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Further thoughts on 11.02 (Sam meta) 
17th-Oct-2015 03:53 pm
Thinky thougts
The reason I love discussing the show is that it helps me get to grips with something I might have missed or not understood.

One thing that has been a kind of revelation to me is a new view on why Sam didn't tell Dean he was dying. I realise I could be way off base here, but at the moment it's actually getting me excited again. And yes, I KNOW it could all get chucked out next episode but even if it does, I think this will be my head canon on this.



I really can't seem to let season 9 go can I?!. I'm still feeling the gaping wound of Sam's non-consensual possession. After it wasn't touched in S10 I thought it had been forgotten. And maybe it has been, but after a comment that percysowner (and others) left on the 11.02 discussion thread, I have a new perspective of what they did with Sam in the last two episodes. And I'm pretty excited about it.

On the surface we could say that Sam stubbornly wanted to find a cure for himself. We could also say that he didn't want to involve Dean because he knew it would take him away from saving the baby. He could also appear to be selfish in not telling Dean as we know how devastating it would be if Dean found out later that he had died. I think all of those things are true but I think there are other things in play here.

The last time Dean saved Sam from dying he forced an angel inside him, he lost his autonomy and his body killed Kevin. Dean's guilt for doing that drove him to taking on the Mark, which ended up creating Demon!Dean. Sam then needed to save Dean from the MoC and is now the reason why the darkness has been freed. The very first time Dean saved Sam from dying (2.22) Dean ended up selling his soul and going to Hell. Sam began drinking blood which resulted in Lucifer being freed. The end result of that was Sam jumping into Lucifer's cage to save the world (off which the show reminded us over in 11.02).

Is it any wonder he wants to keep Dean out of it now? Experience tells him that it really (really!) isn't going to end well if Dean tries to save him (and this isn't just about what Dean has done, it's also about what Sam has done too).

But I think the theme is even stronger than that. So many times Sam has had his autonomy compromised. He has not been able to make decisions for himself - especially when it comes to his death. This time he did. He was making the decision for himself. He couldn't let his "self" be compromised again so he fought until the very last minute. As percysowner put it "Sam trusts Dean with his life, but not his death". (And I'd like to add - yet. The theme of them not letting each other die is a big one and I'm excited that they could be exploring that again this season. But this time (hopefully!) for both of them).

And I don't believe Sam has a death wish. At all. I think he has made "peace" with dying (as he did in S9), but it's not that same as wanting to die. In fact, I'm not sure we've seen Sam fight harder to stay alive.

Also, this isn't about them loving each other less because they want to break the cycle of sacrifice. This isn't about seeing them shrugging of the other's death either. It's about being able to let the other die. I think the selfishness comes from having to have the other around - no matter the pain it causes (and I know it's exactly what makes their relationship so engaging and interesting and I'm not calling for that to change. But I DO think it's a theme that is worthy of exploring).

Sam had to choose between a devastated Dean or himself and/or world being comprised. Again. And after the speech he made in 11.01, it becomes clearer why he chose to go it alone.

Of course, I don't believe for a minute that if Dean was dying Sam would go back on that. He really did mean "and I'd do it again". But I feel that if anything has come out of the last two episodes it's about Sam needing to put the brothers back on some sort of equal footing - from his perspective. He needed to save himself, find a cure and not put the world at risk from him cheating death. Sure, if he had failed he'd be dead and no cure would have been found - but I think in terms of the storytelling and Sam's characterisation it was more about what Sam needed to do after what had been done to him in the past.

I suspect (and hope!) the next episode will be the third chapter and we will have to see how Dean responds to Sam not telling him. I would really love to see Dean's character explored as throughly as I think we've had Sam's. I HAVE to assume this will be addressed because the last 2 episodes have led up to it. If it's nothing more than a catalyst for discussion I will be pretty happy about it. If it's not mentioned at all, then it will be my own little head-canon for Sam taking control back (after weeping a bit).

When Sam was dying in S9 he asked Death to make sure no one could make a deal or be hurt by him coming back. It didn't work out. I think this time Sam was going to do everything he could to stay alive, but if he couldn't he was going to die on his terms and without more innocent people being hurt because of his resurrection. Sure, Dean would be devastated but, as per his prayer, he believed that maybe Dean could actually have a better life without him (because these two knuckle heads think the other would be so much happier without the them. And that is a whole other discussion I think…;D).

Stoopid show. Making me think about things.
Comments 
17th-Oct-2015 09:06 am (UTC)
Very cool thoughts. I think you and percysowner are on to something here. I'm not even really sure the idea of being sent to The Empty is such a horrifying thought for Sam. He doesn't want that for Dean though, I don't think. I'm glad you found something to get excited about.
17th-Oct-2015 11:13 am (UTC)
Hee - I remember getting excited during S9 that they were heading somewhere with all this and it never happened. I would love to think this is somewhat connected. I do think the idea of them going to "the empty" is yet to be explored - but maybe it's about making their death more threatening or something. The problem is, we know they can't die so the threat is never that, er, threatening. I think it will be how they respond to that. Sam knowing that he can't be brought back might give him some level of peace. And maybe even Dean (if Dean faced). But yes, it's not something they will want for each other so maybe there will be even more at stake for keeping each other alive. Hee, and we'll be back where we started…:)

I would have thought the "empty" would be a damn sight better than either heaven or hell (knowing what we know about those places). And I suppose if they're together it might not be such a bad option.

Why do I have a feeling the "empty" is where the darkness will end up. Hmmm
17th-Oct-2015 10:09 am (UTC)
The fact that it *still* makes with the thinky thoughts after this amount of time - impressive!

Sam as far as I can see is completely okay with his mortality, not because he thinks Dean would be better off without him, but because he's come to the realisation that when they both buck the natural order, others they love and some they don't even know, get screwed in the deal. He was willing to fight to stay alive, find a cure, but he didn't want Dean's instinct to preserve his life to kick in and drop everything to come save him.

My two penneth anyways :)
17th-Oct-2015 11:15 am (UTC)
The fact that it *still* makes with the thinky thoughts after this amount of time - impressive!

It is pretty damn impressive!

And yes! to everything you say here. I didn't pick that up when I was watching it, but it how I can see it now. And I like it! :)
17th-Oct-2015 10:35 am (UTC)
I really hope the writers actually meant this. That might be giving them too much credit though
17th-Oct-2015 11:18 am (UTC)
*nods* that's always the problem when trying to make sense of stuff. But I've decided that even if it's not what they meant, I'll believe these reasons for Sam doing what he did. Though, I also believe it's possibly there to create further riffs between the brothers. But I seriously hope not.
17th-Oct-2015 10:50 am (UTC)
Huh. That's actually a very good point. Though, like manzanita_crow, I wonder if it's giving the writers too much credit.
17th-Oct-2015 11:22 am (UTC)
Possibly. :) Though maybe it doesn't matter what they meant, but rather the interpretation (though I prefer to think it's what they meant). *g* I think the next few eps will make that clearer - maybe.
17th-Oct-2015 10:51 am (UTC)
I love this! Not that I don't want them always willing to give everything to save each other, because that's what makes them so compelling. But the idea that Sam consciously chooses to fight for his own life here (and I agree, he doesn't want to die) is very compelling. It also makes me wonder if there were other times that Sam doesn't tell Dean what he's been through (that year between Season 7 & 8? the six months after Dean finally dies for good in Mystery Spot?) because those are struggles he owns for himself, not more guilt he wants to pile on to his brother. Very good thoughts and SO worthy of discussion and debate! Never stop the discussion!
17th-Oct-2015 11:53 am (UTC)
Oh yes. I like those ideas too. I think Sam is very conscious of burdening his brother (like he said in 7.02). He really doesn't want that - and I think some of the reason for not telling Dean is tied up in that. I imagine Sam won't voluntarily tell Dean what happened (it was hinted that Crowley knew, but kept cutting Dean off) because he knows how cross Dean will be. I think Sam might just want Dean to recognise the good he did and express some pride in him, but unless Dean has changed he will call Sam out on it. But as I mentioned above, I'm hoping this will be a catalyst for opening this theme again and really going somewhere with it.
17th-Oct-2015 11:30 am (UTC)
And how about this: if Billie is really Death playing in a different sandbox, maybe her "threat" that if Sam and/or Dean die again it will be for good this time, was actually Death assuring Sam that he would make good on the promise he made Sam in 9.1?
17th-Oct-2015 11:55 am (UTC)
I like the idea that Billie is the new Death. It would make some sense because really? Death can die? Death is probably like Dr who. Reincarnated after one body is somehow destroyed.

And it's interesting that they see dying as a bad thing (and normally it would be), but I would think that for the boys it would be time to finally rest. "There will be peace when you are done".
17th-Oct-2015 12:29 pm (UTC)
I also think that Sam telling Dean "I'd do it again" about saving Dean is another clue. Sam knows he's committed to changing their pattern. He also knows that however committed he is, he would still fall back on that pattern and go to lengths he shouldn't to save Dean and Dean hasn't yet expressed the need to change how they operate he kind of agreed but didn't make a conclusive statement that he believes that Sam is right to want to change this. So Dean is more likely to revert to old patterns than Sam is and Sam has acknowledged that he would still revert to those patterns. They are just starting to think about readjusting how they work and it's really easy to "fall of the wagon" as it were.
17th-Oct-2015 01:43 pm (UTC)
*nods*. I still long for Dean to acknowledge this - I have since S9. Sam has sometimes been this voice (as I think he was when he told Dean "Same circumstances - I wouldn't") but they then back track on it. There was no chance it was going to happen last season with the Moc, so maybe it will be something this season. Though, I remain wary - I'm not entirely sure the Show sees what Dean did in S9 as problematic (and yet consider Sam torturing a demon to get answers to cure Dean to be), so we'll have to see.

I'm hoping these first there episodes will be about them readjusting and finding their balance again. It's started that way, so it will be interesting to see if that continues. Not sure what they're planning with Dean though. If he's tied to the Darkness, that may skew his reactions to things.
17th-Oct-2015 02:09 pm (UTC)
It is one thing for Sam to accept his own death. The problem for me is the rest of his statement:

“And if I have to die, I’ve made my peace with that, but please, Dean deserves better. Dean deserves a life.”

What he is missing is that if Sam is dead, there is no 'better life' for Dean! Sam acknowledged to Dean in his impassioned speech about saving people in the first episode: if something happened to Dean, Sam 'would do the same thing' to bring him back again because Sam can't be without Dean. So why can't Sam see the same is true for Dean? Why does Sam think that he is not as necessary for Dean's continued existence as Dean is for his? To say 'I've made my peace with dying but it's going to kill Dean, so take care of him and help him find a reason to keep going...'

It's that imbalance in how Sam sees their need/love for each other that I see as part of the problem--and a symptom of how Sam, after all this time, still doesn't see himself as important :(

It's actually a mutual problem, Dean also doesn't get that Sam needs him as much as Dean needs Sam--going all the way back to the initial deal of Dean selling his soul to resurrect Sam, Dean also believed Sam would be just fine without Dean, and Dean still thinks that shows at the end of season 10 when Dean goes off to have Death kill him at the end and he leaves Sam the keys to Baby.

Dean's last attempt to keep his brother caused Sam to be taken over by Gadreel, which violated Sam's personal agency--now Sam's need to to keep Dean unleashed horrific evil on the whole world. True, Sam didn't know exactly what bad thing was going to happen, but then Dean didn't know that Gadreel was going to do more than just fix Sam and get out. But for each of them, keeping their brother was more important than any consequnces.

Terribly unhealthy, yes.

And the exact reason why I am compelled to keep watching the damn show!


Edited at 2015-10-17 02:13 pm (UTC)
17th-Oct-2015 02:47 pm (UTC)
So why can't Sam see the same is true for Dean? Why does Sam think that he is not as necessary for Dean's continued existence as Dean is for his?

I think this is the eternal question of them. As I said in my last paragraph, I have no idea why they think the other would be better without them. Dean has expressed the same thoughts. When he made the deal to sell his soul, how did he think Sam would be ok with that? Or when he took the mark? They have very weird ideas of how the other would be without them. Though, I think it's consistent in their characterisations. I think they each feel a burden to the other. It's kind of crazy.

and a symptom of how Sam, after all this time, still doesn't see himself as important :(

Yes. And i see them both having this quality. Though I think Sam truly believed he wasn't going to die, I think he believed in himself (more than he has done in the past) and hearing Dean believe in him helped. I had wondered why Dean had said "I know you will" when Sam said he'd find a cure.

So yes. I agree with your thoughts. It's stupidly messy - but damn compelling. And I actually don't think they will provide answers or resolutions for us. It's probably all there just to throw the ideas around and keep us thinking.
17th-Oct-2015 02:11 pm (UTC)
I HAVE to assume this will be addressed because the last 2 episodes have led up to it.

You're adorable, Ash.
17th-Oct-2015 02:26 pm (UTC)
haha! I expected the "Oh hun" gif. I am disappoint.

(and I kind of know that it's unlikely this what they are thinking. But damn, it would be nice if they didn't let me down. Again :( But I am prepared. I'm still taking away that Sam was in control this time, so that makes me feel a bit better about it all).
17th-Oct-2015 11:53 pm (UTC)
Very interesting thinky thoughts!

but at the moment it's actually getting me excited again

Yay! :D

is it any wonder he wants to keep Dean out of it now? Experience tells him that it really (really!) isn't going to end well if Dean tries to save him (and this isn't just about what Dean has done, it's also about what Sam has done too).

In this case, it was about saving Sam and all of the rabids, so it meant looking for a cure for all of them. If Jenna hadn't called Dean and told her that something weird was going on with Amara, Dean would've gone to Sam, and Sam wouldn't have had a problem with that. First they'd have to exhaust all possibilities for a cure, before Dean even considered doing anything else to save Sam.



Edited at 2015-10-17 11:53 pm (UTC)
19th-Oct-2015 11:16 am (UTC)
Very interesting thinky thoughts!

Thank you! I can't believe I'm writing thinky when I swore I was done with it!

First they'd have to exhaust all possibilities for a cure, before Dean even considered doing anything else to save Sam.

That's true. I think it's interesting that they gave us this at the beginning of the season. I'm hoping it means something, but I'm not holding my breath.
18th-Oct-2015 01:33 am (UTC)
And I don't believe Sam has a death wish. At all. I think he has made "peace" with dying (as he did in S9), but it's not that same as wanting to die. In fact, I'm not sure we've seen Sam fight harder to stay alive.

I agree. Although they are both so delusional about each other. Sam yelled at Dean in S2 or 3 about Dean not thinking about how Sam would be when Dean died. For Dean, it's all about not losing Sam. Sam seems to be okay with leaving Dean, as it were.
19th-Oct-2015 11:18 am (UTC)
Sam seems to be okay with leaving Dean, as it were.

Yeah. Neither of them seem to really consider how the other will feel if they were gone. They seem to think the other will be better off (somehow) without them around. Oh boys!
21st-Oct-2015 02:01 pm (UTC)
I love your thoughts on this! And yes, especially after his speech on 11.01 it makes sense that Sam wouldn't want to call Dean cos he sees how their attempts to save each other in the past led to the whole world (and themselves) being compromised. It's nice to see that what Sam said in the first epi is now followed by actions.
Also, yes to Sam taking control back from what has been done to him! You're right, this is a conscious decision from Sam to fight for his life by himself. And fight he did!! And he won, too! :) I hope this was a boost for his self-confidence - those boys really have a low self-worth, don't they (they're such knuckleheads indeed! ;D) I wonder if we'll ever see the day where they BOTH realise that they are each others world... I'd love to see that!
I'm happy that you feel better about the epi! :) And look at that, even in its 11th season, Show still inspires so many thinky thoughts! (Yay Show!)
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