Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S05E16 – Dark Side of the Moon

In the sixteenth episode of the fifth season of Supernatural, YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME. HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS SAD? Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Let the record state that this show found a way to make going to Heaven a heart-wrenching tale. I mean, I expected it! It seems that season five’s greater storyline is to constantly remind the Winchesters and everyone else in their life that the end is near, they’re all gonna die, and there is no hope left. That’s it. This shit is increasingly bleak, y’all! AND SO MUCH GOOD WORLDBUILDING.


At this point, I should really just accept that I’m watching a show that kills off its main characters often. I should just accept it. Granted, Sam died really early in “Dark Side of the Moon,” so give me that much credit. IT WAS SO QUICK. And then Dean was dead and THIS IS THE FIRST THREE MINUTES OF THIS EPISODE.


Admittedly, I wasn’t that worried about what had happened to the Winchesters in the cold open because they’re vessels. At the very least, Dean will be immediately resurrected by Zachariah, and given that the angels want their holy showdown with Lucifer, I figured that Sam would be sent back to the mortal world, too. One of the things I came to love about this episode was how the writers ditched the common format of throwing us into an absurd situation and then spending half the episode confusing us. No, after a particularly stunning sequence involving Dean and Young Sam, we find out exactly where Dean and Sam are: Heaven. Literally. Like, it’s not a trick! And they weren’t sent there as part of some manipulative endgame by the angels or demons. They died AND WENT TO HEAVEN. It’s with this that the writers take the concept of heaven and give it a thorough examination through the lens of the Supernatural mythology.


Prior to finding your own personal heaven, souls essentially revisit their greatest hits, as Dean puts it so succinctly. What I found so fascinating about this is that so many of these happy moments were remarkably subtle. They weren’t graduations or proms. They didn’t feel like traditional markers of happiness. They just had to contain a moment of pure joy, even if what surrounded them was sadness. Dean experiences a particular Fourth of July with his brother; Sam relives a Thanskgiving dinner with a crushes’s family! And as they cycle through these memories, we see how even in some of the darkest moments, there was happiness. Despite that Dean witnessed a depressing conversation between his mother and John, his happiness came from hugging his mother and comforting her. (DESTROY ME RIGHT NOW, OH MY GOD.) And even if it was short-lived, Sam found happiness in escaping his family.

Unfortunately, one of the things that’s eventually exploited by Zachariah is rooted in these memories. I really do think this exploitation is intentional, too, and I would be willing to bet that this time, the memories that Dean and Sam witness together was planned. HOLD ON, I WILL EXPLAIN. I think it’s extremely telling that all of Sam’s memories are of him alone or without his family, and it’s too much of a coincidence for me. If we accept that Zachariah’s endgame (at least before Joshua interrupts him) was to wear down Dean to the point that he consented to being Michael’s vessel, wouldn’t this be the perfect way to do it?

I suppose this might be my way of explaining Dean’s behavior in a way that shifts the blame away from him, because honestly? I felt super uncomfortable watching him rip into Sam. Sam can’t help that he found joy in escaping his father! I don’t think it is at all fair for Dean to judge Sam as harshly as he does here. I understand it, and I understand that this exacerbated the trust issues with Sam that he’s been working on throughout this season. Which is why I think it makes sense that Zachariah has given up on trying to convince Dean to be a vessel. He’s just going to force him to consent, which… is not really consent, of course, but the angels are jerks. They’re horrible, and they’re selfish. They’ll do what they need to in order to get what they want. Isn’t that the whole point of the agonizing scene between Mary and Dean prior to Joshua’s appearance?

Anyway, LET’S TALK ABOUT HEAVEN SOME MORE. Out of nowhere, right as Zachariah is close to nabbing Dean and Sam out of Heaven, a masked intruder arrives to rescue them! AND IT’S ASH. OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST CAMEO I COULD HAVE EVER ASKED FOR. And it gets better! I just love that they’ve brought him back for this episode, and I love that he’s the one spouting exposition about how heaven is organized, and I love that he’s just got a casual friendship with MOTHERFUCKING PAMELA BARNES, MY GODDESS. Oh my god, every detail here is just the best thing I’ve seen on this show. Multiverse heavens, all catered to each specific person, except SOUL MATES, who are allowed to share a heaven. And Ash has a way to SPY ON THE ANGELS. Fluent in Enochian!!! Ash has the best Heaven, there is no question, I swear.

I’m so excited about all this because I know that I’m now going to have to address all the sadness. Like Dean and Sam informing Ash about Ellen and Jo. (STILL MAD.) (I say that like it’s been ages, but I literally watched it less than 24 hours before I’m writing this review, LOL.) But let’s get to the realest shit yet.


Like I mentioned before, I don’t think Supernatural has ever felt so bleak. After finally finding Joshua, Joshua reveals… well, a lot. It was God who put the Winchesters on that plane in “Sympathy for the Devil” and resurrected Castiel. God also granted them both salvation, allowing them into Heaven… and that’s it. For some reason unknown to us, God is done. He has no interest in helping Castiel or the Winchesters or anyone. He’s just going to hang out on Earth and let the apocalypse happen.

Of course, it’s a devastating sequence because of the implications it has for Dean. “Dark Side of the Moon” calls back to Dean’s plea at the end of “My Bloody Valentine,” and it answers him. God has said no. It’s a statement of apathy, sure, and it later devastates Castiel as well. But for someone like Dean, who has been disappointed and abandoned so many times, it feels like the last straw. I mean, HE THROWS AWAY THE SAMULET. Has he given up on Sam, too? On himself? On saving the world? It’s so distressing to me! And there are deliberate parallels drawn between Joshua, God, Dean, and Castiel. All of them are alone. Joshua says he empathizes with God as a gardener, but they all have loneliness in common, too.

I just… shit, y’all. It’s like Zachariah didn’t even need to do anything to push Dean in this direction. I’M REALLY UPSET.

The video for “Dark Side of the Moon” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Feature will be Farscape.
– I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in 2014, so check my Tour Dates / Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
– Inspired by last year’s impromptu event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all currently planned dates and pitch your own city here.


About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Supernatural and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S05E16 – Dark Side of the Moon

  1. SirGnome says:

    This episode gives me so many Dean Winchester feels it breaks my heart. That scene with him and young!Sam on the Fourth of July is probably one of my top five favorite scenes in nine seasons of this show. I just… I feel so bad for him in this episode.

    I get that Sam has the right to try and exercise his right to be his own person and to make his own choices and decisions about his life, but the fact that each and every one of his best/favorite memories were ones that exclude or, as we’ve seen, directly affect Dean negatively breaks my heart. I mean, Dean’s number one priority in life is his family – loving his his parents and wanting to make them proud; protecting Sam and trying to keep him safe, raising him, helping to train him, loving him more than anyone, etc.; trying to keep Jo safe; helping Ellen watch Jo when he can; working with Bobby and trying to make him proud… Just, family is everything to him and to see that almost thrown back in his face is both heartbreaking and kind of infuriating (granted, that’s just my opinion as a strong fan of Deans, so…). Like I said on an earlier review: Sam has a huge sense of younger sibling self entitlement, something that can’t be denied, and he doesn’t often consider how others will feel/react to/be affected by his decisions.

    Like I said, lots of feelings.

    Seeing Ash again was a treat that I didn’t know I needed until I saw this episode. I’ve missed his sass, humor, and just plain awesomeness and it’s very refreshing after how down and heavy the past season or two have been. I love him.

    And Joshua. Does anyone else get the feeling that his vessel or whatever is related to Missouri Mosely somehow? Just, the way he speaks and acts (even though the actions are Joshua, not his vessel) seem very similar. I don’t know, just a thought.

    Can’t wait for the next review!

  2. fazziemodo says:

    So many feelings in this one, I just felt numb and raw at the end of it.

    And Sammy, as much as I get that he has a right to chose his happy memories and direction in life as well as that Zachariah was also manipulating things to break Dean, I can’t bring myself to go that extra mile to be anything but angry at him, as the writers just keep giving him a shovel to keep digging.

    As much as getting away from John meant everything to him, he needed to show he differentiated Dean being in charge from John making his big brother take care of him. Saying that he simply didn’t look at family in the same way Dean did wasn’t enough. Because in a way he showed he did. Family to both Dean and Sam are one big group twhere they don’t differentiate individuals. The difference is how they look at the group. To Dean – they are people to care for, to go the extra mile for, whether that be John, Mary and Sam. To Sam with those memories and his declaration that it was because he didn’t get someone to cut the crusts off his PB&J – well everyone in the family means the exact same thing to him – just they let him down, they kept him trapped, made him feel that he had to leave them to get his freedom.

    But Sam did have someone to cut his crusts of his PB&J when he was little, it just wasn’t Mary – it was his brother. Who is standing in the middle of an empty road, raw, lonely and needing for one minute for someone to be there and Sam in his explanation at that moment fails to do so. I don’t think it even occurs to him that he has until Joshua explains to them that Dean is losing not only faith in himself but Sam as well. Even after everything that has happened Sam needs someone to spell it out to him that his brother could ever truly lose faith in him, his trust sure, but Dean to lose faith in him – never.

    In the end as much as Sam tries to be strong for Dean and Cas, I can’t help but understand why the Samulet had to be dropped in the basket. It wasn’t a slap in the face to Sam, it was just a fact that Dean has had enough of having false faith that him trying to fix things for those he loves matters at all.

Comments are closed.