Other than that, this episode is where Dean finds out the truth about quite a lot of things. Sam, he finds out, is soulless. Samuel is Crowley's bitch (although he still doesn't know what strings Crowley is pulling) and is searching for Purgatory, and that Crowley had been protecting his investment through Christian's demon possession. We all knew there was something about Christian, right? The monster plot itself is not that strong and it is not an episode I am overly excited about it but it is definitely important.
I'll try to make this short.
We start with Sam, tied up in a pretty nice looking room. Cas examines Sam as Sam graduallly awakens. They first find out that Sam doesn't sleep. Then, when Sam can only describe his physical sensation when asked about how he feels, Cas figures out that Sam has no feelings. Cas finally digs into Sam to examine his soul, and finds out that there isn't one.
Dean: Um... I'm s-- I'm sorry. One more time, like I'm 5. What do you mean, he's got no --
Castiel: Somehow, when Sam was resurrected, it was without his soul.
I'm going to assume here that Cas just realized the mistake he'd made, because the alternative would be too cruel to contemplate. It would be understandable that he would keep his involvement in bringing Sam back from hell a secret so that he wouldn't be connected to Samuel and what he was doing (and for other reasons I will speculate later), but it sure leaves a bad taste in the mouth - which Cas must also feel at this point.
Dean: So, is he even still Sam?
Castiel: Well, you pose an interesting philosophical question.
Dean: Well, then, just get it back.
Dean: Well, you pulled me out.
Castiel: It took several angels to rescue you, and you weren't nearly as well guarded. Sam's soul is in Lucifer's cage. There's a difference, a big difference. It's not possible.
From what Cas says here, he must have either had the power of more than a legion of angels when he rescued Sam or, he had the help of someone else - not Crowley, he wouldn't have had the time and we do find out later that Crowley does not have the power to get Sam's soul out of the cage, but maybe the other angels.
Dean has a hard time with the idea of untying Sam and Sam pleads with him over and over before finally just untying himself. Dean would have known that Sam could do so, wouldn't he have? So was Dean just wanted to show his distrust ? Or possibly he was testing soulless Sam's reaction? Or was he just so diverted by Sam's pleading that he didn't consider the fact that Sam could bust out on his own? SAM, on the other hand, had no reason to beg Dean to untie him except to divert Dean's attention on the fact that he was untying himself or... thinking that it would go better in the future if Dean showed his trust by untying him. I have no idea, but it's interesting to think about.
Sam: I didn't want it to come to this. You're not gonna hold me, Dean -- Not here, not in a panic room, not anywhere. You're stuck with the soulless guy, so you might as well work with me. Let's fix this.
Dean: I'm gonna be watching every move you make.
Sam: Fine. Sounds about right to me.
Sam also shows Dean here that he does remember what Dean did to him before the cage. I am reminded now of those panic room scenes and I am sure Dean is as well. He remembers how that had gone - trying to control Sam even WITH a soul and realizes he has to let Soulless Sam be his own man and make his own choices.
Dean demands that Cas heal him, and then they start discussing the possible clues.
Cas lets Sam and Dean go off on their search of who brought Sam back. Now... this gives me a bad taste in my mouth once again when I realize that if he HAD told the truth at this point or before, Crowley would not have been able to blackmail Sam and Dean, and that it is probable that this was also part of Cas and Crowley's agreement to possibly keep Cas' involvement a secret AND for them to be recruited somehow in the search for purgatory.
Sam and Dean are off to talk to Samuel. They go directly to Samuel's office, close the door and get Cas to check if Samuel has a soul.
Samuel: This Castiel? You're scrawnier than I pictured.
Castiel: This is a vessel. My true form is approximately the size of your Chrysler building.
Dean: All right, all right, quit bragging.
Cute scene here! reminds me a bit of Zach :D
Samuel's shouting makes Christian come running, but Samuel assures him that he is OK before they shut the door on Christian again. And this is where they finally explain to Samuel what this is all about. Sam is soulless, while Samuel is not.
Sam: Whatever dragged me out... left a piece behind. Did you know?
Samuel: No, but I... I knew it was something. I... You're a hell of a hunter, Sam, but... the truth is, sometimes you scare me.
We've seen instances where Samuel has indicated he is uncomfortable with the way Sam did things. It's logical to think that there is no real reason for Samuel to hide that he did know, but Samuel is walking a tight rope here. He may not know about Sam's soul being left behind, but he has been told by Crowley that he brought them both back and possibly told him to keep it a secret from Sam for some reason. Now, I don't really know that Crowley would take the liberty of saying something like that if he DIDN'T know that Cas had brought Sam back so it seems likely that it was agreed between Crowley and Cas to tell Samuel this.
Samuel tells them that he will help them find out how to get Sam's soul back, but while they are talking, Cas is distracted and looking out the window worriedly. He tells them he has to go and explains that it is because of his civil war - but then on a rewatch, maybe he's just trying to get out of an uncomfortable situation (or go and tell Crowley what is going on :P)
Dean: You better tear the attic up, find something to help Sam.
Castiel: Of course. Your problems always come first. I'll be in touch.
OK, this is funny for it's sarcasm, but again, it's Dean taking people/angels for granted. There is a pattern here from Weekend at Bobby's don't you think? It is a very similar situation and while Cas is acting like Bobby - trying to work out his issues on his own, Dean is not taking the little hints seriously. It's obvious Cas should have just asked for their help instead of trying to do everything himself, but maybe Dean should have considered Cas' situation a bit. Cas' "Your problems always come first" reminds me of Bobby's lecture.
Talk goes to all the hunters outside preparing for a hunt. Sam guesses that Samuel had found the Alpha vamp and asks Samuel why he hadn't been called to help. Dean guesses that it's because Samuel doesn't trust Dean. He suggests that he would do whatever Samuel said and Samuel would call the shots and finally Samuel agrees to take them. Does this remind you of Samuel in In the Beginning? He was never trusting of other hunters, and he doesn't have the same idea of family as John does. He trusts Sam because Sam has been with him for a year and I am assuming, because he is predictable and doesn't ask questions. Dean is more dangerous because of his instinct and how he doesn't trust just anyone, like Samuel himself. (Reminds me so much of that scene at the dinner table in In the Beginning :DDD)
I think Samuel is more worried about Dean finding out his scheme than anything. And he's got a right to be.
Dean: I don't trust him. Dude's hiding something.
Dean: I can feel it. And if you weren't Robo-Sam, you'd feel it, too.
Sam: Just...You. Saying you don't trust family.
Dean: Look, we hang close, we blend in, we see what we can pick up.
As Sam sits down to clean some weapons with the others, Dean walks past Christian to go to Samuel's locked office and try to find out more about what Samuel is hiding I guess.
Christian comes up behind him and accuses him and it almost turns into a fist fight with them saying nasty things about girlfriends and wives to each other.
Christian: You sure you want to come with us tomorrow? Accidents happen.
Dean: Hmm. Don't worry, man. I got your back.
And that's that. I do like that bit of the scene.
People have told me that they don't like Christian (or the Campbells) and truly, I don't think we were supposed to. We were supposed to be looking at them through Dean's eyes, with distrust.
They are off on the hunt. When they get to the vamp compound, Samuel leaves Dean behind with his niece Gwen and Dean is not happy.
Sam: Don't worry. It's fine.
Dean: No, nothing's fine. You're not fine. Go. Go.
I love this scene, first grumpy, worried Dean telling Sam that nothing is fine, then Dean watching everyone go below. I saw the screencap in raloria's post the other day and was looking forward to seeing it again.
Gwen and Dean have a little moment where it seems like they are getting along a bit.
Gwen: Sorry about the "reject" thing.
Dean: Ah, I've been called worse.
Gwen: Just, uh, get sick of getting left behind. Think it's probably 'cause I remind him of his daughter or something.
Dean: Well, you just speak your mind.
Gwen: I'll take that as a compliment.
Dean: You should.
And I guess this is also a hint as to what Crowley's carrot is for Samuel. A vamp escapes toward them soon after and Dean is flung while Gwen comes up behind the vamp and basically saves Dean's life.
She puts out her hand to help Dean up, and Dean can't bring himself to take her hand - I'm assuming this is because he's a bit embarrassed, but maybe also because he doesn't want to seem too friendly either.
They hear the signs of fighting and Dean goes off on his own to see what's going on while Gwen looks on helplessly. He sees the same compound he saw in his vamp vision and he sees a bunch of corpses littering the yard. A vamp slams into the window of the house from the inside and Dean watches as she is pulled back and blood splatters all over the window. I was pretty sure she was screaming help, but Wiki says she was shouting "Dean," which would make it more interesting, I'm sure - one of the vampires from his dream perhaps? One of the girls that the alpha vamp turned? Another interesting thing about this is that Dean seems to be feeling horror at the bodies littering the yard and at the death of the woman/girl inside as if he still has an attachment to the vampire family... family matters? Huh.
Dean then sees the alpha being led to the van with a black sack over his head. He knows it's the alpha because of the vamp's hand and long fingernails, which he remembers from the dream. He quickly goes back to Gwen while we see Sam look up toward where Dean had been standing moments before.
When Samuel and the others come back, Dean asks him about the alpha vamp and Samuel tells him that they buried the corpse. Dean now knows Samuel is definitely hiding something.
In the car, Dean is trying to get Sam to talk to him about what had happened but Sam is all innocent until Dean stops the car and tells Sam what he saw.
Dean: I saw you walk that alpha out the door, Sam. Now, call me crazy... But that seems weird.
Sam: You weren't supposed to know about that.
Dean: Know what?
Sam: It's just something Samuel's been doing. Catching things, taking them somewhere, grilling them for info.
Dean: Grill. Torture, right? And not telling me -- that was his idea?
Sam: No, it was mine.
Sam: Honestly? 'Cause you'd mess it up. You shoot first, ask questions later, and we needed to ask questions.
So first of all, Sam made everyone around him lie to Dean about how he was out of the cage. Now, Sam is still making people lie to Dean about what they were doing. Sam trusts Samuel more than he does Dean. He doesn't question why Samuel is torturing the monsters and yet, he suggests that it be kept a secret from Dean in case he ruins it.
OK... is that weird even as a soulless guy? I mean, he has all the memories of before, right? Maybe looking back at it all with soulless eyes, things look a bit different? Like Dean was unpredictable and did things for reasons he didn't understand in his present state? Like, why NOT torture monsters? What was the big deal? And who cared about the reasons?
Dean: And why? And did it ever occur to you that this is really shady?
Sam: He's our grandfather.
Dean: Yeah. Yeah, a guy who talks a great game. But you can't assume that family means the same thing to him as it does to us. He's not Dad. Wow. You don't see it, do you?
Sam seems to really consider what Dean is saying and give him the benefit of the doubt at least. Then, Dean gives him an ultimatum.
Dean: Nobody's forcing you to work with me, okay? But if we do this... I drive the bus, I call the shots, and you tell me everything, whether you think it's important or not, because -- trust me -- you can't tell the difference. Or, you know what, go -- go with Samuel. See how that goes. It's up to you.
So Sam goes to Samuel and, pretending to have had a falling out with Dean, tries to get the reason for the torture and alpha search, but Samuel of course doesn't tell him. This is where Sam makes his choice to take his chances with Dean. He first goes to the transport van and puts the GPS signal on.
He then goes back to Dean, who doesn't hide his surprise.
Sam: You didn't think I'd come back.
Dean: I figured 60/40.
(I like how Sam shrugs here, like that makes sense to him. I will have to get a gif of that if I have the time.)
They trail the van to the hideout where they are keeping the alpha vamp and take a peak in the room where Samuel is asking questions and just getting frustrated.
The alpha is being pumped with deadman's blood and is tied up in an electric chair of some sort. He tells Sam and Dean to come in after Samuel leaves. He knows Dean's name because Dean had been a vamp for a short time. "You were my child" he says. He lets them ask their questions, saying that he's going to eat them anyway.
Alpha Vampire: The thing about souls -- If you've got one, of course -- is they're predictable. You die, you go up or down. Where do my kind go?
Dean: All right, enough with the sermon, freak.
Alpha Vampire: I'm trying to answer the question. Now, when we "freaks" die... where do we go? Not heaven, not hell. So?
Alpha Vampire: Little rusty on our Dante, boys?
Dean acts a bit dumb here (I feel just as frustrated as the vamp, but Sam figures out pretty quickly that Samuel is looking for Purgatory. The alpha vamp's just scraping away at his bonds as they talk. (We have a lot of escaping bonds in this episode :P)
But as they are talking, Samuel finds them and takes them out of the room and strips them of weapons. They almost get away but just as Dean is loading his gun, Gwen shows up with a rifle.
I do like how Sam and Dean almost overpower the Campbells - and would have except for Gwen not being there at the time. I also like how Dean turns his head slowly toward Gwen in this scene... need a gif :P
Dean: Gwen. And I thought we had something special.
The guard for the alpha vamp is scared shitless but he pretends not to be and pushes the button on the electric bolt to make himself feel better. The bolt helps the vamp with the last bit of his bond and he's free from the cage. He kills the guard, and hearing the commotion, Samuel lets Sam and Dean pick up their weapons.
Samuel: We need to get him dosed up and back in the cage.
Samuel: What do you mean, "no"?
Dean: I mean, I don't know what your big plan was, but playing catch is not on the table.
Samuel: Dean --
Dean: We take the thing's head off, or it kills us all! You know that.
Dean: Okay. We split up. Clear every room. You get a shot, you take it. It's not gonna kill him, but dude will move a lot slower without any kneecaps. And if we make it through this, you, me, and Sam are having one hell of a family meeting.
Love how Dean takes charge here! The vamp kills Christian, and gets a hold of Sam:
Alpha Vampire: The boy with no soul. I've got big plans for you. It's amazing how that pesky, little soul gets in the way. But not for you. You will be the perfect... animal.
Just then, the supposedly dead Christian comes up from behind and pushes a round of deadman's blood into the vamp, the vamp is suddenly surrounded by demons and then they all disappear.
Everyone is wondering what happened when they hear clapping - it's Crowley. Samuel tells Crowley to bring him back Christian, but Crowley tells him Christian had always been possessed and he'd had him there to protect his interests - make sure Samuel was doing what he was supposed to, and probably to check up on Sam, and now Dean as well.
Dean and Sam realize that Crowley and Samuel are on speaking terms and then it all fits into place how Crowley was the one looking for Purgatory. Crowley only explains that he just wants Purgatory because it's hell adjacent and he wants more space, but again we've had a hint from the alpha already on how Purgatory is full of souls and rewatchers will know that Crowley is wanting those, not the extra space. Then, Crowley tells Sam and Dean that they are now going to be doing what he wants them to as well.
Dean: We ain't your employees.
Crowley: Of course you are! Have been for some time now, thanks to gramps. I don't keep Captain Chromedome around for his wit, do I? Samuel knows things. More than any of you, actually. Walking encyclopedia of the creepy and the crawly. And I knew... You two are so hung up on family-loyalty nonsense, he said jump, you'd get froggy.
Dean: Yeah, well, the game's over.
Crowley: Yeah, well, afraid not, not if you want to see Sam's soul ever again.
Sam: You're bluffing.
Crowley: Tell them, Samuel.
Samuel: He pulled us both back, me and Sam.
Sam: What? You knew?
So. As I mentioned before, Cas brought Sam back right after Dean left the field so, he wouldn't have had time to talk it over with Crowley and get his help. BUT, did Cas make a deal with him to lie about who brought Sam out?? Or at least they made some sort of deal for Cas to keep quiet about his involvement, because Cas does keep quiet. So, basically, Crowley convinces Cas that it would be better to have Sam and Dean's help in the search and for this, it would be better that they think Crowley has access to his soul. Or, Cas asks Crowley to pretend to have brought Sam back in order to save his hide, and Crowley takes advantage? Both sound terrible.
They are left alone, and Dean turns to Samuel:
Dean: So, what's so important that you're the king of hell's cabana boy, huh? What'd he offer you? Girls? Money? Hair?
Samuel: I got my reasons. You gonna make a move, go ahead.
Dean: Or what?
Samuel: Or nothing. I'm not gonna do anything to you, Dean. You boys... you're my family. So the way I see it, you got two choices -- Put a bullet in your grandfather or step aside.
And Sam points his gun, but Dean lowers it.
Sam: He sold us out.
Dean: I know.
Dean: Let it go.
Dean: Get out of here.
Pity? or Samuel using the F word? Dean, you should have let Sam kill him.
Samuel leaves, and now Sam and Dean have a little talk.
Dean: We can't work for Crowley.
Sam: Are you sure about that?
Dean: I don't think you understand. Demons bone you every time.
Sam: Oh, no, I get it. I do, believe me.
Sam: Just running the math -- Do we really have another choice?
Dean: We could stab him in his throat.
Sam: And get my soul back how? I'm just saying, seems like we got to play ball, at least for the moment.
Dean: I have done some stupid things in my time, but punching a demon's clock?
Sam: Look, just till we find another way.
Dean: And then?
Sam: And then we track Crowley down and give that son of a bitch what's coming to him. You with me, Dean?
So, here it seems that Sam really wants his soul back. He wants those things that he is missing and make him vulnerable. Dean also wants Sam's soul back, and so, he agrees with Sam to do Crowley's dirty work just until they find another way. But ... if they are going to find another way anyway, why work for Crowley in the first place? Why trust him to give back Sam's soul without any sealed deal? Even WITH a sealed deal. Look how he screwed Bobby over. This is what gets me about Samuel as well. He is working for Crowley to get Mary back, but he has no guarantee that he will get her back. Did he make a deal with Crowley? Was it sealed with a kiss? And even if he had, what's to say that Crowley doesn't have some clause saying he will "try his best" like with Bobby? He's a DEMON for Christ's sake. *shakes head*