This episode is so good... let's just get to it!
We start in media res - which is always fantastic and makes for an interesting episode.
Also realized the boys are going to be wearing the same outfits for this entire episode, so that makes my life easy.
And Sam gets shot - there's not even any talking. It's amazing. Just, everything is amazing.
Oh, I take it back about the same outfits thing, I forgot about the flashbacks.
Sam's wearing his "Baby" red plaid in the first flashback. I'd call it pink, because it is - but more than likely it's "dusty rose" or something. Or, another way to look at it is "sun-faded red"... that's really what the colour is. Anyway, it's a nice shirt.
Sam: "How's it going over there?"
Dean: "Same. You get anything?"
Sam: "Yeah, I think so."
Dean: "Amara? Lucifer? Hand of God?"
Sam: "No, it's a case. Werewolf, it looks like..."
- Ah the classic start to a MOTW. I know we do it every time, but I actually love this pattern for some reason. I love the fact that one of the boys is always hyperfocused on the myth-arc and has to be pried away by the other - I love how the they switch constantly which one is the one unwilling to do a "minor" hunt in the face of the disasterous major one. I always think it says a lot about who has the most stake in the myth-arc. In this case, Dean is the one who is solely focused on Amara and Lucifer (one who is coercing him into a relationship he doesn't want, the other is possessing his BFF... who, while he might also be Sam's BFF, he DOES have a more profound bond with Dean, there's no denying it even if you aren't a shipper.)
Also, we finally get a clear shot of this plaid shirt of Dean's, which I've only caught glimpses of in the past year or so. He usually only wears it under jackets.
Dean: "Alright, well, we make a call and we put somebody on it."
- Part of me kind of wishes they'd explore how connected or not-connected Sam and Dean are to the hunter's network. But, then the other part of me knows that the show works best when Sam and Dean are isolated... I guess maybe what I want is for them to actually define how isolated or not isolated they are. Because, it seems that they can put people on cases, but yet, they never call people in to help them - and a lot of the time when they do run into other hunters there's animosity there, or a keeping-at-arms-length anyway.
Sam: "We'll get him back."
Sam: "I don't know, but we'll figure it out. In the meantime, we gotta get out of here - clear our heads..."
- I think part of me loves this behaviour and repetition because in a weird way it's realistic. We always get annoyed by the behaviours in others that we display ourselves - especially when it comes to family. That thing your mum does that drive you bonkers? You probably also do it. So, Dean being annoyed at Sam's hyperfocusing and just wanting a simple case to break the frustration, is just the same as Sam's annoyance at Dean for doing the same when HE'S the one that is most invested in the figuring out the mytharc.
Of course, this isn't to say that Sam doesn't care abotu Amara and Cas and all that - Sam has a LOT of investiment in the fact that Lucifer is topside again and able to get his hands on Sam - but that's a terrifying thing, really. And I can imagine Sam going for the avoidance route on that one.
(As a sidenote: I really do feel that one of the major problems with the final few episodes of this season is the fact that the writers seemed to forget Sam's relationship to Lucifer and what that would MEAN for their interactions... I think Jared remembered though and added in what he could. But I'll talk about that more when it comes up.)
I love the way Dean talks to Sam when he's injured. I'm not capturing the dialogue because I'm just... caught up in the show. But man, like... the fact that we first saw this type of talking in AHBLI when Dean's like "hey, gotta look after my pain in the ass little brother, right?" tells us how serious Sam's injuries are. Dean's "I'm going to save this as a memento, we'll laugh about this some other time..." it's this sort of forced lightheartedness, that tells you how stressed Dean actually is, because he has to go so far in the other direction. Like, when bad things happen to my friends/family or myself, my stress reaction is to just repeat "you're okay, you're okay" especially when it's the furthest thing from the truth (further confusing things, because that's also my reaction when it IS the truth). And Dean most likely does it unconsciously.
Dean: "I'm going to go for a signal, okay - we're going to get you to a real doctor, you're going to be just fine."
Sam: "Yeah, no, I know."
- I also love that Sam's just... cool as you please, and you can't really tell if it's an act, like Dean's is, or if he truly believes that he's going to be just fine and that gut shot isn't going to kill him.
As a sidenote, if I've got my automy correct, the bullet would have missed his lung and intenstines, but would have hit his liver. It must have missed his stomach too, or else he'd be in way more pain and not long for this world at all. Though, yes, I know this is a TV show.
Corbin: "We can't stay here. Not with the others still out there."
Dean: "Okay, listen, my brother's been shot, he can't stay here alone-"
Sam: "I'm fine! I'm fine."
- Haha, oh Sam, you are not fine. Also, I with that married couple was more trustworthy - I mean, Dean could leave them armed and behind, and with Sam, and they'd probably would have been okay while Dean went to get help. But, probably not.
Sam: "I told you that roadhouse chili was a bad idea."
- And then you see Sam cracking jokes to try to put Dean at ease - I'm not shot, I just ate bad food, haha! Oh boys...
Corbin: "Hey, hey, we gotta keep moving. Those of us who can."
Dean: "What'd you say?"
- Oh man, that feeling when you rescue someone who does not have the same opinion as you on who deserves to be saved. I sort of feel like the Dean/Corbin dichotomy is the metaphor for our times. Corbin isn't necessarily evil (objectively), what he's doing is prioritizing his own family's lives and safety over the lives and safety of other people. Dean, meanwhile, is a "everyone gets saved or I die trying" type of person... in that he doesn't prioritize like that. He won't leave a single person behind for dead, because that's anethema to him. It's not even just that Sam's his brother, it's that Dean would baulk at ANYONE being sacrificed like that. (It's why Sam killing the nurse in 4x22 was such a huge deal.) Anyway, yeah, not to get political, but Corbin makes me think of people who went into a voting booth, or financed a candidate, and thought "this candidate will benefit me, and I don't care about the people he is going to hurt, because they are not me or my friends." And it's the same sort of base motivation - being afraid of a scary new world and wanting to escape it as quickly as possible. That's all Corbin wants to do - to leave the woods as quickly as possible - and anyone that he sees as preventing him from doing that is someone that he is willing to leave to die.
It's one of those whole "Yes, we lived, but at what cost?" moral scenarios. The whole, die a hero or live and be a villain thing... I mean, Corbin could justify it away as "I did what I had to do" and we've also seen characters do that on the show before too (most notably Cas) and every time we've seen that it's actually never the right path.
What it really comes down to is are you willing to sacrifice your own safety for the life of another person. For Dean and Sam, the answer to that question is always yes. For Corbin, it isn't.
Sam: "Dean, stop! Dean, he's right. You guys need to go, find help - come back for me."
Dean: "No, Sam! I am going to go outside, find wood, build a litter, we are going to carry him the rest of the way!"
- And true to form, Sam comes around to Corbin's logic sooner than Dean does - especially since it's sacrificing HIMSELF and not another person. (But, for the record, and as Sam!girl as I am - I do think that Sam's always more willing than Dean to sacrifice other people or "do what he has to"... but always for the greater good, not just for his own interests, and that's where he differs from Corbin.) But here, Sam is definitely doing it out of self-sacrifice, which he excells at. Sam's our Christ-figure in this shindig, always has been... only, he's a Christ-figure who has an older brother who keeps pulling him down from the cross and saying "Not today!" (except that one time... and that ime, he was resurrected by his brother's BFF just to complete the metaphor.)
Dean *whacks tree*: "Get! Get off me!" *breaths deep* "Okay, okay."
- It's just, such a good episode for seeing the cracks in people - the facades they build up and what's underneath. The words they say versus their actions, where they line up and where they don't. What people do when they panic and what that says about their character.
Sam: "Guys, guys! Go find Dean! Get out of here. You gotta go."
Corbin: "He won't leave you. And we won't last out there without him."
Sam: "Wait, what?"
*corbin 'kills' Sam*
- Sam's last minute realization about what's about to happen is pretty brutal... also, his realization, as he struggles, that Corbin was bitten and that Dean will be in danger. Because you KNOW that's immediately where his mind goes.
Dean: "What happened?"
Corbin: "I don't know. He just went!"
- So, firstly, when you check some's pulse, especially if they've lost a lot of blood and are unconscious and not moving, you have to press harder on the vein in order to see if they're heart is still beating.
- Secondly, and more importantly, Dean's "Sammy?" there KILLS me, because he says it like a kid who has never seen death before. It's heartbreaking, because even though Dean's seen countless people die, INCLUDING Sam, it doesn't break the belief that there are some people in your life that are just supposed to be immortal and that's the way it is.
*car drives by*
Corbin: "It's them!"
Dean: "Let them come."
Corbin: "He wants to stay!"
- Didn't think this through, did you Corbin? You know that the guy who saved you won't leave without his brother, but you never thought about what kind of man he'd become with his brother dead, did you?
- I also love this because it's a direct echo of Dean's reaction to Sam's death in AHBLII, when Bobby tells him that what they're up against is "end of the world big" and Dean shouts "Then let it end!" Because as soon as Sam's not around, unless Dean has very careful instructions FROM Sam about what to do afterwards, Dean loses the will to live.
I was listening to The Plaidcast the other day, and they were talking about some S3 episode (I forget which now) but in the episode, Dean has a line about how he just assumes, after he dies, that Sam will keep on hunting and be okay without him. Sam is, of course, completely gobsmacked that Dean would think that. The hosts then made a fantastic point about S8, which actually made me like at least AN ASPECT of that weird Sam/Amelia storyline...because they pointed out that Sam was genuinely, proving Dean wrong there. It wasn't even so much about fulfilling the promise they made to one another to retire if the other dies and live an apple-pie life (as Dean did with Lisa)...it was about, as Sam reiterated to Charlie in S10, that Sam refuses to hunt unless he's hunting with Dean. So, Dean dies, Sam stops hunting. With Dean though, especially now that he no longer has Lisa as an option, and his secret fantasy of an apple-pie life has died a swift death... I think with Dean, if Sam dies, Dean stops living in the first blaze of glory he can find. (We also saw that behaviour with Sam in S4, before they made the promises of retirement - Sam instead went for blaze-of-glory revenge and was only haulted by Ruby's intervention and manipulation.)
(Honestly, with Sam's attempt at retirement with Amelia also having failed, I wonder what Sam would do if Dean were to die now... lets hope we don't find out.)
Dean: "I'm going to come back for you, okay? I promise. okay okay. Let's go."
- rip my heart out, why don't you.
Michelle: "What happened back there? Talk to me?"
Corbin: "I saved us. You were hurt bad, Michelle. I can't lose you. I did what I had to do."
- Yup, I didn't even remember that line, but I sure called it with "I did what I had to do" mentality. Never denotes an ethical/moral decision.
Corbin: "We don't know what their deal was, only what that guy told us."
Michelle: "That guy? Saved us and so did his brother."
- Oh Michelle, I feel so bad for her - discovering that your new husband isn't the man you thought he was... and it's something you can't really know unless you put someone's feet to the fire, so it's not a failing on her part to properly vet her lovers. He's obviously devoted to her and loves her very much. But yeah... it's obvious that deciding to kill one of the men who was trying to help them is not something that inspires that same love and devotion in Michelle, but rather a twisting disgust at his actions.
And, again, we find ourselves contemplating what one should do when they find out that the person they love doesn't share the same morals as they do. And I'm sure a lot of people are asking themselves that these days - what do you do when you see a friend or family member as fundamentally, and dangerously, misguided or amoral? I don't think Michelle has figured it out yet, and she'll never get a chance to figure it out... but it's an important question. If the person you love is willing to let others die in order to preserve their own sense of safety, how do you react to that?
(That's basically what anti-refugee and the islamaphobia surrounding those fleeing from Daesh is about, by the way. It's about letting others die, because you'd rather keep yourself isolated and therefore seemingly safe from the dangers that they are fleeing. It's about someone coming to your door in the middle of the night, bleeding and telling you they need help - and you not letting them in, because they are a stranger and your mother always told you it was dangerous to talk to strangers.)
The park ranger guy is kinda cute. I don't remember if he lives or dies.
Michelle: "...my mom used to say. I didn't believe her then, but I think I do now. She used to say, death - it's not the end."
- Oh Michelle, you don't know who you're talking to.
Dean: "I need to talk to a- well, I wouldn't call her a friend, more of a scary crazy death machine. Werewolves aren't the only monsters out there."
Michelle: "How do you talk to a crazy scary death machine?"
Dean: "Easy. I die."
Dean: "Look, if you want to leave, I get it - but if you want to help me. I'm looking for[...]"
- Michelle is a great character and a stand-up person. I just wanted to say that. But I also want to commend Dean here, because he gives her options, and doesn't judge her either way on her choices. But I like the fact that with the knowledge of what her husband did, while she's still processing that, she decides the least she can do is help Dean in whatever way she can.
Dean: "After I do this - go to the doc, and tell her to uh, bring me back if she can, and if she can't - no hard feelings, okay?"
- And here we get the line between suicide and blaze-of-glory death, the thing that makes this alright. As long as Dean TRIES to live, it's not suicide, even if he doesn't try particularly hard.
And Sam's alive!
- I love how Sam calls for Dean... like, I'm sure he remembers telling Corbin that they should leave him - and yet, there's part of Sam that still expects Dean to be there when he wakes up. Even though he told them to go.
And... the other two werewolves come back.
And Dean's killing himself.
Also, I mentioned this in the quick reaction - but most hospitals have their meds locked up and staff member watching them at all times... though, granted, this is small town emergency centre that is OBVIOUSLY understaffed, as there's only one doctor present and she has to use a patient, who's still hooked up to an IV, as a nurse.
And Corbin is now a werewolf.
Dean: "Roll me on my back so you can find a vein."
- Haha, oh Dean, criticizing their medical technique.
Billie: "Point is, never took you for the suicide-type - doesn't fit your whole martyr thing."
- Ah, but it does, if he can do it in service of saving someone else...like his bro. This is why the Winchesters need a minder, they've basically been taught since birth that their lives are to be spent in service to others. It's why "retiring" is always a pretty depressing endeavour, because they've got to try to fight against a LOT of conditioning in order to do it.
Dean: "You know the Darkness is still out there and the world is going to burn, and once she gets started, that's the end of everything - including you! Sam's the only one that can stop it."
Billie: "Hm, how's that?"
Billie: "That's what I thought. It's cute though - you pretending you want to save Sam for the greater good, when we both know you're doing it for you. You can't lose him."
- She's got a point! This is actually a fight that the Winchesters only need to solve themselves to relieve guilt for causing it in the first place. Other than that, there's no reason why it has to be them that takes on Amara. (If you ignore the fact that they're the most qualified, given their experiences.)
Billie: "I'm not here to bargain with you, kid. I'm here to reap you. And the kicker is, Sam's not dead. But you are, or will be soon enough."
- Ahhh, so awesome.
Dean: "But how..."
Billie: "Trust me. If the Big W bit it. I'd get a call."
- Does that make Dean "the Small W"?
Billie: "Come along now, Dean, it's time. The empty. It's waiting."
- I love Billie and the concept of "the empty" mainly because that's how I constructed the SPN universe in my headcanon way back in S2 or S3. So yeah... but it's also the only way you can kill the boys at this point, is to give them an atheist's death (or a Jewish death, I guess...from what I know about that faith. Actually, that would really fit with the whole Jewishness of this show, even though it predominately uses Christian afterlife concepts.)
Sam's been kicking ass this whole time, btw. I just haven't been talking about it. But it's awesome.
I also love their phone conversation once Sam's able to get in touch. Because Sam's main concern isn't that he's bleeding to death, it's that Dean might still be in the presence of a werewolf.
And thankfully Corbin only knocks out the doctor... but kills the cute park ranger guy... aww, he was cute, even if he was an asshole to Dean.
And then Sam to the rescue!
Dean: "It took you long enough."
- Seriously, this is such a great BAMF!Sam episode, I love it.
- Also, we see Dean once again reverting to humour. I know part of me was like DEAN! YOUR BROTHER IS THREE SECONDS FROM DEATH IT IS NOT JOKE TIME! But I also have to take into account, as I said at the top of the episode, that this is Dean's panic response - humour is Dean's go-to coping mechanism.
Dean: "How're you doing?"
Michelle: "How's your brother?"
- Now their positions are reversed. Before it was Michelle trying to comfort Dean after her husband killed his brother, now it's Dean trying to comfort Michelle after his brother killed her husband!
Dean: "Doc says that when uh, when Corbin chocked him - Sam's body went into shock, so his breathing and heartbeat slowed down until it was almost nothing. So he was just mostly dead."
- Love the Princess Bride reference.
Michelle: "That wasn't- Corbin wasn't a killer."
Dean: "I know."
Michelle: "He did it for me."
Dean: "Michelle, this is going to be really hard, but you will be okay. And eventually, eventually you'll get back to normal."
Michelle: "No, I won't. They said I could leave and hour ago. But, where am I even supposed to go? After everything we survived together, I watched the man I love die. There's no normal after that."
- This is basically just confirming to Dean that he can't live without Sam (or Cas)... at least not in any way where he'll be "normal."
- But, I also want to talk about Michelle defending Corbin. Because she HAS rationalized this - Corbin wasn't a killer. Except, Corbin WAS a killer - he attempted to kill, Sam. That's indisputable. His reasons for doing so are beside the point - he didn't kill him in self-defense, unless you warp logic further and claim he did it in pro-active self-defense - but really, that's not what happened. Sam was no threat to him. Sam wanted to help him. And Corbin still decided the only way to get what he wanted, his own and Michelle's safety, was to kill Sam. That is someone who sees a problem and says "I can solve this problem by killing someone" and then killing someone - which is the very definition of a killer.
- What Michelle does, is take the blame - "he did it for me" - as though she asked him too. She didn't. She disagreed with his decision. And yet, it's easier to say "this is my fault" or "this is the fault of circumstance" then to admit the person you love isn't who you thought they were - or rather is not as moral as you believed them to be. But then, like I said, we don't really know who people are until they're tested - and then of COURSE you'll blame circumstance. Because we don't want to admit that those we love might not actually be deserving of it. "Well, he only hit me because he had a bad day at work... really, he loves me and would never hurt me."
Dean: "Two quarts of O neg and you're good to go."
- I was just about to launch into a query about blood types, but I'm pretty sure we've been over this all before - and the impossibility of the Winchesters. Since I believe John's blood type was AB, there's no possible way that Sam and Dean would be O. BUT, O is the universal doner, so it's more than likely that they're also AB they're just substituting what's available, since AB is pretty rare... and also the universal recipient. That being said, I'm pretty sure a hospital wouldn't waste their O supply unless they had to, so it still doesn't make any sense. I should find where it was that I hashed this all out before.
Sam's only got his t-shirt under his coat! Also, his coat is the corduroy one that is my FAVOURITE (and I completely failed to buy the one at the SPN wardrobe sale, because I'm an idiot who didn't realize she could just FIX the damaged bit.)
Dean: "Those stitches going to hold?"
Sam: "Oh yeah, professional grade. A couple days of antibiotics and some bedrest and I'm back to normal."
- Well, by a couple of days, I'm sure you mean "at least two weeks" but most likely more...
Sam: "Hey, so what did you do? When you thought I was dead what did you do?"
Dean: "I thought about redecorating your room - maybe putting in a jacuzzi and a disco ball, really class up the joint."
Sam: "Seriously, what did you do?"
Dean: "What, I uh, I knew you weren't dead."
Dean: "I knew."
- Ah, the lies... but honestly, what a question to ask. "I was devastated?" like, how do you even answer that. "I saved the civilians, tried to go back for your body, got tased, woke up in the hospital...then you called me..." that'd be a better lie and the fact that it isn't what Dean says probably should tell Sam something about the truth. But still, I think that question is pretty clunky dialogue in an otherwise fantastic episode, because if Sam has any inclincling of what he would have done if Dean had died, then he knows the answer already.
So, there we go... I really wasn't expecting some of those comparisons/parallels to come up. Sorry/not-sorry if I offended anyone. We live in interesting times when it comes to morality - but the kicker is that we always have, we're just suddenly sharply aware of it.
As per usual, forgive spelling mistakes (I have no spellchecker), and please let me know your own thoughts in comments!