Just finished rewatching 5x16.
Apart from the absolutely delicious way John is framed in that episode, which is 100% my jam, I’m still not sure I get where the ‘soulmates’ interpretation for Sam and Dean comes from. I’m aware it’s an old discussion, but since I’m fresh out of the episode, why not add some to it.
The things we learn about the nature of Heaven are:
- That there is a path that runs through it called the Axis Mundi
- That in certain special cases, like for soulmates, people can share a Heaven
- That normally, people are stuck in their own Heavens, however it’s still possible to hack the system and find ways to travel trough Heaven using its paths, i.e. it’s still possible to travel via the Axis Mundi and get access to other people’s Heavens that way
- That personal Heavens are places where you relive your happy memories
At the beginning, Dean is reliving the memory of one of he 4th of July’s he spent with his brother. Cas contacts Dean and leads him to find his representation of the Axis Mundi, that is a road, and through that reach Sam, who is in another part of Heaven, reliving a different memory. When Dean gets there, he is ignored by the other people in the room, by the people in Sam’s memories. From now on, we see the boys relieve different memories, all of which are either Sam’s or Dean’s. In Dean’s memories, the real Sam is not present and is ignored, and viceversa for Sam’s memories.
Their memories are what constitutes their Heavens, but all of them are separated. Even though they travel in them together, they are never really together in their Heavens, they are simply visiting together different rooms that either belong to one or the other using the Axis Mundi to move from one room, or memory, to another.
Dean even gets pretty offended that Sam seems to have a very different idea of Heaven than him, and accuses Sam of thinking of Heaven as all the times he left his family (and therefore left Dean, in Dean’s eyes), though it’s not how Sam interprets his happy memories, which for him have more to do with finally being independent and “away from Dad”.
In the end, Dean has concluded that Sam doesn’t feel about Dean the same way that Dean feels about Sam, considering how their happiest moments look so different.
So not only they don’t share memories, which are what makes up people’s Heavens, which therefore already means that Sam and Dean don’t share a Heaven, but Dean’s even upset about the way Sam’s Heaven looks. This is the last straw for Dean, who gives up his faith in the relationship with his brother, and in the end makes a point of throwing away the Samulet before Sam’s eyes, as if to show Sam that to him it has lost its meaning.
So I feel that the B-plot point of the episode that refers to the state of Sam and Dean’s relationship is pretty much sustained by the fact that Sam and Dean don’t share a Heaven.