Oh my god. I haven't done this in a while so here goes…SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
I haven't read any other reaction posts yet because I wanted to just put down my initial response before I read everything that was wrong with that episode. At the moment I am just so full of squee and OH MY GOD THEY WENT THERE that I just want to saviour it for a moment (this doesn't mean you can't harsh it because you guys know how much I love to chat about the ins and outs of the show - even when you don't agree with me).
I'm going to cut straight to the end because that's the part that I am so excited about. But I'm also pretty happy with the MoTW story so there will be something on that also.
I have deliberately stayed away from tumblr and twitter when checking reactions because I am pretty sure that Sam will be (one again) boo'd for what he said. So I am going to shout this from the roof tops because I am damn sure what Sam said will be taken the wrong way by some.
Sam DID NOT SAY that he wouldn't save his brother if his life was in danger. He DID NOT say that he doesn't love his brother.
This DOES NOT prove that Sam loves Dean less that Dean loves Sam (this is going to be a thing isn't it?).
This is about Sam telling Dean that there are LINES HE WOULD NOT CROSS to bring Dean BACK FROM THE DEAD. This is Sam saying that their lives ARE NOT WORTH MORE THAN OTHERS. This is Sam telling Dean that if they were in the EXACT SAME SITUATION as they were when Sam was on the brink of death he would not bring Dean back by making deals or allowing something to be done to Dean that he knows Dean would not want. This is about acknowledging that just because you are family (and love someone) doesn't mean you should do something that endangers someone else's life or goes against what that person wants.
This is not even about Sam devaluing his life (maybe those scenes with Cas WAS about convincing Sam of that…). This is NOT Sam saying "I don't deserve to live because I'm not worth it". It's him saying that "I don't deserve to live MORE THAN Kevin - or more than anyone". NO one deserves to live more than someone else. WE CAN'T MAKES THOSE CHOICES JUST BECAUSE WE ARE FAMILY.
I think this is an amazing step forward for both Sam and Dean. I think it's a remarkable moment of actually communicating (OMG! They actually continued talking rather than pause at stupid moments. I know Sam left it on a bombshell for Dean - but there really wasn't much more to say (and actually it was a pretty tasty reveal about what most of S8 and now S9 has been about).
I THINK this is what Carver was trying to do at the beginning of S8. I think the message that there are lines that Dean is prepared to cross for Sam that Sam isn't prepared to cross for Dean is what Carver wanted to show us with Sam not looking for Dean in Purgatory. It wasn't successful (I don't think), so I think he's tried it again this season. I think the message is much clearer this time.
Now. I'm not saying this isn't painful (because Sam words WERE a kick in the teeth to Dean AND to many fans as well I should think), but it desperately needed to be said. Remembering that Sam DID NOT SAY that he wouldn't do everything he could to save Dean if he could. He just said there are LINES.
And this makes so much sense to me because way back in Season 2 I made a video called "Where Do We Draw the Line" and it was ALL ABOUT the lines the Winchesters cross to save each other. Mary did it to save John, John did it to save Dean, Dean did it to save Sam and Sam tried to do it to save Dean (from Hell). Dean did it AGAIN to save Sam and Sam has (finally!!) said "enough!". Because EVERY TIME THEY DO IT IT ENDS BADLY!
What's dead should stay dead.
(and before you yell "but if Dean didn't bring Sam back from the dead there wouldn't be a show" - that isn't actually the point. It's story telling, I am aware of that. OF COURSE Dean had to bring back Sam - it's just now become part of the emotional drama as well as the action).
It's fucking amazing and I am feeling so impressed that they are actually addressing such a major myth arc from the show - waaaay back to the beginning!
I am pretty sure Dean (and maybe fans) will make the assumption that Sam has just confessed that he doesn't love Dean. That he made a comment that he doesn't love Dean ENOUGH to cross those lines. THAT'S NOT TRUE! It's BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE that he wouldn't do what Dean did. That's not to say that Dean didn't do what he did out of love but Sam was SO right when he said he also did it for himself. The episode Bad Boys highlighted this also.
Is it a bad thing that Dean has been told this? Will this mean that Dean will spiral even further into depression? Maybe. But it might also be an incredible wake up call. I suspect it will take a few episodes (and maybe a major incident?) for it to sink in fully.
I am sure once I start reading other responses I will work out what it is that Sam needs to learn, but at the moment Sam seems so clear minded and mature about this. I'm so proud of him.
Dont' get me wrong. I feel massively for Dean. I really do. He's just had a major bombshell dropped on him and the bottom of his world has just fallen out. He totally believed what he did was right. Saving Sam has always been his number one goal - no matter what. Dean now has to start looking at why he saves Sam and what constitutes that "line" for him.
What the MoTW told up about the brothers
There's always a connection with the brothers and the MoTW. It took a while for me to make it, but once we found out that the "monsters" were siblings it because clearer. It's probably not a connection that's nice to make because it's about one sibling giving up the other because they've crossed a line. I don't think we can put either Sam or Dean directly into these roles but the final message is that "family" isn't an excuse for allowing the other to cause death. It also shows us how devastating being left alone is.
Sam and Dean have often argued on which monsters should live and which ones should die. This started way back to Blood Lust. Sam has often seen monsters in shades of grey, whereas Dean has seen them in black and white. Dean started to see more in grey (especially with Benny and wasn't he the one who let the girl go in Bitten?) but recently (again with Carver revisiting the past) Dean has been more single minded when deciding about monsters. Much of what Sam is saying about their roles in their hunting job (and lives) is about how they approach these things differently.
Why I see this as hopeful rather than hopelessly sad
I suppose it seems weird that I would be so excited about a story line that has one brother admitting that he wouldn't bring the other back from the dead (hee..only in Supernatural would we say something like that…), or having one brother be so brutally honest to devastate the other but damn if this isn't the closest they've come to hitting on one of the repeated problems between them. It's NOT easy. But it was never going to be. It shouldn't be. To have such an entrenched behaviour discussed and maybe even changed is an incredible step forward. I know some will think that Dean's behaviour of bringing Sam back from the dead shouldn't be changed (because he loves brother dammit), but it DOES cross many of the lines that even Dean himself has said shouldn't be crossed.
Personally, I think this will (eventually) mean that their relationship is much, much stronger. I figure it will be a long journey (and it will be very interesting to see how the Mark plays into it) but I am thrilled to see the relationship being stripped back so dramatically because it means it will be built back even more dramatically.
It might also mean that neither Sam or Dean should die again. Unless of course they want to throw that all back in Sam's face and have Dean dead and Sam is given an opportunity save him and cross said lines himself (I wouldn't put it passed this show to do that). I'm not sure how exactly they will show Dean understanding the depths of that, because it would actually mean Sam dying and Dean letting him go (and yes, I know Dean let Sam go in S5, but don't forget Carver is revisiting ALL these past issues so it looks like he has go through that again). Hopefully they've got a cunning plan in mind for working this all out.
I haven't checked who wrote that episode but I liked it. It felt open (I think that was the frank discussions) and pretty tight. I didn't want Sam to be in peril (again) and Dean come to the rescue (again), but as it was crucial for the final convo I can see why it happened.
Sam looked amazing. His hair was loose again! (goes with my theory that his hair matches his sense of freedom). And of course tank top!Sam *dies*
They worked SO well together. Everything that's always there between them was there (eye rolls, bitch faces, smirks, silent signals, etc) which shows that even with them at such odds they fall so easily back into what they do best together.
If ANY ONE is worried that Sam would not do everything he could to save Dean, this episode (and the last one) shows Sam panicked and worried when he thinks Dean is in danger. I think that was deliberately shown so we are clear what Sam's words meant at the end.
Dean and food. :)) Drugged!Dean is always so adorable.
I feel like I have heaps more to say (like squeeing about us now knowing what Sam's "but that's not the problem" meant from 9.10), but I better stop there. :)
Ok guys. Bring it on! I figure I have missed something major here because having an episode that is SO huge in the brother relationship arc will mean that I will be seeing it with certain blinkers on. I know at the moment it looks like Dean is on the back foot but it it could also be the beginning of him taking a huge step forward. Hopefully Sam will be there to catch him if he falls. It would be awesome now if we had episodes where Sam could demonstrate his absolute love for Dean in ways that don't mean crossing those never ending Winchester lines.