First of all, I am CERTAIN that what Chuck showed Sam was not the truth. Sam said it best, with "No, the Dean I know... the Dean who raised me -- he'd never give up, no matter how bad things got." I firmly believe that Chuck is being a manipulative annoyance, so he could get what he needed. However, I do believe the thing about balance. The same was said in Season 11 about Amara, so I believe that's the truth. But everything else was just manipulation in order for Sam to lose hope.
Speaking of Chuck, he's driving me NUTS. I can't stand to watch him anymore. I'm so DONE. (Congrats to the writers and to Rob, because I can't stand him, but I love Rob with everything I've got.) I just want Chuck to go away and be a silent manipulator, so I don't have to deal with him anymore. I feel like he's being a petulant child, which is boring in a normal human character, for me, and it's even more annoying in someone like Chuck, who is so powerful. He could be so many more things, but he's reverting to a petulant child who wants to break all his toys. I figure there are things in the works with the season, but I just want to see a different side of Chuck than this manipulative asshole. I've also been thinking about past seasons in relation to this revelation about Chuck, and I was hit with a whammy the other day. Back in Season 11, when Chuck first came back, Dean hit him with a hardcore monologue about faith and having it. Chuck responds with a flip comment about absent fathers. It dawned on me that Chuck might not have been responding genuinely, but manipulating. Also, Dean spoke about how people fought wars and built churches and how Chuck did nothing. Maybe he didn't do anything because he was more interested in waiting for Sam and Dean to come along, rather than worrying about other people.
If that's what I was clear on, the rest of the episode was a blurry mess, emotionally, for me. I'm still trying to sort out what I think. We'll start with Sam. I've loved Sam for as long as I've been watching the show. I think he is a fascinating character, and I think this episode was a wonderful tour de force in who Sam is and how fabulous an actor Jared is. He NAILED it. I think everything that Sam saw from Chuck was all lies. Chuck was manipulating Sam so he would lose hope, so the wound would heal. I do find it interesting and amazing that the reason the wound wasn't healing was that Sam was maintaining hope and belief in himself and Dean. I've always found it interesting that Sam is so optimistic. Throughout the seasons we've seen Sam go through a lot of crap. But we've seen him remain optimistic, even when all the evidence pointed toward all hope being lost. Same here, even after the fact, when they've returned to the bunker, they are still hopeful that they can find a way to beat Chuck. Not destroy him, but get to a place where they can be free, get to a point where the balance can be maintained, but where Chuck isn't pushing all of the chess pieces around. I love this. Sam may have believed what he saw from Chuck was the truth, but I think it was all a bunch of garbage.
Now onto Dean and Cas. I'm really struggling with them because there was so much that happened. The thing that was most interesting was Dean's prayer. For as long as I've been watching, Dean hasn't been the one with faith. We've seen him pray to Cas in lots of ways, but I don't think we've ever seen Dean pray in a way that represents the faith he has in Cas. While Dean is famous for his lack of faith in any G-d, we often see him having faith in those around him, namely Sam and Cas. Before this prayer, we've seen Dean be very flippant about his prayers. Even going so far as to make fun of the fact that he has to pray. Also, we often see him pray in a time of need. Sure, this was a time of need, no doubt, but it was a time when Dean didn't need anything from Cas, but he just needed Cas to be there. He let down some of his walls and told Cas what was really going on. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, but CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. This show is so good at it, and I can't get enough.
Let's move on to Cas. I've always had a weird struggle with Cas, and this episode was no different. I do love it when we get to see him be a sarcastic little angel, and I think it suits his personality well. It also helps him combat some of Dean's more extreme personality traits, which is fascinating on its own. Cas' tone with Dean early in the episode proved that if used correctly, that tone can get Dean to focus on the primary mission and not worry so much about Sam and what he needs. Dean will always worry about Sam, but Cas has the power to cut through that and get Dean to focus on what's necessary. I think their conversation about what had occurred between them was interesting, but I also think it was something we all knew as the audience, but we needed to see Dean and Cas explicate that to each other.
Clearly, something threw me about this episode and I'd love to see what you think! Comments and my social channels are always open!