Posts Tagged ‘Purgatory’

After last Wednesday’s episode (Clip Show, 8×22) I got to thinking about Sam and Dean and Cas and Dean and Cas and Sam and their relationships and the way that they relate to each other.

I’ve always thought Sam was more forgiving to Cas because, well, he gets it. And I’ve noticed some interesting parallels in their character arcs, but that last episode really made me look at them a bit closer.

Cas and Sam have both been through very similar situations.

Sam trusted a demon (Ruby), wrongly, to help him kill Lilith. While Ruby did, ultimately, help Sam kill Lilith, killing Lilith set about a whole, horrible aftermath (Lucifer’s Cage was opened) and Dean placed the blame almost entirely on Sam for betraying him by trusting Ruby. Sam, being Sam, felt horribly guilty and eventually made the ultimate sacrifice to right his wrong, by jumping into the Cage with Lucifer to put a stop to Armageddon. He was (or at least his soul was) in Hell for a year and a half earth-time, 180 years Hell-time.

Now, let’s look at Cas:

Cas trusted a demon (Crowley), wrongly, to help him open Purgatory. While Crowley did help Cas open Purgatory, opening Purgatory set about a whole, horribly aftermath (the Leviathan were released into the world) and Dean placed the blame almost entirely on Cas for betraying him by trusting Crowley. Cas, being Cas, felt horribly guilty and eventually made the ultimate sacrifice to right his wrong, by taking on Sam’s insanity and brokenness, driving himself insane to save Sam from certain death. He later ends up sucked into Purgatory for a year because he helped Sam and Dean stop Dick Roman (the head of the Leviathan).

When I put it like that, it’s almost impossible not to see why Sam relates so strongly to Cas and why he defends him every single time Cas makes a (completely honest) mistake.

Let’s go a bit deeper though.

What were their motives for trusting Ruby and Crowley? What were their intentions?

Well, Sam wanted to kill Lilith, an evil demon who not only dragged Dean into Hell, but who was actively breaking seals to open Lucifer’s Cage. Sam had no way of knowing Lilith was the final seal. His intentions remained, always, in the right.

Cas made his deal with Crowley because Raphael was waging war in Heaven and he was losing. If Raphael won, he would open the Cage, once more releasing Lucifer and starting the Apocalypse all over again. He needed the souls in Purgatory to give him enough power to defeat Raphael. He had no way of knowing that opening Purgatory would unleash the Leviathan.

Even more interesting, think about this: Pride comes before the fall.

Sam was, near the end of season four and his time with Ruby, addicted to demon’s blood and the power it gave him. He felt invincible, powerful. Stronger than Dean and capable of doing anything. He didn’t only want to kill Lilith – he wanted to show Dean that he was not weak. He wanted to prove something to himself and to Dean. He thought he didn’t need Dean, he thought he didn’t need help and he wanted to do it on his own. He became, basically, prideful, self-righteous and power-hungry. It all culminated in the fight between Sam and Dean and Sam actually having demon-black eyes as he killed Lilith and let the demon’s blood consume him.

Cas was, near the end of season six and his deal with Crowley, becoming just as self-righteous, if not more. He wanted to defeat Raphael, not just to stop Armageddon from happening again but also to prove that he was strong enough to lead the Heavenly Host. He was prideful, he was power-hungry and he let that power go to his head, which resulting in the terrifying God!Cas.

And there are even more parallels in their story lines, involving Dean’s reaction this time.

Dean was adamantly against Sam trusting Ruby. It was a bad idea and he knew it and he was entirely unhappy with it. He felt betrayed and he was angry. However, in the following season, Dean works with Crowley to stop Lucifer in spite of Sam insisting that doing was exactly like what he did with Ruby. You cannot trust demons, according to Dean. Not unless he decides it’s okay.

Dean was vehemently against Cas working with Crowley in season six, going so far as to basically disown Cas for doing so and seeing his involvement and lies as the ultimate betrayal. He was pissed and angry and pretty much told Cas he never wanted to see him again. However, the following season, when they were trying to deal with God!Cas, he is the one who suggested that they go to Crowley for help, which was exactly what he disowned Cas for! Again, it’s only okay to trust demons when Dean says so.

Both Sam and Cas have consistently made mistakes for all the right reasons. They were trying to stop powerful demons or powerful angels from unleashing Hell on earth. They were trying to do the right thing. They were trying to protect the people they care about. They fully took responsibility for their actions and sacrificed themselves as penance for their mistakes.

My point is, they’re very, very similar characters. Which is why, whenever Dean was acting like a total dick to Cas Wednesday night, Sam jumped to defend him.

Sam’s always seem the shades of grey in the world. He wants to see the good in everyone, especially someone like Cas who really was only doing the right thing. Sam, unlike Dean, will take into consideration the motivations and intentions behind someone’s actions.

Dean sees betrayal as betrayal. Everything is black and white. Monsters are evil and deserve to die. People who lie to him, hurt him or don’t trust him when he thinks he should be trusted are simply wrong. He adopted that view from John. John raised them to see the world that way, but Sam, in his stubborn need to not be like John, chose to see it different, while Dean, in his desperate need for John’s approval, chose to see it exactly like that.

I’ve noticed, over the seasons, that they’ve both reached a more middle ground. Sam’s less trusting and less optimistic and, especially lately, Dean’s become more willing to accept the shades of grey he usually refuses to see.

But when it comes to family and friends, he’s still stubborn because family means so much and loyalty means so much that every betrayal hurts. It leaves scars and Dean already has such a low opinion of himself that each breach of trust just cracks his sheild even more. So he reacts viscerally, with anger and violence and unbending stubbornness. And Sam, who’s been where Cas is and sees things from his point of view, reacts with understanding, compassion and open-mindedness.

I just hope Dean’s progress on the road to being more open-minded will continue, because this time I really feel his anger isn’t all the justified. He was so cold to Cas and Cas is trying so hard to do the right thing and to make it up to Dean… I know as a viewer I have a more objective eye on the characters’ motivations and actions, but really, Dean knows about Naomi so I don’t get why he was so angry at Cas. I really want him to lay off the poor guy a bit because Cas doesn’t deserve this and, much as I love Dean, no one really ever calls him out on his hypocrisy and bad attitude.

…So, somehow this post became really analytical feeling. *shrugs* Oh well. The point is, I get why Sam is always defending Cas, I get why Dean gets so angry and I get why Cas does what he does the way he does it.

And also… I am terrified of next Wednesday’s episode. *grabs tissues* I am not going to come out it in one piece.

I want to talk a little bit about season eight… Specifically, I want to talk about the fact that Sam didn’t look for Dean and Cas after they vanished.

Now, I know that the writers and producers are saying that this makes sense because Sam has lost everyone he cares about and has no one to turn to, but I’m sorry, I just don’t think this fits with the character of Sam Winchester. Sam might not have anywhere to turn, he might be “Well and truly on [his] own,” as Crowley says at the end of season seven… but Sam tore the earth apart and tracked down demons in his desperation to get Dean out of Hell, so excuse me for doubting he’d just drop everything and run.

I get it, this time is different. This time, there is no Bobby, there is no Ellen or Jo or even Rufus Turner. Sam literally has no one and nothing to really go on to find his brother. However, when Dean was dragged to Hell, Sam eventually figured out that it was pointless to try and get him out and turned his attention toward revenge. He ignored Bobby for months and was on his own apart from Ruby.

Sure, I’m absolutely positive Sam has learned his lesson about revenge and wouldn’t have turned his grief into an excuse to hunt down the rest of the Leviathans or Crowley, but apparently, Sam even skipped the part where he tried to find Dean and was surprised Dean had been in freaking Purgatory for the entire goddamn year.

Sam’s smart, we’ve all seen the proof of that, so I’m pretty sure Sam would’ve been able to put two and two together to get four. He would’ve known that when Dick died, he went to Purgatory and since Dean and Cas vanished after that and Crowley told him the God weapon had a “kick”, Sam could’ve logically concluded that Dean and Cas had been pulled into Purgatory with Dick. That would’ve given him somewhere to start looking.

Of course, as we know, getting into Purgatory is damn near impossible and extremely dangerous and since Bobby’s dead and so is everyone else Sam ever turned to for help, Sam would’ve been stuck. But I’m sure he would’ve spent a few months – or a month at the very least – trying to find some way into Purgatory to get Dean and Cas… Then, coming up empty, he would’ve turned his attention to finding Kevin.

Let’s not forget that Kevin was a 17-18 year old kid whose life has been turned upside down. He’s been kidnapped by Leviathan and now Crowley and Sam wouldn’t have left the kid high and dry, no matter what was going on in his life. At the very least, he would’ve realized that Crowley having a Prophet was very, very bad indeed. The Sam I know would’ve put in his best efforts to find the kid and save him.

So, sorry, Supernatural, but until you give me a better explanation for why Sam just stopped… I’m forced to make up my own and here is what I believe is a passable excuse for what REALLY happened during Sam’s year with Dean gone.

After Dean and Cas vanished, Sam was panicked and alone and had no one to turn to. He was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. The first few days – a week, maybe – he was probably just running without thinking, drifting. But, given that Sam is not, in fact, an idiot, he would’ve eventually snapped out of it and begun the task of figuring out what the hell happened when Dean and Cas killed Dick.

This would lead to him piecing together that they were most likely trapped in Purgatory. Again, since he was alone, he would’ve done as much research as possible to try and find a way to pull them out. Given how very little anyone knows about Purgatory, he would’ve come up empty.

It could be argued that Sam would then try talking to demons, but I’m positive Sam has learned his lesson about demons and deals just as well as he learned his lesson about revenge. It doesn’t end well, don’t even bother. He may have tried to find someone FROM Purgatory to help him, like the Alpha Vamp, perhaps. That would’ve been his last resort and probably would’ve proven unfruitful. Sam couldn’t have taken him on alone and would most likely have come away empty handed and injured…

At that point, he would’ve realized it was a dead end and there was no way he was getting Dean back. Which would then lead to it finally sinking in that he really was on his own and there was really no hope left in finding his big brother.

After that, Sam wouldn’t have been sure what to do or where to turn. I’d say, between desperately hunting for a way to get to Dean, he’d also been trying to find Kevin since Crowley kidnapped the kid. Which would then lead to Sam tracking down demons, demanding answers. In the state he would’ve been in, alone, broken and desperate, the demons would probably have gotten the upper-hand easily…

In fact, it’s entirely possible that Sam found Crowley, only it was after Kevin had escaped and Sam came away from that encounter lucky to be alive and realizing that Kevin was, at least at the moment, not in danger from Crowley if he had managed to get away and keep himself hidden.

Which would be when Sam, confused, broken and utterly alone in the world, would’ve hit that dog, which would lead to him meeting Amelia and… I dunno, maybe he saw something in Amelia. At that point, Sam knew it was useless. He knew it was over and this life was going to kill him if he didn’t stop. Keep in mind, this would be MONTHS after Dean vanished.

Having the dog would’ve been the first spark of anything truly happy Sam had had in a long time, then he meets Amelia again and for the first time in a long time he feels like smiling and is actually maybe feeling happy. This would be the turning point where Sam decides that it is definitely time to stop. He wants his life back and so he grabs hold of that little bit of happiness and doesn’t want to let it go.

Granted, this would require Amelia to be a far more likeable character than she is, but I suppose she could still the annoying Mary-Sue if Sam was that desperate for some semblance of happiness (and as I’ve said before, perhaps there was just something about her that reminded him of Jessica and so he latched onto that idea. I still maintain that his entire relationship with Amelia was the hollow fantasy of lonely, desperate man.)

That, my friends, is far more believable (to me) than Sam just dropping everything and quitting right then and there. Because I’d like to think I know Sam Winchester very well and it’s just not very much like Sam to give up without even trying.