“People react differently to loss.” Within the construct of “Thin Lizzie,” this statement has more earth shattering meaning than grief---it has cosmic shades of meaning that become all too clear.

While the detective that states this is talking about a wife's shocked reaction to her husband's murder, it can easily apply to both Len and Sydney. Each one loses their soul and each one reacts very differently. Much like grieving, they each cope with this loss in a different way. One grieves a lost place within the Natural Order that God has created---and the other finds escape from its structure freeing. How does this loss reflect, then, on the overall threat Amara poses to the world and its Natural Order and how do the Winchesters deal with what it means in the long run?

The case that draws Sam and Dean seems so clear cut and simple. Sam is excited to take it on---it being part of his “serial killer fetish.” It is none other than the Lizzie Borden house, the scene where her father and step-mother were brutally hatcheted to death. Hearing that it it may be haunted excites him. Trying to sell it to Dean, he goes on to say, “Besides, the entire Borden clan are buried in Fall River, including Lizzie.” This should be a simple salt and burn.

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Unfortunately for Sam and Dean, it turns out to be a complete and utter hoax. Debunked in about ten minutes of investigating the house, they find the faulty wiring on a timer, a recorder in the walls to simulate crying, and an EMF generator. Whatever did these killings has nothing to do with ghosts. Instead, it turns out to be far more sinister in the long run.

A man named Len is spotted trying to photograph the Lizzie Borden house by Dean. When asked about him, the local authorities tell him that he's a “harmless teddy bear.” Turns out Len is a big buff on all things Lizzie, and he has had a restraining order against him about going onto the property. His enthusiasm has driven him to do some fairly reckless things, after all---such as staying in the Borden basement for weeks at a time.

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But that's not what makes Len seem different. The first clue is the distinctive Mark of Cain traced onto a letter in his possession. It is not a common symbol---and it instantly gets Dean's attention. When pressed for how he got it, Len tells him that Amara was outside the Borden house. Even more, he tells Dean that Amara has done something to him. He admits to Dean, “I don't know what that girl did to me, but I haven't been right since. I can't eat or sleep. I don't dream. And all the things I used to love, my Lizzie blog, the ghost conventions, they leave me cold---You know, fake it till you make it---or feel it.---I was looking for Amara. I want her to put me back. I've always been odd and quirky. But I had a life, friends, and now, I remember how to talk to people, what to say, but I feel like I'm acting, going through the motions."

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Len has lost his soul. And he's not the only one. Sam suspects the wife, but instead it turns out to be the baby sitter bent on killing anyone that's wronged her in any way. She tells the brothers that Amara met her in a parking lot outside a bar---and she made her feel “bliss.” Without the nagging voice of her conscience, Sydney can do whatever she wants and not care about the consequences. All the dreams she had of killing people---such as the Borden House manager or a former boyfriend---can now be achieved. Sydney is finally free.

It is here that we see the two sides of loss come to light. It is here that we see just how Amara is threatening the Natural Order.

In comparing and contrasting Sydney and Len's reactions to losing their souls, we can see the debate about the Natural Order and its maintenance truly begin.

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Sydney finds the experience to be freeing. She wishes to embrace oblivion. Sydney, by being removed from the Natural Order by Amara's power, feels that she can transcend it. She is able to let go of everything that mattered. Sydney tells the brothers that she was abused by her parents. They burned her and her sister brutally with cigarettes. The scars are a red and angry reminder of their abuse that she can never lose. She tells them, “I used to have to drink myself blind to even look at these let alone show them to anybody. And now, I don't know what Amara did to me, but it's just skin.”

Sydney doesn't have nightmares anymore. She doesn't have to experience the struggle of dealing with what happened to her. There's nothing holding her down. In her view, Amara has given her a gift. She states, “No more flashbacks. Amara took away the pain. She lightened something in me.” Sydney seems willing to do anything the Darkness may ask of her---knows that she is free because of her.

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And yet, Sydney is an anomaly. Born human with a soul, she is a product of the Natural Order's construct. Amara may have taken away the soul and all the suffering that comes along with it, but she cannot undo what Sydney truly is: human. She cannot erase Sydney completely from the Natural Order God set up. Sydney is now outside that construct---and yet she's still very much within its framework. Her thought that she could do whatever she pleased now and not worry about getting caught is precisely what will lead to her death. Sydney cannot simply move around the world---the one beholden to the Natural Order---and be outside its rules and constructs. To do so is to threaten its existence.

The reaction the Natural Order has to that threat is to eliminate it every time. It will find a way to balance itself in some other way---and in so doing it will use another one outside the construct to strike that very balance it seeks: Len.

On the other side of this grief coin is Len himself. While Sydney blisses over what Amara did to her, Len is adrift, lost, and suffering. Amara's goal---at least as she's stated it so far---is to replace God's Natural Order and humanity's doomed destiny to suffer with something closer to oblivion. In many ways, oblivion is one of humanity's greatest fears. All of us desire to be remembered, to have our lives matter, to make impact on the grander scheme of the universe, and to live on in some fashion long after our bodies have turned into dust. The thought that the next life is nothingness, is somehow a void, where we go and cease to be is a frightening prospect. In many regards, it is connected to our drive to survive. This drive was seen in Soulless Sam in season six---typically with great violence.

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In Len, we see that he is following more of Soulless Sam's understanding of what it means to lose a soul---without the explosions of grand violence. Len realizes that if he is to make it in the world, he must appear as he always has to the outside world. Knowing that he is now an anomaly, an outsider to the Natural Order surrounding him, Len is facing with crippling suffering. Without his soul, Len is facing the fact that he may end up in oblivion in the long run. He is facing the fact that he himself is a void.

But he also remembers what the rules are. Len knows what is right and what is wrong. He may not feel these things, but he very much wants to adhere to those principles. He wants to go back to the old Len---to be put back into the flow of the Natural Order and be restored within its fabric. Being an outsider makes him feel great loss. While he is unable to feel the way he used to, Len knows what it means to feel. He knows that certain things should freak him out---such as shaking sweaty hands or more gruesomely ripping his own thumb off to get his hand out of the cuffs.

But Len also can feel that this loss is being swallowed by something darker inside. While his soul may be gone and a void has been left in its wake, there seems to be something hatching inside. It may be the duration of his soullessness that has amplified this change over time. He knows that there is only a matter of time before he will succumb, too.

So, after Len kills Sydney to keep her from trying to kill Sam and Dean, he decides he will keep “going through the motions” and turn himself in. He will confess to every crime---and in so doing be locked away where he can't hurt anyone else. He may not have a soul and he may not really care about anyone else, but he does know what is right.

In this way, the Natural Order keeps Len from becoming a threat as Sydney did. He may not be restored, but he is actively trying to keep the balance in place. In a way, that is precisely what the Natural Order means: balance. Without the sorrow, one cannot recognize joy. Without knowing what is wrong we cannot know right. The good times would not be as sweet if not for the bad times. For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. These basic principles keep the universe in order and flowing. To disrupt that balance is to create chaos in its wake---and to threaten the entire structure that the universe rests upon.

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Amara's actions truly do disrupt this foundation. With each human soul she eats, she disrupts the universe. So far, these are only minute levels. It leads to two lives being forever changed---Sydney and Len---but in their wake we see more effects ripple out like a stone thrown into a pond. Amara is playing, experimenting, finding the flaws and weaknesses in the Natural Order God has built so she can then disassemble it entirely. She is drawn to those that are dark---her visitation on the Lizzie Borden house comes with its own implications, after all.

Her choosing Len and Sydney, however, show some planning. She truly wanted to see how each person would react differently to the loss she deliberately caused. In Sydney, she found a human that would react with joy at losing the very thing that made her suffer---the thing God had constructed for that purpose. The way she approaches her, calling out “Drunk girl” implies that Amara saw the darker sides of Sydney's pain and suffering and wondered if perhaps removing the soul would end that. With Len, she saw someone that enjoyed his life, his existence, and what he does. Taking his soul would be another experiment to see if those happy like Len would cease to be happy without the soul.

Piece by piece, Amara has planned to dismantle God's universe. Starting small allows her to test more and more of its fabric, more and more of its weaknesses, and truly know just where to strike and how hard.

But what about Sam and Dean?

The brothers, the chosen champion of the Natural Order, are now aware that she is going around consuming human souls. They've seen both Len and Sydney, seen how it affected each one differently, and now must put together the puzzle Amara is leaving behind. They know that soullnessness is not something to take lightly---after all, in God's universe, souls are currency. They are everything. It is what makes the various after-lifes go round, it is what makes a human being a human being, and it is how the universe is ultimately balanced.

Not only are Sam and Dean dealing with the chaos left in Amara's wake, they must also work to reestablish or continue their own natural order. Their work on this case proves that they are finding a way to balance one another, finding that comfort level, and striving to remain on the same page as an equal team. At the start, when Sam broaches the case, Dean is at first reluctant. It's not that Dean doesn't want to hunt, he's just certain that the location of choice will be what it ultimately turns into: a hoax. He easily figures out just why Sam is so eager, and quips, “Wait a minute I know what this is. This has something to do with your freaky fetish for serial killers.”

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And yet, Sam insists that they at least check it out. Their debunking and early investigation into the Lizzie Borden house also captures just how comfortable and easy it is for the brothers to work together. It is building upon last week's episode, “Baby,” as the brothers move through the bed and breakfast. Upon seeing Lizzie's room, both brothers are flabbergasted by the decor. Its floral boldness and quintessential old lady style is perhaps the least appealing thing about it---especially to a Winchester. In a subtle pay back, Sam squeezes the pump on the toilet water, further aggravating Dean. The move exemplifies that these two are indeed brothers and will needle each other just for amusement---giving them a good natured playfulness that will help them work the case as a single unit.

Sam completes his pay back, boyishly quipping, “I just wanted to see if the pump thingy worked.”

The brothers even further the stakes of their brotherly banter by arguing over Lizzie's room. After all, it only has a single bed. Automatically, Sam argues that because it is Lizzie's room, he should get it, leaving Dean to find his own.

This type of banter shows that the brothers are comfortable---something that they'll need to rely on as the case becomes a bit hairier. It also allows them to quickly put to rest any of the “haunting” rumors of the Borden house and allow them to realize just what is really going on in Fall River, Massachusetts.

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Sam and Dean have to deal with Len's situation. They realize quickly just what is wrong with Len, but aren't entirely sure how to tell him. Sam says, “There's no sensitive way to tell someone their soul has been sucked out by a pissed-off tween.” It's not exactly an easy thing to deliver---nor are they quite sure how he'll react. Dean points out to Sam, “It took all of walking down the stairs for Jenna to slit her grandmother's throat.” What if Len should take this news badly---or allows himself to indulge in violence now that he knows he's without conscience? Driven to the brink by Len's endless chatter as he describes just how wrong he feels, Dean finally blurts out just what is wrong with Len. He says bluntly, “You don't have a soul, alright. Amara sucked it out.”

While Dean may be blunt about this situation, Sam remains sensitive. He remembers what it was like to be soulless, to have that taken away from him, and how wrong it felt, after all. Unlike Sam, though, it is unlikely that Len will ever have his soul restored. He will have to find a way to cope with this loss and to live within the construct of the Natural Order on his own.

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Knowing that Len will most likely remain a soulless person for the remainder of his life, however, puts Sam and Dean into a stickier situation. After all, in a sense, Len is no longer human. He's been rendered an entity, a potential monster in the making, and will likely end up killing people. There may be a time stamp on how long he's willing to keep “going through the motions.” After all, Soulless Sam had done much the same thing, and at a certain point declared doing so was “exhausting.” Taking Len out now could potentially save other innocent people later on, but killing Len will not help their cause. In a sense, killing Len simply for having the potential to be a killer would make Sam and Dean no better than Amara for what she's done to him or the others she's made soulless.

Sam reminds Dean, “Dean we don't want to kill him. We want to save people, remember?”

It is here that the banter from earlier takes a serious turn. They may have been playful with their teasing of each other when they thought they were working a simple salt and burn, but now they must show a united front to stop Amara and to help those she's harmed. That means, even though Dean doesn't like it, adhering to Sam's new rule---that they're meant to uphold the “saving people” of their motto. That means saving all the people---even the soulless ones that they encounter. It means seeing them as victims.

Excluding angels, Leviathans, and creatures like Amara, all the monsters they hunt were once human. That means that all of them---mostly---are victims themselves. Something or someone made them into a monster. Someone turned them from being human into something else. For Sam and Dean, it means perhaps expanding their view on “saving people” perhaps. Maybe it's not just humans they should fight for. It could very well mean fighting for every one that exists within the Dante Natural Order God has created. Each one fits into the system---and those like Len are now outside its matrix and are therefore suffering from that loss.

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Even more, if someone like Len is willing to fight to remember what is right and wrong, to know how he should act, and commits to “going through the motions,” then the Winchesters have the obligation to save Len if at all possible. He hasn't done anything yet. He hasn't killed anyone. Just because he no longer has soul doesn't mean he has an automatic death sentence placed upon him. What's happened to him now is a terrible injustice.

To truly help save people, Sam and Dean must stop being the sole judge, jury, and executioner. They must find a way to pardon, to save, and to instill some form of hope into those they encounter. It is the only way for them to truly embody the family slogan. With Len, that is precisely what they attempt to do. They may not trust him---evidenced by handcuffing him to the car door handle---but that doesn't mean they don't want to save him.

Even Sydney, despite her violent reaction to becoming soulless, is a victim of what Amara's done. To counter Amara, to restore the Natural Order to balance, Sam and Dean must try to save them both. 

Faced with Sydney's intentions to kill them both, Sam and Dean struggle against their bonds, keeping her talking for as long as possible. Sadly, it seems they may have to break their new rule of “saving people” in order to stop Sydney from killing them and so many others. Killing her---and anyone else---should only be a last resort. Just as they manage to slip their bonds, however, they discover that Len's the one wielding the axe, stopping Sydney mid-sentence. In some ways, the brothers can see this as their mistake in not simply killing Len first. In others, however, it is an affirmation that the Natural Order is the only choice---and it is something the brothers must see first hand. Len, being the one that wanted his soul back desperately, kills Sydney, the one that found bliss in losing it. It is a clear rejection, then, of Amara's plans.

Sam and Dean also take that step closer to restoring their own balance within their partnership and within their own goals. Neither one of them kills anyone in this episode. In not killing anyone, they are truly sticking to the “new rules”----despite nearly having to take Sydney out themselves. With Len, they're proving that they are actively trying to save as many as they possibly can.

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Sam and Dean do more than not kill anyone. They also try and help pick up the pieces for the little boy left behind after Sydney killed his parents. Jordie is the ultimate victim in this case now. An innocent child, he's now left to figure out where to go next. Sam sits with him on the front porch. He asks if he has anyone he can go to, if Jordie has someone he can stay with. The little boy, still in shock, remains quiet, so Sam tells him about himself. He says, “When I was six months old, my mom died and my dad was never really around much. I realize that's no where close to what you've lost, but you're going to survive this. People are going to help you.”

It allows Jordie to open up, and perhaps by giving this quiet statement, Sam's managed to save this young man. It's another affirmation that their goal is indeed to save others rather than to simply hunt things. It is connecting with the victims left behind that will be their true test of “saving people,” too.

Besides, if Sam and Dean “saving people” doesn't restore the Natural Order and prove Amara's path false, perhaps nothing will.