7.02 Final Thoughts
*rubs hands* Ah, yes, the episode that got me into SPN. I could talk forever about season 7.
- Fun drinking game: take a shot every time someone makes a different colorful idiom about Sam being insane. Hint: you’ll die, because I counted 25.
- (I WONDER WHY Sam didn’t want to tell Bobby or Dean about his active symptoms of psychosis. Truly, a mystery for the ages.)
- Even setting Hallucifer aside, this episode highlights so many of the things I high-key LOVE about season 7: the erosion of Sam and Dean’s support network (as tenuous as that already was)—take away Bobby’s house, take away angelic healing, take away the Impala, make them vulnerable and alone and crumbling under the weight of the trauma they’ve accumulated. The broken leg, Sam’s head injury and seizure in the ambulance? Strapped down, badly injured, the fates of their friends uncertain, headed into the belly of the beast? ICONIC. Over the top. Amazing.
- It’s a similar kinda thing to Jody’s predicament—sure, she’s capable enough ordinarily, but if you give her surgery and drug her and leave her alone in a hospital with a liver-eating monster on the prowl, the stakes look a lot different, don’t they? I’ve seen this episode approximately one gazillion times but every time I get tense for her.
- Quick thoughts on the Leviathans, which have a reputation as an underwhelming SPN villain. Perhaps because of how unsubtle and half-baked they are as metaphor for corporate greed/capitalistic consumption, perhaps because of how their promise of truly terrifying Old Ones, Cthulu-esque devourers, never quite came true (except for a bit in 7.01 and 7.02, yikes!). But honestly I’ve always liked them—I like how their organization and assimilation of knowledge drives the Winchesters deeper underground than even the Apocalypse did; I like how they made the Winchesters’ entire world into something mundanely unsafe and miserable; I like how they showcase the horror of a enemy composed of lockstep drones, the way that Heaven (and Hell, sometimes) tries to be, but never truly manages; I like Dick Roman’s gleeful ravenousness; I like their spooky mouths; hell, I even like the Dick jokes.
- Bobby’s solicitousness towards Dean, and how awkwardly he talks to Sam a little later in the episode, is very emblematic of how bone-deep uncomfortable he is around an honest-to-God mental illness, and, well, around Sam’s issues in general. Which doesn’t make him a bad person, or unsupportive, necessarily. But it’s very evident that he’s got no clue what to say to Sam or how to handle him, that he’s leagues more comfortable dealing with Dean’s problems (as has often been the case regardless of Sam’s mental health).
- A related, but separate point: the lengths the show goes to to emphasize “look, Dean’s not okay,” while Sam’s in the middle of a psychotic break… It baffles me a little every time I see this episode, when Bobby walks away from Sam all “yyyyeah I gotta go do some work” and then is immediately all “ok but Dean, how are YOU feeling?” It’d be one thing if Dean weren’t emotionally demonstrative, and if Sam were—if Sam, at this point in the episode, was so obviously struggling to such a painful degree that Bobby wants to make sure Dean’s not overlooking his own reactions. But that’s not really the case. Apart from some flinching, Sam’s been very matter-of-fact about the whole thing so far.
- This is our first deep-dive into Sam post-Cage, a full season about he returned. And I love it to pieces, you guys. I love how these inescapable, soul-deep consequences are the inevitable answer to the moral of Sam’s story, where he interred himself with his worst nightmare, forever.
- Dean after Hell is clawing for moral high ground. Dean focuses on this bleak kind of virtue, this idea of martyrdom and righteous struggle that eventually unspools and reveals itself to be fundamentally unmoored. He needs some kind of redemption for himself after what he was forced to do in Hell; he needs to own his destiny, and he needs that destiny to be meaningful and good, and he channels his violence outward in that cause.
- Sam does not take any kind of high ground. He hurts… himself. He gnaws inward. No illusions about how “messed up” he is—he sidelines himself before Dean or Bobby can say a single word; he figures he needs to be on top of it, needs to get out ahead of the danger he could represent and reassure his family that he knows he’s a hazard. Sam has learned to repress and downplay and hide his traumas and his freakishness both to avoid feeling stigmatized and to avoid being a burden on the people he loves, especially on his brother. So when Dean reacts with fear (understandable) and anger (less so), Sam takes it in stride.
- Hallucifer is probably my favorite thing this show has ever done. I could probably write another thousand words on Hallucifer alone—on how Sam’s using this face for coping, for compartmentalizing; both to hurt himself and to keep himself company, to sort through his pain and arrive at a place where it’s at all tenable for him to exist.
- Sam’s skepticism about professional mental health treatment—his idea that this is a problem he can handle himself, that a doctor would “just stuff [him] full of pills”—is clearly one born of the family mold. This is his dismissive response to Hallucifer!Dean’s accusation that Sam won’t be able to cut it on his own. This denial, this idea that Sam knows he needs to get a handle on this, and therefore that he MUST do it himself, make a science of it, is fascinating.
- On the subject of denial: Hallucifer poses a simple question to Sam: are you sure you got out? And Sam’s NOT sure. Faith that he’s free is yet another maybe-lie that Sam must tell himself with maniacal intensity this season, for the sake of his own sanity, to avoid the voice in his head telling him to shoot himself.
- That Scene in the warehouse. Dean’s advice to Sam is to trust in Dean as the cornerstone of his reality. Asks him to build his whole world on his trust in Dean. What choice does Sam have? Who else can Sam rely on? What else can he do? There is no one else, nothing else. There’s only Dean, or Lucifer. It’s a dichotomy. It’s so CHILLING.
- Especially in the context of what we know comes next—7.03, where Dean lies to Sam’s face, murders Amy, and uses Sam’s ~insanity~ to defuse Sam’s (justified) anger. And then, season 8, and 9, and 10, and, y’know what, the entire show.
- Sam drives his thumb into his bleeding hand, and it’s SPN in a nutshell—forever choosing the claustrophobia of the path of slightly less resistance, forever clinging to the misery of a life that’s only just this side of bearable, burying yourself in the toxic fallout because the alternative is unimaginably nightmarish—using the trappings of free will, of defiance, to choose to claw holes in yourself so that someone else won’t. There is no escape.
- Dean’s threat of murder-suicide on the phone is so clearly meant to be sympathetic. And yes, on a certain level it absolutely is; and then on another level, it’s, y’know, MURDER-suicide, where Dean’s taking explicit responsibility for and ownership of Sam’s life, even though Sam’s pretty clearly lucid. Dean’s assuming as a matter of course his ability and right to make that decision for Sam. How Dean views and deals with Sam’s instability in season 7 lays major groundwork for Dean’s willingness to let in Gadreel in 9.01.
I find is so incredibly disappointing that Kyle’s only role this season was just being the on-call doctor. He had no storyline of his own, nor has he been involved in the main plot (whatever that is) whatsoever.
He had such a rich and interesting storyline in season 1 and it’s a shame that he’s ending this season with absolutely nothing.
Kyle Manuel Valenti deserves better.
very excited but not a single one of these jokers will ever top bobby
Lizzy has lost my hope I am so very upset this sucks
Me when the writers decide that they aren’t done torturing Fitz and that he needs even more psychological damage
replied to your
what kind of shady tag is that
og season 4 was so incredibly disappointing that watching it straight after the evak season killed all my regard for norwegian skam and it never recovered
it’s shit and i hate it and i’m 100% positive Besse did a better job
(GOOD ONE. I had to really think about this one before answering it…)
Edit (before posting because why not): I originally had a regular response to this, but then I realized it gave too much away. So have an abridged version where Spinel provides zero context to anything she says. I’m so sorry.
Homeworld: “PINK! Did I win? Let’s keep playing!”
Season 1: “…Are you sorry?”
Post-Reveal: “Bro wtf”
Final/Future Spinel: “Thank you.”