For me this show just wouldn’t be ‘Supernatural’ without Jensen and
Jared as their respective characters, Dean and Sam. And I’m a
happy camper when an episode is filled to the brim with them.
‘Dream a Little Dream’ is just such an episode. I mean, where
do I begin? My cup runneth over! We get to see some of the their
best acting and a broadening of their characters like no episode
has ever done before. I never appreciated how thirsty I was for a
long drink of the Sam & Dean storyline persuasion until I saw this
episode. TO THE BRIM – I TELLS YA!
Food. (Hmmmm… maybe it’s time for supper. Can’t stop! Must
finish!) This episode has so much food for thought that I could
spend the next month thinking and writing about it and still not
plumb its’ depths. So, rather than attempt that, I will instead focus
on some of the highlights. Although, to be fair, this whole episode
is highlightful. Is that a word?
Not to worry. We’ll just take it as it comes.
It’s always nice to have Bobby in an episode because I think he
brings out the best in Dean and Sam. He’s sorta their guiding light,
so to speak. But, here, in the episode’s opening scene, he’s in a
dark place himself, lost and trapped and scared out of his wits. Not
the usual set of circumstances we normally find him in. And it’s
because he’s not really there. Not really. Just caught in a nightmare
he can’t wake up from. And a Demon at his heels. And so it begins…
From there we find Sam in a bar. Dean spots Sam drinking whiskey
at in the afternoon and reprimands him. Poor Sammy’s all sad
and pouring out his feelings about his perceived failure at helping
Dean and tells him: “I tried to save you. I mean…. where you’re
going?..... what you’re gonna become?… I can’t stop it. I mean…
no one can save you because you don’t want to be saved…...
how can you care so little about yourself?” That’s a great question.
You can tell that Sam is heartbroken and at this point, so am I.
He just wants so much more for Dean but Dean isn’t cooperating.
And when he’s exposed to this honesty, Dean has little to say.
But, you see all kinds of emotions cross his face. Bewilderment.
Denial. Resignation. Maybe a little belligerence. And I’m thinking
– ‘How the Hell does he do that! How can Jensen do that?’ I
mustn’t ponder it too long because I can get lost in the reverie
that is ‘Supernatural’. . . so, onward and upward. Sam’s queries
are interrupted when Dean receives a call, so off they go and we
next find them in a hospital room with Bobby lying comatose in
a bed, looking pretty helpless and vulnerable. I thought it was a
wonderful revelation to find that Bobby had chosen Dean as his
emergency contact. Gives us just a little bit more insight on
their relationship. He has no one else but those boys.
When we next find Dean & Sam, they’re in Bobby’s hotel room trying
to make some sense of his predicament, and in usual hunter fashion
they swiftly find the clues they’re looking for in his closet, hidden
behind his hung-up clothes. So, they’re off and runnin’ to find the
cause of Bobby’s present state. Sammy works on the research
end of this ‘dream root’ that Bobby’s notes and pictures mention.
And Dean? Well, Dean’s doing his ‘detective’ gig and, man, he’s
getting very good at it. From Bobby’s notes Sam spotted an obit
about a Sleep Disorder doctor who died after falling asleep and
never woke up. Kinda like the sit’iation Bobby was in. Dean’s
whole ‘tough cop’ thing when confronting the late Doctor’s sleep
lab assistant was a joy. She wasn’t very forthcoming with the info
he needed until he threatened her with the prospect of taking her
in for questioning. Took some testicular fortitude. But it got her to
spill her guts. Who said Dean can’t think on his feet. See?......
He uses his upstairs brain!
The next stop in his investigation takes him to one of the good
doctor’s test subjects, Jeremy Frost.
There’s another small revelation here, this time about Dean’s past,
when Jeremy tells him that the elixir he had to take to get him into
a dream-state caused him very vivid dreams. “Like a bad acid trip,
you know? And Dean responds: “Totally! …I mean…. No!”
So, armed with all this information, Dean and Sam come to the
conclusion that they will need to score some ‘African dream root’
if they’re gonna be able to help Bobby. When Dean realizes that
Bela is their only hope to get their hands on some and will have to
ask her for help, his statement to Sam sums it up pretty good. “I
feel dirty just thinking about it.” But you gotta do what you gotta do.
So….It’s Bela or squat.
This is where I’m going to mention an odd scene in this adventure.
I kinda got the impression that the crew were not sure just where to
put Sammy’s dream about Bela so they just tossed it at this point.
It would have fit in better after Sam’s little afternoon bender except..
there was no mention about soliciting Bela’s help until after Dean
and Sam had visited a sleeping Bobby in the hospital and Sam
seemed sober by that time. But, never mind that. Sam’s hidden
(maybe even to himself) crush on Bela was wonderful. Just the way
I would imagine it would be if I were a 20 something guy and
someone like her always skirting around my subconscious mind -
even if she was a pain in the ass. Or maybe because she was.
Who the hell knows. I just thought it was a delightful little scene that
gave us just a small window into Sam’s slightly elicit desires. I just
have to say here, to give Jared his much-deserved due, that he
was incredible with HIS range of emotions after waking up from
his lustful dream fantasy. Embarrassment and horniness and
obfuscation about the state he was in was exquisite.
Too precious for this world!
I gotta tell ya, when the brothers set off on their journey in their quest
to come rescue Bobby, kick-started by some of the awful-tasting
‘dream root’ elixer with just a dollop of Bobby’s hair, I knew we were
in for one helluva ride. Their jumping-off point was in Bobby’s rather
gaudy hotel room and they landed….. in Bobby’s house, minus the
books and dust. Let me tell you about the separate paths Sam and
Dean took from there. Dean stayed back in the house, a house full
of shadows and fear… and Sam….well, he went to explore outside
and found himself in a bright and beautiful garden and an insane
Jeremy (apparently the doctor’s star pupil) intent on doing him
harm. Not sure what to make of that. I’ll just put my two cents worth
in here. Actually, I have more questions than answers but I’ll give it
a shot. Dean stayed inside, doing what he does best. You know,
helping people and hunting things. Falling back on the kind of
behavior that his Dad trained him to do so well. Whereas, Sam
went off, outside his customary place next to Dean, beyond his
comfort zone, exposing himself to a greater unknown. Where things
aren’t always as they seem. Bigger and brighter but unexplored
territory that contains more unpredictability. Kinda like where Sam
is headed as YED’s chosen one. Maybe that’s why Bobby, later,
when revived from his ‘sleep’ with the help of the boys, asked Sam
if his dream experience had anything to do with his ‘psychic stuff’.
And Sam answers: “No….well, I don’t think so.” And Bobby
He hasn’t forgotten about Sam’s supposed ‘destiny’.
I’ll back-track at this point to bring us to Dean and his mission
to bring Bobby out of his dream (actually a virtual nightmare
considering that the Demon pursuing him was his wife and…
had been dispatched by him because of an unfortunate
demonic possession. It’s no wonder he never remarried and…
it’s no wonder she was pissed) and back to the land of the living.
And this he accomplishes by convincing Bobby that ‘this is ONLY
a dream’ and tells Bobby: “You’re not gonna die. I’m not gonna
let you die. You’re like a father to me.” With those stunning words,
Bobby is able to break free from his nightmare and awakes from
his dark slumber. With Dean’s task successfully completed, the
brothers are brought back as well.
So far, so good. But now they must find the purveyor of death
and nightmares and stop him before he kills them. We find out
that Jeremy has disappeared and the only way to find him is to
use the ‘dream root’, let down the barriers and put themselves in
mortal danger. Guess who decides this course of action? Why,
Dean, of course. He tells Sam: “I can handle it.” Sam responds:
“Not alone, you can’t.” And with that, proceeds to rip some hair
off Dean’s head. Too cute and so brotherly. Dean’s none too
thrilled with the prospect of having Sam ‘digging around’ in his head.
But Sam will not be deterred and follows Dean like the good brother
he is. Sleep overtakes them and the first vision from Dean’s mind
that they encounter is Lisa Braeden. She is ensconced on a picnic
blanket with wine glasses held in anticipation of Dean joining her
before they ‘have to pick Ben up from baseball’. Sam looks on,
incredulous. All Dean can say is: “I’ve never had this dream
before.” Which is probably true, but, it brings to the forefront
Dean’s hidden desires and regrets. Feelings that he never dared
express consciously but were tucked away deep within the recesses
of his heart of hearts. A son to carry on his legacy. The love of his
son’s mother. His dream-state laid bare, everything that he tried to
keep hidden, even from himself is brought into the open.
When they both finally spot Jeremy, they sprint after him only to
get separated again – following their own paths – dutifully intent
upon executing their pursuit of the ‘evil’ that must be dealt with.
Sam first. He is the one who confronts the culprit that’s been causing
all the trouble. Jeremy wants to knock him down and keep him down.
Which he does. He’s becoming more powerful and restrains Sam to
the ground with stakes and as we see Sam from above it strikes me
that he is held in check in a manner reminiscent of Christ on the Cross.
And to reinforce that image, Jeremy puts great effort in beating Sam’s
legs. That was the method used by the Romans to speed up the death
of those they crucified. Will Sam be the savior that sends all the
Demons, loosed upon an unsuspecting world, back to Hell where
they belong? Will he be the one that saves Dean from his almost
Dean, meanwhile, finds himself in a long hallway cleverly disguised
as the woods he was just running in. And notices the door at the end
of the hall. As he walks closer then pushes the door open, he finds
someone sitting with his back to him. Dean calls out Jeremy’s name
but the person sitting at the desk turns around and Dean realizes
that this person is…him.
Dark Dean greets him: “Hey, Dean.” And our Dean, offering a
typical rejoinder answers: “Aren’t you a handsome
son-of-a-gun!” But Dark Dean is not put off: “We need to talk.”
With that, our Dean (still in smart-ass mode) says: “I get it. I’m
my own worst nightmare.” A very atsute declaration considering
the terrifying circumstances. I am going to put forth the rest of
their exchange verbatim. This amazing showdown needs to be
posited as it was spoken.
My paraphrasing could never, ever to it justice.
Dark Dean: “I know how dead you are inside….how worthless you
feel. I know how you look into a mirror and hate what you see.
You’re going to Hell and you won’t lift a finger to stop it.”
Our Dean (under his breath): “C’mon, Dean. Wake Up!”
Dark Dean: “ After all, you got nuthin’ outside of Sam. You are
nothing. As mindless and obedient as an attack dog.”
Of course, our Dean denies that. Fight back, Dean!
Dark Dean (we only see his cruel mouth): “What are the things
that you want? What are the things that you dream?”
Now the camera pulls back a little so we see a little more of Dark
Dean as he continues to torment our Dean. He says: “I mean…
your car? That’s Dad’s. Favorite leather jacket? Dad’s! Your music?
Dad’s. Do you even have an original thought? No!” And to further
twist the knife, he barks out a Dad-like order: “Watch out for Sammy!
Look out for your little brother, Boy!” But he’s not finished… “You
can still hear your Dad’s voice in your head, can’t ya? Clear as a bell.”
Our Dean: “Just Shut Up!”
Dark Dean: “I mean…think about it. All he ever did was train you.
Boss you around. Sam? Sam he doted on. Sam he loved. Dad
knew who you really were. A good soldier and nothing else.
Daddy’s Blunt Little Instrument. Your own father didn’t care whether
you lived or died. Why should you?” Now I know that Dark Dean was
only speaking to our Dean’s self-hatred but his dad DID care if Dean
lived or died. He traded his life for Dean’s. But when all was said
and done, it was too late to heal the damage his Dad had done to
him. The result was a broken and ravaged soul.
Up to this point, our Dean has reacted only minimally. But his face
speaks a thousand words. I’m stunned. I’m mesmerized. I can’t
begin to imagine the agony he is going through by this time. And
my heart is breaking for him. (Jensen made mention of this scene
at a question-and-answer session at Chicago Con in November.
When he was done filming that segment, he called home to talk to
family and to tell them to remind him why he had chosen this career.
I can understand his anguish.)
But Dark Dean finally pushes our Dean beyond passive listening.
He finally pisses our Dean off and we see a glimmer of the rage
he’s been hiding for so long. The rage he subdued so he wouldn’t
have to confront his own fears. And I rejoice!
This show is ….. remarkable!
Our Dean finally fights back!: “You Son of a Bitch! My father was
an obsessed bastard! All that crap he dumped on me about
protecting Sam? That was HIS crap! He’s the one who couldn’t
protect his family! He’s the one who let Mom die…..who wasn’t
there for Sam! I always was! He wasn’t there! I didn’t deserve
what he put on me and I don’t deserve to go to Hell !!!!!!” And
I’m cheering for our Dean. Devastated by the power of his
devastation. And I think again – ‘How does Jensen do it?
I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that this would have put an end
to Dark Dean’s taunting, but it was not meant to be. His threat cuts
right to the bone as he turns into Demon Dean: “You can’t escape
me, Dean! YOU’RE GONNA DIE! AND THIS…..THIS IS WHAT
YOU’RE GONNA BECOME !!” And then it’s over. Dean and Sam
wake up. But…Now…Dean might just be ready to talk to Sam
about his fears.
When they’re throwing their stuff in the trunk, Dean questions his
little brother: “Hey….Sam….I was wondering…. When you were in
my head, what’d you see?” Kinda feelin’ him out to see if Sam knew
what had happened to him? Maybe? Sam: “Ahh…just Jeremy. He
kept me separated from you. Easier to beat my brains out, I guess.
What about you? You never said.”Dean: “Nuthin’…I was looking for
you the whole time.”
Once in the car, though, Dean hesitantly decides to open up to
Sam just a little. A baby step. A giant leap for him.
“Sam?” “Yeah?” Dean clears his throat. Attempting to tell Sam of
his new commitment to start fighting for his life. “I’ve been doing
some thinking. And….Well, the thing is…. I don’t wanna die. I don’t
wanna go to Hell.” And Sam doesn’t know if he can believe what
he’s hearing. And with a quiet voice he says: “All right. Yeah. We’ll
find a way to save you.” A flicker of emotions cross Dean’s face.
Most pre-dominant is just a hint of relief. And all he says is:
“Okay. Good.” Two words that speak volumes.
BUT THAT SON OF A BITCH IS STILL
INSIDE HIS HEAD - TAUNTING HIM!