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Open Supernatural Couch – And Then There Were None


‘Just because you’re blood doesn’t make you family. You gotta earn that’
Ten little soldiers went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.
Before the episode follows – loosely – the plot of Agatha Christie’s genius crime novel after which it is named, we meet the Mother of All again. She hasn’t changed her appearance ever since she came upstairs. She still wears the same young skin, the same nightgownish dress. As she moves in on the Jesus devotee Rick (and a part of me misses Don’t-Play-With-My-Jesus Kubrick from BadDayAtBlackRock at this point and his happy How-Would-Jesus-Drive bumper stickers for a short moment), asking him innocently ‘Did I scare you?’ before she makes it clear to him, that – in contrast to God who abandoned his creation – a mother would never desert her children like that… yeah, but she kills them occasionally. Or has them kill other children, right? Well done, mommy dearest…
Personally, I am not very fond of people who stick a Jesus-Loves-You flyer in your face the moment they notice that you are probably not alright and say that the hunger inside of the girl they don’t even know was really a hunger for Him. It’s the kind of attitude that made many missionaries force their belief onto others. Rick, however, doesn’t seem to be the radical type, okay. She is, unfortunately. She answers his try to turn her towards Jesus with a speech how ignorant humans really were, not even noticing the Apocalypse. Naming herself Eve is only a little sign of her arrogance. I don’t think that she is literally Eve, the first woman (but one of the creator goddesses), yet choosing this name might be just a side blow to the idea of creation. And then she uses him for her own purposes. The poor guy doesn’t even understand what happens to him, until he has hammered his wife and found himself in cuffs, interrogated by (fake) federal agents. 

Rick is only a part of a ‘Sherman March monster mash’ with vampires, werewolves and ghouls preceding his bashing in of his family’s heads. I still wonder whether Dean was referring to brilliant strategist and Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman who won a famous victory at Bentonville over Johnston’s troops in March 1865, or to the M4 Sherman tank, widely used by US troops in World War II. Since we know that Dean also reads (he surprised us various times with his knowledge of literature), I wouldn’t be surprised to have studied war strategy under his Marine dad. 
That all three of them, Bobby, Sam and Dean, question Rick shows how important an event they deem this to be. Poor guy doesn’t remember what he did, but he knows that he did kill his family. Another heavily traumatized man on the plate of mommy dearest. But, come on, she’s the caring type as opposed to God who abandoned them all… and the sarcasm here just makes me sick. Never trust a goddess of old. When we look at mythology, divinity equals selfishness, greed, jealousy. And Eve marvelously fits the profile.
Nine little soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Allow me a shallow moment here, kind readers – as the hunters investigate we get a close up of Sam’s perfectly manicured hands working the computer keyboard. Where does he find the time to take care of his hands? Ahem… okay, back to the ugly faced Eve – none of them has ever seen anything like her. And, well, they’ve seen a lot. 
No time to think about that, since something happened at the Cannery where Rick works. Our heroes split up. Bobby rushes there to investigate on his own, only to meet his fellow agent Rufus. And I can’t help but notice how well these gentlemen look in these suits. I wish Bobby would stop wearing dirty baseball-hats; he looks a lot better in clean clothes. There is actually an attractive man hidden beneath all those layers and smell of alcohol. And Rufus, well, he’s a handsome guy just the same. And I just love their banter. Ah, wonderful! It’s better than grumpy old men, simply because these men aren’t really old. Just a tad older… (she smiled). 

And the agents indeed find something – there is some strange, petrol coloured goo in the perpetrator’s ear. Sticky, smelly, in short: disgusting. But it doesn’t answer any questions. 
Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon,
One said he’d stay there, and then they were seven.
As they meet up with Bobby and Rufus in the dark cannery yard, their greeting is cordial and warm. These men like each other. They’ve come a long way from ‘Do I look like I’m here to help you?’. There is not much time for joking around, as they head straight into the darkness of the place. And don’t you just love the visuals here? There is something incredibly appealing to these scenes – the shadows, silhouettes, the lonely beams of their torches. Wonderful and atmospheric. 
They run into Gwen Campbell. Okay... this place has already become notorious in the hunters’ local paper, eh, and the Campbells and the Winchesters, their extended family included, seem to be the only ones in the vicinity… As soon as Dean spots Samuel, he remembers his promise: ‘Welcome to next time!’ Yes, he’s about to shoot his grandfather. Now, if Dean indeed already is infected with the wormy monster, its natural aggression might add to Dean’s own loathing of the man. Sam saves his grandfather by a hairsbreadth and takes Dean outside. 

And from this moment on, this episode becomes a definition of the show’s position on family. It’s not a new one, but we have rarely been given such a clear statement – Dean says later: ‘just because you’re blood, doesn’t make you family. You gotta earn that.’ And Samuel, unfortunately, has proven himself underserving of the family name.  Others, like Bobby and Rufus on the other hand, do belong to the inner circle, and even Gwen, who is beginning to grow on me, could have become – eventually – a part of the tight group defined by these men, had Possessed Dean not decided to kill her.
But before we lose Gwen, who seems genuinely appalled by Samuel who ‘threw his own kin to the ghouls’, the men take out their rulers. They make it very clear who belongs and who doesn’t. Bobby was the kind of father Samuel could have been (had his motives not turned him into a traitor), because ‘somebody ought to.’ 
Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves, and then there were Six.
But, well, Samuel has his uses – he provides them with some background information about Eve… who has been around for about 10 000 years… which makes her a rather young creature, younger than man, actually. 
The last ice age ended about ten thousand years ago and environmental conditions improved, marking what scientists call the Neolithic Revolution. During that time man domesticated animals and plants, taking charge of food production, if you like. Man accomplished the transition from being hunter-gatherers to sedentary tribes. Since these societies lived in accordance to the natural cycle of the seasons, life wasn’t depending on successful hunting, but on what the earth was able (and willing) to give, the first mythical images and beliefs of a life-giving mother Earth and weather gods were developed.
Early religions are characterized by the idea of a creative power, epitomized by spiritual beings and magic, because they stem from man’s experiences with nature – life returns to its beginning, death and life form a circle whose halves shape an entity, much like summer and winter or day and night. Within the agricultural horizon of experience, all vegetation ripens towards dying during autumn, everything that lives ages towards death, only to return from in spring from the darkness of the soil.
And since the first advanced civilizations began to form in the Middle East (Jericho about 8000 B.C., Mesopotamia between 10 000 and 8000 B.C., Egypt about 3000 B.C.), I’m still thinking of the goddesses Tiamat of Babylon or Anat of Syria, as I described in my Open Couch article to Like A Virgin.
But - I am so very curious who she, indeed, might be… the Mother of All denotes a creature of arrogance, hubris and cruelty. I expect her to make more appearances and be a real pain in the ass.
Six little soldier boys playing with a hive,
A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.
Speaking of…  Samuel goes on disqualifying himself from the family, even from Gwen who stood by him. The fact that he might not be the man she has believed him to be hits her hard, it seems. And furthermore, Samuel doesn’t do anything to soothe Sam’s disappointment here. On the contrary, Sam begins to dislike the man more. It’s sad, actually. Samuel could have been a part of the family. But he chose another path. 
So does monster-possessed Dean – he shoots Gwen coldly. I grab my couch tight. This, I did not expect. I am shocked really. The guys all are. 
Dean has to be found. ‘Alive, Samuel. Or I’m gonna put a bullet in your head’, Sam states, and there is no doubt that he means it. 

The five little soldiers left on this hypothetical island, just like the protagonists in Agatha Christie’s novel, need to find an answer fast, since there is a killer among them… and at present, that killer is Dean.
The guys are very jumpy. No one, except perhaps Samuel, wants to shoot Dean by chance – or get shot. Then Sam pulls and old trick – calling Dean’s mobile phone. And the re-surfacing Dean is just as freaked out as the rest. 
Dean:     â€˜I just had a twelve inch herpy crawl out of my ear!’
Sam:      â€˜What?’
Dean:     â€˜You heard me. I just woke up on the ground just in time to see this worm thing sliding out of my freakin’ ear and into that vent! So you tell me what the hell’s going on!’
Samuel:  â€˜You killed Gwen, that’s what’s going on.’
Dean:     â€˜We were just talking out in the hallway, it’s the last thing I remember. That thing must have jumped me.’
Hm, I’m still not sure about how the whole thing went down. Did the worm jump Dean in that hallway in a second and made him shoot Gwen? This seems unlikely to me. But then again, everything is possible… as we know putting the worm into an ear isn’t a pleasant experience (and quite painful, as Rick’s scream allows us to assume), so the procedure alone would have attracted attention, more or less. How is it then, that it happened so fast?
Bobby:    â€˜So we’re talking a monster that gets in you?’
Dean:      â€˜Khan worm on steroids.’
Sam:       â€˜You mean like a parasite that took over your body?’
Dean:      â€˜Worm crawls in, worm crawls out.’
Rufus:     â€˜Monster possession? That’s novel.’
Oh, poor lad – Dean really feels dirty right now. And he isn’t comfortable with Rufus checking him and declaring him ‘goo positive’.


# alysha 2011-03-07 13:46
Thank you for the atonement quote at the end. It certainly applies to what Dean said to Bobby and Sam. He is saying I forgive you. But at the same time, I can see Sm latching onto the other part of this prayer, the part that states you are not forgiven without the wronged one being appeased. Sam has a hard time forgiving himself and he will likely feel only restitution will help.

The message of this episode, one of forgiving, is strong. It was a powerful episode. Still wish we didn't have to loose Rufus. :(
# Jasminka 2011-03-07 14:33
I fear you are right, alysha - Sam might just choose to cling to that. My heart aches at the thought, but, well, we know the younger Winchester. He's very reliable in that department.

Thank you for your kind comment! And, yes, losing Rufus was very painful. I will miss him. A lot. He was, after all, family.

Best wishes, Jas
# Bevie 2011-03-07 14:34
Hi Jas - I do love your couch articles.

This was such a tense episode (reminding me of the X-Files "Ice") that things happened so fast I could hardly comprehend the goings on. I was so shocked when Dean killed Gwen and seemed not to be too upset about it. That was one thing I didn't care too much for, even though it upped the anxiety factor. I was too dumb to realize immediately that he was possessed and to see my hero off his cousin so coldly really upset me. I was hoping Gwen could come over to their side and be a helpful ally in the future.

Also got really upset that Rufus was killed. Why do they have to kill off all the guest stars that they make us love first? It hurts too much. Still grieving for Ellen, Jo and Ash here. I loved Rufus and Bobby together.

What I really loved though was the way the brothers are back together and completely in sync again. It's been so very long since I could see that. The understanding without words needed and Sam being so protective of Dean again has been missing for a couple of years and I missed that part of them very much.

I can't believe that this Samuel was the same one we met when Dean went back in time. He wasn't a cold hearted SOB then, so when he was resurrected (by who knows yet) something was left behind or missed completely. Hope the real Samuel is revealed some day.

Thanks Jas for not dwelling on the negatives but always being positive about this show that we do love so very much. :-)
# Jasminka 2011-03-07 17:53
Thank you, Bevie, dear, for your kind comment on this article.

This episode held, indeed, many shocks, and losing characters we’ve become fond of seems to find a home in this show. I am with you in hoping that we will learn more about the real Samuel someday. After all, he must have been a decent guy once.

I’m trying to look to the positive side, Bevie. It’s not always easy to do, as negativity makes a habit of forcing itself into one’s face and you need to take a look beyond that to see that the moment is not entirely black. Most of it are shades of grey, and if you look closely, there is always light, even if it is only one faint candle. I just need to believe that.
Thanks a lot, take good care, Jas
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-03-07 22:29
Hi Jas,

The snow is piling up outside, and I've already shovelled twice, so I'm going to take a break and plop down on your couch.

Agreed with many of your observations about this episode. Especially the stuff about forgiveness and mercy (I was already writing an article, musing on some of those lines.. Great minds think alike!)

One area where I seem to differ from many is that I'm not really sure that Sam killed Samuel only because he thought he was possessed. In my mind, it was a contributing factor, but not the sole one.

I believe that as much as Sam wants to know all the details about what he did that soulless year - so he can atone for those sins - he's also terrified of what he might find out. I think he's piecing together the facts that if he could so easily kill innocent people, how much harder would it have been to use or hurt Dean? Not much, the way RoboSam operated.

I think some part of Sam is completely aware that he somehow betrayed his beloved big brother (again), and he is scared, to his very soul, by what it might have been. For both brothers, the Vamping-inciden t is the elephant in the room. There, but never mentioned. As much as Sam thinks he may want to know, Dean never wants him to find out, because he knows what it will do to his Sammy.

I think Sam actually killed Samuel out of a sense of self-preservati on. Not so much because he was worried about the Khan worm, but because he was more worried about what Samuel might tell him. He was afraid Samuel's stories could make the wall fall. The facts of what he really did while Soulless are a type of forbidden fruit to him. He wants to taste them, but he's highly concerned about what happens if he does.

For what it's worth, I also don't think Dean would have shot Samuel. I think he would have pulled the gun, pointed it, and then fired over his head, or just nicked him somewhere -- enough to make him hurt, but not enough to kill him. Yes, Samuel sold them out. And in Dean's world, what's important is that he sold out Sam. (Remember, it was because Walt & Roy killed Sam, that Dean swore to hunt them down. It wasn't because they were threatening to kill him.)

I'm convinced that Dean really is not as much of a cold-hearted killer as he believes himself to be. He stopped Soulless Sam from killing Samuel once, because Samuel was family. I think he would have stopped himself. Some part of him would have decided it's not worth all the guilt and repercussions of killing your own Grandfather.. Even if he's been resurrected by a demon or a monster or an angel for some nefarious purpose, never to be explained because he's dead.. again!

I also think Dean should have been a little more angst and guilt-ridden over Gwen's death. For all he professes not to, he has a highly developed sense of right and wrong. And her death was just wrong. But the lack of a scene like that could have been a production issue. There likely isn't enough time to have the cemetery scene, and an angst scene about Gwen's death.

I guess it could also have been Dean showing some maturity, or trying his own medicine of forgiveness. "I was possessed when I killed her. That wasn't me. Moving on..." And one other thing - why was Dean's possession so brief, compared to the others?

Finally, I wonder sometimes if a bit of Soulless Sam rubbed off on RealSam. He's been a bit more hard-edged the last few episodes, such as his no-nonsense grilling of the factory worker in M3TR. There's been a few other examples, but I'm blanking on them. Of course, that could just be him becoming more mature and confident in his skills.

Anyways, a few of my thoughts on a snowy, snowy night. (And now back to forgiveness & mercy!)

Thanks for the time!
# Jas 2011-03-08 03:43
Hello PragmaticDreame r, well, I hope we are through with snow over here. It starts to smell like spring already.. (here she started sun-dancing to the gods…)

You observations are interesting, really. You know, I think Dean has come a long way by now. He might not have killed Samuel a while ago because of the family issue, but something in him has utterly changed.
He begins to define family in another way, since he feels betrayed by some of the ‘blood family’, and he has, indeed, been betrayed. By Samuel. And, well, by Sam while Sam was still without his soul (the elephant in the room, ha) and while Sam was working with Ruby Dean felt betrayed, too. To some extent that experience is still working its poison, I’d say.

I think to Dean’s mind, Sam earned it again, be a part of the family, to be deserving of his trust. We see that in the returned intensity of his protective brother mode (despite Sam’s ‘grown up’ status).
I agree with you in believing that Dean is not the cold-hearted killer, but, well, he can be, if the situation calls for it.
The guilt over killing Gwen will come up soon enough, I reckon, perhaps we will hear of it, perhaps it will happen in Dean’s mind off-screen. But since we know the guy, we also know that this will be an issue for him.

I wouldn’t say that SoullessSam rubbed off on EnsouledSam. Sam had always possessed this kind of cold side to him. The part of him that was willing to sacrifice virgins for the greater good, the one that conspired with Ruby and did what he deemed necessary to save his brother and the planet.
The anger that had always had a home in his soul fueled some of those actions, too.
I think he accepted that part of him more. Which is a sign of maturity. Take the light with the shadow.

The experience of living without his soul and being made aware of it changed Sam considerably. He’s growing under the pain that causes him, and I need to believe that he won’t break, whatever happens. Awwh, Sammy...

It might be that a part of Sam had a say in killing Samuel, because of the possibility that Samuel might bring the wall down. But – I don’t think that part was consciously accessible to Sam. How I read the scene, he did it because he thought Samuel was possessed (he was genuinely shocked to find, that he – supposedly – wasn’t), fueled again, at least to some extent, by his anger at Samuel for what he had done.

Well, one great thing about this show is – it leaves a lot of room for different interpretations .

Thank you for your elaborate comment and for visiting my comfy couch! It’s particularly handy on cold winter days. There’s always tea and cookies in the house….
Thanks, Jas
# BagginsDVM 2011-03-07 22:52
I love how you wove the poem & quotes through this article, Jas. Even though the concepts are not new for the show,
I did like how the themes of family & forgiveness have matured over the seasons & were so clearly presented here.
Perhaps because of how much I adore & admire my own father & ex-father-in-la w, & both my deceased grandfathers, I wish that Samuel could have been the grandfather the guys deserved. There is so much more I would like to have learned about him & the Campbell family.
I will dearly miss Rufus. He & Bobby made a great team, & I would like to have seen more of their history too.
# Jas 2011-03-08 03:47
Thank you, Dawn, for your kind words. I loved those concepts of family and forgiveness, presented in this manner, too, and it moved me tremendously.

And, well, this show plays with our emotions like on a piano... It's great that you have such admiration for your relatives, I think that is a gift and a treasure and that the emotions you connect to them were touched upon, tenderly, it seems.

Alas, our beloved protagonists here have been less fortunate. Perhaps, well, perhaps we will hear more about the family. We have the rest of season six (and hopefully season seven).

love, Jas
# Yvonne 2011-03-08 01:43
As always Jas, well done.

Great episode, wonderful relationship building, sad stuff, mad stuff, scary stuff, creepy stuff, bro stuff, ew stuff, and funny stuff. In other words, Supernatural doing its thing. I heart thee show!
# Jas 2011-03-08 03:48
Ah,Yvonne, thank you. It's always a joy to have you on the couch.

I should start printing t-shirts: 'I Heart Thee, Show!' Would start a new trend, no doubt.

Love, Jas
# CitizenKane2 2011-03-08 03:55
I just had to say that this is one hell of an incredibly well-written article (well, except perhaps for the reference to "Sam’s perfectly manicured hands" :P) I throughly enjoyed reading it. :)
# Jas 2011-03-08 05:52
Thanks a lot, CitizenKane2! Glad you liked what you found here. And well, you know, in this scientific, analytical head of mine sleeps the odd shallow thought :oops: , and when I see beautiful hands... well... I can't resist noticing them 'out loud'...

Cheers! Jas
# FMJemena 2011-03-08 07:43

Beautiful article, as usual. I have no problem with Dean's definition of 'family' (in fact, I agree that it's more than blood)
... I wish Rufus and Meg haven't died as Bobby and the boys need more trustworthy family members. It can't be due to budget reasons; I suspect SPN writers are beginning to draw a tight circle around the three (4, if you add Cas) for plot reasons. E!Online did say that it's going to be dark, dark for SPN from here on end.

Pardon, but I need to go a little OT.
Only because the subjects I am going to bring up has had me stewing for long. I just need to let it out. Feel free to point out that my questions are crazy.

Much as I love SPN to bits...
... I am extremely pissed off that women in SPN are either good yet easily gankable(?) OR bad. (I know, I know, LISA is good as well as CASSIE, and they're still alive.)
... Why do the coloured folks with more than one epi in SPN always die?
... What, there are few blacks and no Asians even in the back counties of America?
... Why is Raphael always black? Uriel, too? The better to color-code their wrongness in the eyes of the audience?
... Yeah, ALL non-Judeo-Chris tian religions are bad? Come on!

Sorry again, Ms. Jas and Readers. Just needed the couch to vent. (ok, open fire..)
# Jas 2011-03-08 08:40
Thanks, FMJemena for your acknowledgement ! I’m a bit scared about the ‘dark, dark for SPN from now on’, as if we needed darker… Bring on some light, people!

You pose many intesting questions, some of those have been discussed various times, and, if I recall correctly, you can also find some articles on our site (if someone could point them out, I’d be frightfully thankful, because, for the life of me, I don’t remember the titles)…
Forgive me for not delving into these questions right now, as that would mean another article, ahem, comment I don’t have time right now to do (am at work).

But on a humorous note – when Brandon Lee died, the prettiest of Asian actors was gone, so there might be an explanation why there are none…

By the way – venting on the couch is allowed. Chuck knows it happens often.

Thank you! :-) ,Jas
# Julie 2011-03-08 12:17
Thanks once again for a beautiful article, I have already posted a comment about this episode after Alices review so to repeat it here would be redundant, and anyway you already know all too well how I felt about it, and why.
You are forgiven the shallow note as Sams hands did indeed look very lovely there ! Incidentally , the jacket wasnt leather. :-)
I did want to just add how perfect the meditation passage was, I was not familiar with this so thank you so much for bringing it to our attention
Love Ju
# Jasminka 2011-03-08 14:55
Julie, dear, thank you. Of course - you can only comment so often on an episode, so, no problem here, really!

I noticed too late that the jacket wasn't leather, but it would have looked even greater if it had been... I guess the shallow part of my brain was wishing for Sammy in black leather... Okay... :oops:

I'm moved that you liked the meditation passage. It's beautiful, isn't it, and I'm not even Jewish. But I hope Rufus would approve :sad:

love always, Jas
# Junkerin 2011-03-08 13:41
Hi Jas,
sorry I´m late but we had Fasching here. It was a fascinating epi. The scene were they checked there ears was verry funny.
I would have liked to see more of Gwen. Will we ever learn how Sam and Samuel met. I´m a little irritated about something Pragmatic Dreamer wrote, I think Cass told Sam about the Vampire and the Bobby killing thing. Sam apologiced for that in Like a virgin in the last scene.
# Jasminka 2011-03-08 14:59
Uh-oh, Junkerin, don't tell me you are a Fasching fan. In our region we call it Fasnet, and I'm not exactly fond of it, but I understand the urge to throw yourself into it. I have some friends who do and are very happy with it.

Thank you for your comment! I hope we will learn soon what Sam learned from Castiel. I reckon it's not pretty.

one last time (since tomorrow it's all over): Hellau, Alaaf, Narri Narro.. (or whatever the call is they give out in your area), Jas
# Ardeospina 2011-03-10 21:11
I really need to catch up and read this because I know it will be wonderful, as always! Looking forward to it!
# Jasminka 2011-03-11 01:11
enjoy, sweetie! :-)
# Chandra 2011-03-11 21:52
I'm very late coming to this, but better late than never, right? I love your open couches and the insight you provide. This was a great one. I'm so sad Rufus died though. It was the only thing about the episode I really didn't like. I was hoping right up until (possessed)Bobb y stabbed him that Rufus was gonna make it too. I'm gonna miss him. :(
I liked the reflection on forgiveness, very apt and well put. Thank you.
# Jasminka 2011-03-13 16:04
Thank you, Chandra, for your kind comment. Don't ever worry about being 'late' to an article. We all have lives, and Supernatural is not the most important part of them.
I'm happy you liked this! Thank you, Jas