Supernatural 5.16 "Dark Side of the Moon"
Bring out the tissues folks, because this one's a tearjerker.
The episode starts off with a bang, literally, as Sam and Dean are killed by two angry hunters and they awaken in Heaven. Castiel finds a way of communicating with them, telling them to find an angel named Joshua, who has seen and spoken to God, and can show the boys the way back to the living. So the boys try to locate this Joshua, encountering a whirlwind of their happiest memories, learning something about each other in the process, finding old friends, and running from Zachariah and his angel cronies as they try to torment them once more. Upon finally stumbling across Joshua and being transferred into the Garden of Heaven, they are given startling news regarding God and what He has requested of them, and what this means for Team Free Will and the Apocalypse.
Following "Abandon All Hope", this is perhaps one of the most amazingly depressing episodes of this season thus far. Giving us a perfect mixture of angst and drama and meta-filled things to contemplate about where all of this is going.
God Is In The Details: Understanding God and the Apocalypse
"God's not on any one side. God's a force of nature, beyond good and evil. Good and evil, we created those. You wanna break the cycle? Break the cycle of birth, death, rebirth, destruction, escape, death...that's in our hands, and in our hands only. It requires a leap of faith, requires that we live in hope, not in fear."The above quote is taken directly from Gaius Baltar's speech in the Battlestar Galactica series finale, which I think is rather relevant to what happened in this episode regarding the reveal about God to the boys and what God expects of them, and the blatant disappointment they expressed in finding out the truth of the situation they're in. More importantly, I would like to address the issue concerning something that's been on everyone's minds since the announcement of having angels and Heaven introduced into the show, and how God's influence, or lack thereof, can help the course of things.
First off, I don't believe that God doesn't care about what's happening, doesn't care about His children. It's obvious that He does, He just cannot directly intervene with what is happening and rightfully so because God is right, it really isn't His problem to fix. If anyone has seen Joan of Arcadia, this follows the same commandment formula the show used when presenting God in such a light, which means that God isn't going to be a simple deus ex machina and fix everyone's problems. That would be too easy and, kind of a contradiction for what Supernatural stands for, which is about brotherhood, family, and the resilience of humanity and fighting the good fight despite all the odds. If God intervenes now, that message would no longer have any meaning.
But that doesn't mean that God hasn't already intervened for the cause. He saved Sam and Dean along with resurrecting Castiel. Why would He do that if He didn't care? So yeah, God does understand what is happening and does care, He just simply cannot intervene in the way they want him to, that's all.
Consider this as a parental figure metaphor, which technically God really is for us all in that sense. Parents cannot clean up their children's messes all the time, if they do how will the children learn from their mistakes and faults? So God stepping away, allowing His children to run amok isn't the same as leaving and never returning or not caring about anything. It's kind of a disciplinary method, if you will. Seeing which one of God's children is going to be loyal and faithful to everything they've been taught and which one's are going to stray, and then when shit is about to hit the fan He will then reward those who have remained faithful through thick and thin and punish those who have lost their way. This goes for everyone, human and angels alike. I firmly believe that everything we're seeing is a testament of faith. They are all being tested, and isn't that how these things go anyway? You can't just pray and some miracle will happen. One has to undergo a series of obstacles in order to understand what they have to do, to strengthen the faith within them.
I read a quote somewhere where one needs to have doubt in order to have faith; to follow something on blind faith isn't enough, that to question and doubt is the gateway to strengthen your own faith. I feel that is what's happening to these characters, Castiel especially, who have doubted and questioned their orders, questioned God and their own faith. He is also being tested. Even though Castiel is feeling devastation from such a betrayal so his pain is quite raw and new here in this episode, he's been questioning the orders coming from Heaven and doubting his superiors. He has a moral compass, he believes in doing what is right rather than blindly following orders, he's also been the only angel that has ever had such strong faith in God, their Father. Even though it seems like he's losing that faith, I think this is just something he has to go through to understand that he can't always rely on God for everything. But I hope that he maintains his faith despite all this, because we seriously don't want him to become faithless and hopeless like his future!self turned out to be. But if Castiel's faith is just as strong from the beginning, this will only be temporary; it's only a knee-jerk reaction of the realization that God won't be aiding them in the way he thought. But that doesn't mean that all is hopeless, he just has to continue believing and having faith or otherwise they will be without hope.
Needless to say, I really am enjoying the direction they're heading with this, that God isn't going to be a deus ex machina and it's really about them figuring things out on their own. Henceforth why this needed to be revealed in this episode; God cannot help them because he cannot interfere directly in the line of things, however that doesn't mean they should just give up. You don't need such divine intervention from God Almighty Himself to fix things in the world, and that's the lesson Team Free Will needs to acknowledge and understand.
Sam says in the end, "we'll find another way" he is right, they will. I also have confidence that somehow God will help, just not in ways they imagined. Remember: the Lord works in mysterious ways and everything happens for a particular reason or another, you never know what unexpected thing might happen next, and it might just surprise them in the end of everything. That is my personal belief.
Castiel: Faith and Doubt of an Angel of the Lord
Having already discussing my thoughts and theories about how Castiel is amongst those whose faith is being tested, I just needed to add something about him in this episode. Although he was only in there for a few minutes, those last minutes were incredibly crucial towards his character development and it really says a lot about his mindset right now after everything.
I think with what happened to Castiel in those last few minutes of the episode broke me more than what occurred between the boys all throughout the hour, because we're used to seeing the boys getting knocked down and continually kicked; they're always in need of mending but always manage to survive despite it all, but Castiel? Him becoming broken, gradually fading into a shadow of despair, it's something so surprising that although we knew that somewhere down the line he would start having those doubts again I didn't expect it to be this episode where he just flat-out lost it completely. His sadness, his devastation, how wounded and angry and defeated he sounded when he cursed out to God, "you son of a bitch". Even Dean's reaction was of shock because Castiel just doesn't lose hope like that, doesn't lose his faith and certainly doesn't react outright like that. It's when you know how lost he really is. You could also tell from how desperate he was to hold onto that bit of faith, that hope when he weakly pleaded that Joshua could have been lying. But deep down he knew that it was the truth, at least in some ways he acknowledged it to be true.
It's just so heartbreaking watching that last scene. Because it's Castiel people! He's the embodiment of hope and faith for the boys, especially for Dean because while Dean doesn't share the same faith and beliefs Castiel does he's proven, from 5.03 "Free To Be You And Me", that he has faith in Castiel's faith and that's what keeps both of them going. Without that faith, what happens to them now? It's that devastation that weighs on me so much because they are together in this, Castiel has had two things to hold onto after he returned: his faith in God and his faith in Dean. With one gone, he's just hanging on by a thread. It just, it hurts. So, so fucking much.
And that is why I adore this show, because by making such an emotional impact they've proven to really understand and care for Castiel's character. He's practically the third main character now because of the whumpage they've done to him, and in those last few minutes alone.
I still have hopes that Castiel will regain his faith again, because without it he'll just be nothing. Either Sam or Dean or both of them will convince Castiel to snap out of his reverie of despair and disappointment and realize that he rebelled against Heaven for a particular purpose. They are in this war together, and with praying and crossing of my fingers and toes that Castiel does not go down the road we've seen his future!self go down in "The End", that somehow they'll all make it through this. This is just yet another obstacle that Castiel has to hurdle through because again, I believe this is a testament of this faith, that it'll hurt and won't make sense, but if he stays strong in this struggle he'll be rewarded in the best possible way because he would have shown loyalty and resilience against all the odds.
Knocking On Heaven's Door: Supernatural's Interpretation of Heaven
I'm always very enthralled with people's different interpretations of how Heaven would be to them, since there are a variety of different versions that's been scattered throughout time. From pearly gates and sitting on clouds to going to a completely different plane of existence, a place where peace and love are there always and you can be with passed loved ones, or just a pleasant kind of scenery: green fields, mountains, flowers and lakes/rivers/oceans, something that resembles a paradise similar to Eden. Everyone has different interpretations of what Heaven would look like in their mind's eye.
So color me surprised that we would actually get to see Supernatural's take on what Heaven could/would look like, at least to the boys. The fact that Heaven is made up of all these personal heavens of people's happiest memories is kind of interesting, and everyone's happy memories differ, that there are certain roads one must take to get from Point A to Point B, not to mention the metaphysical-esque atmosphere of stars and moon spinning about above. It's all surreal and dreamlike, really. Kinda cool interpretation, really.
But there's some fascinating and somewhat disturbing aspects to this version of Heaven. First of all, memories appear differently to each person as it represents how they felt during their lifetime, so we see a vast difference in what memory makes a person happy as opposed to another person. Dean and Sam had this conflict in the episode; all of Dean's selective memories were of him with either Sammy or his mom, basically family, whereas with Sam all his memories were of being away from his family and from Dean. Nothing in his personal heaven was about Dean or their own family, but of his escape; Sam's happiness was Dean's nightmare, what Dean dreaded the most. And in this kind of Heaven, if you can visit loved ones in their own little happy memory, what would your reaction be if such a memory was something you hated or had bad thoughts about? Another thing, this was kinda explained in the episode though I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it, the issue regarding soulmates and if two people who are connected personally can share the same heaven together? Or something like that? I don't know, but it all seems very complicated. But wouldn't it seem kind of strange to live inside a memory, no matter how good it is? But I guess if Ash can travel to meet other deceased people in their personal heavens it's not exactly limited, still. It seems rather lonely especially if you can't find those who loved and cared about when you were alive.
There's debates on whether the selective memories for the boys were constructed by Zachariah, and it wouldn't be far from the possibility. The angels have been trying to keep the brothers apart or at least have them become utterly helpless and broken so they can agree to consent to being vessels, and it would seem like such a douchey thing for Zachariah to do. But something tells me that it's either their own minds doing that, Heaven picking up on those memories or whenever they were in Heaven before (which that revelation was a doozy) those are the memories that immediately are picked up. Also, when Dean was talking to Pamela it seemed almost like a setup, like her telling him to just go through with being a vessel. Now granted, we don't know what kind of things she's experienced in Heaven and if she's found that peace or realization, but it does seem out of place for her to say something like that. To Dean, of all people. I don't know, something fishy was with that that had me questioning whether all of this was real or a trick for the boys.
Oh, and especially the fact that angels can go sweeping about Heaven like Zachariah does and manipulate these memories. Does that sound like paradise to you? Zachariah was acting all creepy with memory!Mary, constructing this kind of facade to get underneath the boy's skin, Dean's in particular, but that's a bit scary knowing that whatever memory you're stumbling upon might be a manipulation of sorts. *shudders*
This idea of Heaven seems interesting enough, but not wholly convincing in the sense that it's all paradise. Still, it's something to ponder about because I'm wondering about where the angels reside, as in, where do they chill out in their true forms? Because I doubt they always travel about in their vessels, and I'm wondering because they are already dead can they see an angel's true form or not? Zachariah says he has many appearances and he's using what the boys are accustomed to seeing him as. So it has me wondering. But anyway, yeah. I applaud Supernatural for giving us a taste of Heaven, which is kind of interesting since I remember Kripke mentioning that they weren't going to show Hell way back during S3 because it would be too much on the budget. But I think the creativity of showing Heaven vastly differentiates from showing Hell, just a few minor filming tricks with lighting and settings and voila!
Team Free Will: Where Do They Go From Here?
Dean has been further beaten down time and again, we have Castiel now broken in devastation from learning about God not wanting to help and just staying away, letting him down because he believed in Him so much. Then we have Sam who, probably didn't suffer as much from this episode, but is trying hard to redeem himself and understanding where they stand as of right now. Therein lies that perfectly appropriate question:
Where do they go from here? What is left for them when they've tried everything else?
They're back at square one, with no plan of action or a strategy; everything seems to be against them, the forces of Heaven and Hell hunting and attacking them from all angles, other hunters even as they want revenge after learning that the Winchesters are the ones that started the Apocalypse. Shit just keeps getting deeper and deeper for them, which no wonder the angst was so heavy lately. The odds are always against them, and there doesn't seem to be any silver lining in the future. However, we know that this show is about humanity, the strength and resilience of humankind and it's not about being mystical or having supernatural powers or having a divine destiny; it's about knowing oneself and using that inner strength and faith to defeat evil. That is the lesson I think all three of them need to understand and accept, because right now? They are about to hit rock bottom and they seriously need to rise up and take control once again.
That's something I want to happen on the show; that moment of clarity, of realization, that hey, they can win this and they will muddle through. They've done so before and they will again. Of course, I think what needs to happen is getting Castiel to regain his strength in faith again, because after this episode? Yeah, he needs a pick-me-up and badly if they are going to fight and win this thing together.
I have faith that they'll have faith again. GO TEAM FREE WILL, FUCK YEAH! *fist pump*
Memorable Moments of the Episode:
++ Loved the beginning scene, starting off literally with a huge bang. Winchesters are killed. If every episode started off having something explosive like that, holy shit. But I liked it, a lot. Intense from the very first moment and that's awesome.
WEE!SAMMY AND DEAN WITH FIREWORKS!!!! Awwwwww! This scene was so fucking touching, my heart swelled because DID YOU SEE THE PURE JOY ON DEAN'S FACE?!??! :DDDDD And the hug! Just, omfg, no wonder this is one of Dean's favorite loving memories, he's with his little brother and they're shooting off fireworks in a field. Of course it would be a happy memory. He's with his brother, no angst, no drama, just pure child happiness of being together. And of course, bringing wee Colin back playing bb!Sammy was just so awesome. I LOVE HOW ADORABLE HE IS. Love this scene forever and ever. ♥ ♥ ♥
++ CASPALA FTW! Still would have been hilarious if Castiel would have done the same thing Sam did, a.k.a. "should I honk?" but nonetheless very awesome. AND DEAN GOT INSIDE THE CASPALA. DEAN WAS INSIDE CASTIEL! INSERT SLASHY INNUENDO JOKES HERE. XD XD XD
++ I kinda love how Dean was acting all like "GOTTA FIND THE ROAD!" and "GOTTA COMMUNICATE WITH CAS!" throughout this episode while Sam was all "....Dean, wtf are you doing? O___o" LOLOLOL! Like Sam just wasn't getting that this was Heaven so anything was possible, but Dean was all nonchalant about most things like with the racecar track and all of that, lol.
++ CASTIEL IS IN/ON THE TV, LOL FOREVER! Seriously, how adorable is that? He was so impatient with them in this episode, he was like SRSLY DEAN I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT, LISTEN TO ME! It's still strange hearing Castiel use curse words randomly into his sentences. But I guess that's part of his slow pull into being familiarized with humanity, he picks up such mannerisms. Usually from Dean, and this may or may not be a good thing, but idk. CUTE CAS IN THE TV! I WANT CASTIEL TO COMMUNICATE WITH ME THROUGH A TV SCREEN....
Oh wait, HE KINDA ALREADY DID WITH US! LULZ!
++ What did it mean, "Don't go into the light"? I'm still trying to figure that one out....
++ "You....wuv hugs" <3 <3 <3 <3
++ AWWWWWW, MARY!!!! *hugs her* I love Mary, so so fucking much. Dean's memories are just too much, seeing him with his mom and just wanting to stay for another moment just to soak it all in again just, oh poor bb Dean. :(
++ "They had a perfect marriage after she died." D: D: D: GODDAMN SHOW, MAKING JOHN SEEM LIKE MORE OF AN ASSHOLE ARE YOU? JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. :(
++ Love the filming and the lighting in this episode. So awesome, very creative and unique.
++ GOLDEN RETRIEVER YAY! :DDDD See, that was more Jared than Sam in that moment, for anyone that knows Jared loves dogs like whoa. I think he probably pissed himself learning that he would be playing with a golden retriever on an episode. D'awwwww. ♥ PUPPY YAY! Named "Bones". Kind of ironic considering there was an new episode of Bones before SPN Thursday, lol. I know that's not what it was named for, but I can't help but make those connections here and there.
++ How much did it hurt hearing memory!Mary say all the things she did to Dean? I mean sure, constructed by Zachariah and the angels, but still. It was like a knife in his gut regardless. :((((
++ ZACHARIAH IS A FUCKING CREEPER, OMFG. EWWWWW. DO NOT WANT EVER.
++ I love Joshua. I really, really love him so much, the actor they got played him magnificently and I loved how earnest he was with the boys. He's not into playing bullshit games with them, he's telling it like it is and I love that. He's so benevolent and sincere with them, and HE'S ROUTING FOR OUR BOYS! ♥ Another thing to make us love Joshua, he wants the boys to win. I kind of feel sorry for Joshua, though. He looked so tired and defeated, like he understands what is happening but there's nothing he could do. That's kind of how Raphael felt in 5.03 when he was explaining how things were in Heaven. Most of the angels that don't seem to have a separate agenda just look so lost and defeated, with no where else to go. That's kinda sad, really. But still, I LOVE JOSHUA AND THE ACTOR AND HE BETTER REAPPEAR AGAIN IN ANOTHER EPISODE! SAME WITH GABRIEL AND RAPHAEL!
++ What does Dean do when they immediately are brought back to life??? HE CALLS CASTIEL! :D OH OTP, NEVER EVER CHANGE. ♥
++ THAT LAST SCENE. STILL CRYING, NGL. D: D: D: POOR BB CAS. ;___;
Major fucking props to Misha Collins in this scene. We know he's a fantastic actor, amazing with subtly moments and how he's been developing Castiel's character since day one. But this scene just, omg, it fucking broke me. HIS DEVASTATED AND SHATTERED FACE! D: I just about died because I knew what was coming, but I didn't want it to happen. Yet it did, and I was screaming at the scream with NO CAS! DON'T GIVE UP YOUR FAITH! KEEP SEARCHING FOR GOD! Just, holy wow. And we all know how Misha is in real life, this was like the absolute polar opposite of how he is and JFC, just everything about those last few minutes just gutted me. Truly gutted me. I'm still reeling and recovering from it.
++ Which I have to say, even though this was Castiel's knee-jerk reaction, I still kind of want him to continue his search for God. Just because with this news doesn't mean he should just give up. He can locate God with the amulet and be all, "hey Dad, what's up with you abandoning us and shit?" or you know, something along those lines. He might be disappointed and deflated from his faith for now, but that doesn't mean he should cease completely. But again, I have faith he'll have faith again. Just give it time as he recovers from this very low blow. *clings to my bb Cas*
++ SAM PICK UP THE AMULET FROM THE BIN, DAMMIT! It's like a double slam on our hearts in that moment; Castiel giving up his faith by handing back the amulet, and Dean, sensing his loss of hope and faith from Castiel's deflation, throwing the amulet away. SAM DO SOMETHING TO PATCH THEM BOTH UP RIGHT NOW!!!!
++ PARALLEL MOMENT: I keep referencing back to Battlestar Galactica, this episode felt like how 4.10 "Revelations" of BSG was. Having high hopes of finding what they've been searching for, only to have their dreams and hopes crushed and everyone is in fucking despair. Except BSG was like that every single episode.
++ ANOTHER PARALLEL MOMENT: Dean made a reference to Heaven being kinda like the Matrix, which that's kinda true. However I'm pulling this from it being like The Attic from Dollhouse. Going from mind to mind in someone's personal hell, a continuing scenario they can't solve? Heaven seems like a continuing stream of memories, except they're of the happy variety. But nonetheless, the episode took a creepy way of presenting it especially when Zachariah appeared and was fucking around with the boys. Or how things are what they perceive it as (the Garden being a park to the boys than some otherworldly paradise) is kinda like how Cylons in BSG use projection, viewing their environments in any form they wish it to be. YES I AM THESE COMPARISON, SHUT UP. I AM THAT WAY, 'KAY?
Overall: A+++++ FUCKING EPISODE. Bravo Kripke, this is exactly how this season should be. See, I do like comedic episodes here and there but honestly, when we're dealing with the motherfucking Apocalypse it should be just like this. Mythology filled, angst and emotionally wrecking. I love emotional character arcs, especially when paired with the huge mytharcs of the season/series. This felt like a Battlestar Galactica episode because we kept getting further and further into the depressing moments, and we ended on such a FUCKING HARSH AND DEPRESSING MOMENT that I just had to sit quietly for a moment to recollect everything that happened. God, this show is fantastic when it has the guts to take it this far. None of the filler episodes or repetitive moments between brothers and them failing to deal with their emotions. We had a lot of interesting material, new things introduced and now...we have to focus on healing Dean and Castiel so Team Free Will can be whole again and ready to fight the Big Damn Apocalypse. Just, fuck yes this episode. LOVE. ♥
KRIPKE YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, I KINDA LOVE YOU. <3 MOAR OF THIS, PLZ. AND MOAR DEAN/CASTIEL AND TEAM FREE WILL MOMENTS, BECAUSE THEY ROCK KTHX. <3 <3 <3
God, from the mid-season finale of Caprica to this episode of Supernatural, it's like an Angst Free For All on my shows lately. My heart is going to be all shredded and stomped on with nothing left to be torn apart, goddamn. D:
But I will say, I am very impressed and happy with fandom right now because almost immediately after the episode aired there have been fics and fanarts and picspams dedicated to this entire episode. Basically, fandom pretty much is awesome because when our show doesn't provide the comfort out from the hurt from an episode we tend to create our own and that's just fucking amazing. ♥ ILU FANDOM.