Page 1 of 3
Death told Sam and Dean that God had built Purgatory especially for the Leviathan after Castiel had released and absorbed them. He explained that they were the creatures created before the angels and man. God had locked them away because they were so ambitious, so hungry that they would eliminate anything else in creation. God was afraid that the Leviathan would "spoil the rest of the Petri dish."
Thus far, judging by their plans to turn humanity into a herd for slaughter, Death's assertions have been right. Killing them, as Sam put it, has "been a problem." They've been invincible more or less---save from borax and beheading---but either solution is only temporary. If their heads should be near their bodies, they reattach and go on the offensive once again. Their ability to blend into and become anyone gives them an advantage to infiltrate the world in order to conquer it.
"Reading Is Fundamental" finally answers the question: how does one kill a Leviathan?
We start with Kevin Tran, an ambitious and focused high schooler preparing for college. He is dedicated to his studies---so much so that he times his practices and study sessions. Tran is like a lot of over achieving teenagers: stressed and under pressure. He wants a perfect score on the SAT and to get into Princeton. Later, he informs Dean that he wants to be the first Asian-American President of the United States of America. He is going places if he can stick to his regime.
Unfortunately, as Sam and Dean crack open the hunk of clay that Dick had dug up, he is struck by lightening. It stuns him and leaves him flat on the floor to wake in the morning, his life forever and irrevocably changed. Instead of going to school to complete his test, he drives down the road, driven by the need unlocked. The tablet the Winchesters uncovered pulls on him.
The brothers, as they are setting out to figure out what this tablet is, receive a call from Meg. She has been stationed at Castiel's bedside, watching and waiting for the angel to return to the land of the waking. She tells them if they want answers they'll have to come see for themselves---and their plans change.
Upon arrival, Dean remarks that he is not looking forward to seeing what has become of the fallen angel. He is apprehensive. After all, they had left him behind catatonic and facing the horrors that Sam's Hell memories bring. They are uncertain as to what they will find. Entering the room, they find out quickly that he is nothing like his old self.
Castiel is no longer the serious warrior angel he once had been. He appears more like a child than an angel---going as far as to demand that Dean pull his finger so he can blow the light bulb in the room. Even so, he knows what the tablet is---even if he cannot read it. When Meg tries to look at it, still in his grasp, Dean gets into a heated confrontation with her---which causes Castiel to disappear to the day room.
Dean reluctantly agrees to go and talk to him, and we see Castiel sitting forlorn and alone. He pulls out a board game---Sorry---and invites Dean to play. It is a symbolic gesture---and extremely childlike in nature. He can't make what he did wrong entirely right, but he is making a slight effort. Dean implores him to help them with the Leviathan, to join them in the fight and fix that mistake. Instead, Castiel tells him that he no longer fights. He now "watches the bees."
Meanwhile, Sam and Meg have a confrontation of their own, and she prepares to storm out and take Castiel with her. In his haste, Sam leaves the tablet unprotected on the floor of Castiel's hospital room. Once they settle their differences, they learn that the tablet is gone and Sam chases down the thief---none other than Kevin Tran.
It turns out that while Tran excels at academics he also has another unique gift: he can read the Word of God. The tablet specifically describes the Leviathan---and the piece of the puzzle the Winchesters have been waiting for all this time: how to kill them.
This is why Dick was so frightened, so angered, so anxious in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo." This is why he was frantic to get it back before the Winchesters could learn its secrets. Until now, he has been unstoppable, and repossessing this object before its secrets can be learned is imperative.
Before he can send his own after it, however, the angels are one step ahead. They arrive to Castiel's hospital room and attack Sam and Meg to get to Tran and the tablet. It is their duty to take Tran, a prophet, to the appointed desert and learn the Word from him as ascribed in their orders. They are about to take Tran and leave the brothers high and dry when Dean and Castiel return to the room.
These angels are from Castiel's Garrison---from another lifetime. Before they can make their move, Dean slaps his hand on a banishing sigil and zaps all of them away so they can make a getaway. They decide to make the trip to Rufus's cabin, Tran in tow rather he wants to or not.
I was stunned by a bit of the stuff that fell out of Cas's mouth, too. I don't know what it means in the long run yet, but boy did he have all sorts of weird stuff fall out.
I can't believe we're almost to the end of the season.
NOW FOR THE MYTHOLOGY. I TELL YOU I HAVE WATCHED & WATCHED THAT SORRY SCENE, AND EVERYTIME I SEE SOMETHING. I MISSED.
I THINK CAS MIGHT BE A +FORCE, DISGUISED GOD. IT CERTAINLY IS NOT ANY OF THE CAS' FROM THE PAST.
I HAVE A FEELING, DICK WILL BE THE CLIFFHANGER FOR SEASON 7. (HE & CROWLEY SHOULD HAVE MANY MORE BEAUTIFUL SCENES TOGETHER)
KEVIN & HIS MOM, SHOULD BE OK BECAUSE THERE IS ALWAYS A PROTECTOR ASSIGNED TO PROPHETS.
TALKED LONG ENOUGH. WE SHALL SEE. THANKS **_**
I have to agree about Jensen. Both Jared and Jensen bring their best each week and I'm always amazed at how much they've grown in their craft through the years.
That Sorry scene is amazing, yes. I think it's amazing how they manage to put so much in such a little time frame.
I don't really know what they intend to do with Cas yet. I think it's interesting that he seems to not have a plan or a direction. He's not meddling in angel affairs really, he's more or less stepping off the board by choice, but I don't think he's done done helping the Winchesters, either.
I think you might be right, that we'll have to wait to see what happens with Dick until next season. I don't know how long he'll stick around, because I have no doubt the boys will use that weapon on him and win.
As for Kevin's protection, I think the only angels capable of standing up to a Leviathan are either locked away or dead. Archangels typically protect them, and they're busy.
Glad you left a comment!
Hi Faraway Eyes,
Lovely review, as always.
I share the same feeling and many of the same observations about the episode.
First off, I really, really enjoyed it - even though it reminded me of an onion. (Long story, I'm kind of allergic to them.) I say it reminded me of an onion because there are so many layers. Peel one layer away, and another layer of symbolism, foreshadowing, connection and reflection is revealed. I think many watches will be required to fully appreciate this particular story. (Curse you, and bless you Ben Edlund!!)
I really noticed the shout-outs too, especially the Meg & truck scene being so similar to the truck scene in Devil's Trap. The other scene that really jumped out at me was when Hester was beating up Cas. He raised his bloody face to her, almost in supplication. He wasn't fighting back, or even trying to defend himself. It was like he was taking the punishment he felt he deserved. Anyway, the raised face was almost identical to the scene in On The Head of a Pin when Alistair is pummeling Dean. It's practically visually verbatim!
I have a slightly different take on Sam releasing Meg from the Devil's Trap. I'm finding Dean has resumed the mantle of Big Brother & Leader. (Sam looks up to him again for guidance, and direction... especially last week with regards to Bobby's evolution and predicament and now with regards to the evolving relationship with Meg and battle with the Leviathan.) Dean smashed open the rock to get to the tablet. Dean delegates the tablet responsibility to Sam while he tries to deal with Cas. And just before Sam scuffed the Devil's Trap, he & Dean exchanged glances. It was almost like Dean said "go ahead.. We're probably screwed either way."
I thought the Sam & Cas exchange was lovely. Sam totally understands how the best of intentions can lead you down a very, very dark path and somehow bring about the very thing you were trying to avoid. It's easy for him to empathize with Cas. I also found it interesting how lucid Cas was here. He was direct, succinct, and straightforward . Much different than his dealings with Dean, which were much more convoluted, and multi-layered.
I also agree the Sorry scene was brilliant. And it had that slow roll out we've been missing, so we got the full emotional punch. (Thank you director, as well as writer Edlund!) I liked how you described that Dean wants to forgive Cas, even if he's not quite there yet. I sort of feel he's forgiven Cas for the Leviathan escaping, & trying to be God. It's what he did to Sam that he's having a harder time getting over. Dean gets pissed off when you threaten the innocents of the world, but you really wouldn't like him when he's angry because you've hurt his Sammy!
In much the same way our children remain young to us, even when they're adults, I think there is a part of Dean that is always protecting the innocent, defenceless, incredibly vulnerable & helpless baby Sam he carried from the fire.
I was very impressed by Dean's patience & maturity and empathy. He often gives people what they need, rather than what they want. Kevin might have thought he wanted comforting and someone to tell him it was all a dream, or that everything would be all right. But he got what he needed from Dean - strength and honesty.
Dean is a good man, whether he is "the righteous mortal as light and good as the Leviathan are dark and evil" remains to be seen. I do find it intriguing that Ben Edlund introduced the righteous man concept in OTHOAP, and in RIF. If it was any other writer, I'd be quite skeptical. Because it's Edlund, I'm tempted to think it's a clue. But whether it gets followed up on remains to be seen. I don't know what bone he could give (which opens the door for a multitude of bad puns, and more Dick jokes... so I'll just leave the door closed.)
My heart broke for Dean when Hester screamed at him that Cas was lost the minute he found Dean in Hell. Dean already carries so much guilt for the grief & pain & anguish he feels he's caused others. That just added more, because it makes him complicit in Cas's downfall and all that flowed from it, including the release of the Leviathan and the ramifications of Soulless Sam and his Resoulment (it's a new shoe store down on 26th street, right beside the bar - Shut Up, Sammy!)
I think the finale is going to introduce on more player into our little chess match. I think Death is going to come back. And that's going to be very interesting.
I'm lengthy as always. Thanks for listening!
I'm lengthy as always. Thanks for listening!
I absolutely agree that this ep is much like an onion. I had to truly watch it three times to really get what I wanted to cover, and yet I feel like I could have covered so, so much more. On the surface, we have a lot of humor, tragedy, and mystery rolled in that we can enjoy, but delving deeper into it, gestures and lines take on new meaning. I always enjoy that about a good Edlund script, and this one delivered that for me.
I didn't quite catch the Alastair shout out, but you're right. That is a nice one, too. I'm sure there are oh so many more there that are just waiting to be uncovered. It was nice to see those there, to relate back to and realize how intertwined the story can really be.
I think that's a neat take on Sam and Dean's relationship. I think you're right. Dean is most certainly working his way back towards his leadership role and Sam is falling back into his little brother role. It's sometimes one of the things hat makes them strongest, when each one knows where they stand with the other.
I loved Sam and Cas's scene. I had to watch it two or three times to really get what I wanted out of it and each time something different came to view. Castiel seemed really, really lucid and reversed roles on Sam there. Sam wanted to comfort and help Cas and instead Cas helped him here. He knows Sam feels guilty for having Cas take on the Cage memories, but Cas won't let him and I think it's a small step towards Cas finding redemption perhaps.
I think Dean has forgiven Cas for the Leviathan and such. Dean knows that, despite the difficulties they've had with the monsters this season, that the Leviathan mess can be fixed. He was angry with Sam about releasing Lucifer, but his true anger and path to forgiving Sam was dealing with what he felt was betrayal on Sam's part---that's no different here with Cas. Dean, I think, feels it's a waste of time to be angry about the Leviathan, too. They're there, Cas is responsible, but what's important right now is dealing with them.
Sam's Wall being knocked down? Well, that's something that takes a lot longer for Big Brother Dean to deal with. he went through all this trouble to get Sam's soul back, to ensure that Sam would not face those memories, and Cas ruined that. I think it'll be awhile before he lets it go. Sam is still, as you put it, that baby he saved. I think that's right on the head there.
I agree absolutely about his empathy with Kevin. Sure, it was a bit rougher and to the point than some might like, but it's what Kevin needed most. Dean doesn't sugarcoat. He tells you that it sucks up front, that it will continue to suck, and that the only thing to do is to get through it. He doesn't really know any other way, even when he's floundering himself.
I noted the return of the Righteous mortal, too. Dean is the Righteous Man, and I can't imagine they're going to rip some bone out of him to stab Roman with. So, if it's not him, who could it be? It's a neat twist I did not expect, that's for certain.
I absolutely gasped when Hester said that to Dean. Dean went to Hell for Sam, knowing full well that he'd never get out. He was as stunned as anyone else that he was released, and I think he's always carried guilt for doing so. That was a low, low blow. I wonder how that comment will reverberate, because I know Dean absorbed it to examine later.
Thanks again for the great comment!
If it gets to a stage again where Sam feels he has to look to Dean to be told what to do, and Dean expects him to do this, then all the development, all the trust that has built up between them, will be gone. Weâ€™ll be back to having Sam stand behind Dean as opposed to beside him and the old resentments between them will come into play again. Thereâ€™s a difference between protecting someone and watching each otherâ€™s backs; Sam needs, and deserves, the latter. He is not defenceless, or vulnerable or helpless and both he and Dean need to remember that and act accordingly.
Sorry for being quite emotive here but this whole, â€˜Dean the leader, Sam the subordinateâ€™, is one of the things I hated the most about their early relationship. Not only is it belittling to Sam but it created an air of mistrust and bitterness between them and played a huge role in driving them apart in the first place. I donâ€™t ever want to see that element of their relationship back.
I still see Dean as the leader, but it is different now. Sam may look up at Dean to see what his brother thinks but because he trust his instincts, not because he looks for 'permission', or is waiting for 'orders'. And I do believe Dean fully trusts and respects Sam now, so he will not belittle him in any way. Gee, he even said "please" to Sam in this episode! That was nice!
I believe that even in a partnership it's natural to have a leader, and I don't feel that as wrong, as long as there is respect, as we have between Sam/Dean. And well, as I said above, I feel Dean fits in the leadership role naturally, and that Sam is confortable with that now.
They cannot start going back. They can not go back to the way things were before, in any way, shape or form because it didnâ€™t work before, it almost killed them before and thatâ€™s through no fault of either Sam or Dean. Itâ€™s just what life, circumstance, and much as I like the guy, John, threw at them both from day one (or month six); Dean was to be the protector, Sam the protected. Thatâ€™s crippling for all parties because it takes all element of free choice away from them.
Going back to their old relationship, even with added trust, cannot benefit either one of them. It will put fierce pressure on Dean to try and sort out all the problems, make all the decisions and also take care of Sam. Thatâ€™s hardly fair to a guy who has threatened to off himself how many times this season? Itâ€™s brutally unfair to do it to Sam who, for the first time ever this season, expressed some degree of contentment with who, and what, he is and what he has done. This is hugely empowering and to take that away from him would be devastating.
As cd28 said, as much as Dean is a natural leader, so is Sam. Heâ€™s led as much as heâ€™s been driven for the past few seasons now. In season 5 in particular, the onus of responsibility when it came to making decisions rested almost entirely with him, as Dean was wrestling with the vessel dilemma and in season 4 (as misinformed as those decisions were), he was hugely decisive.
Sure, both parties have made fairly monumental mistakes in the past but they made them when they were making decisions on their own, without consultation with the other. Should they go back to the old way, how long would it be before the old resentments started building up again? If they start going down that road again then I feel that Sam and Dean should just go their separate ways right now. It might end their working relationship but it would save their brotherly relationship.
I Sam is a leader, yes! (please, see my comment below, where I explained better my view).
But even in an equal partnership, SOMEONE has to make the ultimate decision when you have only to paths to follow and each thinks the other path is the better, otherwise, they would go round and round and never go foward! And, for the reasons I stated / will state in another comment, that ultimate decision lies on Dean (which, I repeat, doesn't diminishes Sam's role and responsability in the decision making). That is what I meant when I said that I feel Sam is more comfortable with the dynamic we now have between the boys, as opposed to the old one, in which he felt his opinion didn't count and/or was not respected by Dean.
Growing up, the older sibling is given more responsibility and seen as more competent, and is often put in the role of protecting or caring for the younger sibling. The younger sibling has it a little easier because the older sibling has paved the way, has a little more freedom, but is never trusted with the same responsibility as the older sibling. So as the children age, it can go one of these ways:
1) The younger sibling remains protected throughout his/her life and never challenges his/her family's perceptions of him/her (I'll call him "him" for now on since this him/her is getting annoying). He always sees himself as a follower and never rises to his potential. As an adult, he may enter into a marriage with a similar dynamic (with the other partner being dominant and overly protective), he may always be the younger screw-up that the family needs to bail out of trouble, or he may not cause trouble but always be seen as not as competent as his older sibling. But he never fully matures.
2) The younger sibling rebels hard when he hits the teen years to establish his own independence, and when old enough moves as far away from the family as he can get. In this distant location, he develops his own identity (very different from the family's perception) and may even be a leader among his new community. He comes home for rare visits, in which he's babied to death by everyone, and gets away again as fast as he can to go back to living his life, where he's treated like an adult again.
3) The younger sibling rebels hard when he hits his teen years to establish his own independence. He may or may not leave home, but continues growing into his own person, and at some point, the family comes to acknowledge that he's a capable adult now. He can then be reassimilated into the family as an equal rather than a subordinate.
Option 1 doesn't work for Sam because he was already beyond that point in season 1. Option 2 didn't work for him either because of their unique circumstances as hunters. So option 3 is the only solution. Sam's comments in season 5 to Dean about part of the problem being that Dean doesn't treat him as an equal - although controversial - needed to be said. And if Sam and Dean start sliding backward on the growth they had in season 5, that's just going to push Sam back into a role of acting out - maybe disappearing on Dean, maybe messing up - any of which actions I don't think any of us want to see.
The problem with the idea that Dean should be the leader is that Sam's a natural leader too. He's an independent thinker, he tends to see the big picture and shades of gray, he's decisive, he's smart and strategic, he's focused, he's an achiever, he has empathy, and people follow him (victims of the week, or the psychic kids from season 2). Even YED picked him to be the leader of his demon army. You can't have a pair with two leaders. If Sam and Dean are going to hunt together, it has to be as equal partners, not as a leader and a follower.
I've felt this season that some of the newer writers have been trying to portray Dean as the leader and Sam as the follower, and that doesn't ring true to Sam's character. I think Sam showed a lot of leadership qualities in seasons 1 and 2. It may be believable that Sam became a little more submissive when he had Lucifer in his head distracting him, but now that Sam is well again, Sam needs to grow into his own potential too.
But I disagree with you regarding the rest. Yes, you can have two leaders in a pair, or more than one leader in a group, who reveals himself as such on each situation - one may be the best leader to lead a task, the other another one, depending on their individual skills. But this doesn't belittle the capacity of the other. And one of the things that I love in the show is how Sam and Dean work together, splitting their tasks very naturally, playing with their strenghs.
That said, I don't think that just because you have a leader you need to have a follower, as in someone that mindlessly obeys, without question the orders. To be a leader is not only give ordera and not listen to the others, in fact, it's quite the opposite. You actually have to listen to other people ideas, know and respect yours and the others strenghs and limits, know how to use them well, how to motivate and how to resolve conflicts.
I also agree that Sam and Dean are great at knowing each other's strengths and working together almost
seamlessly. And I agree that leaders need to be able to listen to as well as give orders. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on whether Sam's or Dean's strengths are better qualities a leader. I don't see Sam ever hesitating in a time of crisis, and I like the way he tries to try to understand both sides before acting. I don't see him being less decisive when it matters.
But, as I said in a previous comment (just one minute ago, so you certainly didn't read yet!), I still feel like Dean is the leader of this new partnership because he is the one who makes the ultimate decision (of course, this is how I see this...).
Oh, I didn't mean to write that I understand Dean's strengths are better than Sam's, and that is what makes the first one a leader. Sorry if it came out like that! They are equally important and compliment each others's and that is why they work so much better together, although they can perform the job fine separately. They discovered that at the beggining of season 5. And, if course, Sam can be very decisive, for an undecided leader is no leader at all!
It's more like how they present themselves to the outside world - Dean is more outgoing and speaks his mind more freely (sometimes even recklessly), as Sam, as you said, needs to weights the odds before taking a decision (what can be a very good thing), and take Dean aside for a chat. But, for the others, as Dean is the one that primary communicates their decision and the others are not privy to their chat, feels like Dean is the leader.
Well, I am thinking and trying to convey why I feel Dean is still the leader even in this new equal partnership. Maybe if you tell me how you see it, how they are working now, it will help me, or even change my mind.
The only thing that I need to make clear is that I feel their partnership is now much better and healthier than before, and that Sam is as important in that as Dean is.
On a side note, this discussion reminds me of an interesting article a few months back in Time magazine (a U.S. political mag). The topic was introverts and extroverts in leadership. The premise was that society favors the extroverts, but introverts are sometimes more effective leaders. Here is the link if you're interested: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2105432,00.html
As for your points, I have to say that I agree mostly.
I think it's imperative that Sam and Dean be equal. I agree with PD that Sam did look to Dean in some ways, but in light of this discussion that I've read over and thought about, what strikes me in in hindsight isn't so much that Sam is looking to Dean for approval/leader ship as much as he's looking to Dean for consensus. To me, that means a co-decision making.
There's no doubt in my mind that these two have to work together and be equal in this partnership. In some ways, I think they are getting closer to being equal partners as we go along and that silent communication they shared shows how in tune they are, rather than setting u the decisive issues of yore.
I didn't see one of the layers being Sam looking to Dean for approval or Dean being the leader that Sam follows around. What I saw was that Meg gained Cas's allegiance in a number of hours, she stopped Kevin from fleeing, she double crossed and killed two demons, and she killed Hester.
Dean smashed a tablet, begged Cas to help with the Levi, drove the car, and babysat Kevin. Sam...well, let's see. Sam chased and couldn't catch Kevin, forgave Cas for all his transgressions out of guilt for being helped with a problem Cas caused, and freed Meg from the devil's trap.
It's hard to get immersed in that kind of story when my investment in the show is not in the support characters, whether it's a supposedly cleverly done script or not.
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree here. I've always loved how secondary characters add to the main story.
I look forward to seeing how they resolve the season.
Thanks again for the comment!
Meg's on the short track to sainthood there isn't she? I did love it that she killed Hester though. "What? Somebody had to."
A very good episode. I am really happy that Sam forgave Castiel his forgive and forget attitude makes me more of his fan. Dean's struggle in forgiving Cas was portrayed beautifully.I had not seen all the shout outs to the earlier seasons which you have written, well observed .
I like that Sam forgave Cas, too, as I think he's learned that holding grudges does nothing but harm. I think he learned that after defeating Lilith and releasing Lucifer.
The Sorry scene stands out to me as a brilliant Dean moment. He wanted to forgive so badly, but couldn't. And in that moment when he swipes the board away and loses his temper, I ache for him most.
I'm glad you liked the little shout outs I noticed. Once I noticed one, they all started to jump out at me.
And what to say about Meg and Castiel. Maybe we'll have a case of miscegenation! I'm kidding, but it was kind of cute how Castiel really seems to care for her, asking her if she's all right in the car after the altercation with the angels. And she obviously does care for him, but as you've said, never trust a demon, let's all remember what happened with Ruby. Like we could ever forget that.
After seeing what it takes to actually kill the Leviathan, I'm very worried. The bone of a righteous mortal, does that mean they'll need to kill an innocent? And the blood of three fallen. Fine, at least the angel is back on their side, but the other two will be a little more difficult. Two more episodes left for us to find out. And then we're on to hellatus once more.
You're welcome on the shout outs. I really liked picking up on them. With Meg in the picture, it just seemed to fit.
Poor, poor Kevin. So much like Sam in wanting to go to school and do all these big things only to have the supernatural bite him in the behind. I hope we see him safe again, but---
I want to trust that Meg is on their side, but I'm not foolish. She is using the brothers to overthrow Crowley and we all know once she gets power she'll turn on them. She's worse than Ruby almost because she knows all their quirks and weaknesses. She also knows the one thing the others that have gone against the brothers don't: don't ever underestimate the Winchesters.
I'm not sure where the bone is coming from. A Righteous mortal? Does that mean Dean? I dunno. I am curious to see where they get it.
Thanks for the comment!
and im on you about Misha Collins. he did a great job making a new side of this character , the side that is still cas but in a very new way and i'm agree with you about all the things you said about the new cas , you said it all.
thank you again for the review.
I'm very curious to see how the boys will do this, too. I have no doubt the boys will be the ones to take Roman out.
Misha really blew me away with his skill to take Cas in a whole new route. He wasn't like any Cas we've seen in the past---even Future!Cas. This one just seemed so very different and yet the same and I credit his skill in doing that on screen.