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SPN 11.16 Safe House

Posted on 2016.03.29 at 19:49
Current Mood: curiouscurious
SPN 11.16 Safe House

For more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil
than, you could say, with a piece of soul. If someone suddenly asks me, "Where's
your home?" I think about my sweetheart or my closest friends or the songs that
travel with me wherever I happen to be.
-- Pico Iyer

First things first: Bobby! Rufus! A blast from the past carrying an interesting connection to the present.

If someone were to ask you where's the place you feel safest, the answer is usually your home. Four walls and a roof -- but standing for so much more. It's your space, your privacy, where your memories are built, a place you may share with your loved ones. Safe and house usually go hand in hand as a concept.

There is another concept of home we are familiar with. The mental construct that forms our identify. We've all heard the phrase "the lights are on, but no-one's home" and we know it's referring to the person housed inside of the shell of their physical body.

This episode's Monster of the Week violated both homes, taking away the safety in the one place you don't anticipate needing protection from. The soul eater operated by invading first a home and setting up its nest, then attacking its occupants and stealing their souls, leaving the bodies to "wither away" and die.

Ah yes, that good old recurring theme: It's about the souls. Monsters just love feeding on human souls. From the fallen Grigori, to soul eaters, to the Darkness herself, human souls have been exposed as a power source for consumption by others, not just the light sparking one's own physical body and forming a vital part of their identity.

Rufus: What happens to the remains of the souls in the nest?
Bobby: Well, they wither too. But they stay with the soul eater, keeping it fed in lean times.

What an awful fate, to be trapped for an eternity of digestion, essentially. It sheds greater horror on the idea of Amara's consumption of souls. She might be sugar-coating the interpretation of her description ("no pain, just bliss"), but really think about it.

Amara: I consumed their souls. They aren't gone. They're a part of me and, in that way, they live forever. (11.10)

Yikes. How different is that from the Soul Eater, really?

Soul Eater: You know your brother wants to go to the Darkness. He needs to go. But I can keep you safe, both of you. Forever.

Sound safe to you or me? Of course not. The soul eater's attempt to persuade Sam that letting himself be eaten was just another twisted interpretation of what would really happen. As much as Sam wants to protect Dean from the influence the Darkness has over him, he knew this wasn't the solution, just another trap. He had a job to do, and a trap of his own to finish springing. That was the only way he was going to get his brother back home safe.

I can't help wondering if this was some foreshadowing to the possible solution of dealing with Amara. Dean had to sacrifice his own safety and risk being trapped forever in the Soul Eater's nest. Sam and Dean took it on faith that their plan would work, partly based on their knowledge that Bobby and Rufus had worked this case before to partial success. They weren't able to get all the details of what happened the first time around, but they pieced together enough by retracing Bobby and Rufus' steps to know that even after the souls had been stolen by the soul eater, there was still a window of time to get the souls returned before the body withered too far and died. So they took the risk of using the Men of Letter's sigil to kill the soul eater - a process that included letting Dean be soul-napped right into the nest so he could complete that part of the deadly trap they were setting for this creature.

Rufus: You know more than anyone Bobby, even if we find a way to keep the world spinning, not everyone's gonna be on that bus ride home. Sacrifice, greater good, all that jazz.
Bobby: Yeah, I know.
Rufus: Oldest rule in hunting, Bobby. You can't save everyone.

Giant anvillicious warning? Or red herring?

If I followed the details correctly, then my math has this both true and false. Bobby and Rufus didn't save the boy and his mother "a handful of years ago" back somewhere around Season 4. They did trap the creature with their sigil, preventing more souls from being consumed until that sigil was broken open again in Sam and Dean's current time line. But Bobby was also trapped, taken by the soul eater while Rufus painted the sigil. He didn't have the intention of being taken to the nest, didn't have the Men of Letter's beefed up sigil that would kill, not just trap. Unlike Dean, Bobby would have joined the victims at that time.

But the nest exists in place outside space and time, and there lay the loophole. When Sam and Dean killed the soul-eater, it seems that all the souls released returned back to their original times. Makes me wonder how many others were able to return to a salvagable body. We know of Bobby, Mary Henderson and her son, and Naoki Himura and her daughter. Some of those souls were so faded away, they likely didn't have a body to return to, or didn't have enough spark to light their house once released. The time-traveling rules are unclear here.

Dean: If Bobby did go into the nest back then, and you said that the nest exists outside of space and time, then... theoretically couldn't he and I have been there at the same time, right?
Sam: My head hurts

Yeah, mine too, Sam. Maybe I'm wildly wrong about it, maybe it is meant to remain one of those great unknowns, God works in mysterious ways, all that jazz.

But what if maybe, just maybe, Dean's connection with Amara plays out with a similar through-line. What if he does end up letting himself get taken by Amara as bait for a greater trap that needs two parts to be played, one from the inside and one from the outside?

It's not just the past and present crossing paths - it's all connected. Bobby was so worried about Sam and Dean, and they ended up saving him, unwittingly letting him carry on with helping them fight the Apocalypse. Now we have Sam so worried about his brother, and there is no knowing just how this is going to turn out.

Sacrifice then, and not everyone made it out. But Sam and Dean are still standing, defying all logic and odds. So maybe it's time to theorize away, because there isn't going to be a certain, foul-proof solution, just Sam and Dean having the guts to do the job, taking risks and maybe a leap of faith or two. They are fighting to keep the greater home, our very world, safe from the Darkness, even as they fight to keep their personal home - each other - safe. I could quote Death on their penchant for rule-breaking when it comes to their souls and cheating death, but instead, let's keep it even more simple.

Rufus: Forget the oldest rule, Bobby.

Yes, what he said.


borgmama1of5 at 2016-03-30 03:46 (UTC) (Link)
The akin to time-travel conundrum of this episode is both very clever and brain-hurting...

With 7 episodes left, there is so much yet that could happen, I haven't the foggiest idea of where this is all heading.

But show has really been hitting the 'sacrifice' theme hard...which is very nerve-wracking...
blackcat333_99 at 2016-03-30 22:52 (UTC) (Link)
I think we can all drive ourselves crazy with speculation right now, there are so many ways it could still play out, but yes, that sacrifice theme has been present in pretty much every episode now, so I have a bad feeling about this season's ending.... we will all have to hold hands and bite our nails together...
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