Recap: Supernatural Episode 11, Appointment in Samarra

Dean (his voice desperate): There’s gotta be something.

Of course he’d think that—because there always has been. Whether it’s crossroad deals or angel intervention or perhaps even the ‘will of God’ (like in HOTH), he and Sam and for a time even John have been able to find a way to save a member of their family when the situation looked hopeless. Except once—when Sam fell into the Cage. Then, Dean thought they’d lost. But…once he realized he’d been wrong even then, there’s no reason for him not to push Death into giving up a way to rescue Sam’s soul.

But Death pulls a Merryweather (as in the Fairy of Happiness from Sleeping Beauty) and says he can’t erase Sam’s Hell…but he can put it behind a wall. A wall in Sam’s mind that would hold back the tide. Tessa interjects that it wouldn’t be permanent, and Death agrees—if the wall should ever fail, it would do all the bad things to Sam that both Cas and Crowley eluded to.

Okay, now, for just one tiny second I want to have a disgruntled moment. Where’s Dean’s wall? Y’know? He had to go through Hell—and no, it wasn’t in a Cage being kicked around by two angry angels, but it was still torture…by Alistair, on a rack of pain. And with all the insinuations we’re getting from examples of other torture and Dean’s reactive, too-casual remarks about and reactions to rape, it was invasive, dehumanizing, and all together destructive torture.

He survived it, was pulled out of that, and forced to re-enter life and still fight the bad guys and the only thing he was given to deal with his pain and nightmares was a constant supply of Jack Daniels, and a reminder that he had a place on the food chain and a job to do.

So…it kinda looks like we have two options: 1) consider Dean tougher than we thought because he was able to survive without a wall {which is unlikely}, or 2) accept that the Show is saying Sam’s Hell was so much worse he needs a (potentially fallible) wall to hold back the nightmares and utterly incapacitating psychic pain.

*takes breath*

Okay. I’ll deal with it, for the sake of the Show and the ongoing journey of my hero, I’ll deal with it. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t make Dean any less of a hero in my eyes.

Dean still went through what he went through—he did it to save his brother, and it took it head-on. He survived it and he survived life after it and he survived life without Sam and he survived life with soulless Sam and now he’ll survive whatever comes next. He’ll be there for his brother, because he always has and it’s part of what made me fall for him in the first place. And maybe…just maybe…he’ll be able to end this latest journey through another version of Hell on Earth to find his own life. For good this time.

Plus…I can see potential for what that wall and the ever-threatening crumble of it could mean. For both characters. Okay, enough, Gaelic. Move on.

Dean recaps, saying that his choices are basically Sam with no soul or Sam with a drywall in his head. Death says yes and Dean’s like, “Do it.” He can’t leave his brother down there. He just can’t.

Death’s like, ah-ah, not so fast. This is all contingent upon Dean winning the wager. Dean sighs a very expressive it’s always something sigh and says, “What’s the bet?”

Death steps up close and says softly, “Don’t roll your eyes, Dean. It’s impolite.”

Dean pulls his head back in reaction and there is an utterly silent, but still very much there ‘gulp’ in his whole demeanor. Death tells him that he wants Dean to wear his ring. Be Death for a day.

Back in the procedure room, the heart monitor is still wailing a flat line and Freddie orders Eva to get the adrenaline.

Death tells Dean that if he takes the ring off before 24 hours are up, no soul for Sam. Dean, swallowing hard, half-nods, asking, “But…why?”

Death: Because—

And Freddie brings Dean back to life with a harsh, rough gasp for air. Dean laments that he wanted five more seconds but Freddie informs him that he was actually dead for seven minutes. Yikes.

We leave the good doctor and Dean and Sam are at Bobby’s house. The brothers are facing off in Bobby’s study and Bobby’s sitting on the couch, positioned kind of between them, watching the angry tennis match of words. Dean tells Sam about Death’s deal and the wall that Death would put in Sam’s mind and to say Sam is resistant would be an understatement.

Sam: You’re playing fast and loose with my life.

Dean: I’m trying to save your life!

Sam: It’s my life! My soul! And it’s not your head that’s going to explode when this whole scheme of yours goes sideways.

Sam may not care about anyone else, but he sure does care about self-preservation. Not that I blame him for that…just find it interesting how the Show is interpreting how one would act if the thing that made us us is ripped out and we recognize we have no moral compass and could care less about people who used to be as important to us as our own heartbeat.

Bobby speaks up, the voice of reason, and wants to know what Dean has to do in order to get Death to play ball. Dean tells them about having to wear Death’s ring for a day.

Aside—I wonder if the other rings held that same kind of power. If they put on Famine’s ring, would they be able to drive people crazy with want? How about making people sick by wearing Pestulance’s ring? Or is the fact that those other Horsemen are dead render the rings useless? Just…wondering.

Sam heads out, saying he needs to go for a walk and wrap his head around all of this. Next thing you know, Sam’s standing in the junkyard next to what looks like a small, dug-up hole and Dean and Bobby approach him, Dean holding Death’s ring. Sam continues to say he was just going for a walk; he wasn’t looking for the ring, no sir, uh-uh.

Dean: I’m your brother. I’m not gonna let you get hurt. I know what I’m doing here.

Sam: What if you’re wrong?

Dean: I won’t let it go wrong.

It’s a familiar promise, one that pulled Dean through so much just being able to say it; one that Sam used to believe…when he was still Sam.

Sam: Fine. I’m trusting you here. You’re the one with the compass, right? Just…don’t mess it up.

Dean turns to leave and as he walks past Bobby he says in a low voice, his lips barely moving, “Watch him.”


Gaelicspirit is a storyteller. She is a recent addition to Whedonverse Network, but has been writing and posting recap/reviews of Supernatural on LiveJournal since 2007. She works as a freelance writer and consultant in the real world, and is ever-connected to the six-degrees of Joss Whedon.


Gaelicspirit is a storyteller. She is a recent addition to Whedonverse Network, but has been writing and posting recap/reviews of Supernatural on LiveJournal since 2007. She works as a freelance writer and consultant in the real world, and is ever-connected to the six-degrees of Joss Whedon.

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