“You Can’t Handle the Truth” Review
By Bekah James
Viewers went into this week expecting to find out #WTFSam. The goddess of truth, Veritas, was set up to be the answer key to Sam’s issues, but I’m sorry to say that she was more like the No. 2 pencil bubbling Christmas trees across the Scantron of Sam’s issues. With each passing week, I grow more disturbed by Sam. I do not recognize this cold, callous man who belittle and berates witnesses. I was appalled at his treatment of Jane’s sister during his interview. Have we ever seen any hunter talk to a witness in the way Sam attacked her? He looked downright pleased with her confession about hurting her sister. I miss Sam’s kid-glove approach to human relations.
When Dean is spelled by Veritas and finally questions Sam, I held my breath, just waiting for an explanation that would help me understand where my Sam has gone. The moment he sighed that very ‘oh come on, do I really have to deal with this BS right now when I’d much rather kill something?’ sigh, I knew that he was capable of lying despite Veritas’s sway. I was shocked, dismayed and wanted to throttle Sera for the epic tease. I *am* surprised that Dean couldn’t read Sam’s ‘tells’ though… of course, Sam *did* fall back on Dean’s weakness, citing their brotherly bond with precise and biting timing. The calculating look in his eyes as he walked away from Dean made my stomach turn and the hair on my arms shimmy. He was so very pleased with his lies and his slick ability to float them past his brother. Suffice it to say, I was thrilled beyond reason when, at Veritas’s lair (lol, lair, seriously), Dean pulled the knife on his darling little brother. I leapt from my chair and *cheered* when Sam got the Lucifer-style beating he so richly deserved. Damn, but that was six episodes late!
[BEKAH’S SEQUITER-ISH NOTE: Let me slow down here and say what might not come across as obvious. I adore Sam. Even more to the point, I love me some Darkside Sam, so while I’m hard on him, it is hardness wrapped in love!]
Dean was put through the ringer in this one, so it’s no big surprise that he would unleash his ire, like a bottle of champagne shaken until the cork burst free. Between his reticence to be in the same room with Sam to his crushing break up with Lisa, he had more to deal with than the average person (or hunter) could ever hope to manage—especially without losing his zen-like cool. It is as odd to see Dean floundering and unsure as it is to see Sam distant and uncaring, albeit way less creepy. Here is a Dean of the people—an ordinary man struggling to make sense of a world gone mad. So desperate is he for the truth about his brother that he welcomes the curse of Veritas. (Side bar: I am glad Dean took a few seconds to admire Chesty McChestInplants at the bar… good times.) Talk about epically bad timing when Lisa called to hash out their problems. Would *you* want to fight with your significant other under the weight of unflagging honesty? Is that a ‘hell no’ I hear?
As a mother, I get why Lisa dumped Dean (over the phone!!) for shoving Ben. We all knew that Lisa wouldn’t survive (as Dean’s girlfriend) the Season, but ouch, I really didn’t want to see it end the way it did. Dean’s hurt was palpable and I wanted to crawl through the TV and snuggle him. Did anyone else expect Lisa’s truths to be harsher? How could she possibly not have volumes of brutal truths to unleash? After the djinn and Sam and the creepy bedside appearance… the list could go on, I’m sure. I don’t quite comprehend why Dean didn’t tell her about the vampire thing. As understanding as Lisa has been throughout this ordeal, I’m hard pressed to believe that nugget of truth wouldn’t have spared their relationship at least a little longer. I personally think that Dean was looking for the relationship to end, so he did nothing to prevent its demise (the paltry “it’s not what you think” totally doesn’t count; we’ve seen Dean go balls out over much less to get his way). The ass-beating he delivered to Sam was a product of having no reason to hold back. Who will blink if he loses his temper? Who will care if he goes darkside? Who does he have to answer to when he stops caring? Now that Lisa is gone, the answer is a big fat NO ONE (in Dean’s eyes). I was relieved he put the knife down before he started wailing on Sam. I could almost hear his “okay” before he threw the first punch—did you? Man, I don’t know if I can handle it if Dean angsts any harder. I love him, God knows I do, but I miss the witty one-liners and flirty smirks.
It was good to see Bobby attempting to help Dean wade through the swampland of his (extremely valid) paranoia. Leave it to Bobby to point out that the worst-case scenario is that Sam is just a dick now. I think we were all thinking it (Dean included), but were afraid to say it out loud. Jim Beaver had me in stitches as he earnestly confessed to his love of pedicures and “Tori & Dean”. He delivered his lines with such deadpanned finesse that I believed every word of it. My apologies, Jim, but you are inextricably linked with Tori Spelling in mind from now until the end of time. As an unabashed Cas’s Girl, I was filled with yays when Cas popped in to chat with Dean. Misha Collins never disappoints in his heartfelt portrayal of Cas, and this week was no exception. I know Cas came down to ultimately discuss Gabriel’s Horn of Truth (which, yes, is missing but did not appear in this episode… Is anyone else hoping that the archangel Gabriel himself may have been saved by God?), but Cas seemed distressed by his inability to shed light on the Sam Problem. Dean implied that Cas was more angelic (read: dickish), but I thought Cas was actually more *human* in their interactions. He expressed a desire to help Dean figure out what is going on with Sam, which revealed just how much he continues to care for Dean, and by extension, Sam. So, yes, Cas has been restored to his angelic self, but humanity clearly left its mark on his Grace. He appeared weary and defeated, almost as if he was inviting Dean to question him about his life and “regrettable” actions in Heaven. In this episode, he approached his time with Dean on a more personal level, as opposed to his time with the brothers in “The Third Man”. I’m intrigued and I hope to learn more before the Season closes.
Jan Eliasberg was back to direct this episode, which made me happy. But then… not as happy as I was last week. There was one particular transition that made me cringe. When Veritas wrist flicks the boys into unconsciousness, the screen fades to black, and then immediately comes back with the boys tied up and conscious in what appeared to be a Turkish Bath House. Um. Awkward? I thought that fade to black was a perfect place for a word from our sponsors. Beyond that, I was mostly okay with the direction. It was a dark episode that hit all of its marks thanks to Mr. Eliasberg. What the hell was up with Veritas’s Xena-esque costume change? I know, for me, after a long day of work, I like to come home and slip into something a little more ceremonial and encumbering. I think that costume choice (should I blame Mr. Eliasberg or the costumer, Philip Maldonado, for this?) made the scenes cartoonish. After five Seasons of understated costuming choices (hello—angels in suits?), I was disappointed in this choice. But, I do have to say WOO! to the cool CGI true-face of Veritas. When she whirled around to snarl at Dean after he stabbed her, I jumped! What an improvement over Dean’s fangs from “Live Free or Twihard”. Big kudos to the entire Special Effects team for their effort in this episode.
One other thing on the production side of things. Have you noticed how fond the Set Designers are of green-colored rooms? Seriously, think back to all the green we’ve seen over the Seasons. I wonder why. Any theories?
Overall, this episode was difficult to watch because of its emotional intensity. That is, of course, the very thing that made it wonderful. Season Six is hitting hard and fast, with just enough tease to make me want to crawl out of my skin, and enough clues to make speculation an Olympic sport.
Bekah’s Been Drinkin’ (There’s a tear in my bear)
This week I took a shot of Veritaserum every time I heard the word “truth” or “true”, etc. I counted 21 instances. Not bad. I was feeling good and a little chatty by time the credits rolled. Next week, let’s get personal: Drink every time YOU feel a visceral reaction to the Winchesterian interactions and/or emotions. Shew… I’m going to be wasted!