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Supernatural: When the Levee Breaks

Dean: "I guess I found my line. I won't let my brother turn into a monster."

Incredibly painful. Possibly the most upsetting episode of Supernatural I've ever seen, and that's saying a lot. When Dean and Sam were tearing into each other in that hotel room, it was almost too much. Watching Sam turn on Bobby was just as wrenching.

Sam told Dean, "You don't know me. You never did." But the hallucinations all started with the good Sam we knew, a part of Sam's old self, before gradually becoming disturbing as Sam saw himself turning into a monster. His younger self talking about wanting to be normal, about Jess. Mary told Sam to turn the family curse into a gift. The hallucinations began with Alastair torturing Sam. I'm sure that one was all about Sam's guilt over what Dean suffered in Hell for his sake. Something Sam rarely talks about, although I'm certain he thinks about it all the time.

I have a hard time believing Sam will become a monster. His insistence and belief that he, Sam, is the only one who can defeat Lilith has its roots in Sam's feelings of inferiority, his desire to be better than Dean, who is sort of hard to beat. Who knows? Bobby was starting to believe that Sam could be right, and Bobby is no fool. Is it possible that Dean is wrong this time?

What is Castiel doing? Why did he deliberately let Sam out of the panic room? He made a really interesting comparison of John Winchester to God, and Dean following God's orders the way he did John's. Is that why the obviously reluctant Castiel made Dean swear to follow God's orders, so that the angels could order him to kill Sam? What happened to the angel war? Did the rebel angels take over or something, and subvert Castiel? Who is really giving the orders now?

It almost doesn't matter. Dean said he'd rather see Sam dead than a monster, but I still can't see Dean ever killing Sam, even under these circumstances. And vice versa. (Plus, they're the stars of the show, and they've both died already, anyway.)

I haven't even talked about Lucifer and the seals. (For me, it's all about the Winchesters. Forget the plot.) We learned that only Lucifer's "first" can break the 66th seal, the first human soul that Lucifer tempted and turned into a demon. Which is Lilith. I always wondered if the name Lilith was a deliberate choice, a reference to the mythological Lilith, and apparently it is. Here's the Wikipedia entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith

Bits and pieces:

— Lots of returning continuing characters, which doesn't happen a lot on Supernatural. I was watching the guest cast names and going, wow. They got everybody but Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

— Castiel turned Anna in, too. I never thought he'd do that. What will happen to her? What the hell happened to Castiel? (Or maybe the correct expression would be, what the Heaven?)

— In the scenes where Dean and Sam were talking through the bars in the panic room, I thought Dean looked scary. Which was odd, considering that it was Sam who was supposed to be scary.

— Dean swearing to serve God was remarkably powerful, even though Dean deliberately screwed up the words. (Did that invalidate his oath?)

— Lilith eats babies. That reminded me of Buffy. In fact, Dean and Sam this season have strongly reminded me of Buffy and Willow in season six. And it's an apt comparison. Sam's addiction has him on the ultimate power trip, and it's turning him into a monster. Sam even got veiny.

— For the zillionth time, what is Ruby doing? She proved her good intentions several times before. Now she seems to be tempting Sam into evil, but I keep wondering if she's sincere. I'm ready for Ruby to go. Her character sort of drives me nuts.

— This week's room was actually a little nicer than usual. Honeymoon suite. And they trashed it. Lots of broken glass, like when Dean came back from Hell. Like an angel's voice. Like their relationship. Some obvious symbolism there.

— Why didn't Dean just stay in the room with Sam and help talk him through detox? I guess it doesn't matter. Castiel would have put Dean to sleep and gotten Sam out, anyway.

Quotes:

Sam: "You're actually trying to twist this into some kind of ridiculous drug intervention?"
Dean: "If it smells like a duck..."

Dean: "How long is this gonna go on?"
Bobby: "Here, let me look it up in my demon detox manual... oh, wait. No one ever wrote one."

Bobby: "Suck dirt and die, Rufus. You call me again, and I'll kill you."

Sam: "We were never going to be normal. We were never going to get away."

Dean: "If I do this, Sammy doesn't have to?"
Castiel: "If it gives you comfort to see it that way."
Dean: "You're a dick these days."

Bobby: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but you willingly signed up to be the angel's bitch? I'm sorry, you prefer sucker? After everything you've said about them, now you trust them?"
Dean: "Give me a little credit, Bobby. I've never trusted them less. They come on like shady politicians from planet Vulcan."
Yes, the Star Trek movie came out this week.

Sam: "You don't know me. You never did. And you never will."
Dean: "You walk out of that door, don't you ever come back."
Buffy again.

Finale next week. I'm almost dreading it. They're pretty good with those heavy duty cliffhangers,

Billie
---
Billie Doux adores Supernatural which is a good thing since apparently, it's eternal.

10 comments:

Mark Greig said...

Here’s a wild theory, stop me if you hear this one before, Ruby is using Sam for her own ends.

Wait, wait, come back, there’s more. Lilith is not Lucifer’s first as Ruby stated instead the Yellow Eyed demon was. So far we’ve seen two white eyed demons, a few red eyed ones and numerous black eyed demons but only ever one yellow eyed demon. Plus, I think it was mentioned a while back that his real name was Azazel, a character from Hebrew mythology, not to be confused with Azrael, the Islamic archangel of death (for more info here’s the Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azazel)

Although there are numerous differing accounts regarding Azazel (most have him pegged as a goat like demon) the character is often associated with Satan/Lucifer. So I think Rudy is an acolyte of old Yellow Eyes and is manipulating Sam to fulfil her master’s ultimate endgame.

As the last of Azazel’s special kids Sam is capable of breaking the final seal, which has something to do with killing Lilith. Once the bitch is dead Lucifer will be free from his prison, which Dante described as Cocytus, the frozen lake in the ninth circle of hell where traitors are imprisoned for all eternity (huh, hell really is frozen over).

Could be way off, but it’s the best I could come up with. Only a week to go. Oooh, I've got goosebumps.

Jess Lynde said...

I read another theory that perhaps the angels want Sam free because he's the only that can kill Lilith and stop the Lucifer apocalypse. But then they'll need Dean to kill Sam, because he'll be the Big Bad (as long as we are going with Buffy references). Seems plausible to me.

I liked the beginning of this episode, but some of the directorial choices completely ruined the end for me. We had some pretty heavy emotional stuff going down with Sam and Dean, which ordinarily I would be all about, but the framing of the shots and the music just felt really soapy to me. It too melodramatic instead of just dramatic. It made their confrontation ring false for me, and I kept hoping Sam was just having another crazy hallucination. But, alas, no. I wish I'd been able to 'enjoy' it more. I'm hoping for better next week.

I did love the line about shady politicians from the planet Vulcan. Funny and entirely fitting. That's exactly how the angels come across. :)

lummox said...

I was reminded of Buffy Season 6 too, which is not a good thing, because the whole addiction to magic was one of the most silly plot points in the whole series. You found a useful tool and you are using it to make your life easier = you're and addict! Yeah, that makes total sense. I should probably learn to walk on my hands, otherwise I'll become (scary voice) addicted to walking on my feet.

I have to admit it makes a bit more sense on Supernatural. I mean, drinking demon blood, that could have some nasty side effects, that's definitely a valid concern. But it irritates me that Dean's and (for the most part) Bobby's reaction is basically: "you're doing something freaky, therefore you're a monster". Right. As if the Winchester brothers are usually such model, non-freaky citizens. Don't they, just to pick one example, routinely desecrate graves and defile corpses in order to get rid of ghosts? It's not like they enjoy it, it's just what it takes to get the job one. Just as well it's not like Sam started to drink demon blood for the kicks, it just seemed like it would be what it took to get this job done. Now maybe that was a bad choice but Sam's intentions (and, so far, results) were pretty good and the least Dean could do is acknowledge it.

All right, rant over. Sorry. Now for the actual episode :-)

I'm confused and disappointed by Castiel's actions as well. So far I have come up with three possible explanations:
1) They really did whip him into shape in heaven (or wherever he was in the previous episode). He now believes he must do some horrible things for the greater good. A depressing possibility, but there are precedents (the slaying of the egyptian first-born, anyone?).
2) He still wants to help Dean, but is under a close supervision now so he must pretend obedience for now, but he will come through in the end. (I really hope it's this one, I like Castiel!)
3) It's not Castiel any more, they sent a more obedient angel down here, just into the same body Castiel had inhabited so that Dean doesn't become suspicious. (This seems like the least probable but not impossible option.)

Now, Ruby. I don't know what to make of her. She was really cool and helpful in season 3, and she's seemed mostly helpful in this season as well, but there's something disturbing about the way she smiles whenever Sam drinks from her. I doubt she has Sam's best interests in mind. Come to think of it, do we even know it's Ruby? She says she is, but all we know is there is a demon inside that body, not necessarily the right demon. For all we know it could be Lilith herself setting Sam up for something.

The schism between the brothers was sad, but I have to say I sided with Sam. Him I could at least understand. They are in a desperate situation and Sam is trying to do something about it. I had trouble understanding Dean's motivation. He doesn't want Sam to become a monster, okay, but what alternative is he offering? Life on Earth under Lilith's and Lucifer's rule? He says he's going to deal with this but what is he planning to do? If memory serves, the only thing he's managed to do in a confrontation with Lilith so far is bleed on her, then die and go to hell. I honestly hope he's got something better planned this time, but so far it doesn't much look like it.

Is it really just one more episode to go? I really can't imagine how they're planning to end this season and I'm a bit worried about it. Then again, Supernatural is one of those rare shows that seems to be constantly improving, always outdoing itself (not just trying to outdo itself but actually succeeding). So I'm cautiously optimistic :-)

Jessie Rose said...

I sort of felt that Ruby was turning Sam into the 'first' and killing Lilith would turn Sam into a half-demon or something. Also, was it just me or was the camera angles awkward at times? The camera was constantly in Sam and Dean's faces. Besides that I thought it was a good story-arc episode and I can't wait for the next one.

Alice said...

I think that Lilith has to die for the last seal to be broken, and she knows it, hence her deal in the Chuck episode - she values her own life more than freeing her old boss. She knew she was going to die ... how? Another Prophet? I doubt it. I'm sure that killing her will release Lucifer, and I think Azazels plan was for Sam to be Lucifers vessel, so he gets possessed by him and it's down to dean to kill him.

The only thing I cant figure is what the angels are doing. I mean they're more powerful than most demons, who cannot even kill them! I can only guess the the guys upstairs giving the orders are the ones in league with Uriel, and want Lucifer free, having Sam released so he can kill Lilith and break the last seal maybe?

One question that I doubt we'll ever know - where's the damn Colt now? I figured a weapon that kills anything could kill angels, and that was how they were dying. Can it kill angels? Could it kill Lucifer? We'll probably never find out, I think the writers have burried it.

Miguel said...

Dean frustrated me this episode. I see his point, but it's the Apocalypse! The end of the world is at stake here. He should trust Sam. The angles don't seem to be doing jack shit up there and I do believe Sam is the only one that can defeat Lilith. Sam has been doing weird stuff this season, what with drinking demon blood and all, but he has never done anything to prove that the demon blood is turning him evil. Like someone said above, it's frustrating that Dean's reaction is just because you are doing something freaky it's bad.

And yes, this is reminding me of Buffy and Willow, but I agreed with Buffy then and this time around I'm siding with Sam. Willow was going on a human killing rampage and clearly out of control. Besides drinking demon blood, Sam seems in control and is only trying to save the world.

I can't wait to see the next episode. I don't know why i waited so long to get into this show, but I am so addicted.

Anonymous said...

I´m really torn about Sam. He believes he´s doing the right thing and he is actually torn about certain things but he is getting more and more excited about what he´s doing. He says he has no choice but he´s lying to himself, he likes the rush and the power it gives him because for the first time, he is stronger than Dean and is in control of his own life. But this episode is really painful to watch!

ChrisB said...

Incredibly difficult episode to watch -- gut wrenching.

What a scary place Sam's psyche is. I agree with Billie that Alastair represented Sam's guilt at Dean's going to hell. I think the guilt started off badly enough, but then got ramped up to supersize when Dean told him about his experiences.

Sam's conversation with Little Sam felt like justification and excuses to me. He needs to convince himself (literally) that he has made the right choices -- ties into the blood thing again. Likewise the conversation with this mother. Through the whole scene, I kept wondering how Sam could even think his mother would come between her boys like that. Again, justification for his actions? It's almost as though he has his mother telling him what he wants to hear -- that he should go back to the drug.

The hallucination that upset me the most was the one about Dean. The juxtaposition between Sam's thoughts and what Dean was actually saying upstairs was brilliantly handled. A year of keeping things from each other is now coming home to roost. I think it's also important to remember that John's dying words to Dean were to kill Sam if he turns into a monster, and Sam told Dean to kill him if he turns into a monster. These conversations MUST be going through Dean's mind during all this.

Castiel has me confused as well. He's been such a great character that I'm hoping his intentions are good. However, having the angels come to take Anna upset me. She was so on his side when he needed her.

I've switched from being a big Ruby fan to not trusting her all. Something is up. She is just way too keen for Sam to kill Lilith. I agree with Near that Lilith's death will be the final seal.

The brothers' split has been coming all season, but the part of me that lives in fairy tale land was hoping something would bring them back together. Watching them implode was actually painful. What made it more painful was that neither of them wants to be apart from the other and that both are willing to die for the other -- but neither of them can see it.

So -- we've got Dean aligned with the angels and Sam with Ruby. Should be an amazing finish!

Matthew said...

Hi I'm from the future and WOW YOU CALLED IT :P

Unknown said...

Ok, got another top 3 for this one, which btw is another stellar episode and performance from the cast. (though I agree, not too happy with Katie Cassidy's replacement, no offense meant to the wonderful and sweet Gen Padalecki.)

3. The moment Castiel let Sam escape from the safe room. Both because it was so unexpected and surprising, and because it reminded me of what Uriel did in Head of a Pin when he released Alastair. Scary mirror effect for Cass lovers.

2. The salvage yard talk between Dean and Cass, for too many reasons to put here.

1. My face was definitely wet in the S2 and S3 finale, but the first time the show ever truly broke my heart (and maybe part of it was the similarity to a Buffy scene) was when a battered Dean lay on the floor and told Sam those devastating words. That was a real kick in the feels...