Those conversations in the car killed me. Has Dean ever flat out said it quite like that before? No joking around, just flat out putting his true feelings out for Sam to hear:
"I know where I'm at my best. And that is right here. Driving down crazy street. Next to you."
What more does Sam need to hear to get that Dean still needs him by his side, in the fight together with him, to have it all be worthwhile, to mean something. They both know that Sam isn't really getting out of hunting, and I get Sam's hesitation, his longing for what he calls normal (and what he called safe way back at the beginning in 1.01) is the reason he gives Dean to explain his change of heart.
But what Sam doesn't say, is that he wants that for Dean too, more than anything, more than for himself. He wants Dean safe, because he can't watch Dean die or have him disappear again. I just don't think Sam could do it, and that was why he identified so much with the MOTW, Brick the Mayan warrior giving up on his life of battle. Brick could see the end ahead for the love of his life and couldn't deal, same thing for Sam. The way Dean is behaving, hacking and slashing like he's still surviving in Purgatory, that's all Sam can imagine for the way Dean will die, and sooner rather than later. And Dean of course doesn't see this at all, he only sees and hears Sam rejecting him, and his declaration of his happiness with how he sees their life together going.
Both of them understood on a very deep level the love story of Brick and Betsy, her loving a monster regardless of how he stays alive, him giving up his mortality before she has a chance to die on him. The lengths they go to hide their unconventional relationship from society (oh god the incest implication was hilarious! Thanks a lot Show, I had to have an incest discussion with my teenage son, geeze!) But it's almost like a race has been set up between Dean and Sam, who can die first and the leave the other alone. How sad and tragic is that? (I love it).
My heart aches for Dean putting his feelings out there so clearly for Sam, and not having them instantly returned. He feels so rejected, and scared that Sam is going to leave him for college once again. On top of his purgatory PTSD, he's going to have Stanford PTSD. "This was the night you ditched us for Stanford. Worst night of my life Sammy." Oh god, Dean.
My heart aches for Sam knowing that he'll never be able to get Dean to stop hunting and try and be safe. That he's going to have to be there and watch him die (again) at some point. He loves him so much and he's so scared that Dean's going to die that it's like he's holding himself back from falling back into hunting and accepting it all as their life because his heart just can't take it. It's a self-protection thing Sam's doing. Because letting Dean back in after mourning him for a year, allowing his hopes to rise again that they can be safe together must seem like such a risk to take (again). Oh god, Sam
As a director, Jensen completely succeeded at highlighting all this with the way the camera focused on Sam and Dean individually and together at the critical Brick/Betsy mirroring Sam/Dean moments,"So tired of it all.", reading the love letters out loud to each other, "one way or another he'll be at peace." Jensen gets the brother relationship more than any director they've had since Kim Manners and boy does it ever show. I wish he could direct more episodes (or train someone), because it's crucial to the show that the director understands the importance of the brother relationship. I'm guessing it's what most of us are still watching for. There isn't anything else like it on TV.
But underneath all the delicious and hurt-y brotherly angst, this episode of watching Sam and Dean completely becoming SamnDean again, slipping into their routines and patterns was satisfying to see. But I'm there, right along with Dean, I still don't understand why Sam didn't look for Dean (or Kevin!), it's not something the Sam we know would choose. It doesn't make sense, so as far as I'm concerned, there's got to be more to it (it is Supernatural after all!). I liked Dean continuing to challenge him on this throughout the episode, he's not dropping it because he needs to figure it out.
Don't read this next paragraph if you're averse to spoilers:
[Spoiler (click to open)]
I'm speculating that Sam was side-lined from hunting by a deal made with Crowley, or maybe the new faction of angels we're supposed to be meeting later in the season in exchange for getting Dean back from Purgatory. My favorite theory involves the alphavamp who could potentially have communicated with Benny to give him the way out. Hopefully Amelia wasn't a part of this (no Ruby 3.0 please) . But with the shadowy figure outside Amelia's house as Sam snuck out, the strange way Sam answered (or didn't answer) Dean's questions, and the odd way he's acting now just screams to me of him not wanting to let Dean know he made a deal. As it is now, Dean thinks he got out on his own, working with Benny, he survived and thrived in Purgatory and lived to tell the tale. He feels competent and complete again. And maybe a little unhinged but that's not a surprise. Sam wouldn't want to take that feeling of competence away from Dean or let him know that he let him down again by making a deal.
This was a surprisingly creepy episode,with the heart stealing and eating, but that part with the prisoner interview in particular was totally suspense-full and scary. I have to note that I really liked the use of a Mayan god. His story of changing his long-time MO just because he finally found the love of his life reminded me a whole lot of Chronos from last season's "Time After Time". A theme that the Winchesters should probably pay a little attention to as it kinda applies to their situation.
Dean's focus on his smart phone and translation app was different for him and all kinds of adorable (which we could see Sam taking note of). Like when he was so out of it a the farmers' market because he as entranced by his phone, this is a new thing. But honestly in the translator app scene, I couldn't pay too much attention because, well, white shirt, no tie, rolled up sleeves. Yes I am that shallow. Call me shallow again if you must, but I was disappointed in the heart-stealing stripper for not making Dean take his shirt off before she straddled him on the floor. And I was glad to see that Dean didn't drink anything but coffee in this entire episode, I'm surprised though that Sam hasn't mentioned it.
The boys wore their suits a lot which is always fine by me. And the line in the "Hunters" preview for this episode of Dean teasing Sam about the length of his hair was not actually in this episode "That FBI Regulation or are you trying out for Point Break?" Why do they do that, release a promo that has content that's not actually shown? Maybe it is in another upcoming episode? Very confusing and sometimes crucial (thinking back to the season 7 finale where the don't get killed/you either scene was promo'd and not shown in the episode).
Once again I notice they sure do have quite an assortment of ties. But you can see it in this picture, the way Sam and Dean were so much back in sync, physically and otherwise in this episode. I thought it was great to see, even though Sam is reluctant and hesitant, they're back together. No wonder Dean is so relieved and psyched about it. And so thoroughly not understanding why Sam doesn't want this any more, because this is how it's supposed to be, right? I can predict some great fights about this, because Dean is going to push until Sam spills his reasons, I hope we get to see them.
The flashback for Sam was so colorful and misty and hyper-real it was almost unreal. It seemed much like a djinn dream (who knows maybe it didn't really happen) where he got what he wanted, but he didn't know what to do with it. I liked how bossy Amelia was with her commanding Sit Down!Eat! Sam found a Dean replacement for sure with her. But that consumed with worry look Sam had at the beginning of the flashback shows that he wasn't able to just relax and accept "normal" as a permanent state of being. He was always looking out for the next bad thing/person dying or disappearing. And wouldn't that make a relationship kind of hard to sustain with someone who was doing that? No wonder she didn't protest when he snuck out in the night from their bed.
This girl picnic scene was such a call-back to the Lisa and Dean one back in "Dream A Little Dream Of Me", almost like there's a checklist in their minds, idealized romantic setting, beautiful girl, happiness, normal. But in the end, not possible for either of the brothers. Besides they've got their own version of that scene, usually in the near vicinity of the Impala (or a little more subtly in 8.02 when Sam bought Dean a cheeseburger...).
The next episode looks interesting and really different and potentially pretty scary, although it doesn't seem like Sam and Dean will be in it all that much and their character arcs and the season myth-arc won't be touched on. Okay by me, sometimes these one-off episodes can be really entertaining (Ghostfacers anyone?).