This episode was basically a Sam-centric episode where the lesson to be learned is that no matter how hard he tries, the cycle of sacrificing oneself to save their family will only lead to disastrous consequences. Yes, it wasn't as gory and bloody as other episodes have been and yeah, it was a mixture of hilarity as seen from "Tall Tales" (sometimes even inappropriate humor for Dean's death scenes) and heartbreaking sadness for the last bit of the hour, and while some are nitpicking that I felt this was a great way of introducing the realization to Sam that maybe, just maybe, there is no saving Dean after all. That he just has to let his brother go.
But we all know that won't happen. They're Sam and Dean for crying out loud, and one without the other is just downright blasphemous.
Though seeing Sam's turmoil was heartbreaking, especially nearing the end when he realized, after the timeloop stopped and Dean "died" for real, that he literally couldn't figure out what to do with himself after losing his brother. This was interesting because Ruby said to Dean that they have to prepare Sam for the future without him, and even though Dean's contract wasn't up Sam was still broken from it. He so desperately wants to save his brother that he hasn't had time to contemplate the possibility of losing him for real and how he'll ever cope and deal after he's gone. That's the real highlight of this episode, the lesson Sam has to learn.
I figured that after the Trickster showed him all the possible ways that Dean could die, and what Sam would become after not accepting his brother's death, that he finally understands the cold hard reality.
The Trickster reappearing was a pleasant surprise. I've liked him ever since "Tall Tales" and I've been waiting for him to return in another episode, and I think this was a nice choice. Now I know people are confused as to why the Trickster wanted to help Sam realize that he can't save everyone, not even his own brother. But see, it makes sense. I don't see him as a "bad guy", since his description is playing deadly pranks on pompous assholes and giving them what they deserve. The Trickster actually likes Sam and Dean, he said so himself, and while he may have some motive to want to get back at them for attempting to kill him the last time this isn't his M.O. He may have a sore spot, but I found him teaching Sam a lesson quite interesting because it IS part of his style, just not in the usual way of his normal victims.
I don't know, I found it interesting that he would want to teach Sam this particular lesson, and it makes sense. Also, did anyone notice the similarities between Sam in this episode and Dean back in AHBL? Getting all bent over his brother's death, trying to make a deal and finally getting that deal? There was also the tight embrace Sam was giving him in the end, mirroring Dean's hug to Sam after bringing him back. These two are willing to do anything for each other, and even if what the Trickster said is right, that this never-ending cycle of self-sacrificing, they'll continue to do so because they are brothers and without each other they have next to nothing. There's also the connection with how Sam ultimately was turning into Papa Winchester; one-track mind with hunting down the Trickster, going on all these hunts but being so cold about it. The Trickster became his YED to kill, it was so uncanny. Plus it gives you a glimpse to how Sam'll react to losing his brother and not learning to cope with his absence.
For me this episode, while it went back and forth with the funny to the sadness and pain, really brought out the truth in life. People in your life are going to die, sometimes you can see it happening while most times you cannot. There is no way of telling and sometimes it's hard to accept. All this time Sam's had the notion that hey, it's a demon deal they can reverse it -- and I still believe they can -- but sometimes life comes at you hard and fast. Which is another reason why I liked the Trickster in this episode; Dean's going to die anyway, and he shows Sam that even with the contract that doesn't stop him from dying. Hell, he can die without being in some freaking demon war and going out in a blaze of glory; he can just die in such an unfortunate and mundane manner.
Stepping away from that, let's hop over to the montage of Dean's Death Scenes. Inappropriately funny, and I'm not a sadist or anything
Favorite Bits of the Episode
++ The fact that Sam has to listen to "Heat of the Moment" over and over and over again, for over one hundred repeated Tuesdays. I'm betting if Dean wants to play that song in the car he's going to freakihg flip his shit. Though I loved Dean bobbing his head, lip-syncing to the song. ILU Dean!
++ "I'm not going to die...not today!" Oh, Dean.
++ You've got to praise these extras they have for this episode for having to do the same scene almost every single take, with a little bit of difference every time. I'm like, whoa.
++ I freaking loved it that Sam thinks he's literally losing his marbles, with the Groundhog Day repeating and him waking up with this "oh shit not this again". From him going completely and utterly insane with the axe to him being so cute and moppy and grumpy when realizing that he can't do anything to save Dean despite all his attempts. Aww, poor puppy!Sam. But then there was the ending where Dean does "die" and Sam goes from being puppy-like to being silently pissed off and angry and badass with a mission. Just, hot damn.
++ Dean and Sam saying the exact same thing at the exact same time. "Sam Winchester wears makeup! Sam Winchester cries his way through sex! Sam Winchester keeps a ruler by his bed and every morning he wakes up...." HEE! I kind of wanted to know the rest of that, and what else Dean wanted to say. XD
++ That Mystery Spot was freaking awesome, even with the fakeness to it. The hallway was trippy, man.
++ SAMMY AND DEAN HUG!!!!! Well, it was mostly Sam doing the hugging while Dean has this "WTF man, you high?" expression, but nevertheless the sentiment behind it was all that matters. *hearts them*
++ Dude, Sam stabbing Bobby with the stake was cool. I mean, horrible because I don't want Bobby to actually die, but really I knew it couldn't have been Bobby -- it was quite obvious it wasn't him from the beginning but still. And Sam going all GRRRR and not even wincing or, stating matter-of-factly about killing an innocent for blood. WHOA. That's hardcore!Sammy. And the scenes with him and the hunting all by himself, the hotel rooms, being all precise and neat, and taking the bullet from his chest. HELLO SAM WINCHESTER HOW ARE YA DOING!! Yeah, that would be the Worst Case Scenario for our poor boy.
++ Dean's other death scene with the golden retriever? I was like WTF?! That dog didn't look vicious at all!
++ "Sam, I get all tingly when you take control like that." HOMGZ HILARIOUS!! XD XD
++ Dean and Sam arguing over deja vu was LOLtastic.
Okay, so it's obvious I lOVED this episode. Like, really. I know some were "meh" about the second half or thought the rollercoaster was too much adding the funny with the sad and it didn't mesh well, but aside from that I understood what the message of the episode was and that's what I loved about it. All this season it's been about saving Dean from his deal, preparing Sam for his rightful place in this war; Dean's valuing himself rather than accepting his death sentence to Hell and Sam learning that in life you can't prepare for the unexpected or the unacceptable. At least, that's how I feel.
By the way, next week's preview? OMG I FREAKED THE FUCK OUT I'M GOING TO GO INSANE UNTIL IT IS NEXT WEEK! It looks SO MOTHERFUCKING AWESOME!
And if I'm not mistaken, since they didn't say this was the "season finale", that with the strike ending they've returned to write more episodes, is that correct? Either way, I'm psyched for next week like you wouldn't believe.