I would have posted my recap/summary of last night's ep "When the Levee Breaks" sooner, but I was too traumatized. Apparently, I can not type while curled up in the fetal position and sobbing. When I buy this season's DVDs, I doubt that this episode will be one I choose to watch over and over. And yet, it represented some compelling writing and great performances. (Also, addiction metaphors are nothing new in the paranormal shows I watch, but this one was done far better than most. Maybe because there's seemingly more at stake or because the writers have been slowly building it to a crisis point all season or because Padalecki is awesome?)
Last week left us with Castiel repossessing (is it called a possession when it's an angel taking over the body?) Jimmy, but seeming less than helpful when it came to our boys and of course the BIG part of last week's ending was Bobby and Dean shoving Sam into Bobby's panic room--definitely one of the least plush rehab centers out there. Sam needs to detox from the demon blood, but that raises questions. Will demon DTs kill him? And, if he's not regularly imbibing, is there going to be anyone strong enough to defeat Lilith (who Ruby tells us later in the episode was once a human and Lucifer turned her into the first demon)?
Just as it was painful for Dean and Bobby to sit upstairs and listen to Sam's screams and pleas for help, it was painful to watch Sam's hallucinations. The first involved recently vanquished Allistair who had, predictably, come to torture Sam. Although less gory, the second hallucination was still pretty painful--a young Sam demanding to know why older Sam had screwed up their life. But then young Sam's eyes flashed yellow and he acknowledged that maybe it wasn't really sam's fault because, after all, there had always been demon inside.
The vision that bothered me the most was the one with Mary Winchester. As soon as Sam saw her, he slumped and said defensively that she should just go ahead and say it, how disappointed she is in him. (Like Mary wouldn't understand making desperate choices? One could argue that she's the one who originated this mess, putting him on the path of being questionably dark inside when she made the deal with Yellow Eyes that saved John.) Mary quickly assures him that she DOES understand and that she's proud, that she comes from a long line of hunters and they recognize that sometimes you have to do the hard thing. (Sure, sure, sometimes you take on the Reavers even if it looks like a suicide mission and sometimes you sacrifice your life to close the dimensional portal, but I think the point Dean tries to make throughout the episode is, if you have to turn yourself into what your fighting in order to do it, is there even any meaning in it?)
Then hallucination-rationalization Mary ticks me off completely when she begins bashing Dean and how "weak" he is. (And I'm further annoyed with Sam, even though he is hurting, because I know this is just his strung out subconscious telling him what he wants to hear and what he's been implying or straight out stating through the last half dozen episodes.)
Meanwhile, Dean finally does manage to summon Cass and agrees that he will do whatever "god" (so not the one I happen to believe in) asks in exchange for keeping the focus on HIM and not trying to make Sam the warrior in this particular battle. (Wasn't it Castiel himself who said that, according to prophecy, Dean had to end the apocalpyse since his unknowingly breaking the first seal set it in motion?) It was not a warm and fuzzy conversation and the following scene showed Bobby annoyed that Dean had basically signed on to be the angels' bitch.
I will admit to a completely irrational moment where I wondered if Bobby had become possessed. He tries to talk Dean into freeing Sam and just letting him go fill up on demon blood, for the greater good. And it occurred to me that this is probably exactly what the demon's want since they know it's corrupting Sam and may eventually turn him into a powerful force for their side.
And remember before when I said the hallucination that bothered me the most was with Mary? I spoke too soon. Because now we get a horrible vision where Dean explaining that he and Bobby had to tie down Sam because Sam's psyhic jonesing was causing him to fly around the room, getting bashed up in the process. That much was true, so it took me a sec to realize this conversation wasn't actually happening. Upstairs, Sam tells Bobby that he'd rather let his brother die detoxing than turn him into a soulless monster just to save other souls. This is juxtaposed with Dean sneering at Sammy that he is a monster. Ouch.
Then we come to Sam (alone now) watching in amazement as his shackles fall away and the door silently opens. Given the spells, the salt and the IRON PANIC ROOM, I deduced this couldn't be a demon. And, given the rest of the ep, I believed Sam was hallucinating. Until we see Cass slightly off screen. You winged bastard! What do you think you're doing? Bobby, armed with a shotgun, tries to get Sam to go back inside (and Jim Beaver gives a very poignant performance here) but Sam calls his bluff, knocks him out and drives away. (Sam, if I weren't an out of shape wuss and you weren't like a twelve foot wall of muscle, I would totally kick your ass.)
Quick scene where angel-Anna lands behind Castiel to demand, esentially, You winged bastard, what do you think you're doing? Darn good question, IMO. He tells her he was following orders. (Isn't that the exact defense always given by people being tried for war crimes?) Then he tells her she shouldn't have come and she is dragged away by two Enforcer Angers in a beam of light.
Sam books a hotel suite for him and Ruby and after the sexually charged blood-letting (which, ew) she tells him she has a lead on someone who may have a lead on Lilith (and I'm skipping the disturbing forty five seconds of that subplot because, again, ew). More important than the demonically possessed pediatric nurse I'm not mentioning is that Sam, getting ready to go interrogate her, tells Ruby how depressed he is that he and Dean have come to this. Yeah, him and THE ENTIRE VIEWING AUDIENCE. We see a little brother who hopes against hope that they could work things out.
And then we see big brother driving hellbent for leather in the Impala to save Sam from himself (starting with, killing Ruby). Bobby calls to caution Dean not to let anger drive Sam away. Aw, Bobby. Thanks for trying. Have you met these boys?
After Sam has ostensibly left to fight the good fight (or, you know, whatever fight he's fighting these days), Dean goes after Ruby with a knife and, predictably, is stopped by Sam. Seriously, who didn't see that coming? Sam tells Ruby to get out of there, seeming to choose demons over his brother, and the boys begin arguing. Things get heated until they build to the breaking moment. I saw it coming (so did Sam) but it was so well done, so painful that you were already wincing before Dean did in fact call his brother a monster.
And then Sam decked him and they started wailing on each other. It ended with Sam nearly choking Dean, then pulling away to say Dean doesn't know him. Never has, never will. And he storms out. Leaving Dean and the rest of us in a painful, bloody mess of debris.
Wow. This all makes for a hell of a tense show down for the finale, but I'm not sure I can take it if the entire next season is about the boys fighting each other. Whimper.