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dean croatoan

Episode review - You Can't Handle the Truth (6.06)

Posted on 2010.11.02 at 00:50
Tags: , ,
Gradually catching up on the reviews. This season is going to kill me.

You Can’t Handle the Truth

Honestly, this ep was a bit of a roller-coaster for me. At the start, I was mostly relieved they’d decided to deal with the Big Question, rather than giving us little snippets of is-it-or-isn’t-it Sam behaviour. In the middle, I was more genuinely frustrated than I can remember being with Show for a long time (I have a long fuse and tend not to frustrate easily). By the end, I was surprisingly near tears, and faced with a whole new set of questions. For me, that constitutes a highly satisfying experience. So yep, positive review again!

• THEN. OK, we’re dealing with two key threads here – what’s up with Sammy? and Can Dean have hunting and a family? Both issues I’ve been keen for them to explore more – and after last week, the more they can give me on Sam, the happier I’ll be. Because I’m starting to fear they’re going to taunt us with this unresolved issue for the WHOLE DAMN SEASON.

• NOW. And this must be Victim of the Week. She just wants the truth, huh? Could this be in any way relevant? EWWWW I’m never eating clam chowder again! (No hardship, I’ve never eaten it yet, so this won’t constitute too much of a lifestyle change.) Ooh this is harsh – if she’s a 3, they need to invent a negative scale for me. And she has a fabulous sulk!

(By the way, I adore the little old lady, and demand her in every episode from now on. *giggle*) Anyhow, helpful family member advises her to do herself in for the greater good, so, armed with the handily-placed staff-use-only gun, she blows her head off.

• BOBBY! Obviously having a quiet moment, since Dean is actually getting a hearing on the whole ‘Sam’s different’ thing this time. Bobby points out, quite rightly, that if Sam is not human, then they need to treat him as a case and deal with him carefully – Dean’s a bit more gung-ho, but that’s understandable since he’s the one who’s got to live with the ‘case’ on a day-by-day basis. Bobby gives us his patented long-suffering ‘idjits’ look,

which impresses Dean this much:

• Sam comes back with junk food, prompting Dean to do one of those ‘Who me? Nope, not doing anything suspicious’ things. It’s got to be hard, given that he’s half-convinced Sam is Lucifer, not to just scream Yellow Fever-style every time he turns round or closes a door and Sam is right there. Anyway, Sam has a case. Dean is clearly very keen to get on board with this plan, as we can see from his reaction:

Although, with Sam giving him this look

who can blame him?

• Prominent cat pictures at the victim’s sister’s house. Could this be ... a clue? The sister is lying, and Sam knows it, because the sister has ‘tells’ that would be immediately apparent to a small child. Who is blind. And dead. Although Dean seems alarmed at Sam’s perspicacity. What is troubling is the unmasked glee Sam is showing – the person he is interviewing is clearly no more relevant in human terms than reading the newspaper report. Anyway, the sister caves, and reveals that she told Victim to top herself, but has no idea why.

• I can’t say too much about the dentist scene, because I pretty much had my eyes shut through the whole thing. Jeeze, the one time you don’t need to be hit with a truth curse is when you’ve got someone wielding a drill at you. Mind, the guy was 100% pure douche, so if it had to happen then I’m glad it happened to him. (I do love it when SPN is so gruesome that I literally can’t watch! Good to know Kripke’s still getting his 10 cents worth in!) (I did see enough to pinpoint the TV lady as the possible MotW, though).

• Dean’s back on the phone to Bobby, and they’re no further forward on getting to the bottom of the Sam problem. Bobby points out the worst-case scenario – ‘Maybe it’s just Sam’ – which I think we can all pretty much get behind. I’m increasingly convinced, though, that they wouldn’t waste so much time on this plot just for that outcome. Although, the worst worst case scenario is that it really is just Sam, and Dean’s perception has somehow been so distorted that he’s seeing things that aren’t there. It’s all too easy to get behind Dean’s POV as a neutral narration, but there’s no guarantee this is the case. Anyway, Dean looks pretty shattered by this possibility

before discarding it in favour of ‘Sam’s a monster’. Drinks beer and doesn’t phone Lisa. You wonder how much they can actually put Dean through. I blame Jensen for being too good an actor – I’m sure it spurs the writers on to give him all this traumatic stuff just so they can watch him being put through the wringer!

• Sam’s back with the dentist details, and couldn’t be more delighted – to be fair, Dean of old would probably have reacted just the same way. Dean sends Sam off to do some investigating, while he settles down with the Internet to try and work out what’s up with Sammy.

• Turns out the dentist has killed himself, but the assistant somehow heard enough to fill in the story (which means she must have been heavily into listening at keyholes, because she walked in when the drilling was well underway, but still.) Dean has heard enough, and diagnoses a truth curse. Clever Dean! Sam’s off to look at bodies (I think this may just be for fun) and Dean’s tasked with checking the dentist’s office. Thus interrupting his research on doppelgangers. OK, that’s a red herring, right?

• Dean mooches round the blood-spattered office until he notices the saxophone, placed handily near the BIG CLUE.

Harry’s House of Horns – the name on the fridge magnet in the first victim’s house – is on a receipt for 5 reeds and a ‘saxaphone lesson’. If I was having saxaphone lessons, I’d prefer to have someone who could at least spell saxophone.

• So he takes himself off to Harry’s House of Horns, for a word with Harry (I assume) who is under the impression that Dean has come about the stolen horn. And I love the pause-at-the-door moment when Dean figures out that this is, in fact, what he has come about.

The exasperation there must mean he’s got the possible angel-weapon connection straight away. I like smart Dean, and he’s very much in evidence today. The horn apparently went missing the same day Victim shot herself, so that fits.

• Dean’s back at the motel, researching angelic horns, and I am valiantly resisting any and all horn innuendoes. He gets a match, and wistfully appeals to Cas, as he has clearly been doing for some time. On this occasion, though, he turns round to be confronted with this:

• Cas’ attitude is very subdued during this scene, and he’s extremely tolerant of Dean and his outbursts. I have to say, Dean is somewhat unfair with his ‘what’s happened to you’ tirade – Cas is showing great concern and care for Dean, and more humanity (if that’s the right word) than we’ve seen from him for some time. But Dean, reasonably enough given his near-panic (not to mention the scotch he’s been putting away) is in no state to see things sensibly – and again, distortion of Dean’s narrative perspective. Could this be a clue?

• Also deeply interesting is Cas’ explanation. “I’m at war. Certain...regrettable things are now required of me.” Well, if that isn’t properly ominous I don’t know what is. Especially since Cas seems as near tears as I’ve ever seen him.

I find that expression, on Castiel’s face, genuinely frightening, and I imagine Dean would too if he was seeing the big picture.

• Oh, and one more interesting thing. Sam is not Lucifer. Not. Lucifer. Because Castiel would know if Lucifer was out and about. So, whatever is up with Sam, chances are it’s not that.

• I just love how patient Cas is being with Dean – and I love that Dean is able to be completely unreasonable, and there’s someone who’ll just soak it up and try to be comforting, because that’s true friendship and God knows Dean needs a friend at the moment.

• Dean now knows that Gabriel’s Horn is not the answer, and Sam’s off intimidating the mortician. Apparently the bodies have disappeared, which presumably is another CLUE.

• Bar. And look who’s on TV! Dean is drowning his sorrows while waiting for Sam to check in, and bending the ear of a sympathetic waitress. Sam has a lead, and is off to see if he can pinpoint the source of the curse, and Dean just....wants...the....freakin....


• Suddenly everyone’s spilling their innermost secrets (and cleavages) in Dean’s direction (and I do love that Dean goes back for a leer at that girl’s breasts, because his heart’s clearly not in it, so he’s just taking a moment to consider her feelings.) Dean (who is, after all, smart Dean today) catches on fast, and decides to call Bobby to see if he’s right.

• There follows a hilarious, not to mention disturbing, conversation where Bobby confides his love for Tori Spelling and Vietnamese foot massages, and something unmentionable about his first girlfriend. Also that Dean’s his favourite. This makes me happy. There’s been some collateral damage to the Dean-Bobby relationship in this season – this little comment goes some considerable way towards righting that wrong. And puts this look on Dean’s face

which is the closest thing we’ve seen to a smile from him for a good while now. (Not near close enough, mind, but it’ll have to do).

• Having established that he really is cursed, Dean makes the obvious decision – time to get some answers from his maybe-brother. (And does the most adorable Bewitched-style nose wiggle in the process. Look:

Obviously a nose wiggle is fairly uncappable, but I thought it was worth it anyway! :D)

• Sam’s not available to talk right now, as he’s having a pretty tedious conversation with some girl. Who has cat statues in her house. Hmm – not a CLUE, perchance? Heh, Mittens didn’t run away, so much.

• And any vague lightness this ep might have managed to develop in the last few scenes is over, folks, cos Dean’s phone’s ringing, and it’s Lisa. Who is going to hit Dean with the truth, both barrels. Seriously, I want to wrap him up and keep him where nothing else bad can happen to him – it’s so unremitting. And he knows what’s coming, as soon as she knocks back his attempt to defer the conversation, and all he can do is stand there and take it. It’s over, basically. And, basically, it’s over because Sam’s back. And now Dean is feeling like this:

– which I’ve spent ages trying to cap, because that’s pretty much direct to camera, and that’s the second time in 2 eps I’ve noticed him doing that.

• Ooh, Sam’s found the curse box. And that’s what happened to poor old Mittens! Still, all in a good cause. Especially if it means we get to some truth about Sam.

• But no. Sam seems to be immune, which can’t be a good sign. And this is the point where I was considering hurling the nearest heavy object through the screen. It’s just too much teasing, to let us this close to the truth and then just have Sam blatantly lying. (The only possible consolation, it looks for a moment like Sam’s very close to letting the truth slip – this could be a sign that he has made some deal whereby he’s not actually allowed to tell the truth. See, if Sam’s lying to protect Dean, it makes it rather more bearable. Bit of a long shot, though, given how close Dean has come to dying twice since Sam got back.) But Dean buys it, and apologises to Sam for doubting him, which made me want to scream.

• Back at the motel, a bit of research finally gives them the answer to what they’re dealing with – Veritas, Goddess of truth, who gives people the truth until they can’t handle it and kill themselves, at which point she eats the bodies. Sweet. Still Smart Dean realises that Veritas would probably be most effective, in this age of technology, by employing the medium of television. So the baddie is the TV lady! Excellent! (We’ll ignore the part where Dean is the next item on the menu.)

• So it’s down to the TV station to pinch the hard drive or whatever piece of equipment that is, containing all the footage of Ashley Frank. Frank, do you see? Like the casual detail of Dean paying off some guy at the TV station. Also like the continuity of Sam staying focused while Dean eats, wanders round, basically lets Sam get on with it, because that’s the brothers as they used to be. Although the reason for it is that Dean has opened himself up yet again to trusting Sam, thereby setting himself up for yet another crunching fall. *sigh*

• They finally pinpoint her through eye flare on the camera, and really they need to take some time out, drag out their collection of Supernatural books and read the Season 1 stories – I’m sure it would save them a lot of time over the coming weeks.

• Off to Baddie central – ooh, she’s got a nice car. And quite a few cats. And a really lovely apartment. Sam has thought to slaughter a dog or two en route, so they’re well armed.

• Eeeuchhh to the cat lapping at the blood. That’s deliciously grisly! And there’s our goddess, looking amazingly glamorous as she effortlessly flings the boys across the room to crash into unconsciousness.

I love that shot – it really shouldn’t be beautiful, but it really is. Is there a metaphor in the boys being joined by blood there? Why the hell not?

• Having got our two boys securely tied up, Veritas chows down on the last victim’s tongue – ‘the tastiest part’, apparently, and how is it fair that she manages to look that elegant while eating the body parts of a corpse? – while Sam gets to work with the knife he has cunningly secreted in his sleeve. Dean tries a bit of banter, but she’s not having any, and Show decides it’s time for a bit more teasing by having the goddess work her mojo on – Dean. She’s clearly not been paying attention.

• Dean’s truth is heartbreaking, pure and simple, summing up the broken-ness he has been showing since at least Season 2, and arguably much longer. He clearly has no hope left, is resigning himself to his fate – the life of a killer. This from Mr ‘Screw destiny’.

Meanwhile, Sam appears to be genuinely surprised at Dean’s feelings towards him – but it’s kind of hard to tell what’s genuine about Sam now. As is about to be comprehensively shown – buckle up, it’s time to destroy Dean again.

• Veritas decides it’s Sam’s turn and turns her attention to him. And Sam spills some stuff about watching out for each other, and Dean has an expression on his face that is so many emotions at once that it’s impossible to figure out.

Although I’d have to say that ‘trust’ isn’t one of the dominant ones.

• The shocker – Veritas says Sam’s lying. Sam says that’s impossible – Veritas agrees, deciding he can’t be human. She’s completely thrown, and appeals to Dean for further information, but Dean’s too busy having his heart ripped from his body yet again

to be of much use.

• Sam manages to cut through his ropes, sliding the knife neatly across to Dean, and takes on Veritas, who, being a goddess, naturally has a bit of an edge, but it gives Dean the time to get free and launch an attack of his own. Between them, in a lovely piece of teamwork that may well be the last we see for some time, they see off Veritas, pick themselves up, dust themselves off and head off into the sunset. At least, that’s Sam’s plan.

• Dean has other ideas, and what follows is the most upsetting scene for my money since the end of When the Levee Breaks, and I include the S5 finale in that. Dean holds his brother off at knifepoint, and Sam looks pretty damn frightened

as well he should given that Dean looks all set to revisit his glory days and indulge in a spot of torturing.

It’s horrid – Dean’s lost it completely, demanding answers while in practically the same breath pointing out that he can’t believe anything Sam says.

• And out comes the truth, at last, or maybe it isn’t – the lines are so blurred by now that it is impossible to know. What I think is that this is NOT the truth, certainly not the whole truth – Veritas seemed pretty sure Sam wasn’t human, and that can’t be discounted. I think Sam knows he’s lying, specifically about the ‘not knowing what’s wrong with him’ part – I reckon he knows full well, but has his reasons for not telling. I think he’s telling the truth about the symptoms – the argument about how he knows he should care but can’t resonates with his explanation in ep 1 about why he wanted Dean with him. But I have no faith whatsoever in Sam’s plea for help – I think that’s Sam saying what he thinks Dean wants to hear.

• Oh God, this last part. And I’ve been thinking for a while that Dean owes Sam a beatdown. But not like this. There are only two explanations – one, that Dean, having no clue what he can and can’t believe any more, and having had his life torn apart irrevocably, just snaps. Hits Sam, and then can’t stop. And the worst of it is, that’s the preferable option. Because the other is based on my Dean-as-unreliable-narrator theory, and it scares the hell out of me. If Dean’s perception is distorted, if he’s seeing things that aren’t there, then Sam is just Sam, and Dean has just beaten his brother half to death for no reason whatsoever. Either way, I fear for Dean’s sanity, and I hope to hell that Castiel is keeping a close eye on him, because this:

is not something the brothers are bouncing back from any time soon.


vanillafluffy at 2010-11-02 01:57 (UTC) (Link)
Just as a sidenote, did you notice that Dean hit Sam 13 times? Nicely symbolic, I thought.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-11-02 02:14 (UTC) (Link)
Ooh no, I didn't. (I was too busy hugging myself and trying not to sob!). That is nice symbolism. Also nearly as many times as he hit the Impala in S2. And with much the same motivation, I'd guess. (Wouldn't it have been brilliant if they'd had Dean hit Sam exactly as many times as he whacked the Impala with that crowbar?)

Edited at 2010-11-02 02:14 (UTC)
vanillafluffy at 2010-11-02 03:56 (UTC) (Link)
See, now, THAT killed me worse---Dean whaling on the Impala. I watched it the first time the ep aired, and after that, I hastily hit mute and/or looked away. What can I say, I'm a car slut.

The boys whaling on each other, though...I look on this partly as Dean evening the score for Swan Song. Yes, I know, that one-sided fight wasn't Sam in control of himself, but consider the amount of grief he put Dean through before they ever got to that point: There was the demon's blood and lying and betrayal in spades before they ever got to Stull Cemetery.

Then Sam letting him suffer in suburbia thinking he was in the Pit. And when Dean's adjusted to that, Sam yanks him back into the hunting life and tears apart the only mature romantic relationship he's ever had. So much for normal life!

The beating was painful to watch, but Dean's got a breaking point, and it's not surprising he's finally hit it.

Don't know if you're spoiled for previews, but I'll just say that it looks like exactly what I predicted from the first or second ep of the season....

I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-11-02 10:04 (UTC) (Link)
Dean hitting the Impala was awful, and worse in the sense that the Impala had done nothing to deserve it.

I look on this partly as Dean evening the score for Swan Song

Yep, there's definitely some of that in there, no doubt. And while we're doing numbers, from the point where Lucifer!Sam has Dean up against the side of the Impala, he hits Dean twelve times - the killer blow, that is never delivered, would have been the 13th. Which is either a) lovely mirroring, or b) me reading way too much into it! XD

Dean's got a breaking point, and it's not surprising he's finally hit it.

This, absolutely. I don't blame him in the slightest. Especially since he hasn't really let go like this since that Impala-beating - that's a whole lot of pent-up angst!

vanillafluffy at 2010-11-02 10:57 (UTC) (Link)
B, reading way too much into it! :~>

Another echo for me was Dean's "truth"---he may believe that he's akiller, etc., but that's feeling, not fact, and it's very much in keeping with his doppelganger's accusations in "Dream a Little Dream of Me".
dragonlit at 2010-11-02 02:34 (UTC) (Link)
But I have no faith whatsoever in Sam’s plea for help – I think that’s Sam saying what he thinks Dean wants to hear.

THIS! Because Sam prefaced it with "I'm a better hunter than I've ever been", I seriously doubt that he really wants help. That or there might just be some compulsion on Sam to not say anything or say enough just to get what he perceives he needs. My initial feel for the beatdown at the end was that Dean in addition to being royally pissed was determined that he WAS going to make sure Sam did get the help or at least drag Sam somewhere where Dean could find out wtf had happened to him.

But Dean is so broken here, losing Lisa, Cas in his own quest, Sam just not the brother Dean needs. Bobby seems like his only source of solace. Writers are killing Dean and me in such a good way!!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-11-02 10:12 (UTC) (Link)
there might just be some compulsion on Sam

You know, I can't decide whether I want this scenario or not. I did, because it gave the brothers a potential fix down the road. But now - Sam's put Dean through so much, I'd really hate for Dean to have to back down and apologise because hw should have known Sam was doing the right thing really, whatever. Dean has so little left - I want him to keep at least his dignity.

Writers are killing Dean and me in such a good way!!

Oh, and me. I'm beginning to realise there may be a limit to how much I can bear to watch Dean suffer - and I've never felt that before, because he suffers so beautifully! But it's actually starting to hurt to watch now. (Haven't reached my limit yet, mind, I'm on board for a bit more Dean-torment! But they need to take care not to damage him so badly it can't be fixed, is all.)

Edited at 2010-11-02 10:13 (UTC)
blythechild at 2010-11-03 15:29 (UTC) (Link)
I'll be back tomorrow. Wednesday is Hump Day aaaand Supernatural Day in the Great White North *winks*
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-11-03 15:57 (UTC) (Link)
I'm amazed you're here at all - I hope you managed to scroll down with your eyes closed! *g* Look forward to chatting soon. :)

(I had no idea what 'hump day' meant. Now I do. Thanks! :D )
blythechild at 2010-11-03 16:05 (UTC) (Link)
I'm overly eager, I guess.

They don't have "hump day" where you are? Well, here's another one that I heard this a.m. - after Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-11-03 16:30 (UTC) (Link)
Heh - like that!

I think 'hump day' is predominantly your side of the Atlantic, although I'm hardly the most clued in to such things. I bet I hear it here soon now, just to prove me wrong!
Cooper West
mikes_grrl at 2010-11-04 01:28 (UTC) (Link)
I...I have SO MUCH TO SAY. And yet I'm exhausted, it's been a long day. So I'll be back tomorrow. For now, to recap:

This post =
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-11-04 12:28 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!! *big smile*

I'll look forward to your comments. In the meantime, get some sleep, and come back refreshed! :)
blythechild at 2010-11-04 19:20 (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear, I'm angry and frustrated now. Last night was NOT a pretty scene in my living room...

First off: extra juicy opener? grooooooooooooooss, man.

Secondly: fuckadoodle-doo, can we just get a few answers re: Strange!Sam or the Post Apocalypse Apocalypse?!? any time now would be good...

Thirdly: is it just me or are the episode "cases" kinda getting lamer? Veritas? Really? They seem to exist as a vehicle for showcasing Dean Angst while simultaneously providing ZERO insights.

Fourthly: Cas, I'm totally down with you having a lot on your plate right now, but you'd better BRING something to the table the next time you drop into a scene to mope about >:/

Fifthly: Sam & Dean @ Veritas' pad -> can we haz sum answers?! uhhh, noes? just a disturbing beatdown, huh? ok - I guess that we don't have much choice in the matter, but I'm warning you, Show, I'm no longer enjoying SPN. Fix that, tout suite!

and Finally: the trailer for next week's episode shows Sam & Dean united against Samuel, The Campbells and the Alpha Vamp (with nary a bruise in sight). W.T.F. You CANNOT gloss over that beatdown - I will not stand for it. *blythe's NOT AMUSED face*

I'm really close to hating this season.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-11-04 19:54 (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I had a feeling your reaction might be something like this! I do tend to think Show plays better if you prefer Dean to Sam - and always has - because they have a bit of a habit of overloading it with angsty!Dean situations while underplaying Sam's issues. And as a rule, because I do prefer Dean, I can go with that. But, as I found myself (rather to my surprise) commenting above, the amount they're loading onto Dean is beginning to become genuinely unsettling to watch.

(I haven't seen the 'soon' for next week, but I'll be extremely disappointed if there's no follow-up to that beating. Not least because if they're going to drive Dean to breaking point like that, it's completely unrealistic to expect him to then go 'oh actually, I feel OK now' and move on. That was the one aspect of that scene that pleased me - an acknowledgement that, even if you are Dean Badass Fuckin Winchester, there is a point at which you will snap. Now they need to run with the fallout from that.)

I do, for what it's worth, have a feeling we are edging towards some sort of answer re Sam. As for the Apocawhatever, more would be extremely welcome - I agree, Cas could really do with actually communicating, especially if he's expecting help, rather than just making cryptic angsty comments. In Cas' defence, Dean is so completely self-involved at the moment that I'm not sure if he'd notice even if Cas gave him the full story with pictures.

Obviously, I'm enjoying Show more than you are at the moment, but I'm having to overlook some moments of intense frustration to do so!

blythechild at 2010-11-04 20:15 (UTC) (Link)
I think that this level of frustration this far into the season over basic stuff is unacceptable to me. Yeah, I'm a Sam girl but I haven't found Show on the whole to be too Dean favored - especially when Sam was going through his "Waht, Ima demon?!?" phase. And don't get me wrong, Dean is pretty and funny and all around awesome - just not so much when his emotional nads are constantly in a vise.

I'm glad that you didn't see the sneak peak for next week 'cause I'm sure that there would be a lamp sticking out of your tv at this moment if you had ;)
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-11-04 23:30 (UTC) (Link)
I think I can get on board with them spending the first half of the season doing 'Sammy's wrong again' as long as they then have them reconciled well enough to spend the second half sorting out the Apocaherewegoagain as a team. (And I definitely don't mean as Team Campbell with all its bonus players - the day Gwen saves Sam and Dean is the day that lamp really will collide with my screen!)

As for Dean: yeah he's pretty, even more so when he angsts - and you have to give serious points to Jensen Ackles for still having new 'emotionally destroyed' expressions to share with us, any lesser actor would have run out about 2 seasons ago! - but the impact of the traumas is lessened by the fact that there is no contrast. I miss badass Dean, with the cocky smirk and the "give 'em hell attitude".

(But then, having said all that, I will feel seriously cheated if I don't get some fairly hefty angst on the back of the end of this ep. So - I don't claim to be consistent! *g*)
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