Sam’s unconditional faith in his brother is what saved the day. He was the only one who still believed in Dean’s strength, so much so that he turned to him to help getting Adam back from Zachariah, despite everyone else, Castiel, Bobby and even Dean thinking it’s a bad idea. It might seem like blind faith to some, but I think that Sam’s newfound maturity has also given him the clarity to see Dean for who he really is, rather than who he’s pretending to be.
One of the most poignant scenes in this season is the emotionally charged one between Sam and Dean right after Dean tells Zachariah to summon Michael. Sam looked so shocked, hurt, and disappointed; Dean looked upset, weak, broken. Sam looks away, as if in anger and disgust and something flickers on Dean’s face – he’s hesitating. Sam looks back to his brother and holds his gaze, as if begging him, yet again holding out hope; Dean’s face relaxes, he smiles and winks at Sam. All of this without a single word.
Ah, Jared and Jensen. You guys rock.
Dean had previously apologized for his behaviour towards Sam, but I don’t think it was ever as sincere as when he told him, “I don’t know if it’s being a big brother, or what, but to me you’ve always been this snot-nosed kid I’ve had to keep on the straight and narrow. I think we both know that that’s not you anymore. I mean hell, if you’re grown up enough to find faith in me, the least I can do is return the favour.” The bond between the two has not only survived, but thrived; it’s yet again them against the world. Dean might not fully believe in God yet but he believes in his relationship with Sam again, which makes me hope for some great Winchester brother moments again (like in season one’s “Hell House”).
But the question of Sam’s hope remains. He mentioned in “99 Problems” that he didn’t think God cared anymore, that the only thing keeping him going is Dean. While it’s touching and adorable, it’s also dangerous in that Dean is a fallible human. What was Sam going to do had Dean not been able to find hope again?
I would love to have a couple of Sam-centric episodes, as the question of Sam’s hope continues to tickle my fancy. Does he really believe what he told Paul in “99 Problems”, or was it a defense mechanism of sorts? Is his only source of hope his desire for redemption? And what about Sam’s faith? Sam has always been the brother with the most faith – at least, in appearance. But it is the true, strong kind of faith? Does he only believe in Dean? Or does he, too, believe in God?