OK, let's get started!
"Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas
(plays during "The Road So Far" recap of events; also played in 1.21 Salvation)
"Don't Look Back" by Boston
(plays at the end of the episode)
THEN (my personal rewatch version)
The monsters that lurk in the shadows. The job their father does while he is away. Dean has to protect his younger brother from the horrors. Dean knows instinctively, without dad telling him, that this is his job. But Sam finds out on his own. He's shocked and afraid. Dean tells him, dad's a hero. He's the best of the best, and he sits by Sam as Sam lies in his bed, crying... When we next see Sam he is entering yet another new school with his protective older brother who tells him to just let him know if anyone bugs him. Sam, despite wanting to fit in, ends up taking care of the bully himself with his building temper and fighting skills...then at another city, he researches for dad and Dean as they hunt the Kitsune and finally finds someone who knows how he feels... in a "monster" who wants to be good. By the time he graduates from high school he feels so different from everyone else - he feels the evil lurking in him - that he convinces himself it's their way of life that is not normal and decides to run away and live a "normal" life. Dean feels conflicted. Wanting Sam to be able to live a normal life, and yet feeling abandoned by him. Then, dad disappears. Dean is left all alone. Sure he has gone on hunts by himself - it's not a big deal, but now that dad has disappeared he has no one to keep him anchored. Of course it is a dangerous job, but they are such a good team and somehow the danger is downplayed for his desire to be with Sam again and thinking maybe this would be a good enough reason for Sam to come back and be with him... Because that's when he is in his element. On the road of crazies with Sam. So he goes and persuades Sam to go with him on a hunt for dad. Unwillingly, Sam agrees on condition that it's only for the weekend. But when Jessica dies... Is Dean happy that Sam ends up going? No... he is worried for Sam but he's seen it work for dad right? Maybe Sam needs this now - to get away and hunt for the demon that killed Jessica and maybe deep down... he hopes that in the end Sam will stay with him? Dean saves Sam and Sam saves Dean more than once. But... only Dean comes close to dying - actually sees the reaper twice - and is saved by unnatural means both times - first by Sam and then by his father. The two he could not do without. The two people who keep him whole. The two he would protect over and above his desire to kill the demon who killed mom. And yet, by saving him they create a dark hole in his heart. He should have died.
He considers exchanging his life with dad's in Crossroad Blues. He seriously considers staying in the genie's dream world where mom was alive and Sam... had a normal life and was happy. But he doesn't. He comes back. Why? to take care of Sammy. Because Sam is part of the Yellow Eyed Demon's plans and although Dean has suggested it more than once, Sam will not leave. He won't quit. And he has to protect Sam because his life isn't worth anything otherwise.
Dean stands by the doorway to the room where Sam lies on an old mattress. Bobby comes back with some chicken and pizza, telling him to eat. No, nothing could get past that tightness in his throat. Bobby gently suggests they should bury Sam. No. Not yet. Bobby tells him, Come with me. I could really use your help.
Bobby: Something big is going down, end of the world big.
Dean: Well then LET IT END!
Bobby: You don't mean that.
Dean: You don't think so? Huh? You don't think I've given enough? You don't think I've paid enough? I'm done with it, all of it. If you know what's good for you, you turn around and get the hell out of here. GO!
Nothing matters, Bobby. Can't you see? The only reason Dean is alive is to take care of Sam... and Sam is dead.
My heart breaks with Dean's "You don't think I've given enough? You don't think I've paid enough?" He's lost all of his family - from his mother, father and now Sam. But when I come to the last line..."If you know what's good for you, you turn around and get the hell out of here." I realize that he's not talking about going after Jake or Yellow Eyes (he doesn't know the details does he?) He's half decided on going for the deal and yet, still conflicted. He doesn't want Bobby there to stop him. Bobby goes, telling him that he's there for him when he's ready (OH, Bobby if you only knew...).
Dean goes back to watch Sam again, still that tug-of-war going on inside him. He remembers those days of old - all of it up to the present.
How he shouldn't be alive, how his job had been to TAKE CARE OF SAMMY... And how he blew it. He also remembers how he felt when dad brought him back. He knows it's not right - what's dead should stay dead - but what is the meaning in him being alive if Sam is dead? Isn't that why dad brought him back to begin with? If he saved Sam, he could make his extended life mean something.
He makes up his mind and speeds down to the crossroads. Tires squealing.
The demon taunts him about dad giving up his soul for him. She also is unwilling to give him the usual 10 years ... or even take his last offer of five. It's one year, and one year only. Does he really have a choice? Can he walk away and bury Sam?
A desperate kiss to seal the deal and Sam's eyes open.
Sam, wakes up feeling VERY weird. Something is not right. He had felt that burning pain in his back.. and yet... he felt a lot better than he should. Peaking at his back in the mirror - there is not even a scar to show it... He can't see one anyway. Sounds like he's not quite up to normal, but he feels ok considering.
Dean walks in the door to find Sam standing. Dean can't believe it. Sure, he made the deal but maybe he expected to wait a bit... or something... And yet there is Sam, alive.
He hugs Sam so hard and so long that it is painful for Sam, (He's sore still) and Sam wonders again what happened but when they sit down to talk, Dean tells him that Jake stabbed him in the back but that Bobby was able to patch it up. Sam finds anger welling toward Jake and tries to go after him but Dean reminds him that he's hungry and Dean is also hungry after all that. They get over to the table where the food Bobby bought still lay and Sam tells his story.
Sam: And that's when you guys showed up.
Dean: That's awful. Poor Andy.
Sam: The demon said he only wanted one of us to walk out alive.
Dean: He told you that?
Sam: Yep. He appeared in a dream.
Dean: He tell you anything else?
Sam: No. No. That was it. Nothing else. You know, what I don't get, Dean, is if the demon only wanted one of us, then how did Jake and I both get away?
Dean: Well, I mean, they left you for dead. I'm sure they thought it was over. So now that Yellow Eyes has Jake, what's he gonna do with him?
Sam:M I don't know. But whatever it is, we got to stop him.
Dean's like wait a minute. Let's just enjoy you being alive for a bit! But just like after Dean tells him what dad said before he died in Hunted, Sam is determined to find and stop the Yellow Eyed Demon and won't let it go. Dean telling him about the Roadhouse burning to the ground cements his decision.
Dean: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop, Sam, stop! Damn it. You almost died in there. I mean, what would I 've — can't you just take care of yourself for a little bit, huh? Just for a little bit?
Sam: I'm sorry. No.
And if Dean wants to keep Sam safe, he's gotta tag along (again). First stop Bobby's. Dean really doesn't want to face Bobby yet but he has no choice.
While that is happening - Jake has been having his little meeting with yellow eyes and being threatened and cajouled into doing what yellow eyes wants him to do.
Jake: Go to Hell.
YED: Been there. Done that.
He then, on the way to the graveyard, must have gotten used to using more than his superpower powers. Not only that, but when he gives in to Yellow Eyes at the railroad crossing, he seems to almost change into this quasi-demon - his only purpose in life to open that damn gate - but we'll get to that later.
Bobby's face as he sees Sam and Dean at the door. Sam's uncertain face as he senses something, and Dean's totally guilty - I-don't-want-to-look-you-in-the-eye face...
Bobby: Sam, ...it's good to see you up and around.
Bobby is just seething inside, but he acts normally toward Sam, taking Dean's lead (wow...). Leaving Sam to look at the maps and do some more research on demonic activity and the lack of it in Southern Wyoming, he takes Dean outside to have their little chat. Bobby, bursts out at Dean as soon as they get out. Not just out of anger but in pain and frustration for what Dean has done to himself in exchange for Sam's life.
Bobby: What is it with you Winchesters, huh? You, your dad. You're both just itching to throw yourselves down the pit.
Dean: That's my point. Dad brought me back, Bobby. I'm not even supposed to be here. At least this way, something good could come out of it, you know? I--I--It's like my life could mean something.
Bobby: What? And it didn't before?! Have you got that low of an opinion of yourself? Are you that screwed in the head?!
Dean: I couldn't let him die, Bobby. I couldn't. He's my brother.
We can see how close Bobby has become to the boys and how much he cares. The way he touches Dean's cheek...
Bobby reminds Dean of how Dean had felt when dad had gone to hell for him and Dean begs Bobby not to tell Sam.
In the middle of that, they hear a sound and find that it's Ellen. She's alive! But Bobby has to make sure with a drink of holy water just in case.
Ellen: Bobby, is this really necessary?
Bobby: Just a belt of Holy Water. Shouldn't hurt.
Ellen: Whiskey now, if you don't mind.
As they go through the information and maps together, now that they have Ash's map as well, they find the devil's trap that Colt made, and which may not be for keeping Demons out, but for keeping something in...
And Sam realizes what the YED needs Jake for. So it's off to the graveyard to ambush Jake.
As Jake nears the crypt, they come out from behind the graves, Sam in the lead. Jake, seeing Sam, cannot believe his eyes.
Being a soldier, Jake knows what kind of wound would kill and he had made sure Sam was dead. Sam again has doubts as to Dean's story but this is not really the time to talk to Dean about it. He's going to be mulling it over in his head for a while. Jake's got another talent up his sleeve - thanks to "giving in to it."
Now, he's psychic as well.
(I thought this little eye flash was cool)
He tells Ellen to bring the gun to her head (does this remind you of Simon Said?) and they all have no choice but to put their guns down.
Do you think Jake is just stupid when he turns around to open the crypt? It almost seems like he doesn't care any more whether he lives or dies, in a way. Do you think the powers - giving in - has changed him? Jake turns around to put the Colt in the lock. Bobby and Dean swiftly work together to get the gun away from Ellen while his head is turned and Sam picks up his gun to shoot Jake one, two, three, four times in the back...
and as Jake begs him not to, three more in the chest. Sam's face as he does this reminds me of how he looked last episode before he stopped himself but... it also looks sort of like Dean did when he killed the vampire with that saw in Bloodlust right after dad saved him. Dean is a little worried by Sam's state of mind but puts it behind him because the door is starting to open. Bobby all of a sudden knows what it is. "It's Hell." Dean pulls the colt out of the lock and they all rush to get under cover as the crypt bursts open.
Dean: What the hell just happened?!
Ellen: That's a devil's gate. A damn door to hell.
They all rush to close the gates except for Dean, who stands there checking the Colt for bullets and thinking...if Jake had the Cold, the YED must have given it to him, which means he would have been waiting for the breach to come inside. He turns around and finds the YED there, but as he lifts the Colt to shoot, the YED flings it away "Boys shouldn't play with daddy's guns." Then he flings Dean and OUCH! he cracks his head on one of the tomb stones. Sam finally notices what is going on and leaves his place at the gate to go and help Dean but he might as well have stayed to close the gates faster! He gets flung and stuck to a tree. Then we have a little chat between the YED and Dean again. The YED plays with Dean's head - telling Dean that his little deal is exactly what the YED wanted.
YED: So, Dean... I gotta thank you. You see, demons can't resurrect people, unless a deal is made. I know, red tape— it'll make you nuts. But thanks to you, Sammy's back in rotation.
Now, I wasn't counting on that, but I'm glad. I liked him better than Jake, anyhow. Tell me— have you ever heard the expression, "If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is?"
Dean: You call that deal good?
YED: Well, it's a better shake than your dad ever got. And you never wondered why? I'm surprised at you. I mean...you saw what your brother just did to Jake, right? That was pretty cold, wasn't it?
How certain are you that what you brought back, is 100%, pure, Sam?
You of all people should know, that's what's dead, should stay dead. Anyway... thanks a bunch. I knew I kept you alive for some reason. Until now, anyway. I couldn't have done it without your pathetic, self-loathing, self-destructive desire to sacrifice yourself for your family.
Now, to me there is no doubt that Sam is the same Sam that got killed. However, Sam has never been one hundred percent pure Sam, has he? He has always had that demon blood inside him and maybe that is what has given him the anger we see in future/past episodes. The anger that Lucifer will be counting on to let him out and give him power. And it could be true that this anger took over when he killed Jake. But it could also partly something similar to what Dean experienced. The dread that Dean had sold his soul for him. The feeling that he should be dead. The YED mentions that too. The way he twists things here is just incredible.
Dean - I don't know what he is thinking here. Does he have doubts about Sam? (I wonder if Sam actually told Dean about the demon blood?) Why did the crossroads demon give him one year when the YED did not give his father any time at all. But all of that doesn't matter now. They will figure it all out and deal with it as they go. Because they are together again.
While that's going on, the hunters are still at trying to shut the gate and all kinds of things are coming out. Not only demon black smoke, but ghosts as well.
As the YED tells Dean that he doesn't need him anymore and pulls out the Colt to kill him, Dad!! comes up behind the YED and grabs the demon part of him so it separates from the human body (cooool!). Dean has a second to grab the gun while the YED smoke flings ghost dad away and before the YED can get back into it's body.
We see Bobby and Ellen finally closing the gates and Sam and Dean both, released from the demon push, get up and see Dad walking toward them.
Sam and Dean watch as dad disappears into light and ash...?
Then they walk over to the YED to gaze at that thing which they had been hunting since their mother had died and their father took up arms. Remember Salvation, when Sam thought they might be able to end it all? What a long trip they had since. It is hard to believe it is "all over."
Dean: Well, check that off our to-do list.
Sam: You did it.
Dean: I didn't do it alone.
Sam: Do you think Dad really... do you think he really climbed outta hell?
Dean: The door was open. If anyone's stubborn enough to do it... it would be him.
Sam: Where do you think he is now?
Dean: I don't know.
Sam: I kind of can't believe it, Dean. I mean... our whole lives, everything... has been prepping for this, and now I... I kind of don't know what to say.
Dean: I do.
Do you think maybe he has been imagining this moment? Over and over? And what do you think about John? Did he just cease to exist? He can't be found in heaven and he's not in hell... I wonder... I'd say he was proud of his sons though. And if he knew what Dean had done, he would have understood.
As Sam and Dean walk back to the car, Sam brings up his theory on his mysterious healing. Dean - doesn't want to talk about it. He wants to revel in their victory a little before being burdened with his very short future. Forget about the past for a bit and enjoy his time with his brother. But Sam won't let it be. He's figured it out.
Dean: Sam... (Chuckles)
Sam: How long do you get?
Dean: One year. I got one year.
Sam: You shouldn't have done that. How could you do that?
Dean: Don't get mad at me. Don't you do that. I had to. I had to look out for you. That's my job.
Sam: And what do you think my job is?
Sam: You've saved my life over and over. I mean, you sacrifice everything for me. Don't you think I'd do the same for you? You're my big brother. There's nothing I wouldn't do for you. And I don't care what it takes, I'm gonna get you out of this. Guess I gotta save your ass for a change.
I like how Sam switches here when Dean tells him to not be mad. He does understand. I think he understood dad sacrificing himself for Dean too. The whole time Dean was mad. Because Sam would have done anything to save Dean as well.
Bobby and Ellen come up and they agree that they are going to have their hands full dealing with all those demons that escaped. When Sam looks back at Dean, Dean smiles... I think he is still high from Sam's speech and just happy to be driving down crazy street with him... aye?
On to demons and demons and more demons!