Friday, May 8, 2009

Well. That sucked. (but, awesomely)

I would have posted my recap/summary of last night's ep "When the Levee Breaks" sooner, but I was too traumatized. Apparently, I can not type while curled up in the fetal position and sobbing. When I buy this season's DVDs, I doubt that this episode will be one I choose to watch over and over. And yet, it represented some compelling writing and great performances. (Also, addiction metaphors are nothing new in the paranormal shows I watch, but this one was done far better than most. Maybe because there's seemingly more at stake or because the writers have been slowly building it to a crisis point all season or because Padalecki is awesome?)

Last week left us with Castiel repossessing (is it called a possession when it's an angel taking over the body?) Jimmy, but seeming less than helpful when it came to our boys and of course the BIG part of last week's ending was Bobby and Dean shoving Sam into Bobby's panic room--definitely one of the least plush rehab centers out there. Sam needs to detox from the demon blood, but that raises questions. Will demon DTs kill him? And, if he's not regularly imbibing, is there going to be anyone strong enough to defeat Lilith (who Ruby tells us later in the episode was once a human and Lucifer turned her into the first demon)?

Just as it was painful for Dean and Bobby to sit upstairs and listen to Sam's screams and pleas for help, it was painful to watch Sam's hallucinations. The first involved recently vanquished Allistair who had, predictably, come to torture Sam. Although less gory, the second hallucination was still pretty painful--a young Sam demanding to know why older Sam had screwed up their life. But then young Sam's eyes flashed yellow and he acknowledged that maybe it wasn't really sam's fault because, after all, there had always been demon inside.

The vision that bothered me the most was the one with Mary Winchester. As soon as Sam saw her, he slumped and said defensively that she should just go ahead and say it, how disappointed she is in him. (Like Mary wouldn't understand making desperate choices? One could argue that she's the one who originated this mess, putting him on the path of being questionably dark inside when she made the deal with Yellow Eyes that saved John.) Mary quickly assures him that she DOES understand and that she's proud, that she comes from a long line of hunters and they recognize that sometimes you have to do the hard thing. (Sure, sure, sometimes you take on the Reavers even if it looks like a suicide mission and sometimes you sacrifice your life to close the dimensional portal, but I think the point Dean tries to make throughout the episode is, if you have to turn yourself into what your fighting in order to do it, is there even any meaning in it?)

Then hallucination-rationalization Mary ticks me off completely when she begins bashing Dean and how "weak" he is. (And I'm further annoyed with Sam, even though he is hurting, because I know this is just his strung out subconscious telling him what he wants to hear and what he's been implying or straight out stating through the last half dozen episodes.)

Meanwhile, Dean finally does manage to summon Cass and agrees that he will do whatever "god" (so not the one I happen to believe in) asks in exchange for keeping the focus on HIM and not trying to make Sam the warrior in this particular battle. (Wasn't it Castiel himself who said that, according to prophecy, Dean had to end the apocalpyse since his unknowingly breaking the first seal set it in motion?) It was not a warm and fuzzy conversation and the following scene showed Bobby annoyed that Dean had basically signed on to be the angels' bitch.

I will admit to a completely irrational moment where I wondered if Bobby had become possessed. He tries to talk Dean into freeing Sam and just letting him go fill up on demon blood, for the greater good. And it occurred to me that this is probably exactly what the demon's want since they know it's corrupting Sam and may eventually turn him into a powerful force for their side.

And remember before when I said the hallucination that bothered me the most was with Mary? I spoke too soon. Because now we get a horrible vision where Dean explaining that he and Bobby had to tie down Sam because Sam's psyhic jonesing was causing him to fly around the room, getting bashed up in the process. That much was true, so it took me a sec to realize this conversation wasn't actually happening. Upstairs, Sam tells Bobby that he'd rather let his brother die detoxing than turn him into a soulless monster just to save other souls. This is juxtaposed with Dean sneering at Sammy that he is a monster. Ouch.

Then we come to Sam (alone now) watching in amazement as his shackles fall away and the door silently opens. Given the spells, the salt and the IRON PANIC ROOM, I deduced this couldn't be a demon. And, given the rest of the ep, I believed Sam was hallucinating. Until we see Cass slightly off screen. You winged bastard! What do you think you're doing? Bobby, armed with a shotgun, tries to get Sam to go back inside (and Jim Beaver gives a very poignant performance here) but Sam calls his bluff, knocks him out and drives away. (Sam, if I weren't an out of shape wuss and you weren't like a twelve foot wall of muscle, I would totally kick your ass.)

Quick scene where angel-Anna lands behind Castiel to demand, esentially, You winged bastard, what do you think you're doing? Darn good question, IMO. He tells her he was following orders. (Isn't that the exact defense always given by people being tried for war crimes?) Then he tells her she shouldn't have come and she is dragged away by two Enforcer Angers in a beam of light.

Sam books a hotel suite for him and Ruby and after the sexually charged blood-letting (which, ew) she tells him she has a lead on someone who may have a lead on Lilith (and I'm skipping the disturbing forty five seconds of that subplot because, again, ew). More important than the demonically possessed pediatric nurse I'm not mentioning is that Sam, getting ready to go interrogate her, tells Ruby how depressed he is that he and Dean have come to this. Yeah, him and THE ENTIRE VIEWING AUDIENCE. We see a little brother who hopes against hope that they could work things out.

And then we see big brother driving hellbent for leather in the Impala to save Sam from himself (starting with, killing Ruby). Bobby calls to caution Dean not to let anger drive Sam away. Aw, Bobby. Thanks for trying. Have you met these boys?

After Sam has ostensibly left to fight the good fight (or, you know, whatever fight he's fighting these days), Dean goes after Ruby with a knife and, predictably, is stopped by Sam. Seriously, who didn't see that coming? Sam tells Ruby to get out of there, seeming to choose demons over his brother, and the boys begin arguing. Things get heated until they build to the breaking moment. I saw it coming (so did Sam) but it was so well done, so painful that you were already wincing before Dean did in fact call his brother a monster.

And then Sam decked him and they started wailing on each other. It ended with Sam nearly choking Dean, then pulling away to say Dean doesn't know him. Never has, never will. And he storms out. Leaving Dean and the rest of us in a painful, bloody mess of debris.

Wow. This all makes for a hell of a tense show down for the finale, but I'm not sure I can take it if the entire next season is about the boys fighting each other. Whimper.

16 comments:

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Last night was so heart-breaking. I know Dean believes he was doing the right thing, but I wonder if he was. I wonder if despite the whole hooked on demon blood thing that Sam is right. I guess we'll see.

I think the thing that perhaps broke my heart the most was when Sam pleads with Dean to trust him just once like Sam has trusted Dean all these years -- and Dean says no.

Tanya Michaels said...

For the most part (and possibly because I've seen Sam's eyes flash back in the previews for next week) I side with Dean--I think the demon blood is a slippery slope and it's not just a protective older brother who thinks so. Sam's been warned by a psychic, angels and the closest thing he has to a father. However, yes, it was brutal when he asked Dean to trust him and Dean said no. I think they're both doing what they think is right, which is one of the reasons it's so compelling (but also so harsh to watch).

phouse1964 said...

I hope that somehow they are both right. This is the way it has to be to stop Lucifer. It HAS to be brother vs brother or Dean won't be able to stop it. Sam HAS to be a part of it or Deanwill fail

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Maureen said...

Hey, I'm a new poster and just found your blog. Good job, it's a very well-written site! Anyway, I just wanted to put my two cents in regarding the episode. While it was an excellent episode, I'm getting very tired of the angels being portrayed as conniving manipulators. I understand they have a dirty job, but these ARE supposed to be beings of light that follow orders from what is believed to be a merciful and loving God. While I agree they should not be all sunshine and rainbows since they are fierce warriors, I'm just having a problem with how the writing sets the viewer up to dislike them ALL. Now maybe the finale and next few seasons will clear these issues up a bit, but I'm also wondering if Uriel's plans didn't die with him. Didn't he say there were other angels on his side? Could something wrong being going on up in heaven? I personally think that plot line would be much more interesting that "angels are dicks, parts 1, 2, 3, etc".

Lisa said...

Great post. I do very much enjoy this blog. I had a wild thought during this episode and it pertains to Lillith's genesis:

"Lilith (who Ruby tells us later in the episode was once a human and Lucifer turned her into the first demon)..."

Cass (I think it was Cass) mentions that if Sam continues to ingest demon blood he may indeed be able to destroy Lillith, but then Dean will have to destroy Sam as he will have become a monster -- and basically have taken the same path as Lillith. Sam could become Lucifer's new Second.

Considering last season ended with Dean going to Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if this season ends with Sam reigning in Hell.

I love how this show uses the supernatural to force these character to face their true natures. I also love the dynamic between the brothers as the younger bro struggles to define himself as separate and the older one struggles with being a father figure. Even this being a supernatural show, that kind of real human conflict is what makes the show so strong.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Tanya, AMAZINGLY done!

I will admit to a completely irrational moment where I wondered if Bobby had become possessed. Hell, no, that wasn't irrational! I sat there with my mouth open thinking, "That just can't be Bobby!" And when Dean said he'd found his boundaries, the look on Bobby's face was Zachariah's look. I still think Z was possessing Bobby briefly to test Dean, make sure he's on the path he says he's on.

Everything else you said was dead on, at least insofar as we can tell for sure, and I agree with a lot of the speculation.

I lean, though, more toward Lucifer taking Sam as his host on earth. I think that's what Ruby's been preparing him for. If you think about it, non-human supernatural beings all need a host on earth in order to interact with the world. Your influence only goes so far if you're a column of smoke or bright light burning out people's eyes left and right.

Maureen, welcome! Thank you, and Lisa, too, for complimenting the blog. We're having a lot of fun with it. :)

I understand where you're coming from on the angel thing, but I don't think they've ever, ever indicated that the show's mythology was topped off by "what is believed to be a merciful and loving God." In fact, the question (one of them) has always been what the heck God's playing at.

I think we're better served (or they are :) ) if we divorce the show's good-and-evil core from existing organized religions and how they define things. The angels and demons have always seemed pretty human-like to me. :) And no matter what Dean keeps saying, I never thought Castiel was a dick. :) Even now, I think he's doing what he has to do because he knows what's coming, even if he hates his role in getting them there.

I also love the dynamic between the brothers as the younger bro struggles to define himself as separate and the older one struggles with being a father figure.Me, too, Lisa! It's the best part of the show.

phouse1964 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phouse1964 said...

I lean, though, more toward Lucifer taking Sam as his host on earth. I think that's what Ruby's been preparing him for. If you think about it, non-human supernatural beings all need a host on earth in order to interact with the world. Your influence only goes so far if you're a column of smoke or bright light burning out people's eyes left and right. Ok, this got me thinking. What if Sam has to be strong enough to kill Lillith to be able to hold onto Lucifer (in his body) while Dean kills him? Yes, it will mean Dean has to actually kill Sam but what if that is the deal? It's not like he'll really die.

TerriClark said...

Loved the epi. I'm both looking forward to and dreading next week's show. I like the idea that it has to be brother vs brother for things to work out, rather than them just being divided. But I will say that I was good and pissed at Castiel for letting Sam out. I'm not liking him anymore! Mostly, I found the raw emotion, pain and loss throughout devastating. J & J did an amazing job. It literally hurt to watch them.

MJFredrick said...

I wonder why Samantha Smith didn't play Mary?

MJFredrick said...

Also, why would Castiel break the devil's traps? Just to make it look like demons busted Sam out? Why?

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Samantha Smith DID play Mary. She was in the credits at the beginning. But someone on another blog said she just had a baby--I think that's why she seemed so different.

And yes, I think Cas broke the devil's traps to throw the guys off. If he hadn't, they might guess that only an angel could have bypassed all that to get Sam out, and that would keep them off the path he's trying to force them down.

MJFredrick said...

I thought I saw her name there, but she's not listed on IMDB, and EVERYTHING was different, the shape of her face, the shape of her eyes, everything.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

IMDb doesn't list Christopher Heyerdahl, either, and he was definitely on the episode. :)

I didn't think she looked as different as that. She looked odd to me in WIaWSNB, and I figured it was because they used aging makeup, so I figured this time was the opposite, that they were trying to make her look 6 years younger.

Maureen Child said...

How many tmes can kripke rip out my heart? And why do I keep coming back for more??

The guys are doing a fabulous job in this, but I sooo miss the old relationship. I mean, I know people grow and change, but man, it's hard to watch.

For Cas, I think it's not easy for him to do what needs doing. And as far as letting Sam go, I have to think that this is also part of Heaven's plan. But I admit, I'm worried about Anna!

Dean is breaking my heart and I really hope that next season we can get back to the demon of the week and see our boys working their way back to each other.

And I'm REALLY glad we have this blog to talk about everything with people who soo get it!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I really hope that next season we can get back to the demon of the week and see our boys working their way back to each other.
Me, toooooo!