Every so often, we all need to hit a reset button. We all need to purge ourselves. Many religions have seasons for this very reason. Catholics have Lent. Muslims celebrate Ramadan. Each is about cleansing one's heart. In many ways, it is the only way we can truly move forward in our lives. We can't hope to succeed in the future if we're too busy dragging our past with us. We can't allow anything to cloud our hearts. This concept is captured and explored beautifully in “Into the Mystic.” It is this truth that is hidden so beautifully in Mildred's advice to Dean. It is a cleansing of the heart that will help everyone in this episode---even if some are only taking their first steps on that journey. No matter the obstacles they face, the past sins they carry, or the fears they feel weigh them down, each character must face something in their own heart and cleanse it if they are to truly “follow your heart.”

The case that brings the Winchesters to Oak Park is simple on the surface. A man has died in a locked room. He bashed his brains in against the wall, screaming about a noise that no one else could hear. Thinking it a quick salt and burn, they handle it efficiently. Instead, it turns out to be a banshee. Along the way they meet Eileen and together they protect Mildred, a resident they fear may be vulnerable due to her heart condition.

s11e11 470 Mildren Dean
First, let's start with Mildred's advice to Dean. Faced with waiting for sunset to arrive, and the time for the banshee to attack, she invites Dean to sit with her on the couch, watching the sunset. It's a gorgeous sight. She simply wants to share with someone and show him what she sees in it. She asks him when the last time he's watched the sunset without waiting for some gruesome monster to face. Not sure that he'll want her advice, she remarks that he probably won't want her secret to a long and happy life. Indeed, despite his line of work, Dean's interested. So, she tells him, “Follow your heart. You do that, all the rest just figures itself out. I did that, I followed my heart. Traveled the world, made people smile, forget about their problems for a while. And then my heart said, 'well, you're done.' I had my fill and retired and I love it.”

Underneath that simple advice, we realize that it's much more about cleansing one's heart. So much can tarnish our hearts, weigh them down, or make us vulnerable. Pain. Guilt. Anger. Vengeance. Fear. Each of these negative emotions can pollute our hearts. That can hold us back and prevent us from following our hearts or knowing our true purpose. And so, we must face these obstacles, cleanse the darker emotions away, and move forward.

What must Eileen cleanse from her heart in order to move forward? What must she face in this case?

In the beginning, she is a baby when her parents are taken by the very banshee that they're hunting now. It brutally attacked her father, making him bash his own head in so it could feed. It, realizing her mother was trying to stop it, killed her next. A member of the Men of Letters, sent from the American delegation before the society went defunct, saved Eileen and raised her more like a hunter to help her avenge their deaths. She's been hunting for this creature ever since, taking on other monsters along the way.

s11e11 266 Eileen reflection
Raised the way she was, it means Eileen has only known the hunter life.

The current attacks have drawn her to the same retirement home. She's convinced that the same banshee that killed her parents has started to kill its residents. Working the case alone, she watches Sam and Dean discuss it, reading their lips. Seeing that Dean refers to a “feeding time,” she's certain they must be the monster. It's a fair conclusion for her to make---considering out of all the people in the home they seem to be the newest on scene. Knowing that the banshee feeds at night, too, means that it's easy for her to think that they'd be biding their time until nightfall.

s11e11 354
This honest mistake is a fixable one. She manages to trap Sam in the laundry room, using a binding spell. There, Eileen learns that Sam is just like her---a hunter working the job. Even more, he's also a Legacy. He explains to her that the other hunter is his brother. Eileen has never worked a case with someone else---aside from her mentor we can surmise. She holds up the gold blade she's used to test Sam with and remarks, “Trust issues.”

This might be the first thing that Eileen must cleanse from her heart. She doesn't trust other hunters and she jumped to a quick conclusion based on the hearsay she managed to glean from their conversation. In learning that she was wrong, however, Eileen is now open to the possibility that there are others just like her, hunting. In many ways, their stories may mirror hers---more than she realizes. In learning to trust Sam while on this particular hunt, Eileen also opens herself to the possibility of having allies and other connections she can go to when she may need a hand while on a job. Even better, Eileen also appreciates Sam's attempts to use sign language---even if he made a mistake on his first try.

It's a great first step along her path to a clean heart.

s11e11 429
While they wait for Dean to return with more gold blades, it gives Sam and Eileen time to talk. They share stories about why they do what they do. Sam asks her if she knows what she'll do after this. Once she gets her revenge, does she have a plan? What is it that her heart desires most---post vengeance? Eileen hasn't really thought about it, so focused on what she's been trained to do. She's been so driven by one goal that it hasn't occurred to her to think beyond or to what she might want for herself.

She does know, however, why she's hunting this particular banshee. This one killed her parents---she's certain of it and she wants nothing more than to gain her revenge on it. She tells Sam, “I never met them. They're just pictures to me---but they're family. My family.”

The weight of this monster still being out there is heavy---and Eileen needs to see it destroyed in order to put it in her past. The reason to kill it resides in avenging her family---and perhaps preventing others from going through what she has. Sam states gently, “Eileen, in my experience, revenge is not all it's cracked up to be. Killing this banshee is not gonna bring your parents back.”

Eileen needs to hear this. While she hasn't acted foolishly or with extreme anger while on this case, she must be prepared for it to feel differently than she expects once it's over. It won't necessarily bring her peace or joy or make up for what she's lost. She will still be deaf---a side effect from the banshee screaming when she was just a baby. She must do this for the right reasons---and be ready for it to be different than any scenario she's ever imagined.

s11e11 521 Eileen hunter
In many ways, she's already prepared herself for those possibilities. Eileen has taken on the job of hunting in order to get revenge for her parents---but it's clear that she's also taken this job to save people. It's one reason why she takes swift action to apprehend Sam. She doesn't want to see anyone else hurt by the creature, and she'll take a gamble that she's wrong if it means saving just one resident in the retirement home. In that way, she's showing that she's as much a Legacy as Sam and Dean are.

Nevertheless, Eileen must end this monster so that she can put it in her past and focus on her future. She could decide to leave the hunting life. She could follow in her mother's footsteps and become a lawyer---or go to school and become anything she wants. This hunt is giving her the chance to close the book on this chapter of her life and to cleanse her heart of the pain it has caused.

Afterwards, she tells Sam, “It felt like just another kill.”

Eileen's quite capable. Her disability isn't really an issue---evidenced by her skill on the hunt. Certainly, it affects her daily life. She admits to Sam that he could call her, “but I won't answer.” Nevertheless, at no point does Eileen seem weak or incompetent. Instead, she is strong, willful, and smart. She can use her disability to her advantage, showing that no matter the obstacle in her path that she can stand up to its limitations and transcend them. This wasn't her first hunt or her first kill. She's not a novice hunter getting her feet wet. Like the Winchesters themselves, she's a Legacy of the Men of Letters. What she knows, the skills she has, and the experience she's gained through the years make her a formidable ally and hunter. Eileen, therefore, admits to Sam that she will continue.

She tells him, “This is my life.”

This hunt did what it was supposed to do. It managed to cleanse her heart. Instead of living with mistrust and alone, Eileen has gained friends. She's made a connection with Mildred. She's bonded with Sam, giving her new insight into what they do. Where she was consumed by hunting for this monster, she can now truly focus on saving others just like Mildred. Eileen walked away from this hunt cleansed and unburdened by all the darkness that had pursued her through the years.

What about Dean?

When Mildred proposes to tell Dean the secret to a long and happy life, the elder Winchester is eager to hear it. She tells him to follow his heart---but dig deeper and we realize that Dean must cleanse his heart first to truly do that. There is a pollution---something that is blocking what it is really telling him. Something, deep inside, has been festering and growing---and in many ways, because of its complexity it'll take a lot of time, effort, and awareness for Dean to truly purge it. Doing so, however, will be the only way that Dean will be able to truly take Mildred's advice---and therefore perhaps live that long happy life.

s11e11 66
At the beginning of the episode, Dean is concerned about Sam's well being. His brother hasn't left the Bunker in days, and so he is pushing that they take a case close by to get Sam's mind off of what happened with Lucifer and the Cage. After all, Sam's been having nightmares and struggling to sleep. It'll be good for them both to get out and on the job.

Upon arriving, though, Dean drops subtle hints about his own mindset. He's tempted to make a reservation at the retirement home. There are vacancies and he thinks perhaps they should make plans to stay there. Later, as they dig up the corpse of the man they suspect is the ghost responsible for killing people, he questions, “Seriously? No retirement?” Dean clearly is thinking about what they do this and if he wants to keep doing it. He's been so enamored with the road, the life, and the job for so long---and now with another looming threat in Amara, he's wondering if his heart is in it anymore.

s11e11 166
We've seen Dean at this crossroads before---usually bringing the idea of leaving the job, retiring, or moving on when he's afraid of something. He wanted to walk in “Croatoan” frightened by the order their father had left behind. He wanted to quit when faced with the possibility of an inevitable Apocalypse---going so far as the consider saying “Yes” to Michael for a time. Each time, Dean has done so in some way due to either fatigue or fear. Each time, he has had to find a way to overcome that and renew his commitment to the family motto of “saving people, hunting things, family business.”

This time is no different. In fact, contemplating his heart may be the very route he must take in order to overcome this new fear.

Amara. Her threat is large and frightening to Dean. She has professed to have a bond with him---through the Mark and more. She's warned that he'll never be able to kill her. She's his “destiny,” and she “cannot be resisted.” Amara has taken Dean's heart and twisted it around emotionally with this strange powerful hold she has over him. It has left Dean largely unable to articulate what she's done to him. He's scared of her power and what she can do to him. The strange bond she keeps trying to assert tries to mask his true heart's desire---making it harder than ever to truly follow Mildred's advice.

09
When Dean returns to the Bunker to grab the gold blades required to kill the banshee, he finds that it is occupied. He can hear their intruder---and that is most certainly what he is---rooting around in files and scrolls and books. It is Castiel---or so Dean thinks. Lucifer quickly pulls on the facade of Castiel, trying to keep his new found freedom and vessel secret for as long as possible. He also hopes to gain insider information so to use it against the Winchesters later. Lucifer tells Dean, “I had her in my sights. I should have finished her off.”

Dean, understanding how hard it is to truly follow through on killing the Darkness, states, “I tried to kill her.” He had tried stabbing her---twice. Once before she had fully acquired her power and once after. Both attempts ended in failure. Both times left him doubting and struggling to understand just what she's doing to him. Lucifer quickly assesses, stating, “The two of you are connected somehow by the Mark.” That is only part of it. That is the surface answer of the problem. Dean can't put it into words, unable to truly identify what she's doing to him. Lucifer automatically jumps to the word attraction to label what is happening. Dean, frightened by what she's done to him, remarks, “I know. I know, okay? Whatever it is -- attraction, connection. I gotta tell you man, I don't know if I can stop it. I don't know that I can resist it.”

It's telling that Dean can only use the words Lucifer supplies. So unable to name it himself and unable to articulate what he's feeling and experiencing, he swears “Castiel” to secrecy. Until they know more and can truly speak about what is happening, they'll simply not tell Sam. Truthfully, Dean wouldn't even know where to begin to tell Sam. Besides, he's already expressed as much of this feeling to his brother already. From the very moment Sam found him after the Darkness was initially released, he's already told Sam about this bond. The stronger it's become---and the more it's twisted him around---the less Dean's been able to understand it's true meaning. He can't tell Sam what he can't really explain to himself.

That leaves Dean trying to understand Mildred's advice---and to drill deeper into the thought of cleansing his heart, too. Amara has twisted his heart and made him uncertain about what he wants or should be doing.

06
Unfortunately, it also leaves Dean extremely vulnerable. Frightened by something he cannot name, it opens him up to the banshee's attack. In the heat of the battle, as they try to prevent it from killing Mildred or taking away Eileen's chance at revenge, it singles Dean out, screaming until he can't take it anymore. He isn't even able to try for an attack with his gold blade---a clear parallel to Dean's difficulties and failures at killing Amara. Instead, he's forced to bash his head into the wall, all in an attempt to stop that scream from invading his ears. He's driven by its compulsion.

It isn't until Mildred can trap the banshee in the symbol and Eileen can make the kill that Dean will stop. Being forced to do something like this must remind Dean of the larger threat in Amara, looming. He knows that she is patient, waiting for the exact moment to strike and collect on the bond she's forcing on him.

And yet, she's unable to blot out the truest form of his heart's desire. Mildred points out that it'd never work between her and Dean---mainly because he's already pining for another lady. Dean is and he isn't. He most certainly has some strange connection to Amara, but she's not what his heart's truly set on. That's set on something for more powerful---a bond that has been tested time and time again and emerged every time: the one forged with his brother, Sam.

s11e11 548 bro talk
Based on his comments about retirement, it's possible that Dean means that he'll accept any life with Sam---and it need not include hunting necessarily. As Sam confesses to his brother about what Lucifer had done to him while in the Cage, he takes in Sam's apology. He tells him, “Well, I have. Hey, that's in the past, man. What's done is done. All that matters now, all that's ever mattered is that we're together, so shut up and drink your beer.”

In this singular moment, Dean is the most confident he's been all episode long. He's not conflicted about what's happening to him. He's not struggling to understand Amara's hold. He's steadfast that they're together as brothers---and really, for Dean, that's all he's ever really wanted anyways.

s11e11 597 Dean last shot
It's also when, despite the banshee targeting his vulnerability, he's most vulnerable, too. Alone in his room, he's faced with his thoughts. He's faced with his own fears. Alone, he's not keeping his mask on to keep it hidden from Sam. Dean has to seriously take in what his happening to him and try and understand what it all means.

The answer for Dean does lie with Mildred's advice, however. He must find a way to buck Amara's hold. He must find a way to keep her from tainting what he truly wants: a life with his brother in no matter the form it takes, be it hunting or not. He must follow his true heart's desire and it is in it and through it that Dean will overthrow Amara's call to “destiny.” Choosing his brother, in this case, may be the very thing that will help the Winchesters to save the world. Choosing his brother once more may be the very thing that will cleanse Dean's heart---destroying any power Amara may hope to wield over him.

s11e11 53 Sam in bed
Dean is not the only one in need of cleansing. There's something that is sullying Sam's heart, too---preventing him from following his heart fully. As long as it lingers, sending its tendrils throughout it, Sam will find it harder to face the threats lurking out in the wider world beyond the Bunker. What is it that clouds his heart, then? What must he face head on and acknowledge if he, too, will manage to cleanse it and relieve the burden he carries? If he is to remain committed to honoring the phrase “saving people, hunting things, family business” in it's fullest, Sam must handle this quickly.

Much of what has gripped his heart in “Into the Mystic” can be summed up in one word: Lucifer. His fresh encounter and time trapped with the Devil has taken a toll. He may have stood his ground and refused to become Lucifer's vessel in a courageous and heroic moment---perhaps one of the strongest Sam has ever had---but the aftermath has started to settle over him. It has caused him to have extreme nightmares. Lucifer's taunt “After the Leviathans, when your brother was trapped in Purgatory, you were here... with a girl and a dog,” haunts Sam, pulling on an emotional scar. It is a truth that he hasn't fully dealt with or let go. Instead, he has let it fester, building up scar tissue around his heart in the worst way possible.

s11e11 57
To reclaim some of his composure, Sam chooses to engage in assembling and disassembling his gun in a compulsive manner. The action is one he's turned to in the past---soothing and meticulous in nature, it gives Sam the semblance of control he feels he lacks. He can try to best his time. He can make sure that his weapon is field ready. Instead of focusing on the thoughts floating around in his head, Sam can focus on the physical work his hands do---the feel of the weapon, the sounds of it as it clicks together, the sight of it put together, each part fitting into its intricate puzzle. It's yet another attempt by Sam to hide from the very thing he must deal with, however. The action will only allow him to take the edge off for so long.

Dean realizes that Sam has been holed up in the Bunker too long after the latest encounter with Lucifer, and so convinces his brother to take on a case nearby. It's a mere fifteen minutes away---no excuse for Sam to stay home or wheedle his way out of it. It sounds like a simple case. Perhaps he can use it to get back on his feet. Perhaps he can use it to reclaim the mission of “saving people, hunting things, family business.” Most of all, perhaps it'll help Sam to cleanse his heart from what happened---and from the scar ripped open anew inside. It may be just the thing he needs to help move forward rather than being trapped in an endless loop of guilt, sorrow, and fear.

Sam can also focus on mentoring someone like Eileen---and even more see her as an equal that he respects and feels he can start to trust. After all, she does manage to get the jump on him, convinced that he's either the banshee or working with it. Her skill on the job instantly makes him like her. Sometimes, Sam needs a sounding board to help voice the thoughts he's yet to name.

13
They exchange their stories about the life---being hunters, Legacies of the Men of Letters, and revenge. He's saddened to learn that her parents had been taken from her so brutally by this creature. To learn that she was trained by a member of the defunct Men of Letters and that they share this bond makes him feel that much closer to her. Until now, he believed that he and Dean were the only ones left, the only living reminders of the once powerful group.

s11e11 427

And so, Sam admits quietly to her, “Yeah, I wouldn't do this without my brother. He's had my back every step of the way, even when I let him down.” Unlike Dean, Sam is able to put words to his struggle. He's not going into explicit detail with Eileen---and he really doesn't have to---but he's able to voice what he's been keeping pent up inside and perhaps allow himself to examine it for his own good.

It is a necessary first step towards cleansing his heart, too. He's admitted to Eileen a portion of his guilt. In doing so, Sam can finally see it for himself in the light of day. It isn't twisted by Lucifer's taunts. It isn't twisted by a memory thrown back in his face. This guilt is his to bear and to cleanse on his own. Until now, Sam hasn't voiced it. Half the battle for him is to finally admit to the problem. The rest will fall into place now that he's taken this first brave step in seeing the issue that's scarred him for so long now.

To hold onto this guilt will only make his heart weaker. If he is to truly grasp what his heart desires---to truly “save all the people” he can, he must find a way to burn away the dark feelings he's carried---ones that he buried and had dredged up to taunt and scar him further. His quiet admissions say so much, allow him to internalize their truths, and to finally release them.

Eileen is a kindred spirit, the kind of person Sam needed in the right place at the right time. Her capability and strength despite what society might see in her disability and the limitations it may place on her inspires Sam in ways he's not entirely certain he's ready to understand yet. His ability to open up to her comes mostly from his ability to empathize with her situation. This is clearly seen in his genuine but fumbled attempts a signing upon their first meeting. It's seen in his gentle approach with her---never done in a patronizing manner, but always from a footing of equality. In many ways, it is just what he needed in this case. The monster itself is fairly self explanatory. It is in helping Eileen realize her goal and helping her to figure out what comes next that allows Sam to work through his own issues.

Nevertheless, the fact that the banshee attacked Dean also haunts Sam. It means his brother was vulnerable, raising questions he hasn't the answer to just yet. It makes him wonder just what might be stalking his brother now---and how this may trace back to the Darkness. He won't rest until he knows the truth---even if he must be patient about acquiring the answer to those troubling questions. He won't make the same mistake twice---clearly as it has taken him this long to wrestle those inner demons and cleanse them from his heart this time.

s11e11 557 sams apology
And so, haunted by the words Lucifer tossed at him, Sam takes what he learned while on the case and applies it. He takes the last step in his penance, cleansing his heart completely of the sin he feels he can no longer bear. He tells his brother, “I should have looked for you. When you were in Purgatory, I should have turned over every stone, but I didn't, I stopped. And I've never forgiven myself for it.” If he does not do this, what Lucifer said to him will only fester---or worse, Sam would have simply buried it again, allowing it to scar him further. Even more, to rebury it would have possibly paralyzed Sam, too. If that had happened, he may have repeated the mistake anew---in a different form under a different set of circumstances. He had to do this in order to move on and move forward.

Sam also puts this cleansing into action. He puts the retirement home's brochure into a box filled with other trinkets---ones he clearly values and associates with Dean and family. Pictures of family and other odds and ends make up its contents---including the replica amulet from “Fan Fiction,” and army men like the one's Sam shoved into the Impala ashtray as a child. Each item must hold significance for Sam, tied to his life and watershed moments he wants to treasure. Each item may contain some lesson---good or bad. Each item may allow him to remember what lies in his heart. It is the memory of this case---the lesson it taught him---that he files away with the other items inside.

s11e11 579
As he files that memory away, it reminds him to follow his own heart. That he desires to hunt with his brother and to stand by Dean no matter what. He learned to let go of what Lucifer had dredged up. He took the moment to apologize for what had happened---and in so doing had truly set his heart free.

Now he'll be able to follow it in his quest to help Dean against the Darkness---and he'll need every ounce of his heart's strength to do it.

After all, in the end, “all that's ever mattered is that we're together.” It's their combined and cleansed hearts that will allow them to win against the Darkness, Lucifer, and whatever else might stand in their way.
 

 

Comments  

AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2016-01-31 16:18
The memory of the case - the lesson it taught him. I love how you gleaned that from Sam keeping the brochure. Nice read! Thanks.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-02-01 17:25
Thanks for the comment.

I'm glad you liked that take away. It just seemed to make sense to me as I watched the scene in a couple of rewatches.

Thanks again.
Jen
# Jen 2016-01-31 18:24
Amazing Far away Eyes. This review hit home with me both show wise & personally. I am so amazed. Thank you

In another thread, so many and we chat and laugh so much I can't remember which one, but everybody felt that maybe this season according to the Sam pov. we were heading toward another Sam sacrifice. I felt differently I beleived that Sam was being emotionally clensed (I used that word) so he was prepared for a fight with his brother, not a physical fight but a emotional fight. I of course didn't explain my idea as well as you but the idea was the same. I actually saw what you saw I'm so proud of myself. I feel that this clensing has been starting since Ep 1 Out of the Darkness when Sam got the virus, then in Ep 5 Thin Lizzie, when Sam said to Dean "No we don't won't to kill him we won't to save people" Then in Ep 7 Plush Sam (and Dean) when the mother was speaking of trust / brother and talking.
Ep 8 My Imagination, Sully just helped Sam tidy up his thoughts and asked Sam "Do you still won't to run away " Sam -- "Sometimes. but No not anymore"
Ep 10 Devils in the details With Lucy going back over what Sam sees as his biggest failures and Sam still being able to say No. and finally the climax Ep11 Into the Mystic. Sam has now asked for forgiveness and has forgiven himself the healing can now begin and Sam will be ready for Amara/Dean connection. Sam now knows without a doubt that He and his brother are back together fighting the same fight side by side. Sam is ready he won't falter he will fight Amara for his brother. I think Castiel/Lucy will be the sacrifice they make this season

On a personnal note. I have decided to make my own changes this yr and I have been tidy up bits and peices, throwing out the old preparing for the new. And when I read your reveiw I relized I was clensing myself in preparation for moving on. I didn't cry (for a change) I felt justified in what I was doing and I am more determined than ever.
None of us on this Fan site have met but it is true what they say, SPN fan's help and support each other in the most amazing way even when they don't know their doing it. And the show as well, I have been doing what Sam has been doing clensing myself and I didn't even relize. WOW Thank you what a wonderful Family Jen xxoo
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2016-02-01 00:16
There's something to ridding oneself of things - as in belongings - that once it's done you do feel lighter. As far as emotional baggage (so to speak) that is considerably harder but can oft times be just as rewarding. We all need to do as Sam did by the end of this episode - recognizing the importance of allowing ourselves to forgive ourselves. Life can suck hard enough as it is without beating oneself up. I don't know what your situation is but I hope you find happiness in 2016.
Jen
# Jen 2016-02-01 01:20
Thank you Ali cat I'm looking at moving back to my home state Melbourne Victoria - and that will be a divorce as well. I'm not sad l have tried 24yrs - but its time I can feel it I have been trying for 2 yrs No more time wasting I'm determined Thank you for your thoughts Clensing moving on
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2016-02-01 02:51
If you are talking divorce, I'm right there with you girl. Stay strong. It will all be better in the long run.
Jen
# Jen 2016-02-01 03:23
Thank you I feel good about it at the moment No I feel really strong Thanks for the support xxoo
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-02-01 17:31
Thanks for the great comment.

I'm glad you really enjoyed this take on the episode. It took some thinking and musing on that speech Mildred gives about following one's heart, but it just made sense as I saw how each story was tied together that it was about cleansing. It's also getting closer to Lent, so that's kinda on my mind, too.

I agree. I think Sam's been slowly doing this cleansing this season and it's a good thing to see. He's been holding onto some of these things and those things have hurt him in ways that he can't allow anymore. I also like that it means he'll be able to let go of this hurt and accept the forgiveness from both himself and from Dean. That was a powerful moment to see them share in such a quiet moment.

I don't know what they're planning on with the brothers, Castiel/Lucifer and sacrificing, but it's possible we may see something along those lines. It'll be a wild ride in the back half of the season, that's for sure.

I also love how the SPN Family lifts us up and so many of us have forged friendships. It's one of the best things about being in this fandom for sure. I hope you'll continue to read my thinky thoughts and enjoy them so much.

Thanks again.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2016-01-31 20:07
I love your take on this episode. For a relatively uncomplicated MOTW, there were a lot of genuinely moving scenes and insights into all of the characters. While Sam and Eileen do seem cleansed by the end, and Sam indeed seems more at peace with himself than he has in a very long time, Dean continues to struggle. But I loved when he said this:

Quote:
All that matters now, all that's ever mattered is that we're together,


When Mildred told him to follow his heart, little did she know that foremost in his heart is his brother. That simple, heartfelt line reassures me that ultimately he will be able to resist Amara, because it will inevitably come down to a choice between her and Sammie. And unless the previous 10 seasons meant absolutely nothing, I know who he will choose. I guess the real question is what it will cost the brothers.
Jen
# Jen 2016-01-31 20:24
I love your reply SD
"When Mildred told him to follow his heart, little did she know that foremost in his heart is his brother. That simple, heartfelt line reassures me that ultimately he will be able to resist Amara, because it will inevitably come down to a choice between her and Sammie "

When I heard the words "Follow your Heart" I automatically thought of Amara, but I like the thought that its his brother Thank you SD that also reassures me
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-02-01 17:35
Thanks for the comment.

I'm glad that this was a simple MOTW monster so we could focus on characters like Eileen, Mildred, and of course Sam and Dean. It made the story being told that much more powerful---and the banshee was a pretty neat monster to see on screen as icing on the cake. I do think that Dean's struggle will continue, but he's not alone and that gives me great hope. Sam will be there through it all.

I agree, Mildred may have thought Dean was pining for some lady---it's really for a good life with his brother doing what they do best. I put all my money on Sam when it comes to a show down between Sam and Amara and Dean having to choose between the two. Sam wins hands down every time.

Thanks again.
spnlit
# spnlit 2016-02-01 21:31
I love how you saw this episode and how it reflects on the whole myth arc this season. It caused me to reflect on Sam and how he followed his heart to escape Lucifer.
I think Lucifer is the master manipulator. I refuse to believe that Sam is solely motivated or the driving force of Sam's decision to save Dean is motivated by guilt. I disagree that Sam's guilt is his guide. So why did Lucifer highlight this scene of being with Amelia and the dog? Lucifer's end game is to get Sam to believe that Sam is not fit to take on the Darkness that only he mighty Lucifer can do it and Sam has to say Yes and release him from the cage. Lucifer was capitalizing on a decision that Sam made to not or/ stop looking for his brother. Sam thought Dean was dead and moved on the best he could and ended up finding something he never had before. When Dean came back, Sam may have had some remorse or regret for not looking because his brother was alive and hurting and Kevin needed him and the Crowley/demons were still causing death and destruction. After seeing all that, Sam may have felt bad. So Lucifer takes this regret and twists it into something dark that he thinks can be used to get his way. He wants Sam to think that all he felt was guilt and the guilt motivated him to save his brother and that it was all wrong and saving your brother means you are guilt ridden and weak, not capable of saving the world because you have to die and destroy yourself to defeat the Darkness and Sam is just too much of coward to do it now because all he cares about is brother. But Sam rose above all the feelings Lucifer wanted him to feel.... guilt, regret, inadequate, weak , doubtful, incapable. I think he also rose above Lucifer's planted seed that guilt and weakness is why you save your brother and it is wrong. Sam's final answer to Satan: "Is it? Really? '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. Then after days of listening to Lucifer's words in his head he let out the his regret and let it go, you are right he cleansed his heart. Sam did not say he was sorry because he was not and he did not have to be sorry he just felt bad because in retrospect that is the choice he wished he made and then when given the choice as Dean put it for one of them to be happy; to stay with Amelia, the normal life, and no hunting he made that choice to look out for his brother stay, carry on the business. Sam beat the devil by following his heart, with his faith and love after all; in his friend and family particularly his brother: Sam " 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." And you know, that is what they, Sam and Dean did together. They would have walked out of there without Castiel's rash decision to say YES. And why did Cas say Yes? because he was not as strong as Sam. His heart was burdened; and they beat Cas down with the same tactic that Sam survived.
Castiel: You think I'm afraid to die?
Amara: 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. Amara used the same you are weak, afraid to die, fear, self loathing, doubt and brothers being wrong routine.
added note: Amara knows the ways of the devil. ;)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-02-02 17:58
Thanks for the comment.

Absolutely. Lucifer took a truth---the guilt Sam did have about what he did while Dean was in Purgatory---and then twisted it to his own ends to try and force Sam to giving him what he wanted. Lucifer then made it a sin to fight for and save one's brother, citing the fact that by removing the Mark from Dean that it released the Darkness which is bad for the world. That, too, is a truth----the result of what they did to remove the Mark. But he's also very very wrong. Saving his brother is not a bad thing nor does it make Sam a bad person or weak. It doesn't mean that he should stop trying to save his brother from other things. Love is never a bad choice or a wrong choice. It may be messy and have some consequences that aren't always ideal, but it's not something we should ever give up on and I like that Sam didn't. Faced with so much from Lucifer, it's a testament to his strength that Sam could still see that truth and turn away from those lies.

I don't know where they'll go with Castiel/Lucifer now that he's said Yes and the like, but I think it'll also get messier before too long. I just hope that Sam and Dean can remember this lesson here and find a way to stop both Lucifer and Amara from trying to twist the world to their view that love is somehow a bad thing.

Thanks again.
sugarhi15
# sugarhi15 2016-02-02 12:03
FarAwayEyes

I just want to praise you for such a wonderful review. Your take on this...well I couldn't agree more. What a wonderful way to examine the characters and all that they're experiencing and what most likely is necessary for them to defeat the D.

If the Winchesters have taught us and inspired us to do anything, it's love. Love is a wonderful, incredible emotion that fills us all with, dare I use the word...bliss. Without love, there is no life worth living. Love isn't perfect though. While love is a necessity to life, love can cause harm as well as good. The Winchesters have taught us that as well. The trick is to try to keep love balanced...with a balanced love you're heart will be free to experience the joys that love brings. Unbalanced....s ometimes love can break your heart.

The Winchesters love ea. other and of that there is no doubt and love is the driving force for what they do for ea. other, I cannot and will not argue that point. As Spnlit noted, love is the main reason Sam does what he does for his brother...alway s and forever...Nobod y and I mean nobody has the faith that Sam has in Dean. Nobody sees Dean as the good person he truly is the way his brother does. Sam has shown love and patience with Dean that only a mother would have. Still, I believe also that guilt in part influences Sam as well, then again, if we didn't love then we wouldn't feel guilt or remorse when we believe we somehow hurt or disappointed those we care so much about. I'm not even referring to him not looking for Dean and the regret/remorse he feels there, dusted with a dash of guilt:p:, i'm talking about the deep down guilt that I believe he's buried but yet still remains from his inability to stop Dean from going to hell. I still think that Sam has never really forgiven himself for that. It's always been my belief that Sam sees that as a fail on his part.

Sam by nature does carry guilt as does Dean. We've seen Sam carry guilt around since the first season. He felt guilty over Jess' death. Sam felt guilty for his part in his mom's death. Sam most definitely felt guilt for accidentally releasing Luci. Sam felt guilty for the actions of Soulless Sam, he spoke to Dean a few times in s6 about having to make it right. Sam also felt guilty for Kevin and whether one might see that as rational or not, the way Sam saw it was that it was his hands that killed Kevin and he suffered from the nightmares envisioning it over and over. He also told Cas in First Born to keep going with that needle, that he needed to do something right for once, as he also felt guilty for not closing the gates...if he had closed the gates, he would've died and thus he wouldn't have killed Kevin. What I'm trying to get at here is reminding us all that there is precedence that illustrates that Sam too, much like his brother, is prone to feelings of guilt. There is also precedence in that there have been times where Sam's actions were influenced/moti vated by his guilt. His desperate need to save Dean in s10 was most definitely an act of love, without a doubt....but I still think Sam's guilt was also an influence as well, because he wasn't going to let his brother die again, and he certainly wasn't going to allow him to become a demon. Neither Sam or Dean are one dimensional cardboard cutouts....they are complex characters whose motivations/act ions are influenced by different emotions. And love...well that's the most complicated emotion I think is out there. ;)

Sam's ability to rise above and see through Luci's manipulations and his attempt to get Sam to say yes displayed his amazing strength of character....I' ve always,, always praised sam about his strength of character.... Sam is the strongest character on the show, even dean admitted to that. What I believe to be a further example of his strength is his ability to ultimately come to terms with his demons and face them head on. The scene where he confessed about how he regretted and felt guilty for stopping ( which I believe means imploding and running) was both cathartic and most impressive on Sam's part. His heart is now free of any burden he's clung to for so long....he's now free to follow an unburdened heart along with his brother to fight the D...who ironically I find, if she even has one, a heart so black that the only way for her to find bliss is by stealing the souls of others.

I totally agree with you as well regarding Dean. I think Dean's attraction is in his head....but if he follows his heart, as Mildred advised, his heart always leads to his brother.

I kind of thought Sam putting the brochure in the box was kind of two fold. Firstly, that he still holds out hope for that light at the end of the tunnel, and secondly I thought it was more symbolic....Sam finally "retiring" all that guilt. :)

Looking forward to next week's ...


12 hours ago

0
Like

Share
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2016-02-02 17:51
Thanks for the great comment.

I agree about the love aspect so much. It's what drives these two brothers ultimately, and it's one reason why the show continues to endure so much. Their relationship and their motivations made through love makes the story that much more complex and rich.

I also agree that Sam's guilt goes much further back than the guilt he was cleansing. I've always looked towards the Mystery Spot and what happened there and how he's never moved on from that. Compound that from failing to stop Dean from going to Hell and it's no wonder it's built up on Sam through the years. I like that he managed to come clean about some of it to Dean, allowing himself to purge yet another layer of guilt or remorse. He's apologized for other things like setting Lucifer free and starting the Apocalypse---so this is more like cleansing a fresher fault he's not let go.

I like the image of Sam "retiring" that guilt with placing the brochure away. It's a great image and I think it fits. He most certainly did that.

As for Amara, I don't think she has any inkling what really makes humans tick. She's looked at it in the black and white terms, the Dante construct, and filtered it through a vision she sees to replace it with her own universal make up perhaps. It'll be her undoing to not truly understand what it means to be human or what drives them. Sam and Dean are most certainly the best ones to school her on that all the while defeating her. It'll be messy a hard fight, but I expect them to come out winners.

Thanks again.