"Long Train Runnin'" by The Doobie Brothers
(plays in the bar when Sam's enjoying his whiskey)
"Dream a Little Dream of Me" by The Mamas & the Papas
(plays during Dean's dream of Lisa; also the song the episode is named after)
We start the episode with Bobby's nightmare... and here is already something I have to point out. This ep is full of scenes of opening doors. We see at least three instances - First Bobby here as he opens the sliding doors into his kitchen, then Sam, then Dean - all doors that need to be opened in the middle, with both hands.
You may have wondered about the gif banner I remade for the poll entry, or maybe you already thought of these scenes as significant. I'm slow. But once I noticed, it made a lot of sense that they would put these scenes in on purpose as symbolizing our characters facing their fears head on. Bobby and Dean both are forced to do so in this ep. Sam, has been facing his many fears for a long time now - fears about his destiny, and then about Dean's deal. He is pretty discouraged about the latter at this point.
In this first scene, we know Bobby is running from his wife, whom he shot over and over and killed. She had been possessed by a demon, which he did not know when he killed her, but obviously that experience has left a major scar in his heart and from the fact that she appears to him as a nightmare here means that it was his biggest fear - to be confronted by his dead wife about his failure to save her. We see later in various other episodes that this is also a fear that most hunters have, of being confronted by those people they were unable to save, and that they feel so badly about them that they even give in to an attack or accept death as punishment for what they were unable to do. Bobby is somehow resisting at this point but slowly being worn down.
A maid comes in for cleaning, notices him still in bed, in a dead sleep and shakes him. In his dream, his crazed wife is shaking him.
We move to Sam and Dean.
Sam gloomily drinking whisky in a bar. Sam? Whiskey? Yeah, something is definitely bothering him. Dean comes in and asks him what he's doing.
SAM:Having a drink.
DEAN:It's two in the afternoon. You're drinking whiskey?
SAM:I drink whiskey all the time.
DEAN:No, you don't.
SAM:What's the big deal? You get sloppy in bars, you hit on chicks all the time. Why can't I?
Well there aren't many people in the bar let alone any "chicks" as Dean points out. And Sam finally tells him what it is.
SAM:I tried, Dean.
DEAN:To do what?
SAM:To save you.
That makes Dean sit down and ask for a whiskey himself. This scene so reminds me of that scene in Playthings. In Playthings, Sam was discouraged because he was not doing a very good job of saving people at the time and he thought it was necessary inn order to somehow avoid or balance out his so-called destiny. And now, he wants to save Dean and is discouraged that Dean will not let him. (The only difference is he had tequila in Playthings :P) This is his fear now. Not being able to save Dean.
SAM: No, that's not what I mean. I mean, no one can save you, because you don't wanna be saved. I mean, how can you care so little about yourself?
And that brings us back to that conversation between Dean and Bobby when Sam and Dean first appeared at his door after Dean made the deal to bring Sam back in AHBL2.
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's deal to bring Sam back and his willingness to go to Hell are both based on what Dean says there. First of all, he feels that he didn't deserve to be saved by dad in the first place. He should have died and dying here would relieve that hole in his heart which he has felt ever since. He is not receptive to Sam's desire to save him because, by dying for Sam, he can also complete that mission dad had given him - to look after Sam - which is the most important mission of his life. Nothing else compares to this. Maybe by this time, he also thinks that he was brought back by dad souley to protect Sam and not for his own sake because Dad surely doesn't love him. He must love Sam more. (Does that remind me of the story of the prodigal son!) And Sam and Bobby just look at him and go why do you have such a low opinion of yourself. Why do you belittle everything you have done? They can't understand it.
Well, we never get to hear Dean's answer because they get a call from a hospital telling them that Bobby has been hospitalized. (not that we would have got an answer, aye? Lucky for Dean he got the phone call)
When they get to the hospital, they find Bobby asleep, and the doctors having no idea what is causing it. Well, Sam and Dean are pretty good at that kind of detective work! They go to Bobby's motel room to see if they can find anything that would be a hint to what is wrong with him. They find nothing at all in the room until Sam has the bright idea of opening up the closet...
(our second set of doors!)
And they find all of Bobby's research on his dream root case. (Does this remind you of Adventures in Babysitting - Krissy's father's room?!)
Dean goes to talk with the assistant of the doctor (Doctor Gregg) who was doing the experiments and died in his sleep.
ASSISTANT:No one knew, okay? Not the university, not anybody. I already spoke with a lawyer and he told me I can't be held liable for anything.
DEAN:Maybe you couldn't, but that was before the new evidence came to light.
ASSISTANT:What new evidence?
DEAN: I'm not at liberty to say.
Then he goes to visit one of the test subjects for the doctor's experiments, Jeremy Frost. As soon as Jeremy finds out that Dean is there regarding the dream therapy, he brings out the beer - which we know is going to be used later to get Dean's DNA.
Dean does wait for Jeremy to take a drink before he gives himself a swig, but he didn't consider the bottle would be used against him,
(Yes, of course I have to add gifs here - linked to larger versions♡)
While this is going on, Bobby is still trying to fend off his wife in his nightmare but he's getting pretty desperate. He shuts himself into a closet (note: CLOSING DOOR) and shouts:
BOBBY: SOMEBODY HELP ME!
When Dean gets back to Sam at Bobby's hospital, Sam mentions that on any other hunt this is where they'd be calling Bobby for help... and Dean suggests that they use the dreamroot themselves to visit Bobby. Dreamroot is very hard to come by though and although Dean is reluctant to mention it... there is one person who could get it for them.
SAM:You wanna go dreamwalking inside Bobby's head?
DEAN:Yeah. Why not? Maybe we could help.
SAM:We have no idea what's crawling around in there.
DEAN:Well how bad could it be?
DEAN:Dude, it's Bobby.
SAM: Yeah, you're right. One problem though. We're fresh out of African Dream Root, so unless you know someone who can score some ...
SAM:Bela? Crap. You're actually suggesting we ask her a favor?
DEAN:I'm feeling dirty just thinking about it, but yeah.
Bela does not do favors. And if she agrees, there is obviously something she is after. Dean calls her up and she refuses to help as expected. While they are researching the case, Sam falls asleep and we get to see a cute fantasy play out.
This is another interesting thing about this episode, that we are able to see the "fantasies" of both Sam and Dean. As first watchers these would be very surprising because they are complete opposites of what we would expect. I think Sam is sure surprised by Dean's fantasy. And boy, I think Sam has been reading a bit too much of those skin mags Dean gave him, don't you?!
Sam wakes up with drool all over his hand ...(if you look at the larger version, you can see that better :D)
But Bela really DOES come -
DEAN:Bela. As I live and breathe.
BELA:You called me. Remember?
DEAN:I remember you turning me down.
BELA:Well, I'm just full of surprises.
SAM:Hey, Bela. What's going on?
(I love how Sam's voice does a flip here :D )
But not for Sam - bringing the dreamroot and expecting (?) to go along with them (of course this could all be an act). Dean is of course suspicious of why Bela changed her mind after refusing on the phone, but when Bela gives them this story about Bobby saving her life in Flagstaff... they almost believe her. Dean quickly tells her no way is she coming with them. You go and enjoy the magic fingers and pay-per-view in your own room. We are going to do this alone. I wonder what would have happened if they had let her come? We do get to hear Sam's
SAM:Nice to see-.. Seeing you... Bela.
(great reaction by Sam again)
Sam gets the dreamroot drink ready, adds a bit of Bobby's hair and they drink up. (we've got a lot of drinking in this episode too... Sam drinking Whiskey, Dean drinking beer, both drinking dreamroot... ;) )
Think it didn't work but they notice the rain outside, and then Dean notices it's raining backwards (very alice in wonderland!)
and the rooms change.
At first the boys don't recognize the place but soon realize it is Bobby's house. Sam decides they should separate (though Dean is hesitant) and he goes out the front door (door again) and finds himself in a very bright green world where everything seems peaceful.
But the door closes behind him and although he bangs on the window, Dean can't seem to hear him inside.
Dean is just about to open those sliding doors...
He soon finds Bobby behind the closet door.
They have a moment of truth where, coming face to face with Bobby's wife, Dean finds out about how Bobby ended up becoming a hunter. As they manage to evade his wife and duck into the living room - closing the sliding door behind them, Dean tells Bobby that this is a dream. That Bobby needs to take control and get them out of there.
DEAN:Look at me.
Look at me.
You gotta snap out of this now.
You gotta snap out of this now!
You're not gonna die. I'm not gonna let you die.
I'm not gonna let you die. You're like a father to me. You gotta believe me, please.
(I will note he said, "you are like a father" not "you are a father.")
When finally Bobby believes Dean and believes in his mind that his not really there, then she disappears from his dream. They open that sliding door AGAIN and find her gone.
While all this is going on, Sam has found Jeremy. Jeremy is surprised to find Sam there and greets him with a bat whack which has obviously damaged the real Sam who's sleeping. When he finds out that Sam is Bobby's friend and that he's not going anywhere, Jeremy does not hesitate to try to bash Sam's head (significant - as this was used by his dad to bash his head when he was little aye?). Bobby wakes up just in time and gets Sam and Dean out of there too.
Dean is at the hospital bed with Bobby.
DEAN:Hey, Bobby. That, uh... That stuff, all that stuff with your wife? That actually happen?
BOBBY:Everybody got into hunting somehow.
BOBBY:Don't be sorry. If it weren't for you, I'd still be lost in there. Or dead. ... Thank you.
Sam comes up to tell them that Jeremy has disappeared from his dorm and is probably long gone. Bobby tells them about the abusive dad and Sam asks Bobby how Jeremy got into his dream anyway - you have to have a piece of the person's body right?
BOBBY:Yeahhhh. 'Fore I knew it was him, he offered me a beer. I drank it. Dumbest frigging thing.
So now they have to find Jeremy fast or he can kill them both in their sleep aye? Unbelievably Bela is still there helping Bobby as Sam and Dean ride around trying to find the guy but he is pretty good at hiding and it getting to be the night of the second day after and Dean is getting pretty crabby from lack of sleep, snapping at Bobby and at Sam.
He just can't take it any more, so they stop at the side of the road and Dean decides to face Jeremy (and his fears). Sam's not going to be left out of it. He pulls some strands of hair from Dean's head and drinks up a dreamroot potion he amazingly has all ready for such an occasion and enters Dean's dream. While they are doing that, Bobby is asking Bela about when he supposedly saved her life. Flagstaff?
When they first get out of the car, it's to the sound of music. There is Lisa on a picnic cloth wine and a picnic basket all ready.
LISA: Dean. I love you.
Sam's looking at Dean like, "I had no idea..." Dean senses Sam's eyes and tells him gruffly, "I've never had this dream." Yeah... right... So this is our melancholic fantasy that I was talking about. Of course it would not be melancholic as Dean's dream. This is one of the "good dreams" he talks about later on in Season 9 aye? But Sam seeing it and realizing that Dean did in fact fantasize about normal life, with a girl... It must have changed Sam's perception of Dean quite a bit huh?
Then Sam sees Jeremy and as he goes on a chase with Dean behind him they get separated - of course Jeremy is moving the trees around to separate them and confuse and the instant Dean finds himself alone he's transported to a long hallway. I've got to say I love the wallpaper. When you lighten up the picture it just looks gorgeous don't you think?
Well, this time we don't have a two door scene - Dean sees a door that opens for him halfway and he first peeks in, checks the lights (don't come on) and enters.
On the other side of the room is a figure clicking a desk light on... and off... and Dean thinks it's Jeremy at first, until the figure turns around. AHHH... and things click for Dean. Of course. Nightmares. Facing himself...
DEAN :I get it. I get it. I'm my own worst nightmare, is that it? Huh? Kind of like the Superman III junkyard scene? A little mano y mano with myself?
DREAM DEAN:Joke all you want, smart-ass. But you can't lie to me. I know the truth. I know how dead you are inside. How worthless you feel. I know how you look into a mirror... and hate what you see.
And it's true, Dean has had that hole inside him since Sam brought him back in Faith and then dad brought him back in In My Time of Dying. And worthless - since he wasn't able to save Sam aye? But this is again, really about facing his fears - mainly that he is nothing. There is nothing special or original about him. That his father loves Sam more and cared more about saving Sam than he did about saving Dean.
Dean tries to snap out of it as he told Bobby to, but it doesn't work.
DEAN Sorry, pal. It's not gonna work. You're not real.
DREAM DEAN:Sure I am. I'm you.
DEAN:I don't think so. 'Cause see, this is my siesta. Not yours. All I gotta do is snap my fingers and you go bye-bye.
DREAM DEAN:I'm not going anywhere. Neither are you.
(I wonder why? Dean just wasn't strong enough?)
DREAM DEAN:Talk about low self-esteem.Then again, I guess it's not much of a life worth saving, now is it?
DREAM DEAN: I mean, after all, you've got nothing outside of Sam.
They stop circling each other. They're now back in their original positions. DEAN by the door, DREAM DEAN by the desk.
DREAM DEAN:You are nothing. You're as mindless and obedient as an attack dog.
DEAN:That -That's not true.
DREAM DEAN:No? What are the things that you want? What are the things that you dream? I mean, your car? That's Dad's. Your favorite leather jacket? Dad's. Your music? Dad's. Do you even have an original thought?
DREAM DEAN:No. No, all there is is, "Watch out for Sammy. Look out for your little brother, boy!" You can still hear your Dad's voice in your head, can't you?
We are not talking here of how John treated Dean. This is how Dean sees himself. Lacking in originality and purpose except what dad has told him to do. He is questioning his own identity.
DREAM DEAN:Clear as a bell.
DEAN:Just shut up.
DREAM DEAN:I mean, think about it ... all he ever did is train you, boss you around.
DREAM DEAN:But Sam .... Sam he doted on. Sam, he loved.
DEAN:I mean it. I'm getting angry.
DREAM DEAN:Dad knew who you really were. A good soldier and nothing else. Daddy's blunt little instrument.
Your own father didn't care whether you lived or died. Why should you?
DEAN:Son of a bitch!
This of course is not true. Dean knows how dad felt about Dean from his speech to him before he died. He didn't have to save Dean there either, but he did. But these thoughts have been at the back of Dean's head as insecurities.
DEAN:My father was an obsessed bastard!
DEAN:All that crap he dumped on me, about protecting Sam! That was his crap. He's the one who couldn't protect his family. He- He's the one who let Mom die. who wasn't there for Sam. I always was! He wasn't fair! I didn't deserve what he put on me.
Now if you think about it, Dean is not being very fair to dad here either - he just finished finding out about Bobby's wife and how Bobby killed her and he accepts and feels sorry for Bobby and now he is putting blame on dad for mom's death. But these are maybe the feelings he's had bottled up inside since the trauma of mom's death as well as the hard life that came after. By getting these feelings out, he is able to heal a bit the part that thought he was nothing. It is part of his healing.
DEMON DEAN:You can't escape me, Dean. You're gonna die. And this?
While that's happening, Jeremy is tying Sam up and getting ready to kill him.
JEREMY:You can't stop me. There's nothing I can't do in here.
SAM:Because of the Dream Root.
SAM:Yeah? Well, you're forgetting something.
SAM:I took the Dream Root too.
And Sam somehow gets Jeremy's dad coming out of the trees. I guess that was the best he could do, because he takes that moment that Jeremy is looking the other way to get the bat and kill Jeremy. At the same time, Jeremy's body - sleeping somewhere that doesn't look very cozy or nice - dies as well.
As soon as this happens, the demon dean disappears and Sam and Dean wake up in their car. Hmmm... I was asking earlier why Dean was unable to "snap" out of his dream, but maybe this was it. It would have been impossible for Bobby to leave the dream without Dean to help him?
Anyway, they get back to Bobby and find that there is no trace of Bela. Bobby tells them that nothing happened in Flagstaff except he gave her a good deal on something... you'd better check your pockets - and Sam and Dean start literally checking their pockets! Well why not? She's picked both their pockets aye? Bobby tells them not your real pockets! And suddenly Dean remembers where he put the dreamroot when Bela first came. In the safe, with the colt. He rushes over and finds the safe open and the colt missing.
DEAN:Pack you crap.
SAM:Why? Where are we going?
DEAN:We're gonna go hunt the bitch down.
As they finish packing the car, Dean has to make sure that Sam didn't see/hear what happened between him and the dreamdean.
DEAN:Hey, Sam. I was wondering. When you were in my head, what did you see?
SAM:Uh, just Jeremy. He kept me separated from you. Easier to beat my brains out that way, I guess. What about you? You never said.
DEAN:Nothing. I was looking for you the whole time.
In the car...
DEAN:I've been doing some thinking, and... Well, the thing is... I don't wanna die.
DEAN:I don't wanna go to hell.
SAM:All right. Yeah. We'll find a way to save you.