I think that I've become an entitled viewer. For many of us in the SPN Family, these brothers have been part of our lives for 9 years and going into the 10th, we expect certain things. Personally, I think I'm getting about 50-60% of what I feel I'm entitled to as a long-time viewer. Things like the majority of the screen-time belonging to the brothers, or a fair amount of familial angst, or being scared out of my socks by the bad guy or MotW, or having the plot implications that are consistent.
It would be interesting to see if those who are among the newer generation in the SPN Family -- meaning, those who discovered the boys through Netflix or OnDemand and mainlined nearly a decade of Winchesters in the space of a college semester -- feel a similar sense of entitlement, or if they just take it as it comes. Because while entitlement might be understandable after investing so much of our lives and time into this show, it's rather limiting from a storytelling perspective.
Watching this last episode with my good friend thruterryseyes on Friday, I found myself sighing quite a bit during the scenes with Claire and wondering exactly what Medieval castle they placed in Hell for Crowley to live in. And don't even get me started on Metatron's, "But I'm your dickwad." I mean come on. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
However, as I searched for the couple hours I'd need to write up this Ramble, I started thinking about storytelling and the long game and the fact that we have writers who are not only charged with spreading an interesting arc over 23 episodes, but also bringing with them the weight of the previous 9 years of stories and angst and expectations and.... So, yeah. I got to thinking about how from a storytelling viewpoint, we are seeing a tale of humanity stretched across four people like drawn taffy.
With Castiel, we've been seeing him struggling with acceptance of his love for humanity -- not so much him accepting it, but working with his angelic mission and getting other angels to accept it. He honors humanity and all its flaws and idiosyncrasies. He has never forgotten the first mission -- his one job, so to speak: protect humanity. Struggling with his limitations as an angel (borrowed grace) and seeing Hannah embrace the concept of caring for the human she embodied were stepping stones to where, I feel, they might be taking Castiel's character.
Adding Claire to the mix and giving Castiel a taste of the ramifications taking Jimmy Novak as his vessel just adds to the weight. While Claire herself might not be my favorite additional character, what her addition is putting Castiel through, I think, leads him to a deeper understanding of humanity and a way to better relate to and help the Winchesters. After all, he saw Dean massacre multiple humans and was able to justify it by saying, "There's possibly a little monster in all of us." I am willing to bet that they will either turn Castiel fully human at some point, or have him sacrifice himself for the sake of humanity.
Then there's Crowley. Now, put aside the fact that his Hell is about as scary and threatening as the Snow White ride at Disney World (I mean, what happened to that horrific image of Dean stretched out on meat hooks, bleeding, and calling desperately for his brother?), his journey in many ways parallels Castiel's. After overcoming a human blood addiction, he has a time of it with his new bestie, Demon!Dean Winchester, forming more of a connection and a (one-sided) bond with another being than he has since he was Fergus McCloud.
Enter his mother into the picture and you have all sorts of human angst swirling around him. I mean, nobody can push your buttons quite like your mum -- and when you happen to have one who is a conniving witch of a woman, well, you're in for it. Crowley's et tu Brute nightmares of betrayal and barely-concealed need for acceptance and approval are all pushing him toward a very human reaction. Since they tried to cure him (and, honestly, well before that you ask me), Crowley has had more emotions than any demon has a right to.
Where they're going with that, I don't know. Rowena McCloud is after slicing her own family tapestry in half, but to what end? [Cookies to those of you who get that reference.]
And then we have our boys. I'm enjoying seeing Sam's story unfold as saving his brother becomes his primary mission. He's been through the supernatural wringer, he has, but the drive to save his family is grounding him square inside his fragile human heart. I wonder, though, if he'll follow in his brother's footsteps and fight to save his brother, no matter the cost.
And Dean, well, we talked about this in the Ramble for 10.9. He was the only hero who had been fully human prior to the Resurrection by Blade. The fact that he's seen the other side and can still taste it, still feel himself slipping down that dark slope, makes his battle to stay in the light the most human of them all. It would be so easy for him to give in to the darkside, to use the power he can feel coursing through him, to channel the pain and the loneliness and the heartache that he constantly lives with and push it out in a nuclear blast wave of destruction. Reining that in, keeping focused on the light, and remembering that there actually is a "good fight" is going to take not only all of his energy, but him being willing to trust his brother as well.
So, if I choose to look at it like that, as each piece being part of a whole, rather than a frustratingly slow stroll through the lives of characters that I have zero investment in who don't appeal to me in the least, I still find enjoyment in a show that has captivated me for nearly a decade. I may watch for Dean and Sam, but I can accept the others sharing screen time. And if Dean can still find a way to fight the good fight, I can set my entitlement aside for the sake of the greater good of the overall story.
Now, with that, how about some lists?
- Using ELO's "Long Black Road" in the recap. Love me some classic rock.
- That first shot of Dean, sitting on his bed, clutching his right arm, looking utterly wrecked. The expression in his eyes just...I mean it hurt. The amount of emotion that floods his eyes at times puts the moments when he completely empties them into such stark contrast it's staggering. *is awed*
- "I will not apologize for being a career woman!" *guffaws*
- I love that the angels who guard the playground entrance embody humans from all walks of life; it's a consistency that is good to see, because if there was just one person lurking in the playground day after day, it would get significantly fishy.
- Still lovin' Cas' pimp mobile.
- "Buddy, I don't care what happens to you. You killed my brother." *virtual fist bump*
- The shot of Dean stepping into the dungeon to question Metatron, the shadows making him look dangerous, the light hitting his eyes just so...he made me shiver. For all sorts of reasons. Don't judge me.
- The dual gulp the boys emitted when Metatron told them they had to get the Blade for the Delete the Mark recipe.
- "Even then I had a touch for pharmacology."
- Sam. With. Wet. Hair. I mean, seriously. They film in Vancouver; it rains all the time, right? Put that boy out in the rain at least once an episode.
- "You think the body count is high around me now, wait until HAL takes over."
- "I'll text you her number. I like texts. Emoticons!"
- "What in the Hell is going on in Hell?"
- Sam checking on Dean after the whole almost killed Metatron incident and talking about how Dean has to want to not to give into the power of the MoC.
- Using Metatron. I mean, I get it, Scribe of God and all, knows a ton of stuff, but as conniving as he appears to be, I just want them to squash him. Like the bug he is.
- Claire. Full stop. Plus also the random drifters she runs into in a bar playing pool. They served, like, zero purpose aside from pushing Dean's killing humans is bad envelope. So silly. And what the heck were they getting out of the deal where they were going to murder some guy on Claire's say so? If they'd been demons or something, that would have made more sense, but that was just...way too random.
- Rowena killing Guthrie. I can't believe I'm going to say this about a demon, but...I liked him. And how are these demons -- and Crowley -- not seeing through her so-over-the-top performance of "I Am The Mother Of The King"? Shame on them, really.
- Sam balking at the idea of getting the Blade -- even after Dean said he didn't have to have it in contact with him. If the whole point of getting Metatron out of Angel Jail to question him was to find out how to get rid of the MoC, why resist or disbelieve the very first thing he says? Sigh.
- The fact that Crowley's bones had been re-assembled in his crypt. C'mon, writers. We didn't forget that the boys went to Scotland to get his bones several seasons back. They were in a bag then and they're all in perfect human-shaped-skeleton form now? Sigh.
- Okay, what happened to the bodies? I mean, I get it, we're in TV reality where wounds heal in a matter of minutes and the police are imbeciles who couldn't find their ass with both hands. But there was a time when the boys feared being caught by the authorities and purposely stayed off the grid. There was a time when the regular rules of regular people applied to them. So, what did they do with all of those bodies? Burn down the house? Bury them and bleach out all the blood? Wipe the place of prints and leave them for the police to sort out? All we get is an abbreviated conversation where Sam, Dean, and Cas agree that it was a massacre and that Dean went off the rails. Was that enough for you guys? Am I just being uber-picky? You can tell me; I can take it.
- Without going back through previous episode Rambles, I can't remember what happened to the Demon Tablet. I know Sam and Cas agreed that it was missing, but when did we last see it? Who was the last to have it? I had thought it was Metatron...?
- Does Cas having borrowed grace mean that each time he uses his angel powers his tank gets a little less full? That's the only reason I could think of that they wasted time with Sam trying three times to break down the door to the dungeon before Cas blasted it open.
- Why don't they reach out to Cain to help with the MoC? I mean, Dean was supposed to come back and find him and kill him when he'd finished Abbadon, right? So, what's stopping them from cashing in that favor and figuring out what Cain knows about 86-ing the Mark and its adverse effects?
- Lastly, who was Matt Riley? I'm guessing he was a member of the crew, but I didn't recognize his name when that dedication popped up.
The only way Metatron's jibes could have made a dent in Dean's psyche is if he believed what that little wanker was saying before the words ever coalesced into actual meaning. He tried to give as good as he got, pointing out all the horror Metatron had wrought on the world since he came on the scene, but Metatron is good. And his memory is long. And each wrong that he pointed out wasn't a manipulation of the truth and yet...it was. Dean had done all those things Metatron listed, but with the exception of becoming a demon -- which was literally out of his control -- everything he had done (he thought) had been for the greater good.
Capping his painful soul-slices with, "Now people die just because you want them to," twisted something inside Dean. You could see it on his face, the knowledge that the little cretin spoke the truth and the denial that he could ever be that person. When that look of denial twisted with resistance splashed across his face, I wanted to shout at the TV, "Don't give in to the dark side of the Force, Dean!"
But then, I would have gotten really strange looks from Terry, so I resisted.
Sam is right, in a way, with what he said about Cain being able to fight the urges of the MoC. Part of that force has to be Dean. Now, granted, Cain is a demon, but actually I think that might make it easier for him. Technically, demons aren't supposed to feel emotion or regret or any of the things that would make resisting the Mark harder. So, again, technically, it would seem that resisting the Mark would be easier for Cain than for Dean, now once more a human. But then...Cain fell in love, so that kinda throws that theory out the window.
With that whole mysterious, "The river shall end at the source," comment from Metatron, I hope they reconnect with Cain. I don't imagine even if they do it will be easy to rid Dean of the Mark -- Cain isn't going to willingly take it back. But if nothing else he could help Dean live with the effects while avoiding mass genocide. Sam's pep talk seemed to have helped Dean in the interim; he didn't kill the drifters who were going to axe-murder him. So, that's a start.
So, Claire with temporarily out of the picture (though, thankfully not dead as that would have just increased Cas' guilt factor by 200%), Metatron back in Angel Jail and totally unwilling to help since he got the crap beat out of him, and Rowena planting hex bags all over Hell and back, what comes next is pretty much up for grabs. Upside is that now that he's not hooked up with Hannah roadtripping for angels or playing Dad to a troubled teen, Castiel can focus on the boys for an extended time. Downside is that the Delete the Mark recipe apparently has several complicated steps and they only have one ingredient and no idea where to find the rest.
They either need to find the Demon tablet or talk to Cain, says me. Guess we'll find out together!
Those of you who waited for this, I thank you very much. I know I didn't reply to all of the comments from 10.9, but I did read them all -- and what's more, others have, too. So it's not just me. I will make every attempt to reply to comments each week, but sometimes the days just get away from me. I hope you won't take offense and know that I do appreciate your thoughts, regardless of whether or not they're in agreement with mine. I love seeing all sides to our Show.
If all goes well, the Ramble for the next episode will be up much more quickly. See you then!