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8.03...and also... 
19th-Oct-2012 12:06 am
Becc_j Art
There seems to be a major sticking point about 8.03 and I feel like I just need to say this...

I've seem comments about Sam having amnesia about his past life. Him forgetting that he once did have normal. That he would have had a birthday cake before his time with Amelia. Jess would have probably made him one. Even Dean (maybe even John!) would have given him one.

The thing is. He does. He has forgotten those things. The fact is bad things make you forget about the good things. They do. I have SEEN it happen. Horrible things can erase all other good things (and I have honestly witnessed this. It's freaky). If your life is full of pain and heartache then it taints everything else. Even the past.

I can totally believe this has happened to Sam. We know the trauma Sam has experienced. I don't need to list it. So for him to think he has NEVER had anything good in his life is totally believable. In fact, it's a sure sign that something is wrong.

We haven't had the whole picture yet. Both Sam and Dean are suffering from their gap year. We've been given lots of hints. The cake is but one of them. (and I can't believe the writers or the Js have forgotten Sam's past. Jess was mentioned in the last ep. Sam remembers that "dream like" moment because it's recent.).

ETA: New (better!) theory below. I mean, I can totally accept Sam forgetting anything that might have represented "normal" for him before after all the suffering he has endured but I also love that it's Amelia who mentions the cake. Not Sam. He didn't say he's never had b'day cake before. (So stop giving him a hard time about it! *g*)
18th-Oct-2012 04:20 pm (UTC)
ha, you've seen that complaint one too many times. pat pat.
19th-Oct-2012 12:26 am (UTC)
Can you tell!!!?! /o\

18th-Oct-2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
First time I opened livejournal since I watched the ep and to find your facepalms makes me think I haven't missed anything. LOL (joking)

I was thinking that everything in Sam's past was attached to evil in some kind. As YED had posted demons in his friends even then (with Jess) and had Sam's future planned out and also Sam had to sort of hide the fact that his family was hunters. But this time he was really alone, broken off with his past entirely and just driving until he hit the dog. And after that apparently thing became normal in the sense that not only the dog survived but the vet didn't get killed by monsters/demons/whatever (or turned out to be one) but was only hiding to present him a cake in the park. So I do think this was the first time he actually experienced something like this with no dark strings attached. That he did have normal after all.

So yeah, end of gushing about this. lol

(pst, your tag says s5 musings..)

19th-Oct-2012 12:32 am (UTC)
Hee...yeah. Lots of mixed reactions to this one. And you know me, I cool with that except when... I'M NOT! I think I was just confused why there was all this "BUT JESS WOULD HAVE BAKED SAM A CAKE!"

And yes yes! You make a great point. I'm torn between Sam just not remembering that he's had an ok life at times and maybe not ever really having and sense of "normal".

It's so revealing that Sam acted so panicked when Amelia had disappeared - who would blame him. So many important people in his life have disappeared. I'm sure that was a direct comparison to Dean just disappearing.

Oooh... thanks for the tag pickup. It was midnight and I kinda rushed this post.
18th-Oct-2012 05:11 pm (UTC)
If your life is full of pain and heartache then it taints everything else. Even the past.

I can totally believe this has happened to Sam. We know the trauma Sam has experienced. I don't need to list it. So for him to think he has NEVER had anything good in his life is totally believable. In fact, it's a sure sign that something is wrong.

Wow, spot-on observation! Definitely adopting that viewpoint!

19th-Oct-2012 12:42 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm thinking Sam isn't exactly all right at the moment. Neither is Dean. (hee...whenever are they?!)

But it seems plausible to me that this is fresh in his mind so this is what he remembers - above everything else that is tainted.

I also like the idea (mentioned below) that Amelia just assumed that Sam hadn't seen a b'cake before. She says that, not him. I'm thinking it's probably irrelevant whether he's had a b'day cake before. It's more about her not having disappeared (like Dean did) and him being completely relieved and overwhelmed by that. Oh Sam.

18th-Oct-2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I don't have a problem with his current perspective on this at all. Maybe it's a function of having watched the whole series in a short amount of time, but I've never thought of Sam's life at Stanford as being really normal, because if you're running away from something, you're still reacting to it, so Sam was being controlled to some extent by the life even when he was trying so hard to get out of it. On top of that, I kind of doubt Sam thinks about his life at Stanford a "normal" life after he found out about Brady. Those relatively good memories are poisoned for him, and it can be more painful to think about that having happened than just to let it go and focus on the present.

Edited at 2012-10-18 06:05 pm (UTC)
18th-Oct-2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
This. Sam's first bid at normal was defined around John's values as surely as Dean's life was, it was just defined by rebellion into the opposite. And he now knows that everything he thought was his own choice was actively manipulated by demons. This is the first time he's really struggling to figure out what life is his. And he's still, in a way, having to define it against Dean, which is much more painful and complicated but also a hell of a lot more long-run hopeful than defining against John.
18th-Oct-2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of people forget that Sam's memories of Stanford have been tainted by Lucifer's reveal that he has been manipulated by demons even back then. Jess was brought to him like the proverbial sacrificial lamb and his best friend was replaced by a demon, so it's really no surprise that Sam is unable to think of Stanford as the time where he had a normal life any longer. It makes complete sense to me. :)
19th-Oct-2012 12:46 am (UTC)
Yes. Stanford is held up as this shining example of "normal" for Sam, but his memories of it can't be glowing now. They would be well and truly tainted.
18th-Oct-2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
I think there's good visual evidence that Sam imagined the birthday cake picnic thing. Not all of his memories (so far) have seemed to be that brightly colored and saturated. It looked more like Changing Channels than anything real in his memory.

However, I agree! I agree because it dovetails really well with my Sam's ongoing season-long nervous breakdown theory. :)
19th-Oct-2012 12:52 am (UTC)
I think there's good visual evidence that Sam imagined the birthday cake picnic thing.

This brings in a whole other set of thinking for me. We don't know anything about his relationship with Amelia yet. It might not all have been sunshine and roses (or cakes and picnics). He left her at the beginning of 8.01 (before he even knew Dean was back) so something wasn't working. This may well be a dream of what he could have had if things had worked out.

Hmmmmm Complicated though. I'm thinking that Jensen chose to make it like that to give it a happier feel. I also wonder how much he was comparing it to Dean's dream when he saw Lisa on a picnic blanket in Dream a Little Dream.

Oooh, season-long nervous breakdown. Hmmmmm -curious. I wonder if that's the plan (I can't definitely see it!) Both boys looks like they are on a trajectory to crash and burn.
18th-Oct-2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
Um, isn't a birthday celebration a pretty huge and significant thing to forget? Especially for Sam? Especially if there was more than one?
19th-Oct-2012 12:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, well. The more I think about it the less I'm thinking that the b'day cake is as significant as it's being made out. It was Amelia who said it looked like he hadn't seen one before. Doesn't mean he didn't. I'm liking the idea that Sam reacted so strongly to her disappearance because of what happened to Dean (*nods*) that she misread his reaction and made that throw-away comment. I think for Sam it was more about remembering a special moment. The cake just told us that it was is birthday.

Of course, the show could be telling us something else but in all honestly I want this to work so I'm finding reasons for it to. ;)
18th-Oct-2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
At least on my first viewing, I didn't take Sam's reaction to mean he literally had never had a birthday cake before, just that he was 1) surprised, and 2) shrugging off explaining in favour of sitting down and enjoying the moment.

Edited at 2012-10-18 10:55 pm (UTC)
19th-Oct-2012 01:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, my first reaction didn't even register that there would be this issue with the cake. I just saw it has Sam having something he enjoyed. Something that was "normal" and safe and loving.

Also, she mentioned the cake as something Sam might not have had. Doesn't mean he hasn't had that. I think it was just an indicator that it was a birthday celebration. And me know they don't make big deals out of birthdays.

19th-Oct-2012 12:04 am (UTC)
I thought Amelia was misreading Sam's surprise a bit, actually. To me, Sam had his mini panic attack when Amelia vanished and then Riot vanished and he was alone on the bridge -- that was a pretty significant shot, given how much emphasis they've been placing on "well and truly alone." I imagine Sam feels kind of like that episode of STTNG where everyone vanished one by one till Dr Crusher was all alone, in the aftermath of all his accumulated losses plus 7.23. But then he turns the corner and he's surprised and happy because things haven't vanished, because he's had a GOOD outcome to his disappearance panic. Sam himself never suggests that he's never had a birthday cake before, or that his reactions have anything to do with birthday specifically, rather than to having a good surprise follow a traumatic shock reminder.

19th-Oct-2012 01:05 am (UTC)
I LOVE this! (and I have been quoting it now because this works so well for me! Even better than forgetting his past *g*)

I don't think it's overreading at all and I think it's a great observation that it's Amelia who mentions that cake, not Sam. I'm thinking it's a kind of throwaway line - in there just to let us know know that they are celebrating Sam's birthday. Something we can be pretty sure he doesn't do often and so it is a nice moment for him.

But yes...her disappearing like that must have been very traumatic after losing Dean like that. It would have been both relief and surprise when he saw her there.

*nods* we can make this work!! (It does work as far as I'm concerned. <3)

19th-Oct-2012 02:09 am (UTC)
This scene (for me) mirrors the scene in the premiere where Dean asks Sam if he looked for him. Both times Sam is asked a question and both times he doesn't answer verbally and both times his silence is taken in a negative light both by the characters and parts of fandom.

We simply don't know enough about his year apart to know what he's been through and why he did or didn't do things. I feel we are going to need lots and lots of flashbacks to get the whole story. Hope they are longer and more explanatory than the tiny one we got in this ep.

I agree that birthday celebrations in the Winchester family were few and far between esp after Mary's death. We know that Christmas and Thanksgiving were less than stellar holidays for Sam and in 7 seasons we've never seen either brother acknowledge or even mention each other's birthday.
19th-Oct-2012 11:26 am (UTC)
Both times Sam is asked a question and both times he doesn't answer verbally and both times his silence is taken in a negative light both by the characters and parts of fandom.

Oh yes yes. And I wonder (hope!) that this is significant. Sam just hasn't had a chance to explain his side. I'm not sure if that because we have to just assume stuff or if he has actually got more going on. I am sure it's the latter because we still know nothing. I remember in S4 - it took until episode 9 before we got Sam's full story. So yeah...could be a while before we get the whole story.

And yeah, the Winchesters just didn't do celebrations. I think that scene was simply about saying that in a persons normal life birthdays etc. are celebrated regularly. I'm not sure it's saying Sam wants that all the time - it's just a way of comparing his real life to some sort of imagined "normal" life.

19th-Oct-2012 04:39 am (UTC)
I agree with de_nugis who pointed out the panic. That was the first thing I noticed. Sam said something about "don't do this to me" as he was running looking for her. I just wished they'd come up with a different way of showing the ideal normal life instead of a woman on a picnic blanket with food. The other thing that's striking is that the colors are the unreal colors of What Is and What Should Never Be and the weird flowers in Cas's favorite Heaven. The last shots of Sam leaving that life aren't the same shades. They were in dark shadows. He may have had great memories of parts of it but it didn't end that way. I really don't think Sam was in very great shape for a lot of his year.
19th-Oct-2012 11:44 am (UTC)
I just wished they'd come up with a different way of showing the ideal normal life instead of a woman on a picnic blanket with food.

Yeah. I've been thinking about this. Hee.. I suppose if they wanted to represent a normal life they should have had Sam filling out a tax return or paying the bills. I can only think that it's a mirror to Dean's dream of Lisa having a picnic. I don't know. It's probably just a cliche they've fallen back on.

The colouring in the flashback is interesting. It makes me wonder just how wonderful his normal life was - considering it didn't look like this relationship ended so well. The contrast is nice. I would rather love that we normal doesn't turn out to be this amazing this. It's just safer and less awful than hunting.

Still, Sam is wanting out and it will be interesting to see what keeps him there. I wonder is just Dean will be enough. Sam needs to reconnect with the life. I just hope he doesn't have to do it through tragedy again.
19th-Oct-2012 08:15 am (UTC)
I approve of your ETA, lol. For most of us, it would've been a pleasant surprise, for Sam, it was a reminder of his most recent trauma. People shouldn't be giving him a hard time about this.

He was so relieved when he found out that his girlfriend and his dog didn't just disappear like everything else in his life, he forgot about cake, pie, and possibly his own name.
19th-Oct-2012 11:50 am (UTC)
Hee! Seriously! Poor Sammy needs to be cut some slack! ;) Losing his brother (again!) can't have been easy. We are seeing hints of the toll it took.

he forgot about cake, pie, and possibly his own name.

Yeah...poor boy. :(
(Deleted comment)
20th-Oct-2012 10:15 am (UTC)
Thanks! This is great. I love names for their conditions. :))

I think the fact that Dean has not mentioned women or drink is a sure sign that something is up. I did note that the was a little bit of flirting in the recent ep, but it never went anywhere.

I just know that if these two are off with each other, they could be off their game and get an innocent victim killed that they could have saved.

Oh wow... I think that would be an interesting development if their conditions led to loss of innocent life. Like a child maybe. Innocent lives are already being lost (demon possession) but maybe it needs to be more obvious for them to see what's happening.

When they are miserable with each other, they are usually miserable within themselves.

True. though I'm not seeing them entirely miserable with each other, just on completely different pages. It's like a sufferance that each of them has to bear. I think they desperately want the other one to be on their side. It's an interesting predicament and development in their relationship. I think it's why I'm enjoying it so much.

Thanks for your thoughts.
20th-Oct-2012 10:20 am (UTC)
People often act inconsistently

Nail. Head. ;)

I think they are so completely human which works in a rather ironic why considering they are always dealing with monsters - often on the border line of being monsters themselves.

I've always stated that it's their flaws that make them so interesting. They are not poster boys - they are seriously troubled and flawed. Considering everything they have been through it's amazing how well they do.

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