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So this last episode of Supernatural, Criss Angel is a Douchebag, continues to confirm my suspicions of where the season is headed.

Everything I see, including this last episode we just saw, points to Sam falling at the end of the season.

Not to mention, the writers take the horror show aspect of the show very seriously. All of the seasons have ended really badly for the characters - and in Season 3 they initiated a wonderful pattern of giving the audience exactly what they promised all along and having the final themes echo all along the season. Tightly woven foreshadowing.

So, we've already been told in so many words that Dean won't be able to stop what's coming and that he shouldn't blame himself for it because what ends up happening will be destiny.

So, I think Dean is going to end up feeling deep anger at Heaven/the Angels/God at what he will feel is his manipulation.

IOW, the Powers in Heaven left him rotting in Hell long enough so that - through the process described in this post - he got far enough along to his own permanent damnation that, upon being released, he would have an insatiable desire to rescue people - a desire which can only be sated by saving the world from turning into Hell on earth. That's the only way he can get his sense of self and any sense of self worth back again.

In other words, Heaven set him up to be a counterweight to Sam.

And I think that Uriel's trick to make Dean betray either his brother or Anna, knowing he'd choose his brother, is going to be the template for the final decision he has to make. He'll either be able to save Sam from getting all demonified and going to hell, or reigning in Hell or something like that, or he'll be able to save the world - but he won't be able to do both.

In the season 2 finale we saw Dean explicitly turn away from shutting the gates of hell to look for the YED so he could get him. This time, I think he'll have to do the opposite - save the world and leave Sam - because this time he knows explicitly what Hell on earth means - really means -and he's not going to let that happen on his watch. Not if he can prevent it. That's going to be a more important pledge than keeping his brother safe - which was his job, the thing he was conditioned to do, since he was 5 years old.

So he's going to have a choice beween the two most important things for him - saving the world and himself thereby or saving Sam. And this time, I believe he'll choose the world. Just like in the episode we saw tonight, the old guy made the right, moral decision but ended up killing his friend and being alone and hating himself for it. That is the position that Dean is going to end up in, I think with tons of questions and man pain about whether he made the right choice.

As for Sam, it would be cool if he went darkside by killing Lilith who was in the middle of killing Dean, since Dean is his weakness and he would easily use his powers to the fullest in order to prevent it. It would also make Dean's pain so much more intense that his brother went dark saving him and he didn't reciprocate. The one thing that seems clear to me is that after Dean's confession of what happened to him in hell, Sam is not going to let Dean go back to hell. Also, this night's episode shows how much pain Sam still is in from being left alone when Dean went to hell, not just once, but twice - in Mystery Spot and in No Rest for the Wicked. A pain that has gotten shunted aside, because Dean's issues were so much more weighty and Sam has never yet confessed to Dean or to anyone what happened in Mystery Spot and how long it lasted for him and how much pain he was in - it's an experience that seems to have changed him a great deal.

It would be a nice touch in terms of foreshadowing the ending, if towards the end, Sam offers Dean immortality or power or somesuch, like the immortal "brother" offered to his two friends in tonight's episode.

Date: 2009-01-23 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
In the season 2 finale we saw Dean explicitly turn away from shutting the gates of hell to look for the YED so he could get him. This time, I think he'll have to do the opposite - save the world and leave Sam - because this time he knows explicitly what Hell on earth means - really means -and he's not going to let that happen on his watch. Not if he can prevent it.

Exactly. A theoretical understanding of hell as compared to the reality of intimate experience. So a 40 year perspective check as part of the divine design, eh? Hadn't really thought of it that way, but yeah, I can see that. Very interesting to consider, at the very least.

I, personally, was blown away by this episode in pretty much every way. The ending? Left me rocked back on my heels with surprise they actually went there.

So ... if this is indeed a foreshadowing of the way things will play out in the end for Sam and Dean, do you take the "What about your cards? Throw them away." exchange to mean that, upon doing the moral thing, Dean will walk away from hunting altogether and finally have the normal life he's always seen as an impossible destiny for him?

Interesting, in a resonance of themes context, if things do end up playing out the way you are positting them to play out:

1) Sam believes in God his whole life and Dean doesn't, only to have Sam damned and Dean saved.

2) Sam "obeys" God his whole life while Dean "defies" him (in terms of "believe in me and ye shall be saved, at least) only to have Sam defy God in the end (choosing his own path -- to keep using his demonic powers -- over divine orders to the contrary) while Dean obeys Him (in destroying his brother rather than saving him at God's command).

3) Sam's insistence has always been that he would leave hunting to live a normal life while Dean's always believed he'd die a hunter and alone only to have Sam never get his normal life and Dean end up with exactly that, even at the cost of everything else.

4) Sam walked away from his family to serve his own (relative) happiness, while Dean has always shunned his own happiness to serve his family only to have Sam turn away from the normal life he craves to save Dean while Dean turns away from family and ends up with a normal life of (relative) happineness.

5) Sammy the "selfish" has shown a hunting things, saving people pattern of choosing others over himself while Dean the "selfless" has shown a hunting things, saving people pattern of choosing himself (defining himself as his need to protect family, Sam or John) over others only to have Sammy, in the end, choose himself (defining himself as his need to save Dean) over others while Dean chooses others over himself (defined as his need to save Sam).

And perhaps most interesting to me (given how driven I am by the parental parallels of unquestioning obedience, love, protection and authority they have defined between John as the father and God as the Father) is the idea that Dean's ability to always default to obeying his father's orders when push came to shove, having faith that no matter his own take on the situation, John's view was a larger perspective and always going to be the right one, even when it was in direct conflict with his own thinking on the subject is a parallel to how Dean will respond to God's authority in the final battle, and for the same reasons. And that Sammy's constant defiance of John's orders, even when they weren't necessarily in direct conflict with what he believed but rather simply orders he didn't feel were explained/justified well enough to earn his obedience to them, is a parallel to how Sam will respond to God's authority in the final battle. Along with the whole parallel between Sam's hubris to think he knows better than John coupled with Dean's humbleness in thinking he never knows enough to question John might be an articulation of the "pride goeth before a fall" dynamic that was the catalyst to the fall of Lucifer the first time.

Date: 2009-01-23 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
And perhaps most interesting to me (given how driven I am by the parental parallels of unquestioning obedience, love, protection and authority they have defined between John as the father and God as the Father) is the idea that Dean's ability to always default to obeying his father's orders when push came to shove, having faith that no matter his own take on the situation, John's view was a larger perspective and always going to be the right one, even when it was in direct conflict with his own thinking on the subject is a parallel to how Dean will respond to God's authority in the final battle, and for the same reasons.

And it occurs to me that the last thing that John said to Dean ever was you might have to kill your brother. Which, I'm not getting my head around entirely at this moment, part of it is screaming, no, no, no. But maybe it will come to that. We all thought that the threat of that bit of instruction was dispensed with permanently at the end of Season 2. But it might be coming back into play, now.

So ... if this is indeed a foreshadowing of the way things will play out in the end for Sam and Dean, do you take the "What about your cards? Throw them away." exchange to mean that, upon doing the moral thing, Dean will walk away from hunting altogether and finally have the normal life he's always seen as an impossible destiny for him?

How Dean could walk away from that into anything like normal life seems to me would need a whole new redefining of coping with normal for Dean's psyche - just like he had to redefine the horror of his existence in Hell to a baseline where "constant migraine pain is the new normal". I can't imagine him walking away from that into anything healthy, unless Anna falls again or something like that. So I think if this is the end - it will end sad. As forecast. Horror show.

Also - do you know something I don't? Are there plans to end the show after season 4 - I would think that if they can they'd want to go on to Season 5 so they can get all the syndication deals that happen when you have 100+ shows?

Of course, the problem with the scenario I described above is where do they go from there into a Season 5?

Well, there's a lot of them, so they should be able to brainstorm it. Because I can't work it out.

Also, one other point. In Wishful Thinking Sam said, if he could have anything, he'd want Lilith's head on a plate. I bet that's what he gets by the end of the season. But the price for it is going to be enormous - the mojo will turn bad - just like it did in Wishful Thinking.


Date: 2009-01-24 06:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
I actually HOPE they might be considering this as an end to S4: Sam using his powers to kill Lilith (to save Dean) being the final seal, Lucifer rising through Sam, Dean choosing to save the world over saving Sam, Sam-as-Lucifer being cast back into the pit where he belongs, Armageddon faced and overcome, Dean walking away from hunting having made the moral choice at the sacrifice of all. And then they spend the entirity of S5 saving Sammy so the boys can be together at the end ... preferably by involving John. :D

Of course, I can be ridiculously hopeful at times with no apparent reason to be so.

Date: 2009-01-24 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
John's in heaven dude, his time is pretty much over. I highly doubt we'll see John again.

Date: 2009-01-24 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
LOL. I didn't say I thought they were GONNA go that way. Just that I was ridiculously hopeful they would. Because if John can climb out of hell, surely he can get his ass kicked out of heaven. After all, he IS John Winchester. :D

Seriously though, I doubt we'll ever see John again, too, be that from writer's choice or from Jeffrey Dean's sardinesque schedule these days, which will only get worse post-Watchmen. More's the pity. It would be the right ending to a story that really IS about family rather than something else.

And, you know, would prove that ridiculous hope is the whole point. ;)

Date: 2009-01-24 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
And then they spend the entirity of S5 saving Sammy so the boys can be together at the end

Yeah, I had thought about this scenario. I'd like it, too. I'm only hesitant to ascribe it to them for practical reasons - because it would entirely change their format for shooting seasons - they'd have to have two scenarios going on all the time. So they'd have to add some of their supporting cast on a more permanent basis.

But I agree it would be the perfect resolution of a Season 4 that went the way I described above.

Date: 2009-01-25 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
I try to lock up all my practical impulses when considering SPN. If I didn't, given Jeffrey Dean's schedule now, and what it will no doubt be post-Watchmen, the practical would salt and burn my enduring hope that John will return in a way that honors him rather than betraying him and/or simply portraying him as a oblivious fool.

Date: 2009-01-24 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
Oh and I forgot to say, thanks for the link.

Date: 2009-01-24 06:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
You bet. Always love sharing smart thoughts with my flisties. ESPECIALLY smart thoughts I agree with. :D

Date: 2009-01-23 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganslady.livejournal.com
Thank you abrakadabrah, I said,in Sept, that Dean would have to choose between saving the world or saving Sam, and that he would choose the world. I was shouted down, told he'd never abandon Sam, but to me it's a question of the greater good..

Date: 2009-01-24 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
Thanks back, Morganslady.

Well, it just seems to be foreshadowed very heavily in the plot.

I agree that it's the question of the greater good which on this occasion will massively outweigh the personal good. And Dean is the one person who will know that, intimately.

Date: 2009-01-23 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smokeyhorse.livejournal.com
WOW. Very interesting - it totally makes sense! I really enjoyed reading and I'm sending this to my best friend to read after she watches the ep. :)

Date: 2009-01-24 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
Thanks smokeyhorse.

Heh, I love your icon! Product placement, huh.

Date: 2009-01-24 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smokeyhorse.livejournal.com
Heck yes! ;)

I can't take credit for it, though - it's made by [livejournal.com profile] darklydean. Feel free to snag if you want. :)

Date: 2009-01-24 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
Product placement. ROTFLMFAO.

Date: 2009-01-24 07:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leelust.livejournal.com
Here via Dodger's rec.
I see your point but 2 things bother me though. First if you're right it'll make the whole story 'all about Sam' again and i wish they'd have something for Dean that not connected to Sam and second - if Sam needed to be smitten cos he's too dangerous i don't see why it has to be Dean? Cas said that they can get rid of Sam w/o Dean so i don't see a case here.

Date: 2009-01-24 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
I disagree that it would be all about Sam, because Dean would be playing out his own redemption arc. But the fate of the two are bound up together, somewhat like Castor and Pollux, only inverted. Instead of Pollux half immortality from Zeus, Sam has the demon blood.

Sam appears to have made the decision to go after Lilith because he doesn't want to be left alone again, for the third time (including his experience from Mystery Spot, which very much effected him and which he has never discussed with anyone) without Dean, like the old man in the episode.

Date: 2009-01-29 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leelust.livejournal.com
Well, we have to agree to disagree then about 'all about Sam' thing but it's ok. What buggs me is that i heard that version of Sam not wanting to be left alone - but he had no problem of being w/o Deam for 4 years and after Dean died in 316 he was mourning him like a couple of days and then replaced him with Ruby (it's not me it's the show's timeline) and was doing ok with that replacement so i don't see why he suddenly started to be upset of losing Dean again?
Also Sam knew how Dean'll react on the news about using powers but continue to do that - there was a possibility of Dean's leaving either and it didn't stop Sam... i'm confused.

Date: 2009-01-29 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
but he had no problem of being w/o Deam for 4 years

I don't know about that - that's the impression we are made to have, initially - but it strikes me that Sam is too proud, once he's done something to cross the line, to be the first to back off that point. We see him reacting the same way in Scarecrow, where he doesn't call Dean, despite thinking about it, until Dean calls him first. Because Dean's the family mediator. Once Sammy decided he was going to be independent of his damned family, he was going to damn well show them he could - and resent the fact that they didn't get in touch with him first. Which would only fuel his anger against them.

As for Sam and Ruby, the point the show is making there seems to be that he would never have gotten intertwined with her sexually in the first place if he hadn't been so desperate from missing Dean. It's certainly not his best judgement call, which he is aware of himself. So he used her as a replacement for Dean - a role she had studied up in order to get better hooks into him - because he wasn't coping without Dean and he knew exactly what was in store for him - the fate we see him living out in Mystery Spot. So it was that or suicide, the latter being something that Dean's sacrifice made an obscene choice for him. Moreover, it left Dean alive and unrevenged.

Date: 2009-01-31 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leelust.livejournal.com
Sam is too proud, once he's done something to cross the line, to be the first to back off that point. We see him reacting the same way in Scarecrow, where he doesn't call Dean, despite thinking about it, until Dean calls him first.
Yes but from the show told me i had an impression that Dean did call Sam and Sam refused to pick up - so first move was done and then nothing. But anyway in Scarecrow Dean made the first move and Sam postponed his plans and return and helped Dean - it shoewd he cared. So how could he live in Stanford for 4 years and doesn't care at all? That confused me from the beginning...

As to SRuby i get her intention and his motives but i meant 'the being lonely' part. If Sam can adapt so good with replacement of Dean why does he worries now? He saw in his own example that he can survive w/o Dean if he got replacement so why bother? I just don't 'the being lonely' as the reason to snap and go with Ruby i think there's something more to it.

Date: 2009-01-24 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kimmer1227.livejournal.com
I can see it playing out in this exact way, and it breaks my heart. It would be awesome storytelling, but I love those damn boys so much... *weeps*

Kripke is EVOL!

Date: 2009-01-24 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
Wouldn't it be glorious. It would be a perfect tragedy and wonderful storytelling.

I really hope the writers are strong enough to go somewhere deeply, deeply painful in the finale.

Date: 2009-01-24 05:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pinkphoenix1985.livejournal.com
Dodger mentioned this and I have to say that this is AWESOME and such a brilliant theory and I definitely see it working out like this towards the end of the season!

Date: 2009-01-24 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xinco.livejournal.com
I'm here because of the link [Bad username or site: @ livejournal.com] posted in her journal and now, actually, I wish I had never come :P (no offense to you or dodger_winslow in any way)! It's just, I think I need this show to end somewhat happily or in a way that would allow me to assume it ended happily. If what you say happens (which is extremely possible) then a happy ending isn't really within reach. Dean abandoning the hunt and Sam gone, figuratively or literally is just too sad. Too horrible. Whether it makes an awesome story or not. Please, please give them SOMETHING. PLEASE! I know it'd make a kickass story but I hope this isn't what ends up happening. (Sorry)
-xinco

Date: 2009-01-24 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
Well, thanks for reading anyway.

Put it this way. I don't think they'll end this way if it is the very end of the show, and not just the end of the season. Because it is really harsh and would upset a lot of longtime fans - even if it is horror by genre. But as a season end, during which Dean spends (some part of) the next year trying to bring Sam back - or whatever - a stopping place along the way - which is how I was visualizing it - that would be fine with me.

OTOH, I don't know if they would go that way in Season 5, since it would be very hard to shoot the boys always apart. It would be a completely different model of show than what we've had heretofore.

So, we'll have to wait and see.

Date: 2009-01-25 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xinco.livejournal.com
I re-read what I had written and I sound pretty desperate even to myself :D. Really, I'm not the kind of person that becomes so involved in a television show but Supernatural does strange things to me! I do hope that the show ends on a hopeful if not happy note and if they end season four this way, well, I guess I'm game as long as I have another season to look forward too. Until then, I think I'll try to keep my emotions in check, lol!
You did a great job with what you've come up with. I don't think I'd be surprised if it turned out to be canon. ^______^

Date: 2009-01-25 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alphabet26.livejournal.com
Hello, interesting meta! I started to write up a comment, but kind of wound up not replying to anything you said and going off on my own tangent, so I deleted it. But I've recced your meta and if you'd care to see what I said, it's at my LJ here (http://alphabet26.livejournal.com/324608.html).

Date: 2009-01-25 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
You know, someone brought up something in my head by requiring me to do more thinky-thinky on Sam than I've really been doing, and it shines a bit of a different light on this episode in my mind. And a far less doomful one.

Given Sam's choice at the end, take for a moment the idea that The Magician's Tale was a cautionary portent of the future Sam would suffer if he continued on the path of turning his back on his demonic powers. That would be Sam "doing the right thing," and the inevitability of the endgame there would be that Lilith would succeed in raising Lucifer to the coming of Hell on Earth. In which case, Sam and Dean would continue to fight evil, they would simply be doing it in an environment where they were outnumbered a kabillion to two.

Which, given that Dean clarifies part of the gig being that it will inevitably end sad and bloody ... there's Sam's message there.

If you "do the right thing" in turning away from your powers and the potential to be more than you could ever be without them, you will lose everything that matters to you personally, and end up hating yourself for making the choice you made. And in that situation, what value is having done the right thing?

So Sam, not wanting to face becoming an old hunter still hunting in post-apocalypse Earth, having lost everything that matters to him (assumably Dean, given how much more likely Dean is to get himself killed on any hunt that Sammy is), and only having the cold comfort of being able to say "I did the right thing" as a counterbalance to those losses that, in the end, means abolutely nothing ...

Sam chooses to accept the corrupter's card rather than do the right thing. He accepts Ruby's offer to help him develop his powers to a strength where he can stop Lilith just as the magician now feels he should have taken the immortality card rather than "doing the right thing" by turning away from it.

And in that context, this has an even deeper repetition resonance in the idea that: John sacrificied himself, body and soul, to save Dean. Dean sacrificed himself, body and soul, to save Sammy. Sam sacrifices himself, body and soul, to save the world. And with the world ... Dean.

So to close that circle? Dean would then have to save Sammy from that choice. Just as John saved himself from it, and angels saved Dean from it. Which would leave Earth pretty much the same as it is now, with evil still running amok, and needing the Winchesters to continue on as they always have: hunting things, saving people.

Which in terms of an endgame for where they are going with this, actually sounds FAR more likely to me to actually be their intention, as well as FAR more likely to keep them from getting lynched.

And, you know, leave open the possiblity of a movie later. :D

Date: 2009-01-25 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jameserin.livejournal.com
this is pretty much what i was thinking in terms of how it's going to end when my friends and i were discussing it.

He accepts Ruby's offer to help him develop his powers to a strength where he can stop Lilith just as the magician now feels he should have taken the immortality card rather than "doing the right thing" by turning away from it.

that is really how i saw it. :) and really, i think that i could live with it ending that way. but my problem is, this is kripke & co. i'm not too sure that kripke, especially, would be too concerned about getting lynched if he feels that killing one or both is good for the story. for the record, i would be okay with both of them dying as well, but i just can't see one without the other since they've showed us time and time again that they can't be without each other but then again, maybe that's the whole point in killing just one of them? to literally force one or the other to be without his brother post-apocalypse because they're wouldn't be anymore demon deals to make or anything. but then again, i assume that there would still be werewolves and other things to hunt because dean said in shadow that "it's never going to be over, there is always going to be something to hunt" whether there are demons or not and while i could see dean(or sam)hunting by himself for awhile post-apocalypse to plow through the grief, i can't see him doing it until he dies... unless he has sam(or sam has dean). when sam said that dean could look for their dad by himself in the pilot and he said "yeah well, i don't want to," i still think that's true now and i think it'd be the same for sam. maybe i am wrong though, we'll just have to wait and see. :)

Ruby

Date: 2009-01-25 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
He accepts Ruby's offer to help him develop his powers to a strength where he can stop Lilith just as the magician now feels he should have taken the immortality card rather than "doing the right thing" by turning away from it.

But just how much of a two edged sword will accepting Ruby's offer to help turn out to be. It's a demonic gift - they're always double edged and the second edge is always bad.

I have all these questions about Ruby.

Who is she - we know she appeared in 3.1 - right after the YED bit it. That's suspicious right there. And then she has paraphernalia that even Alastair is impressed by and hasn't seen before. So who is that masked chic? And how come she can get out of hell repeatedly - but does so for the first time only when the YED is deceased?

So, the question is, is she a free agent or is she working for someone. And if she is working for someone, who?

In 4.9-10, Ruby seemed paralleled to Anna, with that whole Angel and Demon in the backseat of a car spiel. But is Anna the right parallel. Maybe, just as Ruby appeared in 3.1 to help Sam on his path, her true comparison is to Castiel, who appeared in 4.1, to help Dean on his path.

In which case, we can pretty much work out who sent Ruby and why. And what her real function in the story is.

Or, we could take her at face value as a demon on a path of redemption.

But, then, it's a horror show, right, so we shouldn't get too comfortable in our assumptions.


Re: Ruby

Date: 2009-01-25 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jameserin.livejournal.com
i don't know if i believe this myself(i'm kind of on the fence about it)but some people seem to think that she is the yellow-eyed demon's child or something along those lines and she's still trying to carry out his plan where sam is concerned. but if she is related to him or whatever, why didn't we hear about her in S1? but really, there is no telling how many children he had, right? i'm inclined to think that she has her own motivations(that have nothing to do with redemption)though, or maybe along with the YED's plans, if in fact she is connected to him.

Date: 2009-01-25 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
And in that context, this has an even deeper repetition resonance in the idea that: John sacrificied himself, body and soul, to save Dean. Dean sacrificed himself, body and soul, to save Sammy. Sam sacrifices himself, body and soul, to save the world. And with the world ... Dean.

Well, it's complicated. Because Sam also knows he's eventually going to lose Dean if he chooses to play the Magician card, to take up *immortality* - which at this point is figurative, but at some point may become literal in the story - at least for a while. Because at what point does the demonic influence that he carries overcome the human part? He doesn't know the rules to that part of the game and if the angels know more on this score - which presumably they do - they're not talking. It's a game of edge and time that he's going to lose eventually. The question is what can he accomplish before he loses it. And it's not clear that he's taking into consideration the fact that he may be making himself into the perfect vessel to become Lucifer, or some other spawn of Hell. I doubt he's seen that far along the path.

It's also pretty interesting that for the last two episodes they've gone back to the template of cases from season 1. That's very deliberate, choice-wise. Early season 1, they were not yet honed enough to be facing off against demons - and when they eventually face off against Meg, they have their father helping them.

Here, of course, they are honed enough to do it. But, since Dean is the one picking the jobs right now - it seems like he's making a deliberate choice to fight to help regular people. And he's staying away from the demon crap because he knows, face to face with it, Sam will be face to face with his demonically derived psychic power addiction. As Ruby just told him - and Ruby, whatever else her function, is a truthteller - it would help Sam if he admitted he enjoyed it. I'm sure that Dean already knows that about Sam in any case, given what he's just admitted to enjoying.

So, yeah, at this point in the story, I agree that Sammy is making a deliberate choice to try to save the world and Dean, whereas Dean - while attempting to redeem himself - has also been working to keep Sam safe from himself, based on Dean's own intuition about Sam and the moral slippery slope he's on and how demonic gifts always backfire, and at the command of the angels. Plus, Dean has always had more faith in authority than Sam does. And I also think he's now plenty cognizant, in a way that Sam isn't, of how one begins to participate in one's own damnation.

So this puts them - for the moment -at cross purposes. Each with his own unique crucible.

So to close that circle? Dean would then have to save Sammy from that choice.

I'm imagining that's what Season 5 will be about. Not the end of Season 4. Because, dude, there are only 10 episodes left. That's a lot of telescoping down to do - plus what would they do for an encore the following season? Assuming there is a following season.

So, how did the fans react last year when they killed off Dean, as promised? Were there lynch mobs?

I imagine if Sam is in hell at the end of the season, it will be pretty much the same thing.

But, since it's a double heroes journey, Sam needs a redemption arc, too.

Date: 2009-01-25 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
I'm looking at the 5 season, full series overview here. Like you, I think Sam going darkside to destroy Lilith (and likely save Dean in a more direct fashion than simply saving Dean by proxy of saving the world) is the inevitable season finale of 4. Unless, of course, CW folds. In which case, all bets are off.

And also, I don't think Sam makes this choice to be with Dean, but rather to avoid NOT being with Dean. So the reality that this choice will take Dean away from him by taking him darkside isn't in play for Sammy, IMO, any more than Dean considered being taken away from Sam by being thrown into the pit as the endgame for him selling his soul to save Sam's life. Rather, I think this is a sacrificial dynamic: I will SACRIFICE myself to SAVE you, not I sacrifice myself to be with you, or to not be alone.

So I'm saying here that Sam makes this choice to pursue his demonic powers to the end of destroying Lilith to save the world and save Dean, KNOWING he will be sacrificing himself by doing so, and thus not be with Dean in the end. But the "not with Dean" aspect of his choice here isn't going on without Dean, it is Dean going on without him, which Sam has repeatedly said is his preference here. That he cannot endure Dean being gone and him going on (thus the "put me in his place" effort to deal with the crossroad demon in IKWYDLS), but would be willing to make Dean endure going on without Sam in order to save Dean ... which is exactly what John did to Dean and what Dean did to Sam.

So the whole reference to not wanting to grow old hunting is an acknowledgement that he understands this choice is selling his soul to save the world/Dean, and he accepts that it will end him as he is. So post Lilith? He will either be dead, and thus not going on with Dean. Or darkside, in which case he likely assumes he won't be him any more, so he still won't be going on without Dean.

Which, as proved with both John and Dean, makes their sacrifices selfish in the end. It isn't about saving who they are selling their souls to save so much as it is about saving themselves from that which they cannot endure: going on without the one person they need in order to go on. For John, Dean. For Dean, Sam. For Sam, the world ... and Dean.

Date: 2009-01-26 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
So I'm saying here that Sam makes this choice to pursue his demonic powers to the end of destroying Lilith to save the world and save Dean, KNOWING he will be sacrificing himself by doing so, and thus not be with Dean in the end. But the "not with Dean" aspect of his choice here isn't going on without Dean, it is Dean going on without him, which Sam has repeatedly said is his preference here. That he cannot endure Dean being gone and him going on (thus the "put me in his place" effort to deal with the crossroad demon in IKWYDLS), but would be willing to make Dean endure going on without Sam in order to save Dean ... which is exactly what John did to Dean and what Dean did to Sam.

Sure. And round and round the Winchester's go.

Although Dean's words from 3.16 still apply - tte of "let's go in smart, Sammy. Let's not repeat the mistakes we already made. Sammy is still going to be ignoring that.

All this is why the perfect redemption for Dean's hubristic sin in saving Sam by making a deal with the devil is to have to sacrifice him - whether by killing him himself or just enduring his death - to save the world. And live.

Mind spinning out of control here - you know what would be cool - if next year was Dean's journey through Hell to rescue demonic Sam, first from himself, then through hell. Not that I expect that, given budget constraints. But, heck, Vancouver is dark enough so that they could fake it pretty well.

Date: 2009-01-26 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodger-winslow.livejournal.com
let's go in smart, Sammy. Let's not repeat the mistakes we already made.

That line always amused me. Typical older brother: I already made my mistakes despite the fact that I was told by you and everybody else not to do it, but don't YOU make those same mistakes because I'm telling you not to do it.

Yeah. Right, Dean. If we were going to go smart with this, the time to suggest that would be before YOU did stupid stuff you shouldn't have done because you felt you had to do, not AFTER you've gotten it all out of your system so it's just ME who won't be doing stupid stuff I feel I have to do.

*headdesk*

You've gotta love big brothers, don't you? Because if you didn't, you'd probably shoot them.

I don't think the redemption for Dean's sin would be that. More like his penance would be that. Or his punishment. But on a grander scale, I can't see them going there (and actually don't think they should go there) simply because the whole series has been (supposedly) predicated on the idea that family love conquers all, and that self sacrifice is noble, albeit sometimes also self destructive, selfish and stupid.

So for them to end the series on a note that says family love isn't enough, you have to choose the world over those who are most important to you? Seems contrary to everything they've said they were trying to say to this point. Not that they always tell the truth, mind you. But rather that it seems contrary to the very core of their thematic elements to play the idea that family love is the key to destroying those you love, not saving them.

Even if the budget would accomodate it, I wouldn't want to see the show go to hell. That's the aspect of both heaven and hell that makes them what they are: you can't possibly imagine them. They are beyond human ken. So to try and visualize them enough to represent them in either a movie or a TV show? Is to fail before you ever begin, IMO.

Date: 2009-01-27 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] labseraph.livejournal.com
All you said above?

Word.

Date: 2009-01-27 11:26 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-01-28 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
I don't think the redemption for Dean's sin would be that. More like his penance would be that. Or his punishment.

I guess I'm seeing that as more of a semantic difference than a real one. Redemption arcs include penance and punishment. And since that was the thing he could not endure the first time, having to endure it the second time to save the world makes sense to me.

But on a grander scale, I can't see them going there (and actually don't think they should go there) simply because the whole series has been (supposedly) predicated on the idea that family love conquers all, and that self sacrifice is noble, albeit sometimes also self destructive, selfish and stupid.

It's also predicated on the fact that the sins of the mother and father get repeated in the next generation, causing more and more pain each time around and never solving anything, just passing the pattern along, never resolving anything. Which Dean has now seen first hand - that's what Casti'el either chose himself or was commanded to show Dean. Someone has got to break the vicious cycle, however painful it is to him personally. That's the whole point, isn't it. That everyone has done what was easiest for him to bear, though it damned him, starting with Mary. Someone has got to be able to man up and take the pain. And transform it into something else. And since I don't think this is the final place to stop in the series, but that the series will go on, this strikes me as a good point to dramatize this change. And then spend time the next series saving Sam.

Watching Dean repeat the same kind of mistake over means there would be no spiritual/character progress for any of them.

What else do you think Casti'el brought Dean back from hell to do? Dean's got to do something, not just hang around and not do something and watch Castiel mediate the situation for him. And maybe, Casti'el himself, be punished for his actions, for disobeying.

Unless they've thought of the third outcome - one which avoids the two hard choices.

But, you know, I like my fiction and my drama to go to the really hard places - I think it makes it better.

Date: 2009-01-27 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] labseraph.livejournal.com
In other words, Heaven set him up to be a counterweight to Sam.

There is so much dread that this single line of yours engenders in me. Just.

*shudders*

But I like how your brain process this. I do. It's just, the optimist in me can't help but hope for a happy ending for the boys.

*Sigh*

Just FYI, here via dodger_winslow's LJ rec.

Date: 2009-01-28 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
Thanks for the comments. Sorry it raises so much dread in you.

I guess I like my story telling to have hard core penalties.

Date: 2009-01-28 03:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
Oh, forgot to say, I guess I want a happy ending for them also, or at least not a bad ending, but not yet. Not at the end of Season 4. Not at this point in the story. I guess I want it to be really dark. A five year heroes journey, starting with them as apprentice hunters in Season 4, and the journey for each of them through Hell. Etc.

Date: 2009-01-31 04:19 am (UTC)
ext_5937: (Default)
From: [identity profile] msdori.livejournal.com
So he's going to have a choice beween the two most important things for him - saving the world and himself thereby or saving Sam. And this time, I believe he'll choose the world. Just like in the episode we saw tonight, the old guy made the right, moral decision but ended up killing his friend and being alone and hating himself for it. That is the position that Dean is going to end up in, I think with tons of questions and man pain about whether he made the right choice.

Judging by the red in "After School Special," I'm convinced that you're exactly right on this. Man. I'm not sure how I feel about that, actually. I mean, Deantorcher is always fine by me, yo, but I don't want him completely broken. And having to let Sam die, or, worse, having to kill Sam himself, will break him, sure as the world.
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