Episode 5.16

“Dark Side of the Moon” Review
By Amanda Rebholz

When an episode opens with the boys being fatally shot, you have to assume either the Trickster is involved or some other kind of weird happening; imagine, instead, my shock when I realized that the brothers truly had been shotgunned to death and were now in Heaven. However, the scene of Dean with a much-younger Sam was absolutely heartbreaking; it was the first time we’ve seen Dean smile without inhibition in a long, long time and seeing Sam hug him with such abandonment was both sweet and an agonizing reminder of how fall the two have fallen by the wayside. The contrast between the Winchesters was never made more apparent than the imagery of their own private Heavens; the things that Sam treasured more often than not were hellish for Dean. We also gained a bit more insight into the two’s own personal dynamics; Sam has always been a little selfish, a little more willing to see things his own way instead of the truth, while Dean has a long history of looking after his brother and taking care of his mother and his attachment issues with Sam began early on in the game.

The cameos in this episode from Traci Dinwiddie and Chad Lindberg were wonderful; seeing Ash and Pamela in Heaven, in the Roadhouse of all places, was a terrific treat. Ash as usual was right on point, and I absolutely adored his hilarious definition of Heaven and the fact that he built a Heavenly police scanner. And of COURSE he’s fluent in Enochian, why wouldn’t he be? I’m not entirely convinced that they weren’t put there as part of Zachariah’s scheme (he DID catch them right after Ash led them out the door, and Pamela was very persuasive and manipulative in her discussion with Dean), but assuming that they were there on general Winchester-friendly business, it was very cool to see them. It made me a bit sad that Jo and Ellen never showed up in Heaven— if they aren’t in Heaven, then where are they? Surely not Hell, not those two. And I believe that Ellen’s Heaven certainly would involve some form of the Roadhouse.

We now also officially know what a dick Zachariah is, on every possible front. However, while he plays dirty and is a puffed-up self-important suit, we also learned that he is insecure, unstable, and obviously not in favor of the Lord if Joshua intervened to stop his torment of the Winchesters. I have a hunch that when God DOES make His appearance (and I believe He will, in some form or another), Zachariah will get the Anna treatment from Him for his insolence.

For me, the most cruel scene was the fact that the boys had to break it to Cas that God wasn’t coming, that He wasn’t going to answer any of Cas’s pleas. Cas has been the one to steadfastly maintain his faith, and to try to convince Dean and Sam not to lose theirs, and it is a blatant slap in the face to him to know that his Father has turned away in their time of need after Cas has been nothing but a loyal soldier to the cause. Especially given that we’ve seen in 5×04 “The End” what happens to Cas when he loses faith and hope; even at the end of this episode, he was broken, a shattered shadow of his former self. When Dean dropped the amulet into the trash can, I think I literally yelled “Nooooo!” out loud and then prayed that Sam would get it out. Hopefully he did, because that amulet represents a lot more than their quest to find God… although I guess in truth the metaphor extends, because to Dean, FAMILY will always be more of a God than the real deity, and the necklace was given to him by Sam.

Since Sam has turned from him and left him, and now God has done the same thing, everything Dean has prayed for and held dear has been proven unreliable and inconsistent, and every religion he’s known has failed him. But Sam is still clinging to the desperate faith that they can find a way to stop the Apocalypse even without God’s help, because he still has faith in Dean – HIS crisis of faith was when Ruby convinced him that Dean was weak and insignificant, but he has seen now that that isn’t true and he’s seen the depths of the love Dean has for him. In many ways Dean has been more of a father to Sam than John Winchester ever was, and so while Dean and Castiel may have lost faith in their own Fathers, Sam still maintains a childlike devotion to his… and as long as one of them still believes, maybe it will be enough to save them all.