In the third episode of the fifth season of Supernatural, Dean pursues a case while Sam tries to avoid one. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
Lord, this show.
In the interest of addressing as much of this as possible, I figured it would be easier to give the two story lines here a separate treatment. Truthfully, it’s not until the final scene that they even overlap. And yet? I actually thought the writers handled the dual storytelling extremely well. Even though both plots only had a limited amount of time, they still worked!
I was reminded of the opening of the third season of Buffy when I realized that Sam really was trying to live without being a hunter. It’s not the first time the show has explored this concept, but it’s interesting to think about it all with the message in the opening: Sam cannot run from his past. I didn’t understand this at first because I thought that Sam was acknowledging what he’d done and trying to rectify it. But is that really the case? As Sam tries to hide from the world of angels, demons, and hunters in a bar in Garber, Oklahoma, he discovers that hiding is a lot harder than he thought it would be. Of course, that’s initially Sam’s fault, isn’t it? When he catches the omens occurring nearby, he calls Bobby to inform him. I think that was the moment I knew that Sam couldn’t ever really give up being a hunter. It was too natural to him! And if he was seriously committed to leaving all that shit behind, then he wouldn’t call Bobby. But if Sam is ever going to move past what he did in season four, then he’s going to have to find a healthy way to channel his guilt.
His guilt is all over this episode. It’s everywhere! You can see it in his conversations with Lindsay. Sure, it’s very easy to state that Sam is reluctant to share his life with her because it’s an unbelievable thing. I get that. But I think there’s a deeper reason for his reticence, and it’s totally because he feels like shit about himself. Look at his conversation with the hunters when they seek him out! All he can offer them is a weak apology. And he knows it! He knows it when they come back, minus a hunter, threatening to kill Lindsay, that there’s nothing he can give these people that will satisfy them. Or himself.
But it’s not like Sam isn’t willing to change or analyze his behavior with a critical eye. I mean, he viciously rejects the hunters’ attempt to make him ingest more demon’s blood. I don’t know that we’ll see Lindsay again or that he’ll keep trying to stay away from hunting, so I think this episode will probably have been a brief moment where Sam tried to avoid the difficult process of growing as a person. At the end of this, he refuses to listen to “Jess,” who appeared here to discourage him from having any hope. Which confused me! Was it a dream? The more negative aspect of his subconscious? Either way, I saw his little speech as a conscious choice to make himself better. Which is then countered by Lucifer revealing himself to Sam. Y’ALL, MARK PELLEGRINO IS SO PERFECT IN THIS ROLE, I SWEAR. I want to watch him act FOR HOURS. And I’m so fascinated by how the writers are characterizing the angels in this show because this shit is so complex. What is it that Lucifer wants? He purposely acts as a sympathetic figure to Sam, which is probably part of some sort of manipulation. Despite that he promises not to lie to Sam or trick him (immediately after tricking him, I should note), I’m not sure how much Sam should believe him. Right now, Lucifer is the only person in Sam’s life willing to believe in him aside from Bobby. I’M WORRIED, Y’ALL. But I’m also hoping that Sam’s willingness to believe in himself will keep him away from another dark path.
BECAUSE SAM IS LUCIFER’S IDEAL VESSEL. SHIT, HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT COMING? Like season 4, the writers have Dean and Sam on parallel journeys. This time, though, they’re both being pursued by angels on opposite sides of an apocalyptic battle. It’s definitely an interesting take on the Chosen One trope because… well, neither brother wants to be the Chosen One! Oh, gods, let’s just talk about Dean, shall we?
I can see how people have come to appreciate the Destiel pairing because damn, those two characters have so much chemistry with one another. Castiel is in rare form here, both because he’s so insistent about Dean being the only person who he can trust and because… well, I’ll get to that scene in a sec. Dean doesn’t necessarily trust Castiel completely, but I think Castiel recognizes that Dean has done more for him than any other human. Still, there’s a clear divide between the two characters because Castiel so blatantly doesn’t understand human life. That’s played for humor a few times, like the Cas/Dean buddy cop scene or the brothel sequence. (I really did not like that brothel sequence, and thought it was super cruel, but made so that we’d find it funny. Lord, no thanks.) But it’s through their experience with Raphael that we see a chance for Dean and Cas to find some common ground: their missing fathers.
Given my love for His Dark Materials, I think you can see why I am so floored by this exploration of God and absence. Castiel, convinced that God brought him back to life, seeks out Raphael in the hope that the Archangel himself will be able to give him the location of God. But Castiel hadn’t anticipated that Raphael (played by Demore Barnes, who is incredible on Hannibal!) would tell him that God was dead. But is he? Cas wants to believe that Raphael is wrong, which is something Dean can relate to all too well, but I was fascinated with the story Raphael told. What exactly happened to God? Why had he disappeared for over a hundred years? Why had he lost contact with his children? Was that out of a desire to disappear or had he really been killed?
Regardless, Raphael sheds more light on why certain angels are so eager to bring about the apocalypse: they’re tired. They’re tired of silence from their father, they’re tired of the perpetual battle between good and evil on Earth, and they’re tired of waiting to bring about the Paradise they were promised. Assuming that a lot of this follows traditional Christian theology, the end of Revelations is what these angels want. They want the New Heaven and Earth to be real. So it makes sense, then, that from the angels’ perspective, it’s worth it to risk a great bulk of humanity in this war. So we’ve got multiple sides to this war: the demons and Lucifer, the angels who want the Apocalypse, and the rebellious angels who must fight both sides.
This is gonna be a bloodbath, I imagine.
And yet, the writers don’t forget that this entire war is filtered through the eyes of Dean Winchester. With the threat of the end of the world looming on the horizon, he’s strangely happier than he’s ever been. At least, that’s what he says, but I wonder how true that is. I mean, we’re talking about the king of repression here. Without Sam by his side, Dean insists that he can focus on the job, that he doesn’t have to worry about his family or protecting them anymore. Right at the moment that he swears he’s enjoying his time being alone, Castiel disappears and Dean is truly alone, and I WAS REALLY SAD. Really, really sad. I know that Sam really needs to work on himself for the time being, but??? People being emotionally distant with one another hits me right in the heart, y’all. Just… BE FRIENDS AGAIN AND EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE.
Just kidding, what show am I watching? Nothing will be fine.
The video for “Free to Be You and Me” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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