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Open Supernatural Couch â€“ The Man Who Knew Too Much
(Season 6 Finale, Part II)
Let there be light
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle
Or the mirror that reflects it.
A soul is a most fragile thing and still a strong reflection of wisdom, endurance, scars, joys. It needs time to heal when wounded, and it suffers the wear of time, crude hands, and the arbitrariness of the elements of oneâ€™s life.
To me it sometimes feels that, when we come to life, we enter a vast and often raging sea. The currents differ, and the water temperature tends to change ever so often. Waves sometimes rise up like furious, thundering swells, their momentum flinging us to coasts we donâ€™t knowâ€¦ Against the pull of the ocean we try to swim, to find solid ground, and when we manage to stumble to shore, coughing and exhausted, we perhaps realize that life is truly simple. There are only a few essentials. Love. Work. Devotion to something and/or someone. Family. Kindness. Caring for another. Being looked after.
These are the elements that give us light. And light, always, conquers darkness. We need it to be able to stand up under the strain of what life makes us put up with. And when I look at our Winchester boys, their dearest friends and this last episode of the sixth season of our beloved show, I have to say â€“ through my eyes itâ€™s all about light. I wrote about that before, in other words. I called the Winchesters warriors of light a few times, and to that I hold.
In this episode, light, again, saved lives. Their own light, awoken and spread in dreamlike states, in a panic room and through neon signs of storage rooms or hotels. Another light destroyed lives. A perversion of an angelâ€™s power, used to kill, to force, to submit.
I can only try to put in word what this episode did to me while I watched it and the thoughts it provoked in me. Please, help yourselves to some cookies, some tea, hot chocolate or a glass of wine and breathe with me.
One more time the glass of the opening credits breaks and throws us onto a dark street where Sam seems to be running for his life, the police on this tail. He had been sleeping on a park bench when a cop shoved his flashlight in his face and woke him. He overwhelmed the cop and his partner and ran. He doesnâ€™t even know, why. His instinct is telling him to run, to hide.
But itâ€™s not a dream. Sam is trapped in a state that is often found with people who experience horrific trauma. I would call it a dissociative seizure or fugue. We will see him later having fits lying on his cot in Bobbyâ€™s panic room. But at the moment he is simply lost, in the clothes he wore when Castiel brought the protecting wall in his mind down, caught in a state of amnesia for his whole personal identity, though memories he doesnâ€™t have conscious access to have led him to a place he knows â€“ the storage room where he once lost his lungs at the hands of an angel named Zachariah, and a bar where his soulless persona once killed a Ruby lookalike.
Heâ€™s scared out of his wits, has no recollection of anything, but flashbacks are whipping at him with immense force, unleashed by triggers like a Lovecraft book, in their wake not only pictures but also unbelievable emotional impact that takes Sam off his feet. He doesnâ€™t know yet why he reacts like this, but he senses enough to be aware that there is more to the most likely unpleasant story.
Though without clear memory, he knows that heâ€™s used to using a computer and finds The Nite Owl Hotel where he stayed with his brother once â€“ during their unfortunate vampire encounter when the soulless version of Sam allowed Dean to be turned. We also learn a tad more about the Winchester tactics â€“ when you choose a room, make sure itâ€™s â€˜ground floor, corner room, nearest to the fire escapeâ€™.
The gutsy bar-girl, Robin, who insisted to help the handsome stranger is not only a little astounded to find the room, enter it by credit card and spot various IDs that belong to the same guy who seems to go by different names. None of those ring a bell with Sam. His confusion, if possible, grows even more disturbing. He knows this room. He just doesnâ€™t know why. The newspaper clipping about a missing Dr Visjak triggers another memory. Oh, boy, not a cocktail of mixed images this time. No, this is a full blown scene from Samâ€™s painful past.
A tragic one on many levels â€“ Sam, Dean and Bobby find lethally wounded Eleanor Visjak. She tried to stand her ground when Crowley tortured her, but when Castiel took over, she broke. We donâ€™t hear what torture techniques the angel administered, but we can assume they were more than ugly when they were able to get answers from a 900 year old purgatory native.
She dies, and Bobby doesnâ€™t take it well. I feel so sad for this lovely manâ€¦ I can understand why he hoped that Dean could go on living â€˜as close to happiness as Iâ€™ve seen any hunter getâ€™, since he has not experienced that mercy. At least two of the women he loved died. Thatâ€™s enough for any heart to break.
There is no time for grief, though, as Castiel appears â€“ and he truly seems changed. In the last episode there was still something left of the angel weâ€™ve grown to love and care for, the ally in this unbelievable war. But this one actually feels different. This one severed the bonds to these men, bonds that used to be strong enough for him to step up and risk his own existence for them. Misha Collins adds another layer to his portrayal of Cas. I am amazed at what he does here, in so small a scene, but I also feel that I have grown cold towards the angel. Perhaps I am reflecting what goes through Deanâ€™s mind.
And another terrible thought sneaks into my brain â€“ what if Castiel planned all this long ago, even before he resurrected Dean (and resurrected him for another purpose than the one he named), let Sam out of the panic room, got in league with Crowley? This idea scares me more than I expected.
But I donâ€™t have time to ponder on it at this point â€“ because Castiel does the most wretched thing: he makaes the wall in Samâ€™s mind that Death carefully erected there collapse.
The eyes may be confused in two ways â€“ by a change from light to darkness
Or from darkness to light.
The same thing happens to the soul.
With the wall collapsing, Samâ€™s consciousness disintegrated. He begins to realize, slowly and through painful experience over the following scenes, what happened to him and whatâ€™s going on â€“ without yet understanding.
How I see it, what happened to Sam â€“ under the influence of the, without doubt, unspeakably terrible time he spent in hell â€“ was a perverted Supernatural version of what psychiatrists call a multiple personality (or, in clinical terms a dissociative identity disorder) mixed with complex post- traumatic stress disorder. But â€“ Iâ€™ll get to that later.
The hotel room holds some more answers and â€“ car keys for Sam, and Robin insists to accompany him. She has a purpose to fulfil here: to guide Sam and to warn him. She is one part of Sam, a tender and caring one that tries to shield him from the atrocities he is about to discover. She is his inner voice, the one that questions, one that articulates a counterpart to his confusion, doubts his plans of breaking into an â€˜unknownâ€™ hotel room or going off looking for an old guy named Bobby in South Dakotaâ€¦
His subconscious gave her this appearance (please remember: we are in Samâ€™s mind, this whole time), (though I am not certain, yet, why the creators chose a girl of similar type as Ruby had been. Hair, size, style of dressing resembles his demon ally of old), as sheâ€™s one of the innocent victims Sam killed while roaming about bereft of his soul.
Perhaps she is the one that his subconscious highlighted as remarkable and important to remember, because her death, indeed, was cruelly unnecessary and probably one of Soulless Samâ€™s ugliest deeds. â€˜There goes your leverageâ€™. My Godâ€¦
Robin links Samâ€™s mind of today to the Soulless Sam. Her voice merges occasionally with Deanâ€™s pleading. And she disappears when Sam is about to recover the memories hidden in the deep back of his mind, behind the ever more collapsing wall.
With Samâ€™s memory approaching the agonizing unfeeling deeds, the soulless persona re-appears. Fighting for dominance.
Dean, imploring his unconscious brotherâ€™s mind to return, in Bobbyâ€™s panic room is beyond himself with fear and doubt. Where before he somewhat carried himself in the apprehensive and alarmed way of a man braced against catastrophe, now he seems to droop, as if already fallen victim to catastrophic despair. He has no idea what might be going on thereâ€¦ only Samâ€™s occasional twitching gives a hint of the turmoil behind the curtains.
Heâ€™s not conscious and still he is receiving information in his uncoupled state â€“ he smells the whiskey the men drink and the Old Spice, and the song playing on that old radio. Heâ€™s there with them, but incapable of establishing contact.
With Sam in this terrifying state, Dean would be about to lose his marbles, were it not for Bobbyâ€™s voice of reason. At a point where Dean is almost unable to see any kind of hope, Bobby calls him back to arms, reaching out to the soldier (of light) that the elder Winchester has always been. And in a way only Bobby can, he manages to persuade Dean to do â€˜what Sam would wantâ€™.
And Dean, in a desperate, perhaps last attempt, tries to get any kind of reaction from Sam, a reflex, shining into his eye with a flashlight. Heâ€™s not doing it the first time. Iâ€™m sure the policemanâ€™s flashlight that woke Sam on that park bench was also Dean trying to wake him up. And he did. Just not as he planned.
And â€“ there is a reflex, a major one, actually, since Sam canâ€™t deal with the sudden light at first, but a heartbeat later the light in his inner imagination changes, and he is able to see more, to orientate himself a tad more. But, of course, he is not yet able to combine the facets. The light only triggers another reaction in his subconscious and is immensely helpful.
This Samâ€™s senses are sharpened now. He seems to actually feel the presence of danger â€“ his alter ego. Samâ€™s responses are automatic, instinctive â€“ he finds the arsenal in the trunk, chooses the weapons needed. He is astonished, but quite certain about what he is doing, searching the forest where he will be ambushed by his soulless alter ego in an instant.
I am absolutely amazed about what we are given here by this incredible young actor Jared Padalecki. Heâ€™s excellent in scenes like this â€“ playing against himself, finding the other character in so fine nuances that he convinces me to be the cold, soulless guy and the petrified, confused Sammy. Everything is different â€“ body language, look in his eyes, and itâ€™s simply outstanding what he does with his voice. These are two men who donâ€™t have anything in common.
â€˜This is impossible.â€™
â€˜Cold. Try again.â€™
â€˜Warmer. But see â€“ normally youâ€™re awake when youâ€™re tripping balls.â€™
â€˜And someone just won a copy of the home game. Weâ€™re inside your grapefruit, Sam.â€™
â€˜I donâ€™t remember anything.â€™
â€˜Well, your BFF Cas brought the hell wall tumbling down and you, pathetic infant that you are, shattered into pieces. Pieceâ€¦ (points at Sammy) piece (points at himself).â€™
â€˜I have no idea what youâ€™re talking about.â€™
â€˜Why would you. Youâ€™re jello, pal. Unlike me.â€™
â€˜What are you?!â€™
â€˜Iâ€™m not handicapped. Iâ€™m unsaddled with a soul. In fact, I used to skip this meatboat for a while. It was smooth sailing. I was sharp. Strong. That is: till they crammed your soul back in. Now look at you. (â€¦) Thatâ€™s because souls are weak. Theyâ€™re a liability. Now â€“ nothing personal. But, run the numbers: someoneâ€™s gotta take charge around here. Before itâ€™s too late.â€™
This is a confrontation that takes a lot for Sammy to endure. The mercifully oblivious Sam has no idea what the soulless one is talking about, but itâ€™s beginning to dawn on him that he is confronted with a part of himself that will stop at nothing. A ruthless killer, who then aims his pistol at him, indeed ready to kill him.
Nothing to do but get away. Sammy might be without clear memory, but he is not without instinct or ingenuity. He hides, then pulls his wits together and builds a trap for his antagonist. The strong, but at this point not so sharp one (since his hubris of being convinced to be entitled to take charge here weakens his senses) shoots the dummy and is overpowered by Sammy who does something extraordinary: he shoots his adversary in the back. This shot it not meant to wound, no, this bullet is meant to kill.
What was this like, for Sammy â€“ to shoot at himself, in the back? Iâ€™m sure in the short moments since the soulless one told him where they are, what he is, the pieces of this puzzle were beginning to form a picture and clear the clouds in his mind.
Did he think â€“ this evil part of me has to die? There is no room for this cold part of me? We can only speculate here.
â€˜You think Iâ€™m badâ€¦ wait will you meet the other one.â€™
Then, a second later, he experiences what Juan SÃ¡nchez Villa Lobos RamÃrez named the quickening as he instructed Connor MacLeod about what happens when you cut off an immortalâ€™s head. All knowledge, experience, all deeds basically are being absorbed by the man standing. I know, this is not Highlander. I am a fan of the original Highlander movie and the tv series, though, and this scene reminded me wonderfully of that other paranormal storyline.
Sam receives the whole lot of what soulless Sam did. It must come as a thundering storm. Every evil, truly soulless deed, every atrocity, every drop of innocent blood spilled at the hands of his soulless alter egoâ€¦ the unleashed part of every human being. Every man is capable of this, I believe, given the necessary circumstances. There have been tendencies of all that in Sam throughout the seasons. He learned to be more reckless, sometimes considered to actually kill innocents for the sake of the greater good (as in Jus In Bello)â€¦ contemplations taken to the extreme without the moral junction of his soul.