After learning about the past and the warning from Castiel about Sam, Dean heads off to where his brother has been sneaking about and witnesses what he's been doing behind his back. They confront about it, the raw emotions come out with their differing opinions and thoughts about this development, along with the recent case they're on with another old hunter buddy of their father's, Travis. They're tracking down a guy, Jack Montgomery, who'll turn into a "rugaru", which is a cannibalistic beast. While the guy is currently human, he's going through metamorphosis, the beginning stages before the hunger takes over and he feeds on human flesh and turns completely. This is where Sam and Dean have their disagreement -- Sam doesn't want Montgomery killed unless he has the power to fight off his transformation, but Dean wants to hunt the guy and kill him before any of that happens.
Between the job and the tension between the brothers, the episode ends with the note that even if you have something dark and ugly inside of someone, they always have a choice. But sometimes the hunger inside can be too overpowering that it consumed the person, it's too strong, and there's no way the person can control it. Could this be foreshadowing what could be happening with Sam? Is Sam lying to Dean when he promises he'll discontinue using his powers, or is he lying to himself?
This ultimately sets up for what's to come for the brothers, the boundaries of their trust crumbling, and their roles in this coming war drawing closer and closer.
Instinct Versus Control: "It Doesn't Matter What You Are, It Only Matters What You Do"
Normally it's a hit or miss with the Monster of the Week, but this episode really hit it out of the park because not only did it fit with comparisons and connections with what's happening between the brothers instead of just some random hunting job, it also presented a manner of feeling sympathetic for Jack Montgomery who was turning into the rugaru. He's not a horrible person not in the least, but there's something evil inside of him that's taking over, and you can't help but feel sorry for the guy. He has absolutely no idea what's happening to him, and he can't control it, and whenever he does he finds more temptations and he's repressing it and repressing it until he can no longer hold it in. It's such a devastating thing to watch, because it also means the same with our little Sammy Winchester.
I'll get into the tension between Dean and Sam in a moment, but first I'd like to take a closer look at what happened in this episode regarding fighting what's been predestined for you and whether or not you have an individual choice in what Fate has in store.
All throughout the seasons we've seen Sam gradually shift and change from when he started off in the beginning. He was always the first to take a step back and look at things objectively, he wouldn't go charging in with a gun and start blasting others; he wouldn't like going on hunts and so forth. However, there are things that never change. Like keeping secrets from his brother, for example. In this season we're seeing what lies beneath him and what he's doing to use that kind of power. It's like I said before when speculating about his destiny and where this is going to lead him, ever since last season I'd wanted him to take control over his powers but not take them too far because yes, he has demon blood, but he can use his psychic abilities to his advantage. To take his spot at the Boy King of Demons throne yet overthrow that position and reverse his role, take control from the inside and defeat them once and for all.
But looking at the direction of this season, it seems that this dark path is definitely a slippery slope for Sam, especially with the Apocalypse on the rise and with what Azazel had planned and what Lilith is doing of unleashing Lucifer. Like Dean said, it's only going to get darker and darker before he sinks further into that bottomless pit of destruction and there's no turning back.
So it really begs the question: can Sam really control his powers or is he setting himself up for an inevitable fall? Now I know some are like "oh, he'll be fine, he's Sam Winchester!" but realistically, even the strongest can fall into that crack and never come out from it. Sam believes he's doing good, finding an alternative to his abilities and making use of them that isn't destructive; helping and saving others, sending demons back to Hell, doing good deeds. But that doesn't mean that those are good deeds, because from an outsiders point of view (e.g. the angels, Dean, other hunters, etc.) may not understand and see it that way because of his origins. So yes, perhaps he can control them for now, but what about later? What happens when he's pushed too far that he does something he regrets? We saw him in the beginning of this episode, he mentally exorcized that demon after getting really pissed off. Sure, he was getting rid of a demon, but what happens when he can't distinguish good from evil? How far is he willing to go?
This is what I predict is going to happen to Sam, that the further he goes down this road the darker and darker his intentions become and that morality line is getting blurred for him to comprehend. Now yes, Sam is that moral compass between both him and Dean but, who knows what might happen down this path he's taking.
I think the personal connection he made with Jack is something to really look at, because he desperately wanted him to survive and fight off the evil inside of him, and when Sam had to torch him alive I'm betting he thought of himself. Thought about what Dean had said previously and possibly wants to convince himself that he doesn't want that to happen. But I highly doubt he'll stop for good, if at all. I think there'll be a breaking point because when pushed he'll definitely shove. And honestly, I really want this to happen since I'm pining for that confrontation between him and Dean, that brother against brother biblical battle that is so epic and seems so right at this point in the series from the different paths they seem to be on.
Needless to say, I don't believe Sam when he promises to stop completely. He'll still use it, because it's his destiny, and even if he believes he can stop at any time then I think he has another surprise coming. Like Castiel says, you can't change destiny, it has to run its course. For better or for worse. This is just the beginning of what's to come.
The "Angsty Bromance" Strikes Again
Thank you Kripke for bringing in the term "angsty bromance", it's his doing so he's to blame. That magnificent bastard.
It's nothing new that Sam and Dean butt heads often and have differing opinions concerning these kinds of issues they're dealing with. Whether it's about hunting or about their family or something else entirely. They have to have disagreements and arguments about something, they're brothers and they have to fight every now and again. But this episode really brought up the issue of Sam and his repeated offenses of lying directly to Dean's face and not telling him things about his destiny that are vital information, especially since it's incredibly important to the upcoming war and the possible end of the world they're up against.
Understandably, Sam refused to tell Dean anything about him practicing his powers because he knew how Dean feels about the psychic stuff. He's right, too. Dean doesn't like it, in fact he's refused to think about his brother being a "psychic freak" and has repressed that knowledge, but not telling him has created that rift between them even more. With Dean's outburst though, he has every right to be angry with his brother.
Dean feels betrayed, abandoned, like his own flesh and blood and the person he cares about the most has stabbed him in the back. By not telling him the truth it adds more bricks between them.
On one hand I'm glad in this episode everything came out between them, from talking about Sam's psychic abilities and how he uses them to Dean telling about his adventures in time travel and the reveal that Sam knew all along about what Azazel did to him and that he has demon blood coursing in his veins. Truth is better than keeping everything bottled up inside, we know that can be a destructive road as seen with Dean in season two for sure. However, this is just the tip of the iceburg because despite them trying to figure things out, as they do, there's still questions remaining about how reliable are these words coming out of Sam's mouth. As I said before, Sam believes he's doing good, but Dean also knows that the YED told him that Sam came back different. That Sam isn't like the other "special children" and that, from seeing in the past, he had an keen eye on Mary after first meeting her. Something's different about Sam and it's not just about the demon blood.
When Dean reveals that he's scared for Sam, it's also obvious that he's scared of his brother as well. It's quite apparent and although Sam doesn't see the reason to be, I think he understands. Which is why he made the promise so he doesn't scare his brother, or himself for that matter. But it still adds to more of that tension, because we know that Castiel brought Dean back for a purpose. If this is his purpose, it's not as easy as it's sounding now, is it?
Sam will use his powers again, Castiel will warn Dean again and if Dean fails of saving his brother from heading towards damnation, then the Other Side will have to deal with him. And this is what Dean is scared of, more than anything. This excited and frightens me, as well. I want this fight to happen but also seeing Dean with the mixed emotions of disgust, rage and fear just tugs at my heartstrings, and we know that he's sacrificed everything for his brother. Even selling his soul and going to Hell for it.
Is Dean willing to give something up again to save his brother, or let Destiny take care of it for him? Or God and His angel army?
Again, proving that no other show does melodramatic angsty brotherly fights than Supernatural can. And it's how Jared and Jensen play off each other, the amount of chemistry between the two and how much intensity comes off from every little scene they have. It doesn't matter if it's a longass sequence or just a short less-than-a-second scene, there's always something going on between these two brothers and it's always in their performances. A glance, a shift in their weight and how they hold themselves, even a single line delivered. It speaks volumes. No other relationship goes to such lengths than the Winchesters, not even the Petrellis.
Squee-worthy Things About The Episode:
++ As I said, nobody does dramatic scenes like the Winchesters. The opening sequence with Dean witnessing what Sam is doing behind Dean's back, with the lying and sneaking out. He feels betrayed, heartbroken and disappointed in his little brother. And from him silently storming out and then the physical and verbal confrontation in the motel room, man, don't mess with Dean Winchester. More importantly, don't get on his bad side and betray him like that. Bravo Jensen Ackles for delivering yet another Emmy-worthy scene, the both of them really. If anything that entire motel scene deserves its own category of SPN awesomeness.
++ That being said, Dean completely took out his anger on the motel room. Abruptly throwing the lap to emphasize his point to Sam. I was like, whoa.
++ TEARS. OMG U GUISE THE TEARS OF ANGSTY WINCHESTER BROMANCE AND I LOVE IT!
++ It's not Supernatural unless there's a gross MOTW, and this week we has CANNIBALS! YAY! Call me sadistic and grotesque but I just am an addictive for the disturbing kinds of material, more blood and gore the better (as long as it has a stellar story to tell, is all I'm saying, and with SPN it's a given that it has everything to offer esp. this season). I felt bad for poor Jack, he didn't want to turn, he didn't want this, and yet he was being overpowered by his genetic calling and it was tearing him up inside. :(
++ Ah, more hunter pals. Y'know, it's interesting how some hunters think and act, because when Sam is doing his research and shares the information Travis doesn't have any thought about Jack redeeming and saving himself. But he does have remorse for doing what he's doing, he doesn't want to hunt him but knowing what Jack'll turn into he has to. It really puts the mentality of some hunters and how they hunt and think about what they're hunting into perspective. But it also makes me think about Gordon, about when he heard about Sam and his abilities that he was hunting him -- and with Dean mentioning about other hunters would want to hunt Sam if they learn what he's doing, even if it's for good intentions.
++ I know there's people that dislike new!Ruby, and I admit I wasn't really sold on her at first, but I think Genevieve is doing a great job considering the shoes she has to fill. I have some other things to talk about this but I'll save that for later. I do miss Katie and all, but I just think there's more to the new development of Ruby than meets the eye, is all.
++ DEAN CALLED CASTIEL "CASS"! I AM SQUEEING SO MUCH RIGHT NOW! I mean, at least I heard him right that he called him that, right? Tell me I'm not the only one. Either way, this adds more to my Castiel/Dean squee.
++ I liked the effects in this episode, from Jack's perspective of the hunger within him to his transformation to when Sam burned him alive. Awesome, in that disturbing kind of way. Which I like, a lot.
++ Sam telling Dean to stop the car, and him getting out even before the car has made a complete stop is just so amazing. Lovely acting and it really makes their anger and tension between them so real. This is what siblings fighting is like, y'all. And with his exploding at Dean and Dean just kind of exploding back. Oh BOYS!
++ "It doesn't matter what you are, it only matters what you do" Morality lesson of the episode, and for the reason of the season. Definitely.
++ LOL @ the scene with them bursting through the girl's apartment and they're all "...uh, we're here to save you...I guess." And then Dean closing the already-busted door. XD OH I LOVE IT.
++ When they were discussing the metamorphosis of Jack and how the transformation of rugarus in general, I kept thinking back to mah poor Mohinder in Heroes this season with him turning into a cockalizard or whatever the hell he's turning into; the serum transforming him into something else and he can't stop it. It makes me all sorts of sad, for Mohinder, for Jack (RIP) and for Sam's gradual descending into darkness. With Sam though he has a fighting chance, the same with Mohinder of course, but with Sam there's no telling what'll happen.
++ Speaking of, did y'all notice the shirt Sam is wearing in the motel? We've seen that shirt plenty of times on him before throughout the seasons. But that's what Mohinder wore during S1. I just find it funny that they're recycling each other's wardrobes. Or at least Mohinder allowed Sam to take them to upgrade to more sexier shirts
++ LOL @ Dean's reaction to the definition of "longpig". Oh Dean, ILU bb. ♥
++ You know what this episode needed? Castiel. MOAR CASTIEL PLZ, KTHX.
++ Sam's reflection in the window = total foreshadowing. Srsly.
Overall: This season just keeps getting better and better. Obviously for the last three episodes it's been about Dean and Castiel and the learning about the Apocalypse and the Winchester history, and very limited brother time for Sam and Dean. Well, this episode brought it and it delivered beyond our expectations. Or, at least mine anyway. I knew that there was going to be some angst because of what Kripke mentioned about the "angsty bromance" (I will never let that down, ever), but went got to me was the performances made by Jared and Jensen. I shouldn't be so shocked when it comes to their scenes, because we know them having an emotionally charged scene together is bound for fantastic screentime. But still, every time they do this they tug at my heartstrings and just rip out my heart completely. See, this is what happens when two fantastic actors really care about these characters and make them believeable that you become so invested in them. Seriously. And really, this season is setting up to be one hell of a ride. I just hope things live up to that expection of those Big Things.
Also, next episode looks to be great as well. It's close to Halloween so of course they'd make something like classic horror monsters. Hee.
Srsly you guys, I am so in love with Supernatural right now it's completely insane. It has fulfilled my fangirlish squees and continues to be awesome. I am loving this season so much. Plus, Castiel. Mmmmm.