Metamorphosis to me has always been the episode I go to when I want to make a point about what monsters are to Sam. There are many other episodes that back it up, of course, but this episode is where he actually goes right out and says what he’s been thinking – sort of like in Season 8. It is also a good episode to rewatch because a lot of the things that are said and that happen in this episode seem to foretell events to Season 5. It’s also amazing in that it is one of the few episodes where Sam and Dean both share their feelings and get things out in the open. Some scenes are just so painful to watch, and yet necessary and inevitable.
Let’s get started then shall we?
"Phillip's Theme" by Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers(plays in the bar when Jack's having a drink)
The episode starts a little after where the last one ends – Sam and Ruby are interrogating a demon on the whereabouts of Lilith. As Sam interrogates the demon, the demon questions him about what he is doing with Ruby:
Demon: Tell me about those months without your brother. About all the things you and this demon bitch do in the dark.
He accuses Sam of pretending to be a Hero when he is really consorting with demons and he probably knows – drinking Ruby’s blood. Sam obviously feels guilty of this. He knows he is doing something unnatural but is telling himself he is doing good by saving these people from possession. Dean is in the shadows watching Sam from the window.
The demon's accusations - too close to the truth for comfort - make Sam exorcise him on the spot. Similar to what we saw in Lazarus Rising, the exorcism is slow and looks quite trying for the demon, with little bouts of black smoke puffing out of his mouth until finally it's all sizzling on the floor around the chair. Sam is happy. No headaches anymore when he's exorcising, plus the guy the demon was possessing is still alive. Ruby and Sam share a smile. As Sam goes to the door to take the guy to the hospital, Dean comes in and confronts Sam. Oh boy... And here I am hiding my eyes, plugging my ears and hiding in the corner. Can you blame me? I hate confrontations.
SAM:Dean, hold on, okay? Just let me-
DEAN:You gonna say, "let me explain"? You're gonna explain this? How about this? Why don't you start with who she is, and what the hell is she doing here?
RUBY:It's good to see you again, Dean.
Ruby is acting pretty confident that Dean is going to be happy to know it's her but Dean pushes her to the wall and tries to kill her with the demon knife. Sam steps in and stops Dean, then Ruby gets the upper hand and pins Dean to the wall.
Sam orders Ruby to stop and she lets Dean go and we have some angry banter between the two. Sam tells Ruby to take the poor guy to ER and Sam and Dean are left alone. If he's feeling the way I think he feels, Dean is hurting like crazy. He's hurting that Sam didn't listen to him and went the way he warned him against before he was torn to bits. He's hurting that Sam kept this a secret from him and KEPT ON doing it behind his back even after he came back and an angel had to tell him about it for him to find out. Sam has maybe been working on an explanation for a while - since Ruby warned him that he should tell Dean. But he can't get a word in. Dean stonily walks out - leaving Sam to his own devices.
Next scene, Sam is in the motel room at the table by the window doing some research when Dean storms in. You might recognize the scene in a fight in your own life - I sure do. Dean's packing to leave - saying, "Hey you don't need me. You and Ruby go fight demons." Sam is going, "just wait a minute...It's not what you think." Dean want's to leave because he's so hurt, but he's got stuff to say too so he gives Sam a punch, and when Sam starts to say, "You satisfied?" Dean punches him again.
DEAN:Do you even know how far off the reservation you've gone? How far from normal? From human?
SAM:I'm just exorcising demons.
(come on Sam, that's not all you're doing)
DEAN:With your mind! What else can you do?
SAM:I can send them back to hell. It only works with demons, and that's it.
DEAN:What else can you do?!
SAM:I told you!
There is the view that Dean is being unduly harsh with Sam.. he was more accepting of other psychics wasn't he? What's wrong with Sam being psychic? We know that his powers come from drinking demon blood - Ruby's blood - but Dean doesn't know this yet. He has however been told by the YED himself that he gave the children his own blood to make them special and that would worry him. Dean is also worried and hurt that Sam lied to him.
DEAN:And I have every reason in the world to believe that.
SAM:Look, I should have said something. I'm sorry, Dean. I am. But try to see the other side here.
DEAN:The other side?
SAM:I'm pulling demons out of innocent people.
DEAN:Use the knife!
SAM:The knife kills the victim! What I do, most of them survive! Look, I've saved more people in the last five months than we save in a year.
DEAN:That what Ruby want you to think? Huh? Kind of like the way she tricked you into using your powers?Slippery slope, brother. Just wait and see. Because it's gonna get darker and darker, and God knows where it ends.
It seems that Sam is trying to bring the focus on the fact that he is saving people. However, we know that this is not why he was interrogating the demon in the first place. And we know Dean (and that demon) is right when he says Ruby is manipulating Sam into thinking he is doing good. Ruby's whole motive of course is for him to kill Lilith.
SAM:I'm not gonna let it go too far.
Makes us all wonder a little... what is "too far" to Sam? Maybe he is thinking of dependency on Ruby's blood? He is thinking that because he is only taking a little blood yet, that he is still in control?
DEAN:It's already gone too far, Sam. If I didn't you know... I would wanna hunt you. And so would other hunters.
Dean of course does not know about the blood. He is talking about what Sam is doing with his powers. Because that is what he thinks Castiel means as well, aye? Dean's words themselves may sound cruel, but they are not so much. "If I didn't know you" is the main point here. He is actually saying, "I know you so I wouldn't, but others would."
SAM:You were gone. I was here. I had to keep on fighting without you. And what I'm doing... It works.
Oh Sam... *rubs heart* I actually just rewatched Maleus Maleficarum today with my son. That's where Sam tells Dean he has to become more like Dean to survive after Dean is dead. It also is the ep where Ruby tells Dean that she needs Dean's help to get Sam ready for life without Dean. The funny thing is, Sam thought he had to become ruthless like Dean but he ends up becoming more like his dad in the obsession for revenge. It's also interesting to compare this with Sam's reasoning in Season 8 (that which none of us can understand). I think he actually uses the same words "You were gone, I was all alone" aye? So did he actually decide then that after his big mistake here, he'd rather not even try to do things on his own?
DEAN:Well, tell me. If it's so terrific... then why'd you lie about it to me?
DEAN:Why did an angel tell me to stop you?
DEAN:Cas said that if I don't stop you, he will. See what that means, Sam? That means that God doesn't want you doing this. So, are you just gonna stand there and tell me everything is all good?
Sam answers this question about why he lied to Dean a bit later but, the fact that angels have told Dean to stop Sam gives Dean the justification he wants. It maybe hits home to Sam too, who has always believed in God and Angels. To us, it means that the angels are being manipulative :P
Sam is crying. That is kind of weird to me. Is he shocked by the fact that angels have told Dean to stop him? Or is he hurt by the way that Dean is "looking" at him? Or just remembering the hardship he had after Dean had left? This doesn't seem like a place in which a grown man would cry to me. Anyway they get a phone call from Travis, their dad's hunting buddy. Sam tells Travis it's not a good time, but when it looks like there is a case involved, he takes down the information. he looks at Dean, and Dean looks at him sadly and shrugs.
Cut to the MoTW. Jack eats 3 steaks and goes into the bathroom and starts to morph. He's freaked and looking at his back in the mirror.
Back with the Winchesters. Dean leaving is forgotten. They are back together and in the car on the way to Travis.
They have both calmed down a bit and are actually talking about Dean's experience of the previous ep. My husband and I do this a lot. We are in business together and are together almost all the time. We fight a lot. After a while we just have to go on with business at hand and leave the fight on a shelf for a bit to come back to later. Which seems to be what Sam and Dean are doing here. Dean is telling Sam (with a smile) about how mom was a hunter and a babe. But then, Sam mentions to Dean how crazy it is that all these family members died just so that the YED could bleed into his mouth and suddenly Dean goes quiet. Um... I didn't tell you about the demon blood... you mean you KNEW?!!!!! And again Dean finds out a secret that Sam has been keeping for a whole year. Great. Dean says, hey, I guess you need your secrets. Very hurt and disappointed. Sam tries to explain, "Dean..." but he maybe feels it would be meaningless. Dean would not understand. "whatever." He's not going to understand anyway - why even try?
When they get to the location, they are sent to scope out the guy Jack Montgomery - watch for anything "weird." At first there is nothing. He's is just poking in the fridge, drinking a beer and eating leftover chicken to tie himself over for dinner. But when he finds the raw hamburger meat and starts chowing that down too, they decide that could be called "weird."
They go back to their motel room and find Travis already there, poking in their fridge for a beer.
DEAN: See, Sam. Told you we should have hid the beer.
There is a rather nice reunion scene where Travis remarks on how tall Sam has become and how it's been 10 years since they saw each other. Travis still remembers Sam to have been "the geek," the smart one in the family (Which Travis himself is not, obviously).
TRAVIS:Been too long, boys. I mean, look at you. Grown men. John would have been damn proud of you. Sticking together like this.
DEAN:Yeah. Yeah, we're as thick as thieves. Nothing more important than family.
Back jab here. Dean tends to do that when he is hurt. Lay on the sarcasm. Sam's smile disappears.
They hear from Travis that the guy they were watching was the son of a rougarou that Travis had killed. That he had found out about the baby then, but didn't have the heart to kill him at that time. Travis tells them that although rougarous start out as human, they start morphing and getting hungrier and hungrier until they start wanting to eat human flesh (Dean's word of the day - "long pig") and once they take a bite of that, they morph completely and there is no going back. (This can be compared maybe to Sam's taking too much demon blood making him into something he cannot turn back from...)
While Travis explains, we see Jack's wife cut her finger in the kitchen and Jack running out of the house - scared of the thoughts he is having. We then see him with the douchey guy in the bar, picking a fight and then proceeding to break the big guy's wrist. (gross) We see that his strength is developing here as part of his metamorphosis. He gets scared again and runs out of the bar.
Next scene Dean and Travis are preparing the equipment for torching Jack (reminds me of The Children are Alright) when Sam comes in with some research.
He tells Travis, who is a bit put out that Sam would not take his word for it, that there are legends of people who were able to resist the urge to eat "long pig" by eating lots of raw meat. It kind of reminds me of our lovely vampire episode in season 2, aye? If it's possible for vampires, why not for rougarous? But Travis is is sure that Jack WILL turn and is probably of a type that would have killed those vamps just as Gordon tried. I've got to note here that Dean is very protective of Sam, trying to make sure that Travis doesn't think badly of Sam for contradicting him.
SAM:I don't know. But we're not gonna kill him unless he does something to get killed for.
TRAVIS:What's up with your brother?
DEAN:Don't get me started.
Sam and Dean are on their way to go and talk with Jack, but Dean can't help but feel that Sam is comparing his situation with Jack. On their way there, Dean asks if Sam would be ready to kill Jack if Jack was not willing.
DEAN:This is what I mean, Sam. You sure your emotions aren't getting in the way here?
SAM:What are you talking about?
DEAN:You know, nice dude, but he's got something evil inside. Something in his blood. Maybe you can relate.
SAM:Stop the car.
Dean, puzzled, goes to the side of the road and stops the car. He tells Dean that THIS is why he was keeping these secrets from Dean. Because Dean would look at him like a freak, or worse stupid, like he did not know what was right and wrong. Dean answers well, you are doing some questionable stuff. Are you sure you do know the difference?
SAM:You have no idea what I'm going through. None.
DEAN:Then enlighten me!
SAM: I've got demon blood in me, Dean! This disease pumping through my veins, and I can't ever rip it out or scrub it clean! I'm a whole new level of freak! And I'm just trying to take this - this curse... and make something good out of it. Because I have to.
DEAN:Let's just go talk to the guy. ... I mean Jack. Okay?
And I'm reminded of what Sam says in Season 8 again. How he had always felt tainted with evil even before he knew about the demon blood. And I feel for him. What's a guy to do aye? It makes sense that he'd want to turn that evil around and use it for good. But then I remember Simon Said, and how Andy is possibly pushed into a role the YED had for him, manipulating him into killing.
Anyway, Dean shows that he is trying to understand how Sam is feeling and trying to trust Sam, by telling him they should go and talk to Jack. They get back in the car.
While that is happening, Jack is finding it more and more difficult to fight the urge to EAT. He goes up to his wife to try to gain forgiveness and then nibbles on her neck a little too much. His wife's like "what's come over you??!" and he answers in anguish "I don't know!!"
Sam and Dean's talk with Jack is productive. Even though Jack tells them to leave, he believes in his heart that they are right. He cannot go home to his wife because he is scared that he might hurt her. He's sitting on a bench listening to her message when he turns and sees a girl getting dressed in the apartment above. He feels the terrible urge to eat her and goes up to the balcony to eye her.
Seeing him go up, Sam and Dean go up the other way to catch him from the front. Despite his urge though, Jack tells himself NO and abstains. He goes back down but the boys, thinking the girl is in danger, barge in to the apartment for a very rare "funny" scene.
Jack goes home to his wife to try to make things up to her. Instead, he finds her tied up in the living room and is drugged by Travis from behind. When he wakes up, Jack is tied up too. He thinks it is a burglary at first. Travis tells him about the two friends of his that dropped by in the afternoon (Why did he purposefully inflame Jack like that? Did he want Jack to think that it was all a trick? WHY? It just goes to show how stupid this guy is.) Travis also tells Jack that his wife told him that she was pregnant, which means that he has to kill her too. Jack, is not only still human but he obviously loves his wife and cannot let anyone harm her (or her baby). His super power kicks in and he gets free of his cuffs and attacks Travis, kills and feasts on him. Bringing on full metamorphosis. His wife sees the monster he's become and although Jack sets her free out of love, of course she runs out in terror. When the boys get there, they see Travis on the floor half eaten
DEAN:Oh, God. Think that's Travis?
SAM:What's left of him.
...Guess you were right about Jack.
and then get attacked by the full rougaroued Jack. They both get knocked out and Jack puts Sam in the closet (to eat later?) while leaving Dean out where he can see him. When Sam wakes up and calls out to Dean, Jack assures Sam that Dean is still alive... but he is dying to take a bite and seeing a bit of blood leaking from Dean's head, he touches it with his finger tips and licks his fingers like a starving man licks the last bit of honey from the jar. Sam is trying to keep Jack from giving in to his instincts and act with his last bit of humanity. But Jack remembers what Travis said and did to his wife and blames Sam and Dean. When Sam expresses genuine surprise, Jack seems to believe him. But he keeps it a secret why Travis tries to kill his wife. (and so we wonder... what happened to that baby. Did Jack's wife get an abortion? Could she? I mean, she saw what Jack became and probably figured out why Travis was trying to kill her...)
All this time Sam is working a hanger into a key to open the closet door. Jack is getting more and more desperate to eat.
JACK:You two... your friend. You made me into this!
SAM:No one's making you kill us.
SAM:Listen to me.
SAM:You got this dark pit inside you. I know. Believe me, I know. But that doesn't mean you have to fall into it. You don't have to be a monster.
JACK:Have you seen me lately?
SAM:It doesn't matter what you are. It only matters what you do. It's your choice.
And this is the most important line of the episode after Sam's confession to Dean previously. We hear it from Sam in Fresh Blood toward Gordon as well don't we. Gordon chooses to embrace what he has become and here, as well, Jack cannot hold back his urges. Sam gets out of the closet just in time to burn him up.
As Sam and Dean drive through the night, Dean apologizes to Sam and confesses to being scared of Sam's psychic powers. Sam has heard this all before and doesn't want to talk about it. And, anyway, he's quitting. All of it (not clear what that means - both using the power and searching for Lilith? ) Dean says that's a relief, thank you. Don't thank me. I'm not doing it for you or the angels. It's my choice.
SAM:There's nothing more to say. I can't keep explaining myself to you. I can't make you understand.
DEAN:Why don't you try?
SAM:I can't. Because this thing, this blood, it's not in you the way it's in me. It's just something I got to deal with.
SAM:Anyway, it doesn't matter. These powers... it's playing with fire. I'm done with them.
SAM:I'm done with everything.
DEAN:Well, that's a relief. Thank you.
SAM:Don't thank me. I'm not doing it for you. Or for the angels or for anybody. This is my choice.
In my experience, when someone says they are "not doing it for you," that seems to mean that they still feel resentful of having to/not to do whatever it is. What I'm gathering here, is that Sam is still resentful of Dean being angry at him for using the powers and doesn't see the danger that the angels are talking about. So why did he make that choice? Choice... choice... and we come back to what he said to Jack, that it was Jack's choice whether to become a monster or not. It seems that he's decided it doesn't matter he has demon blood in him. It matters what he does. And at this point, he feels that what he has been doing is going the monster route and he has got to stop??
Another important theme of this ep also would seem to be the ever present theme of people manipulated into "destiny" - people who might not otherwise give in to the monster inside, would be manipulated into it by forces on the outside. Jack was manipulated by Travis who meant well, but could not believe that Jack would be able to resist. Sam of course is being manipulated by Ruby and was manipulated by YED earlier. But if I remember future episodes correctly, he is also influenced into doing things he would not do normally by Dean's (and the Angels) attitude of distrust. They are both being manipulated by higher forces, which to me is the definition of destiny in the world of Supernatural.