Yeah, thanks Mr. Edlund. You went and did it again. My stomach is tore up in knots, Sam is left burning in Hell (mentally), and I'm stuck with that crushing vision in my head of his subtle yet tragic breakdown until March 16th. Yeah, thanks a lot.
Oh, I know better. This means that Ben is awesome at his job. At Comic Con last year when I interviewed The Vampire Diaries Executive Producer Kevin Williamson, he shared a little showrunner's trade secret when planning for breaks in the writer's room. "When you think about each episode to 22 it's so overwhelming. We try to do tent poles. Here it is and this is going to happen. And then we look at the schedule and see when the breaks are. The network tells you where you have hiatus for four weeks, so we go, â€˜Well, maybe we should do that there," so then everyone is hanging for 4 weeks. We like to torture our audiences as much as we torture our characters. It's fun."
Yeah, really fun. At least we went into the break with a bang. Aside from the fact that I'm a quivering mess for dear Sammy (Mark Pellegrino is the best damned Lucifer ever), there's no doubt that we were treated to an old school, intense creep fest that can only be pulled off by so few on the "Supernatural" writing team these days. If anyone is up to the task, it's the creative genius himself. Edlund does funny better than anyone, and he does bone-chilling-mess-with-your-head better than anyone. No matter what the theme he's all about the extremes. We're all about getting absorbed in every minute of it.
This episode has many layered themes and references, all perfectly woven in a fluid story that blurs lines between what is truly evil and what is truly good. It starts by exploring a concept that we've often wondered about, but have never truly seen. What happens to these victims after they're possessed? It has been eluded to in the past, Bobby's comment in "The Magnificent Seven" coming to mind, that a lifetime worth of psychiatry bills is what's in store for these people.
Turns out we that Jeffrey isn't the only possession victim who's psyche we get a vivid look at in "Repo Man." Sam too is struggling with his time being possessed by Lucifer. Far more than we ever realized. His noggin hasn't been good after all and he's much closer to the edge than anyone imagined. So the unraveling begins.
Part of Ben Edlund's legacy in Supernatural is that he loves to take demon stories and twist them around. It was him that came up with the standard that all demons were human once and years in Hell burned away their humanity (and I laugh how Sera Gamble recently mentioned in an interview how they've constantly had to work around that). It was he that promoted the idea of Lucifer as a sympathetic angel, someone who loved his father and saw himself an innocent victim of betrayal ("Now, tell me, does the punishment fit the crime, especially when I was right?" "Look what six billion of you have done to this thing and how many of you blame me for it?"). Edlund also came up with the hilarious new version of Hell, waiting in line for eternity.
Now for the latest twist. Some demons exist to be talent scouts, possessing evil bastards for the sake of recruitment. They want to help potential serial killers be real serial killers. "Looking for the next generation of superstars, before they get to Hell." It's funny, that's the one thing I would have assumed demons do before seeing this show. I'm shocked this hasn't been shown before now.
Turns out when Jeffrey was possessed those four years ago, he was a serial killer wannabe. This demon came along and taught him to put away those doubts and be all he could be. Jeffrey was a star pupil with one damaging side effect. He craved that demon inside of him. He missed that power, that bond, that pure evil. So he dealt with the loss by becoming a drunk and suicidal. Then, he pulled it all together. Turns out those halfway house programs are not only good at helping decent folk get back on track, but it works for evil bastards as well! He saw the light, it was time to get his demon back.
Since this episode is all about parallels, Jeffrey's story sounds a bit like Sam's after Dean's death, don't you think? After hitting his low, his new found mission involved embracing his dark side for achieving a greater purpose. He ended up doing more damage than Jeffrey, albeit unintentional. That is one blurry line. Good intentions or not, the results are the same.
The thing about Jeffrey that struck me was evil or not, he allowed Sam and Dean to beat him senseless four years ago so they could get info from the demon about Lilith's whereabouts, or at least who her lieutenants were. That could have been the demon telling him so, make the world think we was a stand up guy so he could go on with killing innocents, but the damage was pretty extensive physically. It was a very brutal and vicious beating. "When you left me at the ER, I had three smashed fingers, five teeth out, a broken wrist, nose, cheekbone, collarbone. I had to get 160 stitches, mugged. The doctor on duty said it looked like I got caught in the Spanish Inquisition."
That seems more savage than an average beating, don't you think? It was almost if Jeffrey liked it or something. He certainly understood why it had to be done. "I watched you torture an innocent man to get at a demon. Pretty charge situation, revealing, you guys talked about a lot of stuff, showed a lot of character. God, you were so desperate to fix the world back then. It kills you that people kept getting hurt and you just can't stop it, or I should say it's killed you, shouldn't I?" So at the time he knew what they were trying to do, and also knew it was futile. In a sense, he was probably humoring them. It's what demons would do.
Jeffrey's story ended with the cautionary tale that happens with every demon story. Never trust a demon. It's not like he was going to be greeted with warm fuzzies and happily ever after. He was told he was on his own, but could do all those terrible things he wanted with his own abilities. "All I had to do was loosen the lid on his jar, show him some practical know-how." Yeah, tell that to Dean Winchester with a gun.
I do believe I'm stating the obvious by saying Sam Winchester has faced a lot of crap in his life. To think, his sweet moment of death at the end of season two was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.
Considering how more involved I am with Sam's character than the victim of the week, watching his struggle this week tore me to shreds. It's very tragic, but it always has been in Sam's case. We've suspected for a long time that he has been teetering on an edge, but we really had no idea how close until we finally got to see what he sees. Lucifer is there all the time. This was hinted by Sam's leviathan doppleganger in "Slash Fiction" but man, it's really that bad if not worse. Sam sends him away with one press of his scarred hand, but it doesn't last long. If this was Sam's band aid, the sucker is worn and ready to fall off.
The torment is quite maddening. Lucifer constantly there, begging for attention, waiting for just the right seemingly innocent moment to work his way back in to Sam's psyche. There's no way Sam could have ignored him forever. The truly heart crushing part is that Lucifer didn't have to try hard to get Sam to let him back in. He was patient and found his way through Sam's devotion to Dean. He provided Sam with quick answers, ones that Sam could have eventually figured out on his own. When Dean's in danger though, there's an urgency. There's a panic that sets in and focusing on the solution doesn't happen so easily. So when Lucifer has the easy answer, well, how many stories does the Bible have of people being tempted by The Devil? He wasn't offering world domination back then either. Just an apple. Something simple and seemingly harmless, but the consequences are oh so severe.
In Sam's case, he's losing his greatest gift, his mind. At least Dean did Jeffrey a favor and put some bullets through him. Now that Lucifer has found his way in, its the cage all over again. Sam might be able to resist the burning, withstand the physical pain, but Lucifer is the master of messing with the mind. He's all about breaking and crushing souls, not owning them. He's going with one of the most extreme ways of torture imaginable, he won't let Sam sleep. Sam's mind is already fragile, once the never ending, 24/7 barrage of fear and pain resumes again, Sam will be lost. It's really heart breaking to think about it. He cannot be saved from this.
What makes Sam's story even more tragic is that it's good intentions again that are sinking him. He did it all for Dean. He's been coasting on fumes, hanging in there for Dean on a wing and a prayer ever since he fought his way out of the coma in "The Man Who Knew Too Much." It's the only thing that's been fueling his drive. He's lost Castiel, the Impala, Bobby, they're on the run from Leviathans and have to constantly watch their backs, yet as long as Dean is there, he's okay. While he knows Dean is his weakness, he also knows Dean is his strength. His stone number one. The problem is, stone number one has been sitting on sinking sand for some time. As Sam has also learned in his young doleful life, everything eventually catches up with him.
Going back to "No Rest For The Wicked," which is right around the time that the beginning flashback happened (see sweetondean's review for logic, I back everything she said 100 percent). Dean had it right then, and it still applies now. "Don't you see a pattern here? Dad's deal, my deal, now this? I mean every time one of us is up the creek the other is begging to sell their soul. That's all this is, man. Ruby's just jerking your chain down the road. You know what it's paved with and you know where it's going."
Insert "Lucifer" now instead of "Ruby." The demons get higher, the patterns remain the same. If Sam was told up front that he would be sacrificing his sanity for Dean's welfare, he still would have done it. Demons know how to play him. They always have.
It's Sam's dishonesty with Dean though has sealed his undoing. Deception burned Sam in season four and does so again now. It's no accident that Dean's comments about psychopathic behavior hit a little too close to Sam's situation. "That's what they do, all the time is act, act like they're normal, not balls-to-the-walls crazy." Sam has gone to great lengths in his life to appear normal and strong, but he pushed his luck too far this time. He put up with Lucifer all that time and was lulled into a false sense of control instead of dealing with the very not normal warning signs. He didn't want to believe he would lose control. This is again reminiscent of him being tricked by Ruby in season four. "I won't let it get too far." It's Sam rationalizing that all his crazy is under one umbrella to Bobby, so he's okay. Crazy is crazy, no matter what. He ended up fooling himself and Dean as well. Now they both are about to get hurt.
I understand why Sam did that though. He thought he was sparing Dean and had the best intentions, but he's gotten so good at hiding everything now it's too late to send out the distress call. He's gone past the breaking point. There's nothing he or Dean can do to fix this. Dean has to now go through the very painful and shocking process of watching his brother lose it all and hope that he isn't lost forever. If they're that lucky, time after that will be needed to rebuild.
On a side note, the flames in Sam's eyes at the end took me back to the one other time we've seen that, "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning." When he came back to Dean in that episode from his Hell flashback, the flames were in his eyes before going out. What does this mean? The easy explanation, Sam is in Hell in his mind. Or is it another clue? Yeah, I'll layoff the clues this review. Except I'm backing the theory that Ghost!Bobby put that devil's trap up in the warehouse.
You know what's scarier than what Sam's about to experience? What's going to happen to poor Dean in the process. He really doesn't know what's coming. He thinks that Sam has experienced some miracle cure. We know that from his conversation with the waitress in "Season 7: Time For A Wedding." We know Dean takes losses very hard and is already deeply suffering over what happened recently with Bobby and Castiel, not to mention the Impala. Losing Sam, especially to something other than death could be a blow he cannot take.
What adds insult to injury, Dean has never taken deception well. He's going to have to swallow all that resentment for the sake of his brother. Dean's role is extremely crucial. Once Sam shatters, Dean has to be there to help pick up the pieces. No one else in this universe will be able to do that, not even Sam. I'm sure he'll manage in the short term, but how will that affect him in the future? Will this again shatter his trust in Sam, make him wonder if he is watching a time bomb? Will this fuel his quest for revenge with Dick Roman out of nothing more than sheer frustration? There's a remainder of the season to answer that and probably the next one too.
That does reveal another interesting parallel and/or foreshadowing between what Dean and Sam did to Jeffrey four years ago and what's happening with Dean's quest against Dick Roman now. There is only one time frame when Sam and Dean were committing such extreme acts of torturing innocents to get info from a demon. Right around "Time is On My Side." Times were desperate indeed. The bill was coming due. After Dean went to Hell, finding Lilith became Sam's hellbent revenge obsession. That kind of didn't go well. Interesting, that's where Dean is right now with Dick Roman. There's no new info, and he's on the brink. Sam's calamity might be all it takes to get him fired up again.
What I want to know is just like before, what are they planning on doing when they catch up to the big bad? Lillith couldn't be killed, not until Sam developed his power anyway. Dick Roman can't be killed. This makes Dean's motives murky at best, just like with Jeffrey four years ago. His acts stray more in the personal revenge territory than saving the world. What lines will he cross? Will he be able to do this with his head on straight?
I do like how Dean felt some guilt over Jeffrey and cut him some slack, even if it ended up being the wrong move. It was human. He was probably remembering what happened since their first encounter. After all, Dean did die and for the wrong reasons. It got him nowhere except grievous torture in Hell. He innocently broke the first seal. Sam ended up trusting Ruby, using his powers, and in turn unleashing Lucifer. Dean watched Sam get possessed by Lucifer to save the world and go down to the cage in Hell, only to come back soulless. Getting that soul back came at a high price, a wall holding back all those memories. Which came down. Now Lucifer is tormenting Sam in his mind. Sam has started to crumble. And that could end up fueling Dean's revenge on the latest monster that's ready to do in the world. It's all kind of full circle, isn't it?
So, did I tell you this was a pretty layered story or what? It's quite mind bending all the rabbit holes this episode has burrowed for us. Whether it's by Mr. Edlund's design or a happy accident I don't know, but it works. I didn't even get to mention in this review so many other wonderful things like Nora's contribution to this story, who also parallels with Sam. She uses her knowledge for good, white magic only, yet when it came to the safety of her son, she offered up the dark stuff. She did find redemption though when she was able to save her son. At what cost though? As we've learned, people don't come back from demon possession normal.
I also didn't get a chance to rave about that library scene. I'm not a huge maven of horror stories (aka I've never read Stephen King) but that reminded me a lot of Jacob's Ladder. Totally freaked me out. Poor Sam, he had to really fight hard to send those images in his head away. These types of hallucinations can now only get worse. It's very scary.
My grade is an instant A, easily the most complex script of the season so far and the most nerve shattering. Coming up in a month, Sam goes bat shit crazy. After seeing all he's been through in seven seasons, don't you think it's about time? We can only hope that he comes out the other end better for it. And with his brother by his side.
Something crossed my mind reading it. You make it sound like Lucifer tricked Sam into letting him in. That would assume that Lucifer is there. But he isn't. It's all in Sam's head. So when Sam is talking to Lucifer, he's actually talking to himself. I'm no psychologist and therefore don't know what that means but I would guess that Sam already broke after the wall came down, hence the hallucination. With Dean's "stone number one"-help he managed. But that's all. He barely managed. And then they lost Cas, the Impala Bobby and Sam has to watch his stone number one spiral down so it's getting harder and harder to keep himself afloat. One tiny match and the whole forrest is on fire - quite literally.
Also I don't think that Dean is completely unprepared. He waited a long time for the other shoe to drop. It didn't until now, so with everything on his shoulders right now he doesn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Dean also acknowledged that Sam is as screwed up as he is (Sam's only bigger). I just don't see how Dean could've helped Sam to this point? Dean barely handled himself (see the excesive drinking, lethargy and depression), he was in no shape to help others. And second, what exactly could he do? He can't hold the "stone number one speech" 24/7 to Sam just to ground him.
I think Sam realised that (one had to be blind not to see Dean's state) and for once didn't want to burden his brother further (who's already on the edge).
Sam technically didn't lie to Dean. He told Dean and also Bobby that he's seeing Lucifer (and what a scary thought to see the devil while you brush your teeth) but managing it, which (considering what we saw in the last episode) he did pretty well. At least up to this point where he's not managing it anymore.
We have to see in a future episode how Dean finds out about Sam.
Considering, we know that Sam end's up in a mental institution, tells me that this situation is far beyond Dean's ability to help Sam.
This said, it doesn't stop me from hoping he finds a way to reach his brother. Dean was always great at that and I would love to see him save Sam (what I'm not hoping for is an angel quick fix).
I'm thinking the bond between angel and vessel (and even demon and vessel) is very different in each case. Remember how Michael promised Dean he wouldn't leave him a drooling mess if he said yes? There is still some sort of weird connection between Lucifer and Sam, complicated by the fact that Lucifer is trapped in a cage in Hell. I do believe this is way more than flashbacks and hallucinations, but what, hopefully more will be revealed. Or maybe not. We really don't know what's going on with Sam right now.
Dean may have been forewarned, but he'll be unprepared. He thinks Sam is managing and handling things just fine. He really has no clue how bad things are. We didn't! It honestly took me by surprise. You are so correct, Dean's reaction in the future will be very interesting.
Oh heavens no, Sam never lied to Dean. I never said that. Deception isn't lying. It also involves not disclosing, omitting things. That has always been a trait of Sam's and it's burned him more than once with Dean. For example, remember "Jus In Bello?" Sam never told him about Lilith, but he didn't lie. Dean took it pretty hard anyway.
Sam said a while ago when things were still shaky that he was seeing Lucifer. He told Bobby that seeing Lucifer was okay. I honestly think Bobby didn't buy that at all, but he died shortly after that. Remember "Death's Door?" Sam's hand grip told us that he was not managing okay. Dean hasn't heard or seen anything about Lucifer and visions since "Defending Your Life." That's months! He is too distracted with other things right now, including trying to pull himself together. He won't see this coming.
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Just a thought. What if Jeffrey put the trap on the ceiling just in case the demon didn't want to co-operate with him? And he didn't co-operate, did he? It could have been a bargaining chip for Jeffrey, or he might think so.
Sam has done a pretty good job surppressing Luci, but when Dean was in danger, he partnered up. That's a scary door to open. And now we have a month to wait to see if he can get Luci back in the box! danashulpsdanas hulpsdanashulps danashulps!!
Glad you liked the review.
Dean and Sam have a rocky road ahead but I am looking forward to seeing where the story takes us.
A quick fix wouldn't be satisfying but these characters are very resilient and Dean has to find a way to not only go on but help Sam in the process!
Alice, great review as usual.
If they did a quick fix like Castiel making all things better, my flat screen is shattering into a thousand pieces after I throw my shoe through it with a ferocious velocity! I doubt they will drag it out either, so I hope they have fan satisfaction in mind!
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I actually don't think there has been any deception on Sam's part yet. He told Dean he had his Luci hallucinations under control, and until the end of this ep he did. He hasn't had time yet to tell Dean what he had to do to rescue him.
On the question of the devils trap; I assumed that Ms Havelock gave it to Jeffrey as one of the sigils he had to paint - hoping he wouldn't realise the significance of it and would just paint it with the rest, then maybe it would trap the demon before it could hurt her son.
Sam hasn't been honest because he hasn't disclosed the whole truth. He told Dean he had the hallucinations under control in "Defending Your Life." He eluded to things still being handled at the end of "The Mentalists" I think. He hasn't said anything since. He was not okay in "Death's Door" and he flat out said he wasn't okay in "Adventures in Babysitting." Judging by what we just saw, he was holding back. Sam, as much as I adore his spirit, should know by now that skating on those thin lines never works out. He had time. Of course, I'm still not sure Dean could have done anything to save him at this point. But maybe some professional help would have been a start.
I'll support all theories on the Devil's Trap! I really got nothing on it.
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Of course, all of this would mean that God resurrected Cas once again, and that seems kind of tired these days.
I'm mulling your article before I comment further. Upon first quick read, we had similar thoughts about Dean, but I want to think a little more.
I don't think I agree with you completely on your interpretation of what's going on with Sam. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I don't think Sam was deceived into letting Lucifer in, and I don't think his motivations were totally about saving Dean. When Sam started interacting with Lucifer, Dean wasn't answering his phone, so that triggered concern with Sam, but Dean's been in trouble before. There weren't other signs that Dean was in serious danger, and this didn't seem to be enough to get Sam panicking considering the danger they deal with every week. But maybe Sam's emotionally tapped and this was the final straw.
I also don't think Sam was deceived. Lucifer told Sam that he let him in, which implies that Sam did it consensually. Granted Sam didn't know that he wouldn't be able to kick Lucifer back out again, but he still invited Lucifer back in by interacting with him. Sam knew this was a bad idea - it's why he never did it sooner - and I don't think Sam, after all of his experiences with demons and Lucifer, could possibly be deceived by Lucifer anymore.
So what I'm left wondering is why exactly did Sam let Lucifer back in, and what does letting him back in really mean? Edlund drew a parallel story of Jeffrey working to get his demon back because he loved and missed the connection. Jeffrey felt liberated and stronger with the demon. The demon was a little abusive, but Jeffrey loved him anyway. Is Edlund saying this is partly true with Sam too? In the final scene, Lucifer tells Sam that Sam wanted him - implying that is why Lucifer is back in.
For the second question - what exactly does letting him back in mean - I can think of a few possibilities.
First, it's letting his insanity back in. Earlier in the season, Sam couldn't distinguish between reality and hallucinations, and Dean's "stone number one" speech was about giving Sam a tool to know what's real. So does this mean that because Sam engaged the hallucination in some back-and-forth brainstorming, then he can no longer distinguish reality anymore? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Second, if some of the Hell memories are still repressed, it could be letting those traumatic memories back in. Since we haven't been given any indication that Sam doesn't remember everything, I'm not leaning toward this theory.
Third, Lucifer could represent Sam's dark side - the part he always tried to repress. Lucifer begged Sam to stop fighting him and to interact with him. In this case, letting him back in would most clearly mirror Jeffrey inviting the demon back in. This is the theory that I'm leaning toward. It reminds me of a line that Ruby said in season 3 - that Hell is forgetting what you are. If Sam invited Hell back in, maybe he's going to change to someone darker.
Fourth, there's still a psychic connection between Lucifer and Sam, and this is Lucifer's way of getting a foothold into the world outside the cage. This would be interesting too, but it would mean a longer angel story arc, and I don't think the writers would want to go there now.
I think Sam's been worn down by all of this and he needs to stop pretending he's OK and that this demon side of him doesn't exist. Because he was pretending, and not dealing with it openly, this allowed his dark side to get a foothold in his psyche.
Lucifer has been trying to wear him down for a long time. Sam has been using more and more energy resisting. He finally caved this time because, as Alice said, Lucifer used his weak spot which is Dean. Sam let Lucifer help him save his brother and as a result has gambled away his own sanity. That is as big a sacrifice as either has ever made for the other in the history of the show. I think it is unfair to Sam's character, and to the sacrifice he has made to suggest any bad motives for his action.
I really dont get it. Dean pushes down, lies to Sam and 'fakes it til he makes it' and people worry about him. Sam does the exact same thing and its a witch hunt against sam.
The only difference is that Dean has every person under the sun worrying about him, coming back from the dead to advise him or secretly drink his beer and bolster his self esteem.
Sam is truly alone and isolated in this world. he doesn't have anyone except possibly Dean. But he doesn't want to burdon his already suicidally depressed brother. so where does that leave Sam? No friendly allies giving advice...no ghostly psydo family rushing to his aid.
So yeah, I think its unfair to say Sam is lying or prideful. or wants to be all darkside. Sam just literally has NO ONE on his side. I mean his last known friend literally ripped down his protective psycological barrier...simpl y to distract Dean and gloated over his suffering.
Sam is ALONE>
I have issues with the way Dean deals with things but didn't bring it up here because this isn't a competition on which brother handles things better.
I would be less than impressed with Dean if he bore any resentment towards Sam .
Sam is suffering the consquences of his wall being brought down it was only a matter of time before it became too much and Sams coping mechanism failed . What I do want is this to be about Sam and Sams damage not just another case of how terrible it is all for Dean.
I dont actually think Dean will be the one to save Sam, I think its going to be Cas in some way. Not a cure but a patch job as it were, just so Sam can deal, have some semblnce of a life not that he has had much of one since Jess died but being able to function. I think that would be a satisfactory sort of conclusion to this story for the time being. Sam needs to be hunting things and saving people its who he is.
This doesn't mean Sam hasn't been short-changed in terms of connections with other characters, but I don't see where Sam is alone. He has Dean, and has had Dean putting him first his entire life.
I'm supporting your theory number four. I strongly believe there is a psychic connection. You're right though, how much to the writers want to dig into that!
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On the other hand, if they go in the direction of this actually being Lucifer in the cage, rather than a hallucination, then Sam "wanting" Lucifer would fall in line with the notion that an angel needs consent to enter a person. So I don't think Lucifer was able to enter Sam just because Sam talked to him. I think Sam, with some thought, consented to allow him back in.
"Itâ€™s Sam rationalizing that all his crazy is under one umbrella to Bobby, so heâ€™s okay. Crazy is crazy, no matter what. He ended up fooling himself and Dean as well. Now they both are about to get hurt. "
You can live very good with some kind of crazy look at "A beautiful mind" he doesenÂ´t get cured he has to learn to live with his hallutination.
And that what they are. Hallutination! No devil talking from the cage or what ever.
Sam has horrible memories of his time in the cage. And contion he never learned to live with them (I donÂ´t know if this is possible) but Dean showed/told him how to deal with them so he can funktion. Dean (and Bobby) know Sam still sees Luci, but he nows (because he showed him) how to handel it.
This episode was very good indeed. Very thought provoking and utterly heartwrenching. Broken Sammy just about shattered my poor heart. Jared and Mark P were wonderful.
I raised the resentment question because the writers love going there. Rehashing old conflicts. Remember Amy? Do I like it? Heavens no. Considering Sam has fallen into old patterns with his self sacrifice, Dean probably will too. That's me guessing. I'm with you, I want to see Big Brother!Protect ive!Dean. I think he'll be there at first, but as things progress, once Sam passes the critical point, you got to wonder how must mistrust will linger.
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If Dean does get resentful when Sam only spared the finer details because of wanting to spare his brother any more pain and grief then Dean and I will fall out drastically. I can definitely see Dean getting angry as that's how Dean shows fear, panic and worry and he's surely going to be worried sick over Sam. Hopefully, though, he has matured enough to see the good intentions behind Sam's choices and is able to see Sam's perspective in all of this.
And Dean was barely Holding on himself.
So Sam did what Dean was doing , internalizing his situation and showing his brother his game face. otherwise known as protecting their brother from their own traumas.
I geuss I'll never understand why Dean is lauded for this and Sam is penalized.
He did what he needed to do just like Dean does or Dean feels he needs to I cant see what he was supposed to say or when there was a time to say it but that is just me.
As for the time to say something, I don't think this episode is the time when Sam was able to say something. I think next episode is the time. I want Sam to trust Dean enough to tell him the truth, because if Dean has been allowed one constant, it's that he is able to be there for Sam when he needs him (whether Dean being a big brother is a good thing or a bad thing at that moment in canon being a different issue). I hope that's what happens, personally.
If anyone is judging the perception of Dean's character on this website based on a few comments in one thread, you haven't been reading our other articles have you? We have some very pro Dean writers on this site that do exactly what you claim we aren't. Check out anything from sweetondean and Pragmatic Dreamer for starters. I feel like I can focus on Sam more in my articles because the others do such a good job at focusing on Dean.
Emmau, you are right though that this was not the episode for Sam to say something. No way he could have done that for he was blindsided by what happened. I was saying he should have done it much sooner, and dealt with the problem much sooner. But that wouldn't make for compelling drama, would it? I'm with you, I hope he tells Dean right away next ep. If not, if he's being tormented constantly and not sleeping, Dean will figure it out pretty quick.
I would agree that Sam should be more upfront with Dean about what is happening, but this was not the episode where I thought Sam would be able to talk about it. I do hope that in the next episode that he tells Dean, rather than Dean finding out on his own. I want Sam to trust Dean with the truth, and I hope he does.
For those that haven't been here a while (and I'm not sure if you're one of them) we've had a shift in writers in the last few months. The new ones are more slanted toward Dean, while the Sam slanted ones have left (except me of course). I think you'll find that the balance has definitely changed!
Having said that I love reading all the reviewers on this site. The new ones may be slanted more towards Dean but I find all their reviews beautifully, and equally, fair to both boys. It's a real pleasure to come here after each new episode and read every review and all the comments.
Dean has never taken Sam's "omissions" well. Sam has most of the time (except for season four) kept things from Dean out of the need to protect him, or because Dean has enough on his plate. No matter the intention, it's always backfired on Sam. I'm merely suggesting it'll backfire here too. But I'm with you, hopefully Dean will see past that because Sam is royally screwed and desperately needs him. I do wonder though if all that frustration will fuel the Dick Roman thing. It's all a we'll see thing at this point.
This was so subtle, too, and terribly creepy. The perfect Edlund combination.
I'm intrigued by the notion that maybe the Lucifer that we and Sam are seeing is the fallen angel in the Cage, and not just a hallucination. I can certainly see the logic. And it would explain the hold Lucifer has on Sam. It would also make the hallucinations that much more terrifying -- because they're not actually hallucinations. They're real!
Although I thought the whole Stone Number One speech from Dean, during HCW, was to show Sam that the Lucifer he was seeing wasn't real. That the torture felt different here on Earth, as opposed to the sensation of torture in Hell.
One of my concerns is that if Lucifer is still really tormenting Sam, than how does Sam ever heal or recover? In theory that phone line would always be open, unless they could find some way to kill Lucifer, cut the connection, bring down the cell tower so to speak. It would suggest that Sam's torment is eternal, and I find that incredibly sad, and hopeless.
On the other hand, if the phoneline between Sam & Lucifer is still open, then maybe there is still a chance for a connection between Dean & Michael. I'm still curious as to why Levi!God!Cas told Crowley in MTB "I would have done away with it completely, but I need a threat to hold over my enemies, and we need to keep Michael in Lucifer's cage."
So, your theory makes me wonder if the next sacrifice is for Dean to place a call to Michael in The Cage. (I think Adam has long since been burned out, or sent back to Heaven, or working on a variety of movie projects and does not have a suitable SPN storyline to return to!). I have long wondered if Michael has a role to play in defeating the Leviathans. Maybe that's the weapon to bring down Dick Roman? After all both angels and Leviathans go back a long way. Plus, I would really like to see how Jensen would interpret Michael. I'm curious about the creative storylines and drama that could produce.
What I find interesting about Lucifer & Sam's interactions though is that Lucifer never told Sam anything he didn't already know. He guided him, but he never had foreknowledge. All the information that Lucifer supplied was stuff that Sam had noticed or was already piecing together.
I am wondering if Hallucination!L ucifer is the final part of himself that Sam has to integrate. They were together for a very long time after all.
I also agree with you that Sam never lied to Dean, but he did deceive him. I agree that Sam didn't want to burden Dean when he already seemed so troubled. We've all done that - hidden something serious from someone we love because we don't want them to worry. But that technique almost inevitably backfires. I think Dean will be angry when he finds out just how big of a mess Sam was really coping with. But I don't think he'll resent it. I think he has matured enough to see the reasons for Sam's action, and accept them and move on to helping his brother get better.
I think Sam's complete collapse will come as a huge surprise, and be completely devastating to Dean. And I think it will add to his huge guilt load. (What would Dean be without all that guilt?) It has the potential to be what shakes him out of his funk, and returns him to BadAss!Dean. On the other hand, if Dean believes that Sam is irreparably damaged, doomed to live out his days in a mental institution, then I think we might see a DeathWish!Dean. After all, who would he have left to live for, or to protect?
I know it is supposed to seem that Dean is obsessed with getting revenge on Dick Roman, but I don't think his whole heart is in it. Sometimes I get the sense that Dean feels that revenge is what he should be doing, not what he wants to do. I think in some way, he sees it as something to occupy his time, so he doesn't have to grieve Bobby & Castiel or worry about when Sam is going to break (right about now!) I think pursuing Dick Roman is in some perverse way helping Dean stay sane because it's giving him a purpose. It might, and most likely will end badly though.
I hesitate to mention this, but my tiny complaint with the episode is the amount of mental torment Lucifer was inflicting on Sam. We know that Sam & Dean aren't real people. For instance, mere mortals could never heal so quickly from most of their physical injuries. (Think back to how much Sam bled after the ghouls sliced him in JTS, and yet he seemed mainly okay except for needing more demon blood. Not very realistic) But what I like about the show is generally how believable it is. Except I kept thinking no person could ever appear normal if so much of his mental energy is consumed with hallucinations like that. I'm conflicted because I enjoyed the drama of it, and finally seeing what's going on in Sam's mind, but it frustrated me too because I kept thinking, if it was that bad all along, then there should have been more outward signs. So, I'm choosing to believe that over time the hallucinations were getting worse, and harder to deal with, and that might help explain Sam's desperate plea to Dean to "just don't get killed".
Finally, I know you're not doing clues, but... Another time stamp? And an ambiguous one at that? And Dean is no longer sleeping in the bed closest to the door? What is up with that?
Anyways, I think I've just written a novel here. Sorry. Obviously, this episode gave me WAY too much to think about. (Articles percolating as we speak!)
As for poor Sammy, oh I'm so very worried for his sanity. Lucifer certainly knew what to wait for to get back into his noggin. While he knows Dean is his weakness, he also knows Dean is his strength. And I must agree with your assessment that not telling Dean about his Lucifer visions is not the same as lying. Sam has always tried to do things his own way, and he was managing pretty well there until he thought Dean was in real danger. We all knew this time was coming.
If TPTB were to leave us hanging for one whole month before we get our next episode, at least they did it with a great big bang.
I apÃ³logize in advance for mistakes, because english isn't my mother tongue so please bear with me here.
I'm a silent follower/reader of this awesome community for now, means: I'm not signed up here (yet). But I just wanted to say how greatly I love all the discussions on here about the episodes and all.
So, I've been reading all the reviews and I can relate and back all of them to almost 100% percent. One thing that I thought hasn't really been touched on now - and I find that to be interesting or maybe I just understood it wrong - is the ending scene and Deans "speech" about how all psychopaths "act" all the time. From what I read on here most seem to be sure that this refers solely to Sam's state of mind, but I can't help but think it refers to Dean just as much.
Of course Sam has a little more crazy on his plate than Dean right now, but still. I mean Dean is acting like everything's fine just as much as Sam does and he's been doing it for long time as well.
Anyway, just curious what others think about it. I also kind of thought that Jeffrey not only mirrors Sam but also Dean, especially in his relationship to Castiel (and I'm not talking about fanfiction Destiel here) and how he's broken after he leaves.
Okay, I could write a novel, but I'm gonna stop here for now. Anyway, I love to read all your opinions ans reviews, because it just makes SPN even more intersting to me.
One of the more lingering questions is in relation to where Lucifer is. Yes, it is highly probable that Lucifer is wholly in the Cage but it is not definite. It is possible that Sams hallucinations are vivid memories but it is not definite. I know the idea is there that they are mere hallucinations and that Lucifer is still in the Cage but the thing is, they are still hallucinations and as such are immensely powerful.
Unfortunately, Sam has been in hell for at least 200 years (at a conservative guess). He has been in the Cage almost seven times longer than he has walked the earth; he has known Lucifer seven times longer than he has known Dean. It really doesnâ€™t matter a whit about a stone number one, or a â€˜this is realâ€™ gesture; those were only temporary reprieves.
For Sam at the moment, Lucifer is real. His logical side might say â€˜No, Lucifer is in the Cageâ€™ but the effects of 200 years in the Cage tell him otherwise.
Thing is, even if Sam was landed topside fully souled two years ago and never had an hallucination, if he passed the rest of his days living next door to Dean and Lisa, no hunting, no Leviathans, no hiding, no Castiel, no monsters etc then there is still going to be a huge part of Sam that will be convinced that the life he is living is not real. Itâ€™s hard to argue against the only thing youâ€™ve known for 200 years.
Compare it to a person who had a terminal disease for the majority of their life and he/she wakes up one morning and is suddenly cured. Itâ€™s going to take a hell of a long time to process, and accept as fact, that knowledge. And for Sam, via the hallucinations, the remnants of that disease are still there. In the time Sam has been topside Bobby has died, his â€˜friendâ€™ shattered his mind, the world is once again on the verge of being overrun, theyâ€™re isolated from damn near everyone and his brother doesnâ€™t think heâ€™s capable of being trusted. Is it any wonder Sam still has doubts as to where he is?
In relation to Sam and the dark side.... Much as I love the guy, we cannot rule out the possibility that there is, always has been, and always be, a smidgen of Lucifer in Sam. Itâ€™s possible it was there even before he went in the Cage. (We donâ€™t know where Sam went following his death in Cold Oak. Could he have met with Lucifer then, unbeknownst to him?) Regardless of whether or not he wants it, Sam does have a profound bond with Lucifer, much as Castiel has (had?) with Dean.
Do I think Sam is more susceptible to being swayed to the dark side than Dean? Yeah, I think I do. Given the circumstances under which he was created (and the separation of John and Mary while Mary was carrying Sam raises many questions), I think Sam is more prone to being steered towards that road. However, there is a big difference between being put on that road and going down that road. The biggest and best; angels, Azazel, Ruby and Lucifer have all tried their best to drag him down that road and theyâ€™ve all failed. That he strives so ardently to not go in that direction speaks volumes about the inherent good in him. It would a lot easier for Sam to just relent but his decision to not go there shows (to me at least) that there is no fear of Sam being evil.
Sam can be equipped with all the demomic tools and blood he wants but itâ€™s how he decides to use them that dictates the type of person he is. (This is what bugged me the most about Sams powers. Just because they were there and deemed wrong, does not mean that he, or using them, was wrong.)
I sometimes think that Sam has a sixth (or sixteenth!) sense that comes from Lucifer. We saw in this episode how Sam â€˜usesâ€™ Lucifer (in a sense) to get what he needs yet itâ€™s nothing he could not have done himself. Thereâ€™s a part of me that thinks that Sam uses that â€˜Lucisenseâ€™ almost every day in order to keep himself and his brother alive. During 7.15 when Sam entered the Wiccans Web, just before Nora clattered him, Iâ€™m 99.999% certain that Lucifer give a tiny, almost imperceptible shake of the head to Sam, as if in warning.
Sam and Dean have survived in hunting a lot longer than most hunters. As Mary said to baby Dean â€˜Angels are watching over youâ€™ and given what they do, and what theyâ€™ve faced, theyâ€™re either the luckiest SOBâ€™s in the world (and we know that's not true!), or something is watching over them, keeping them alive, and guiding them in a way. It is an angel for Dean; it could be Lucifer for Sam.
However, despite all this â€˜Is Sam destined to be evilâ€™ malarkey, Sam has another, much stronger, gene; the protective brother gene. The need to keep his brother safe is not just confined to Dean. It might be more overt in Deanâ€™s case but Sam is just as protective of Dean as Dean is of Sam. (Could this have been nurtured if Sam was in the Cage with Adam?) All sense and reason goes out the window when the other is in trouble. At the moment, Dean is still in a place where he needs to be protected, Sam knows this. (That isnâ€™t a slight on Dean, btw, it just enforces the idea that Sam and Dean need each other to survive.) Iâ€™m not sure if the 'bed nearest the door' thing was just emphasised in fanfiction but if not then Dean made a clear statement by claiming the bed furthest from the door and by letting Sam drive etc. Heâ€™s not ready yet, heâ€™s not strong enough yet. But he will be, soon.....
In relation to the deception issue. Apart from the fact that Sam has been more open about things than he has ever been, he doesnâ€™t really have a yardstick by which to measure what is right and wrong in relation to the aftermath of Hell. For all he knows, what is happening to him could be totally normal. Dean didnâ€™t talk about Hell or its effect so as far as Sam knows, these hallucinations etc could have been happening to Dean when he returned from hell (for all Sam knows Dean could still be hallucinating/h aving nightmares about hell).
Add to that, even if Dean was in the best of mental health, short of sticking his finger into Samâ€™s other ear and worming around in his brain pan, thereâ€™s not much Dean can do. The wall is down, the hallucinations are there, Dean knows this. And like Lucifer said, and Sam saw, Lucifer can be Dean any time he wants. He could be Dean right now. He could be Stone number one Dean. He could be a future Dean that is helping Sam. God knows, there have been times this season Iâ€™ve found it difficult to differentiate been real Dean and Lucifer Dean (yeah The Mentalists, Iâ€™m looking at you). Dean is powerless from stopping something from happening but he can be there to help pull Sam together when it does happen.
Now it has been said that, even if he knew the consequences then Sam would still choose to do what he did and yes, I believe this to be true because if Dean died Sam would definitely be back in hell, regardless of whether or not heâ€™s topside. I think Sam 'let Lucifer in' because he felt (a) he was already there. Letâ€™s face it, Sam is thinking about, seeing and hearing Lucifer; angel dude is already in. Sam was temporarily stopping him from walking into the living room but Lucifer is already in the house and (b) I dare say that Sam thought heâ€™s be able to get Lucifer â€˜outâ€™ again once he was â€˜inâ€™. After all, he did it the last time when hell was so much fresher and the hallucinations were so much more vivid.
I think Samâ€™s refusal to acknowledge Lucifer wasnâ€™t about keeping him out but it was the same thing that probably drove his dad mad for years, good old-fashioned Sam Winchester stubbornness. He was trying (in vain) to wear Lucifer down, to tick him off so that maybe Lucifer would get annoyed and just sod off for a small bit. You could almost see this in his stance on the bed at the end of the episode; he was just sitting on the bed, not letting Lucifer see his fear, trying to weather it out, trying to not to react and so deny Lucifer his kicks, as he had done when dealing with Lucifer prior to that.
There was a question earlier in relation to whether or not Sam felt liberated as a result of being possessed by Lucifer. I think in some small way he did. No-one wants to feel powerless and for much of Sams life he was exactly that; powerless. As a kid he was dragged from post to pillar, thrown into a lifestyle he hated and feared, as an adult he was a puppet for all manner of nasties from angels to demons. Is Sam wrong to now want to get a bit of control, and relishing it when he does get it? Not to me.
After being powerless for thirty years, Dean admitted he tortured souls in hell, and he enjoyed it. Does this make him evil? My ass it does. I gave out extra work to a class yesterday because they were acting like scuts. While I didnâ€™t necessarily enjoying handing it out (especially now that I must correct the bloody stuff) I enjoyed knowing that I was able to hand it out. Does that make me evil? (Memo to all, the answer to that is â€˜Noâ€™.....)
However, if you or I or Sam or Dean, donâ€™t take some measure of control over what we can control, then we will lose all control and thatâ€™s when things will start to get hairy. I think thatâ€™s what Sam was doing when he was ignoring Lucifer; he was taking what little control he could of the situation. It doesnâ€™t make Lucifer less effective but at least Sam knew that he was making a stand.
Is Sam okay? Sam has never been ok (ok in comparison to what??) However, he is (was) coping and that is the most anyone can ask for in relation to Sam. Heâ€™s learned to take whatever small mercies he can get, whatever small moments reprieve he can get and use them to bolster him to the next small mercy. Heâ€™s not thinking â€˜I just want Lucifer out of my head and have everything back to normalâ€™. He canâ€™t plan that far ahead. Heâ€™s thinking â€˜I just want myself and Dean to get through today and weâ€™ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrowâ€™. When Sam said â€˜shut upâ€™ to Lucifer, I feel he was thinking about getting Dean through that day and not worrying about the next. It wasnâ€™t intentional, it wasnâ€™t motivated by power; it was simply survival.
Right, now I must go and correct that extra work. The consequences of good intentions is right!
Wow dude, when you get on a roll it is impressive. Agree or not, no one can say it's not entertaining and thought provoking. Thoughts seem to pour out of you like a volcano. Great comments!
I'm with those that think Lucifer may be more than just a hallucination. He is so coherent and focused in his conversations with Sam. I think from a writing standpoint, having Lucifer have some sort of psychic connection to Sam makes it easier to get rid of him. Break the connection- Lucifer can go away, then Sam is just left with extremely painful memories (like Dean).
How will they resolve this issue if Lucifer is all just in Sam's head? Will he just stop having hallucinations? Will he learn to function with them, like he did before earlier in the season? (either option doesn't make for a very interesting story for me.) Will he have to be healed from some supernatural force? I think there has to be some kind of dramatic payoff, including some level of resolution for this story to work. And I don't know how that is going to be accomplished.
I'm hopeful, though, that everything is going to come together in a coherent, interesting way when we get to the end of the season.
I'm sorry for the rant but the lack of insight into Sam this season has left feeling starved and furious. No one should feel sorry for Dean because Sam is suffering. Feel sorry for Sam, the one who suffers.
As the rant, I'll have to agree to disagree that Dean has never paid attention to Sam or been a good friend or brother to him. I think both brothers have made mistakes, and neither one of them really knows how to help each other since their issues are so big. But I think both of them are trying, and to state that Dean doesn't care about what Sam's been going through since S1 is, to put it mildly, a gross distortion of the facts.
As to the lack of Sam insight, I think that's a completely different issue. I can completely agree to that. I'm not sure why that's supposed to be Dean's fault, but I know it's easy to look for a target when you're frustrated, and Dean fans have done the same to Sam in the past. I'm sorry for your frustration and hope the coming episodes help to allieviate it.
Now, I think this season I might be able to agree that Sam's stability has something to do with his interactions with Dean, but this is where the writing has failed, in my opinion. Show has written Sam as "fine" up until this point, which I know he's not, but since they've been insistent on portraying Sam as being in better shape than Dean in hunting and emotional well-being all season that's the canon we have. I think your fanon makes more sense, but I think that's the problem with the writing this season--we've had to create a lot more fanon than we probably should.
I agree that Sam's feelings about Dean are varied and complex, including little brother awe, little brother resentment, and genuine affection. I think Dean's feelings about Sam are just as varied and complex, including big brother care-taking, big brother resentment, and genuine affection. It does all combine into a unique brand of Winchester bonding.
Really we shouldnt of had to wait this long to of seen the damage reeked on Sam by the wall being pulled down while being in a haze of Deans problems again .I am not sure why the season has been done this way? or the creative decision making behind it and that is down to the writers not Dean but it has come across has Sams pain being secondary to Deans depression maybe that wasnt the intention but it just feels that way,
Mybe thats why this episode feels long overdue and welcoming to get that insight and a idea of Sams life as is.
I further agree that Sam's storyline shouldn't have been put on the back half of the season. I also agree that retreading Dean's depression storyline, while once again (as far as I can tell) not resolving anything except having 7,777 people tell him he doesn't have it that bad and he shouldn't be depressed, is frustrating. I doubt that making Sam's pain secondary was intentional, as Adam Glass seemed to indicate, IMO, that this was show proving that Sam is the best hunter in the world while Dean only gets to have issues part 4. It's unfair to Sam and to Dean.
I expect Dean's POV to come into play as Sam goes through his crisis, just like I expect Dean to ultimately be allowed to do nothing but observe as the action unfolds. Show has its patterns. I share your frustration, I promise--just in different ways.
I have read your review a few days ago yet one sentence hunted me for days:Quote:I have been thinking about this sentence for days and trying recall everything that happened to Sam since we first met him on season one. I think your are right on that Sam had faced a lot of bad things in his life, things a normal person could never handle, yet he always found a way to accept them and adjust with who he is and what he has done. Since he was a little kid he lost his mom, he had to live an abnormal life no kid could handle and all he wished for was to have this apple pie life every one else takes for granted, he never asked for any thing else (The same thing his mom once wanted and later on Dean wanted too) yet when he tried to have this life he was met by resentment and he was exiled from his family only to be dragged back into the life and lose everything he worked hard to get. Yet the boy could never win, he was dragged again in a role he never asked for, he had to fight the darkness in him and try to do the right thing and even when everybody looked at him different and everybody blamed him for the mistakes he was pushed to do, even the people closest to him, He took that blame like a man, He never complained and never let himself get caught in guilt. He never wished to be brought back from death and if he was left to die (Which some people think was so selfish of Dean to not chose to live without his brother rather than a noble sacrifice) he would have never had to watch his brother die for him, he would never had to drink the daemon blood , he would never have had to go through those painful detoxes, He would never have had to unknowingly start the apocalypse and take the blame for it (even though nobody blamed Dean for breaking the first seal himself), he would never have had to condemn himself to eternity of torture in Hell to save the world only to be brought back soulless and have this mutilated soul shoved back in him forcefully. To me Sam is the reluctant hero who had made every sacrifice silently expecting nothing in return, He never complained about loosing everything and he accepted how his life is headed with the same desire of doing the right thing and now he sacrificed his sanity for saving his big brother and has to bear the consequences. Some people say Sam had gone dark side but I never thought he did, For me he did some shady mistakes like any soldier in battle who has to take some hard options and some innocent people may get caught in the cross fire but each time he was thinking nobly and even when he started the apocalypse he thought he was sacrificing himself by killing Lilith to stop her.
For Sam, the tragedy of his story is everything he's done has been with good intention, but it backfires on him anyway. He tries to do the right thing, tries to make things better for people and what few victories he has are very small. Everything he does, good or bad, ends with greater consequences. He saves the world at great sacrifice to himself and something else comes along and takes over the world. He's left fighting in a situation where he's suffering in a horrible way which others don't suffer, including his brother. He does it all without complaint, but man, you have to wonder how he does it. You have to wonder how he hasn't put a bullet in his brain by now.
I think that's really where the show goes too dark. There's no reward and often no redemption for what he does. He just goes on, mostly for his brother, no matter what's thrown at him. I suppose that's noble, but ever since he died at the end of season two, it's been an endless barrage of tragedy and agonizing pain, physically, mentally, emotionally, everything. So, this is my long winded way of saying that's why I made that comment about being dead at the end of season two! He could have stayed up there in his own blue heaven while Dean carried on without him. I guess that wouldn't have made a good series though, huh?
I honestly would like to see Sam get more of a break in upcoming seasons. This mindless hunting thing to mask all the tragedies in his life just does nothing for his well being. I know he's now damaged beyond repair. There's no happy life for him. But there has to be something more for him than just burying himself in his work. Where's his identity? That's been my frustration with his character so far. I think there's still time to lay that out though.
Quote:Yes you are absolutely right on that, It frustrates me too that all through season 6 (The second half of course) and 7, Sam has no identity any more, he has no dreams of his own, no connections with the outside world and even no driving force to keep going (even for revenge) except for the sake of not letting his brother down, It's completely heart wrenching. I wish the writers would just give Sam a brief moment of completely deserved happiness or some fun on a job like we have seen with Dean several times.
If Dean were hanging out with a pet rock, they would fight for that pet rock as being a better brother for Dean than Sam is. It's not logical or thought out at all; it's just blind, jealous hatred, and it's eaten the heart of this fandom and the heart out of this show.
What I can never forgive is the writers appeasing this segment of the fanbase. They've destroyed the heart of this show by ignoring Sam so much. I cannot think of another show that would be this deliberately stupid and hateful towards a lead character. The writers are simply thoughtless, imho.
Season 4 broke me as a fan, not because Sam was going dark, but because the writing was so heartless and cruel towards Sam. Hiding his story from us, his reasons for doing what he's doing. Hiding his feelings, and how what happens to him impacts him emotionally. Even now, every time Sam suffers some kind of injury, no matter how bad, the writers blow it off as a joke. If you love or like Sam at all, this is a hard world to live in, a hard family to even believe in. Because if Sam isn't allowed to be a member of his own family, then what is the point of this show really?
They have romanticized the Dean and Cas relationship( not slash)so Sam is unwanted.
Sams suffering this year hasnt really been paramount to the writers except for the first two episodes it was only in this episode they deemed to show us Sams torment so there isnt encouragement to care.Wether they build on this for Sam or Cas does abit of magic ? will depend on the writers idea of what they want for Sam.
Besides I have to add that Cas might have been the liberator (or whatever the term is) on seasons 4 and 5, but on season 6 he totally blew things up and I found it very hard to sympathize with his motives back then. When Cas chose to trust a daemon and go "dark side", He should have known better because he saw the consequences of the same act when Sam did (a cautionary tale) so in my book he had no excuse.
Now, having said that, I think the writing is completely uneven when it comes to both brothers. I'm not saying in terms of time devoted, just in terms of character development. I quite frankly have as many frustrations with how they've handled Dean's struggles as Sam's, but at least Dean's have been given more time to be addressed.
The problem with the strategy of isolating Sam and Dean from the rest of the world is that we as viewers aren't connecting with the characters like we once did. We aren't feeling or relating to their struggles. A major reason is supporting characters best bring out the issues of the main characters. When that's taken away, a lot of the richness of the story is gone.
I know Sam and Dean aren't in normal life situations, but these guys always used to be relatable to us anyway. They reacted the way humans do. Now, there's something missing. They aren't hunting for any other purpose than that's what they've been trained to do. They're going through the motions and that's proven to be boring. We aren't seeing Sam's inner pain (except in Repo Man), we aren't seeing why Dean is truly drowning himself in alcohol.
The writers have lost their skill with "show, don't tell." They used to do that perfectly. Just a few episodes that come to mind are "Mystery Spot," "On The Head of A Pin," "Death Takes A Holiday," "Point of No Return," "Dark Side of the Moon" and heck even lesser episodes like "After School Special" focused on using the story to get into these guys heads. Season six was the absolute worst season when it came to doing this.
"Repo Man" did that perfectly, but man, why did it take 15 episodes? Sorry, 13, I think "Hello Cruel World" did a good job too. The show used to weave the MOTW story into Sam and Dean's inner struggles perfectly. Now, not so much. So, in the end to me, it doesn't matter if the focus is on Sam or the focus is on Dean. I'm not getting either of these guys right now.
Hmm, I probably need to do a whole article about this. My comments here probably aren't concise enough.
Quite frankly, I've seen very defensive fans all over the place. This fandom has plenty of extremes. There are always avid Sam defenders, Dean defenders, heck even Castiel and there's always the complaints of favoritism, bias, etc. These comments always seem to be popular whenever I publish a Sera Gamble interview. Lately, I'm getting a lot of backlash even when issuing a criticism about the show in general. Fans are just sensitive. It's the nature of the fandom.