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Open Supernatural Couch – Let it Bleed (Season 6 Finale, Part I)
 
Or
 
The Dark Night of the Soul
 
We are the pilgrims, Master: We shall go 
Always a little further. It may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,
White on a throne, or guarded in a cave
There lives a prophet who can understand
Why men are born…
 
      - James Elroy Flecker
 
My thoughts are finally beginning to settle down, after this two hour finale of my favourite show. It was not surprising to me that I seemed to be bereft of words or coherent thoughts, since this show has been known to do that. To many of you, kind readers. To me. This show did this one small thing, again: it touched my soul.
 
It seems to be unimportant a thing, to have your soul touched. But it’s not. My soul is not an innocent one. It has been scarred by several moments in my life that caused me great pain and made me learn at what cost survival sometimes comes. There are many souls like that among us. Souls that have been burnt, souls that remember struggle and agony, and some that barely remember affection. Those of the brothers we love are such souls, and their loved ones, like Bobby, live in that neighbourhood, too.
 
With being so utterly affected, all I was capable of – at first – was be silent, with a brain turned to stone I felt like sinking into an abyss where my spirit seemed to lose itself for a while… But this was and is also a magic moment… involving great emotional turmoil and passionate enthusiasm. And so I am facing, with a glass of red Boutari wine, these episodes again, trying to put to words what goes on in my mind – and soul…
 
With the promo trailers of these episodes in mind and the recap, I thought I knew what was coming. Well, how wrong I was… I wasn’t prepared enough. But thankfully the story of Lovecraft did a lot to take me well into the tale here…
 
In his Rhode Island home, Howard Phillips Lovecraft is typing, fervently, to finish his story. It is going to be his last one. He is nervous, agitated, every loud noise makes him jump. He has reason to be uneasy – as we will learn later he opened the door to another dimension, unaware that his revolver will not kill the thing coming for him.
 
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We are not to dwell upon this writer’s death, as we are catapulted back to Bobby’s place where the Winchester clan are going through various Campbell journals, when Bobby finds that Castiel did ‘not only stop by to mend fences’ – he also took a journal of one Moishe Campbell, ‘of the New York Campbells’, ha, so there were also some Jewish hunters? (And suddenly a hilarious scene from Love at First Bite springs to my mind in which shrink and vampire hunter Van Helsing tries to ward off Dracula with a Star of David… well, we don’t learn, unfortunately, if the New York Campbells ever made that mistake.)
 
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However, Bobby, you wonderful sleuth and paranoid bastard (love that line!), made a copy of the now stolen journal. And in it our guys find that Moishe went to talk to Howard Phillips Lovecraft about events happening on March 10th, five days prior to the latter’s death. 
 
Ha, this is one of the endearing scenes of this episode – Sam getting enthusiastically interested in H.P. Lovecraft, Dean being utterly confused, first because of the New York Campbells and now about the unknown horror writer. Well, multi-tasking was not a forte of young Dean who was busy having sex with women… I do miss the cocky, flirting Dean. I do. There is a hint left of the guy. 
 
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So Bobby describes one current of Lovecraft’s work. Moishe believed that the author did engage in serious business there, and – who knows – perhaps they performed some kind of ritual together, since on the same day, Lovecraft was delivered to the Providence Jane Brown Memorial hospital where he died of intestinal cancer five days later (I’m sensing some evil angel might have given him cancer, final stage?) – okay, that’s the historical fact. In our story here, Lovecraft gets chopped up by a monster. Well, cancer is something like that, too – it eats up your body, only much, much slower… That must have been some dinner party on March 10th… some kind of ritual going on with his six guests, actually co-worshippers of a black magic cult, as Bobby will learn later from his Lovecraft ‘expert’.

I believe the brothers would like to delve into the lore behind Lovecraft, but a distressed call from Ben opens old wounds and new fears. The boy is reading Lovecraft’s Cthulhu myths, when two demons burst in and kill Matt, Lisa’s new boyfriend (again I love it how the show plays against cliché and brings another mixed-racial love story). So Ben calls Dean – the first thing that springs to his mind, obviously. He never deleted Dean’s phone number.
 
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In an instant, Dean is back to protector mode, checking ‘did you see their eyes? Teeth?’ to find out at least something to help Ben before he can actually get to the perturbed boy. But – he can’t help him. He knows he can’t, not from here, not at this moment. And he doesn’t have an angel at his side to zap him there in a heartbeat. Perhaps all of this might be dawning on Dean, as Bobby and Sam watch astounded and worried while Dean asks Ben to jump, even at the chance of breaking bones. ‘The bones you break won’t compare to what they’ll do to you. You’ve got to jump.’
 
‘I won’t hurt them, provided you and Jolly Green stand down.’
 
Too late, though. Ben is as gutsy a kid as they come and prepares to get out of the window, but the demons get a hold of him. And Crowley installs the worst possible fears in Dean’s mind. This is what Dean was afraid of from the moment he found a home at Lisa’s place. Staying with them, he had been able to salt all possible entrances, keep holy water and weapons at striking length, but now… now he was many miles away, blackmailed by their demonic enemy and deserted by their heavenly ally. 
 
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This threat ambushed the unsuspecting Dean viciously, violently, much like love does sometimes. And his love for the boy and his mother toss him on a possible kamikaze run. He needs to save them. ‘You gotta be nuts if you think I’m gonna let you do this alone!’ Sam throws back at Dean who wants to go off by himself. The door to the skyscraper of guilt in Dean’s soul has been ripped open, again, and – man of honour that he is – he considers it his duty (and deepest need) to go and save them. Alone. He considers it to be his mistake and his fault. That’s just how the elder Winchester ticks when it comes to people dear to his heart. 
 
With Bobby staying on the Lovecraft case, Sam and Dean summon Balthazar who appears – leaving his seductive scene of drinking a 75’ Dom Pérignon out of a (I assume) stunning woman’s navel. And, well, too me it seemed that this angel was not entirely filled in on Castiel’s plans, but – for loyalty and embarrassment reasons – he admitted to know all of Castiel’s little games. I didn’t buy it, though. Balthazar has, for a while now, appeared to be not entirely attuned to Cas’ machinations. And Dean, wonderfully, pushes the right buttons – simply because this angel has his doubts and there is still some decency left in him. Angels are supposed to help the innocent… or at least were, in earlier and perhaps clearer times. And he will. Just not immediately. 
 
In the meantime, Bobby visits a freaky, relationally disturbed Lovecraft fan, one supposed to own various (helpful) letters of the writer. And some information on the guy not to be found in books? Alas, Castiel has been there before and nicked some of those letters. But Bobby would not be Bobby was he not to find out more about the guests ‘that died or disappeared within a year.’ Except the nine-year-old son of Lovecraft’s maid. Poor boy. Imagine what that experience did to him – in particular since he hasn’t left the mental institution ever since. 
 
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At this moment, someplace else, Dean probably is in one of the darkest places he has ever been. He shows another face of despair, and that is a very gloomy place. The darkest night a soul can be trapped in, I’d say. It’s so dark that he doesn’t want Sam present. Guilt and fear are eating away at his weakened body (since he has lived on coffee, booze and probably some meds) and soul (freaking out that because of him Lisa and Ben might get hurt – though I’m sure he means ‘killed’). Any means are welcome at this moment, and Dean returns to the torture techniques he learned in hell. No matter, though, how inventive he administers them, it takes him a long while to finally get the desired answers. 
 
It’s breaking my heart, really, to see Dean in so wretched a state. He never wanted to pick up that knife to torture again, he wanted to leave that dark part of his life behind, heal from it – yet now he chooses to use what he knows to save the woman and the boy he loves. I believe Dean never stopped loving them or stopped considering them his family. They were somewhat of a safe haven for his troubled soul. The thought alone of what might be happening to them must make his blood curdle. He can’t even stand Sam at his side. 
 
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And his brother does back off – he knows at this point, he needs to leave Dean be. He isn’t able to reach him sufficiently enough to make him take a break or leave any major parts of this operation to his younger brother. The biggest help Sam can offer at this point is: have Dean’s back, no matter the cost or the means. It saddens Sam. My God, it saddens me!
 
 
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So – Sam prays to Castiel, literally begging him to bring Lisa and Ben back. And Castiel is there, listening, obviously moved by Sam’s words, but doesn’t reveal himself. He didn’t know. Apparently, Crowley has a talent for keeping things even from an angel. Though Crowley is keeping to Cas’ order not to touch Sam and Dean – there was not a word in the small print about Lisa or Ben. Cas failed to negotiate those terms. Perhaps he should have watched more of Jack Sparrow’s exploits to know how important exact wording is… 


 
‘In for a penny, in for a pound.’
 
Balthazar, after summoning Cas to a place which looks a bit like a tropical forest in the middle of monsoon (which it is not, of course), formulates his question quite straightforwardly and leaves no room for guessing: he’s not amused of Castiel being in flagrante delicto with ‘the king of Hades’ and seeing through Cas’ dilettante lies. Balthazar, however, is a much better liar. He pretends to be on Castiel’s side. But, well, we will learn later, he is not.

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With Sam trying to help Dean, Bobby investigates on the maid’s son and visits him in the mental hospital. This is a closed, secure ward, it seems. It’s a sad fate for a man who spent one night at H.P. Lovecraft’s house – to be haunted by that night for all his life, condemned to spend his days in a place for the mentally disturbed because – obviously – doctors believed him to be psychotic. I wonder at how lucid the man is, since he surely had to take neuroleptic drugs throughout his stay there. They locked him in there. For the rest of his life, because he told them that he saw monsters. 
 
‘The spell worked. A door opened. And something came through. But it was invisible, so no one knew, except me. (…) Because it took my mother. It went into her, she wasn’t the same, she even smelled different. And then, she disappeared. And, surprise, surprise, one by one, they all start dying.’
 
‘I’m sorry about your mom.’
 
‘You’re the first person who ever said that. … Hey, you wanna see a picture?’ 
 
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Bobby freezes for a moment at the sight of his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Visjak, Eleanor. It will take him back in his own memory storage and open wounds he probably hoped to be healed. The two meant a lot to each other, we can assume that. 
 
But at this instant, my eyes become quite watery and I need to take a short break to gather some tissues. I barely shed a tear upon my first watching of this episode (except at the end), but now the floodgates open with more force.

This old man moves me so much. I am reminded of many patients I’ve spoken to in my professional life, telling me about terrible moments of their lives – stories of rape or beatings or abuse that were not believed by the ones close to them. It’s a horrible fact that many experiences of terror (even when they are not connected to the paranormal) are not believed by others. 

When they tell me – sometimes after a long time of silence – that they had experienced this or that and that no one would believe them, I feel the same desperate loneliness this old man shows in this scene. Then, when I reply that I do believe it, they often burst into tears, and I’ve often heard their broken voices whisper ‘I always wished my mom would have said that to me, at least once’. They are overwhelmed to find a caring person, to not be conceived of as a fraud or liar or, worst case, nutcase, but as a lonely person who has been through some terrible ordeal and deserves respect. 
 
There’s no such thing as respect in the place Dean is trapped at the moment, though. There even hardly is hope. Only desperate means. A tense, strangely lifeless way in which Dean walks around the room, not noticing that the devil’s trap is damaged. But – that fact doesn’t escape the bound demon that turns on an astounded Dean. Without Castiel’s intervention, Sam would have had to bury his brother. 
 
‘I don’t believe a word that is coming out of your mouth.’
 
And Cas, obviously missing the bond that used to exist between them, tries to rekindle that spark both needed. And still need. I know, some might think that this was just another scheme of Cas, but I can’t believe it. Through my eyes I saw an angel reach out one last time to his human brother. To the only family he has ever known and cared about, more than about his heavenly brothers in arms. 
 
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‘I thought that you said that we were like family. Oh, I think that, too. Shouldn’t trust run both ways?’
 
‘Cas, I just can’t.’
 
‘Dean, I do everything you ask. I always come when you call. (I think Cas truly believes this, and in his own experience of the last weeks and months, this has to be true to him.) And I am your friend. Still. Despite your lack of faith in me and now your threats. I just saved you. Yet again. Has anyone but your closest kin done any more for you? All I ask is this one thing…’
 
‘…trust your plan to pop purgatory?’
 
‘I’ve earned that, Dean. I came to tell you that I will find Lisa and Ben, and I will bring them back. … Stand behind me, the one time I ask.’
 
‘You’re asking me to stand down? … that’s the same damn ransom note Crowley handed me, you know that, right? Well, no, thanks. I’ll find them myself. Why don’t you go back to Crowley and tell him that I said you can both kiss my ass?!’

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Unfortunately, Cas doesn’t know about Crowley’s note. He truly wishes to save Lisa and Ben and the fact that he saves them later is proof for me that Castiel didn’t mean to involve these innocents in the fight. There must be enough of his angel conscience still awake that he would not resort to means like that. I don’t believe Castiel meant this in the sense of: I’ll save them if you stand down. I believe he meant: I’ll save them and I wish you to stand down.

Maybe Castiel tried to manipulate Dean into standing down, but not for the cost of the lives of these two innocents. He needs to believe to be sincere about this. 
 
It is tragic, really. Both men standing on yet another watershed mark, behind them the only life they have ever known and ahead of them stretches a fate they can’t and won’t imagine, as their imagination draws up terrors and pains. For Dean of losing Lisa and therefore be branded with their deaths on his conscience, for Castiel realizing his mistakes and perhaps being torn apart by Rafael. 
 
In this episode, Cas has not yet arrived at the point of truly becoming reckless and cruel, in the almost fascist way we will meet him in the following episode. To me it seems that Castiel is struggling to maintain a balance between what he needs (those souls to defeat Rafael) and what he found to be good for him (the ‘somewhat’ family he found in the Winchester clan). He is trying to answer Sam’s prayer – to bring Lisa and Ben back to them, because I believe he hopes to have some heart left. Cas surely notices what he is turning into and still hasn’t accepted that. His heart is not yet empty, therefore he is not yet as brutal as he will become. He wants purgatory. And eventually he will become a creature that won’t stop at anything to get it. Even hurt those Dean loves most. In this case Sam. But that is another story, for another couch, coming soon.
 
Bobby, in his own time, is about to lose a part of himself, too, as he calls on Ellie. His memory of their time together made it easy for him to find her cabin, one of her safe houses. For a man who just found out that a woman he was in love with once is a monster, Bobby is remarkably calm. But only on the outside, I reckon.

It does tickle him, though, hearing that she was about 900 years old and that she didn’t think to mention her true nature to him ‘the whole time you slept with me?’ Well, on a naughty note, we can only hope that the sex at least was hellishly good. What would he have done, then? Probably killed her, eh? Monsters do own a self-preservative drive. And, they are not all alike, are they? 
 
Ellie happens to like it here on Earth, and I happen to like this woman/monster/whatever… There are monsters and monsters, just as there are humans and humans. I do believe there can be peaceful, nice paranormal creatures, and Ellie probably is one of them. She did what she could to keep the door to purgatory closed. Eventually, she failed. 
 
And Bobby fears she will be the next victim on Castiel’s search for purgatory. He still has feelings for that woman. He wants to protect her. There is no instinct in him telling him to kill her, only to save her. This instinct tells us that he isn’t looking at her as a monster, he is being the man trying to protect his woman. 

It does move me so much when Ellie refuses his offer, making it clear to him, that she can take care of her own and would be safer that way, since, still, when push comes to shove, as a supernatural being, she would have the odd advantage in a fight.
 
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I could imagine that Bobby, after leaving her there, needs a drink, just as Sam needs one, resorting to his ‘brother’s bang’ when Balthazar finds him. Forgive me this shallow note, kind readers – Jared looks amazing in this scene, again, well… he knows exactly how to hold his head, what expression to put to his face…. Looking utterly seductive and attractive… ay, me… okay, back to the shocking revelation that the angel is now officially on their team.
 
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‘This is where I get off. God be with you.’
 
Balthazar becomes their double agent in no time, and even finds Lisa and Ben, but can’t get them out of there, since Crowley has angel proved the whole thing, obviously not trusting Cas. ‘Seems that marriage is going swimmingly.’
 
I could easily imagine that Balthazar has thought about his mutiny here for quite a while. He didn’t seem to be exactly a fan of Castiel’s. And he seems to sense the crumbling of Castiel’s plan. Though he has been introduced to us as a rather hedonistic creature, there is also a part of him that shudders at the thought of Castiel swallowing up that nuclear reactor of souls and take a chunk of the planet with him. 

He might think of his own survival, yes, but I strongly believe that there is also something left of his former mandate – of being an angel and therefore a protector of all creation. Balthazar risks a lot to get them to the warehouse where Lisa and Ben are being held. 
 
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Getting into that building is just another day at the office for our heroes, at first that is. They split up, which, in this case, is not the most capital idea – it leads to Sam being knocked out and locked up, while Dean has to fight the demons on his own… as he intended to do, anyway. He could use some back up, though, especially when the ugly realization that a demon took possession of Lisa strikes him with unexpected force – holding a knife to Ben’s throat and tantalizing both of them with lies (or truths?) about their relationships. And though Dean tries to dismiss the evil words coming out of DemonLisa’s mouth, they do affect him. It’s in his face. The struggle. The doubts. The understanding that turning to Lisa in his grief was a mistake, indeed, since they would not be here had he left her alone… I bet all this is screaming inside his head.
 
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What does this do to Dean? My goodness, I don’t even want to go there. The battles he has fought so far have taught him to put aside physical pain and push forward by sheer willpower. And now he has to shove away the excruciating pain tugging at his soul to be able to still save Lisa, to not make a wrong move – this demon won’t hesitate killing the terrified boy.
 
Once more I am amazed by Dean’s endurance. He conjures up the strength he needs to not break down, though every fibre in his being probably wants to do exactly that. This is simply too much to take. He needs sobriety of mind, not panic. Dean surely is full of doubts, too, at this moment. But he plucks up his courage. Nothing else is an option right now in this bottomless pit of silent despair, amalgamated with fear and the faint awareness that he will lose them…one way or the other.
 
Dean knows his Latin exorcism rites… after several failures in the past he knows the words by heart, now. There’s a chance to save Lisa! Exorcize the demon, and it seems as if it’s even working… But confusion and inner turmoil take their toll, and the words leave his mouth not powerful enough, and DemonLisa strikes back at him – most of all with the knife she grabs, thrusting it into Lisa’s body. Oh no! No! 
 
This isn’t happening! No…. 
 
‘She’s just a dead meatsuit’ DemonLisa says, voicing probably what Dean is thinking at this point. He knows that there is hardly a chance for her to survive now. 

Jensen is amazing in these scenes, really. As the events grow ever more highly charged, he operates in the nauseating borderlands between despair, decisiveness, stubbornness and certainty of loss. It’s all in his face, the fighting emotions, the fear of taking a wrong turn… Watching him act these scenes is most unnerving to me. 
 
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I want to jump in and save him yet again from another intolerably painful experience. He’s had enough in his young life. More than anyone else probably would have been able to survive. I’m afraid that he might crack someday. Truly break beyond repair. Sometimes he appears to me like a wretched, old, scrapped shadow of a car, held together by spit only… Dearest hunter… this is tragic beyond words…
 
As he finally decides to finish the rite, knowing that Lisa would want him to, his face is that of a broken man, betraying the woe of these days in his life.
 
‘Take care of your mom.’
 
His experience as a skilful hunter allows him to skip out of the shock to do what needs to be done. He instructs Ben without hesitation, giving him the order to grab his gun and use it – thereby being forced to do what he never wanted: let Ben ever get near that gun and get into the hunting game in whatever way. But he needs the boy to be strong now – just like his own dad needed him to be strong when Mary was killed. And in this moment, Dean surely is aware of it, the childhood days of Ben are over.
 
As he carries Lisa out of there, the boy reluctantly becomes a soldier, following orders. They find Sam, get into the car and rush Lisa to the nearest hospital. In all likelihood all of them are aware that there is hardly any hope. Lisa is dying. ‘She’s fine, she’s fine,’ Dean mutters, like a mantra, to soothe Ben’s terror, but also to hold his own wits together.
 
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Watching this is painful. But what I feel now pales in comparison to what I feel when they reach he hospital. There are no words… silently Dean and Ben watch over Lisa, and as Dean tries to apologize to Ben, the boy just leaves. He can’t. Not now. As if this wasn’t enough of a shock to Dean, Castiel appears out of the blue. The elder Winchester is not in the mood, at all, to talk to Castiel or listen to any of his speeches. He’s too shattered. The pain must be cutting away at him like glass fragments from the inside…
 
And then Castiel heals Lisa. Just like that. I am just as astonished as Dean who searches for words and even for the strength to look the angel in the eye and thank him. And to ask him to fix one more thing – purge her and Ben’s minds of all memories of Dean. 
The moment Dean holds Cas back, it is clear to me what he will ask him to do. And all of a sudden I am so very afraid of what this could mean to Dean in the long run. He will remember it all. Only Lisa and Ben will live in merciful oblivion. 
 
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It might not have been his call to ask Castiel to do that, but I think it was a brave move – with making them forget, he severed any bonds they had with him. He deliberately let go of the boy he loved like a son and the woman who was as close to being his wife as it gets. In his own, private emotional realm, these two were his family (apart from Sam, and in a time he thought Sam to be dead). 
In cruder hands, this move would have been, perhaps, unforgiveable, but watching Jensen Ackles here we understand how much it is killing him, but how much he needs to keep them as save as he can. This marvellous actor again delivers an engrossing performance of understatement and still vast emotion. 
 
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He believes this to be of utmost importance. It’s what he learned to be effective – to sacrifice himself in so many ways. He needs to make this decision for them, he simply doesn’t see any other option. I understand why he did it. 

All of us learn certain strategies that help us live and survive. With Dean it is his, practically, innate sense of being the one who has to be the protector, at pretty much all costs. Here he puts his own soul on the block and cuts the ones he loves off. To keep them save. I only hope this will include cutting off memories demons might have of Lisa and Ben… 
 
Dean is saying good-bye, his voice faltering, his head bowed in relief, in gratitude over the unexpected mercy Castiel gave him, in agony over the certainty that he will never speak to them again, in guilt of having brought so much pain to them. As he walks away, his sad face speaks of his depletion, colour gone, with almost elderly lines. He aged years through this experience… And it’s even more credit Jensen deserves for this incredible performance. I salute you, Jensen Ackles.
 
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Dean can’t face Sam’s protest (that still speaks of his discontent with his own memory-loss situation) at this point nor does he want to delve into the thought that it might have been the wrong decision. I’m sure, Dean knows that already. But the pain is too great. He can’t. I don’t blame him. All I feel is understanding, forgiveness, hope that he might be able to live with it. And – I am certain of it – Sam feels all this, too. And he wishes to help his brother, as much as he can. Which he will do in the following episode, the second part of this season’s finale.
 
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As the brothers drive away from the hospital, Eleanor heads for her car and is taken by Castiel. We know this won’t end well for her. But, oh, God, it won’t end well for any of them…
 
‘I’d rather ask forgiveness than permission.’
 
Sera Gamble and John Showalter brought us an episode that held so much emotional hooks that I still am gasping for breath. Named after a Rolling Stones album, this episode really drew a lot of blood. For me this was one of the best episodes of this season, and it was full of fantastic performances and scenes. 
 
As a lover of literature, I liked the connections to Lovecraft’s work established in this episode (and I am sure there might be more threads of it that could be used in future episodes, as this whole storyline appears far from over), and I’m going to be only slightly nitpicky, here – forgive me. The story ‘The Haunter of the Dark’ was published in December 1936, and thereby was not written on the (historically correct) day of his death, March 15th, 1937, but almost two years prior, in November 1935.
 
The story revolves around an artefact known to be able to awaken the Haunter of the Dark, an avatar of a malign deity from Lovecraft’s famous Cthulhu Myth from another dimension. This artefact, called the Shining Trapezohedron, was discovered in Egypt, but it’s not described to be of Ancient Egyptian origin. In this book this deity shows itself as a bat like monster with tentacles called Nyarlahotep, supposed to be an Egyptian name.
 
Other appearances of this particular monster include a hooved, hairless, swarthy man, a devastating storm, a black demon, a black eight-foot tall, faceless man. Whoever of these monsters it was that came after Lovecraft in this episode, we can assume it was not only deadly, but painfully ugly.  Perhaps Mr Lovecraft should have had more light in his house, as he wrote in this story that the Haunter of the Dark could not enter a lighted area.
 
I could imagine the show going back to these monsters for future episodes, but am content for now, though the emotions raging in my soul yet need to calm down. Sometimes I hate what this show is capable of doing to me, but then again – I allow its characters to reach out to me and move me beyond expectation. 
 
This episode, along with pretty much the whole season, was a perverse hymn to despair in all its facets and the impact it has on the lives of the two Winchester brothers and their allies. The pain caused by it cuts through the souls of the protagonists, much like the splinters of glass that are hurled towards us with the opening credits would through our faces. 
 
Basically, it’s about breaking walls. Walls as delicate as glass – borders to other dimensions, to memories, to hell, to hopes and to courage. With this episode and the next concluding the sixth season of our favourite show, we can say that the image of a shattered wall is a symbol for this season. And the consequences that will have. 
 
I will delve into episode 22 soon. First, allow me a breather, kind readers. I need to catch my breath after letting this episode thoroughly into my soul… so, I’m cuddling up on my comfy couch. Anyone here who would like to join me?
 
 

Comments  

Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-22 22:43
Amazing. A huge round of applause from me on your review.Truly you cut into the heart of the matter in ways I hadn't thought of and that means a lot. Thank you.

I thought of not just the album, but the actual song. It seems to fit Dean and Lisa's relationship if you look at some of the lyrics. "We all need someone to lean on and i you want to, you can lean on me." (Yes, I'm a huge stones fan. See name). Dean went and did just that at the start of the season and now we see the unfortunate consequences "We all need someone to bleed on and if you want you can bleed on me." Lisa does this in Dean's arms as she's dying from the demon attack.

It was a heartbreaking finish to this storyline for me. We have a bit of a small chance for it to be revived, but I'm thinking that Dean's goodbye is for good. We will no longer see them nor hear about them.

I absolutely adored the acting both Jared and Jensen did in this episode. You could really feel their emotions, feel the story come to life through them. Sam and Dean were on the same page, on the same team, standing by one another, Sam not willing to stray too far from his frantic and despairing brother, while giving him space he needed. it was beautiful to see the brothers so in tune again.

The old man in the hospital. Oh my God that scene was such a strong one. I felt so bad for him and it was so amazing to see Bobby be the one to listen and give the man at least something. Brilliant.

I thought Cas was desperately trying to apologize for what he knows Dean feels are slights and betrayals. In his own way he was reaching out and trying to break through Dean's cold shoulder. It might have changed Cas's actions, but then again it might have changed nothing. We won't know.

I look forward to taking a seat on your next couch. This one was such a treat.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-23 11:40
Hi Far Away Eyes, thank you so much for your kind and elaborate comment!

I also believe that the Lisa/Ben/Dean storyline won’t probably be rekindled, though I think that that relationship was good for Dean in ways his hunting life could never be. But I agree that Dean means that his good-bye was for good. I’m quite curious, how the writers will treat that in future episodes. You know – they don’t remember, but does that mean the monsters after Dean don’t remember either? This is me hoping it may be so…

Don’t get me wrong, I also think that both, Jared and Jensen, delivered an amazing job as actors. Jensen is incredible in the scenes he moved me most. He is, undoubtedly, one of the most talented actors of his generation. And though I am a devoted Sam/Jared-girl, I think Jared is not there, yet. He’s getting better every year, and his horizon as an actor has earned so much, but I think here the age difference between the two, and therefore their varied experience levels, comes into play, too. Still, both are incredible. Just… oh dear, just incredible… :-)

You are very welcome to take a seat on my couch for the next and future (as well as past ;-) ) episodes… it's a huge one... and very comfy...

Thanks, take good care, Jas
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-23 16:20
Some of the most powerfully acted scenes for me are from Jared. I don't know. I find both to be so wonderfully gifted. They both know how to pull powerful performances out of seemingly no where.

I want a big TV (I currently have an Analog 19") just so I can see some scenes almost movie theater style. In particular I want to see the scene with Lucifer in the Garden that way. I want to see (even if it is a hard one to stomach at times) On the Head of a Pin that way. So many scenes, so many good moments.

It's a shame that this show and its actors/writers haven't gotten any notice really in the awards circuit. There's so many things that make me think they're worthy.

Oh, I'd love to explore your couch, considering it's now the summer Hellatus, I'd love to go back through the season and see what you said and do some responses. I've got an essay on this season brewing actually and I don't think it'll leave me alone.

I'd like to say that thanks again for having this here. It's nice to connect to other fans.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2011-05-23 01:07
I would like to say this was one of the most amazing articles that I have read recently. I am in total agreement. If you have room on your couch, I would love to take a seat next to Far Away Eyes.

As for the acting, etc., all was terrific. I hope that they get an Emmy nod this year because I truly believe our favorite show deserves it.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-23 11:51
Thank you ever so much, rmoats8621! Don't worry, there is plenty of room on my couch. It's cosy, huge, comfy beyond belief ;-)

I'm with you on hoping for an Emmy nod - this show and its actors have been painfully overlooked for all these years...

Cheers, Jas
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2011-05-23 04:27
I was at the German con this weekened and trust me it was hard on us fans. Only a handful was able to watch it live in the middle of the night in the hotel. Most tried to watch on Saturday. But something happened which we all should have expected. Since there was only limited time to watch for us in between panels and photo ops and autographs we sure all tried to watch at the same time. Therefore the internet connection at the hotel wasn't able to provide a good connection. I tried to watch with Junkerin on her laptop and guess what happened. We were only able to see a few minutes at a time and then we had to wait a few minutes until we could watch the next few minutes. Something like that is bad enough during a normal episode. But to have that happen during the final. Believe me it was nerve wracking. A lot of fans couldn't handle that so only about half of us were able to watch it. Therefore we were asked at the con not to ask any questions about the final so we wouldn't spoil the others.

Jas I completly agree with you that this was the best episode. I am so in awe of Jensens acting abilities. The scenes with Lisa having the knive at Ben's throat and what it does to Dean's emotion as well as the scenes at the hospital especially the one were he looks into Lisa's room. And then again in the car with Sam. Dean's eyes are blood shot just like they are before someone starts to cry. These scenes tore me apart completly.

And then the old man at the hospital. The look on his face when he showed Bobby the picture of his mom. He looked just like a little kid that was very proud of something and looking for some applause.

If I remember it correctly. Lisa and Ben are now the only recurring characters that haven't died yet. I am so hoping for their reappearance next season and if it is only a scene where Dean checks in on them to see if they are doing ok.

Gosh there is so much more but right now my brain is like jello. The con and the final together at one weekend sure enough is the best way to scramble it into pieces. But unfortunatly we have a long time to think about it.

Could do with a personal talk
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-23 11:54
Oh, Yirabah, I am so sorry that you had so much trouble with watching the episodes while being at the Con. I hope, the experience of the Con was great for you, though - that helped a bit, I hope!

I do hope, too, that Lisa and Ben might come back, but if that meant that they would get killed, ahem, then I'd prefer them to live their happy life of sweet oblivion... But, well, this is Kripke's baby, and therefore you can never know...

Take time to gather your thoughts, dear. We will be here to offer calmness and peace and joy!

Cheers, Jas
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-05-23 10:35
Hi Jas,

A beautiful tribute to an amazing episode. If it's okay, I think I'll just sit here on the couch, and sniffle into my Kleenex for awhile.

I can't get the final 5 minutes of this episode out of my mind. All I can think is "Oh, Dean. Poor, poor Dean." He is like Job of the Bible. Perhaps some mercy will come his way soon.

Take care.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-23 11:56
Hi PDreamy, thank you! Please enjoy your stay on my couch and cuddle up with as many tissues as you need (there's always a weep box in striking distance ;-) )

I think the last minutes were some of the most intense ones of the whole season... The man is clearly deserving of some mercy! Oh, yes, he is!

Cheers, Jas
Julie
# Julie 2011-05-23 12:06
Jas,
You already know what this episode and article meant to me.
I think both are amazing examples of the reasons why we love this show so much, because they demonstrated yet again what it is all about, love and the lengths we will go to for those we love.
Your articles are always good but this one shone with the passion we have for the story of these fictional characters who manage time and again to move us so.
Thank You Love Ju
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-23 13:17
Thank you, sweet Julie. I do know how you feel about it all, oh, yes, I do... and it's wonderful to be able to share this...

I am honoured and overjoyed about how you liked this article. When I wrote it, I felt so much of it shine through my soul, and I am happy to have been able to convey a part of it...

Love, Jas
Bevie
# Bevie 2011-05-23 15:08
Oh Jas! That was so beautiful. You had the tears running down my face again. My poor poor beloved Dean! How much more pain can he take?

I loved Lisa and Ben dearly and am so sad that they will have forgotten their wonderful times with Dean. He was "the best night of my life" and "the best year of my life" and now.....nothing at all!

But then I'm so grateful they are still alive and however long the series lasts for, there is still a small chance they could be there for him at the end of his hunting days. It's what I wish for, anyways. Also, I truly believe Ben is his son and perhaps that will come up too in the future.

And bless Sam for how he is empathizing with his brother again and watching his back like he used to do 3 years ago.

I suppose Dr. Matt died in the car crash or some other way. A body in the living room would cause some concern, as well as a salt loaded shotgun in the closet.
Also, "who is this Dean guy on our phone list?" I suppose Cas fixed all of those things with a wave of his finger. Also he would have to wipe the memories of all of the Braeden's neighbours. Well, if an angel can unsink the Titanic, I guess sll of that would be child's play. :o

Thank you for your much needed couch Jas.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-24 00:43
Hi Bevie and thank you so much. I am happy to hear that I moved you - and hope it wasn't too tragic a moment for you :-) .

I do hope that Cas indeed took care of all those facets you mention. I also loved Lisa and Ben, the whole thing was terribly sad.

You are always welcome on my couch. Don't forget to help yourself to the cookies to your right ;-) .

Love, Jas
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-05-24 22:03
Cookies? Did someone mention cookies?

Sniffles are gone, and now I have a few coherent thoughts.

I don't think Dean wiped Lisa & Ben's memories to protect them from all monsters, demons and other supernaturally evil creatures. He did it to protect them from one monster in particular - Dean Winchester. He didn't want them to have to deal with the horror he'd brought into their life.

Lisa would remember being possessed, and saying incredibly hurtful things to her son, and to Dean. How would she ever be able to convince Ben that she never had any regrets about keeping him? Plus, Ben was always going to her his mother saying that to him. regardless of the colour of her eyes at the time.

And Ben would always have to deal with the knowledge that he had killed a thing that sure looked and bled like a man. He was always aware of the supernatural because of the whole changeling thing from The Kids Are All Right. But, his innocence was truly destroyed by seeing what demons, and Dean, and even himself were capable of.

I think what really sealed Dean's decision was the way Ben reacted when Dean tried to apologize at Lisa's bedside. Ben just stared at him, made no comment and left. I think that's how any kid would react to seeing their sole parent at death's door. And they'd lash out at anyone within reach, and want to blame them. In this case he could, perhaps justifiably blame Dean. But I think that would have been temporary. I think he would have forgiven Dean.

Dean loved Ben, and it was another knife in his heart to think Ben might hate him, justifiably in Dean's world view. And I don't think Dean realized that Ben's harsh reaction was out of fear and bewilderment and the terror that his Mom might die and he'd be alone.

For all his talk of forgiveness, Dean couldn't forgive himself for hurting Lisa and Ben, so he thought it would be best to just remove himself completely.

I don't think I'll ever forget that picture of Dean, using the hospital wall to prop himself up, and to help him push down the pain again. (Tears begin to fall!)

I believe in happy endings, and I just wanted Lisa & Ben there for the future, after the show ends. Maybe memory wipes can be undone?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-24 22:19
Beautiful! It hadn't occurred to me (and it should have) that Dean would see himself as the worst monster in their lives. More than anything that could come after them, what they had been put through here was too much and he couldn't rob yet another child of their childhood. He had lost his himself and he had tried to keep Sam a childhood for so long but even Sam's was stolen. He couldn't imagine doing it again to Ben.

It makes so much more sense when you place it into this perspective, so thank you for that.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-25 09:53
Hi PDreamy, nothing you say is in conflict with what I wrote here - it's so sad, indeed...

No one should have to carry this kind of burden, but, well, it comes with the territory of being a Winchester...

Sniff. I need to get some more cookies ;-)

Thank you! Cheers, Jas
Brynhild
# Brynhild 2011-05-25 18:24
Well, PD, you stole the words from my mouth! When I saw Ben react (understandably )that way to Dean trying to apologize, I FELT, really felt Dean thinking "It's my fault. I never should go to them from the start. I should have let them alone. Maybe it would be better if they never knew me. If I never met Lisa and had that night with her".

It's not a logic thought, because without Lisa knowing him, Ben would still have been kidnapped by the changeling, and he wouldn't have been there to save him. But at the moment he can't think logically. All he knows,all he sees is Lisa dying before him and Ben hating him as the cause of her death. And the thing is: he thinks exactly the same. He chose to going on with the exorcism, because he knew it was the right thing to do, but he knew that would mean dooming Lisa to death.

He feels he failed the only people, besides Sam and Bobby, who loved him unconditionally . Innocent people who trusted him, who confided in him, who leaned on him. The guilt, a feeling way too familiar to Dean Winchester, must have been crushing. So, as he did when Sam died in his arms, he resolved to fix the things paying with his own life: not by selling it to a crossroad demon, but by asking an angel to wipe its existence from the memories of those loved people (so, in a way, he is "dead" for them).

Maybe it's also a way to cut his own road back, so he can't ever be tempted to come back to them, even for a little rest or for refuge, and relive in them the memory of these terrible moments, and maybe Ben's hate, too. I think he can't stand to face that look on his "son's" face again.

It's heartbreaking,r eally... :cry:
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2011-05-24 23:43
I'm claiming a spot on your couch, Jas! Excuse me while I grab the tissue box too!

I actually didn't cry until the end of the episode either on my 1st watch. Mainly, I think because I was simply stunned & angry with the writers for putting our boys through so much over the years, & these 2 episodes were the breaking point. Sure, it's a great story & riveting drama & gives us the chance to see just how amazing these actors are, but I need to believe that there is some hope & happiness & peace for the Winchesters when their story is done! (And for Castiel! I don't even want to get started yet on how his storyline has left me feeling!)

In this episode it was Dean who suffered the most. I cringed to see him resort to torture, forgetting or at least ignoring the fact that he was killing innocent humans along with the demons, so consumed by his anger that he got sloppy enough to break the devil's trap & nearly get himself killed. The look he gave Ben as he finished the exorcism, knowing that he was probably killing Lisa in the process... oh, that broke my heart. And again, as he left Lisa's hospital room & could barely hold himself up, then snapped at Sam for questioning his decision. Pragmatic Dreamer, I think you are right in that Dean considered himself to be the monster to be removed from Lisa & Ben's memories, but that makes this even more heartbreaking!

As much as this episode upset me, I still loved it. Bobby was awesome & quite dapper in his investigative reporter guise, & I loved his chemistry with Ellie & rapport with the old man. Sam was our beloved Sammy again. I too felt that Cas saved Dean out of friendship & not because of an ulterior motive. And BadAss Dean taking out the demons guarding Lisa & Ben, then going into soldier/medic "get Lisa to safety" mode.

I'm going to stay curled up on the couch for awhile, ok?

Dawn
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-25 09:56
Oh, Dawn, you are very welcome to stay as long as you like. Help youself to the weep box, please. I just stocked up... ;-)

Thank you so much for your comment. I well understand your points and am not surprised that you need a breather. The whole story was/is heartbreaking, and I am expecting more of that in the season to come.

So, for as long as you need comfort or a comfy cushion (not the Monty Python kind!)... there's always room. And hot chocolate to flush down the cookies...

Love, Jas
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2011-05-26 04:02
Can't let go of the Lisa/Ben storyline. It is to sad. I loved them both. Here is a speculative thought I had.

When Castiel wiped Lisa's and Ben's memory isn't it like putting up a wall in their mind? I think so. And since we had the big wall of Sam cramble why not let the Lisa/Ben wall cramble sooner or later?

I am hoping for that. Still using up kleenexes over the sad end of ep 21
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-26 17:30
I understand so well, dear. I am already missing Lisa and Ben...

I love your idea - that there had to be a wall brought up in their minds... On a second thought - I would hate them to be exposed to the pain a crumbling of it would mean.
Ah, I don't know... Allow me to give you some more tissues. One can never have enough of them!!

Love, Jas
magichappening
# magichappening 2011-05-30 12:26
I do think your ‘Open Couch’ is most aptly named, Jas. As always, I appreciate how open you are in your feelings about this brilliant story - as well as your thoughts :)

I felt the episode was phenomenal – evidenced by the length of this comment! It seems to me that a lot of the reactions to the episodes are about the feelings they have left each viewer with – and for me, that is what great art, and great performance art in particular, should do. If it leaves us indifferent or complacent then perhaps it is not for us. But this particular episode does not seem to have left many people either. Upset, depressed, or angry perhaps, but not indifferent or complacent.

I am annoyed that although I avoided other spoilers, I did watch the preview, so knew Lisa was going to turn bad. But even knowing that, I was there all the way - the break-in to Lisa’s house, the desperation of the phone call between Ben and Dean, the heartbreak of the rupture of Dean and Cas’ relationship and the cynical manoeuvrings of the king of Hell and the presumptive ‘king’ of Heaven, leading to the sacrifice of the Braedens as pawns in their celestial power-plays.

The reviews I have read thus far (we Supernatural fans are a vocal lot!) have questioned the logic of Dean asking Castiel (I can’t bring myself to call him Cas any more) to erase Lisa and Ben’s memories. These reviews have concluded, and very logically, that this would not actually protect them from danger in the future and could even leave them more vulnerable. What was Dean thinking?

But (echoing Pragmatic Dreamer and others above’s comments) I think that is just it. Dean was not, in that moment, acting on logic. He was feeling. While he has become a formidable hunter and leader, to me, Dean is, at heart, a person with incredibly deep emotions. He loves Sam, Bobby, and now Lisa and Ben - whatever the Braedens are ‘officially†™ to him. They took him in, gave him a ‘family’ and he healed with them; at least as much as he could without Sam.

I think in that moment when Castiel had just healed Lisa, Dean had a choice. I think he feels he owes Lisa and Ben for what they have given him (of course that has been a two-way street, as he has given Lisa the man she loves and Ben, a father). He feels protective of them, he feels guilty (justifiably or not) that they have been dragged into this world of his through no other reason than that they know him and he feels horrified about what they went through, physically and emotionally, in the kidnap. The memories Lisa will have of what she said to her son. The memories Ben will have of what his mom said to him, of what Dean said to Ben, of Ben having to shoot ‘someone’ (how much of himself as a child did he see in Ben?). Of Lisa nearly dying…they would never have been the same again.

So in that moment, I don’t think he was thinking about whether it would be fair to Lisa and Ben down the line. I think all he felt was that he wanted to spare these two people he loves, some small part of the horrors he has been through. He knows ‘at what cost survival sometimes comes’. Of having your world and your innocence ripped away. He saw an opportunity to give back to this family and give them some peace. God knows, he can understand how memories can destroy you.

In making his choice to call out to Castiel, Dean will lose two more people he loves - but he will have given them a measure of peace. And even if that is shattered at some unknowable point in the future, they will have had some period of happy normality. I think, having had four short years as a child and then one year with the Braedens, he knows how precious and fragile ‘normal’ can be.

So with his choice, Dean condemns himself to losing his surrogate ‘family’. I also think he knew he himself could not bear to live with the knowledge of what had happened to Lisa and Ben (including them seeing him as a hunter) - but he paid a high price, with the amputation of the Braedens from his life.

Should he have done it? Perhaps not. Sam questions the justice of it. But what was the alternative? Leave Lisa and Ben with the appalling memories of the kidnapping. Lisa had said she was trying to get over him (and the demon taunted him that Lisa regretted ever meeting him – and he is only human) and now because of him she and her child have been through this terrible trauma. He saw an opportunity to protect their minds, their souls. So. He is a hunter (not a killer, never a killer). He is used to making split-second decisions when an opportunity arises. He took it.

I do not think I have been as devastated as I felt during the goodbye scene in the hospital in a while. And when Dean said that he was the one who had hit them? I was a complete mess. And then saying he had lost control for a minute and apologising and saying he would leave them alone…and their impersonal politeness to him...and Sam questioning him and Dean turning and Sam seeing how devastated Dean was and nodding…That was it. I was done. I had thought I would just immediately go on to watch 6.22, but I had to take a half-hour break for the tears to stop!

Jensen Ackles. Holy crap. Talk about finding the freakin’ nuances! Every time I think I know how good he is, he takes it to a higher level. I am in awe of his ability (and potential) as an actor, but also of his honesty, and the courage it takes to go to the places he goes, emotionally. And to top it all off, having just met him again at a convention, he continues to be one of the nicest, most charming, intelligent people you could ever meet. I feel very lucky to be a fan of this show and this actor :)

I do have issues with Dean’s reversion to torture and the killing of possessed humans - more from the stand-point of the writers seeming to blow hot and cold somewhat on how Dean views it, than whether or not he would have resorted to it as an unpalatable option in this scenario. I agree that it rang true that he did not want Sam to see him. And having just (involuntarily! ) watched the latest Pirates movie, I have to say that I have more issues with how people are ‘killed’ in that movie – no blood, never any blood, or consequences of death …but that is a topic for another debate :)

Overall though, the conclusion of the Lisa/Ben storyline worked for me, as did the episode - due mostly to the stellar performances all round. Misha Collins, fluctuating between the gradually fading ‘brother’, asking for understanding and the increasingly dominant arrogant, ambitious, soulless non-human. Jared’s portrayal of Sam’s unwavering support of his brother and the grief he feels being unable to help Dean. Jim Beaver’s Bobby, full of gruff compassion and sardonic humour, ‘Ellie’’s brittle composure, Sebastian Roche’s Balthazar’s unwilling caring/pragmati sm and the guest actors as the old man in the hospital and the horror writer. Mark Sheppard’s depiction of Crowley showing his true ruthless colours, beneath the snark.

But stepping back from the pieces of the whole, in the end, I have to agree with you, Jas: ‘This show did this one small thing, again: it touched my soul’. And after all: ‘It’s about the souls’. Thank you for my time on the couch :) Now, where’s that wine…
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-30 13:09
Hi magichappening, so nice to hear from you again! And thank you ever so much for your kind words and elaborate thoughts.
I'd lie if I said that I'm not happy when I get acknowledgement like this :lol: .

You see, like you, I believe that a good performer should evoke emotion in those who watch him. Be it one actor, a scene, an episode.
It’s all about that, I’d say. People watching it should feel touched, in whatever way. Without that personal touch, there is no good performance, since then no one gives a damn…

And I agree wholeheartedly that Dean wasn’t acting logically. He was desperate, and he saw a way to ‘save’ them. In such a moment – she was dying before Cas showed up and Dean was facing that horrific truth – a person can’t think in a rational way, well, most don’t.
Perhaps the only ‘logical’ thought that went through his brain might have been ‘it’s better that I should lose them than they remember what I brought upon them’.

How could that scene leave anyone untouched? Jensen is indeed a marvelous actor, I think one of the best of his generation.
Everyone who had to say good-bye to a loved one, in hospital even, was able to relate and those lucky enough who haven’t had to face that got a good glimpse at what it is like. I don’t know, if you ever had to go through that, magichappening, but I have, and when I watch a scene like that, being brought to life in such an amazing manner, it brings back memories like only a good actor can.

You’re always welcome to my couch, you know that. Now, if you look to your left, I believe there is still some wine left…

;-) , take good care, will you? Jas
Freebird
# Freebird 2011-06-07 20:10
Wow, what an episode! I watched it only now, was on a voluntarily hellatus (actually paradisetus :)). Loved your review, Jas (as always :))! Cried like a baby on the Lisa & Ben mind whitewash. So cruel!!! So sad!!! I can't help but wonder when will Dean break. I mean, really. No one can suffer so much and stay sane.
Loved the Bobby - Old man scene. Touched my heart. I love Bobby.