In the shocking aftermath of that episode (and I can tell you that this Dean girl found it almost impossible to get to sleep after watching Sam's ultimate sacrifice), I think sometimes we forgot that Dean lost both brothers in that final confrontation.
What must have been going through his mind as he braced himself in the car just outside the cemetery. In reality it was the two most powerful archangels in creation that he was about to confront, but in his heart he must have been very conscious of the fact that it was his little brothers. Especially the one whom he practically raised, and had sworn with his very life to protect at all costs.
The personal cost to Dean in those next minutes was practically immeasurable. His dogged determination to stay with Sam, reassuring the beloved brother trapped within his own body that he wasn't alone in this fight, that he was loved.
I was devastated over Sam's fate. But even though I wanted a much better end, I sort of feel that it was inevitable for Sam to make that decision. He'd been carrying such a crushing burden since the opening of the cage, knowing that it was his pride and blindness to Ruby's real motives that had brought on the end of the world. His desperation to do whatever it took to fix things, even at the cost of his own life, was a true reflection of the real Sam Winchester - not the prideful addict we saw in season 4.
And I think this passage so beautifully encapsulates all that it means to be a Winchester, it almost takes one's breath away: Since the Devil escaped at their hands, they felt it was their job to put him back, but the truth is they would have assumed that responsibility regardless. It's who they are and what they do...what they've always done. Their entire existence was based on saving people, stopping evil, doing their part to make the world a safer place. When the peril was the greatest, when the outcome the most critical, they were the men who stood up and did the job, whatever it took, regardless of the personal cost and with no expectation of reward or thanks. They did it because they couldn't not do it. Because they believed...in each other and in their cause. They couldn't walk away. They could never close their eyes to the encroaching darkness, not when they had the knowledge and skill to defeat it.
I completely agree - they couldn't not walk away. The fact that the devil had been let loose by their own hands - albeit after being manipulated by both heaven and hell into doing so - just made it personal.
Your story banner captures the final scene so well - the complete and utter devastation of Dean's soul, kneeling battered and bloody by his baby brothers' graves, knowing that they are lost to him forever, and wishing that he'd had the strength to fall into the pit with them. Lost and alone, not knowing how to be anything else but a big brother, but now having no one to be that big brother for.
I'm really loving your introspective pieces on this harrowing episode, BJ. Even though I'm tearing up again and again reliving those scenes.
Jules, again you give the most beautiful reviews. The care you take and the insight takes my breath away. I always need a few days to think up an appropriate response.
With a story like the Winchesters, with this most amazing and tragic ending, there is so much to explore further. My tags are a small attempt to further illuminate the Winchesters' struggles and sacrifices.
They are so very amazing, truly the heroes needed to save the world. DALDOS did an awesome job with my banner, that scene so pivotal to what Dean was feeling, so powerful in its simplicity.
And you are so right, Dean not only lost Sam, he lost his youngest brother. What a crushing loss to a man to whom family is everything. As a big brother it is devastating to no longer have his younger brothers.
I think that is why we so anxiously await S6, to see how Dean tries to find that family bond again. How he reaches out to Ben and Lisa for comfort. Dean is a survivor and somehow he has always found a way to keep going.
Thanks again, take care, B.J.