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And cruellyâ€¦ â€˜As a rule I donâ€™t bring people back. I might make an exception. Once. Not twice.â€™ So, Dean, as honourable as it is that you havenâ€™t forgot about your brother Adam down there in Luciferâ€™s cage â€“ you donâ€™t have a chance to help him, too.
And Dean chooses. In a heartbeat â€“ itâ€™s Sam, of course.
Now, I could imagine some fans out there being upset about how Dean could make that choice and that quickly, without even pondering the question. I have to admit, I understand fully why he chose Sam â€“ first, he only has a few minutes, not enough time to bargain with Death, before Dr. Krueger, ahem, sorry, Dr. Roberts brings him back; second, heâ€™s known Sam all his life, heâ€™s the one who means the most to him in all the world, the man heâ€™s died for more than once, the one he misses the most, third, there might be a bit of hope in him that he might find another way to help Adam as well. Later.
For now his top priority is Sam. Itâ€™s become unbearable to him to watch his Robo-brother and not being able to do anything about it. Dean is only pursuing his lifeâ€™s task: protect the brother heâ€™s always protected.
â€˜The soul can be bludgeoned and tortured but not broken, not even by meâ€™
That moved me. The soul is a strong element. No kidding. How else could it survive millennia in Hell (or in Heaven) being wounded again and again?
How else would people survive the most unspeakable horrors if it wasnâ€™t for their strong souls? A soul canâ€™t be enslaved, though it can be mutilated. And whatever wound it takes it remembers it for eternity.
That wall Death proposes to put up will only hold the pain back for so long. Then all the terror behind it will break way. Itâ€™s what I see on an everyday basis. Suppressed images, memories, gashes re-surface. When I think what Sam is going to have to deal with some day, my skin feels like sizzling offâ€¦ Because, mostly, whatever is hidden in the subconscious, might come up one day. Thereâ€™s no guarantee of shutting it off. A classic Freudian instrument, indeed.
Death will take over the work of the human psyche â€“ hiding too horrific events behind a barrier, deep inside the soul. But that doesnâ€™t mean that they are gone. One could imagine them just being asleep. But if someone bangs too loud at that door (a certain smell, a sound, a move can do the trick) some of the hidden comes out and often causes confusion, tremendous pain and â€“ in general â€“ havoc inside the soul.
I presume this is what will happen with Sam in the course of the following episodes. There will be memories coming up, awoken by certain moments that carry a connection to his ordeal downstairs. Oh, God, Sammyâ€¦
â€˜Okay, thatâ€™s the choice: Sam with no soul or Sam with a soul behind a dry wall that if or when it collapses heâ€™s done? (â€¦) Do it.â€™
The desperation in Deanâ€™s own soul is so very much palpable here as he doesnâ€™t hesitate for a moment before making that choice. He doesnâ€™t pause to think about how Sam might feel when he finds out. He makes that decision for Sam, because Dean canâ€™t live with this version of his brother. He does it because he needs to save him. Itâ€™s a philosophical question whether it might be more of a salvation for Sam to leave it be. But weâ€™re not in the position to argue philosophy or theology.
Itâ€™s happening. Dean is making a deal â€“ and Death has an interesting task for him. With that wager in mind, Dean is back. For a man whoâ€™s been flatline for about seven minutes a bit too well, ahem. But this is Supernatural, and not everything needs to be medically correct, so letâ€™s not be nitpicky.
â€˜Itâ€™s my life. Itâ€™s my soul.â€™
Dean has a hard time selling it to Sam and Bobby. Interesting how RoboSam fights just as vehemently for his independence than the ensouled Sam used to. He knows that his own brother is going to violate his soul back into his body, and heâ€™s not thrilled. On the contrary. He will try to save himself, like: getting Deathâ€™s ring before Dean can put it on to fulfill his part of the deal.
Alas, the ring is already gone and in Deanâ€™s pocket. And Dean is, finally again after quite some time, very confident with what heâ€™s going to do to save Sam â€“ because this is familiar territory. This is the part heâ€™s excelled at since his childhood days: being his brotherâ€™s keeper. He is convinced that he will do it right to protect his little brother. He wonâ€™t let it go wrong. To my mind, he truly believes it.
In various ways, this is a mirror to the role of Sam in previous seasons. Dean believes he is doing the right thing â€“ doing what he is doing to get Samâ€™s soul back, while being aware what it could mean. Heâ€™s risking a lot here and does so over Samâ€™s head.
There was a time when Sam stepped onto a slippery path of this own, consorting with Ruby, for instance, for the same reasons: to help stop the end of the world because he was convinced that Dean was not strong enough to do it. So Sam, essentially, was protecting his brother (and the planet for that matter). In the same light Sam decided to take on Lucifer and, even though discussing it with his family this time, went through with it despite the protests voiced.
Sam knew the risks and the danger, but still did it. Dean is doing the same here. Heâ€™s forcing a decision onto his brother because he is firm in the presumption to be doing what needs to be done. Itâ€™s a very Winchester thing. Apparently it runs in the family.
In many families this kind of behaviour would be reason enough to tear them apart. Here itâ€™s like cement keeping the whole dysfunctional caboodle close. Perhaps too close, as doom is pretty much always knocking on their door, as they are ready to do anything to protect each other, even when the for-their-own-good part might be debatable. Sam does it. Dean does it. He will indeed do anything, too.
And so he does â€“ for the next 24 hours he will be Death, meaning â€˜you touch them, they die, I reap themâ€™ as Tessa explains. â€˜Remove the ring, you lose. Slack off, you lose. (â€¦) Donâ€™t mess this up, Dean. Itâ€™s not my job to be your damn baby sitter.â€™ It looks fairly easy at first â€“ the â€˜dickâ€™ in the store, the guy who ate too much of the good stuff to damage his heart. Alas, itâ€™s not going to stay that smooth.
Which is a blessing. As British historian Lord Acton once so astutely stated â€˜Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutelyâ€™, Dean is using his power with the robber to keep him, self-righteously, â€˜in agonizing painâ€™ a bit longer. He deserved it, was my first thought, but a second one told me â€“ how can I even think that? Who am I to decide who deserves to die and who does not? We donâ€™t know why he became a robber. What if this was his first time? What if he was forced to do it? What ifâ€¦.? Without knowing the whole story we canâ€™t make a decision like this.