At baptisms, Christians are asked simple questions such as “Do you reject Satan and all his works?” It is a fundamental tenet of the religion---one that is often said with little thought. In the Supernatural episode “The Devil's In the Details,” we see that very question asked, explored, and answered. On its surface, it is an easy question to answer. Evil, no matter its form, is to be rejected. Not many people would willingly raise their hands as cohorts of Satan. Dig deeper, and it is a much more difficult one to answer. Those who answer “yes” to this question must consider not only what they are rejecting---but what they are accepting. What then, are they accepting? In a word: love. Rather one adheres to the Christian concept or not, it is the opposite of what the Devil represents. The episode asks each character in turn to either accept or reject one or the other---each with their own consequences and results. What does rejection mean not only for Lucifer---but Amara? What does love mean for each character? Why should it matter?

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First, let's look at the tangled relationship that is Crowley and his mother, Rowena.

This pair routinely spouts off about hating each other. They've instigated a literal blood feud. In the beginning of the episode, as a childish and joyful Crowley opens Christmas presents, Santa arrives---but he is not Santa. He's Lucifer---Satan. Rowena, trapped in her nightmare, is stuck wearing reindeer antlers and a shiny red Rudolph nose. Lucifer makes his move, killing Crowley with an over-sized, but overly pointy candy-cane. It's no secret that Rowena's dreamed her son dead---and now he is in this dream-scape.

In the real world, Crowley and Rowena exchange heated words. Under no circumstances does Crowley want Lucifer to be free. He knows exactly what his creator wants to do---and just what it will lead to. Knowing that his mother needs to understand just the pitfall she's fallen into, states, “Last time Lucifer went topside, you know what he wanted? Death. For you. For me. And every human. And every demon.” Crowley also knows that he's been keeping the throne warm---after all, Lucifer isn't dead, only locked away. He also sees Rowena's folly clearly. She, enamored with his power, might, and “alpha” status, sees him as an opportunity to perhaps stop her son's reign. She tells him, “After he defeats the Darkness, he'll ascend to his throne in Heaven, and I'll be by his side, a loyal follower. ”

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They have reached a total impasse. This isn't like their squabbles over helping the Winchesters or stabbing one another in the back for a tit-for-tat. This is more than their oneupmanship. They have chosen clear and distinct sides. Rowena is for Lucifer's freedom and release, and Crowley is for putting him right back in the hole where they summoned him from. They can't let him out and they can't use him to stop Amara as they had hoped. Lucifer is too dangerous himself to face with the Darkness. While they can, they must do something here and now.

So, Crowley calls Dean in. He knows that he can get the elder Winchester to show up at the drop of a hat. After all, it's not just Lucifer himself they must worry about. Sam is in that cage with the Devil. If anything will get Dean to show up and quickly, it'll be the knowledge that Sam is once again trapped with Lucifer, facing death---or worse.

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With Rowena clearly on Lucifer's side, however, they can't simply have her do the spell that puts Lucifer back in the Cage. She won't do it of her own free will. That means Crowley has to call in a favor from the Reaper, Billie. Providing him with a Witch's Catcher, they will make Rowena their slave, giving them the power to put Lucifer back where he belongs. She scoffs at his childish command about jumping on one foot. “Please, Fergus. I don't know what kind of Oedipal Fifty Shades you think you're playing at but if you think for a second... ” To her dismay, she does as told, unable to resist.

She sets up the spell work required and goes about methodically performing it. She's making sure to use as much as ceremony as she goes through its sequence. While she's forced to use the magic, she's not going to do it quickly, either. After all, she has zero faith in Sam to resist.

They have little time. From down the hall, Sam shouts in pain as Lucifer beats on him. It causes both Dean and Castiel to rush to his aid---only to be trapped in the Cage with him.

Once the spell is over and they're able to get out of the Cage---a bit bruised and broken perhaps, Crowley casts them out. He'll keep his mother with him, but they are to “get the hell out of hell.”

As much as the current King of Hell wants to see this horrible team up end, he also wants to take advantage of the opportunity granted him. He has his mother in his custody and she is to do anything he says. She can't resist his commands. She must answer any question put to her truthfully. Crowley wants to ask a particular question---one that's plagued him since he was a child a long, long time ago. He wants to know why it is she hates him.

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Rowena, unable to stop the words from flowing freely, states, “I hate you, because when I look into your eyes I see the woman I used to be, before magic, before the coven. When I was nothing but Rowena, the tanner's daughter. A pale, scared little girl, who smelled of filth and death. I hate you, because when you were born, your father said he loved me, then he went back to his grand wife and his grand house, whilst I lay pathetic and half dead on a straw mat -- my thighs slick with blood. I hate you, because if I didn't, I'd love you. But love, love is weakness. And I'll never be weak again.”

This statement sums up their portion of rejection and acceptance in the episode. They have been asked to reject Satan and to accept love or to accept Satan and reject love. Crowley hasn't entirely made up his mind on this question. It is one he may spend the remainder of the season trying to understand or at the very least grasp. Rowena has chosen the former from the very beginning of the episode. Her entire argument is summed up in that speech. She hates Crowley---Fergus---because if she does not she will choose to love him instead. Her bad experiences have made her see this emotion as a weakness. It is in magic---and now in Lucifer---that she will find the power to save herself from any weakness.

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Unfortunately for her, it is her utter undoing. She has chosen the wrong side. She has chosen Lucifer---an entity that will see her as nothing more than an ant. She was a means to an end. Her usefulness only served one purpose---to grant him his freedom. In succeeding at doing just that, she has earned her reward. Rowena's rejection of love---and of her son, Crowley---has led her to this moment. Lucifer, now possessing Castiel's vessel, gives her his “token of his affection.” Deftly, he snaps her neck, leaving her dead on the floor.

The death of Crowley's mother has hit him hard in that exact instant. He knows that he's not in charge of Hell anymore---if Lucifer should determine he wants the place. He knows he can't stand up to the Archangel, either. That was proven the moment Lucifer flung him against the wall. It's not that loss of power that has impacted him the most, though. It is the loss of his mother. Rowena and Crowley may have had a contentious relationship at best, but it was theirs and in a strange way he was growing used to their bickering, their scheming, and their attempts to do one another in. It may take awhile for Crowley to truly admit it, but it's clear now that they never wanted to truly kill each other anyways.

After all, they share so many of the same traits---right down to how they take their tea. “A little honey and milk.”

What about the other supernatural being in the episode? What of Castiel?

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The angel arrives on scene to find Dean overcome with what he describes as “smiting sickness.” The angels used their fully combined force to strike the Darkness down in an attempt to stop her from tearing the universe apart. They now need to know if it worked. Did they eliminate her threat? Has she been stopped? Dean was on his way to that field when he has to pull over and throw up, so overcome with the sickness. If he should go further, it's possible that it will kill him.

That means only Castiel can go inside and investigate. He knows they need the answer to this question. And yet, as he treks into the field, dark as the night, he is plunged into a spiritual and emotional darkness. It will test his character, test who he is, and make him doubt more than ever before. He will face externally all the self-loathing and negative thinking he's been carrying around. It will make him have to answer hard and fast to the question “do you reject Satan or accept love?”

It is possible this will be a question Castiel will have to answer and answer again the remainder of the season.

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As he nears the center of the blast, he runs into another angel. Ambriel is from the birth and death statistics. She is there to verify what Castiel is there to verify---did they indeed kill Amara? They are wary of one another as they talk. Ambriel has heard of Castiel---and the nicest thing she's heard about him is that he “kills angels.” They agree not to come to blows or to kill one another and try to figure out what happened. They can be a help to one another instead.

Ambriel tells Castiel that she didn't find anything weird in the woods, but Castiel is skeptical. After all, he tells her, “Really. You know it is the middle of the afternoon. So, why is it dark?”

Whatever the angel smiting did, it has permeated the area with vast darkness in its wake. Is it from Amara? Is it possible this has damaged her or worse?

Castiel admits that he never wanted to be hated by the other angels. It had never been his intention. She tells him that she doesn't hate him at all. And as they trek through it, Ambriel tells Castiel that they're not all that different. She says, “I mean, we have a lot in common. Our names rhyme, that's a big one. I look good in a trench coat too, and we're both expendable.”

Expendable. That's a harsh word that Castiel isn't necessarily unfamiliar with. He had once belonged to a garrison. He had once been an obedient soldier to Heaven---and in the wake of his numerous defections, it has continued on without him. It hasn't needed him and he knows it. In fact, Heaven hasn't just gone on without him---it has rejected him and locked him out possibly forever. His own kind has rejected him and there is no chance he'll be restored to his former place.

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To make it worse, Ambriel states, “Well, that's why we're here, right? I'm a number cruncher and you-you like I said, I've heard the stories. You help. But Sam and Dean Winchester are the real heroes. So if the Darkness is still alive and she's pissed and she kills us, no big loss. So sure, maybe we're not super important, but we do the job. I think there's nobility in that.”

Ambriel is the negative voice for Castiel's inner mind made manifest. She is stating everything he's thought. She's not malicious about it, either. She does see nobility in her station. She knows it means she's serving her purpose and that no matter her fate she'll be remembered in some small way for that. And yet, it plants the seeds of doubt in Castiel's mind. Maybe he isn't as important as the Winchesters. Maybe his assistance has done more harm than good. Maybe he isn't the hero. Maybe they would have done just as well without him. Even though he knows that Dean physically couldn't make the trek here, he has to wonder if perhaps his going in to investigate at great risk proves Ambriel's point. He is expendable and if he should die here trying to find out Amara's fate, then no big deal---even though neither Sam or Dean have implied anything of the sort.

It's the wrong track for Castiel to traverse. He can't allow himself to fall into this pitfall. These are some of the lies he can fall for---and while Lucifer is the ultimate question in the episode---it is this moral debate that Castiel must wrestle for himself. He can't listen to the lies that Ambriel is voicing. While she may believe them and take comfort in them, he has to realize that they are falsehoods. They are doorways into darker thinking---and it can lead him to failing to making the right choice when posed with the question “do you reject Satan and accept love or accept Satan and reject love?”

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Amara only reinforces that thought process. She is indeed recovered from the smiting---especially after consuming Ambriel. She tells him, “I know you are, you reek of fear and self loathing. Oh, scary. She's right you know, you are expendable and weak. And why God took a special interest in you, I'll never understand. My brother always did have horrible taste in men.”

It stabs straight into Castiel's heart. Outside these encounters---and his own mind lying to him---Dean is calling him. He needs his help to save Sam. While it may seem that Castiel will only be an assist, the word need is crucial. Dean doesn't see Castiel as expendable. He doesn't see him as weak. He doesn't think Castiel can be tossed aside. He needs him to help save another of their family: Sam.

Castiel knows that they must act fast to save Sam. As they watch Rowena work and they hear Sam's cries of pain, he rushes right with Dean to help. As they are both pulled into the cage with Sam---facing Lucifer himself, he is confronted with the same question all the characters are: do you reject Satan or accept love?

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Castiel, so turned around by the lies he's heard from both Ambriel and Amara, is tempted to pick the former. His intentions, however, are based in the latter. They are locked in a cage---and while it is not THE Cage, he knows they're in a sticky situation---with Lucifer. His rage is being unleashed on them all. He is beating on all of them, threatening each one of them in turn. They may be three, but Lucifer is an Archangel. At any point, Lucifer could obliterate any of them.

He has pummeled Sam. He threatens to kill Dean. He beats on Castiel with force. In that moment, Castiel asks a single question. It will help him answer the one posed to him. He asks, “Can you really beat her?” Lucifer, knowing that Castiel is weak and vulnerable, tells him point blank that he can. And so, Castiel says yes. He'll allow the Archangel to take his vessel and anchor himself to earth.

Castiel has chosen to accept Satan---literally. It allows the Archangel freedom. He may very well help them defeat the Darkness. In part, Castiel did so because he felt he was expendable. He said yes because he felt that if this was their only hope he would take on that burden. He had a moment of weakness driven on by the lies his mind told him---a key and crucial metaphor being shown for depression---and it made him give in to Lucifer in hopes for a better outcome.

But he also did it for love. He knew that the only other option was for Sam to say yes if they were going to let Lucifer help. It would be a painful and excruciating experience for Sam. Given enough time---and the likelihood that Lucifer would not relinquish control afterward---Castiel felt he had to spare Sam that pain. And so, Castiel chose in his awkward and backward way to accept both Satan and love.

It will be love that will save him in the end, too. For Lucifer isn't as good an actor as he thinks. The brothers may have let it go, but they both noticed immediately that something was different. It won't be long before they realize the truth and try to save him---thus showing that love is the ultimate weapon against Satan---and the Darkness herself.

What of Sam and Dean? How do they answer the question “do you reject Satan or accept love?”

Dean is unaware of what happened to Sam at the start of the episode. So first, Dean answers this question with Castiel. Consumed with his need to know if Amara is dead or not, he's on the road to the smiting area. As Castiel approaches, they talk about what must be done. Not once does Dean tell Castiel that he must go because he's expendable. Not once does he tell his angel friend that it won't matter if Amara kills him. Instead, he simply asks that the angel bring out her body---and if she isn't dead, he states plainly, “Run.” It's important that Castiel get away from the Darkness.

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Forced to turn back by Castiel---and his stomach---he goes to the Bunker only to find it empty. Sam is not home. That sets off his alarm bells and he is quickly on his way to search for his little brother. He calls him, getting voice mail. The message itself, recorded by Dean, captures so much about the brotherly relationship. It states, first with Dean's voice and then Sam's, “Hey, Sam can't talk right now because he's waxing... like everything. But leave a message---What are you doing with my phone? Dean, come on.” This small moment captures their acceptance of love beautifully. The fact that Sam left it as is speaks volumes.

When Dean gets the phone call from Crowley, however, his panic rises. He rushes to the location Crowley provides, calls in Castiel, and makes his long way down to Hell with the collar the Reaper, Billie provided. Dean calling Castiel shows his trust in the angel. He knows he needs him as an ally. It isn't because he only sees the angel's use. He needs his friend with him---so Sam will have someone else he can trust and rely on in the fight against the Devil. Castiel is needed by them because of his strengths and his powers. Dean values him---a total counter to the statements made to Castiel by both Ambriel and Amara. This shows just how Dean chooses both Castiel and Sam---and accepting love and rejects Satan.

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Most of all, Dean will not stand by and allow Lucifer to take his brother again. He won't do it without a fight. It's just not in his DNA. Crowley states, “Don't worry about Sam.” Dean, already angry and scared, retorts, “I'm sorry, have you met me?”

It matters not if Lucifer needs Sam. What matters is that Sam is suffering and it's up to Dean to find a way to stop it. That means that he's forced to work with his enemies once more. He will have to team up with Crowley---and Rowena. They will have the power to help get Sam back out. After all, it was the witch's magic that got Sam in the cage in the first place. As long as it works, Dean will chance it. The alternative is to leave Sam stuck with Lucifer---or something far more sinister. If his brother should say yes, the Devil will be free once more. He has to stop that to save the world from Lucifer's threat.

As he anxiously watches Rowena work her magic, he hears his brother scream. Even though Crowley screams out, “Don't,” Dean will rush to his brother's aid without a moment's hesitation. He can't let Lucifer simply beat on Sam---or coerce him into saying yes again. Dean will willingly get in that cage with his brother in order to help him and to protect him. To stand idly by just isn't who he is.

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The fight is on in earnest, and it is Dean's number one concern that he deflect all attentions away from Sam. He will take the punches. He'll try and take on the brunt of Lucifer's wrath. If it'll spare Sam while they buy the time needed to get out while Lucifer is locked away, Dean will gladly do it and more. Sam, after all, has been locked in this cage alone for far too long.

Even when he's held up high against the bars and Lucifer taunts Sam with a perverted version of the episode's question, “Alright Sam, I'm gonna make this real easy for you. Say the magic word or your brother dies---and we both know you won't let that happen,” it's clear that Dean doesn't want Sam to give in. And once Castiel knocks Dean free of Lucifer's grip, he rushes right to his brother.

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In the aftermath, he is concerned about Sam. He knows they dodged a bullet. Sam still doubts if they made the right choice. Was it right to lock Lucifer back up? What will they do about the Darkness? Dean retorts, “Her and the Devil? That's a nightmare.”

Dean answered that he chose love explicitly by standing with Sam against Lucifer. How did Sam answer this question? How did he make his choice?

Trapped---literally in one of his worst nightmares---Sam is confronted directly by Lucifer. He knows what is coming. The Devil taunts, “I could inflict pain like you couldn't even imagine,” but Sam has endured it once before. He knows what will happen and how bad it will get. All in an effort to get what he wants, Lucifer will rip Sam apart---hoping if he has enough time to do so, he can maybe get Sam to say yes. Sam is fully ready for that outcome---expecting Lucifer to do his worst. He warns Lucifer, though, “You'll taunt me, and you'll torture me, and I'll say 'no.' And eventually, sooner than you think, my brother is gonna walk through that door and kick your ass.”

Instead, Lucifer decides to ask him the question “do you reject Satan and accept love or accept Satan and reject love?” He tells him, “I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse.”

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Lucifer takes him into his own memories. He shows Sam when he was a teenager, helping a girl with her homework. They're carefree and easy with one another. There's the naivety and charm of youth in their interactions. Young but worldly Sam is teaching her about the Aztecs and their beliefs. He tells her that he's been to Mexico and wonders if she's ever heard of a chupacabra. The girl admits that she wants to make out instead, and they kiss. The scene is sweet. The action is bold. Lucifer explains, “This is the Sam Winchester that I remember. Bold. Decisive. Subtly on the tongue action. You used to be a hero, Sam. Hell, you beat me. Now? I look at you and I don't even recognize you anymore.”

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To prove his point further, he takes him back to Stull Cemetery and makes Sam relive throwing Lucifer back into the pit. He states, “Sam, have I ever told you how much I appreciate you? ” Sam is stunned, giving Lucifer a blank stare. He can't believe that the Devil would feel this way. Lucifer retorts, “Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't like you. I never liked you. You're-you're sort of prissy.” Then why would Lucifer ever express such sentiments? What is it about Sam that he appreciates? It's the gumption that Sam had in his toe to toe match with Lucifer that impressed him. Sam, a human being, had managed to win against the Devil himself. He had chosen the hard path of self-sacrifice for the greater good. Sam had been a hero. He had saved the world from the Apocalypse.

Sam watches this profound moment. He takes in what Lucifer is stating---and it is easy to see that this might sway him. After all, he had done it once before. After all, he had managed to win once. Why not give into the Devil now in order to save the world from Amara? Afterwards, he could beat Lucifer again. Why not take his power and use it to their advantage? An Archangel would be a powerful ally---even one as twisted and deceptive as Lucifer. Someone that had managed to defeat the Darkness once before would be a worthy addition to their team. And yet, Sam takes something else from this moment---something he'll hold back until he absolutely needs to reveal it to the Devil.

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Then, the Devil shows him where that went wrong. If Sam won't yield when shown his strongest moment---the moment he won in a head to head match with the Devil himself---Lucifer will have to dig deep and find something he feels will sway Sam. He needs something that will guilt him, will twist on his inner guilt, his pain, and his need to find redemption. And so, Lucifer shows Sam his time with Amelia, rubbing salt in Sam's wounds. He tells him that he wasn't a hero to adhere to his agreement with Dean---to not look for him. But that's not what Sam really did wrong. He tells him, “No, wait, here's my personal favorite---is you doing every stupid thing you could to cure the Mark even after you knew it would go bad. Yes. You'd do anything to save him and he'd do anything to save you and that is the problem. Because of this. You're so overcome by guilt that you can't stand to lose Dean again and he could never lose you. So instead of choosing the world you choose each other no matter how many innocent people die.”

Lucifer is hiding behind his own lies. He's twisting the truth, turning the question around to accepting Satan and rejecting love all in hopes that he'll convince Sam that he must say yes again. It will be the only way they can save the world from the Darkness. It'll be the only way that they'll win. He tries to convince Sam that choosing to love his brother is the problem---and while it has led to some messy circumstances, love was not the problem. Love has never been the problem.

Sam doesn't point out the fallacy of Lucifer's arguments. Instead, it's clear that he's taking all of Lucifer's arguments in and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. He knows that if he allows Lucifer to have even a single moment of hope that he'll expose the Devil's pride. And, as they say, pride goeth before the fall. So, he lets Lucifer present his carefully constructed case. He lets him try and twist his own memories to his aim, and try to twist love for his brother into something it isn't, and to let Lucifer try and convince him as to why he's the only hope they have against Amara. It'll eventually collapse on the Devil like a house of cards.

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Once back in the cage, Lucifer gives Sam his closing argument. He points out that Raphael and Gabriel are both dead. He gives an update on Michael's struggles with being imprisoned. God won't show. If they're going to stand against Amara and win, then they will need Lucifer. That means getting Sam to say yes. He needs freedom to help. He tries to sell it, stating with pride, “I'm it! And hey, I'm not the good guy, we both know I'm not, but the Darkness, she's the end of everything. But I can beat her, we can beat her. You and me, together. So come on, Sam. Make the right choice, the big sacrifice one more time, man. Sam, it's time to save the world, man.”

Sam has weighed everything Lucifer has told him. He has considered it from every angle. The case is strong, and Sam had admired that Lucifer talked a good game, but in the end is it really enough? Will he give in and give consent to being the Devil's vessel again? Going toe to toe with Lucifer once more, Sam replies firmly, “'Cause this is what I think. I think that whoever wins -- you or the Darkness -- everyone else loses. So no. My answer is no. This isn't because of Dean, or the past, this is about me having faith in my friends, having faith in my family. We will find a way. I'm ready to die and I'm ready to watch people I love die, but I'm not ready to be your bitch.”

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In that moment, Sam has answered beyond a shadow of a doubt the question this episode posed. He will reject Satan and he will accept love. He knows that the road may be hard. He knows that it may leave him dead. He knows he may lose loved ones---but he will not stand by and be the one that brings Lucifer back into this world to wreak more havoc. He will not be responsible for unleashing this evil again.

Lucifer lured Sam there with his visions and his trickery. He may have done it in hopes to gain his freedom. On some level, he may even believe his own lies. He may want to actually help stop the Darkness. In reality, Lucifer has now given Sam a gift. He gave Sam the ability to recognize those lies that he's told himself for what they are. He's given Sam the power to reject him---more than once. Sam can now recognize his own power and his own strength. He can accept love---and in turn give it back to others.

Because in the end, rejecting Satan and accepting love is the only way the Winchesters will truly win against both Lucifer and Amara. It is their representation of lies---those we tell ourselves and those others tell us---that must ultimately be defeated. In this latest confrontation with the Devil, Sam learned that he could do just that---and win.

There's no doubt that this is the path they must follow now in order to beat the formidable foes they now face. Reject Satan and accept love. It is the Winchester Way.
 

 

Comments  

disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2016-01-24 20:06
Farawayeyes, thanks, that's a very beautiful article and a real pleasure to read. The main theme accepting love and rejecting the Devil seems very spot on. But, it seems to me, the episode is not only about love, it's about love and faith. It seems to me that Castiel's failure was because he lost his faith: he lost his faith in God: "Sam: Maybe God is not as far as we think. Cas: "I wouldn't count on that" (episode 3 if I'm not mistaken), in his friends: Lucifer's words "those hairless apes can't do that..." in himself - expandable.
And Sam was firm in his faith in his brother, in his friends and in himself. As for his belief in God, faith is never about certainty it's always about hope and Sam hasn't lost hope. And one more thing, I'm far from sure that Sam's visions were from Lucifer.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-01-24 21:13
Thanks for the comment.

I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much.

I think faith is also a big component in their fight against Lucifer/Amara absolutely. Sam states that he has faith in his brother and friends and I think that's going to be one weapon that they will have to rely upon as they face down both Lucifer and Amara down the road. I also agree that Castiel lost total faith in so much, especially himself. I think the extension to Sam and Dean is valid, too. He saw what Amara did to Ambriel and is scared that there's no way for Sam and Dean to do better. I hope that they'll remind him that they can and will---and that they'll need him, too.

As for the visions being from Lucifer only, I don't know yet if that's a total lie or not. I'd like to think that God had some hand in it, but I don't speculate as much as possible on points like that. I hope we will get an answer to that lingering question as we go forward, though.

Thanks again.
percysowner
# percysowner 2016-01-24 20:13
Castiel, so turned around by the lies he's heard from both Ambriel and Amara, I do want to point out that being wrong is not the same as lying. Ambriel stated that Cas is an angel killer and the truth is Cas killed 50% of the angels after he took in the Leviathan. She stated her opinion that they were both expendable. Cas started out as one of a group of angels who were strong enough to pull Dean from Hell, but expendable enough that six of them died in the attempt. Being expendable isn't something new for angels in general or Cas in particular. Ambriel may have been wrong about Cas, but she wasn't lying.

Amara is trickier, but again, I don't think she was lying so much as misperceiving the situation. I think that Cas may well reek of fear and self loathing. His off screen actions over the last episodes (holing up in the Bunker and binging Netflix) could be seen as the actions of someone dealing with depression and PTSD. Both of those could leave Cas filled with fear and self loathing. I don't think Amara lied, per se.

Did these statements lead Cas to a mental state where he saw himself as unworthy? They absolutely did, but saying the lies made him do it isn't accurate either. This isn't Ruby and the angels telling Sam that Lilith had to be stopped to thwart the Apocalypse, when killing her started it. It's closer to John telling Dean he might have to kill Sam. That wasn't true, but John believed it at the time.

I hope love can pull Cas back and help Dean pull away from Amara. Sam seems to have overcome his biggest fear and it's hard to see what he can confront that will make him waver. Now it's time for Dean and Cas to find their footing.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-01-24 21:09
Thanks for the comment.

I think they are lies. I don't think they're lies when Ambriel states them necessarily. She's absolutely right. He did kill huge swath of angels when he possessed the souls from Purgatory, so yes, he did indeed kill angels and it is all true on that point. There's no disputing those truths. And no, what she's saying here is nothing like the twisting of the truth or the lies that Ruby once told Sam. Ambriel believes what she says and she's not entirely wrong, so I agree with you on that point. Where I see them as lies is where I see Castiel internalizing them. While he did those terrible things and she's simply pointing those facts out, his belief that he is somehow nothing more than that and therefore expendable or worthless is a lie. It's a lie he's telling himself more than Ambriel is telling him. As for Amara, she's simply reinforcing the lies that Castiel is telling himself. He's not seeing that there's more beyond that or that he's capable of more than simply "killing angels" or as he does in the end giving into Lucifer.

I do agree that Dean and Cas must now both find their footing when it comes to both Amara and Lucifer and a way to confront their fears, their internal lies, and their fears. It'll be intriguing to see how Sam helps them on that, too.

Thanks again.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2016-01-24 23:20
Thank you for a lovely review as always.

Cas sacrificing himself for the greater good may have seemed like the right move at the time but does he really think he can best Lucifer? Does Cas really think he can trust the devil to do the right thing when he never has? It just seemed like such a rash decision. Specially since he knew Lucifer's entire history. Really Lucifer killed Cas once already. Almost killed Dean and essentially killed Sam. I am thinking something else must have happened between Cas and Amara before he got the message carved into his chest. Low self esteem doesn't feel like enough of an explanation for his choice.

I love that Sam stood up to Lucifer. No matter the consequences for him or Dean or Cas Sam knew that for the greater good he could never let that horror loose on the world ever again. I loved his faith in Dean. No matter what he knew that Dean would come for him. I really do think that Sam's vision of John in the Impala was from someone other that Lucifer. John told Sam pretty much what your theme is for this article. Love and Faith in each other is what will defeat the Darkness. "Only you boys can stop it". I think now Sam knows what that means (if he didn't always).

Poor Crowley. What kind of person would he have turned out to be if only Rowena had loved him. He always seems to side with the good guys in the end doesn't he. It always seems to be to save his own skin but I think he is more complicated than that. Those were real tears in his eyes when Rowena was telling him whys she could never love him. In her eyes too, there was so much regret. I think he meant it in the church when he told Sam he just wants to be loved. For a demon he sure has issues and now he is in a bad situation.

Dean was awesome when he went into full big brother mode. He may have some odd connection with the Darkness that is influencing him but Dean has never waivered in his faith and love for his family. He will do whatever it takes to keep them safe but of all of the characters he is the one who (at least I don't think) could never let them die. Not if he can prevent it. What awful lesson is coming for Dean? What terrible sacrifice will he have to allow? Scary times ahead.
Jen
# Jen 2016-01-25 02:53
Cheryl just a quick response. It sounds scary what you mentioned "awful lesson" & "terrible sacrfice" for Dean. I have been so focused on Sam, Amara, Lucy. Cas and everybody else that I hadn't thought of this, Dean's story has progressed slowly in the first half of the season and He and Sam have been focused on re-building their bond which has been funny, sad, and loving to watch that I completely forgot about his Killing of Death, and his connection with Amara. These two things alone Dean has to face, and they are big challenges. What will happen in the last 3- 5 eps. Yep/ I'm worried
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-01-25 18:04
Thanks for the comment.

I'm not entirely sure what totally made Castiel give in the way he did in this episode. Based on what was given, he lost faith in himself, listened to the voices of Ambriel and Amara---which both spoke some manner of irrefutable truths---and finally listened to the twisted versions of those truths simplifying so much of his situation and turning them into lies. So far, that's all we really know. I'm hopeful that we'll see more reason than that given. Castiel's been isolating himself for the past few episodes, especially after Rowena's spell. There's so much there to tell about what ultimately made him do what he did.

I'm inclined to think, out of ALL the visions that Sam received, there was only ONE that wasn't from Lucifer. I don't think the one with John was the Devil at all. I think that was either somehow their father from beyond, God, or some other helpful being (Gabriel please?????) And I do think that Sam knows that it will be down to them and that God will help those that help themselves. His strength against Lucifer was impressive and moving because he realized that no matter what he had to say no for himself. I liked that it came down to saying it for himself and not for anyone else, too.

I was totally floored by the emotions in that scene for Crowley and Rowena. I think Crowley realizes that he loved his mother and while she didn't love him back (though I think she actually did in her own weird way) that the chance he may have had in getting her love has now been taken away. I don't know where they plan on going with his story, but I hope that we see him deal with this and somehow maybe find a way to return Rowena to the living. Their dynamic brings so much to the story and makes Crowley more dynamic as a character. He's not totally focused on his reign in Hell or standing against the Winchesters. He becomes more faceted for the relationship he has with her, and I'd like to see them find a way to tell more of that story as we go forward.

Dean. Oh Dean. I think we're going to see some dark things for him. I worry about him, too. I don't know what the end game is for him beating back Amara and such, but I think we'll be in a bumpy ride for him, too.

Thanks again.
Jen
# Jen 2016-01-25 03:06
Far Away Eyes this article must be the most emotional one you have written I could feel the love coming of the page.
I felt these emotions right through the whole episode. It was beautifully written but kept distinctly masculine. There was no "prissy moments" it was written for Sam & Dean. At times I felt I was intruding on their private moments. Its a major battle for them this season & you can feel the desperation, their tirdness, their struggle to fight on. I feel this has been portrayed from Ep 1 OK some of the episodes have been hit and miss but the essence was there. They have so many challenges this season and it is going to take everything they have got to win Lucifer/Amara/C as my god goodluck to My Boys

I loved Rowenna's back story but I didn't think they wrote her as a women scorned they introduced her as a whiney at times campy witch. The back story for me didn't fit the Rowenna portrayed.
But the story of choose - love or evil was portrayed perfectly between Crowley and Rowenna I wish they hadn't killed ?? her off because that would have opened her story better
Thank you again for writing such a beautiful reveiw -- one which you must have found emotioally draining xxxooo
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-01-25 18:12
Thanks.

I'm touched you found this one so emotional. It was at times, yes. I started with the question about the baptismal questions and went from there. It just made sense as I went through each character's story, too. I'm glad you thought I captured their inner struggles and story well throughout it.

I loved Rowena from day one. She reminded me very much of a relative of mine and I really liked her as a whole. Her backstory in this episode also struck me. From the last reason she cites about the blood on her thighs, I get the sense that Fergus was not born easily. Considering when that was and her size, there's a big reason why that might stick with her and create some of her resentment. I hope we get to see more of that story. There's so much left to tell there.

Thanks again for enjoying this one so much.
YellowEyedSam
# YellowEyedSam 2016-01-25 10:02
Great article! You really broke the episode down well. :)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-01-25 18:13
Thanks for the comment.

I'm glad you enjoyed this take on this one so much.
SueB
# SueB 2016-01-26 01:15
Excellent review, once again.

And I'm so glad you focused on love. I can't tell you how proud Sam made me. AT LAST, IMO, I think he has achieved a level of self-acceptance . He knew the right answer, even if he was a little doubtful after the fact, I was never worried he'd say yes. Sam has grown so much as a person in the last three years. I don't think he'll ever run again. And I think he's coming to terms with who he is and the choices he has made. Not blithely, not easily, but as you said... based on love. The source of his strength is his family and friends and his unwavering faith in them. Another demonstration of love IMO.

And I think you are right, Cas acted out of love. He didn't know they were playing for time, he wanted to save Sam and so he took on the burden. But I think you are also right, I think the power of love and faith in Team Free Will is going to win the day.

I can't wait to see this play out. It's going to be painful, but I'm very hopeful.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-01-26 17:25
Thanks for the comment.

Sam has truly grown so much in the last few years absolutely. I think he knows this is their life and he wouldn't really have it any other way now. As long as he's hunting with Dean, I think this is where he wants to be. I think that kind of love he shares with Dean---and with others in their extended family like Castiel---total ly baffles Lucifer. I think he can understand it on some level---judging by the psychological trip he tried to put on Sam---but he can't feel it. It's not real to him and so that's why he can't understand why Sam said no. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

I don't know if Castiel really knew if they only needed those few more minutes or not. He might not have heard Dean's comment to Sam. I do think that he did take on the burden for that reason, but I also think he's scared and feels this might be their only shot at having someone capable of defeating the Darkness, too.

It's gonna be a bumpy ride for sure and I look forward to seeing where it takes us for sure.

Thanks again.