Up until the final moments of the episode, I was going to talk mainly about the quest for Sam’s soul and have we reached the point where enough is enough with this quest. Dean had become so obsessed that innocent people were dying as a result. And because Dean was on this mission and Sam didn’t want his soul, Sam made a deal with Balthazar to block the entrance of his soul into his body which could have resulted in the death of Bobby Singer. And with all this, we still didn’t know if it would be worth it because we have no idea what condition his soul would be in and therefore, what that would turn Sam into. Would he be the old Sam again, would he be a darker more damaged Sam, would be the same as his is now because the soul is so damaged, would it kill him, would it make him different? So is this all worth it? Well most of those questions are kind of moot because guess what?????? Sam got his soul back from Death!!!! I’m not sure if I am happy about that yet or not. I would probably say yes because unless Sera Gamble is going to change Sam from the Sam we all know and love to a new Sam we have to get used to and possibly not like, Sam is eventually going to go back to being old Sam (or as close to old Sam as possible.)
Last week, with Crowley’s death and the fact that all season long, he was the one who was able to get Sam’s soul back, I had no idea which direction they were going to go in to get it back and who was going to help them. And I certainly didn’t think it would happen all in one episode, nor did I think the 4th Horseman of the Apocalypse, Death, would be the one to do it. I think they did a nice job from a “surprise element” standpoint because I thought Sam wouldn’t get his soul back until closer to the end of the season and that next season would be the big question of whether or not Sam is back to his old self again. I certainly didn’t see it coming that it would happen in this episode. I’m really glad that it did because now we can deal with how Sam reacts to getting his soul back and who he truly is now, without dragging it into next year. Having one season trying to figure out what/who Sam is, is fine. Having to go through 2 seasons of that, as Colin Hay would sing, overkill!
I really want to talk about Dean and what has happened with him not only in this episode but over the course of the season so far. As we all know, Dean has become obsessed with getting his brother back by retrieving his soul from hell and returning it to Sam. I brought this argument up in my last post and after this week maybe it should be revisited. Sam really doesn’t want his soul back but this isn’t really Sam as we all know. Dean wants Sam’s soul back. He knows that if Sam was really himself, he would want his soul back, so Dean will stop at nothing to get it. It’s an interesting dilemma. What is the right answer? Last week, I agreed with Dean. This week I’m not so sure. Dean’s pursuit has caused him to make a deal with Death and as a concession for Death agreeing to retrieve Sam’s soul, Dean has to do Death’s job for 24 hrs. If he can’t do it, the deal is off. At first Dean is fine with it but when he has to reap a 12-year-old girl, he refuses to do it. As a result, he has upset the apple cart and people are starting die who weren’t supposed to. He’s upset the natural order of life…he is trying to control a destiny he has no business of controlling. Also as a result, because of his determination, Sam is making his own deal, with the angel Balthazar, to block his soul from entering his body. Part of what he needs to do is commit patricide. Since John is dead, any father figure would suffice. Guess who that is? One Bobby Singer. So now Soulless Sam with no conscience, is after Bobby. It’s a terrible domino effect. Dean ends up saving him but you have to start to wonder if this is all worth it? Innocent people are dying, he is putting Bobby in danger, hell he may even be putting Sam in danger because Dean has no idea what condition Sam’s soul is in. He is so tunnel visioned on this matter, he can’t see the possible jeopardy. Or he can and he doesn’t care. It’s easy for him to say, let’s risk Sam’s health and possible life because the Sam he is now, can’t stay. But it’s not his life at risk. Usually Dean is risking his life to protect Sam’s but in this case, he is putting Sam’s body at risk. I get it. The Sam that is roaming around isn’t his brother. It’s his body but it isn’t what makes him, him. And Dean wants that back…as we all do. But has Dean gotten to the point where he has crossed a line? Should he let it go that Sam is gone and he should just try to get along with this Soulless Sam. And if he can’t, he should just cut ties with him? I don’t know the answer to that. Dean would probably say that this version of Sam won’t do. Sam, for all intents and purposes, is dead because this guy isn’t him. So if he gets his soul back and it kills him, there isn’t a loss since he was already gone to begin with. But if he gets it back and it works, he has Sam back. I think if it’s that black or white, then obviously Dean is doing the right thing. Because I really believe that real Sam would want that too. But what if neither happens…Sam doesn’t die and doesn’t become old Sam. What if he becomes some other version of Sam? Will Dean be ok with that? What if he is a combination of the 2 personas? What if he scratches the wall and the wall comes down and destroys his mind and it is torturing him? What if he starts wanting to listen to show tunes instead of metal/rock music? Will it be worth it? I guess time will tell. As for the fact that Death put the wall up in Sam’s brain (to block the bad parts of hell) and warned him that it will be itchy and told him not to scratch it…WTF??? Don’t scratch the wall? Is that a euphemism for something else or did he literally mean, don’t scratch the wall? I think it was literal. Can’t wait to see how that plays out.
The final element of “Appointment in Samarra” I want to go through is the conversation Dean has with Death (over Bacon Dogs from L.A.) near the end of the episode. Death is asking Dean how he liked being him and he admits he sucked at it. He also admits he would have done things differently knowing what he knows now. Death tells him that he just learned a huge lesson:
“Today, you got a hard look behind the curtain. Wreaking the natural order is not quite such fun when you have to mop up the mess, is it? This is hard for you Dean. You throw away your life because you have come to assume that it will bounce right back into your lap. The human soul is not a rubber ball. It’s vulnerable, impertinent, and stronger than you know. And more valuable than you can imagine.”
He also tells Dean that he and Sam constantly disrupt the natural order on a global scale and that they are an affront to the way things should be by constantly coming back (“I apologize for that” Dean says….hee hee.) But that even though they disrupt the order, they do have use. Death tells him he is onto something regarding souls but doesn’t tell him what. He tells Dean that he’ll understand when he needs to. So Death wants him to keep looking…that’s why he goes to get Sam’s soul back from hell. He isn’t doing it for the boys, he is doing it for him because he needs their help. It’s hard to believe the 4th Horseman of the Apocalypse needs anyones help, but apparently he does. Death returns with Sam’s soul, Bobby and Dean watch as Death returns it to him. As mentioned above, Death warns Sam that he has put a barrier in his head and that it will be itchy. But whatever he does, don’t scratch because he won’t like what happens. That can’t be good!
I think we are finding out that what we thought was the main story arc of getting Sam’s soul back and finding Purgatory, was just the set up for a much bigger story we didn’t see coming (at least I didn’t but I’m a few burgers short of a happy meal.) There is something going on with the souls that Death needs the boys help with and I’m sure this has to have something to do with the civil war in Heaven and Balthazar buying up souls. So I think the 2nd half of the season will be about what the skinny is on the souls and the boys investigation of that and how Sam is with his soul back. And if that is the case, I’m ok if the Purgatory story line is dropped. I still think it’s strange that it was such a big part of the 1st half and therefore would just go away. So maybe Purgatory and alphas tie in somehow. How, I have no idea and I’m not sure it even does.
The worst part of this whole thing….having to wait until January 28th for new episodes. Damn you winter break!!!! To tie you over, see the promo below for the 1.28.11 return.
January 28th Promo