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.