Friday, 4 December 2015

Supernatural Think Tank - Theories and Thinky Thoughts on 11x09 "Just My Imagination"

- by Anna

If I were a Psychology Professor, I would require watching Supernatural as homework every Wednesday night.  I am constantly in awe of how deep and insightful each episode actually is, no matter how insane some of the content may be.  This episode was no exception.

Firstly I want to offer accolades to all those involved, starting with Jenny Klein.  I miss Ben Edlund, I love his eps, they are offbeat, funny, emotional and he wrote for the boys so well.  Jenny Klein has made his loss so much less painful, as she is filling his shoes quite nicely.  I found her script to be funny, quirky, touching and even slightly twisted.  I laughed and I cried.  All my emotions were accounted and present.  It was a wonderful hour that left me quite happy, and those are my favourite kinds of episodes.  Ms. Klein writes the boys wonderfully and she is spot on with continuity which I loved and appreciated.  I very much look forward to her next episode.

Richard did a wonderful job directing this episode.  He's got a promising career in directing if he ever throws in the acting towel.  I was truly impressed.  The actor who played Sully was wonderful.  He was funny and touching and everything one would want in an imaginary friend.  Jared was incredible.  He once again made me cry...I do so admire his character and truly see him as a hero.  Jensen was funny at all the right moments and by the end of the hour, I understood Dean just a little bit more.  I can say the same about Sam.  This episode, in regards to continuity, has given me a much more complete understanding of the Winchester boys and how and why they are the way they are, especially with each other.   I do want to make mention of the two repeaters in this eppy, at least the ones that I recognised.  It was quite the pleasant surprise seeing Dylan as young Dean again, and kudos to the actress who played the little girl's mom. This woman is either covered in spiders as she was in bugs...or covered in "sparkle" as she was here.   Can I just give a big ha ha for the last scene...there's another way " I get i .

Now time for my thinky thoughts....

As I've noted above, I really enjoyed the continuity angle of this entire episode and how it relates to the boys.  Jenny must have watched every episode at least twice, because I have to say...."she gets it, she gets them".  Sam having an imaginary friend makes perfect sense when you think about it.  Sam is only 8 when he learns the truth about what their father does, how his mother died, and worst of all...monsters are real and Santa isn't.  That's got to be a bit traumatic for someone in the third grade.  I always understood Sam's fear and his desire for a more normal life.  Then we have Sam at 9 alone in a cheesy motel.  (sidenote:  can I just add how awful that really is and that in the real world JW would've had his kids taken away from him).  It's not like Sam was left in a nice, safe hotel with a pool, a gift shop, a gym and maybe a nice place to eat.  He's a third grader left alone in some cheesy ass motel, mostly likely off some highway, where hookers and lowlifes spend the night.  He didn't even have Dean with him. I think it's perfectly logical that Sam would have an imaginary friend to keep him company and help him to feel safe. Sully also offered Sam an ear, which I don't believe either John or Dean did. It also made perfect sense that Sam would want to run away. It ties very well into what we saw in DSOTM.  One of Sam's most cherished memories was when he ran off to Flagstaff and got away from his Dad.  His happy memory also included going to college and being safe and normal for the first time in his life.  Yet when Dean called telling Sam to hop on a bus (and don't think that Dean didn't have everything to do with John changing his mind)...oh holy hell I know, very very bad parenting....Sam was very excited and happy to be included. Now that may seem OOC but I don't think so.  Sam is 9.  He's never been on an actual hunt. He hasn't yet witnessed first hand what hunting entails, all Sam knows is that he gets to hang out with his Dad and his brother.  He gets to be included, which is what he really wanted.  Sam rejecting Sully at that moment, questioning why he needed him in the first had everything to do with his wish to be with his family. When Dean called Sam in, he believed he wouldn't be alone any more.  I can only imagine as time went on, and Sam became disillusioned with hunting (as we saw in the girl next door), that somewhere deep inside he regretted ever saying goodbye to Sully.   

Sully coming back to Sam's life is just another reminder that Sam being with Dean, doing what he's doing, even with all the bad that came along with it, was in fact the right thing for Sam.  Sully even said it....Sam's a hero.  Still, Sam holds onto that dream he had when he was with Sully...the dream to be normal.  To this day, after all is said and done, Sam still has hope for both him and Dean that they will be able to see that dream come true...and that's a good dream to have.   

I really like Sully and I think he's a very important part of who Sam is. I love that Sam had him to open up to about his visions and his fear of what it all means.  Sully asked Sam a very important question...."Do you feel like running away?".....and Sam took a good look into himself and replied...."no".  I believe that Sully's faith in Sam has given him the extra ounce of courage he needs in order to face his biggest fear.  Sam's not going to run away from his fear, he's going to run to it and face it down....he's going to do what is necessary to find out how to defeat the Darkness.  He will be as Sully so eloquently pointed out....a hero.  

Dean does make me laugh.  When he comes out in his dead guy robe asking what Sam is doing...and when Sam tells him, and then Sully shows up...."I'm going to get my gun"....seriously...he almost made me choke on my ice cream.  On the surface Dean's hostility towards Sully brought on a couple of laughs but then again, it goes so much deeper than Dean being a grumpalump.  After the laughing was done, I started to question Dean's hostility towards Sully and it really did make perfect sense to me.  Dean noted that an imaginary friend was stupid then as it is now.  I don't really think Dean, until this episode, had a true understanding of what the Zanna truly did for these children.  I also think that there is a bit of guilt behind Dean's hostility as well as resentment towards Sully.  Sam created Sully because he was lonely.  Sam told Dean, he was a lonely kid and Dean said...."you had me". Of course Sam had Dean, but not all the time and not always when he needed him.  I don't think Dean really understood, until now, how lonely it really was for Sam when Dean went off on hunts with John.  I mean, at least when John went off on his own, they had each other, but when Dean went too.. Teen Dean learning about Sully and thinking it stupid, of course that's what he's going to say, after all Sam created someone to fill Dean's role.  I can imagine that's like getting hit in the jewels....but I also think Dean felt guilty as well.  Dean, forever the good soldier, always wanting to please his father, left his brother alone. I think that bothered Dean and judging from his reaction to Sully, I think it bothered Dean a lot.  I believe he resents Sully for taking his place and I think he feels guilty that Sully exists because he wasn't there.  Judging by the way Dean regards Sam, the lengths he goes to save him, and Dean's belief that hunting together is the only thing that keeps them together, that keeps them a family, I'm leaning towards thinking that Sully's existence had some part in influencing Dean's outlook. I think Dean's gradual acceptance of Sully is quite telling, in that Dean not only recognises Sully's value but also enables him to come to terms with his own guilt.  Sully in turn lauds Dean, taking back what he said about Dean being an germ, and acknowledging that Sam was right to have rejected him....Sam didn't need Sully anymore, he had his big brother, who has, in fact, looked out for his brother and taken care of him.  You add a Sammy smile to that, and I think we get a Dean with one less thing to feel guilty about.. and that's a good thing.  As for Dean's reaction to Sam's vision and the possibility of going to the cage....I can't really blame Dean for the whole....HELL NO attitude.  I can imagine what could be going through Dean's head....Sam spent a century being tortured in that cage.  His head broke.  He nearly died from his hallucinations.  I can only imagine his fear regarding Sam's sanity if Sam came face to face with Luci again.  So yes I get his fear....but.....Sam is strong.  Sam has faced and conquered insurmountable odds....Dean needs to trust in Sam, trust that he can handle whatever comes his way, and trust in himself to know that he'll be right by his brother's side to help if need be.   Dean also needs to trust in his brother and tell him about the control the Darkness seems to have over him.  Hopefully after the midseason finale....Dean will finally find that trust in Sam and himself to open up.   We shall see.

This was a wonderful episode filled with sick twisted humour and emotional/touching scenes.  This episode mixed the past with the present and brought new understanding and appreciation for both Sam and Dean.   It was just the right amount of was grade A top notch writing, directing and acting.....and now I want to go and watch this episode again with an imaginary friend...



  1. The first time I watched this I didn't like how excited young Sam was to go hunting and how mean he was to Sully. I thought, that's not Sammy. The second viewing made me realize that Sam , like you said, had not been hunting before, didn't know what it was like, and just wanted to be with Dean and not be left behind. Maybe Sam was harsher with Sully at the end of that scene, because he was channeling Dean and was trying be tough. Good grief, Dad, why don't you just tell your 9 year old son to hitchhike to you? The young actor playing Sam was too different from the great Colin Ford to work for me, but all the Sam perspective in this episode made it a winner. Dean was great, too. He always comes through in the end. Hope Amara doesn't break him.

  2. Thanks for reading and replying. I watched the episode again last night. It hadn't occurred to me the first time, but as I watched the end scene.....I suddenly flashed back to the end of Brother's Keeper. As I watched Sully willing to die by a blade, to do what's best for Reese, I suddenly was reminded of Sam on his knees, ready to die by a blade as well, believing that was best for his brother. That got me thinking more about Sully.

    Sully was created by Sam. I think that Sully is a combination of Sam and Dean....and together Sam had the perfect friend. Sully was similar to Dean, hell Sam created him because Dean wasn't there. Sully is funny and wanting to please Sam. It reminds me of Dean's sense of humor and how Dean, as in DSOTM, tried to make Sam happy. Sully looks out for Sam and is willing to do anything for him, not unlike what Dean does. But then Sully is also a part of who Sam is. Sam, as we know who did dream of running off, of doing something else. The Sam who was told he's not Dean or his father and that's a good thing because Sam is awesome. Sully helped Sam to become his own person, follow his own beliefs and stand his own ground. This already existed inside Sam. Sully is also a good listener who doesn't judge or shut down because he doesn't like what he's hearing...that too is a Sam trait. If Sully were dissected and examined to see what he was actually made of.....the ingredients would read.....half Sam Winchester, half Dean Winchester.....which ultimately resulted in the perfect person....imaginary or not.

  3. Wonderful stuff Anna. Everything you said and ditto!!! It truly amazes me how a show 11 years in can continue to make me laugh out loud, yet have a tear roll down my cheek by the end. Just incredible, incredible EVERYTHING! From the script, to cast and crew. Sully was perfect! I hope he comes back.

    I loved your reply comment that Sully was a combo of Sam/Dean. Never thought of that, but it makes PERFECT sense. And sense for all imaginary friends for kids. They would create someone to fill a need or gap. Great insight on your part.

    It breaks my heart when I see some of the disgusting things people tweet, and to the writers and cast! I'm so glad Amy has this refuge where true fans can squee. I just don't get some of the so called fans who do that stuff. Of course I'm emotionally invested in this show, as I am sure they are. But sometimes it actually scares me for some cast/crew at the vitriol I occasionally hear about. Luckily I don't follow any of those people. But once in awhile someone will want to report them or they tag someone who responds. There are definitely people who can't separate reality from fiction.

    Sorry about the seguey (?sp). Just brings out the protective mama in me. LOL. Back to the good stuff. It was a perfectly awesome episode. I totally understood both of Sam and Dean's reactions and head space. It all made perfect sense and I always love the background stuff on the boys. Kudos to Jenny for sure.

    Again, thanks Anna and Amy for this positive refuge. Next weeks will be a thriller!

  4. Hey Kathy...

    Hope you had a great holiday. Thank you so much for reading. I really hope to Sully one day as well. You can segue all you want for I totally agree....this is an oasis in the desert of gripe....I really enjoy hearing everyone's take on an always end up seeing what you may not have noticed the first time. So looking forward to next week....I think there's more twists and turns than we might realize....this is certainly a fun season.

    til next week.....