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10.18 thinky thoughts  
22nd-Apr-2015 10:41 pm
Sam with Heron
It's so wonderful to feel the desire to analyse an episode again. This episode (and the previous one) finally gave me something to really chew over. I'm going to try and put my thoughts into words and explain why I feel I can, once again, embrace my wonderfully messed up show.

I've been waiting for this episode since The Purge.

That's a hell of a long time to wait to hear some thoughts from Sam after he reacted to Dean's choice to allow an angel to possess him in order to save his life. It's weird though, I always thought that it would matter what Sam actually said about it. It turns out it actually doesn't - just the fact that he said something has provided a kind of bookend to his comments to Dean in The Purge. It seems I have desperately needed that.

I have no idea why it's taken them so long to give us Sam's perspective on what happened last season. I know there's been much discussion about that, but short of actually being in the writer's room, we'll never know what the reasons are. I'm just grateful we've now been given something.

And what we've been given is pretty interesting to me. We've seen over and over, since The Purge, Sam moving on from what happened to him in the beginning of S9. We've seen him hurt and angry (and he confirmed he said what he did out of anger), but we've also seen him be able to forgive and move on. We've also seen him save Dean many times. The scene with Charlie showed us just how much he's let it go and truly move on. I can't believe how much I just wanted to HEAR Sam say it. We've seen it, but I wanted to know that it's actually what he felt. We also saw that Dean is still carrying that hurt and truly believed it when he heard Sam say he wouldn't save him. As fans we can argue and tear apart why those feelings and words are right or wrong (Sam shouldn't be apologising for his anger, Dean hasn't accept his actions for what they were, Sam needs to appreciate why Dean did what he did, Sam didn't say those words in anger etc etc…), which is what we should be doing. Up until now I haven't felt we've had anything concrete to actually argue about. How can we discuss what's happening with the characters when we've only essentially been given one point of view?

What I felt 10.18 did was give us our messed up, co-dependent, screwed-up, destroy-the-world for each other brothers back. Their relationship is fucked up on so many levels, but it's so god damn beautiful in it's fucked-up-edness that it's insanely compelling.

And this is the huge difference for me. During s8 and s9 Sam and Dean were at such awful odds with each other that it started to make them not only hard to watch, but increasingly difficult to enjoy or care about. It was not just lack of trust between them, but the horrid deceit, crushing jealousy, bitterness and nastiness toward each other that made me confess (quite a few times) that I thought they'd be better off apart.

I think much of what was going on in S8 and S9 was an attempt to examine how toxic their co-dependency is (which is a worthwhile examination I feel), but I would much rather see their messed up relationship through the eyes of extreme love and devotion than through jealousy and deceit. If they're going to do this let's see them burn the world for each other, not screw each other over and be on the brink of hating each other.

"But I can't do it without my brother".

This was such an important line. I have long felt that the sacrifices they make to save each other are not only about actually keeping the other alive for that person. They do it for themselves. Dean sacrificed his soul for Sam at the end of S2 because he couldn't live with his failure to keep Sam alive. Dean saved Sam from certain death at the beginning of S9 because he couldn't live without Sam and now Sam has confessed to not being about to carry on in the hunting life without Dean by his side. It's not just about saving the other from death (because surely death would be final peace after all), it's about not being about to actually live without the other. They are prepared to do horrible things - to the world and even to each other - to not have to be alone in this world.

It's fucked up and bloody magnificent.

Now I feel I can pull apart Sam's words and actions in more context - so yep, I'm going to do that!

But what the hell Sam?!

Ha! Here I was thinking Sam had some sort of epiphany about the kind of sacrifices they make for each other at the end of The Purge. To be honest, I still believe he did. Sam spoke the truth (I feel) when he accused Dean of saving him for himself. It's just, they're not ready to completely face that yet. Ok, so I may be "fanoning" it, but I will forever believe that there was some sort of realisation there. The problem is, if either of them learn from their previous mistakes it will be pretty much the end of the show. If Sam doesn't do the "bad" thing to save Dean there's not much of a story line going forward to season 11 and probably 12. It's massively frustrating to watch sometimes, but it's what makes these characters who they are. They both share the flaw of being so completely tied up in each other. As audience members we know that saving each other usually has dire consequences, as characters I believe they know that also - they've said it a number of time, but the fact they keep doing it anyway means we've still got something compelling to watch. And it looks like Sam's heading down that familiar path again. And I'm ok with that.

"I love hunting"

I really loved that Sam has finally been allowed to admit this. It makes so much sense to me - more than the idea that he still wants "normal". Only twice in the whole series have we really seen Sam pursue "normal". We saw it in the very beginning (and learned it's what he wanted growing up) and then again in the beginning of season 8. In season 2 Sam made a commitment to keep hunting and after he left Amelia he made that commitment again. He's often stuck to the job when he's had opportunities to leave - there's never been much to suggested he wants to retire or escape the life. In fact, we've seen more from Dean wanting normal than Sam (or about the same). His "dream" life was one of normality in "What is and What Never Should Be". We saw him embrace a normal life with Lisa in season 6 and even in that last episode he spoke of doing something "normal" like visiting the beach.

Sam loves hunting because it's what he does and because he does it with his brother. Perhaps it's taken his journey since early s8 for him to admit to himself - and maybe that's what it's all been about (I really don't know as I think there's been some major inconsistencies, but I will accept that he needed to experience "normal" to realise it's not what he wants any more).

Behind Blue Eyes

So thrilled to hear this song at the end of the episode. This is the most perfect song for Sam. I thought so 6 years ago when I made this video and it's still so very relevant now. Just look at these awesome lyrics:

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it's like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies

But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free

No one knows what it's like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through

What I love EVEN MORE is that this is the Show showing a huge understanding of Sam (YAY!). He's "fated", his conscience can be empty when it comes to saving when it comes to Dean, he hides his pain and anger, he's hated, he's sad, he's lonely and his love for Dean brings about a vengeance that he's never free from. Perhaps it speak more about where he's headed as much as it does about where he's been.

It worked for S4 Sam and it seems we might be heading for a similar situation for Sam as we head toward S11. I know we've been here before, but I don't mind revisiting this part because this is the Sam I've always loved. I do hope that he doesn't incur Dean's wrath the way he did in S5, but if he does it might end up being a interesting reflection on the hypocrisy we see when it comes to the brothers and their actions towards each other. It might also start heading them toward a greater understanding of the damage they do in their sacrifices.

What about Dean?

Dean has been a little all over the place this season. It makes sense I suppose, considering how much stress he's under and how much the MoC has screwed with him. He's fighting a major curse and battling with his very personal inner demons. I liked seeing Dean wanting to find a cure in this episode. It reminded of S3 Dean when he accepted his fate, then confessed his fear and then became very hopeful of finding an actual solution to his pending death in Time is on My Side. Dean wants to be saved, but doesn't want the inevitable consequence that will go with doing it. Much like Sam in 9.01. The situations are reversed and maybe this is actually about them fully understanding where the other came from in S9 (god, I hope so). I'd still love to see some realisation from Dean, and maybe if he makes some peace with dying he'll know where Sam was coming from. I think we are already beginning to see Sam understand more fully where Dean was coming from when he made the decision to save him. I confess to feeling more for Dean in this episode than I have done in a while, and that's a nice feeling.

The thing what's made me most excited it to be seeing brothers that I recognise again. I'm cautiously optimistic for the next 5 episodes.

I admit to hoping for a truly screwed up finale. I want to cry and feel pain and be at the edge of my seat (but not because they've dropped the ball on where they've been heading - which is what I thought they did at the end of S8 and S9). After this episode I am ready to move forward with the characters. I no longer feel like I am constantly waiting for something from Sam (though I am seriously hoping we get a heap more!!).

Bring it on! I am ready.

Disclaimer: I feel I need to add that feeling better about this now isn't me thinking that what Dean did to Sam in S9 was "good" or the right thing to do. Nor do I think what Sam is probably going to do will be good or right either. But this isn't real life. It's fantasy and in that context this messed up, co-dependent relationship is interesting to watch. I think it's what the show has been about from the beginning. S5 ended with them being able to sever it. But as the show kept going they've had to explore that all over again. It's just that since S8 it's taken a much darker, sinister route. I haven't always liked it, but as they seem to be possibly bringing it a head I think it's once again compelling. We'll see.
(Deleted comment)
22nd-Apr-2015 03:07 pm (UTC)
Oh. I'd be curious what you were going to say anyway. I didn't see it. I assume you disagree - which, is fine of course (and nor to I mean any disrespect by anything I've possibly said…)
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22nd-Apr-2015 03:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks for yet another thought-provoking Ash analysis. ♥

I haven't had the chance to write an ep review of my own, but suffice to say, I loved 99.9999% of 10.18. I also agree 100% with your observations, particularly the ideas that Sam has always been the one who wanted to hunt, while Dean wanted the "normal" life, and that Sam finally understands why Dean did what he did to save Sam's life in S9. (I'm not looking for him to "forgive" Dean; just that he gets the WHY.)

I admit to hoping for a truly screwed up finale. I want to cry and feel pain and be at the edge of my seat (but not because they've dropped the ball on where they've been heading - which is what I thought they did at the end of S8 and S9).

Yeah, pretty much this. I suspect that S10 will end with the bang heard through all fandom -- and no doubt with a whimper or three from we watchers. Messed-up, screwed-up, oh-no-they-didn't . . . yes. "Bring it on," indeed.
22nd-Apr-2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's been nice to have thoughts about the show other than negative ones. It's just all so messed up, but in this fantasy realm it's so compelling. I still hope for more from what happened in S9, but I honestly thought we'd never get this, so I'm pretty happy we did. :)

The finale will be a killer no doubt!

22nd-Apr-2015 03:49 pm (UTC)
So lovely to see you "up on your horse and running" again! :D

The thing what's made me most excited it to be seeing brothers that I recognise again.

Word! I hope they stick to it now. :)
23rd-Apr-2015 09:58 am (UTC)
I hope it continues..:)) I love it when it gives me thinky. :)

22nd-Apr-2015 03:52 pm (UTC)
What a glorious 'thinky thoughts' this was - it made me realise how I missed reading these posts. So thank you for sharing :)

I loved what you said, and couldn't agree more. I was just thrilled that we got some Sam POV, and I'm not at all surprised to hear that this was one of Jared's favouite episodes this year (I think I read that on twitter?) because he had plenty to sink his teeth into.

When watching I was caught out by Sam's 'love' of hunting, but after reading this, I can see your point of view and now it makes more sense to me. So thank you.

And yes, I want a nailing biting, painful, horrendous ending, that's going to create wonderful fics, vids and art from all of fandom all summer long!!! So yes Show, bring it on! :)
23rd-Apr-2015 10:04 am (UTC)
It was nice to be able to write some thoughts on an episode again. :)

It's all so totally messed up - pretty much everything we're seeing - which is very SPN. It's taken so long to get anything form Sam. I know many are not entirely happy with what Sam said (seeing him back down again), but at the moment I feel this is still within Sam's character arc. One day he might get through to Dean, but in the mean time he'll do what he does best. Forgive and move on.
22nd-Apr-2015 05:03 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I was so excited reading this review! Yours is one of the few episode reviews I read every time, and I was on tenderhooks all week waiting to read what you had to say. I'm always in so much danger of loving everything about this show that I NEED your perspective to help me gain a better understanding of the characters (particularly Sam, who was harder for me to understand from the start) and I always appreciate your thoughts, even when I can't quite agree sometimes. So it hurts to see you being hurt by someone else's negativity. I sure hope you won't let it stop you from saying EXACTLY what you think you need to, because I for one really depend on you for that!
23rd-Apr-2015 10:10 am (UTC)

Thank you so much. That means a lot. Mostly when people disagree with me they explain how they see things differently - and I actually love that. Usually it means I get another perspective as well. This time I think I hit a sensitive spot (being excited to see the messed up co-dependent brothers back) so it's difficult to be unemotional about it. I understand that (even though I hate the idea that I've unintentionally hurt someone).

I hope to still be able to say what I think too. :))

22nd-Apr-2015 05:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for putting into actual words what I've been over here sort of marinating in, inarticulately. This episode did leave me feeling more hopeful they'll find their way back to a familiar, common ground. And to hear from Sam--

You know, I'd thought I wanted him to reveal his anger and betrayal and hurt at Dean's actions. I thought he'd earned that, that it would bring resolution for those feelings. But it wasn't until I *witnessed* what he had to say, and I'd had some time to marvel at how he's moved on from that to what he wants, that I realized Sam's personality is not like mine. He can, and wants to, let go of the past and shape the future into something better. It's a quality to be admired, I think, and it shines new light into Sam's character. Which, in itself is a miraculous thing after knowing a character for ten seasons.

And yes, it left me hopeful, and rekindled my investment in the brothers, their relationship, and the show.

Also? Thanks for the reminder of the vid--I scurried to my personal Vault o' Vids to make sure I have it, and I do. I'll be watching it again, with new eyes (no pun intended).
23rd-Apr-2015 10:18 am (UTC)
Hi. Thank you. :)

I thought I wanted Sam to continue to be angry too (which is more about how I would be I think…), so to see him put some perspective into it all was interesting to me. I still think what he experienced (loss of autonomy) continues to shape his character, but to be able to forgive so totally is an amazing quality. Dean still needs to understand what he did (and that it WAS a line that he shouldn't have crossed - or at least give some understanding to Sam as to why he was so upset about it), but I still think that's to come, so I'm not jumping up and down about that yet. ;)

As messed up as their relationship is, I much prefer this to the horridness we saw in S8 and in S9.
22nd-Apr-2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
They wrote so well in this episode, it seems like we started the show with all of his insight during the Hunt for Dad and the psychic children, and then he got pushed to the side once Dean sold his soul. Still never got over "So?" from s8.

As to the finale, and this may sound naive, what could the show *possibly* throw at us that we haven't seen before, seeing as they still have to continue next fall?
23rd-Apr-2015 10:33 am (UTC)
Still never got over "So?" from s8.

So heartbreaking. Sam's breakdown at the end of S8 was amazing - and made a lot of sense after everything he'd been through. The way he's reacted to the possession (and anger over it) has been interesting also. It seems like it's been a long play (or they just didn't think it need to be addressed until now).

what could the show *possibly* throw at us that we haven't seen before,

Well, one brother killing the other. I'm not sure they'd go there but it would be the ultimate hurt I think. There would be a season of fall out over that. Then maybe, just maybe they might start looking at ways they can have a healthier relationship that doesn't end in the sacrifices they always make. But, I figure that won't be able to happen until the end of the series.
22nd-Apr-2015 06:31 pm (UTC)
I always enjoy your posts and it is nice to have Sam stuff to get excited over. I very much enjoyed watching your video that I had missed originally- great vid!

Also, don't worry about the person that defriended you- you can't please everyone! I think your posts are awesome!
23rd-Apr-2015 10:36 am (UTC)
Hi hun, thank you so much. :) I inadvertently hit a sensitive spot, which I know is hard to predict (not something I like to do though). I enjoy writing about the show and it's nice to have something positive to say again. :)
22nd-Apr-2015 07:59 pm (UTC)
I've been waiting to hear what your thinky thoughts were and yay! You echo pretty much what I was feeling too. Lots of positive vibes and a feeling of "finally!". I even enjoyed all the other characters sub plots this time, and though I expected Sam to be talking to either Crowley or Rowena in that last scene, that was because I almost wanted him to do something like this. It feels right (screwed up of course, but right!).
23rd-Apr-2015 10:38 am (UTC)
Hey sweetie. Nice to have some positive thinkies! So good to finally hear from Sam - even if it's not what everyone wanted to hear. It's just a relief that we got something.

And it's the totally messed up nature of all the "wrong" they do for each other that's got me excited again. Exploring the nature of this codependent, screwed up relationship fascinates me. I'd rather see the love than that horrible (almost) hate they had for each other.

Curious to see where they take it.
22nd-Apr-2015 08:26 pm (UTC)
I've been holding a slight (HUGE) grudge against Dean since the events of last season, and what you wrote above has gone a long way in helping me let it go. I feel much lighter now, and free to enjoy the brother's messed up, yet compelling story. Plus, I really like Dean, and it wasn't fun being mad at him.

You've also aided in lessening my Sam confusion, which is the biggest relief of all.

23rd-Apr-2015 10:45 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, I've been holding that grudge also. I'll probably have that until he sees Sam's perspective on it. Sam is beginning to see his I believe - but it won't be complete until Dean "gets" it - and fully understands where Sam was coming from. I think it's still in play, and I'm excited about that. I desperately want to love Dean like I used to - I know it's there and I know he's completely messed up at the moment, so I think we'll see it in the future.

I'm feeling clearer about Sam also. I'm sad for what he's been through, but I also love seeing this all forgiving man. :)
22nd-Apr-2015 10:58 pm (UTC)
I'm with you. 10.18 was upsetting, and comments I read after the fact were upsetting, but I also find myself filled with meta thinky thoughts and I enjoy that. I've had the desire to meta for the first time in a long, long time, and I'm interested to see whether the last few eps continue the trend, or crash and burn (as Dean would say).

Glad you're intrigued as well! I hope to find time to actually meta, instead of just thinking about it. ♥

hugs to you!
24th-Apr-2015 05:46 am (UTC)
I hope to find time to actually meta, instead of just thinking about it.

Oh gosh, I do to. It's been ages since I've written meta, but finally the show is giving us something to potentially meta about. :))

I hope the last few eps manage to keep it going like this. We've got one from the deadly duo, so not sure what damage they'll do….(none hopefully!)
22nd-Apr-2015 11:10 pm (UTC)
to quote Dean, *i got nothin*
23rd-Apr-2015 12:48 am (UTC)
I just watched this episode, loved it more than I can really articulate, and decided to peek to see if you had posted, and man, did I score. Love your comments, agree with all, and am just so damn surprised at how much there was to feel.

Just seriously, this show still has something to give, doesn't it?

(I didn't watch the Metatron scenes, but I watched the Cas and boys scenes... Cas got his grace back, lost an iPad (????) to Metatron in a library, but it was worth it, and now he's fully angel again, and can heal wounds but not fix curses. Anything important I missed?)

25th-Apr-2015 06:01 am (UTC)
Oh yay! So glad you enjoyed it too! So great to be getting a move even story - it's really all I needed.

And (I confess /o\) and wasn't really paying full attention during the Cas and Metatron scenes. He gives me the creeps and I find his SO annoying. I was glad that Cas got his grace back though - it takes it off the table for the finale (which is where I thought they might try and cram it in). I'm going to be watching the episode again - an pick up anything I might have missed! :)
23rd-Apr-2015 01:12 am (UTC)
I always enjoy reading your thoughts and this episode was one that got me excited again too. I'm glad it brought you back to more in depth analysis ( at least this time, I hope the show keeps on this path). You seem to be able to put into words where I don't the ability to sort or my own thoughts ( nor the time)
25th-Apr-2015 06:02 am (UTC)
Hi! Nothing makes me happier than being able to feel excited about the show again (and to see others be so too). I often feel like I haven't put my thoughts into words that well, so I'm glad they make some sense! :)
23rd-Apr-2015 03:39 am (UTC)
I seriously doubt that I will survive the finale...
25th-Apr-2015 06:03 am (UTC)
I think it could be brutal *clings*
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