Okay, people. Season freakin' 10. How many of us who were there day one, episode one, back in 2005, back when their license plate was KAZ2Y5 and Sam's hair didn't reach past his jaw line ever thought we'd get to Season 10? I sure didn't. I remember just hoping for Season 2. The amazing things this show has wrought upon our lives in the last decade. I mean, seriously.
Mini Gaelic retrospective: discovering a drive to tell stories and offering a forum and platform in which to hone that skill, leading me to like-minded individuals who accepted me as me and not as the person they needed me to be, forming bonds of friendship the likes of which I had not known previously and would never have discovered otherwise...it all started with a dark night in front of a TV screen, the words Lawrence, KS 22 years ago, and two brothers who are now and will forever more be part of the fabric of my life.
On that note, I wander to the first of this season's Rambles. This is my 8th year posting these after each episode. It kind of doesn't seem right to not Ramble after an episode wraps. For those who may be new to these, they aren't really a "review." I'm not reviewing anything, not really. Not like some folks who write like journalists and do research and tie each pivotal scene in the episodes back to the origin of the initial thought for that scene. All I'm doing with these Rambles is, essentially, celebrating something I love by sharing the parts of my opinions that make me happy.
And for nine years, SPN has made me happy. I mean, even the "off" seasons where I spent a good deal of several episodes head-tilting had moments of sheer wonderfulness. I read somewhere that words like weird and confusing and difficult and self-indulgent would always be compliments when it came to art; we should demand nothing less. If you follow that line of thinking to completion, SPN is art because it has been all those things at different times. And I'm glad of it because it has always entertained. Even when it broke my heart, it did so in an interesting way.
When it comes to SPN, I am, ultimately, just a girl, standing in front of a show, asking it to entertain her. And it has.
Ramble-wise, I may not keep to this particular pattern; I tend to start off with a lot of well-intentioned plans and then fall back into pattern as the season progresses, but I don't believe I'll write the blow-by-blow recap this time around as I have in the past. Just my impressions and lists. Let me know if you hate it. Just thinking that maybe you don't need a detailed recap as we both just saw the same show and I might need a bit more sleep on Tuesday nights than I generally get during SPN Season. *smile*
So, Show. I was worried. I'll be honest. I wasn't a fan of that last image of my hero with his black eyes, becoming the thing he'd feared most. It haunted me all hiatus, actually. To the point I wasn't able to watch any of the sneak peeks because omgwhatif. But then...something made me chill out. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you, but we're all friends here, so what the hell. It was Teen Wolf. I know, right? But hang on, let me see if I can make myself make sense.
On the latest season of Teen Wolf, there were hints throughout different episodes that the hero, Scott McCall, would be going dark. That he may become a killer. Those of you who don't watch are probably like, uh, dude, he's a werewolf, hello! But, see, that's just it. He's never killed anyone. He's always sought to find a way to end the horror that is constantly surrounding these supernaturally plagued teens that doesn't involve killing anyone. I found that unique and brave and honorable and heroic and then the writers were all like ha! You like that? Let's see what you do with this! and crumpled up their hero into this ball of script and tossed him on the floor.
Even though the season turned out totally okay, and not at all dark like our Show, I was bummed there for a moment thinking, jeeze! do they have to make everyone go darkside? And then it hit me. Yes. Yes they do. It's part of the hero's journey. Maybe not all to the demonic degree, but in many ways, on many levels, all my heroes at one time or another explore their darker selves. It's part of the tragedy that pulls at us and shapes the way we see the world through their eyes.
It's in so many stories that have resonated over the years. I mean, take the story that our brothers have often been compared to: Star Wars. Luke had to do more than just know the dark side was bad. He had to taste it, to feel it, to see himself dark before he was able to fully resist it. There is no light without dark, and when the story is able to contain such dichotomy of light and dark inside of one character and make you care that they're going there? Well, bravo, I say.
The thing with those stories -- the ones I love at least -- is that each hero comes back to the light. They recognize the texture of their darkness and are able to push it away, choosing not to go that route. Choosing to deny the shadows. Ultimately, I believe Dean will, too. He may take the long way around, but he'll come back to us. We may all be as bloody and broken as poor Sam once he does, but we'll forgive him and once more implore him to carry on, wayward son. And I will believe that all season long. You just watch me.
Did I love Demon!Dean? Eh, it's too soon to tell. But what I can say is that I didn't hate him. Seeing him in this way didn't leave me feeling like there was a spike of wood lodged in my chest, as the finale had. It didn't make me want to turn away. Dean has been my hero in this show from the first episode, and his has been such a tragic story, this is just the next level.
Incidentally, I knew Jensen would knock this out of the park, and he did. First of all, can we discuss the hair? When we get our Dean back? He needs to keep the hair longer. I think my fingers could actually feel it. I know you know what I mean. But in addition to that he seemed to hold himself differently; there was no tension in his body, no wariness to his eyes. In fact, his eyes...they didn't feel like Dean's eyes. Except just a couple of glimpses where I thought I saw him, but blinked, and...he was gone again.
The thing is, I feel like Dean was still there in a way, but not the heart of him. Not the version of him that felt everything, felt too much, too keenly. Not the Dean who cried while sitting on the hood of the Impala because he wished he couldn't feel a damn thing. Not the Dean who would rather die than have his brother suffer. Who protected women and connected to children. The light inside of him has been cloaked, if not all together snuffed out. His empathy is gone.
But the part of him that he'd always hated -- the part that felt disgust with his emotional weaknesses, the part that would just as soon use sex as a release rather than an expression of love, the part that enjoyed torturing souls on the rack because he was scary good at it...that part? That part was still there.
The violence was there. The elements that made him dangerous, made him a skilled hunter, made demons quake in fear when they heard his name, they were clearly still there. And while I think it may still be too early to really tell this, I think the instinct to protect was still there. But it was different; he wasn't acting in protection out of care or love, he was doing so because he knew he could. Because he was more powerful than whoever/whatever it was.
The thing is, though, Jensen masterfully portrayed just enough potential for vulnerability in Dean -- such as when he protected the blonde waitress (Ann-Marie?) from her abusive boyfriend, or when he went on the bender and ended up insulting her to get her to go away. It actually made me watch closer and think, wait, does he actually maybe care about her? did that hurt when she denied him, saying he wasn't a good guy pretending to be bad? did I see a flinch in his eyes, or did I just want to see a flinch?
What an thrilling challenge it must be to be able to play a role that we've been watching for 9 years -- so closely, some of us, we can read entire paragraphs in a glance -- and turn him into someone we only think we recognize. I'll be throwing confetti and turning Metallica up to 11 when our Dean is back, but I definitely have intrigue in how this Dean, this demonized version of him that basically could give a rat's ass about what anyone thinks and is taking a full-on vacation from angst, will continue to evolve. And I'll continue to watch for those hints of vulnerability that tease with the thought that maybe, just maybe, the light isn't completely extinguished inside of him.
Things that intrigued me the most about Dean included:
- The fact that he left a note for Sam. And the way it was written. Not, later, loser or you'll never find me, but Sammy, let me go. I mean, that was very Dean-like, not very demon-like. And just plays back to my whole focus on him like what am I really seeing here...who am I really seeing here?
- The fact that he would have been perfectly happy spending forever in that seedy bar in North Dakota. I got a sense that was residual Deanness coming out in him, too. He's been tired for years. On the road for years. Responsible for lives he's always held more important than his own for years. He's just wanted to stop, just effing stop fighting the good fight if the universe would ever let him. So? He did. He picked a bar with a hot chick and beer and wings and, hell, karaoke. And he just checked out for awhile.
- The fact that Soldier Boy (Cody? Cole?) said that Dean was a monster many, many moons ago but that now he was prey. What's that about?? I immediately started filing through the last 9 years trying to think when Soldier Boy would have come across Dean and what possibly transpired. I think I'm more intrigued about that little plot line right now than even the demon-ness. Because clearly, Soldier Boy's definition of "monster" and Sam's definition of "monster" did not align. Soldier Boy clearly expected Dean to cave to his demands in order to spare Sam and when Dean was basically like, I told him to let me go. Whatever jam he's in now, that's his problem, the expression on Soldier Boy's face was basically, Well, frak...that did not go as planned. Really want to know more about that little angle.
- The fact that the Mark needed to be "sated" or Dean will demon-out. So, that just makes me think about what happens after he's eventually de-demonized. If he still has the Mark, his situation will not exactly improve. *is tres intrigued*
And then there's Crowley's uber-obvious man-crush on the eldest Winchester. It was always there. I mean, come on. But having a demonized Winchester as a bestie has Crowley practically walking around with stars in his eyes. He's letting Dean play, unwind, relax and all, but it's been a month and he's boooooored and wants to gooooooo already. Get back to work. Go to Hell! Literally.
I don't know what I found more interesting: the fact that Crowley would regularly chum the demon waters with Dean's location for the Abbadon groupies to come after him (thereby offering Dean the chance to "stay sharp" and continuing the care and feeding of the Mark of Cain), or the fact that there actually are still Abbadon groupies.
Guess I didn't expect loyalty in demons.
I think that Crowley has a tiger by the tail here, though. If he thinks he can guilt-trip Demon!Dean with a "I did this all for you" plea and tempt him with a "you could rule Hell by my side" offer, I'm pretty sure he's going to be disappointed. He's still looking at Dean too much as the Dean That Was and not enough as the Dean That Is. If there will be any ruling of Hell, this Dean's not going to want to do it at anyone's side. He'll do it standing on Crowley's back instead. I'm thinking Crowley's going to recognize that soon enough.
As much as Crowley practically following Dean around like he was a Mean Girl groupie was entertaining, my favorite bits were when he talked to Sam. *ahem* Observe:
Using the phone left at the convenience store by the very dead Drew Kneeley (and dude, what a battery life, huh?), Sam dials the number from the "Long Live Abbadon" text and who should answer but the King of Ruddy Hell himself.
Crowley: "Moose. Took you long enough. Your brother and I were beginning to wonder if you hit another dog." (As Kelso would say, BURN! Also, hilarious continuity play, that.)
Sam: "My brother is dead. You have a demon walking around in his meatsuit."
Crowley's like, not quite, Dean's alive courtesy of the Mark, and the only demon in him is, well, him.
Sam: "I will save my brother or die trying." (YAY SAM!! Only, y'know, not with the dying part, but with the SAVING! YAY!)
Crowley: "You don't care that he's a demon. Heck, you've been a demon. We've all been demons. It's that he's with me. And he's having the time of his life. You can't stand the fact that he's mine."
Sam: "He's not your pet."
Crowely: "My pet? He's my best friend. My partner-in-crime. There will be songs written about us, graphic novels...Dean Winchester completes me." (And as much as he was saying it to rub it in Sam's face? I kinda believe most of that is at least 70% true.)
Sam: "I'm gonna find you and I'm going to save my brother and then I'm going to kill you dead." (Sammy, c'mon. 'Kill you dead'? Really?)
Crowley is all "good luck finding us" but, see, clever Sam is clever and not only that, but he's acquired some new toys in the last month including a phone call tracer thingy. Nicely played, Sammy.
Now, Sam. Sam's focus and determination were written all over his face. He was a reflection of Season 4 Sam, post losing Dean to Hell, only with a bit more gravitas and less scattered hope. He'd been through this before; and while he was tired and worried and scared and confused, he wasn't (yet) desperate. In fact, I was digging on his storyline right up until he got nabbed. And then I kind of just sighed.
That said, I thought the way they juxtaposed our assumptions with reality at the opening, having the demon saying they couldn't believe a Winchester was one of them and then revealing that it was Sam who was torturing her set a interesting precedence and (hopefully) was good foreshadowing for what's to come for his character. Sam's been through a lot of evolutions in 9 years. He's been the innocent, the protected, the victimized, the abandoned, and holds the most ribbons for Supernaturally Changed Humans of all the characters on the show. Demon blood, demon powers, soullessness, I mean, he's been through it all.
So it's not that great of a leap to think that he would slip to some pretty dark places in his determination to first find Dean and then find out what happened to him and finally Save Him as he's vowed to do. I mean, think back to what he went through when Dean when to Hell. Let's just hope we don't end up with a demon blood relapse. That could just go ALL KINDS of wrong, and I think you know where my head just went. *shudders*
I thought it was clever that they wrote Jared's injured shoulder into the storyline -- and made his having to fight demons in his search for Dean a bit more realistic if he's doing it more or less on his own, a sickly Cas his only back-up. I like that he's willing to go dark to Save Dean. I would love to see that human darkness be compared -- in the brothers' eyes -- to the demonic darkness and see how, really, they aren't that different. And through that understanding find some forgiveness and middle ground.
Y'know, once Dean's able to forgive again. He kind of needs a heart to do that, and right now he's lacking that a bit.
I want to see Sam truly go to the ends to get Dean back -- feel some of that desperation that Dean felt when he made the choice to allow Zeke/Gadreel to possess Sam to save him. And in meantime, he can keep that scruff if he likes. Sam + beard = yum. I can even look past the hair.
I am ready to see more of Sam on the case, in full-on research mode, fooling law enforcement with his fake IDs and getting to the bottom of this. Not jumped by a Soldier Boy on a vendetta, kidnapped, and held (once more) as the damsel in distress. It wasn't really shocking that Dean didn't play into Soldier Boy's scheme because, well, demon. But I like that we just kinda left Sam in that situation.
He really does have to get himself out of it. And he'll do it, too. The random thought I had, though...what if he ends up partnering up with Soldier Boy in a way? I mean, they're both searching for Dean...what if Sam decides to use that angle to get someone to help him find Dean? He's already warned Soldier Boy off, telling him that Dean was a monster. And Soldier Boy heard first hand that Dean didn't care if he killed Sam since Sam got himself into this mess. I think that would be interesting. *ponders*
Now I just need to figure out Soldier Boy's name. *laugh* If you caught it, help a gal out, wouldya?
The only thing I wasn't really vibing on so far was the angel storyline. I care what happens to Cas -- the fact that he's actually physically ill is worrisome. And also kind of interesting. I figured fading grace would make him weak, disappear his powers or whatnot. I didn't expect him to be all flu-like and in bed coughing. Though, if he was that ill, I'm wondering how he survived/ healed-up from that slice with the angel blade attack by Adena. I want to see what happens to Cas, but I have to confess being tired of the angel storyline. It's over-tread.
I mean, seriously, how many times do we have to have the same conversation about free will and humans getting choices and there being chaos on earth and angels seeing humans as inferior (even though they can't think for themselves) and blah blah blah. Enough, already. The only things I could see coming out of this storyline that I think would pay off would be:
- The fact that Cas sees beauty in the chaos of humanity being part of what saves him. He sees value in our lives and the contributions we make and if that doesn't benefit in him in some way I will be very put out.
- A juxtaposition of the angels being denied free will while all Demon!Dean has is freewill and how neither is actually a good way to go. I don't know. But something.
Let me just say that if all they're doing is keeping the angels in play to ultimately bring back Metatron at some point, that will be disappointing. It needs to feed into Cas' healing and salvation or directly relate to the boys' story. Says me, anyway.
I'll wrap this Ramble with lists.
- The "then" being set to Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker"...talk about fitting. Because yeah, the finale truly was a heartbreaker.
- Dean singing "Imaginary Lovers" -- well, I liked it and hid behind my pillow at the same time because, gah, that song....
- Bearded Sam. I like.
- Both Sam and Cas admitting how much they missed Dean.
- Learning that good sex can follow bad karaoke. Plus bonus Dean shirtless scene.
- Dean's hair. Yes, please.
- Dean and Crowley facing off the Plaid Twins in foosball. Chandler and Joey would be proud.
- "Your brother and I were beginning to wonder if you'd hit another dog." Hah! I still love it.
- The convenience store clerk's recap of "porn guy" killing Kneeley. Best. Recap. Ever. I'm still laughing. Say my naaaammeee....
- "I'm sensing awkwardness."
- The WI cop musing whether Dean was a hero or a psychopath after he killed (family killer) Drew Kneeley.
- "I will save my brother or die trying!"
- Sam driving a POS car (that he probably boosted especially for the trip to ND).
- Cas' Caddy sounding worse than he did.
NOT SO MUCH:
- The continuing angel storyline and the speechifying from angels (like Daniel) that we don't even know.
- The Dean/Crowley "Bitch/Jerk" moment. I know it was supposed to be empty of affection because, well, demon, but it just fell flat and was kinda weird and awkward. My personal opinion is because the bromance is only one-way. Dean's gonna break your little black heart, Crowley. You just wait.
- Not really getting to see the Impala. Okay, so that's pretty minor, but still.
- Soldier Boy's history with Dean. More on that, please. And will Sam team up with him to find Dean? Inquiring Gaelics want to know.
- Exactly how much control does Crowley have over Dean and when will he realize his leash is swiftly unraveling?
- How sick will Castiel get with this fading grace? Will he get low enough to sacrifice an angel to save himself? Will someone sacrifice for him? Will he technically "die" as an angel only to be reborn a human once more and live in the beautiful chaos with the rest of us?
- How dark did Sam go in the month he spent searching for Dean? How dark will he go to save his brother?
- How will the Mark continue to effect Dean even if/when he is de-demonized? Will Cain have to come back and play a part? OR will we see Abel, the brother for which the Mark was created to protect in the first place, come back and remove the burden from Dean at some point?
- Will we get more classic rock??
Okay, that's all I got, folks. You know I love hearing from you, so if you feel like commenting, please do so. I'll do my best to reply before the next epi!