Episode Review: Supernatural 4×21 – "When the Levee Breaks"

The “Then” flashback thingy covers a lot of ground this week. Lilith, Anna, Mary Winchester, young Sam, current Sam drinking blood (EW) and finally, Dean and Bobby locking Sam into Bobby’s all-steel anti-demon panic room. Try saying that last bit five times fast. I dare ya.
 
We then come to “Now,” wherein Dean looks in on Sam and tells him he’s going to stay there until Sam dries out. While Sam tries to convince Dean he’s not just drinking the blood “for kicks”, but to kill Lilith, and that he doesn’t need a drug intervention, Dean disagrees. Upon locking the viewhole to the door back up and walking away, we see Dean looking absolutely TORTURED as Sam’s muffled screams can still be heard behind him.
 
We now see Sam trying to escape, but he’s getting dizzy and the room is getting blurry. We spin around a bit until we see…ALISTAIR?! OMGOMG! How the hell did HE get in there? Or wait, is this a detox-induced illusion?! Hard to say because we cut to Alistair torturing Sam, even going to say he appreciates Sam’s politeness in asking “please don’t” repeatedly, but keeps cutting anyway. We then see Sam in the same position on his bed, but no straps or restraints, no Alistair and no blood. It all was an illusion, which is surprising as hell to Sam.
 
Bobby and Dean, meanwhile, are trying to figure out what to do. While Bobby, sadly, doesn’t have a “Demon Detox Manual,” he and Dean are left to ponder just how long Sam’s detoxification will take. Just then Rufus calls, upon which Bobby tells him to die, never call again and hangs up the phone. I don’t recall seeing Bobby react that way previously to just about anyone, so that was a nice little surprise. Rufus, however, does call back and gives Bobby some sullen news. Apparently, more seals are breaking, and fast.
 
Cut back to Sam, he’s now hallucinating…his younger self. Played by the same actor who played him brilliantly in “After School Special,” — Colin Ford — I was surprised to see him again. Keep an eye out for this kid, he’s excellent. New tangent really quick — have you noticed that this show casts BRILLIANT young actors? I mean the young girl who played Lilith a couple of times, Sierra McCormick…WOW was she creepy. And the actors they keep getting to play young Sam and Dean are just fantastic. This show REALLY knows how to cast its guest stars. ^_^
 
Anyway, back on track, young Sam begins by demanding an explanation as to what the hell went wrong, and deservedly so. He explains how hard they tried to be normal, and how close they got to a normal life. Present-day Sam gives his younger self an excuse and says “sorry, kid.” Wow, way to talk down to yourself buddy. Young Sam then brings up Jessica, saying how Sam could’ve protected her if he hadn’t run off with Dean.
 
Eventually, younger Sam says “You know, you’re right. You’re never gonna be normal, and you’re never gonna get away.” Then we see young Sam with yellow eyes! OMGOMG! (Aside – I love how MS Word’s grammar check thought that previous double-OMG statement was wrong until I added the exclamation point. ^_^) Is that foreshadowing?! Will Sam become the next Yellow Eyed Demon?!?!?! Guess we’ll have to stay tuned…
 
Back to Dean and Bobby, who are discussing the signs of the apocalypse they were just given. Surprisingly, Bobby questions the logic of them keeping Sam locked up, as he could be useful on the battlefield. Dean, of course, is totally against the idea, even though Bobby says they’re doing this because they love him too much. I have to say that the scenes together with Jim Beaver and Jensen Ackles in this episode are amazing. You can SEE and FEEL them being emotionally torn apart by what their discussing and contemplating, and it hurts to see.
 
We cut back to poor, tortured Sam — well, EVERYONE is tortured in this episode, but I digress — and who else shows up but MARY WINCHESTER OMGOMG YAY! ^_^ First thing she says? “You look just awful.” I laughed, I really did. Totally something a mom would say, I thought. Anyway, while Sam expected her to lambast him about being a lousy son, she surprises us all by saying she’s not only proud of him, but she understands what he’s doing. She then calls Dean WEAK, saying Sam would be better off going on without him. These hallucinations seem to have a common theme…telling Sam exactly what he doesn’t want to hear. Damn these Winchester boys love to torture themselves, huh?
 
Anyway, we cut to Dean and Castiel. Dean said he was screaming for two hours, and I thought it was a nice touch that he was all hoarse at the beginning of their conversation. Unsurprisingly, Castiel can’t tell Dean what was so important from the last episode, and then gets down to the real reason Dean called him, Sammy. While Castiel thinks Sam might be able to kill Lilith, the amount of demon blood he’d have to drink would change him forever. Dean, not liking this choice, decides to swear his oath of allegiance to God and the freaking angels! In swearing his loyalty, Castiel says Dean has to follow the Lord’s word as swiftly as he would follow John’s. Ouch. You also saw Dean wince a little in his face at the mention of his father, a REALLY nice little touch.
 
Back to Sam, who is looking just GOD AWFUL! Like, god DAMN. Anyway, he’s shaking violently…and his VEINS ARE DRYING UP OR SOMETHING! EW MY GOD EW! Seriously, that’s naaaaaaaaaaaaasty, and he vehemently agrees, so Sam starts screaming for help. Dean and Bobby are upstairs, discussing Dean’s choice to side with the Angels. Dean doesn’t like it, nor does he trust the angels, but he thinks it’s better than Sam trusting a demon, with which I’m inclined to agree. Then both Bobby and Dean notice an odd silence…”a whole lotta nothing” as Bobby terms it. They rush down to see Sam on the floor, having a convulsion of some sort.
 
Dean and Bobby might think it’s a trick and he’s faking, but suddenly Sam is FLINGING HIMSELF across the room. Holy crap! Of COURSE Bobby and Dean are convinced he ain’t foolin’, and are now forced to strap him to his bed for his own safety. When Sam awakes, chained to his bed — and I’m sure fanfic is being written about that — he finds Dean standing there. Dean begins to lay into him, asking Sam why he did this to himself, if it was for revenge, etc…
 
Now here comes a VERY interesting thing they did here. We cut to a shot of Sam, who’s looking up as if he’s talking to Dean, but we don’t see Dean, we only hear him as if he’s speaking through a tin can or something. I first thought this was odd, but then saw what they were doing once they cut to Dean and Bobby in Bobby’s study, wherein Bobby says that THEY’RE killing Sam, not the detox. Dean, even knowing this, won’t let him drink demon blood so he can “die human.”
 
Cut back to the panic room. “Dean” is walking around Sam, totally pushing his buttons, being downright VISCIOUS. I was too in shock at what “Dean” was saying to even write it in my notes, it was that nutty. Cut back to Bobby and Dean, in which Dean says, “I finally found my line. I won’t let my brother turn into a monster. Cut back to Sam and “Dean” in which “Dean” is IMMEDIATELY calling him a monster, something which Sam can barely take. “Dean” says he can’t believe they were “pretending to be brothers&rdquo
; and saying Sam “isn’t even the same species.” Just awful, awful things that made me wince. Seriously. Thankfully, “Dean” disappears and Sam is once again left alone.
 
Now an aside on this particular bit of writing/editing. I thought this scene BRILLIANTLY portrayed how the real Dean felt with how the Dean in Sam’s head would react to all the stuff he’s been doing. Sam was so terrified of Dean saying those things that of course when his version of Dean popped up, he would say the very things he was afraid to hear. Props must go to the amazing Sera Gamble for writing and Robert Singer for directing. I doubt any other combo could’ve pulled this off so effectively.
 
Anyway, time passes and when Sam next wakes up…his bonds are undone and the door is open. WTF? Sam, of course, escapes, but not before we see CASTIEL locking the door back up after Sam’s departure. WTF? Castiel letting Sam out? There’s something bigger at work there, some grander plan that we’ve not seen yet, and dammit, I wanna know what it is! Sigh.
 
We then cut to Castiel, standing on the dock of the bay, possibly wasting time? Not much, apparently, as Anna shows up to admonish him for letting Sam escape. Anna says that, due to Sam drinking demon blood, “It’s worse than we thought.” Wait a minute, what is? What’s worse than you thought?! Sadly, we don’t get to find out, because Anna is summarily taken by angels, presumably back to heaven. Castiel said to her, twice, “You shouldn’t have come.” Guess he wasn’t kidding. Then again, do angels really kid around?
 
We come back to Sam, stealing one of Bobby’s cars, when Bobby walks up behind him, rifle in hand. Bobby doesn’t want to shoot Sam, but Sam doesn’t want to give him much choice. Eventually, Sam grabs the rifle and HEADBUTTS BOBBY! OMG! That was cold, man. Cold. Guy was like a father to you, Sam, and you do THAT? Seriously, you deserve a spanking or something — and I’m sure fanfic will be written about that, if it hasn’t been already — after pulling such a stunt. I hate to say it, but these folks might be trying to make me like Sam less and less…and it’s working, sadly.
 
We then find Sam in a…nice hotel room?! WTF?! This never happens, like, ever. You know some sh%t is wrong NOW… Anyway, Ruby finally shows up after being M.I.A. for weeks, and feels bad for Sam. Well who wouldn’t?! The guy looks like ASS (but still in a sexy way, Sammy girls. Please no hate mail ^_^) because he’s been through hell and back — well, figuratively, not like Dean, but still — and is going through SERIOUSLY withdrawal. Sam wastes no time cutting into Ruby, however, and drinking her blood, something she looked QUITE happy about.
 
We then find Bobby and Dean wondering just how the hell Sam got out, then to Sam and Ruby talking about how much stronger Sam is and how few seals are left. ACK. ONLY TWO OR THREE? EEP! Thankfully, Ruby has a lead on Lilith, or at least someone in her entourage. We find that this is a nurse who likes to steal babies because they’re “delicious.” EW! Sam and Ruby talk more…Dean and Bobby talk more…blah blah blah. I mean, it’s good stuff, but it’s just leading up to the main event.
 
Dean finds Sam and Ruby, and then proceeds to attack Ruby after Sam walks out, but Sam stops him. Dean wants to kill Ruby, for obvious reasons, but Sam protects her and let’s her escape. Dean then tells Sam he wants him to be okay, and to leave Ruby behind, but Sam won’t. Sam tells Dean he doesn’t think he’s strong enough to beat Lilith, but he is.
 
Now comes the saddest part. Sam asks Dean to trust him, and the look on his face is just SO MOVING. He was BEGGING Dean to trust him. I teared up a little bit, because it hurt to see Sam pleading for his brother’s trust after he’d given Dean his for so long. Unsurprisingly, Dean refuses, saying Sam doesn’t know what he’s doing. Sam says he does, and Dean says that’s worse, not because of what he does but because of what he is. Sam…who is BRISTLING with anger at this point, so much that his freaking nostrils are flaring, demands Dean say what that means. Dean…who sheds a single tear when he says this…says,”It means you’re a monster.”
 
And this is when Sam throws the first punch. Dean…after he recovers, punches right back. Now I don’t know if it was me gasping in reaction to what was happening on the screen or the fight itself, but the cat that was lying on my stomach looked at the TV, stopped purring and RAN OFF INTO THE OTHER ROOM. NO LIE! I guess this tells ya how intense this was, huh?
 
Anyway, the brothers have a BRAWL, and it ends with Dean on the floor with Sam STRANGLING HIM! OMGACKWOW! He didn’t strangle to kill him, it seems, but just to incapacitate him enough so as to keep him down…or so I hope. Sam stands over Dean, triumphant, and says “You don’t know me. You never did, and you never will.” OMG! And he said it so COLDLY too, cold enough for me to feel a chill! When Sam is about to walk out, Dean chokes out, “You walk out that door, don’t you ever come back!”
 
And Sam still leaves.
 
Dean is left by himself…gasping…curling onto his side in what looks to be a fetal position. I couldn’t tell if he was gasping, crying or both.
 
I’m writing this review after seeing the episode a second time, a day after seeing it originally…and I’m still stunned. This episode was freaking amazing, as was EVERYONE’S acting. Jared, Jensen, Misha, Jim…ALL of them really upped their game in this one.
 
Honestly? Only one show before Supernatural has moved me emotionally like this, and that’s Firefly. I might be committing heresy by saying this, but after this episode…Supernatural might’ve just toppled even THAT lofty show for my emotional heartstrings.
 
I can barely believe we STILL have a finale to get through, and wonder how drained I’m going to feel after THAT episode. But as I keep saying to my friends who are Supernatural fans…Kripke and company will gleefully rip our hearts out. We will then stuff them back into our chests and then demand, nay, beg for more. And after this episode…I am definitely wanting of more.

 

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