Episode 11×08 AKA “The One with Sam’s Imaginary Friend”
Well, the hellatus is over and Darkness is unleashed on the Earth in the form of a little girl. Crowley has become a guardian to Teh Dark Teenager; Sammy was infected by the rage monster virus, and Castiel has been cured of his curse by Rowena. I’m guessing the Winchesters won’t be getting sunshine and puppies anytime soon…Warning there be spoilers ahead.
“Just My Imagination” lights up on a young girl and her imaginary friend, Sparkle, having tea time together. When the little girl leaves to have dinner with her parents, Sparkle is viciously attacked by an unknown assailant.
Sounds like a case for the Winchesters? Maybe?
Sam’s former imaginary friend, Sully, comes to the brothers for help discovering the murderer. Turns out imaginary friends are actually zanna, which are like guardians for lost children. As they are only able to be seen by children, Sparkle’s charge is traumatised by the death of her friend. Sadly, Sparkle is not the last casualty the Winchesters and Sully encounter. A mermaid named Nicky is the next victim, and later, her boyfriend, Weems, is also attacked.
Weems survives the attack, and is able to call Sully and describe the assailant and her car. Dean tracks down the car while Sully and Sam bandage Weems’ injuries.
Through flashbacks, we see that Sam sent Sully away once John Winchester allowed him to hunt. The reveal of the episode’s villain turns out to be Sully’s charge after Sam. Her sister, Audrey, was hit by a car when playing tag with Sully, and she’s spent the last twenty-something years trying to exact vengeance. In a confrontation during which she has Dean at dagger-point, Sam and Sully are able to talk her down, to convince her that revenge isn’t the answer.
Sam says goodbye to Sully again, and the Winchesters drive away in the Impala. The episode ends on a tense conversation about Sam going to the Cage to speak with Lucifer, and one can only guess what’s going to happen in the midseason finale on December 9.
The Big Picture
The strength of “Just My Imagination” is the inclusion of Sam’s imaginary friend, Sully. Sam’s childhood companion is a little bit silly, a little bit ridiculous, but surprisingly wise and empathetic. We see a Sully who encouraged Sam to find his own path, even if it was different from that of his brother. It’s heart-wrenching to see a younger Sam speaking of running away when we know that older Sam did. Unfortunately, fate had a different plan for the younger Winchester and the death of Jess pushed Sam back into hunting.
Sully seems to recognise this, however, and tells Sam how proud he is of him. “You saved the world,” Sully tells him. And perhaps it’s a testament to how many times Sam has been broken, but he doesn’t seem to take the compliment well. It’s only later, after Sully’s tragedy with Audrey is revealed, that Sam tells Sully that he’s also a hero. “Heroes aren’t perfect,” says Sam.
It’s an important reminder to Supernatural fans, who have seen the brothers straddle the line between good and evil for the past few seasons, sometimes faltering (and sometimes letting primordial evil into the world). Everyone makes mistakes, but heroes don’t run away. Heroes fight to make things right.
Until the midseason finale, SPN Family.
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