supernutjapan (supernutjapan) wrote,

Rewatching 7-17 The Born-Again Identity

I really really enjoyed this episode this time around.  I think just having this review to write is making me enjoy all the episodes so much more, but with this particular episode I've watched snippets of it since my last major rewatch in order to prepare a banner for my friend karakuri_doll's fic HERE and had a chance to consider Sam and Cas' relationship through these scenes.  In that sense I enjoyed the Sam/Cas scenes very much. The Sam/Dean scene impressed me more than in previous viewings this time around too because I was especially looking out for good Sam/Dean expressions for gifs.  They sure hit it out of the park this ep!  If they had been able to draw it all out a little more - in to two eps for example, it could have totally been used as a season finale, IMO.  Dean unable to tell Cas about his past in the fear that Cas would not heal Sam, and Cas' horror when he remembers what he had done, the whole scene where he does remember ... these were all incredible as well.  I like Cas in a vest and he really did look like a totally different person!

So, here I go.

"Good Morning"(sung after the sleeping pills Sam takes fail to get rid of Hallucifer)
"Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers(plays when Hallucifer lights firecrackers in the ward)
"Turn into Earth" by The Yardbirds(plays when Cas smites the demons and regains his memory)

The ep starts with Sam running through the streets, unable to sleep, constantly on the run from Lucifer - in his mind.  I'm not quite sure why he was running.  Maybe he thought if he conked out from exhaustion, he could sleep without Lucifer bothering him? Or maybe he thought he was hallucinating it all.  BUT, the scene is a beautiful tie-in with him running from the clowns, or his fears, in PPMM, and of course Dean running in Yellow Fever.  Beautiful.  Also, I think this idea that he is not really running from Lucifer but from his fear - is important in understanding how Cas takes on this bit of craziness later.

He runs into a drug dealer and client and as the client runs away fearing cops, the drug dealer urges Sam to leave.  But soon he realizes that Sam is in a similar state as having taken a drug - and he kindly tells Sam that he can knock him out.  He even carries Sam to his own car and takes a nap with him himself.  Is that nice or what?

Unfortunately, Lucifer wakes Sam up pretty quickly by crashing a big pole through the windshield (but not really) and Sam is on the run again.  He keeps hallucinating as he runs - bumping into people that are not really there etc.

Finally he runs into a real car and is again knocked out.

The next scene, Dean has found out which hospital Sam has been carried to and is trying to see his brother but the nurse tells him he can't.  He barges into the doctor's office without appointment and demands to see his brother.  The doctor tells him the situation.  Sam's physical wounds are not serious, but he's had a serious psychotic break.  This is a surprise to Dean - at least he acts like it is.  But we've already seen Sam unable to sleep last ep, so the fact that it would get this bad this quickly shouldn't be much of a surprise.  I guess he's made himself believe until now that Sam will somehow hold Lucifer off despite everything.  He tells the doctor, that at least the sleep thing is new.

Meanwhile, Lucifer is talking to Sam -

HALLUCIFER:I'm just sayin'. Back when you had no never had to sleep.
I thought this was actually a very interesting observation - first because Dean could have saved Sam by removing his soul temporarily until they found a cure - but then he would have had to deal with soulless Sam again, so that wouldn't have been a very good idea if he really wanted to turn Sam back again. It would have just been a last resort to keep Sam - the body - alive. Also, we do have Sam reiterating the fact that his soul was the problem, later on to Dean.  He is definitely being influenced by what Lucifer is saying.

The doctor takes Dean to see Sam and we have a wonderfully angsty little scene here where Dean is not giving up and is determined to find something to help Sam and Sam has given up - he's just too tired to fight anymore. This is in direct parallel to the Faith scene with Dean in the hospital, isn't it? Other scenes in later seasons too, but especially Faith, which Sam even mentions.

DEAN: Sam, I'm gonna find you help.
(Sam sighs and looks away)
HALLUCIFER:Now, that sounded a little cynical.
SAM:I don't think it's out there, Dean.

DEAN:We don't know that.
SAM:We know better than most. It's all snake oil. Last faith healer we hooked up with had a reaper on a leash. Remember?
DEAN:Yeah, Sam, I remember.
SAM:I'm just saying...
DEAN:What? That you don't want my help?
SAM:No, I'm just saying… don't do this to yourself.

Sam thinking about the suffering Dean is going through is just... :'(

DEAN:Sam, if I don't find something –
SAM:Then I'll die.
HALLUCIFER:Oh, you're upsetting me.
SAM:Dean, we knew this was coming.
SAM:When you put my soul back...
SAM:...Cas warned you about all the crap it would –

DEAN:Screw Cas! Quit being Dalai frickin' Yoda about this, okay? Get pissed!
Dean with that big load of responsibility both with the fact that he was the one that put Sam's soul back despite the risk and also his hurt about what Cas had done to Sam.

SAM:I'm too tired. This is what happens when you throw a soul into Lucifer's dog bowl. And you think there's just gonna be some cure out there?

The expressions here are just unbelievable.  They are just as awesome as any of the season finales to me.  Just GUH.  And even here we have not just the angst between the brothers, but also Dean's pain with regard to Cas - which leads us just wonderfully into the next scenes. And then there is Lucifer sticking his mouth in... Even Sam mentioning that they knew this was going to happen since they put Sam's soul back in - this is influenced by what Lucifer said before Dean came in, isn't it?

HALLUCIFER:Oh, you guys are having a moment.

Again a scene parallel to Faith as we see Dean back at the cabin, scouring John and Bobby's journals for someone, anyone, who can help them. Dean crosses out one name after another without any luck. Finally with all of the names on his list crossed out, he goes over to get a beer. As he's poking his head in the fridge he hears a sound from the table. Going over to where Bobby's journal is fallen to the ground, he notices one card lying underneath it. It's a person he hasn't phoned yet. Dean here must know for sure that Bobby is there, but he doesn't even have time to contemplate that. He calls the number and leaves a message.

Meanwhile Sam is being tortured by Lucifer. I think we need to adjust the volume a bit when we are looking at some of these scenes. Lucifer talking to Sam, reading to Sam, singing to Sam, all seems pretty innocent unless we increase the volume to a point where we know Sam could not have slept through it. The volume does go up at this point -

Lucifer brings out a loudspeaker while Sam is talking to Marin who brought him a chocolate bar.  The loud screeching etc., would definitely keep anyone awake.

And the firecrackers later on is definitely torture. That's not all though, Sam is hallucinating people - seeing the doctor instead of Lucifer, like he saw Dean in the previous ep. And there's of course the sandwich with the maggots in it. Most of all, I guess, Lucifer (his own madness) is breaking his will to live. As with the remark about Sam's soul before, here is another line showing how Sam has given up fighting for himself.

HALLUCIFER:It doesn't really matter. Because I won. Your madness won. I mean, look at you. It's hard to believe you were the guy that saved the world once.

Marin sees him having difficulties eating and brings him another chocolate bar. Sam finds out from a nice orderly that she has supposedly set fire to her own house to kill herself.

MARIN:True. I heard you're here because the voices won't let you sleep.
SAM:Just one, really.
MARIN:Who is it? Like Charlie Manson or the devil?
SAM:Kind of. Yeah.
MARIN:Me too. I...hear a voice.

I like this conversation because Marin somehow gets his "voice" right, even though she doesn't really have a clue. I also like the fact that they have something in common. ONE VOICE that is making them want it all to end. Being able to help her is very important to Sam I think because of this similarity as well as the reason they started hunting in the first place. The reason Dean tells Sam in Windego. Their lives suck, but they at least can help others live a better life, you know?

Anyway, going back to the story, he somehow gets her to tell him the real story and we find out that she is being haunted by her brother whom she was glad to be seeing at first, but who had gradually turned mean, urging her to kill herself to be with him, and even setting the fire to her house himself - a little reminder that we (or Sam and Dean) shouldn't be glad that Bobby might be haunting Sam and Dean.

Sam tells her he can help, and she doesn't really trust his judgement, seeing he sees the devil, but she really has no where else to turn so she gives it a shot. Sam finds out that the bracelet her brother made for her and had happened to bleed on was probably holding her brother there. He tells her to get a lighter somewhere and gets some salt himself.

Between the Sam scenes above, Dean has finally got a call back from the guy he called. The hunter tells him about a guy who was no monster - the hunter did every test in the book - which obviously did not include angel testing lol - and actually cured his eyes. Dean hurries over to meet this Emmanuel, who could be contacted through his wife.

Getting to the door, he finds the wife tied up inside and a demon pretending to be Emmanuel. Dean has the demon knife and puts a quick end to the demon who falls down the porch steps and stops at the feet of Emmanuel, or Cas himself, who doesn't recognize the man as a demon, although he recognizes that he can see his "real face" below the human one, nor does he recognize Dean.

He thanks Dean for saving his wife. Dean can't stop with the open mouth as he tries to take in all this information.

EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:I seem to be able to help to a certain degree. What's your issue?
DEAN:My brother.

He may not think here that this is actually Cas the angel he knew. It's only in the car journey on the way to Sam that he hears where and how his "wife" found him and knows for sure that it is Cas.

EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:Oh, it's a...strange story. You may not like it.
DEAN:Believe me, I will.
EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:A few months ago, she was hiking by the river, and I wandered into her path, drenched and confused, and... unclothed. I had no memory. She said... God wanted her to find me.

I am going to go into Emmanuel's wife, Daphne, a bit more later as to what might have happened to her after this, but I wonder if people have taken the time to wonder about Cas' words here. There is of course a lot of mystery regarding who keeps bringing Cas back to life. Cas tells Dean that with the terrible things he has done, he should not have been brought back and wonders WHY. But we now know for sure that God was the one who brought him back. Therefore, Daphne's words to Cas, "God wanted me to find you," take on a very important meaning.

First of all, from her words, I take her to be a pretty strong God believer. I'd call her a Christian, but SPN doesn't seem to have Christ except for as a joke so it doesn't feel right. As a strong believer, she would be "in tune" with God through daily prayer and reading the Bible(Whatever that included), and otherwise being "religious." If you don't happen to know anyone like this, take it from me - they tend to view everything that happens to them as God's Will and an opportunity to show their faith through their actions. So, I can totally imagine God leading Daphne to Cas and making sure she was the FIRST person to find him through happenstance and Daphne having taken Cas in as her job given to her from God (without even any direct message per say).

However, I could also imagine her to be an angel sent directly by God himself or by Joshua, or whoever is in charge there. Her job, to pretend to be human and to take care of Cas until Dean comes to get him. She would have been given a simple story to give Cas and would also have made sure that she was the first one to find him - because THAT was very important. It wasn't just a coincidence. It was truly meant to be.

The whole situation is full of possibilities and I am glad that this is left a mystery for us to make our imaginations go wild.

Dean doesn't enlighten Cas on who he really is in the fear that Cas might not cure his brother if he knew. I'm not quite sure if Dean thinks here that Cas would refuse because "they did not part on friendly terms" like Cas says later or, if he thinks that the shock of the memory coming back might lessen the chance of Cas helping Sam.

Cas/Emanuel asks about Sam, and Dean tells him that someone did this to him, and talks about Cas in the third person.

DEAN:Well, yeah. Dude broke my brother's head.
EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:He betrayed you, this dude. He was your friend?
DEAN:Yeah, well, he's gone.
EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:Did you kill him? I sense that you kill a lot of people.
DEAN:Honestly, I-I-I don't know if he is dead. I just know that this... whole thing couldn't be messier. You know, I used to be able to just shake this stuff off. You know, whatever it was. It might take me some time, but... I always could. What Cas did... I just can't – I don't know why.

Cas/Emanuel senses Dean's anger at Cas for doing this to his brother and asks if he killed this person - he senses Dean has killed many people LOL...actually that's not really very funny when we look at it from Dean's guilt point of view and we do have to remember that point of view as well because it is one of the themes of this season. I wonder, then, if Dean hears that statement by Cas and thinks of all the people he "let" die and maybe he thinks of how he may have done just as much damage as Cas and that he has been kept alive to "fix things" too. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

In any case, what Cas did, and what happened to him, has been eating at him all season as he says again here. He's angry, yes, but not at Cas as much as at the "mess" that he left them with, partly because he thinks it's somehow his responsibility as well for things ending up like they did and whatever he does, things seem to be becoming worse and worse. Like Jeffrey said, it's killing him that he can't save the world (and his family in particular) however hard he tries.

Back to Sam and the girl. Sam has a hard time laying the salt because he keeps seeing Lucifer blowing it away. He asks the girl to do it herself, and when they are done, takes the bracelet to burn it. The brother appears, begging her not to do it, but she has made up her mind, and Sam quickly burns it and her brother burns up. He tells the girl to go just before the orderlies come in thinking possibly that he was trying to kill himself.

And Sam is in an even worse situation than before.

Dean and Cas arrive at a convenience store where Dean stops for supplies. He tells Cas to stay in the car and as he is looking around for supplies inside, he notices a demon sneaking up on him. He kills one and turns into another isle only to find another two demons. He is outnumbered, his knife kicked away when Meg comes from behind the two and kills them with the knife.

Meg wants some friends to hang with until she can get back at Crowley and thinks Dean, with Cas, and angel who could protect them, would be the perfect team for her. Dean refuses at first, but Meg convinces him telling him that more demons were going to come for Cas and it would be better to have her around. Cas/Emmanuel recoils at first, seeing Meg's real face but believes Dean and they go on their way. Cas with Dean and Meg in the back reminds me of other weird situations where they had both an angel and a demon in the car :P Cas is his normal self despite not having a memory - he still can't get Dean's or Meg's satirical jokes.

EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:This silence is very uncomfortable. Is there something I should know?
MEG:I don't know. Dean?
DEAN:No. Meg has that effect. Awkward. You know?
EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:That must be difficult for you.
MEG:Dean's making a joke, Emmanuel.

That reminds me, I really need to write sequels to my Meg/Cas blurb<3 I really love this relationship - it is so full of mystery!

When they get to the hospital, they find the grounds in front swarming with demons, and it's pretty obvious that Dean and Meg with the one knife between them cannot kill all of them. Meg urges Dean to tell Cas the truth, and Dean tells her how he is afraid that if he does, Cas will not cure Sam.

MEG:Sam's in there. I know you're enjoying the double dip with your old pal, but –
DEAN:You think it's that cut and dry? Really? You know what he did. And you want to tell him and just hope that he takes it in stride? He could snap. He could... disappear. Who knows?
EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:I gather we know each other.
MEG:Just a dollop.

EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:You can tell me. I'll be fine.
DEAN:How do you know? You just met yourself. I've known you for years.
MEG:You're an angel.

Cas has come to listen in on the problem and hears them. WOW though. I never really read into that line by Dean so much. I totally change my mind. Dean knew that Cas would not be able to take knowing he had done such terrible things because HE KNOWS CAS. It wasn't because "they hadn't parted friends" that Dean didn't want to risk telling him.

After some more explanation, Emmanuel he realizes that he is Cas, the friend who did this thing to Dean's brother. At Dean and Meg's urging, he goes to try his hand at Angel smiting.

MEG:Look. You got the juice. You can smite every demon in that lot.

EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:But I don't remember how.
DEAN:It's in there. I'm sure it's just like riding a bike.
EMMANUEL/CASTIEL:I don't know how to do that, either. ...All right, I'll try.

CAS: I'm sorry Dean.
I love the music here, and the flashbacks starting all the way back at the first time he showed himself to Dean in that barn (awesome scene!!) and ending at him saying I'm sorry to Dean as he tries to put the Leviathans back into Purgatory.

His expression changes after each killing where he remembers another part of his past and in the end, he is so shocked and sickened by what he remembers that he has no words at first.

Then he gets a bit hysterical, telling Dean that what he has done, the deaths in heaven and on earth that he has caused, he has no right to be alive, let alone heal Sam. He questions why he was saved.

DEAN:If you remember, then you know you did the best you could at the time.
CASTIEL:Don't defend me. Do you have any idea the death toll in Heaven? On Earth? We didn't part friends, Dean.
DEAN:So what?
CASTIEL:I deserved to die. Now, I can't possibly fix it... So why did I even walk out of that river?

Dean defending Cas - could be half because he wants him so desperately to save Sam, but I do think he understands and forgives Cas.  But Cas' feeling of not deserving to live is carried on into Season 8 - and answered in Season 11[Spoiler (click to open)]They really should have spent a bit more time on that there considering how important it was. Cas and God man... *shakes head* So much more important even than Sam getting his say -is how I feel at the moment. Everything Sam went through there was a reason. But Cas? The personal disappointment he went through in Dark Side of the Moon? The numerous times he was brought back to life? He should have been given a chance to cry on dad's shoulder. Apologize for the terrible things he did, ask God directly WHY he brought him back. And not just Dean but God himself should have asked him to take care of the boys. To keep looking after them. So that's another fic I'd like to either read, or write myself.

DEAN:Maybe to fix it.
He brings out the trench coat, still covered in blood stains. To me, the trench coat with the blood stains symbolizes Cas' sins. By putting it on, Cas recognizes that he needs to fix what he did, and make things right. Of course, the fact that Dean kept it in the first place is symbolic of Dean's feelings for Cas. It shows Cas that he is not angry at him, that he still loves him but wants him to make things right.

Sam is being given "shock therapy" by a demon possessing that nice nurse/orderly we saw previously. Just as he is about to increase the shock level even more, Cas kills him and puts his hand on Sam, trying to save him, but it's too late.

CASTIEL:I should never have broken your wall, Sam. I'm here to make it right.
SAM:You're not real.
CASTIEL:Oh, Sam... I'm so sorry.

Sam is too far gone. The anguish Cas shows at this is palpable.

They've put Sam back in his bed (I wonder what they did with the demon and the orderly dude?) and Cas is telling Dean that he can't heal it when he has the idea that maybe he can shift it. Put it onto himself rather than try to heal it.

He goes up to Sam and transfers the fear on to himself. At first, Sam only sees Lucifer sitting over him and saying Cas' words. But as the crazy is transfered, he is able to see clearly and he recognizes Cas.

CASTIEL:Now, Sam...
HALLUCIFER:This may hurt. And if I can't tell you again...
CASTIEL:...I'm sorry I ever did this to you.

SAM:Cas? Cas, is that you?

Dean rushes to Sam, calling his name to make sure that he is alright, Sam sees Dean and calls out to him in relief then turns to Cas as Cas backs away from the bed, himself seeing what Sam had been seeing until now. Cas explains later that this only lasted for the first while, and that soon his "crazy" became different from what Sam had experienced. I'm looking forward to going into that in future episodes!

As I mentioned previously, I think that if the episode had given us an emotional recovery scene between Sam and Dean - as in All Hell Breaks Loose II for example, where Dean sees Sam alive again and goes to him and they have that awesome moment... if it had been like that, it would have been worthy of a season finale for me. But as the 17th ep and as a sort of parallel for Faith in Season 1, I was quite fine with this ending. The transference of the fear or crazy was super cool - almost as cool as the transference of the Mark in First Born, and Sam's quick recovery very similar to what we saw in Red Meat and much more believable for me, since he was healed by Cas. If Cas took on the crazy, he could also have taken the sleep deprivation issue and healed that too, given Sam enough strength at least to walk out the door. We do see Sam a bit wobbly though at the end, and I am assuming he's going to have a lot of sleeping to do in the car as they leave.

Considering the fact that Cas is such an important part of this episode, of Sam and Dean's family, and the show as a whole, I agree with the opinion that it would have also been nicer if more time had been spent on Cas, but I am also one of those people who likes a lot of stuff crammed into one ep - as can be seen from my feelings for Lazarus Rising and Heaven and Hell - so I am quite happy with how it was made. They would have had to draw things out quite a bit to spend more time on each of these characters, and I don't think I would have enjoyed the entire episodes as much as I did this one.

Now, the big question of Emmanuel's wife. Whatever she thought when Cas did not return, I suspect in the cases I speculated above - a person with a mission from God or an angel, she would have known or figured out that her nurturing was no longer necessary and gone back to wherever she came from. She would have been preparing herself all along for him to leave sometime when he remembered who he really was. If not, I suspect she came and found him at the hospital, and Meg explained what had happened to him and told her to go live her life. If she had really fallen in love with him, she may have been totally devastated and vowed never to take in another naked person walking through the woods ever again or could have been rather relieved since he did draw demons to her and she just had a big scare because of him.

Then again...I will confess that I've often imagined what it would be like to be one of those women Dean hooked up with on his way through - and part of the fun of this was that it would have been a one-nighter and I would have been totally good with that. So there must be Cas fans out there who have imagined themselves as Cas' wife for a brief... what... 6 months, and been happy to let him go to do his "heavenly" work at the end of it.

I've spent way too much time writing about this LOL! So much potential for fic here. I don't really feel it to be a problem at all.

Anyway, going back to the last bit of the episode, Sam is wondering if leaving Meg with Cas is the right thing to do, since they shouldn't be trusting demons should they? Sam knows this through personal experience. Dean tells Sam he knows, but them staying there with Cas would only put him in danger, and now that Meg is the only person who knows who Cas really is, he is safe as long as they are not there with him.

DEAN:It's not a deal. It's –
SAM:It's what?
DEAN:Mutually assured destruction. Look, man, I get it. She's not our friend. We don't even have friends. All our friends are dead.

A sad reminder that they really have no friends.

And we see Meg having her very successful interview with the head doctor and wonder... why??? it's not like he can protect her at that state...what is this mystery relationship she has with Cas?!!! We are going to see more of that later :D

Cas, meanwhile is in the psychiatric ward.

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  • Rewatching 9-3 I'm No Angel

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