Supernatural "Sin City" Afterthoughts - Symbolism Soup
Supernatural "Sin City" Afterthoughts - Symbolism Soup
Either Supernatural's “Sin City” was the series' hitting on all of its story telling cylinders, or I'm just reading way too much into it.  Given the fact that Supernatural has, in the past, effectively used symbolism and metaphor to strengthen its mythology, I'm guessing some of the underling themes of the episode may be worth a closer look.  Supernatural certainly works best when it is presenting on multiple planes. I feel compelled to warn you, though, if you don't like theorizing that makes long term predictions, this ‘afterthoughts' is not for you.

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The central theme of the episode of “Sin City” was temptation.   However, was the motif an opened and closed book?    On one level, it is an interesting examination of the human condition, studied on the microcostic level of a small town.  A few nudges towards vice and the god-fearing folk of the town begin to tear each other apart.  Were Kripke and Singer trying to tell us how weak a species we are, though, or just setup an archetypal theme for reuse later on down the road?

Corruptibility is really only half of the episodes themes, the other half is manipulation.  It is not merely that making these things available brought the town down, it was the fact that the leader of their flock, the Priest, was a demon who himself immersed himself in the cultures of vice.  At one point he says that he goes to the bar because his flock is there, maybe it is the other way around.

Good television leaves some factors only obvious to the audience.  While Sam, Dean, and Bobby may not have recognized the fact that the good Father may have in fact been the one to lead his flock into the dens of ill repute, it seems obvious that his half of the operation was as important, if not more so, than KC's.  KC helped create the temptations, and the Padre gave a sense of comfort to the locals by providing his presence amongst theme.  Manipulation from a trusted source.  And not just any source, one of great spiritual significance.

We also learned from KC that the demons are  spiritual beings as well.  An interesting fact considering the themes of this episode, particularly as it relates to the helpful demon Ruby.  KC admits that Sam (Jared Padalecki) was meant to be their new leader, therefore Ruby's drive to help the uncrowned king of the demons becomes suspect.

Running parallel to the story of “Sin City” was the tale of the gun.  The gun, like Ruby's knife, has the ability to kill demons, but also kills the hosts.  The power of the weapon is an enormous temptation, one that we as an audience are victim to as well.  From the moment Ruby showed up with the knife, there has been a sense that the boys need this weaponry.   In reality, though, the weapons are against everything the Winchesters are about.

Using the weapons is already viewed as a cold-blooded act, and Sam's readiness to use them is of growing concern.  When the battle becomes purely about the kill, and not about the protection of mankind, the creed of the hunters becomes moot, and Sam becomes merely a Supernatural thug.  That begs to question: who is Sam serving if he travels that path?

My theory is the parallel of tempatation is joined with a less obvious parallel of manipulation, from a trusted source.  Ruby is not a ‘good' demon at all, her job is to gradually indoctrinate Sam to the powers of the Demon world.  One thing we have been told in every episode this season is that Demon's lie, and Ruby is no different.  If you were to accept that the themes represented here are the beginning of thematic journey towards the conversion of Sam, it may be possible that the saving of Dean is going to pivot on Ruby's ability to turn Sam.

If I had to just make a writer's guess, I'd say with this type of symbolism loaded into the story, the reason Ruby has yet to explain how she plans to rescue Dean is because if Sam accepts his position as ruler of the demons, his word will trump that of the Crossroads demon.  Sam is being prepped for a conversion to the dark side, where he can order his brothers life spared.



- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of the CW)

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