I can read Sam's mind (wendy) wrote,
I can read Sam's mind

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SPN: Devil's Trap and In My Time of Dying

Even though it's off my schedule, I wanted to talk about these two episodes together since one literally begins where the other ends, because these are two of the hardest-to-handle endings in all the TV I've ever obsessed about watched, and because there's an interesting theme running through both episodes that I didn't catch until I watched them back-to-back.

The previouslies include this quote from Salvation:

Sam: It's still in there!
Dean: Sam - Sam! No!
Sam: Dean, let me go, it's still in there!
Dean: It's burning to the ground! It's suicide!
Sam: I don't care!
Dean: I DO!

Hold that thought while we chat, k?

This episode opens with Dean on the phone learning that the demons have their Dad. He's freaked out and heartbroken and insistent that they need to leave town so the demon can't find them. Sam is PISSED. He WANTS the demon to come. He thinks this is their chance to finally kill it. (Well...now or 22 episodes later. WHICHEVER.) This is the first ongoing theme: Dean is focused on finding John. Sam is focused on killing the demon.

The guys go to Bobby (who we're meeting for the first time) for help and the camera spends a lot of time establishing that he's at at auto salvage yard and has a tow truck. Nice touch considering he ends up towing the Impala in IMToD.

I definitely didn't notice this the first time around, but when Meg breaks in and is verbally berating the three guys, Sam pushes Bobby behind him and has a hold of his sleeve, they move slowly and carefully so they can maneuver Meg into their trap. Once you know what they're doing, it's genius to watch.

I am so not a Meg fan. I hate the way she's played like she's meant to be really funny (and isn't) and really scary (and isn't.)

Exorcism = Sam reading Latin. *swoons*

Dean: For your sake, I hope you're lying. 'Cause if it's true, I swear to *God* I will march into hell myself, and I will slaughter each and every one of you evil sons of bitches, so help me God.

I can't help it but Jensen's lisp when he delivers that line makes me nearly pee myself with laughter every time I see it. It's a good tension-breaker, I guess.

After the exorcism, Dean hollers to get blankets and water. (Because that...helps?) Here again, Dean is desperate to get information about their dad from the girl and Sam is solely concentrated on getting information about the demon.

Later, they prepare to find John. Dean agrees to leave the Colt in the Impala (LIAR.) The boys fight.

Dean: You and Dad are more alike then I thought. You both can't wait to sacrifice yourself. But you know what? I'm gonna be the one to bury you. You're selfish, you know that? You don't care about anything but revenge."

OK. This is the second time Dean has accused Sam of being willing to sacrifice his own life. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, In Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, we see how truly distraught Dean is over realizing that his Dad had sacrificed his life for Dean. Second, even though Dean tells Sam that sacrifice is selfish and that he's the one who will have to bury his family, Dean STILL sacrifices his own life for Sam in AHBL. Who is selfish now? Dean sees other people (i.e. his family) sacrificing their lives as wrong and selfish but when he does it? He had no other choice. He doesn't give one second to think that now Sam will have to bury HIM.

Dean says he wanted to be a firefighter when he was little. I love that. Still a way to save people, still a way to be a hero, still a way to sacrifice yourself. (Oh hey, that WORD again!) This leads me to two questions...WHY arent't there more firefighter AUs? And have you read the brilliant fic Spark?

When they finally do find John (spread-eagle and tied down to the bed, HELLO.) Dean's voice is overwhelmed with emotion. He immediately moves to cut him loose. Sam is more cautious, afraid he could be possessed. Again, Sam is focused on the demon and Dean is focused on their Dad.

And of course, the very first question John asks is "where is the Colt?" It's interesting to note that Sam doesn't tell him, just says it's safe. It also is interesting to note the very guilty look on Dean's face because he knows the gun is with him and NOT safe.

Out in the alley, Sam gets beaten bloody by a possessed person and Dean uses the Colt to save him. This is the bit where he realizes he killed an innocent person to save Sam. It also is a nice way to draw attention to the fact that killing someone with the Colt kills the person AND the demon inside.

Dean: You know that guy I shot? There was a person in there.
Sam: You didn't have a choice, Dean.
Dean: Yeah, I know, that's not what bothers me.
Sam: Then what does?
Dean: Killing that guy, killing Meg - I didn't hesitate, I didn't even flinch. For you or Dad, the things I'm willing to do or kill, it scares me sometimes.

Yet AGAIN, the emphasis is on Dean choosing to protect his family...and his willingness to kill and sacrifice to do it.

John comes in and says he's proud of how Dean handled things. Dean allows himself exactly one moment to bask in that praise. Just one. Watch his face. After that initial flush of pride, his face just crumbles. He knows that isn't how John would react. John implores Sam to at least trust him and give him the gun. But Sam says no and chooses to stand behind Dean. John says ok, if they're sure then shoot him. The demon knows Dean won't do it because it'll be killing his father. Yet one more time, Dean chooses his Dad over killing the demon.

The demon takes Dean's moment of hesitation to pin the guys to the wall and steal the gun. One of the things that I noticed is that they never refer to the demon as the "Yellow-Eyed Demon" in S1. That only started in S2. Personally, I think it's weird and awkward and they shouldn't have referred to it that way.

The demon claims Meg was his daughter. This mostly is a placeholder because I want to bring it up again next week when we talk about BUaBS. Also, the demon saying that he killed their mom and Jess because they were in the way of his plans for Sam "and all the children like him." Hold that thought!

Dean implores his Dad: "Dad, don't let it kill me." There's blood running out of his mouth and he's sobbing "Dad, please." Jensen totally nailed this scene, I LOVE IT, it just tears me up inside. John pushes the demon aside for a second and Sam grabs the gun and shoots John in the leg.

Sam immediately runs to Dean and Dean immediately says NO, go check on Dad.

John starts begging Sam to kill him. "You shoot me, you shoot me in the heart son." John wants Sam to pick killing the demon over saving his father. Should be an easy choice, right? THIS is what they've hammered into our heads ninety-seven-billion times this episode. That Sam will pick killing the demon over saving John.

But then....Dean whimpers "don't you do it, don't you do it" and Sam makes HIS sacrifice and does what Dean asked. The demon escapes. John is utterly destroyed. He WANTED to sacrifice himself, he was ready. He thinks giving up his own life is a small price to pay to finally kill the demon. I think this is IMPORTANT, really important, to remember when you watch IMToD. This is John's mental place.

So, they're in the Impala, going to the hospital, and John is bitching that Sam had a chance to kill the demon and didn't.

John: I'm surprised at you, Sammy. Why didn't you kill it? I thought we saw eye to eye on this--killing this demon comes first, before me, before everything.
Sam: (looking in rear view mirror at Dean) No, sir, not before everything.

Even though I knew it was coming, I STILL jumped out of my skin during the Impala-crash. Looking at this part makes me want to vomit.

*exhale* OK. NEXT.

This ep picks up just after the crash. The demon tears the door off the Impala and Sam rouses himself enough to to threaten the demon with the Colt and to holler for his Dad and Dean. His screams for Dean are a near-replica of Dean's screams for Sam in AHBL.

It's interesting to watch Dean's first scene in the hospital once you know what's going on. His feet make no sound on the floor when he hops out of bed. He first calls for Sam, and then for his Dad. He tries to talk to a receptionist but she never looks him in the face. Of course, then he finds himself, hooked to a ventilator. He knows Sam will find him too.

Dean: Come on, Sam. Go find some hoodoo priest to lay some mojo on me. I'll be fine.
(minutes later)
Sam: Look, since the doctors won't do anything, then we'll have to. That's all. I don't know, I'll find some hoodoo priest and lay some mojo on him.

I get that Sam is so tuned into his brother that they wanted to give him hopeful words to repeat. But I have a hard time believing Dean would SAY those words in the first place, considering how angry he got about Sam finding the faith healer in Faith and how he told Sam then that he deserved to die and that they could never, ever play God.

John immediately discourages Sam from trying to find a way to save Dean. He literally says "I'll handle it." He's already planning his sacrifice here, he has a list of things he needs. I believe he's been planning this since pre-crash. He asks about the Colt and Sam explodes that Dean is DYING, the Colt isn't important.

This is a really nice contrast with DT when all Sam wanted was to kill the demon. Now, he's focused on saving his family and the demon can wait. John doesn't agree.

Sam goes to see the Impala and immediately projects his feelings for Dean onto it.

Sam: Oh man, Dean is gonna be pissed.
Bobby: Look, Sam... this just ain't worth a tow. I say we empty the trunk and sell the rest for scrap.
Sam: No. Dean'd kill me if we did that. When he gets better he's gonna want to fix this.
Bobby There's nothing to fix. The frame's a pretzel, the engine's ruined. There's barely any parts worth salvaging.
Sam: Listen to me, Bobby, if there's only one working part that's enough. We're not just gonna give up...
Bobby: Okay. You got it.

Meanwhile, Dean sees his Dad just sitting there, doing nothing to save him.

Dean: Come on Dad, you gotta help me. I gotta get better, I gotta get back in there. You haven't called a soul for help. You haven't even tried. Aren't you gonna do anything? Are you gonna say anything? I've done everything you've ever asked me. Everything. I've given everything I've ever had. Are you just gonna sit there and you gonna watch me die? What the hell kind of father are you?

Sam comes back and confronts John that the stuff he wanted is for summoning a demon. I think it's interesting to note that Sam knows this, but still brings the stuff. I believe he knows what his Dad is about to do. John, of course, lays the blame right on Sam.

John: If you'd killed that thing when you had the chance, none of this would have happened."

John has to make the sacrifice of his life because Sam refused to follow his orders and kill him back in the cabin. This is when Dean smashes the glass, which causes his physical body to crash.

John swears to Sam: Sam, I promise. I won't hunt this demon...not until we know Dean's ok.

This is TECHNICALLY correct, since hunting isn't what John does at all. It also conveniently gets Sam to leave him alone about it for awhile.

The iconic Ouija board scene. Man. This bit is so well done. There's an incredible shot of Sam sitting down on the floor and Dean coming over to sit on the other side of him. They're both skeptical that this will work and both beyond thrilled that it actually does. Sam tells him: "It hasn't been the same without you."

Dean explains about the reaper and then literally and symbolically takes his hand off the planchette.

Sam: If it (the reaper) is here naturally, there's no way to stop it. NO. There's gotta be a way. Dad'll know what to do.

UNDERSTATEMENT since at that moment John is summoning the demon to make his deal. When Sam brings John's journal to Dean's room, Dean sniffles "Thanks for not giving up on me Sammy."

Sam: Dean, you gotta hold on. You can't go man, not now. We were just starting to be brothers again.

OK, so John makes his deal, the reaper comes for Dean and the demon possess her, Dean wakes up back in his own body. He claims to have no memory of anything that happened.

John: How you feeling dude?
Dean: Fine, I guess. I'm alive.
John: That's what matters.

John's last words to Sam:
Look Sam, I've made some mistakes, but I've always done the best I could. I just don't want to fight anymore, ok? (and then he sends him for coffee.)

John admits he put too much on Dean's shoulders and made him grow up too fast. This is a nice throwback to all we learned in Something Wicked. He says he's proud of Dean. Nice throwback to the demon trying to manipulate Dean with those words in DT.

John's last words to Dean:
I want you to watch out for Sammy, OK?

He tells Dean not to be scared, leans in close and whispers The Big Secret.

The camera focuses on Sam, walking down the hallway carrying a cup of coffee. My stomach just DROPS. I seriously could not watch this, I almost was sick. Sam sees his Dad on the floor. He drops the coffee and runs to him, screaming. I'm bawling like a baby.

Sam and Dean stand over their father as the screen fades out and the doctor announces (over a completely black, blank screen): "Time of death: 10:41 a.m." And it stays silent over the closing credits.

Such an amazingly impactful way to handle that scene.

I needed BOOZE and a NAP to recover from that.

Also, Nightshifter tomorrow, HOLD THOSE THOUGHTS.
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