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.