere protective reasons, just like Bobby. I think were I in Dean's place, I could give them a damn good thrashing, but I also relate to the other side.

HOwever, it's not okay, in general, to make such an important decision FOR someone else. Then again, under extreme circumstances people perform the strangest things.

It's true what you say about Dean. That he has to let go of his pain. But perhaps for now this might just be the only real familiar thing to him, as his world, again, is turned upside down.
I doubt that he let Lisa completely in. And I think that would be vital to receive the healing energy a loving relationship can provide. He is still on guard, never relaxed, not even in his sleep or in bed with the woman he shared his life with...

was this real life, Dean might perhaps crawl back into the light, just as you did. But this is Supernatural. Famed for writers that love to torture their characters. I hope they won't break Dean's tender soul yet again. It provides great drama, but I would love to see both Winchesters at peace, at least for a while.

thank you! you elaborate thoughts humble me. Jas
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-10-11 23:15
Thanks Jas, I appreciate your feedback. And I do believe that Sam and Bobby kept Dean in the dark out of their deep love for him and not out of malice. I understand their choice. I have been on both sides of that coin and unfortunately, either way you shake it out, parties end up being hurt, angry and confused. No one wins, which is unfortunate. My biggest irritation here is that they took a choice out of Dean's hands, and being that they were so gun ho 'Team Free Will' last year, they took the choice out of Dean's hands as to whether or not he would go back to hunting once he learned of Sam's resurrection. They assumed that Dean would go back to the hunters' life, but how can they be so sure of that? But yet, I do understand their position.

And it is unfortunate that he hasn't let Lisa completely in. I agree with you, he let her in part of the way, but letting her in all the way, would mean subjecting her to his life as he knew it and I don't think that is something that he really wants to subject her to. So, he is protecting her from all that vileness. But when you really look at it, opening up more and letting her in could actually end up helping him in the long run. So many times the more we bottle things up, the more the situation grows and we exacerbate a lot of things, but if he were to talk them out, it would be very healing for him and Lisa seems to have a very level-headed outlook on things, one of which, I think, would be beneficial for Dean.

And then what you said about hoping they won't break Dean's tender soul yet again, yes it provides great drama, but how much can a man take. I am with you, I sincerely hope they don't break him, yet again. I don't know how much more he can take (I don't know how much more I can take, as you know, my heart truly bleeds for Dean).

Thanks again for your insight.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-10-12 14:13
Assuming Dean might return to a hunter's life, Evelyn, probably came from a deep hope that something like that might actually be possible. wishful thinking. As Bobby emphasized that the life Dean was having came as close to happiness as any hunter ever got. That's what they hoped for the elder Winchester. Not thinking that it would never be actually possible for Dean with the knowledge of Sam being Lucifer's chew toy and guilt nagging at his soul (since he couldn't find a way to save him yet again).

It's what the great tragedies of all time are made of - struggle, search for happiness, failing, broken hearts, death, love, all the big themes of life. Sometimes I hate this show for what it does to it's wonderful characters that, were they real, would be people I would entrust with my life in a second and whom I'd be honoured to call friends.

thank you so much for your words, Evelyn. It seems to me that Dean is a 'hopeless' case - he will always, at all costs be a protector. that's his identity, what he learned a bout himself. For that reason alone, he probably will never be able to let someone completely in. It's so sad, really.

Thanks again, Jas