For every action there must be an equal reaction. It's a law of science, one that plays out through chemistry or biology or physics every day. Without those reactions, one action can tip the balancing scales too far and throw things off kilter, making for chaos. It's through these reactions that nature provides balance---in Supernatural terms, the Natural Order. Some of those reactions have been catastrophic over-corrections. Yet, like nature, Supernatural has one constant force that can either create or destroy balance within its universe: that of family. It's reflected within every layer of the season ten finale---from Rowena to Crowley and Castiel to the brothers themselves. The title “Brother's Keeper” even implies that family is the key force that will either make or break the balance that has been teetering too far one way for so long now. So, how do we see balance restored or disrupted in this finale---and what does it mean for each character?

Let's start with Rowena.

Rowena's the one conscripted to find a way to cure the Mark of Cain. She has been chained by Sam, forced to go over every page of the Book of Damned to find the spell that will finally save Dean. Her drive is simple: find the cure to remove Dean Winchester as a threat to her via the Mark of Cain and First Blade and gain her freedom in the process. It is her reason to help---for if she doesn't, the alternative isn't a pretty one.

Rowena represents the most simplistic version of balance or lack of balance within the show. She gives voice to the rules of magical balance in “Dark Dynasty” when she answers Charlie's question. Rowena knows that to create or break a curse, one must accept that another curse must be created in return. Magic and its wonders come with a price---and while something may be affected by it, in many ways that thing isn't actually destroyed but merely transformed or replaced by something else. She, as a Grand Coven trained witch, understands this fundamental of her craft. She knows that to do this spell is to invite a reaction. She also knows that the spell itself may cost her something significant.

At the beginning of “Brother's Keeper,” Rowena is facing a serious imbalance. She is in chains, forced to work for the Winchesters---or at least “Samuel.” Rowena may have labeled Crowley “their bitch” at one point, but now that she's locked into doing their bidding, she's more likely to earn that title. For Rowena, her imbalance comes from her lack of freedom. She's been trying to acquire that for centuries. First from those that chased her from her homeland of Scotland, then the Grand Coven, then Crowley, and now the Winchesters. Rowena wants to have the freedom and power to use her magic when she sees fit as she sees fit without any fear of anyone else threatening her.

When it comes to her fleeing Scotland in the first place, we're left to wonder how much that had to do with witch hunters or her desire to break free from the child she never wanted: Fergus. He held her back, got her ostracized from the Grand Coven, and forced her on the run. In that regard, Rowena saw him as an imbalance to her life---the family that held her down and kept her from reaching her true potential and inner balance. So she ran.

Along the way, she meets a terminally ill young Polish boy named Oskar---and instead of feeling nothing for the boy, she actually loves him deeply. It is this boy that will become her weakness and add to the imbalance she's experiencing in the present. After all, loving him will be precisely what the spell to cure the Mark of Cain needs. So, when she's confronted with Oskar yet again---called into the room by a smug Crowley no less---she snaps at her son, “Even for you, Fergus, this is a new low---a cruel shameful disgusting low.”

This is her moment to decide, however, how she will approach the imbalance question---and the most powerful force within Supernatural: family. While she's expected to make this sacrifice in order to cure Dean, no one is truly making her go through with it. Crowley states, “It's only cruel if you actually go through with it---though, who's the cruel one then.” Technically, Oskar was only alive now due to her magic. She had give him immortality, and one is left to wonder what that cost in the long run for the witch. Now, however, he stands before her confused and afraid. Rowena obviously still cares for this boy---now 300 year old man---as she refers to herself as Auntie Rowena. She saw this boy as special, someone to cherish, and had been driven far enough by that familial emotion to save him from death.

Now, however, Oskar stands in Rowena's way the same way Fergus once did. It's either choosing to keep him alive and remaining chained or sacrificing him and finishing the spell that will grant her freedom. If she goes through with it, she will have held up here end of the bargain---and have leverage over the Winchesters to boot. Rowena pulls the man close and viscously makes her decision when she stabs him in the throat. His blood is forced into the bowl and Rowena promptly chants the spell that will not only restore her balance but cure Dean from the Mark's evil.

Rowena's choice to reject family may have great consequences. The witch may have been doing this spell for the Winchesters---at Sam's orders---but it is her actions and her magic that is in play here. Rowena is doing these things. As she casts the spell, balance may be restored to her---after all she breaks her chains and uses her more potent magic on Castiel and Crowley equally to further her familial rejection----but in return the world's balance may have been disrupted by this. Rowena had to know that whatever the reaction to this spell was it'd be something dire---and in this case it is a release of the Darkness, an ancient evil so frightening that God and the Archangels locked it away via the Mark itself.

In this way, her familial rejection---while helping the Winchesters perhaps save theirs---has global consequences yet to be understood.

If Rowena rejected family in favor of restoring her balance of freedom, how do Crowley and Castiel provide balance for one another and how do they choose family to maintain or restore it?

Crowley and Castiel balance each other naturally. One is a demon and one is an angel and their dual existences in many ways cancel one another out. Over time, Crowley has done a lot of bad but has leaned towards doing a little good---he helped them against Lucifer, he helped them against Abaddon, and he helped them cure Demon Dean. Castiel, on the other hand, has done good things or has been considered good while doing some bad here and there---such as taking the mantle of the new God, releasing the Leviathan, and lying about the angelic civil war he was waging. Over time, both have seemed to balance each other, providing excellent counterweights that make them see one another differently. As they are both supernatural creatures connected to the Winchesters, its no wonder that they've also come to see each other as more than simple adversaries on different sides of the same coin.

Crowley, as angry as he was with Sam in “The Prisoner” answers Castiel's summons. He may be annoyed and wonder “Who summons anymore? couldn't you call?” but he is prepared to hear the angel out. Crowley may have chosen to become more his demonic self and threaten Sam with death, but when it comes down to it, he can't help but choose the Winchesters and their latest cause. On the one hand, it's obvious that Crowley does this out of sheer self preservation. After all, the longer Dean bears the Mark, the more of a threat he becomes to Crowley's throne and life. He can't have the ticking time bomb waiting to go off. On the other, Crowley has shown over the last two seasons that he's grown to care for the ragtag Winchester family---and that includes Castiel.

So, Crowley agrees to acquire the required ingredients that are necessary to complete the spell.

Crowley also chooses to reject family---something that will have dire consequences through Rowena's actions. His choosing to jump on board Team Winchester has a sinister element. He may want to help Sam and Dean on some level, but he also wants to punish Rowena for her rejection of him by striking at what matters most to her heart. So, Crowley rejects her in favor of the Winchesters, bringing to her the one man that may mean something to his mother. In doing so, he delivers a cutting speech that seals his rejection. He does so in order to make her feel as he does. He tells her, “All my long life I wondered what I'd done to deserve a mother who refused to show love. I pined over it. I built my bloody kingdom on top of it. Then one day an epiphany struck. My mother was incapable of loving anything. For the first time, in hundreds of years, I felt free. Then you showed up in my dungeon. We communed. And I began to realize you weren't incapable of love, you were incapable of loving me.”

Castiel, on the other hand, is merely facing his own imbalance by watching the Winchesters being imbalanced. He voices the fears that they may face a greater consequence when the spell to cure Dean is cast, telling Sam, “If she removes the Mark using the Book of the Damned, what are the consequences?” and yet when faced with the absolute terror and imbalance of Sam's desperation, he folds and agrees to champion the brothers once more. There's little he can say or do in the face of Sam's shout, “Dean guessed!” It's why, while Sam is hunting down Dean, Castiel goes to Crowley in the first place. Knowing that he can't simply flit around the world post Metatron's breaking of Heaven, he must rely on the King of Hell. And so, Castiel summons the demon.

When faced with Crowley's disdain and sheer anger---after he shouts at Castiel, “Maybe I'd feel a little different if Sam Winchester hadn't just tried to bloody kill me!”---Castiel remains undaunted. He won't allow this explosive anger to deter him from his new mission. And as he faces the moment where it seems Crowley won't help, he makes a move as if he's going to use his grace to kill Crowley, only to be told, “Blast me or beg.” Castiel probably had no intention of actually killing Crowley anyways---something the demon fully knew all too well considering the desperate situation they face. So, he's forced to acknowledge Crowley as “King” in order to get what he wants from the King of Hell.

From there, it's simply watching and waiting for Rowena to complete the spell. He is fully ready to make good on his promise to Sam that once she has done it he'll kill her and remove her threat from the world---thus his attempt to restore balance for using her in the first place. And yet, as the spell rockets out of the warehouse room they wait in, he's forced to confront a powerful and angry Rowena. She breaks the chains and turns Castiel on Crowley---something that further seals the acceptance of these two as family within the Winchester nexus. Crowley is genuinely concerned about the angel, shouting his name---both fearful for his own life and for what Rowena's managed to do to Castiel after gaining her freedom. In a reversal, Crowley's begging is an attempt to break through to Castiel, to somehow reach through to that strange familial tie that connects them---and to stop what she's done to them both before it is too late.

As Castiel is forced against his will to move against Crowley, we're left with the fear and anxiety that they've been forced to reject one another and create another imbalance---or if they're able to find a way out of the situation and stand yet again as opposing yet equal forces for Sam and Dean against the next great evils in both Rowena and this mysterious and powerful Darkness.

If Rowena's rejection of family restored her balance, if Castiel and Crowley provide their own balance by accepting one another---then it is Sam and Dean that are the ultimate example of balance and family power within Supernatural itself. They are the essential pair, the ones that all of the familial power revolves around and when that balance is upset wreaks the greatest havoc on the grandest of scales.

At the start of “Brother's Keeper,” Dean is severely imbalanced by what he's done with the Mark. Being imprisoned within by the end of “The Prisoner,” the real Dean has been largely submerged under a darker and ruder version. He is still committed to hunting down monsters, killing as many of them as he can as he goes, and yet he lacks all of the finesse and sympathy required to do the job well and correctly. It's evident the moment we see the balled up fist to the rude comment about the victim. He tells the local police, “Who let her leave the house looking like a whore.” While Dean may certainly have thought that under normal circumstances, he would have never voiced it to this cop in such a callous manner if not for the Mark's imbalance twisting him further.

It only becomes worse as he goes to the home of one of the missing girls, demanding to know what happened to their daughter. There's no sympathy, there's no attempt to console or be sensitive even if that's required to get the job done. For Dean here, this is an inconvenience. He's faced with having to do this to get to what he really wants to do: killing the vampires responsible. This is holding him back, a hindrance to what the Mark wants him to really do. It doesn't care about why Dean does what he does or what he'd normally try to do in “saving people, hunting things, family business.” It simply wants him to kill. Now.

So, Dean goads the father, telling him, “Then I came here and I smelled the deceit and the beatings and the shame that pervade this home and you know what I don't blame Rose anymore. No wonder she put on that skank outfit and went out there looking for validation---right into the arms of the monster that killed her. Joe, who did this?” It earns him a few strikes to the face and he pulls a gun, almost as if he is willing to kill this man just to kill. When he gets the information he wants from the son hiding in the hallway, he makes his way to the cabin and doesn't bother to talk down the frightened and skittish vampire holding his fellow hunter, Rudy, hostage. He doesn't bother to make sure Rudy walks away from this hunt safely. Instead, he goads this man, too, showing just how imbalanced he's become---going so far as to make a loud sound to cause the knife to plunge into Rudy's heart and leave him dead.

Much like working the case had been, Dean found Rudy an inconvenience. He was here to kill these vampires, Rudy was in the way of that, so he did what the Mark wanted in getting right to it. Once Rudy's out of the picture, Dean has no hesitation in decapitating the vampire and loosing one of the female victims---traumatized now more by Dean than by the vampires. He's non plussed by her squalling, telling her, “I just rescued you, you're welcome.”

It isn't until the hotel bathroom that Dean realizes just how imbalanced he's become and how bad it really is. His imbalance is created by the Mark of Cain, yes, but in turn it is also created by the sheer rejection of both Castiel and Sam---his family. He brutally beat Castiel and fled the Bunker, telling him that they should both stay far away from him. That action combined with Rudy's death haunt him. One of the only reasons Dean had held it together up until now is because he was able to rely on the family he has in Castiel and Sam---that they'd watch him and pull him back from edges. Now, however, not only has he pushed them away due to his anger but he is a danger to both given by the guilty images he sees of Castiel's bruised face. Next time, he may not stop. Next time, it could be Sam.

Dean, driven to anger by these images, guilt torn and frustrated by his obvious loss to the Mark, smashes the room to utter pieces. He breaks the mirror, he tears out and smashes the television, he throws furniture---all in a physical display of his defeat. Dean has no more moves left. He's lost to the terminal disease that is the Mark, and its imbalance is now hindering his ability to do his job---the one he swore he'd do until he couldn't do it anymore. That time has come, and so he leaves a note for Sam, knowing that his brother will track him down eventually anyways.

Desperate, Dean summons the one entity he's certain can do what no one else can: Death. Only Death can kill him, only Death can stop his monstrosity and imbalance from further harming those he loves or the world around him. He can't help but remember Cain's words, too, that the kill list he will eventually commit hangs out there: Crowley, Castiel, Sam. To prevent that, he will have to have Death remove him from the board.

And yet, due to the nature of the Mark's absolute imbalance, Dean can't simply be killed to restore it. It takes more than that---a lot more that will leave Dean with another difficult decision.

As he finally answers Sam's desperate call, he tells him, “Brother, I'm done.”

Death is waiting, and Dean isn't going to say no this time. It's too late to save him, and he knows it.

Sam makes his way to the bar, and there Dean tells him the awful truth Death has told him. Dean can't die. The Mark isn't simply some evil trick Lucifer played on Cain. It's not something he merely gave to Cain to corrupt God's prized creation in humanity. This evil was what had twisted Lucifer himself into the corrupt angel he's known as now. Death tells Dean, “Before there was light, before there was God and the archangels there wasn't nothing, there was the Darkness. A horribly destructive amoral force that was beaten back by God and his archangels in a terrible war. God locked the Darkness away where it could do no harm, and he created a Mark that would serve as both lock and key, which he entrusted to his most valued lieutenant -- Lucifer. But the Mark began to assert its own will, revealed itself as a curse and began to corrupt. Lucifer became jealous of man, God banished Lucifer to Hell, Lucifer passed the Mark to Cain, who passed the Mark to you -- the proverbial finger in the dyke. ” The Mark is a lock and key---a prison for this dark and encompassing evil that they can never let out.

Dean can't be cured or allowed to die lest it get out---unless he's willing to pass the curse onto someone else that will endure its burden. Dean refuses, leaving Death to provide balance another way. As the ultimate agent of the Natural Order, Death has to make sure there's no way to undo what he is about to do. He needs Dean to remain with the Mark and he knows that he can't necessarily leave Dean on the board to keep that intact. Yet, if he actually sends Dean to “some place not on this earth” he is left with Sam preparing to upset the balance he's so carefully created. So, the only way to make this work is for Sam to die and for Dean to agree to go to this created space to keep him and others safe from the Mark's evil.

Dean, pushed so far by his imbalance upon rejecting his family at the end of “The Prisoner” actually agrees with this plan. He tries to convince Sam that it's the right thing to do, telling him, “You were right, Sam. You knew that this world would be better without us in it---why cause we track evil and kill it? The “family business,” is that it? Look at the tape, Sam. Evil tracks us and it nukes everything in our vicinity. Our family, our friends. It's time we put a proper name to what we really are and we deal with it. ” Dean is reeling from the injury and evil he's brought in this last case he worked---and by what he did to Castiel---that he sees his family and his existence as a dangerous imbalance itself.

And yet, as the brothers fight both physically and verbally, Dean has to confront his imbalance head on and make a decision. Either he goes through with this and allows Death to remove him, or he chooses Sam and their family and accepts what happens next. Dean has bested Sam in their combat, knocking Sam easily aside and to his knees to take a defensive stance. As he looms over his brother, Death gives him the Scythe, and Dean prepares to execute Sam.

The longer he stands over his brother, staring down into Sam's eyes, the longer it takes for Dean to make the move. He pleads with Sam, “Close your eyes, Sammy.”

The more he hesitates, the more his decision no longer seems cut and dried. To go with Death's plan may keep the world safe from this Darkness---but in return Dean must commit an evil atrocity to get there. Every fiber of Dean's being is to save Sam at all costs, that his brother is precious, and that he will never be like Cain. The longer Dean stares down at Sam, the more he realizes not only will he be killing his brother as Cain said his story would end, he'd be punishing Sam for his own sins. He knows he'd spend an eternity with the knowledge that he ended his brother's life---a proposition that is a thousand times worse than any experience he ever endured in Hell. To kill Sam is to commit another evil act---and how can committing an evil act lead to anything else besides more evil?

As Sam lays down the family photos, Dean is left to stare at them. His brother's words wash over him, and he can see that family is truly the balance he must choose over this plan with Death. To do this is to further his imbalance---to stop and choose Sam is to restore it. It is clear cut---but when Death delivers the line, “It's the family you must proceed, Dean. To be what you are, to become what you've become is a stain on their memory. Do it, or I will.” that tips the scales.

Dean, knowing Death is wrong about his family and this choice, makes a last ditch effort swing. He knows that the likelihood they'll go down here at Death's hands is almost certain, but Dean will take it rather than kill Sam himself. He swings the great blade over Sam's head and rounds until it stabs straight into Death. The gamble Dean makes in choosing to save Sam and accept his family works. Death crumbles before them, defeated.

Moments later, the spell Rowena has cast strikes, and Dean is not only finding himself balanced by choosing Sam over the imbalance of the Mark or Death's proposal, he's also finding himself whole once more, no longer facing the agony of the Mark.

If Dean choosing family in the end managed to re-balance him, how about Sam? How does he find a way to achieve balance and how does he use family to do it?

Sam is imbalanced by his desperation to save Dean. He is so driven to do whatever it takes, driven to the brink by what the implications of failure might mean for him. It is the very imbalance that he cannot tolerate for much longer. Either he restores the balance that he and Dean share, or he dies trying. It cannot be any other way. He refuses to leave his brother with the Mark. Castiel, confronting him about the consequences that may arise, only makes Sam's desperation tick up further. He shouts at the angel, “And then what? The only thing that stopped Cain was death, do you wanna kill Dean because I don't. And the only way I know how to save my brother is to cure the Mark, and yes I know there will be consequences; but not you, and not Dean, not anyone can tell what those consequences are. So I'm not going to let my brother d-destroy himself on a guess... We save Dean.”

Focused on getting the spell together, he's flabbergasted when he learns that it consists of the forbidden fruit, the golden calf, and the heart or love of Rowena. It matters not, they'll find a way to get what they need and he will save Dean if its the last thing he does. Finding out from Rudy just how far off the rails Dean has gone, Sam must leave the operation in Castiel's hands. He has to find a way to stop Dean, to save him from himself, and to buy some time for them to make this spell work. It's the only thing he can think to do, and so he follows his brother's trail.

His first stop is disturbing and shocking. Dean has left a mess behind him after he killed the vampires---and as Sam walks into the scene to assess, he's confronted with Rudy's body. The sheer knowledge that his brother managed to get Rudy killed on this hunt ticks his desperation up all the higher. Sam knows now that time is running out faster than ever---and the devastated expression that settles over his features reveals just how saddened he is by how far gone Dean really is.

But it's not the worst thing he'll find.

Upon finding Dean's trashed room, Sam is crushed by just how broken Dean has become. He sees all the carnage, the explosiveness of the rage inside his brother, and knows that he has to find Dean quickly. It isn't until he sees the note on the bed that Sam realizes just how little time they have left. It doesn't escape Sam perhaps that this is the second note that he's found like this. The last time, Dean had written it as a demon, begging him to let him go. This time, it's more cry for help, a last act of a desperate man. The Impala's keys are left with it, and Sam knows now that Dean has left to die---or find some other way to stop himself. He has little time to waste if he is going to succeed in saving his brother now.

As Sam rushes up to the bar, however, he finds something he didn't expect. Sam had expected to see Dean wallowing, angry and afraid. He perhaps expected Dean to be drinking himself into a stupor. He may have expected Dean to be toying with various methods to kill himself or to at least try. Sam may have even expected the black eyed creature he hunted down earlier. Instead, he is stunned to find not only his brother there, but Death waiting.

As they bombard him with the plan to stop the Darkness, that Dean can't stay on Earth, Sam is incredulous. He shouts, “What, he's going to---going to send you into outer space! This is madness, Dean!” This is a curve ball Sam never ever expected to walk into---and now he has to think fast if they're going to get out of this one with time spared for Rowena to get what she needs.

Dean had already dropped another bomb, telling him, “Truth is when I left, I thought the only way out was my death. Well, I was wrong Sam, it's yours.”

Sam, knowing he's facing not only a threat to his brother but now to himself, can't simply let that happen. Not only does Sam not wish to die, he also knows just what type of punishment this would be for Dean in the end. It would forever destroy the balance they are forever trying to maintain or rebuild again and again. It would destroy the familial bonds they share and render it powerless if Sam stands by and allows this to happen.

Dean labels them as evil, reveals that he sees their lives and what they do as deadly to those around them. They pollute the world, they get people killed, and they don't help as far as Dean is concerned. Sam, unwilling to submit to this dark logic, retorts, “We are not evil. Listen, we're far from perfect, but we are good. That thing on your arm is evil, but not you, not me.”

Dean further pleads his case---pointing fingers squarely at both of them---labeling them as evil. He points out that he let Rudy die. He reminds Sam of how he convinced Lester to sell his soul---and how he “bullied” Charlie. As far as Dean's concerned, none of these things led to a “good end” or a “just end.” To go with Death and to kill Sam is to remove them from the world---and to make it a better place without their “evil” in it. Again, Sam tries to break through to his brother, to pull him back towards their balanced axis. He replies, “You were also willing to summon Death to make sure you could never do anymore harm. You summoned me because you knew I'd do anything to protect you. That's not evil, Dean. That's not an evil man. That's a good man, crying to be heard, searching for some other way.”

Desperate and imbalanced by Dean's imbalance---and unable to make Dean hear his words---Sam makes his move fast. It's a rough jab to Dean's face, initiating a fight. Often it's Dean that starts these fist fights, but Sam knows he has to try and wake Dean up somehow. Physically taking him on is a losing proposition. The Mark gives Dean more strength and wallop than Sam has right now, but that doesn't mean he won't take the blows and deliver some of his own. In many ways, it's a calculated risk to maneuver Dean into seeing what he wants---to make his case and prove that family is the only way they can balance things---no matter what case Death tries to make in kind.

Sam is forced down to the floor, curling in on himself after several painful punches to the face. He covers his head and pleads, “Enough, it's enough.” The action itself is designed to give Dean pause, to move into the next phase of his case. He can't beat Dean, and he can't get through to him that way, then he'll have to do the next thing he knows might buy time.

Staring up at his brother, unwavering, he tells Dean, “You'll never, ever hear me say that you--the real you is anything but good. But you're right, before you hurt anyone else, you have to be stopped at any cost. I understand. Do it.”

It is this seeming submission that will really strike a chord with Dean---and Sam knows it. When Dean tells him to close his eyes, Sam remains steadfast. He keeps his eyes trained on his brother, not willing to break the possible last contact he might have with him.

And then he plays the last card he has in his deck.

He pleads softly, “Wait. Take these. And one day, when you find your way back, let these be your guide. They can help you remember what it was to be good. What it was to love.” He lays down the photos that had helped him get through his search for Dean and the cure that they had to both endure, and forces Dean to look at them before he makes his next move. They're pictures of their mother, of Dean and his mother, of family. It is their family, the reason they've continued in this life long past the revenge trip John started against Azazel. This is the family that they've carried with them throughout each fight---and it is the family that has given them the balance they need to stay together as a pair, keeping each other grounded, pulling each other back when necessary---even if that means a drastic over-correction sometimes.

If Sam must face this execution, if he must die for the greater good, then he will remind Dean that he, too, is good and that they are good. If he must face this moment, he won't let Dean do it alone. And, much like the last ditch efforts he's watched his brother make throughout the years, Sam is making one last ditch effort to go down swinging. At this moment it may not be with his fists or weapons---instead he'll do it with his heart.

Once he's finished, Sam finally closes his eyes and feels the blade whoosh over his head---only to have it spear Death himself.

As they watch in awe as Death crumbles, a huge lightening strike hits his brother and the Mark is finally removed. Sam had managed to buy time---although he didn't realize they were this close to acquiring the ingredients---and now that he manged to not only get through to Dean with his case, he's also managed to finally save his brother as he said he would from the Mark.

Just as the brothers are balanced once more, however, Death's ominous prediction comes true. Red lightning and dark black smoke clouds larger than any demons they've ever seen shoot from the ground and rush to make a giant cloud. They're left with little time to flee, with little time to appreciate their balancing.

In many ways, the balancing that takes place after the spell Rowena casts is an internal struggle inside Dean via the Mark becoming external in this Darkness.

Now that the brothers have managed to balance one another once more, perhaps they can now face it together as the unit they are---for it will be their familial bond that has the only real chance of standing against it and restoring the balance to the world in its evil wake.

In the end, they'll have to be each other's “Brother's Keeper”---as it always should be.


# YellowEyedSam 2015-05-26 16:22
You really do take your time writing these articles. I enjoyed the read :)

Judging by the force of the Darkness crushing all before it I highly doubt the Impala will come out undamaged. After the tumbling and impact from the cloud I imagine the boys will get out, bruised and battered and stare in dismay at the horror unleashed.

I cannot wait for the evil to come!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-05-26 17:44
Thanks for the comment.

I'm glad you enjoyed the article after it took so long. I know, it does take such a long time. Wednesday airings were brutal on me in terms of writing because everything I do got pushed back one whole day.

Oh, I think they're all going to be a bit rattled, but the ol' girl is a true Winchester. Baby may be beat up some by this Darkness, but she's just like them and I have no doubt Dean will fix her right up and they'll chase that evil cloud down.

I can't wait to see where they go with this and what kind of mayhem the Darkness will bring!

Thanks again!
# YellowEyedSam 2015-05-26 19:48
Regardless of where it goes I'm sure it'll be more interesting than the dragged out MOC story. I'm just glad the ending seemed far more promising. Could this mean the return of Lucifer? Does god get involved? Will people Sam and Dean know become corrupt? Is the Darkness sentient or a wild force? So many questions!

This is the first "hellatus" I'll be going through so plenty of time to speculate, and maybe write my own S11 episode 1.

Always appreciate you replying to people in your articles. Feels like we're all having a chat :)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-05-26 20:16
You're welcome. I always like to reply to those who take the time to read my pieces.

I don't know if we'll see Lucifer or not. I tend to not speculate, but I look forward to reading some fanfic in the downtime just for fun. It's always neat to see what fans do with a cliffhanger and where they take it.

I'm hoping to work on some SPN related projects (some baking, some embroidery, some writing) during the down time. So keep looking. There's stuff always going on.

Thanks again.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-05-26 16:30
To kill Sam is to commit another evil act---and how can committing an evil act lead to anything else besides more evil?
I agree FAE. When you start fighting evil with evil, it's a slippery slope. And murdering the person that you love the most is what corrupted Cain, and what would prevent Dean from EVER finding his way back again.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-05-26 17:47
Thanks for the comment.

Absolutely. I think Dean had to ultimately face the same decision Cain did and choose differently if he had any chance of actually rejecting the Mark and what it stands for. The more I thought about the episode, and that defining moment, the more it just seemed that killing Sam, even for some greater good, wouldn't have that outcome in the end. If Dean had gone through with it, I don't think he would have gone through with Death anyways. I think he would have been fundamentally broken, furious, and the Mark would have refused to let him go through with the being sent away. To me, it was just too evil of a decision to follow through on to end well.

Thanks again.
# Lilah_Kane 2015-05-26 17:26
FAE, I am speechless and so glad to read your thoughts about this. My apologies for not commenting to the one before this but I read it too. I agree on your points and can't wait to see how they stand together against this evil with the family they have left. It will be long hiatus.

- Lilah
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-05-26 17:49
Thanks for the comment.

I'm glad you enjoyed this one and the last one. I'm hoping to write up a bit more on the episode soon, so there's more to come.

I can't wait to see where this goes and how they face this together. It's going to be a wild ride, I think.

Thanks again.
# Jen 2015-05-27 07:24
Far Away Eyes Do you think with your knowledge that the writers can play this out. I am worried they may botch this up. They have a good openner here. I would like to see it carried through
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-05-27 17:13
I don't know where the writers are going with any of this or what it will all mean in the next season. I don't really speculate, but I think it'll be interesting to see what they come up with. I think they've given us a chance to see this new threat and I like the fact that the brothers seem to be facing it together once more.
# sugarhi15 2015-05-26 22:10
Wonderful analysis and really interesting theme regarding balance of which i am in total agreement. Funny you bring up balance as I found after watching a few times now how "unbalanced" death seemed to be.

First I found it odd that Death seemed to know the history of the mark, but yet he seemed to me all to willing to offer dean a way out, that was in essence pure malarky. i also found it interesting that death brought his scythe in the first place.

If death knows the history of the mark, then he knows that the mark wants the blood of a brother, as prophesized by cain. So the death of sam by deans hands turns dean into a full on all powerful knight of hell, dean lost forever. Death would also know that the mark will do what it takes to ensure it death knows that dean wont be dean anymore and upon the death of sam, demon dean will for sure not allow death to banish him, as the mark will be even more bloodthirsty and solitude is no option.

I also found it interesting that death handed over his scythe to dean knowing all of this..which if he knew the entire origin of the moc, he would know its end goal...especial ly given that dean didnt need deaths scythe to kill sam....but he did need it to kill death...which i think is exactly what death wanted all along.

Just saying;)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-05-26 22:21
Thanks for the comment.

You know, I think you're onto something with Death. I wonder, in some ways, if his behavior or reasoning was to set something else up.

One reason he may have given the Scythe to Dean is related to his line to Sam about "And then there was the time you stood me up." He wanted to be the one that reaped Sam, but it can't be that simple.

I don't know if we'll learn more about why Death behaved the way he did, but I think you bring up some interesting and curious points. I also wonder if he's really "dead" or if there's more to it than that. I'm curious to see just where they go with this and what the Darkness will do.

Part of me thinks of that first demonic encounter the boys ever had on the show. They had to exorcise that demon from the plane, and Sam tells Dean that doing that made it more powerful. And yet, once it was free to manifest, that's when it became most vulnerable to the final exorcism. What if Death knew that the only way for this Darkness to quit infecting the world through the MoC would be to release it so it could be faced direct and have a vulnerability that wasn't reachable while it was locked away? It's just a random thought I've had about the finale.

Thanks again.
# E 2015-05-27 16:27
Yes, it does seem like Death might have wanted to die all along and sought this as a way out. It also could be that it wasn't Death at all. It could be that the Mark asserted itself and created the whole Death allusion to try and get Dean to kill Sam so that it could take over Dean fully. I am hoping for either option, anything is better than Death actually being stupid enough to monologue all the answers and then allow himself to be taken out by his own scythe.
# Jen 2015-05-27 04:48
Nightsky Thanks again for your wonderfull insight It always brightens my day to read your review even if you ain't 100% happy with a episode you always see the positives.
I LOVED the final, its the first one I have seen that raises many,many questions and new directions for the show. I hope they can carry it through most of S11 and not tidy up in the first few episodes. I hope Sam & Dean are back to being brothers now without to much fallout, I don't mind if they have a brotherly talk about everything but not a on going saga. I would love to see the old Dean - cheeky, full of hot air and smiling, and Samual LOL strong and determined my darling Sam On a couple of other threads I have asked or presented a few questions. But I have another one

1. With the archangels dead (supposedly?} what does it take to become a Archangel - can normal angels take a test lol to become archangels ??? This is from Wikipedia

The named archangels in Islam are Gabriel, Michael, Israfil and Azrael. Jewish literature, such as the Book of Enoch, mentions Metatron as an archangel, called the "highest of the angels", though the acceptance of this angel is not canonical in all branches of the faith. And Raphael I didn't relize Metatron was a Archangel SPN didn't portray him as one did they ???

This could be interesting if Metatron is a Archangel he doesn't have his powers. unless they decide to give them back, and with the Demon tablet he may have to be coersed into helping

2 Many theories on the darkness - I see it as a darkening of the world - and a virus infecting those people susceptible to evil. I am excited for October - to see where we go with this.

Finally have you heard anything on Jared I'm sure if you had you would let us no. And the floods in Texas is Jensen & Jared affected by this I hope everybody is ok Jen
# E 2015-05-27 06:56
Nice analysis FAE! Great detail. I am still not convinced that that was really Death himself. Could it have been an hallucination of the Mark trying to get Dean to kill Sam as it seemed to want to do? Could the Mark have been trying to secure it's own release in order to let TD!! (THE DARKNESS!!!!) be released? If it's a curse and "Death" or whatever said that the Mark started to assert it's will and that will corrupted both Lucifer and Cain what's to say that it wasn't manipulating Dean in that moment into killing Sam? Who knows, it's all very confusing and as a plot has been pretty much a fail for me. The concept was a good one, but the execution has been terribly lacking. I couldn't help but notice that even in this episode, one designed to really show how far off the rails that Dean has gone that TPTB were STILL mitigating the effects of the story line on Dean's character. The dead girl's family was reprehensible, hiding all kinds of abuse, so Dean being mean first to her memory and secondly to her family has a kind of justification to it. How would it have come off if she'd been an honor student going to choir practice and Dean spoke that way to her devastated and innocent parents? Can't have that now can we? Lets make the family awful and abusive so that in some ways Dean looks justified in his actions. And then Rudy, Dean did not kill him directly, he just agitated the Vamp holding him hostage. Dean isn't really responsible, he couldn't have known ultimately what that Vamp would do could he? And lets make sure that we all understand that Rudy was an incompetent hunter; he should never have been there in the first place. I am so sick of this kind of manipulative story writing for Dean. Everything he's done can be completely hand waved away; every scenario has been twisted to show that whomever he acted agains "deserved it". Lester, Randy and his band of rapists, The Stynes, the dead girl's family, even Sam (he "bullied" Charlie after all). TPTB have made it plain that they would not go where the story needed to go to generate the necessary tension, not with Dean anyway. The whole scenario has been a cheat and a year and half long tease and ultimately it didn't work. Not one time did I really fear that Dean was about to become the "scourge of the earth" that Cain said he would become and that Cain himself was. Even in this episode, Dean seemed pretty rational for much of it; rational enough to want to be neutralized for the common good.... rational enough to want his brother dead to save himself. Was that the mark talking? Who knows?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-05-27 07:43
Thanks for the comment.

I'm not sure what they're doing with Death just yet--if he's dead, not dead. I think it's possible that he's there since Sam saw him, but how much of it is Mark related or not is hard to guess. I do, think, though that it's possible that the Mark might be manipulative enough via the Darkness it held locked inside to manipulate all three in that room into getting free. That's a scary thought at how sentient it was.

For me, I found Dean's behavior a bit shocking. Dean knows what needs to be done to get the job done and he knows how to go about it, and here he's saying and doing things that aren't really going to do the job right. Just because he goads the father into punching him---all by insinuating that he abuses his daughter---does n't mean that the father actually did. As emotional as that moment had to be for the father, the idea of someone in your face saying that has to hurt and push already heightened emotions further along. Without actual proof of the abuse Dean accuses him of, we don't know how true that accusation is. As for what he did with Rudy, Dean usually talks those situations down, trying to maneuver a way for him to get Rudy away and the vamp killed. He didn't. It shocked me that he'd be that sloppy. Perhaps there could have been a few more instances of him threatening or harming far more innocent people, but it worked for me on levels.

I feared that Dean would become a big threat to the world---but only if he ever went through with the list Cain gave him, warning him how he became the monster in the first place. Cain was far more deadly and vicious because he had done what Dean nearly did in this episode. He had actually killed his brother and whatever Cain was before that moment had died with that moment. We don't know what he was like before that happened, but it seems that Cain became darker and far more evil in part because he had done that first crime. I think if Dean had managed to make even one of the kills on the list---Crowley, Csatiel, Sam---it might have been a different outcome with him killing anyone and everyone. There'd be no one to pull him back from that edge. That worked for me.

As we get into S11, I look forward to seeing where they're going with things now that they've wrapped this portion of the story and set ground for new.

Thanks again.
# E 2015-05-27 16:38
Actually, that brings up another question for me. What has Fratricide got to do with this whole lock and key business? We've been told all season long (and last season too) that the MoC is about Fratricide, but now, with the information about Lucifer, THE DARKNESS!!!!, locks and keys, the whole brother killing aspect of the Mark suddenly seems incidental all of a sudden... and thats a problem for me as that has been the motivating factor of the Mark since it was introduced. It was the mitigating factor of Cain's prophecy too. I did happen to notice that no one informed Sam ever that Dean was destined to kill him; how convenient.
# cheryl42 2015-05-27 17:39
But wasn't that the whole point of the bar scene? Dean chose not to fulfill Cains prophecy. He chose not to kill his brother. Even if it meant the destruction of the world. In Cains case he chose to kill Abel rather than let him become the Father of Murder and the First Knight. Dean chose to believe that he and his brother could deal with whatever stood in front of them. So no I don't think they threw it out the window they dealt with it Winchester style. I don't know why Sam had to be told about Cains prophesy. It was Dean's cross to bear. He chose Sam.
# E 2015-05-28 05:01
Hi Cheryl,
I guess I didn't make my point very well. If the Mark was originally conceived at a lock and key for THE DARKNESS!!!! then why did it also become a Mark bearing the burden of fratricide? The two things have nothing to do with one another. I realize that it can be both, but why it's both has not been explained. Why not just have the mark be what it is, a lock and key, why did it get connected to the whole fratricide thing in the first place? Why does the Mark make the bearer WANT to kill his brother? Especially if the killing of the brother is NOT what causes the lock to open anyway? We need more information about how the Mark went from being a Key holding back THE DARKNESS!!!! to being a Mark that also demands that a brother kill a brother. Is it a kind of initiation?

I don't know why Sam had to be told about Cains prophesy. It was Dean's cross to bear.
And I absolutely and categorically disagree (too strong?:D:D) with the notion that Sam did not need to be told about the Mark and it's purpose (fratricide) or that it was only Dean's burden to bear. The are a team (supposedly, although you'd never know it by the way they worked this season) and what effects one affects the other. Was it only Sam's cross to bear when he was soulless addicted to demon blood, dying from the trials, had visions and powers, was suffering from hallucinations? Dean didn't think so. He considered it his cross to bear too, because they are brothers and that's what brothers do, they share the burden; or at least Dean demands that he share Sam's burden while denying Sam that same right. And when it came to the MoC Sam did not feel like it was Dean's cross to bear alone either, hence his working to find a cure and all the risks he took to do so. The fact that Dean did not tell Sam about the ultimate purpose of the Mark is a major sticking point with me as it was something that directly affected Sam. Basically Dean was damned lucky Sam managed to get the cure because I am not sure how much longer Dean could have withstood the Mark. He choose Sam in this one moment, but given his wanting to see Sam dead several times this season, who's to say that he would have been able to choose Sam's life over his death the next time they were in this position? Not telling Sam about what the mark was for, about Cain's prophecy is the same as Dean not telling Kevin about Gadreel. Sam's just luckier than Kevin I guess or the result would have been exactly the same.
# cheryl42 2015-05-28 10:02
Dean wasn't really in the right frame of mind to be the team player as far as Cain's prophecy goes. He didn't tell Crowley, Cas or Sam about Cain's words because he didn't want them to come true. I suppose that is why he summoned Death. Until Charlie died Dean was able to maintain. Almost killing Cas was a wakeup call. Dean knew he wasn't going to be able to control the Mark anymore and he would kill Sam. I don't know if telling Sam would have made any difference to any choices Sam made except making him more desperate and reckless. As both brothers were going down their own roads and keeping secrets from each other it didn't seem so outrageous that they both almost failed at saving each other.
As far as the Mark being a Lock and a Key I thought it was interesting that Death wanted Dean to kill Sam. The one act that would have taken Dean past all redemption. I suspect the Demon tablet may have some answers. Since all of this happened just in the last few moments of the episode I suppose we will have to wait and see what happens next season. We may get more backstory or not.
# sylvia37 2015-05-28 10:44
He didn't tell Crowley, Cas or Sam about Cain's words because he didn't want them to come true
I think this hit the nail on the head. Dean is all about denial when it comes to this stuff. He has a tendency to not face things that he doesn't like until he absolutely has to. I would have enjoyed the story more if he had been more honest with Sam, but it would have been completely OOC. And I agree that Sam knowing might have made him more reckless and desperate, but it might have been interesting (not to mention giving Sam more of a storyline) if we had gotten to see Sam perhaps trying to come up with a way to protect himself. Maybe a nice twist to find out at the end that Sam had found a spell or some sort of protection from Dean killing him. That would have put a whole different spin on it.
# YellowEyedSam 2015-05-27 10:10
Something I just thought of... isn't there a Sandalphon?
# E 2015-05-27 16:40
Forgive me.... a what?
# YellowEyedSam 2015-05-27 19:50
Its an archangel. I just thought it odd it has never been mentioned or shown up in SPN.
# E 2015-05-28 05:06
AH! I'd not heard of Sandalphon so I looked him/her up. I also noticed that Metatron is listed as an archangel on some websites and is Sandalphon's twin. Interesting.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-05-28 07:35
The first time Metatron was referred to on the show he was called the "archangel" Metatron. But then when the brothers met him he referred to himself as a lowly scribe and certainly did not include himself among the archangels. I always thought that was a significant continuity error given that Metatron ended up playing an important role in the show.
# E 2015-05-28 08:14
I guess Metatron was being self effacing in that moment? He's such a shy, modest sort. ;)
# Shelley 2015-05-27 10:24
Thanks for taking the time to do these write ups. I really enjoy reading them.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-05-27 17:13
Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. I hope they brought something of the show out for you. Thanks again.
# Tealka 2015-05-28 23:39
Thank you for the fascinating commentary. I think you're absolutely right that family is the key to restoring balance in the SN universe. In fact, I can't help but think that Death was chiefly responsible for restoring that balance in "Brother's Keeper." In fact, I strongly suspect he was the unsung hero of the finale.

When he was summoned by Dean, Death must have known the human had lost all hope and wanted to die. So Death came prepared to do battle with the MOC, bringing his weapon with him. Once at the bar, Death found a different Dean from the snarky, insolent, fearless human he'd known, a young man determined never to give up or give in no matter how the odds were stacked against him. This was a defeated, despairing Dean who, driven by the MOC, had become convinced he was evil and destined to become another Cain. If he didn't die, there was no way he could stop himself from killing his own brother.

Death knew he couldn't kill Dean, and even if he could, he wouldn't remove the Mark because that would release the Darkness. What Death could do was prove to Dean that he was a good man, a man so unlike Cain that even the terrible power of the MOC wasn't strong enough to make him spill his brother's blood. This truth would have fallen on deaf ears; Death had to show Dean the truth. So he told the human he could transport him to an uninhabited place where he'd be free from the fear of killing anyone, but he insisted he would do so only if Dean killed Sam. Why? Death's explanation was that Sam would find his brother--even on another planet--and somehow manage to cure the MOC. The explanation was transparently ridiculous, but apparently Dean wasn't thinking straight enough to see through it.

The condition for transporting Dean was essential because it led Dean to believe he had to kill his brother for a higher good, just as Cain was convinced he was working on behalf of good when he killed Abel. Thus, Death set the scene for a replay of the First Murder, knowing all the while that it wouldn't and couldn't happen. After all, this was a human who to save the life of his little brother had not only suffered the unspeakable agonies of hell, he'd stood up against something far more ancient, lethal, and terrifying than the MOC: the Horseman Death. Such a man could learn to live with and control the MOC better than Cain had for more than a century.

Of course, everything happened precisely as Death had planned. Just as Collet's love for and faith in Cain convinced him he could overcome the evil of the MOC, Sam's immense, self-sacrificin g, unconditional love for his brother recalled Dean to the good man he was--a man who had fought and overcome evil throughout his life. Strengthened by his love for Sam and Sam's love for him, the truth came to Dean in a swift moment of illumination, and he drove the terrible weapon home, defeating with a single blow both the power of the MOC over him and Death's threat against Sam.

Before he swung the weapon at Death, Dean said, "I'm sorry." He was sorry he had to kill the being who had tried to help him and, perhaps, even more sorry that he had to kill a friend who'd saved Sam in the past; it was the only way to save Sam from Death now. But the apology wasn't necessary. Death had planned to "die" at Dean's hands--which is why the Great Reaper had brought along a weapon, given it to Dean to kill Sam, rather than let Dean use one of his own, and why Death had stood close at the critical moment. The weapon was a rusty, ancient-looking scythe of the kind familiar from popular illustrations of Death. But it wasn't the short-handled sickle we've learned from earlier episodes is the only weapon in the universe than can kill Death.

From what he's said in earlier episodes, Death sees it as his mission to maintain the natural balance of the universe. As you said, balance is restored in SN through family. In this finale, I think Death was the instrument of achieving that balance. Ironically, however, the same being who'd complained of being cheated out of Sam's death in the past cheated himself in "Brother's Keeper" --perhaps partly because he happens to have a certain grudging fondness for the Winchesters. Of course, in much the same way the brothers' love for each other can upset the balance of the universe, Death's affection for Sam and Dean helped bring on the Darkness.

Anyway, it's a theory! :D
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-05-29 08:08
Tealka I love your theory. I too have concluded that the scene at the bar was a test for Dean, as well as for Sam. A test of that uniquely strong familial bond shared by the Winchesters. Death has had a front row seat to the Winchesters' ongoing battle against evil, a battle in which against all odds, they have prevailed time and again thanks to the bond and the love that they share. They have ALWAYS been stronger together. That strength enabled them, mere mortals, to defeat Lucifer, god Castiel, Mother, and the Leviathans. That's why I actually didn't find it nonsensical when Death stipulated, and Dean agreed, that Sam must die. If you look at the brothers' track record, they HAVE accomplished the seemingly impossible when they put their minds to it. They have used time travel and they even used a spell to bind Death himself when they deemed it necessary to achieve their goals. So it did not strike me as farfetched that Death and Dean would be wary of what a relentless Sam could/would do in order to save Dean, whether he was on another planet or not. Had Dean actually killed Sam, presumably Death would have relocated him someplace where he could never harm anyone again and where the MOC/key would remain intact. But I think Death was assuming, or at least hoping, that Dean would overcome the pull of the MOC and find himself unable to kill Sam. I think that's why he told Dean to kill Sam, rather than doing it himself. And I think that's why Death specifically told Dean that he had become a "stain" on his family's memory. What I instantly thought, and what Death was hoping to plant in Dean's mind, is that there could be no bigger stain on his family's memory than killing Sam, the one who Dean has been tasked with looking out for since he was a young child. Sam passed Death's test by submitting to his own death out of love for and faith in Dean. He wanted to prevent Dean from hurting anyone else, in the faith that Dean therefore would one day find his way back to himself. When Sam initially agreed to give his life, he clearly assumed that Death himself would kill him. He looked towards Death and said "do it." But Death needed to test Dean as well. Dean passed Death's test by doing the exact opposite of Cain, the Cain who had brought murder into the world in the first place. I don't think Death is really dead. And I'm not sure if he knew Sam had already set in motion a plan that would remove the MOC and unleash the Darkness. But I think he knew that if anyone could permanently banish the Darkness, it was the Winchesters. I really hope that Carver wrote the episode with at least a general plan in mind, and that it wasn't merely meant as a tease of "Dean's going to kill Sam." I'm really hoping that by passing Death's test, the brothers will once again be truly united, and that there is an end to the the years of almost constant discord between them. If so, season 11 could be fantastic on that basis alone.
# sugarhi15 2015-05-31 23:27
I posted a theory in the other thread which isn't that far off from yours. :D I'll just give it the old cut and paste.....I had posted this on the ethical thread, but would love to hear what you guys think.
According to Death, God and the angels had a battle with Darkness, locked it away and God in turn entrusted Lucifer with the key to keep it locked up. If that's true, then why would a mark, created by God as a lock to keep the Darkness at bay, be bad? Why would God give Lucifer something harmful? Doesn't make sense to me, so to wrap my head around this, I was thinking this. Let's say that during the battle against the Darkness, Lucifer got infected. I mean it's a battle right and Michael and Lucifer were the strongest of God's angels, so let's say for argument's sake that before Darkness was locked away, some of it made it's way into Lucifer..could' ve been Michael just as easily, but it entered Lucifer, God's most trusted. That being the case, then it's easy to see how the mark, given by God to Lucifer, was able to take on a life of it's own. The Darkness encapsulated itself into the the mark is now's own entity.... Lucifer was eventually taken over by the Mark..succumbed to the darkness, thus defying God and becoming jealous of humans.

Lucifer was banished, angry at God for choosing humans over him and thus the mark(now Darkness) feeds off of these negative emotions becoming stronger, and Lucifer in essence becomes the Devil. Lucifer, who hates humans wants to punish them, so he disguises himself as the serpent, tricking Gadreel and thus corrupting humanity. Lucifer's hate grows with the mark and so he finds an even worse way to corrupt, thus creating the first murderer in Cain. Humans were already corruptible at this point, so Lucifer just used it to his advantage. Thing is, not all humans were easily corruptible, and the mark/darkness could sense that. It has to be a trait already in existence...a negative feeling to be fed upon. Cain might have felt a bit of sibling rivalry towards Abel and thus Lucifer/Mark took advantage of it. In the guise of what would seem to be saving Abel, in actuality Lucifer used his cunning and Cain's negative feelings he may have had deep down and convinced Cain what he was doing was good. Cain was given the moc once he killed Abel as he was deserving of it. The mark/darkness would be sated on this man...on Cain.

Now let's say that God realizes what has happened. He can't undo it, but perhaps there's a way to fight this evil. That leads us to the creation of the Winchesters and the Campbells, which most definitely leads us to the very important union of Mary Campbell and John Winchester because Sam and Dean Winchester had to be born. The corruption of heaven and the angels once God has presumably left the building, had them create a false prophesy that the reason the Boys had to be born was to fulfill their apocalyptic destiny...a destiny created by a dysfunctional family of angels who had given up on their loyalty and devotion to their father...and thus gave up on their own family. But I've always believed that God created the Winchesters and the Campbells and most importantly Sam and Dean to save his world and fight the evil that now exists.

Sam and Dean have never done anything evil. They didn't start the apocalypse, the angels did. It was Sam and Dean's love for each other and choosing family that saved the world from destruction. Neither Sam or Dean let out the ain, that was an angel's doing. Though it wasn't done out of malice. basically what happened happened because the angels didn't act like a family...they didn't come together, they were broken and corrupt and battling for power. It was the love of two brothers that helped save the world again here.

Now we come to where we are now and the question of Sam and Dean doing more harm than good is raised once again...the way I see, I would have to say no. While the pickle Dean managed to get himself into was a result of guilt was also the result of love. His love for his brother and his love for humanity, as Dean sees Sam as vital to the fighting this evil and that is the greater good. Now Cain told Dean that he was worthy of the moc and Dean believed it was because he saw himself a killer...but I don't believe that to be the case...I do think that Cain/Moc deemed Dean worthy because of his own belief in that, which is as negative as one could get...self hatred....and thus the moc would be strong on him. So the Mark sees Dean as the perfect parasite to feed off of. The negative force is strong with that one:D. Dean did manage to become an immediate threat to humanity, so as much as Sam was willing to go to the ends of the earth to save Dean out of love for his brother, there is a part of Sam that knows that he needs to keep people safe as well. Cas agreed with that notion as he declared to dean that he would be the one still around while he murdered the world. So curing Dean was for the greater good.

Here's the thing...ok, so Sam is now aware of what the consequences would be...but up until Death explained, all Sam knew was that Dean was running out of time and what he will become was definite, the consequences of saving him were unknown and probable...So we get to the part now where Sam is willing to die for his brother. It's pretty much Sam after all, throughout the history of show, Sam has always shown his love for his brother by abiding his wishes..Sam was always willing to "let go" if that's what Dean truly wanted....So we have Sam on his knees, tears streaming down his face, love and devotion filling his heart and the entire tristate area...ready to give up his life for Dean.....and in true typical Dean fashion, who has always shown his love to Sam by not letting go, by holding on as tight as he can, in a moment where Dean gained control of himself and overcame the mark, out of sheer love for his brother and his family, he instead reaps Death....Dean chose Sam. He chose family. He chose love.

That's what it's always been .because in all the battles the boys have fought, it's been love that has always found a way to triumph. I don't doubt for a second that God keeps these boys around for that reason...Sam seemed to have forgotten that Cas was working the spell, and if Sam died, all Dean would've had is a brother he loved more than life itself dead by his own hands, and he would most likely not been able to live with either he would've killed himself once the moc was gone or he would somehow ensure he died one way or the other. Just the way Sam tried to die back in s4. That being the case, there would be no one to fight the Darkness.

Now the Darkness was released by Cas/Crowley/Row ena....not by Sam himself. So the Darkness would be released with or without sam alive. God being God most likely could see how things would play out..which is why he created the winchester boys in the first place....that being said, my take is that since the darkness was accidentally released, then at least Sam and Dean are together and they could defeat it. It's my humble opinion that God knows that the one true thing that can beat darkness is love...and nobody's love is stronger than Sam and Dean Winchester's. That's what it's always been about. Not only has their love been able to triumph, but their love inspires others to join the fight...for example Cas... Cas may have screwed up, but Cas is most likely God's one child that has shown true devotion to his family, which is why it seems Cas is still alive, always brought back to fight again....Cas has become part of the Winchester family and it's this family that continues to fight for the greater good....and it does so through love and devotion to ea. other as well as to humanity. ;)

just as an aside
dean has been controlled by the moc completely since dark dynasty. now he might have gained a bit of control back just long enough to summon death, but I just don't buy that dean wasn't influenced by the moc from the moment he heard the truth about it's origin from death. all this time, all the mark wanted to do was survive. and it's biggest threat was sam Winchester. so here moc dean is learning about what death wants in order to send dean off to foreign worlds so he cannot hurt you honestly believe that moc dean didn't have a plan b? that once sam was out of the picture, that moc dean wouldn't have killed death anyway to prevent him from sending him away?

think about it...once moc dean found out the solution to his problem was the death of his brother, the very thing that the mark called for, was prophesized about by cain himself....the one thing that would turn dean into a demon/knight of hell and make him all powerful.....wo uldn't moc dean be all for that moc dean lured his brother, which dean would never even contemplate doing, to ultimately sacrifice him...isn't that the way Lucifer conned cain? the death of sam ensures the rebirth of demon dean/knight of hell....and demon dean would've quietly surrendered to death? I highly doubt it. more than likely given what we know, demon dean, who would've been overcome with power, would've wanted to survive and kill more...and more and more...demon dean had the very weapon that could kill death, so death was basically a goner either way....can't help but wonder if that was his intention all along?

sam handing dean those photos? what do you suppose enabled dean to gain control? the fact that he was about to kill the very person his mother sacrificed her life for? or maybe he was thinking of his mom and how good and beautiful she was and how could he think that this woman can create a child that's evil? or maybe he thought what would his mom think of him right now, about to kill his brother, the only person who ever gave dean any sense of self worth, the only one who's ever stood by him and believed in him when no one else did...the one who's kneeling before him ready to die for him with nothing but love in his heart and devotion and faith in his goodness....wha tever it was he was ended up triumphing over the moc's blood lust....a blood lust that would've turned dean to the very thing sam was trying to save him from becoming....

in all this malarkey about sending dean off to planet tattooine.....e verybody seemed to have forgotten that sating the mark that way sealed dean's doom...

and that would definitely be counterproducti ve to the greater good. death's so called solution was never a solution at all. which is ultimately why I too think it was test. let's also note that the scythe death handed dean is not the scythe from two minutes to midnight, which is the one death said could kill him. death handed moc dean a scythe, but I don't think it was ....the scythe.

together though, the boys can fight whatever evil comes their or lose they'll do it together...and they won't be alone in this fight...because it's their love for ea. other and humanity that inspires others to do their part in the fight against evil....instead of sitting idly by letting evil just win.

isn't that not unlike the boys campaign to always keep fighting....:)

so until show says otherwise, i'm going with this....;):)

# Tealka 2015-05-29 22:07
Thanks, samandean--but far better than my theory is yours that Death was testing the brothers. As you say, Sam passed the test by submitting to his own death so Dean and others might live. Dean passed by refusing to kill his brother or let him be killed. So, together, Sam and Dean defeated the curse of Cain, making the actual removal of the Mark unnecessary. Is that why Death set up the tests? In the hope the brothers might be rewarded for their faith in and love for each other? Or was Death's interest in the Winchesters more cosmic in scope?

In addition to everything else you say in your excellent post, I'm really intrigued by your suggestion that Death knew that "if anyone could permanently banish the Darkness, it was the Winchesters." Remember what Michael told Dean in The Song Remains the Same?: "It's a bloodline….Stre tching back to Cain and Abel. It's in your blood, your father's blood, your family's blood….Think of a million random acts of chance that let John and Mary be born--to meet, to fall in love, to have the two of you. Think of the million random choices that you've made and yet how each and every one of them brings you closer to your destiny. Do you know why that is? Because it's not random, it's not chance. It's a plan that is playing itself out perfectly." Obviously, if there is a divine plan for the Winchesters, it wasn't that Dean and Sam serve as vessels to bring on the Apocalypse. However, maybe we'll find out Sam and Dean were born not only to reverse the curse of Cain but to "permanently banish the Darkness."
# Jen 2015-05-31 22:28
"Brother's Keeper " could that title not be for the Boys but for Death could Death be the "Brothers Keeper" ?
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-06-01 07:34
However, maybe we'll find out Sam and Dean were born not only to reverse the curse of Cain but to "permanently banish the Darkness."
I love this idea, but if that seems to be where the plot is heading next season then it would strongly indicate that the show is ending, because that plot would truly leave the show with nowhere else to go. I would find it completely credible and fitting that the brothers were destined to defeat the original evil.
# Jen 2015-05-31 22:48
Reading all the above comments and theories is making me think about how season 11 could play out. And everyone has excellent ideas. I like Tealka's quote from The Song Remains The Same.
If all this is a journey the boys need to take - their destiny, is it now possible that the boys are going to be different in some way. If S1 - S5 was of Sam and Dean being vessels one for good one for evil, and the show was supposed to end at Swan Song. That would have been neat and tidy, now 5 years later they are again at a coss roads. The darkness covers the car and the Boys, for a reason, ( unless they got out and we havn't seen that jet ). How are they going to open that scene. Are the boys just going to be sitting there looking at each other and saying OHH SHIT what have we done lets get back to the bunker. I don't think so (not dramatic enough ) one or the other brother couldn't be missing or pocessed -- been there done that !! My idea on the opening scene would be Sam & Dean carrying the essence of their other selves Sam would be carrying Lucifer and Dean would be carrying Michael NOT POSSESSED but maybe stronger with some powers. ?? Michael and Lucifer are brothers both mis - understood, both being through similar circumstances to Sam & Dean. They both care & love each other and Lucifer is or was a good Arch Angel once, it was the influence of the mark that changed him as well,
I am very interested to see how they are going to play out the opening scene in S11 Ep1
# Tealka 2015-06-01 00:02
What a great interpretation of the title, Jen! And your idea about the opener is really intriguing; I can imagine the show offering something like the crossroads you describe. But I wouldn't be happy to see Sam carrying Lucifer. After years of demonic Sam, soulless Sam, demonic Dean, etc., I just want the boys to be depicted as heroes working together to battle the Darkness. As I remember, Jeremy Carver said something about S11 opening with the Winchesters finding themselves in a changed landscape. I hope that doesn't mean a post-apocalypti c one, with the Earth turned to rubble, and the brothers running around the ruins fighting baddies. To me, the kind of world we were given in "The End" gets old mighty fast.
# Jen 2015-06-01 03:16
Tealka Thanks for your reply - As for the opener its really hard to imagine how they can find something fresh. My thought always was that the Darkness was a overall entity not a person or thing. I thought that the boys may be knocked out when the cloud rolled in so it would be much later when Sam & Dean came too. The world wouldn't be destroyed but dark as in a type of half light. The darkness would be a slow moving virus type entity that infected people of a weak nature. It wouldn't happen fast it would move slow or come in waves. The low light of the earth would destroy crops animals and humans but slowly, giving the boys a chance to catch up on whats happened and work out a way to destroy it. This is were Metatron would come into it he has the demon tablet. I also wondered if Rowenna had some sort of control of it - since she is such a powerful witch. I won't the boys of old fighting this one - together no secrets no lies tough Sam cheeky Dean. I hope its a fresh new approach with some throw back to old episodes, No digging up Lucifer or Michael nothing like that Something fresh. :D:D
# Tealka 2015-06-01 23:29
sugarhi15, I don't know how I could have missed this brilliant commentary before! You have a remarkable talent for fitting all the pieces together in a way that makes perfect sense. Your Idea that the Winchesters were created by SN's God to battle the Darkness is completely logical--at least to me. The angels or some of them must have known that God had a very particular reason for bringing John and Mary together and wanting these brothers to be born: both Michael and Lucifer wrongly assumed it was to provide human vessels to be used in a great conflict that would give one of them dominance over Earth and mankind. Each archangel was motivated by his lust for power. However, as you so well point out, the brothers were actually intended to eventually battle something much greater and far more insidious than power-seeking archangels; they were made to serve as the instruments of the divine love--the diametrical opposite of the Darkness and the only weapon in existence that can defeat and drive it back.

That's what it's always been about…love…beca use in all the battles the boys have fought, it's been love that has always found a way to triumph. I don't doubt for a second that God keeps these boys around for that reason.

Beautifully said! When you spoke of Death as testing the brother's love, I couldn't help but remember what happened when Sam died in S2. Sitting beside his brother's body, overwhelmed by grief and guilt, Dean looked up and cried out as if to God, "What am I supposed to do?" Cut to a shot of Baby speeding to the crossroads. When I first saw that scene, it seemed to me it implied that SN's God inspired Dean to sell his soul--something perfectly in keeping with the traditional belief that God sometimes uses the ways of evil to achieve good. It was because Dean sold his soul out of love, because he went to hell and broke on the rack, because Sam worked in league with a demon to strengthen his powers so he might do good, and because one brother damned himself to the pit and the other endured the horror of letting him go that the sibling instruments of God were able to cage Lucifer and Michael and save the world from destruction.

In light of your superb commentary, when I look back over the years, I can't help but wonder if the Winchesters' lives from childhood on were directed by God to strengthen, refine, hone, test--to prepare-- his simple but mighty weapon against the Darkness. With Death's final test, perhaps SN's God knew his weapon of brotherly love was ready to do battle with his most ancient and diabolical of enemies. And, thus, Rowena was permitted by the Divine will to do the impossible: she unlocked the Mark and set the Darkness free.
# Tealka 2015-06-02 00:26
Bravo, Jen! Your description of what we might see in S11 is far better than I could have imagined. I love the aptness and simplicity of the idea of the Darkness as a half-light, creeping across the earth, moving slowly or coming in waves, infecting people of a weak nature. "The low light of the earth would destroy crops animals and humans but slowly, giving the boys a chance to catch up on whats happened and work out a way to destroy it." And the subtlety of the incursion of the Darkness would keep it from creating mass panic: people might attribute the low light to climate change or some sort of scientific anomaly that appears in isolated pockets and seems to vanish only to appear somewhere else. The Winchesters would know the terrible destruction to souls being caused by this enemy, but civilians could never guess at its supernatural origin. As you say, it's better that the Darkness remain an overall entity; those infected might become like Lucifer, Cain, or even Demon Dean, giving the brothers more than enough evil or amoral beings with whom to deal--or, on the other hand, perhaps the Darkness issues its own monstrous forms. In any case, I don't imagine the boys will be spending S11 chasing down standard Monsters of the Week or participating in high school musicals. :)