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5:16 The Hope vs the Reality


When I wrote the original Meta - still kept below - I had hope that this would be the turning point, that in the next six episodes we would see Dean, Sam and Castiel find the strength with in themselves and in their faith in each other to stand firm and win against Lucifer.  What I got was indeed a journey of discovery, but not the the one I had hoped for; instead it was as if  Kripke directed the writers to ignore any hopeful themes that might be found in Pink Floyd's Album and only focus on the darkest of  its aspects. The show was even more painful to view because it was well written.  You could really feel every scene grind down Dean further and further pushing him farther and farther away from any support he might hope to have or really have the right to call on.  The whole episode was about destroying in Dean any last shred of hope he might have and further undermined his relationship with his brother.   It was so brutally painful to watch his destruction that I kept waiting for Metaliica's Unforgiven to play in the background.  The only faint shred of hope I have from watching this episode is how much Sam learned about his brother from entering his heaven and the hope it might help him reach Dean when nothing else would.

One by one Team Free Will is falling, last week Bobby received a heart blow, this week it was Dean and Castiel.  Sam is the only one still clinging to the hope of a way out and I am afraid as much as I want to believe that Kripke is pro Team Free Will that Dean will finally bow his head to Michael and Sam will say yes in Detroit.  Boy I hope I am as wrong about that I as I was about this episode.

On a side note there were a lot of clever bits about this episode - that I am sure I will appreciate once I get past the relentless depression of the moment




To start off, I would like to quickly list what we know about the upcoming season in general and 5.16 in particular

1) Kripke said in an interview last summer that the show was going to Heaven and it would look a lot like Vancouver
2) Jared has confirmed My Bloody Valentine and Dead Men don't Wear Plaid were shown in reversed order,
2) The CW has confirmed that in this episode Sam and Dean are Murdered and go to Heaven
3) Jake Abel (Adam) and Collin Ford (young Sam) are confirmed as guest stars for  a future episode
4)Traci Dinwiddle (Pam Barnes),, Samantha Smith (Mary)  and Chad Lindberg (Ash) are  confirmed to return for episode 5.16
5) Episode 5.16 will be called Dark Side of the Moon
6)And Finally the authors are Dabb and Loftin

So what do these facts hint about episode 5.16?  To start with, The Dark Side of the Moon is a famous Pink Floyd concept album that addresses 5 stages of human life, as well as human greed,  fear, madness, death and more interestingly to me  the importance of living one's own life  and the ability to care about others.  It also covers the concept of human unity, in that all lives are in someway connected.   We also know that Dean is at the end of his rope, there have been signs starting all the way back in season 2 that Dean has continuing troubles with depression, Season 4 and 5 has given us some of the best descriptions of what a depression sufferer deals with daily, from the minor effects of loss of appetite to the brilliant description of the aching empty hole that leaves you feeling dead in side. but  for the first time Dean actually acknowledges and asks, prays for help.  Sam is also being pushed to the edge, though there are signs he has been clawing his way up from the angry pit inside him, he still considers suicide as a viable option.  If Sam still continues to pray daily then he too has been asking for help.  And I think this is what the episode is about, Sam and Dean, now when they are near the end of their spiritual endurance, finally getting the spiritual help they need..

So what is the intersession, well we know its not going to be a huge flash of light and an instantaneous solution to their problems,  and it is not likely to be as neatly tied up as  the rescue in Sympathy for the Devil.  Rather I think the aid that they will get is a chance to look back on their lives, put them in perspective and by doing so grow into being the type of men who could defeat Satan.  Which is why I think this episode will have some similarity to 5 People You Meet in Heaven, as viewed through a glass darkly. . In that story a man dies and finds out that heaven is a personal journey of discovery and happiness as he meets the people with whom he either had unfinished business or whom made a major change in his life. The first person  he meets is a man who led a similar life to his and who died so that he could live.  The lesson  he is taught is two fold, all people are connected in even the smallest way and that  happiness is found in embracing who and what you are and becoming the best you could be at what you are, even if  what you are is a freak (in the book's case a side show freak).  . Now doesn't that sound like lesson Sam ought to learn and in accepting use it to reduce his anger. It would be neat if it were Pamela as his guide at this point and would make sense since she is a psychic, Ash would also work as he was a bit on the odd side.  Now they could have this encounter be just Sam's but even Dean has Freak issues, though he does not fight them like Sammy rather just assumes that they make him worthless, so he could benefit as well.

The next person in the book is again someone who died saving the hero of the story but who also had to make tough choices to decide who would live and who would die.  The lesson he teaches is that we may all be called on to make sacrifices and it is only the most painful sacrifices that allow others to live.  Again  does this not sound like another Sam and Dean lesson? One that maybe Ash as a fellow hunter could teach?  Or again Pamela with her ability to see the future.

The next lesson is about letting go of anger and finding it in themselves to forgive. In the book the hero is shown his father through the eyes of another person.  In the book the 3rd person talks about how they had difficulty letting go of their anger toward someone they loved until it was too late and in the telling shows the hero how much his father really loved him and why he treated him the way he did.  It helps the hero to forgive and heals that part in his heart which always felt that his father did not care about him but only about the job.  I think this would be perfect for the real Adam who probably held some resentment against John and his mom, so can relate to the boys and help them let go of that anger and find forgiveness.  Now Sam has already begun that process of forgiveness in The Song Remains the Same,  but maybe this is Dean's turn to forgive his father.  Or maybe this is Sam's opportunity to forgive Dean and Dean's to forgive Sam, really forgive, not just lip service.

The next person teaches that it is never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one and while life is finite love lives on.   This could be interesting on many levels, an easy way out would be Sam and Jessica and Dean and his Mom.  But wouldn't it be cool if it were Dean and young Sam, if the person Dean has to let go of is the memory of the little brother and accept that the child is gone, and that Sam is an adult? 

The final person met in heaven is a person that the hero feels he needs forgiveness from.  In the story it was a child that he accidentally killed and never forgave himself for killing.  In this case it could be Nurse Cindy for Sam and maybe we  would finally find out why Dean's eyes bleed in Bloody Mary.  What is important here is not that Sam and Dean are forgiven by people they feel they have wronged but that they forgive themselves for the actions they have taken. 

Where-as I don't think the story will go 100% this way, I am crossing my fingers that tonight's episode will contain some of the elements.  Somewhere in here the original Impala makes an appearance as does Zachariah and an angel named Joshua, so you know there is going to be some lighter moments as well as tense fights, I am just hoping these elements don't overpower the emotional and spiritual growth.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 1st, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Angel named Joshua after angel named Zachariah and apparently an angel named Anna because obviously there's no way Amy Milton just gave her daughter a name she liked that had nothing to do with the daughter being an angel. (Though it occurred to me as I typed that that Joshua, Zachariah, and Anna are all biblical names.)

TV Guide Magazine's confirmed Adam's in 5x18, not 5x16.

I think Sam's faith got pretty shaken by Houses of the Holy and smashed by No Rest for the Wicked, and Lazarus Rising brought it back but Great Pumpkin knocked it back down and I don't think anything short of a face-to-face with God himself will restore it after the revelation that the ranking angels are atheists.

I'm not sure I agree with a lot of the rest of what you said, but I can't pin down why I'm disagreeing, and it's certainly valid speculation.

(If the epilogue of the ep isn't a confrontation with the guys who killed Sam and Dean, I will be very annoyed.)
Apr. 2nd, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
Maybe because you sensed I was absolutely dead wrong. No hope here, just lets grind Dean further and further into the dust.

Good episode but man I was hoping it was the turning point rather have the pivot point be episode 21 or at best 18


Apr. 2nd, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
It's gonna be episode eighteen. I've been saying that since we found out the title is "Point of No Return". There's two definitions of 'climax', the more familiar of which is the point at which all the plotlines collide right before the end of the story, but the other one is the middle of the story, the point at which everything afterwards becomes inevitable. The point of no return.
Apr. 2nd, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
Well I really hope it is, because if they try to turn things around in an episode and a half I am going to really have trouble buying it. I need to see some growth darn it

Apr. 3rd, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
Very good response, and I loved your take on the album and the idea of Dean having to see that the child Sam is gone and let go of that memory.

I seem to be stuck in that period you called 'relentless depression.' The only hopeful aspect of this whole last episode was Sam's growing appreciation for Dean, but I agree, to see both Castiel and Dean so crushed and made utterly hopeless in one fell swoop was devastating.

I think my heart fell out of my chest and made the same 'plunk!' noise on the floor that the amulet did in the trashcan when I saw the very end. I hope Sam nabbed the amulet back =/.
Apr. 8th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
There are so many ways this episode can be read and they all work which is a testament to the cleverness of the writers. I think I am going to stuck in relentless depression for at least 5 more episodes. Kripke batter leave us with some hope for season 6 at the end of this thing, but knowing his track record, starting with the Semi Truck, to Dean's Deal and the Dean in Hell and finally Lucifer free - I got my doubts.

Thanks for commenting
Apr. 8th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Agreed. Kripke's track record with season finales indicates he doesn't know what the word 'happy' even means, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up this far in but... Dean deserves to smile at some point, right? Any more of Jensen's brilliant acting, and I'll have to cry myself this next episode.
Apr. 10th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC)
Yeah Dean deserves one of his real smiles, like when they won the Biggerton's 1000th Customer award or when he was imagining panty raids on a college campus or being re-dehymenated - snicker.

I think we will all be doing a lot of crying for the next 7 episodes

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )