Just a note again for newcomers : All gifs and pictures are linked to larger versions so if you want to see bigger versions of for example, Dean asking for his pie or Sam swishing past Dean and getting dressed? Just click on the picture ;)
"Lonely Is the Night" by Billy Squier (plays during recap of previous events)
We start with one hunter, who happens to be Bobby's friend, getting brutally killed by those ghosts that she could not save. Not only do two ghosts gang up on her, but they have a strong hold on her emotions and her last words are, "I'm sorry."
We then jump to Sam and Dean, in the kitchen at Bobby's, arguing over whether Castiel is REALLY an Angel. Dean's whole world is crashing down on him. It had made sense until now to believe that there was no God, and there were no Angels - especially those that cared about specific individuals. Dean had seen good people, including and starting with his mother, who BELIEVED in angels, suffer and die terrible deaths. Dean learned to make the most of every moment of every day because, with no hope of any great power helping him, it was up to him to make the best of life as it was. His order of importance: (1)Being with Sam, (2)Hunting, (3)Sex, (4)Food, (I'm not sure about the last two... but I think you'd agree that Sam would always come first.) These are the things that kept him going through all the EVIL he experienced.
Sam, on the other hand, has always believed in the light at the end of the tunnel. This is how HE survived the trials of living the hunter's life, Jessica's death and every other evil thing: the firm belief that there would be redemption - that there is a God that cares and hears his prayers - as we saw in Houses of the Holy. You can also see this in the way he is driven by goals rather than the pleasures of everyday life: Revenge for Jessica, redemption from the evil taint, saving Dean, and final destination - normal life as he sees it.
Anyway, Sam is ELATED that finally there is proof of what he has believed forever and maybe feels like he is seeing a glimpse of that light. Dean cannot allow himself to believe. It just doesn't make sense.
SAM:Dean, we HAVE a theory.
DEAN:Yeah, one with a little less fairy dust on it, please.
SAM:Okay, look. I'm not saying we know for sure. I'm just saying that I think we --
DEAN:Okay, okay. That's the point. We don't know for sure, so I'm not gonna believe that this thing is a freaking Angel of the Lord because it says so!
Bobby is a calm one here. Guys, stop arguing religion and come over here. He shows them some book that has a picture of an angel grabbing a person and lifting them out of hell. He tells them that he's found a whole bunch of lore that says that an angel has the power to do that.
Stubbornly, Dean asks, "What else could do it?"(While touching his shoulder - the one where he has the mark aye?) Sam tells him, hey, it's looking more and more like proof here - not faith (like Dean had said in Houses of the Holy).
DEAN:Proof that there's a God out there that actually gives a crap about me personally? I'm sorry, but I'm not buying it.
DEAN:Because why me? If there is a God out there, why would he give a crap about me?
(This reminds me of a similar thing Dean said back in Faith - meeting a good person who he thought deserved to be healed and wasn't, while he was.)
DEAN:I mean, I've saved some people, okay? I figured that made up for the stealing and the ditching chicks. But why do I deserve to get saved? I'm just a regular guy.
SAM:Apparently, you're a regular guy that's important to the man upstairs.
Rewatchers know the real reason that he is saved here and my theory is that the angels and demons also had a part in saving Dean in Faith as well :P. In the world of Supernatural, the Angels save people not because those people are good and deserve it, but because they have use for them. They are very willing to use or sacrifice the individuals for their own purposes.
In any case Bobby and Sam both gang up on Dean so he has to give in. He sighs in resignation and asks Bobby what they know about angels. Bobby dumps a pile of books in front of Dean. Dean is not excited about all the research and makes Sam go out on an errand.
(love Sam's face here!!!!)
Sam, on his errand for Dean, has just arrived at the diner and is talking on the phone to Dean, telling him yes, of course I'll get the pie. When have I ever forgotten the pie? (Dean is calling to make sure Sam gets everything!) And then he sees Ruby hiding in the shadows at the side of the diner. He goes to talk to her and she is all up on the news that Dean was saved by an Angel. Even Ruby has an easier time believing than Dean. No way is she going to get close to an Angel. She's never met one and she doesn't want to. She tells Sam to watch out.
RUBY:Sam, they're angels. I'm a demon. They're not gonna care if I'm being helpful. They smite first, and then they ask questions later.
SAM:What do you know about them?
RUBY:Not much. I've never met one, and I don't really want to. All I know is that they scare the holy hell out of me. Watch yourself, Sam.
SAM:I'm not scared of angels.
(Interesting that Ruby considers Sam as being on the same level as her - someone who should be afraid of Angels...)
As he arrives back at Bobby's, Bobby comes up to him in the car and tells him that he hasn't been able to contact his friend and fellow hunter Olivia in three days and it's not like her not to call back. So we know it's been at least three days since Castiel appeared to Dean. Dean tells Sam to scoot over and he gets in the drivers seat, asking for his food.
(Should we note that here on after, Sam ALWAYS forgets the pie?)
When they get to Olivia's, they find the salt line she made, the EMF meter on and Olivia on the floor with her insides ripped apart.
This is a gruesome sight even for hunters - Sam can not help but cover his mouth in horror and Dean stands silent. Bobby is all of a sudden worried of all the other hunter friends he cannot contact.
When they go to the various hunters' homes, they find all of them dead as well and in the same gruesome manner. It seems like hunters are being targeted. Until they know why, Bobby suggests they head back to his place. Bobby's place is a bit of a drive from where Sam and Dean are. It's late by the time they get to the gasoline stand and Sam is driving. We see Dean sleeping in his seat as they drive up. Sam lets him sleep as he checks the gas and goes to the washroom. As he washes his hands, he feels the air grow cold. The sure sign he knows so well. The mirror freezes up in front of him and when he wipes it with his hand...
Henriksen is standing there.
SAM:Henriksen. Are you -- Did you...
HENRIKSEN:I didn't survive... if that's what you're asking.
It is curious that Sam even asks this. Maybe in the corner of his mind he had hoped in the corner of his mind that Henriksen HAD survived - out of guilt for what had happened after they had left.
Henriksen and all those people at that police station who died because of them... It's actually a fairly recent occurrence. Thinking back to that day/ep, we remember Ruby's suggestion that one virgin's death could handle the whole situation: kill every demon there (even herself) and leave no survivors to go tell the boss. Sam considers that suggestion but Dean will not. He cannot willingly sacrifice even one individual for the group. He'd rather fight and they all die then do that. The result? Sam and Dean get out of there alive, but the others ALL DIE. Even the virgin. Sam and Dean were not able to save even one other person. This is the biggest failure they have had so far I think... And would Sam and Dean have been able to deal with this as just casualties of war? We think of all those other times that Sam and Dean have gotten into their car and told each other, "we can't save everybody," and still felt guilty for not being able to save one person. Then we wonder why Lilith would go back and kill those people to begin with... (other than the fact that it's just too fun to torture and kill innocent people) It seems to me that she knows how much they would care - how much that would damage the boys psyche with their whole purpose of saving people, hunting things.
I don't think that Sam and Dean would have thought back on such failures often. They would have done their best to put it out of their heads (Dean with his motto to enjoy the present and Sam with his hope for the future) - but never been able to forget them completely. I would suggest also that many hunters would have had this guilt inside of them as well. Hunters in general are not soldiers. They are individuals with a mission to save innocent people from monsters and sacrifice their lives for this cause because they are the only people that can do it (reminded of Dean in front of dad's grave in WIAWSNB) Of course there are those among them like Gordon, who thought he was fighting a war and would have willingly sacrificed innocent people as casualties, but there were others like Sam and Dean and Bobby, who felt that they had failed if they could not save even one. Lilith would have purposefully chosen those hunters who felt this way for her witnesses.
Despite all that, the hunters immobility when faced by the ghosts of people they could not save may seem a bit extreme. I think that surprise had a lot to do with it. The shock of finding those people who have always been in the corner of their minds in front of them, blaming them. It could also be that the spell on the ghosts may have actually amplified this feeling of guilt through strong power of persuasion so that the hunters became defenseless. Take this attack on Sam, for instance. Henriksen reminds Sam of something that he would have wanted to forget. That it was Sam that Lilith had really been after and that they were all killed because of him. Sam is practically powerless as Henriksen beats him up. Only Dean, who has not been directly addressed by Henriksen (yet) is able to deal with the ghost and save Sam from possibly as gruesome a death as the other hunters before him.
This is when I am super glad that Sam and Dean have each other's backs. It is such an advantage over a lone hunter don't you think?
Now they are super worried for Bobby - who is all by himself with no one to watch his back.
DEAN: Damn it, Bobby! Pick up! How you feeling, huh? How many fingers am I holding up?
SAM:None. I'll be fine, Dean.
(I had to include that little exchange, that is so sweet!)
DEAN:Why? What did he want?
SAM:Revenge, 'cause we got him killed.
SAM:Well, we did, Dean.
DEAN:All right. Stop right there. Whatever the hell is going on, it's happening to us now, okay? I can't get a hold of Bobby, so if you're not thinking answers, don't think at all.
Again, Sam is feeling super guilty after seeing Henriksen while Dean is still rational - trying to stop Sam from wallowing in the guilt.
They hurry home, trying to contact Bobby, who is already being assaulted by the twins and unable to answer the phone.
Interesting that it's not his wife that comes back to haunt Bobby but a couple of children. It seems he was not able to get to them in time to save them from some monster. They call out to him, "Bobby?" and he just stares back at them.
When Sam and Dean get there, there are already traces of Bobby having fought off a ghost. The poker from the fireplace (iron) is lying on the floor and Bobby is nowhere to be seen. Here Sam and Dean break up out of necessity to find Bobby before it's too late. Dean stays in the house and Sam goes outside.
As Dean searches the house, Meg appears to him. I love the way she appears out of thin air -
Meg accuses Dean of dealing with her without real knowledge of what they were dealing with - a human girl possessed by a demon. She tells him how, they not only killed her (by throwing her out the window) but killed her sister who committed suicide because of her disappearance and death.
MEG:It wasn't just me, Dean. I had a sister. A little sister. She worshipped me. You know how little siblings are, right? How they'll do anything for you. She was never the same after I disappeared. She just... she just got lost. And when my body was lying in the morgue beat-up and broken...
MEG:Do you know what that did to her? She killed herself! (kicks Dean in the stomach) Because of you, Dean! Because all you were thinking about was your family, your revenge, and your demons! 50 words of Latin a little sooner, and I'd still be alive. My baby sister would still be alive. That blood is on your hands, Dean!
This speech by Meg really hit me this time around - her voice breaking as she talks of her sister. I felt that it would have been very hard for Dean to resist this assault. Not just because of the guilt of having sacrificed her for his own purpose - finding Dad and exacting revenge, but because she is talking about her sister - and he can relate to that. How would he have acted - how DID he act when Sam was broken? Dead? (And we are also thinking of Sam and how he acted upon seeing Dean dye that horrible death...) They were lost without each other.
Dean barely crawls into the library to get her under the iron chandelier(?) and shoots it down to make her disappear for a time.
MEG:Come on, Dean, did your brain get french-fried in Hell? You can't shoot me with bullets.
DEAN:I'm not shooting you.
All this time Sam has been searching for Bobby and with some miracle he notices a car freezing up.
He is able to get to Bobby and get rid of one of the girls. As the other one turns to him Bobby has enough strength to get rid of the other. (I thought he left that poker in the house...?)
(totally cool imagery anyway!)
Sam, Dean and Bobby regroup in the library and discuss the case. Dean points out that all these ghosts are people they were not able to save.
He also mentions to Sam that Meg had a brand on her hand. Sam also remembers Henriksen having one and they remember exactly what it looked like (which is pretty cool). Sam draws a picture, confirms with Dean, and gives it to Bobby. Bobby has seen the brand before, but they really need to go before the ghosts come again. Go where? "Somewhere safe, you idjit!"
And we have a cool new addition to Bobby's house. The PANIC ROOM! As Bobby turns on the lights, Sam and Dean look around the solid iron room with a devils trap fan on top and painted on the floor, weapons, books, a bed... even a girl poster! Everything a man would need to hole up for a while :P
As they sit there, Bobby looking up references for the brand and Sam and Dean getting ready weapons, Dean again starts up his arguments against the existence of God.
DEAN:If he doesn't exist, fine. Bad crap happens to good people. That's how it is. There's no rhyme or reason -- just random, horrible, evil -- I get it, okay. I can roll with that. But if he is out there, what's wrong with him? Where the hell is he while all these decent people are getting torn to shreds? How does he live with himself? You know, why doesn't he help?
There is a favorite episode later on where Sam and Dean visit another dimension - specifically OUR dimension: THE REAL WORLD. If we think of Supernatural as the world inside a story, and think of God as the author, then we already know why he would do all that he did. Why does a writer create evil in his/her story? Because that's what makes a good story. The poor characters in the story have to suffer for the reader's enjoyment. It's interesting to contemplate how "Chuck" continues to control the story even as Metatron takes over Heaven and plays at being Author. This idea is also used in Steven King's Gunslinger series (A world within a world within a world and people from one world coming to visit the author (Steven King himself) in the real world).
But, it is a valid question often asked by people questioning the existence of God in the real world, and many people will hold up their hands like Bobby saying, "I ain't touching this one with at 10-foot pole."
Bobby finally finds the information he is looking for and tells them.
BOBBY:The symbol you saw -- the brand on the ghosts...
BOBBY:Mark of the Witness.
SAM:Witness? Witness to what?
BOBBY:The unnatural. None of them died what you'd call ordinary deaths. See, these ghosts -- they were forced to rise. They woke up in agony. They were like rabid dogs. It ain't their fault. Someone rose them... on purpose.
BOBBY:Do I look like I know? But whoever it was used a spell so powerful it left a mark, a brand on their souls. Whoever did this had big plans. It's called "the rising of the witnesses." It figures into an ancient prophecy.
DEAN:Wait, wait. What -- what book is that prophecy from?
(Do you think Dean already has an inkling as to which book it might be? )
BOBBY:Well, the widely distributed version's just for tourists, you know. But long story short -- Revelations. This is a sign, boys.
(Love the synchronization!)
DEAN:Apocalypse? The apocalypse, apocalypse? The four horsemen, pestilence, $5-a-gallon-gas apocalypse?
(Hints of episodes to come!)
BOBBY:That's the one. The rise of the witnesses is a -- a mile marker.
SAM:Okay, so, what do we do now?
DEAN:Road trip. Grand Canyon, Star Trek Experience. Bunny Ranch.
(Dean sure wants to go to the Grand Canyon...)
BOBBY:First things first. How about we survive our friends out there?
And he tells them that there is a spell they can do to send them back but they have to get stuff from inside the house and do the spell in front of the fireplace - in the library. Dean sort of wishes they could stay in the panic room, but of course they must leave. They cock their salt rounds and open the door. The first person they see is Ronald sitting on the steps of the stairs to the ground floor.
Seeing Ronald's face in the bluish light of the basement I felt a pang go through me. It must have been quite painful for Dean. He has his gun ready but cannot shoot. Bobby takes care of it for him. If you're gonna shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
When they get up to the library, Dean is sent into the kitchen to get some stuff from the cutlery drawer with a false bottom, and Sam a hex box from the towel cabinet upstairs. Bobby is getting ready the sigils for the spell. First we see Meg appear to Sam. It is significant the difference in what she says to Dean and to Sam.
MEG:You know what really pisses me off, Sam? You saw how I suffered for months. I thought you must have learned something. I thought I died for something.
MEG:But what you're doing with that demon, Ruby... How many innocent bodies has Ruby burned through for kicks? How many girls just like me? And you don't send her back to Hell? You're a monster!
While she talks about her younger sister to Dean, to Sam she talks of how he is working with Ruby, a demon who has used many a human girl in the past. We know from a future episode that that is one thing that really bothered Sam when Ruby came back to him while Dean was in Hell aye? And calling him a monster - because that is just one more major thing that bothers Sam. Sam, however, is steeled to this assault a bit now after his first encounter. He is able to shoot Meg and and get the hex box downstairs.
Meanwhile Dean is being assaulted by Henriksen. The difference in the way Henriksen talks to Dean is also significant. He appeals to Dean by telling him how they died - that Lilith had not killed them all instantly. She had tortured them one by one for 45 minutes - and made Henriksen watch until it was his turn at the very end. Dean is horrified at hearing this and cannot resist when Henriksen pushes his hand into Dean's chest to rip out his heart and says, Tell me how it's fair. You get saved from Hell -- I die. Why do you deserve another chance, Dean? We know that this is the thing that bothers Dean the most - the fact that he was saved while others who deserved it more were not. (Which all of a sudden reminds me of Sam in Season 9...)
Sam gets to him just in time to shoot Henriksen pointblank. He helps Dean up and they rush into the library to give Bobby the ingredients. Time after time, Ronald, the twins and Meg assault them. They don't hesitate to shoot by this time. Their salt runs out and they resort to iron bars. But when Dean shouts out to Sam to cover Bobby, Meg figures out what is going on and while Sam is occupied with the twins - stuck behind a cabinet, Meg sticks her arm into Bobby from behind. All that's left is to toss the ingredients into the fire but Bobby cannot make it. He desperately calls out to Dean as he drops the bowl. Dean dives for it, and tosses it in.
(I really like this blue light effect. It reminds me of some alien movie or something!)
Sam and Dean get up and go to help Bobby up. They stand there, exhausted and in pain, but alive.
Next we see of them, Sam is on the couch and Dean is on the floor (I wonder if they did rock scissors paper, or Dean just let Sam sleep on the couch?) sleeping. Had to catch of gif of sleeping beauty here...
Dean senses something and wakes up in the middle of the night. He senses someone, and turns to the kitchen to find Castiel waiting there for him.
This conversation between Castiel and Dean is very interesting to me. Dean being so aggressive toward Cas, basically hitting him with every single issue of dissatisfaction he has with Angels and with God as he's been saying in the episode. He wants answers. Good people/hunters are dying terrible deaths. Why don't the angels help? Why doesn't God care? Castiel is defensive. Maybe in a way he wishes he could have been there for Dean. Maybe he wishes Dean would understand that there are many different fights going on and Dean's fight is only one of them. Maybe he is frustrated too because he doesn't know what is going on, and he also has questions about God. He has lost some of his own this day as well. But he explains with patience about the seals - who is breaking them (Lilith) and why (to break Lucifer out of his cage). In one day, Dean has basically been hit with the truth that there are not only angels, but also God and Lucifer the devil, and that the apocalypse is the breaking of the seals of Lucifer's cage.
CASTIEL:Three days ago, you thought there was no such thing as me. Why do you think we're here walking among you now for the first time in 2,000 years?
DEAN:To stop Lucifer.
CASTIEL:That's why we've arrived.
(a lot you know Castiel.)
DEAN:Well... bang-up job so far. Stellar work with the witnesses. That's nice.
CASTIEL:We tried. And there are other battles, other seals. Some we'll win, some we'll lose. This one we lost. Our numbers are not unlimited. Six of my brothers died in the field this week. You think the armies of Heaven should just follow you around? There's a bigger picture here.
As rewatchers we know just how big and complicated that picture is - for example, that the six brothers that Castiel lost may have been killed by their own kind.
When Dean next wakes up, Sam is already awake and getting dressed.
Noticing that Dean is not quite himself, Sam asks what's wrong.
DEAN:So... You got no problem believing in... God and Angels?
SAM:No, not really.
DEAN:So, I guess that means that you believe in the Devil.
SAM:Why are you asking me all this?