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S04.E21: When The Levee Breaks

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Dean and Bobby try to break Sam of his demon blood addiction.

 

Another penultimate episode that is fine, but not something I care to re-watch as is the case with almost every penultimate episode of this show. It's very rare that I'm drawn to the visual style of Robert Singer's episodes, but I thought he did rather well with the stuff with Sam in the panic room. It felt claustrophobic but yet still interesting to watch. Nice to see Samantha Smith and Colin Ford again. Overall though, the episode is rather meh, to me.

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I agree with you on this one DittyDotDot.

 

My convoluted thoughts here: I too liked the scenes in the panic room, but it seems that the episode was trying kind of hard with the "maybe Sam is our best weapon, blah blah," when I was already suspecting (and I was spoiler-free back then) that this was all going to go belly-up on Sam. That's usually what happens with Sam even when he's doing a good thing (such as the season 1 and 2 finales) and he'd never been successful before in any of the previous 3 seasons, so it would be kind of weird if when now that he's gone darkside, all of a sudden now Sam gets it right. (Though that would've been such a screwed up message I might've actually been able to get behind that now that I think about it - just go for being that show with the screwed up views/morals and unapologetically wallow in it.)

 

So I just felt that everything that was happening here was more of the "let's take this over-the-top" mentality that seemed to prevail in the second half of this season. By this point I was complaining to the television with "Really? This isn't bad enough already, but now we have to have total communication breakdown so the guys will fight?" because of course all of a sudden Dean is willing to let Sam die rather than become a monster - rather than do whatever he could to save Sam, like make a deal for his soul - but rather than go with him to make sure that doesn't happen (Sam becoming a monster), Dean's going to insist on something he knows Sam won't go for (that they have to kill Ruby first) rather than actually try to work around it. And of course Sam is going to want Dean to trust him for once at exactly the time Dean shouldn't, because yeah that's the time for that. And nope neither one's gonna budge - or come up with a sneaky plan, because that's so what Dean should've done, in my opinion: say "sure, Sammy, I don't like it, but I'll trust you" and then gank Ruby first chance he got, but whatever.

 

I was frustrated just watching it, so it's no surprise Sam and Dean were ready to kill each other. I was ready to punch them both. Oh, and I was ready to punch Castiel, too after he let Sam out of the panic room and Bobby after he wanted to use Sam as a weapon, damn the consequences. So whacks upside the head for everyone all around. Yeah, I have a feeling this is not the reaction they were going for with this episode. Unless they wanted me to feel completely frustrated and to be disliking all of the characters in the show - in which case: good job?

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You know, I like most of this episode, even though I too was screaming at my tv and in shock at how bad everything was between the brothers. I remember thinking, back then, that it couldn't get worse and when are they gonna be fixed?! Hahaha, so sweet, right? ;)

But, the brothers at odds like *this* was new and fresh at this point in the seasons, so it was intriguing to me. And I knew then that Sam was oh so wrong, so it was like watching a train wreck. Just couldn't look away even though every scene was just heartbreaking.

Something that I didn't mention in the previous eps, but I have to give the writers credit for: I noticed on re watch just how well the writers wove in the role reversal this season for Sam and Dean. I kept catching all the times that Sam drove the car, or Sam made the plan and was all "let's go Dean" "keep up Dean" "wake up Dean" etc; Sam calling Dean "kiddo", etc. it was interesting to catch this time around as Sam's view of Dean (and Deans capabilities) had changed in S4.

Anyway, the panic room scenes were well done, and it was awesome to see Colin Ford again. He is so Sam and the actor is fantastic. Samantha Smith was lovely to see again too. Alastair not so much, but I get what they were doing. Watching Sam face his past with the little version of himself and with his mom was an interesting peek into Sam's head and thoughts.

Though I do still wonder... Was that Sam hallucinating (and therefor his own inner monologue)? Or was there some angel or demon interference going on? Did we ever get that clarified? Because so much of what was being said to him were perfect things to push him farther down the road of demon blood drinking/killing Lillith/separating him from Dean, and not so much what I would think we're actually Sam's thoughts. Especially some of the things Mary was saying.

The final fight...well the first time it kind of killed me. There was no siren interference to blame and there the brothers were, beating the crap out of each other. Sam was so cracked and begging Dean to trust him. Dean was so furious and scared for him. Just badness all around. But I was so shocked that Sam went for the 'kill' shot. Choking Dean? I mean, he stopped himself, but it was such a moment of showing Dean that he was more powerful and that he could have killed him. Wow.

I wish I could say I see both sides, but I don't. Sam did turn himself into a monster and he did make all the wrong choices. He was being manipulated by a lot of forces and demons, etc, but in the end it was him. Dean was 100% right not to trust him, and right to throw his ass into the panic room, imo. It was a low blow to call him a monster, but not wrong. Sam chose vengeance over family, and I come down on Dean's side here. Even though I felt really awful watching Sam fall.

Edited by GirlyGeek
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Though I do still wonder... Was that Sam hallucinating (and therefor his own inner monologue)? Or was there some angel or demon interference going on? Did we ever get that clarified? Because so much of what was being said to him were perfect things to push him farther down the road of demon blood drinking/killing Lillith/separating him from Dean, and not so much what I would think we're actually Sam's thoughts. Especially some of the things Mary was saying.

 

I never considered the detox was influenced by angels or demons--other than Cass letting Sam out, anyway--that's an interesting idea. On the DVD commentary for the episode Sera Gamble and Bob Singer talk about how the hallucinations of wee Sam and Dean berating Sam about what he did to himself were Sam bleeding through the demon blood influence, but Mary is the voice of the drug telling Sam he needed to take more. I think it's meant to be all Sam.

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I loved that it is Mary who speaks as the blood influence. It brings home that she is nothing but a symbol to him. He doesn't know her, so she is a perfect vessel to fill in what he wants. In a sense that's what John had been doing pretty much after her death. Use her as the impetus to dedicate his life to vengeance.

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I never considered the detox was influenced by angels or demons--other than Cass letting Sam out, anyway--that's an interesting idea. On the DVD commentary for the episode Sera Gamble and Bob Singer talk about how the hallucinations of wee Sam and Dean berating Sam about what he did to himself were Sam bleeding through the demon blood influence, but Mary is the voice of the drug telling Sam he needed to take more. I think it's meant to be all Sam.

Good to know. It's been years since I watched with the commentary, so I couldn't recall if it was addressed.

With all the influence going around (Cas letting him out and the voicemail) it seemed like a possibility.

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Brought over from the "Sacrifice" episode thread:
 

 

So for me, the comparison to what Sam is asking isn't quite the same. Sam didn't choke Dean because he was choosing Ruby over Dean or because he didn't trust Dean. He wanted Dean there also, but Dean wouldn't go for it. In my opinion, Sam choked Dean, because Dean wouldn't even consider trusting Sam and then called Sam a monster.

 

I just can't get behind this, though. I mean, I can see where that might be Sam's blood-addled and twisted brain *thinking* that, and that's fine. But he's wrong,and I think Dean was 95% right in his actions in that season (though he acted out of his hurt and betrayal in some places). Sam wasn't trustworthy, his actions weren't and his entire demeanor screamed "just give me one more hit, I'm fine, I'm not crazy or an addict, why won't you trust me?"

 

 

I agree actually. Which was my point. Dean is trying to reason with an addled Sam. And his strategy is to point out moral lapses and that Sam just isn't thinking clearly? Well, duh, but if Sam isn't thinking clearly, how is asking him to listen to reason and giving him ultimatums supposed to help? I wasn't saying that Sam was right to hit Dean or that Sam was trustworthy. (Although, as I said, nobody in this scenario other than Dean was trustworthy.) I was saying that Dean's strategy of playing the moral high ground and calling Sam a monster was a sure fire way to get himself hit. When Sam was practically begging Dean to trust him, sure Dean shouldn't trust him, but Sam didn't have to know that. Yes, Dean, you're right. Here's a cookie. Now if you really want to help your brother... tell him "okay, Sammy, we'll do this," and you'll have him eating out of your hand. Don't create a scenario that's bound to leave him alone with the skanky demon bent on his downfall and be all hurt because he chose his fix instead of you. Go along and watch out for him and then gank the demon. Sure Sam will be angry, but Ruby will be dead: big part of the problem solved.

 

By giving Sam an ultimatum - it's me or Ruby - when Sam was suicidal and hellbent on doing this thing, and he needed Ruby to do it, Dean was pretty much assuring that Sam was not going to pass his loyalty test. Dean wasn't going in smart here. He was leading with his heart and his need to have Sam choose him rather than going with the strategy he is usually so good at. And then he practically assured Sam would go running to Ruby when he added "If you walk out that door, don't you ever bother coming back."  It's one thing to be right and another to go ahead and watch a situation fulfill that being right when other things could have been done to prevent it. Because the "see, I told you so," just isn't going to be worth it.

 

Now I am not blaming Sam's bad choices on Dean here. I'm simply saying that Dean's choices weren't the best either. He had a right to be angry and hurt about what happened, but he's also a hunter, and he didn't go into this one like a hunter like he should have. He maybe should have called for back up - like Cas - or just followed Sam and Ruby... almost anything else but what happened.

 

Miles vary, but that's my opinion on what went down there.

 

And my point in reference to "Sacrifice" was that a little trust goes a long way... especially with Sam. And this was just another example where even the illusion of trust could've gotten Dean a lot more and goes to show just how important trust is to Sam.

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Got it, and I agree with you.

 

You're 100% right, had Dean gone in there as a hunter and not as the betrayed brother, it would have all gone differently perhaps.  But Dean was hurt and went after Sam with a 'how could you' attitude, which helped no one.

 

In hindsight, of course the way Dean handled Sam toward the end of the season was all for the angst.  The rational way just isn't as shocking as having Dean yell to Sam exactly the words their dad used, knowing it was going to hurt Sam to hear.

 

However, I don't think, until When the Levee Breaks (or right before, when he sees Sam drinking the demon's blood), that Dean really grapsed that Sam was like an addict with the blood.  That he was sick without it, and craved it, etc.  The way I saw it was that Dean was still thinking he could talk Sam into being rational, into *choosing* the right thing (family, not being a monster, etc) and I don't think Dean quite grasped just how much it messed with Sam's head.

It seemed like he thought he could still tell Sam he was being dumb trusting Ruby and that Sam would go "oh ya, you're right, I see it now".

To put it in a more real world context (since the writers themselves decided to make this about addiction and detox), I've spoken with addicts and you could be reasonable and saying the most rationale thing in the world, and they could be nodding their heads and agreeing with your every word, but it doesn't matter.  They're changed, chemically, and you're talking to that change, not to who you think you're talking to.

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However, I don't think, until When the Levee Breaks (or right before, when he sees Sam drinking the demon's blood), that Dean really grapsed that Sam was like an addict with the blood.  That he was sick without it, and craved it, etc.  The way I saw it was that Dean was still thinking he could talk Sam into being rational, into *choosing* the right thing (family, not being a monster, etc) and I don't think Dean quite grasped just how much it messed with Sam's head.

It seemed like he thought he could still tell Sam he was being dumb trusting Ruby and that Sam would go "oh ya, you're right, I see it now".

 

Yeah, it did seem like that's what Dean was thinking - which is somewhat odd, because two of the things Dean says near the beginning of their confrontation are "She's poison" and "Look what she did to you. I mean, she up and vanishes weeks at a time, leaves you cracking out for another hit— " so Dean seems to know this is a drug-like scenario (with the panic room showing just how bad it was in graphic detail) and that there's going to be Sam bargaining - which there is: "It's not what you think, Dean." and then denial "You're wrong, Dean." So yeah, thinking Sam was going to be rational was kind of really wishful thinking on Dean's part... not his most strategic move.

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But it's also realistic which is a plus. I would grow tired of any character who is always right and perfect in every situation (we're not bring Mary Poppins into this....) and this is a situation where you'd expect anyone to stumble.

This episode always makes me think "Poor Samantha Smith; doomed to forever be stuck in a white nightgown on this show. She should have lobbied for a tee-shirt and sweatpants."

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Jared is great in the panic room hallucinations. It's nice to finally see Colin Ford and Jared playing off each other. Dammit, four years later and still beating himself up over Jess's death. "Sacrifice Sam's life, his soul for the greater good? Is that what you're saying?" All right, that one hurts my heart. "I love that boy like a son." Aw, that's the first time Bobby's explicitly said it.  Samantha Smith looks odd in this one. I think it's the hair. That moment where Mom strokes Sam's head - that's some Jensen-level eye-closing there, Jared. Nice work. "You willingly signed up to be the angels' bitch? I'm sorry, do you prefer 'sucker?'" That moment where Sam just starts flying around the panic room is so disturbing. Like The Exorcist or something. Great cuts between real Dean refusing to let Sam become a monster and Sam hallucinating that Dean already thinks he is one. Dammit, Castiel. Ahh, Bobby pulling a gun on Sam. Sam pointing the gun at his chest, then knocking Bobby out. Why? Why is this show breaking my heart? What did I ever do to it? Oh, sure, Ruby, blame Dean for why Sam's hurting. I love Dean figuring out Sam's opposite day plan. I don't like the boys crying and hitting each other. And then Sam chokes Dean! And Dean uses John's harshest words to Sam! C'mon, boys, be better to each other! This episode is just stressful. 

"What's up with Rufus?" "He knows." 

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I do love Bobby's snark: "demon detox manual".  Holy moly, Jared does an excellent job with the hallucinations.  And Colin Ford: I think this might be the best he's ever done.  Of course Sam hallucinating Mary was just what he wanted her to say, not what she actually would have said.  Damn, boy is messed up.  

I agree, @bettername2come, this episode is very stressful.  

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me and my sister were feeling horribly for sam in the room, but my sister cried when dean finally appeared in his sick delusion and he said "You know you're a monster, you know it and that's why you go back to the blood to that evil," and sam's face when he whimpered "Don't you say that to me..." dear pete. this is what actually killed him. dean really is the world for sam. he could hear those words from anyone else but can't bear it from him. 

and omg PLEASE, when dean said to bobby "I don't want him to be a monster!" he looked so scared. so dang scared. made me scared right with him.

GOD.....when dean went in that room and saw ruby and was ready to raise hell, my whole family was clapping and screaming for him to kill her. "No Dean don't do it" STFU SAM HE KNOWS WHAT'S BEST MOOOOOOOOVE. LORD. 

i was completely weakened and shaking the whole argument scene. for pete's sake this show drives so much to home more than i ever thought. not that me and my sibs are arguing or anything but because it's so dang easy to switch me and my own siblings. i can be dean and any of my 5 siblings can be sam, and i can literally be as hurt and confused as the characters because i understand what bond they have. so when dean froze from saying "A monster" i know exactly how he felt. he didn't mean it. not at all. he knew it would hurt sam, hurt him so badly, and when sam hissed at him to say it and he cried i could have screamed. although, when sam said "We can fight Lilith" and dean immediately perked up and said "Okay as long as we don't have Ruby", i sort of expected him to say fine, and secretly decide to kill ruby behind his back. heck that's what i would do >:)

On 28/02/2015 at 9:49 AM, supposebly said:

I loved that it is Mary who speaks as the blood influence. It brings home that she is nothing but a symbol to him. He doesn't know her, so she is a perfect vessel to fill in what he wants. In a sense that's what John had been doing pretty much after her death. Use her as the impetus to dedicate his life to vengeance.

same actually. i was so confused when she appeared, i actually said "Sam what the heck, you don't even know her!" 

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On 6/28/2017 at 10:48 PM, bettername2come said:

Jared is great in the panic room hallucinations. It's nice to finally see Colin Ford and Jared playing off each other. Dammit, four years later and still beating himself up over Jess's death. "Sacrifice Sam's life, his soul for the greater good? Is that what you're saying?" All right, that one hurts my heart. "I love that boy like a son." Aw, that's the first time Bobby's explicitly said it.  Samantha Smith looks odd in this one. I think it's the hair. That moment where Mom strokes Sam's head - that's some Jensen-level eye-closing there, Jared. Nice work. "You willingly signed up to be the angels' bitch? I'm sorry, do you prefer 'sucker?'" That moment where Sam just starts flying around the panic room is so disturbing. Like The Exorcist or something. Great cuts between real Dean refusing to let Sam become a monster and Sam hallucinating that Dean already thinks he is one. Dammit, Castiel. Ahh, Bobby pulling a gun on Sam. Sam pointing the gun at his chest, then knocking Bobby out. Why? Why is this show breaking my heart? What did I ever do to it? Oh, sure, Ruby, blame Dean for why Sam's hurting. I love Dean figuring out Sam's opposite day plan. I don't like the boys crying and hitting each other. And then Sam chokes Dean! And Dean uses John's harshest words to Sam! C'mon, boys, be better to each other! This episode is just stressful. 

"What's up with Rufus?" "He knows." 

Watching today, I wanted to post all the same thoughts and found it was already well written up by @bettername2come

Jared really does some his finest work in this episode in the series thus far.  Heartbreaking.  

Also excellent insight to both Sam’s psyche and the stages of withdrawal.

And The blatant manipulation by Ruby.  Argh!  Nice played evil Mrs P.  

Dean’s ‘I know that kid.’ -one step ahead on Opposite Day.   

And the fight.  So painful to watch.  

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On 4/14/2015 at 4:44 PM, AwesomO4000 said:

Brought over from the "Sacrifice" episode thread:
I agree actually. Which was my point. Dean is trying to reason with an addled Sam. And his strategy is to point out moral lapses and that Sam just isn't thinking clearly? Well, duh, but if Sam isn't thinking clearly, how is asking him to listen to reason and giving him ultimatums supposed to help? I wasn't saying that Sam was right to hit Dean or that Sam was trustworthy. (Although, as I said, nobody in this scenario other than Dean was trustworthy.) I was saying that Dean's strategy of playing the moral high ground and calling Sam a monster was a sure fire way to get himself hit. When Sam was practically begging Dean to trust him, sure Dean shouldn't trust him, but Sam didn't have to know that. Yes, Dean, you're right. Here's a cookie. Now if you really want to help your brother... tell him "okay, Sammy, we'll do this," and you'll have him eating out of your hand. Don't create a scenario that's bound to leave him alone with the skanky demon bent on his downfall and be all hurt because he chose his fix instead of you. Go along and watch out for him and then gank the demon. Sure Sam will be angry, but Ruby will be dead: big part of the problem solved.

 

By giving Sam an ultimatum - it's me or Ruby - when Sam was suicidal and hellbent on doing this thing, and he needed Ruby to do it, Dean was pretty much assuring that Sam was not going to pass his loyalty test. Dean wasn't going in smart here. He was leading with his heart and his need to have Sam choose him rather than going with the strategy he is usually so good at. And then he practically assured Sam would go running to Ruby when he added "If you walk out that door, don't you ever bother coming back."  It's one thing to be right and another to go ahead and watch a situation fulfill that being right when other things could have been done to prevent it. Because the "see, I told you so," just isn't going to be worth it.

 

Now I am not blaming Sam's bad choices on Dean here. I'm simply saying that Dean's choices weren't the best either. He had a right to be angry and hurt about what happened, but he's also a hunter, and he didn't go into this one like a hunter like he should have. He maybe should have called for back up - like Cas - or just followed Sam and Ruby... almost anything else but what happened.

Miles vary, but that's my opinion on what went down there.

 

It seems like that's exactly what's happening though. You say Dean basically asked to be beaten down, that it was his handling of Sam that drove him to Ruby's arms. It's making Dean responsible for Sam's actions. It sounds a lot like

Spoiler

Sam's speech in Fallen Idols.

But Dean had already tried locking him up and detoxing him. Sure, Cas opened the door* - but Sam ran right through it. So what would lead Dean to think that it would work a second time, especially since Sam had already broken his promise once (and that while he wasn't yet a full on addict). So yeah, Dean handled it like a hurt, frustrated brother. If he'd done the hunterly thing, Ruby would've been dead, and so, probably, would Sam.

Blaming someone else for the actions of an addict (or taking it on yourself) is a slippery slope. The drunk who gets behind the wheel after an argument with their spouse (often over that very thing) kills someone in an accident. Is that the spouse's fault for arguing? The heroin addict who ODs because they are hurt after an act of 'tough love' from a parent/spouse/loved one. Is their death on them? Slippery slope.

 

*Dean didn't know that of course, but still, calling Cas for back-up wouldn't exactly have helped. And given Sam's rep (at that point) in the hunting community, calling any other hunter in probably would've gotten him dead, too.

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29 minutes ago, gonzosgirrl said:

It seems like that's exactly what's happening though. You say Dean basically asked to be beaten down, that it was his handling of Sam that drove him to Ruby's arms. It's making Dean responsible for Sam's actions. It sounds a lot like

  Reveal hidden contents

Sam's speech in Fallen Idols.

But Dean had already tried locking him up and detoxing him. Sure, Cas opened the door* - but Sam ran right through it. So what would lead Dean to think that it would work a second time, especially since Sam had already broken his promise once (and that while he wasn't yet a full on addict). So yeah, Dean handled it like a hurt, frustrated brother. If he'd done the hunterly thing, Ruby would've been dead, and so, probably, would Sam.

Blaming someone else for the actions of an addict (or taking it on yourself) is a slippery slope. The drunk who gets behind the wheel after an argument with their spouse (often over that very thing) kills someone in an accident. Is that the spouse's fault for arguing? The heroin addict who ODs because they are hurt after an act of 'tough love' from a parent/spouse/loved one. Is their death on them? Slippery slope.

 

*Dean didn't know that of course, but still, calling Cas for back-up wouldn't exactly have helped. And given Sam's rep (at that point) in the hunting community, calling any other hunter in probably would've gotten him dead, too.

Agree so much. Sam’s bad behavior shouldn’t be put on Dean. 

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It's kind of remarkable how much Dean is held responsible for Sam's actions in this episode and

Spoiler

(and in Lucifer Rising)  fuck off, Bobby

not being a perfect counselor with Sam in this episode. That Dean shouldn't have been upset or confused or frustrated or frightened of what was happening to Sam. 

This show doesn't deal realistically at all with  addiction and they shouldn't have tried here but they did.  And Dean, for some reason, who himself drinks a lot, is being expected to know how to properly deal with Sam as though Dean has been a trained counselor? As though Sam would even respond positively to whatever Dean tried to do to get Sam to listen to him. 

Spoiler

Don't even start me on Bobby's bullshit speech in Lucifer Rising

There is nothing that justifies or excuses Sam nearly beating Dean to death and strangling him with his bare hands.  And yet Sam is given brownie points for stopping. 

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@AwesomO4000

Quote

I agree actually. Which was my point. Dean is trying to reason with an addled Sam. And his strategy is to point out moral lapses and that Sam just isn't thinking clearly? Well, duh, but if Sam isn't thinking clearly, how is asking him to listen to reason and giving him ultimatums supposed to help? 

When someone you love becomes someone/something else seemingly overnight, there is no strategy involved, just desperation. A desperate hope that you can remind them of who they were/are and get them back. Sam was addled by his addiction but not more so than Dean was by his desperation to save him.

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2 hours ago, catrox14 said:

It's kind of remarkable how much Dean is held responsible for Sam's actions in this episode and

  Hide contents

(and in Lucifer Rising)  fuck off, Bobby

not being a perfect counselor with Sam in this episode. That Dean shouldn't have been upset or confused or frustrated or frightened of what was happening to Sam. 

This show doesn't deal realistically at all with  addiction and they shouldn't have tried here but they did.  And Dean, for some reason, who himself drinks a lot, is being expected to know how to properly deal with Sam as though Dean has been a trained counselor? As though Sam would even respond positively to whatever Dean tried to do to get Sam to listen to him. 

  Hide contents

Don't even start me on Bobby's bullshit speech in Lucifer Rising

There is nothing that justifies or excuses Sam nearly beating Dean to death and strangling him with his bare hands.  And yet Sam is given brownie points for stopping. 

Also, Dean had just spent 40 YEARS IN HELL. Yet on top of that horrific trauma, he had to somehow figure out how best to reach out to his lying, volatile, addict brother? Funny how the one tortured for decades wasn't the one being taken care of and looked out for. 

That's probably why I couldn't dredge up much sympathy for Sam, especially after Sam started calling his brother weak and whiny. Sam's months of misery and addiction don't compare to what Dean went through, yet the latter was the one who had to stow his baggage and be the clearer thinker. 

The hallucination of Mary calling Dean weak to make Sam feel better pretty much summed it all up for me. Even if Dean were nothing but a gibbering wreck, Sam still would not have had the right to call him weak, especially since Sam owed him his LIFE and should have shown some level of consideration for that.

Edited by BabySpinach
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9 hours ago, trxr4kids said:

When someone you love becomes someone/something else seemingly overnight, there is no strategy involved, just desperation. A desperate hope that you can remind them of who they were/are and get them back. Sam was addled by his addiction but not more so than Dean was by his desperation to save him.

I love this and this was what I saw in S4 also.

 

9 hours ago, BabySpinach said:

Also, Dean had just spent 40 YEARS IN HELL. Yet on top of that horrific trauma, he had to somehow figure out how best to reach out to his lying, volatile, addict brother? Funny how the one tortured for decades wasn't the one being taken care of and looked out for. 

That's probably why I couldn't dredge up much sympathy for Sam, especially after Sam started calling his brother weak and whiny. Sam's months of misery and addiction don't compare to what Dean went through, yet the latter was the one who had to stow his baggage and be the clearer thinker. 

The hallucination of Mary calling Dean weak to make Sam feel better pretty much summed it all up for me. Even if Dean were nothing but a gibbering wreck, Sam still would not have had the right to call him weak, especially since Sam owed him his LIFE and should have shown some level of consideration for that.

 

And this is what was forgotten. Completely, IMO.

Dean had to support Sam, no matter what; and even after all he'd gone through in Hell according to the writers and some segments of the fandom.

This was when they lost me as a fan of the brother bond.

It began with this one and was truly over for me with Fallen Idols and the last ones of S5.

Edited by Myrelle
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14 hours ago, gonzosgirrl said:

It seems like that's exactly what's happening though. You say Dean basically asked to be beaten down, that it was his handling of Sam that drove him to Ruby's arms. It's making Dean responsible for Sam's actions.

No, I was saying that Sam was going to end up in Ruby's arms anyway... Sam was already there. However, Dean could have gone along with it and then killed Ruby.

As for the beat down, no Dean didn't deserve it, but I didn't think Sam deserved it entirely either earlier in the season when Dean hit him. However both should have at least considered that was what was going to happen.

12 hours ago, trxr4kids said:

When someone you love becomes someone/something else seemingly overnight, there is no strategy involved, just desperation. A desperate hope that you can remind them of who they were/are and get them back. Sam was addled by his addiction but not more so than Dean was by his desperation to save him.

I don't disagree. My post quoted above likely came across as more than it should have. Because that's pretty much what I was saying... Dean didn't go into the situation with strategy. As you said, he went into it with desperation, and while that is understandable, that doesn't mean that it was the best way to go about it.This

11 hours ago, BabySpinach said:

Even if Dean were nothing but a gibbering wreck, Sam still would not have had the right to call him weak, especially since Sam owed him his LIFE and should have shown some level of consideration for that.

You had some good points in your post, but I don't agree with this one. Sam would never have chosen what Dean did. By the time Dean was dragged to hell, Sam didn't want his life anymore. And Sam had shown Dean consideration in season 3... despite the fact that Dean ended up leaving Sam with the burden of his (Dean's) decision. But Sam wasn't allowed to be angry, or he'd seem ungrateful, so he instead tried to keep Dean from having to pay that price, and unsurprisingly failed, leaving him feeling even more of a failure and unworthy of Dean saving him.

Sam made the wrong decisions, no doubt, but in my opinion, Sam didn't ask to be saved and never would have wanted to be saved (and ironically might've been in heaven). In my opinion, Sam shouldn't have to be grateful to Dean for saving him, especially since it was something Sam never would have wanted to begin with.

That doesn't mean I'm saying that Sam shouldn't have been more considerate of Dean's situation... he really should have, but Sam was too far gone by the time he realized Dean remembered hell. In my opinion, Sam was pretty much too far gone after "Mystery Spot" truth be told. I think "Time Is on My Side" pretty much cemented that for me. Sam was damaged in "Mystery Spot" and it took

Spoiler

his raising Lucifer in "Lucifer Rising"

for Sam to realize just how damaged he was and try to turn things around.

Edited by AwesomO4000

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5 hours ago, AwesomO4000 said:

You had some good points in your post, but I don't agree with this one. Sam would never have chosen what Dean did. By the time Dean was dragged to hell, Sam didn't want his life anymore. And Sam had shown Dean consideration in season 3... despite the fact that Dean ended up leaving Sam with the burden of his (Dean's) decision. But Sam wasn't allowed to be angry, or he'd seem ungrateful, so he instead tried to keep Dean from having to pay that price, and unsurprisingly failed, leaving him feeling even more of a failure and unworthy of Dean saving him.

Sam made the wrong decisions, no doubt, but in my opinion, Sam didn't ask to be saved and never would have wanted to be saved (and ironically might've been in heaven). In my opinion, Sam shouldn't have to be grateful to Dean for saving him, especially since it was something Sam never would have wanted to begin with.

That doesn't mean I'm saying that Sam shouldn't have been more considerate of Dean's situation... he really should have, but Sam was too far gone by the time he realized Dean remembered hell. In my opinion, Sam was pretty much too far gone after "Mystery Spot" truth be told. I think "Time Is on My Side" pretty much cemented that for me. Sam was damaged in "Mystery Spot" and it took

  Reveal hidden contents

his raising Lucifer in "Lucifer Rising"

for Sam to realize just how damaged he was and try to turn things around.

I also get where you're coming from with Sam not wanting Dean to have sold his soul. But Dean did, and Sam lived because of it. Regardless of whether he wanted it or not, how could any decent human possibly mock the trauma of the person who went through it to save them? To me, it was unspeakably cruel for Sam to say those things, since the only reason he was standing around capable of saying them was because of Dean's sacrifice.

Obviously, it wouldn't have been rational to feel guilty about Dean selling his soul and suffering for four decades in hell. That was a choice that Dean made. But it sure would have been human and sympathetic for Sam to feel that. It would have gone a long way for me to see Sam feeling SOMETHING for his brother's suffering in relation to himself. Instead, Sam went the complete opposite direction, and it completely sank him for me in season 4.

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4 minutes ago, BabySpinach said:

I also get where you're coming from with Sam not wanting Dean to have sold his soul. But Dean did, and Sam lived because of it. Regardless of whether he wanted it or not, how could any decent human possibly mock the trauma of the person who went through it to save them? To me, it was unspeakably cruel for Sam to say those things, since the only reason he was standing around capable of saying them was because of Dean's sacrifice.

Obviously, it wouldn't have been rational to feel guilty about Dean selling his soul and suffering for four decades in hell. That was a choice that Dean made. But it sure would have been human and sympathetic for Sam to feel that. It would have gone a long way for me to see Sam feeling SOMETHING for his brother's suffering in relation to himself. Instead, Sam went the complete opposite direction, and it completely sank him for me in season 4.

Agree so much!

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15 hours ago, BabySpinach said:

Obviously, it wouldn't have been rational to feel guilty about Dean selling his soul and suffering for four decades in hell. That was a choice that Dean made. But it sure would have been human and sympathetic for Sam to feel that. It would have gone a long way for me to see Sam feeling SOMETHING for his brother's suffering in relation to himself. Instead, Sam went the complete opposite direction, and it completely sank him for me in season 4.

I think Sam did feel guilty though. And I think that manifested itself especially in "Mystery Spot." There was some heavy duty dysfunction going on there.***

By the time the real thing came along, I think Sam's guilt pretty much wrecked him fairly quickly, myself. As for "Sex and Violence,"  I never really understood why Catherine Humphries went there (her last episode) and why Kripke allowed it. I wasn't very happy with Sam myself there and wondered why Kripke took it so far that way. Season 4 was not a favorite of mine for multiple reasons, but this was definitely a big one. Fortunately for me, season 5 turned things around in a big way, but I get that it wasn't good enough for others.

*** Even though it was a short montage, I found it fairly informative. I especially found Sam eating dinner with extra plate "Dean" (I used to think it was a hamburger, but the last time I saw the episode, I think it was an entire dinner) to be one of the most disturbing things on the show to that point.

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7 hours ago, AwesomO4000 said:

I think Sam did feel guilty though. And I think that manifested itself especially in "Mystery Spot." There was some heavy duty dysfunction going on there.***

By the time the real thing came along, I think Sam's guilt pretty much wrecked him fairly quickly, myself. As for "Sex and Violence,"  I never really understood why Catherine Humphries went there (her last episode) and why Kripke allowed it. I wasn't very happy with Sam myself there and wondered why Kripke took it so far that way. Season 4 was not a favorite of mine for multiple reasons, but this was definitely a big one. Fortunately for me, season 5 turned things around in a big way, but I get that it wasn't good enough for others.

*** Even though it was a short montage, I found it fairly informative. I especially found Sam eating dinner with extra plate "Dean" (I used to think it was a hamburger, but the last time I saw the episode, I think it was an entire dinner) to be one of the most disturbing things on the show to that point.

I wasn't upset with Sam until season 4, and I felt that season 3 for the most part captured his internal conflict decently. He was vastly guilty and angry for Dean's disregard of his own life, but wanted to be supportive and accommodating at the same time since his brother only had a year. I admit that I didn't quite like the emphasis put on Sam being "left alone," as if Dean were going to go on vacation or something rather than suffer eternal damnation, but I could live with that. "Sex and Violence" onward was what pissed me off about Sam.

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There is a lot of good discussion here and I think I am probably talking to myself anyway, but I can understand Sam. I don't think I end up where he is, but the first hit came at peak vulnerability. Living with survivor's guilt while his brother is in hell. He has nothing to live for other than going after Lillith. And then? How intoxicating must it be to banish demons. When he is at his highest highs, he is strong enough to rip demons from the bodies they inhabit. He can destroy them. Demons who took his mother, his father, his girlfriend and his brother. He has been thrown against walls by these entities and now he can do the throwing. He isn't helpless anymore. And addicts believe they have control. At least for some period if time. He said it in this episode. He thinks he can be in control. Of course he does. Addiction is so hard to fight because those who are fighting it believe they can control it. Denial is strong, and as I said in an earlier thread, people lie to themselves. And I do believe he has written himself as the hero in his own head. That he believes his justifications. I think his hallucinations showed us that. And those were stellar, especially opposite KidSam.

Meanwhile, Dean and Bobby are grappling with some doubt. Could Sam stop the apocalypse? Is it worth his life and even his soul? Dean is no doubt thinking as a brother, but I think it is a nice contrast to the angels (and consistent with the no virgin sacrifice earlier this season). It make me concerned that he has given himself to the angels. And I don't think the parallels with the prior episode are coincidental. Like Jimmy, Dean gets a nonchoice here. 

The fight was awful. Dean was awful to Sam and Sam was worse. 

I am going to speculate below, so those of you who know what happen feel free to laugh at my wrongness. Spoiler tags in case someone else like me comes along.

Spoiler

- so Mary told the boys there were angels. Knowing what we know now, I wonder if that is literally something she knew rather than a statement of faith. Was she a vessel? Is that why Castiel thought Desn would be able to hear him? 

- clearly Castiel wanted Dean to consent and he wasn't afraid to use duress. Will Dean be Jimmied? The entire thing feels like a manipulation where the angels are getting what they want including Dean's use of the demon blood.

- I don't think Cass is a bait and switch, but I am still waiting for an angel or demon to be impersonating another.

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