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5.03 - Free to Be You and Me (SPN)

My reaction towards this 3rd installment (written by Jeremy Carver) is mixed.  I don't think it's as strong as the previous two episodes.  However, there are parts that worked very well for me.

The things I like:

To start off, I really like the opening montage showing Sam and Dean living their separate lives.  The intercut blended in nicely with one another.  In some sense, their activities almost mirrored each other, similar yet opposite, showing Dean hunting alone while Sam domesticating.  So, the question is: how well are the boys adapting to their new lives?

I learned (thanks to ckll) there was a deleted sequence where Dean and Sam each thought they saw one another in their separate surroundings.  Dean in the parking lot saw the backside of a tall man and Sam in the bar spotted a man wearing a leather jacket.  Each of them had a moment of happiness thinking the other has come for him, only to realize later it was an illusion.  I would have loved to see this scene, however I don't think it's detrimental to leave it out either.  Even without this anvilicious display, it was pretty obvious that although the boys were making a valiant effort in adjusting to their life alone, they missed each other deep down, especially Dean.

Yes, I see Dean flounder with Sam's absence here.  That boy probably could write a book on self denial and snarky façade.  However, I don't buy for a second of what he claimed at the end.  I was not blind to the furtive glance Dean cast toward the empty seat while driving alone, nor was I immune to the wistful look he bore after he said he was happier without Sam.  At the risk of repeating myself, I want to point out how exquisite I think Jensen Ackles portrays his alter ego here.  Dean says one thing, but his eyes telegraph something else entirely.

On the other hand, I don't think what Dean said was a total lie either.  I do believe he had more fun hanging out with Cas than he had with Sam in a long time.  And why not?  At this point, Cas is a friend, nothing more, nothing less.  They have the camaraderie and none of the baggage.  So spending time together is easy.  I think it's high time Dean has a friend of his own, someone outside of his family, someone more or less his peer.  Angel or not, Cas in so many ways is on the same footing as Dean.  Both were entrusted with a charge, both were made into soldiers early on, and both have or had absent fathers.  Their friendship is inevitable, and it provides a much needed outlet for Dean besides his family.

With that being said, there is no way Cas can replace Sam for Dean.  Because their relationship is light, it lacks the gut wrenching, heart pounding intensity Sam shares with Dean.  Besides, Sam is family.  While it's healthy for Dean to realize he shouldn't be chained to his family, the love he has for it is nevertheless ingrained in him.  It's a part of him, it defines who he is, and I don't think he is able to shut it off even though he is feeling hurt.  I can see that Dean was still struggling with Sam's betrayal at the end here.  It's understandable.  But I'm confident he would be able to put it behind him soon, largely because Sam would step up.

This is an all around good episode for Sam.  On the shallow side, he looked very pretty quietly brooding in his corner.  While trying to lead a civilian life, Sam continues to deal with his guilt at starting the Apocalypse.  But he cannot escape the world gone haywire around him.  It's nice to see that when faced with a possible hunt, his first instinct was to call Dean.  This tells me Dean was never too far away from Sam's thoughts.  However I'm a little disheartened when he called Bobby instead.  Was Sam upset at Dean for not staying with him?  Or was he afraid of rejection from his brother?  I couldn't quite work out why he avoided talking to Dean here.

The biggest triumph for Sam of course, was his display of strength by not ingesting the demon blood forced upon him.  When those yahoo hunters drew out that vial of demon blood, Sam looked at it fearfully.  He knew the blood still had a powerful pull on him.  So it was all the more compelling when Sam spit it out in the end.  How far has he overcome already!  Flawed as he may be, Sam possesses the faculty to make the right choice.  When it comes down to it, I think that's what matters.

One of the most important things we learned in this episode is that Sam is the destined true vessel for Lucifer.  Can't say I'm particularly surprised by it.  But Kripke pulled a fast one on me with the introduction of poor Nick.  Turned out Nick is only a red herring.  This fixed a retcon caused by the reveal of Dean being the one and only "Michael Sword" (while we know Castiel at least had two vessels) -- it's now canon that angels can have multiple vessels after all, but only one of them is the most potent.

"I will never lie to you..." Lucifer cooed to Sam.  But that in itself is a lie.  It's true Lucifer may speak the truth, but he lies by omission.  For all that Lucifer said what Sam is born *intended* to be, he neglected to acknowledge it's Sam's choice that would make the difference in the end.  He also wouldn't allow Sam the hope of redemption.  It maybe cliché to say this, but nobody is born and set in a certain way, not even the good 'ole Lucy himself who started out as a full fledged angel.  So Sam may have the darkness in him (who doesn't actually), I believe he also has the fortitude to subvert it.

Resist Lucifer Sam must do, just as Dean must refuse Michael as well.  Another thing we learned in this episode is that having powerful angels like Lucifer and Michael ride their bodies would not bode well for Sam and Dean.  Judging by the near brain-dead state of Raphael's vessel and Castiel's warning it would be far worse for Dean, I'm not even sure the brothers would be alive should they allow the Devil and the Archangel take over their bodies.

The things I don't like:

Despite the engaging humor Dean/Castiel dynamic offered (I'm sure I'm not the only one to say Jensen and Misha have an awesome chemistry here), I find their story arc of trapping the Archangel Raphael rather weak.  Dean really did seem like a bullet shield here.  I don't see why Castiel needed his help at all except with interviewing a witness.  Did Castiel's plan also involve Dean using his smart alec mouth to piss off Raphael?  Because it seems to me that's all Dean did here, or possibly was able to do while facing off the archangel.

It's quite possible I'm missing something important here, but I don't get why Castiel lit the circle of oil before Raphael showed up back in the hospital.  If the holy fire is supposed to prevent the archangel pass through, how were they able to trap him if the archangel couldn't even get inside the circle when he finally arrives?  Since Raphael took possession of his vessel, I'm guessing he arrived after the oil all burned up.  Still, there must be remnants of the fire lingering, so how did Raphael not have a clue what was up Castiel and Dean's proverbial sleeve?  For an archangel, Raphael appeared quite ineffectual.  Except the pretty impressive electric currents and flying sparks, Raphael was anti climatic, considering Castiel had thought he would die facing off the dude.

Then there was the ghost of Jessica.  Don't get me wrong, I have no objection against the actress or the clever use of her character in the story line.  But as fleshflutter wittily pointed out in her succulent episode response, her wardrobe is trite.  There's gotta be a standing joke on Supernatural that whenever a woman wears an all white gown, something nasty is bound to happen to her:  she's either going to burn to death on a ceiling, mind whammied to jump off a bridge/dam, made into a demonic martyr (quite an oxymoron), or used as the avatar for the Devil himself in her lover's dream!

My score for the episode: C+

Memorable Quotes:

Dean:  "You were wasted by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Angel?"

Dean:  "So what?  I'm Thelma and you are Louise, we are just gonna hold hands and sail off the cliff together?"

A small Dean centric picspam:

Here's the reason this review is late in coming.  Besides Sam, Dean also looked especially pretty here.  So I made some logoless screencaps featuring him.  These are samples from the batch (click on the picture for hires):

And here's the link to the rest of the Dean centric screencaps (1280x720) in case anyone is interested.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
Lovely spam and we're close to the new one, so let's see what's in store for us.
Thanks for the pretties bb.
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:54 am (UTC)
Thank you bb! And you are welcome. Glad you like it.

Yes, I can't wait till Thursday! *g*
Sep. 30th, 2009 08:00 am (UTC)
Great post!

I think it's high time Dean has a friend of his own, someone outside of his family

My thoughts exactly. Can you imagine the heartache that is Dean left all alone while Sam went off on his "business trips" with Ruby? And also, all his life Dean has been the one left behind - his mother died, Sam went off to Stanford, John went missing, Cassie rejected him, Ben wasn't his son - so I'm glad, so glad, that he has Castiel.

Dean really did seem like a bullet shield here. I don't see why Castiel needed his help at all.

Because Dean really was Castiel's bullet shield? Remember what Castiel said that no angel would dare to harm Michael's vessel.

And I think Dean has been extra pretty this season!

Edited at 2009-09-30 08:01 am (UTC)
Sep. 30th, 2009 08:57 am (UTC)
Thanks bb! <333

Can you imagine the heartache that is Dean left all alone while Sam went off on his "business trips" with Ruby? And also, all his life Dean has been the one left behind...

So very true. I've always felt Dean was a lonely figure besides Sam. I have a feeling he didn't have real friends among his peer before. All his life, he was pretty much wrapped around his family. It's almost as if he lived for Sam and John. In comparison, Sam is more connected with the world outside. He had his own pursuit (his quest for a normal life) that had nothing to do with anyone else but himself (of which he is perfectly entitled). As such Sam is more capable at making friends and having meaningful relationship with others.

While Dean and Sam are my ultimate OTP, I think having Cas as a friend is a positive improvement for Dean. With that friendship, Dean gains a little bit sense of self, and that's good because it puts Dean on a more even keel with Sam imo.

Because Dean really was Castiel's bullet shield?

\o/ I agree Raphael would not dare to harm Michael's vessel. However I don't see how that would prevent him to smite Castiel? After all, he blew up Cas before without harming Chuck who was standing right next to Cas.

And I think Dean has been extra pretty this season!

Agreed! I don't even think it could be possible. Except it is. *g*
Sep. 30th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
Hee, now you've given me an image of Dean wrapping himself around Castiel to prevent Raphael from smiting his Cas ;P

Dean : Over my dead body, you turtle.

Or some other Dean-speak.

Sep. 30th, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)
Go me!


Goes off to sleep with the image of Dean wrapping himself... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Oct. 2nd, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
I've always felt Dean was a lonely figure besides Sam. I have a feeling he didn't have real friends among his peer before.

And Sam choosing Ruby over him must have been the last straw that broke the camel's back!

And yeah, the Impala and Shadowfax! Or maybe Dean imagined his baby as more of Hasufel, Aragorn's horse. It's black and all ;D
Sep. 30th, 2009 08:38 am (UTC)
Can Dean/Jensen be prettier? *sighs*

Ah, you're right. Why didn't Sam want to talk to Dean? They go separate ways doesn't mean they're not supposed to talk to each other, are they?

Btw, Self Denial and Snarky Façade for Dummies by Dean Winchester. I'd love to buy that! :D
Sep. 30th, 2009 09:04 am (UTC)
*hugs* sweetie!

Can Dean/Jensen be prettier? *sighs*

I didn't think it's possible, but he keeps surprising me. *g*

They go separate ways doesn't mean they're not supposed to talk to each other, are they?

Exactly! I'm hoping we'll find out more what was Sam's mindset in regard to Dean in the upcoming weeks.

Hehe, "Self Denial and Snarky Façade for Dummies by Dean Winchester", I'd buy that too. They should also include pictures of the author for illustration! ;-)
Sep. 30th, 2009 11:41 am (UTC)
As usual, I love and also agree with everything you said! I've always loved how Jensen shows us what's really going on with Dean, more than the words sometimes can ever say. I personally would have liked to see Sam also deal with (although I don't know how they would have done it in this episode) how he treated his brother. Dean's not upset about him breaking the last seal (after all, Dean himself broke the first one!), it's the lying and sneaking around. Hopefully that will also be dealt with.

Yeah, I couldn't figure out how Raphael got from the hospital to the house, but I did think his wings were cool!

You know, I've read other posts that mention that Dean hasn't really laughed since sometime in season 1. Not only that, but he had 40 years of hell in there, so it was nice to see him smile.

And, yes, Jensen is very pretty (of course, do you ever wonder what he would think about us saying he's "pretty?" :) )

Sep. 30th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
Mick! Welcome <333 Thanks for reading and commenting. *g*

Dean's not upset about him breaking the last seal (after all, Dean himself broke the first one!), it's the lying and sneaking around.

I couldn't agree with you more. This is a point I feel I want to keep stressing. I would also add Dean was deeply hurt by Sam taking Ruby's words over his, and gotten himself addicted to the demon blood in the process.

I'm not yet entirely too sure if Sam fully comprehend what Dean is upset about. When Dean started to tell Sam how he doesn't trust him anymore, etc., Sam all but rolled his eyes in the beginning! So far, I'm very convinced Sam truly feels guilty at the hand he played in starting the Apocalypse. But I'm yet to see Sam acknowledge how his actions affected his brother on a personal level. And you are right, I don't see how Sam would've been able to show that unless he's face to face with Dean. So hopefully they'll address that issue when the boys get back together.

Yes, it was very nice to see Dean smile. Not only that, I saw a twinkle in his eyes I haven't seen in a long time while he and Castiel were inside the bordello. So it was nice to see Dean have a little laugh with Cas, going off doing the guy thing that has absolutely nothing to do with duty and responsibility. But even in the midst of lightheartedness, I think Dean was holding back a little in that back alley. There's still a trace of sadness in his eyes and a slight rigidness to his posture despite the laughter. All these make me believe Dean is not really happier without Sam.

Hehe, your last question makes me thinking of Jamie in Dragon*Con two years ago proclaiming he'd give anything to be butch like Aaron! I have a feeling Jensen is not the kind of guy who'd appreciate being called "pretty." But he has to be used to it by now, 'coz he is that since he was a child!
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 1st, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
Sweetie! *hugs*

You beat me at catching up with the reviews! I posted mine late last night and headed over to your journal to check out your thoughts. But I was so tired, I don't think I even got pass the first sentence! O_o

I shall head over there right after I type up my reply here :)

...it didn't have the same oomph! But I still loved it just as much and I still think they're keeping up the pace.

Totally agree! I actually *liked* all the major points this episode is trying to tell us. What I don't like is how Dean's story arc is executed. But all the actors here including the guy who played Raphael have been excellent in their respective roles. And I think they are the saving grace for making the arc interesting despite the lack of logical sense.

That boy wouldn't know what happiness was if it bit him in the persqueeter and it sure as hell wasn't biting any part of him in this episode!

LOL! I like the way you put it here. You WIN!

Dean needs someone like Castiel in his life!

That is so true. Cas would be a good ally for Dean. Not only he mirrors Dean in certain ways, Cas is also without a whole lot of outward emotions. He doesn't get offended, indignant, or pissy easily. Compare to Sam's brooding emo, interacting with Cas does offer Dean a relief.

I think he feels conflicted, because the love he has for Sam is mixed with the pain of being betrayed by him. He's finding it hard to separate the two and this is why he can't be with him right now, but he still misses him like a detached limb and that just confuses matters even more for him.

It's my turn to say I agree with you 100% here! Well put.

I was a bit stumped by the way they cut from the hospital and then the abandoned house.

Glad I'm not the only one. And I still have a problem with Cas lighting the trap before Raphael got into his vessel. This whole "trapping the archangel" business was handled sloppily in this episode. But the fire ring was pretty, and Raphael's electric wings were stunning.

Glad you like the pics! *g*

Edited at 2009-10-01 05:44 am (UTC)
Oct. 1st, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
Excellent commentary and oh the pretty, pretty pictures. You said it girl!
Oct. 1st, 2009 05:46 am (UTC)
Thank you hun! Glad you liked it. <333
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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