It doesn't take a Stanford-educated genius like Sam to figure out that I’m not an unbiased "Supernatural" blogger. I happily devour everything I can find about it, and put my own musings out into the void. In spite of all that, I still wasn't prepared for the whack-a-doo brilliance of "The Great Escapist," thanks to write Ben Edlund (who deserves an Emmy-nod for penning this stellar episode). Position yourself near your fainting couch—because the all of the feels make you swoon like Scarlett O’Hara—and let's dive in, shall we?
Last week, Dean was the reined-in big brother who humored a weakening Sam as he insisted he was fine. This week, the gloves are off. Dean makes Papa Winchester's "Cure All Kitchen Sink Stew,” offering to feed him and swaddling him in blankets. His concern manifests itself into mother-henning to the tenth degree because Sam’s got a raging fever, hasn’t eaten in three days, and can barely stand. “You gotta let me take care of you, man. You gotta let me help you get your strength back," Dean urges. If this doesn’t prove that the writers read fan fiction, nothing will.
Sam, who is varying degrees of bleach white and frighteningly jaundice, is defiant, determined and occasionally delirious. “Those first two trails, they’re not just things I did, they’re doing something to me. They’re changing me, Dean."
Their broment is of course truncated by an email from an otherwise AWOL Kevin Tran (Osric Chau). It’s a video that our clever prophet had rigged to auto-send if he was too busy being tortured or dead to reset. Kevin has been an emotional grenade all season, and this video is the messy explosion of regret, remorse and his perceived failure. It's painfully hard to watch what Sam and Dean believe to be Kevin's last moments, which are equal parts raw and brave: "The one thing I know is that I’m not going to break this time. I’ve been uploading all my notes and translations. You’re gonna have to figure out the rest.”
"We should've moved him here," Dean gripes and the audience collectively screams, “DUH!” Sam just gloms onto the one wisp of a lead he can find, which is a petroglyph from a Colorado Native American tribe found on the tablet as an "editor's note” that essentially means “Messenger of God,” which is Metraton’s calling card. Sam, who’s now spastic with certainty, convinces Dean to follow the only lead they have.
Unfortunately, Sam’s barely lucid by the time they arrive at the deserted Two Rivers Casino. Not only is he hearing something akin to a high-pitched trill, but he’s rambling on about Dean riding “a farty donkey” at the Grand Canyon—a memory he shouldn’t have because he was barely four years old—and how he wants to tail the hotel manager because he looks like a “villain from ‘Scooby Doo’.” I’d be lying if I said Delirious-Sammy isn’t my favorite facet of Sam since Season 6’s epic Soulless Sam. The delirium works a much-needed comic relief, the kid still’s suffering. He follows the same shrill whine, which sounds an awful lot like Castiel when he first appeared in “Lazarus Rising,” to a room where hundreds of books are piled up by the door, and passes out before he can call Dean.