After cracking the code that is Supernatural season six last week, I was very excited to just sit back and let “You Can’t Handle the Truth” wash over me. Thankfully, it’s yet another strong episode, that while sometimes too obvious, is enjoyable and effective at moving the Sam plot forward.
The set-up is fairly standard: In this one Illinois town, when people ask for the truth, they get it, to the fullest extent until it causes them to kill themselves or in one case, kill someone else. But of course, Dean is having trouble getting the truth from Sam, so it’s a perfect situation to get some damn answers and figure out if his brother is, well, his brother.
In some ways, I feel like we’ve been here with “You Can’t Handle the Truth,” at least in the sense that something weird happens to Dean, and thus, comedy and drama ensue. Fortunately, the series can go to this well with relative regularity because Jensen Ackles handles the humility of these ridiculous situations — being scared of everything, turning old, turning into a vampire, etc. — with ease that it’s fairly believable. And here, Dean’s not really in any mortal danger because he knows the truth-pulling powers are coming and how to use them, so it’s really just funny when a random bar-goer asks for attention because she just got new breasts or Bobby rants about getting pedicures or his first girlfriend.
But this being Supernatural, the tone switches within moments as Dean gets a call from Lisa and the truth just starts spewing out. Lisa serves as the audience in this season, noting to Dean that he and Sam have a ridiculously messed up relationship where they are way too reliant on the other, often to their own demise. She rants about how Dean will never change as long as Sam’s around because that’s his only familial connection left, and ultimately, she’s right.
However, I think Lisa’s existence is also one of the reasons Dean is more angry about Sam than worried. He does have some emotional connections now in Lisa and Ben, and so he doesn’t really need Sam coming in to mess all that up, particularly if he’s not really Sam. It’s not that he doesn’t care about Sam, but now that he has other people in his life, Dean has more to lose.
And so after the Winchesters discover that it is the god Veritas screwing with these people — another example of deities gone wild — Dean thinks everything is going to be okay because Sam admits he froze when he let Dean get turned into a vamp. Of course, we know Sam’s lying and somehow subverting this god’s power and after the brothers quickly dispatch of her (too quickly, that’s for sure), the face-off begins.
Dean is ready to cut Sam up because he knows that his younger brother is lying, and finally, the truth starts to come out: It seems Sam has known that something’s been wrong with him for a while, but can’t really figure it out. He’s a glorious hunter, but doesn’t really feel anything. He knew letting Dean turn into a vampire was a bad idea, but didn’t really feel anything.
Though the truth is out, Dean handles the revelation in the way that Winchesters like to handle things: with his fists. He beats the living hell out of Sam, leaving him bloody on the floor, presumably so that he and Bobby can torture him in the coming episodes.
And unfortunately, the “Next week on” trailer completely gives away what is actually wrong with Sam: He has no soul. I’m not sure how I feel about that as the final and only answer to why Sam is the way he is. It’s an intriguing concept and one that we’ll have to watch unspool, but it’s not as staggering an answer as I was hoping. Perhaps that’s my own problem and most likely, the series will nail the execution of Sam’s lack of soul. I still think there has to be something tied into the Alphas story, but perhaps Gamble and co. want to keep the characters detached from mythology this season (and I think they do), so this might be it. The question then becomes what happens to get Sam’s soul back, or if that’s even possible, and though that sounds something like the middling season three arc to get Dean’s hell sentence revoked, I’m in nonetheless. I’m so glad I don’t have to be mad at this series anymore; that was a dark time for me.