But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them, too. That is rare and pure and perfect.”
|—||Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear|
I love our Show despite; I love the character of Dean Winchester because.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the Oz storyline in our Show. I know, I can hear you now: "Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and wendigos you're okay with, but wicked witches and wizards appear and you've got issues??" Hey, everyone has their line. Mine, apparently, stops at the yellow brick road. Maybe it's because I live in Kansas and you can't go anywhere and say where you're from without some reference to Oz or the smirking, "You're not in Kansas anymore," comment. Personally, I'm hoping that since the key is broken, we're done with Oz. So...due to my own sour grapes, I'm choosing to skim past the Oz aspect of "There's No Place Like Home" in this Ramble and focus instead on the interesting layers of dark and light that the clunky Oz storytelling revealed to us.
I've always loved Charlie. Felicia Day seems like someone I'd love to hang out and eat ice cream and gummy bears with while we binge-watch four seasons of Game of Thrones together. She's just fresh and fun and genuine and so it was jarring to see Dark!Charlie. I thought for sure she was possessed -- especially when she was holding the council woman hostage and asked, "Who?" when the boys demanded she let her go. But it was infinitely more interesting to consider the fact that Dark!Charlie was actually still...Charlie. Just a part of her personality that she spends a decent amount of time repressing. It goes back to Castiel's line in the last episode that there's a little monster in all of us. We all have our ying and yang. Both sides of the duct tape. I could go on and on, espcially if I slip into Star Wars analogies. But I'll spare you.
I loved the overlay with Dean's dark side. Last season we had the Ghostfacers come in and twist our kaleidoscope a bit so that we could view what was happening between Dean and Sam through the lens of another story. This time, not only do we get to see Dean's struggle against the darkness a bit differently, but he does as well. I also loved how it made me think of reality for a moment. I typically select entertainment to watch and read that is a pure escape. I watch shows like Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Supernatural, Arrow, Banshee, Sons of Anarchy and read authors like Stephen King, Joe Hill, Joe Hart, Chuck Wendig and Neil Gaiman purely so I can step away from reality. My life is too real sometimes, y'know?
But an interesting thing happens: in order to draw us in and ground us in the unreality, these stories tend to ground their characters in very real emotions and realizations. Watching Dean fight to stay in the light, push himself as far from temptation and the precipice of an abyss he can't fathom the bottom of had me holding my breath a bit. Each time his hand would shake, each time he'd look almost longingly at a bottle of booze (his proven escape), each time memories slipped across his eyes or his voice tightened, I found myself drawn closer to the screen. Because you could see it sneaking up on him in the quiet moments, when his guard was down, or through the cracks of his shields that he hasn't had time to repair. Watching him struggle and surrender and fight and give and loathe himself the whole while because he has this vision in his head of what is good and right and pure had me feeling a kinship to him that I honestly haven't felt since...Stull.
It made me think about how without our darkness, we couldn't even see our light. It made me think about how it's possible to love someone and hate their choices, or to protect someone you know in your bones is a horrible person. It made me think about the beautiful and complicated journey it is to be human -- how we can hurt and still go on, how we can sin and be forgiven, how we can be loved when we don't love ourselves.
Without turning this Ramble into a therapy session, I'll just say that watching Dean fight his darkness, trying so hard to do what Sam is encouraging him to do and find a way to live with it as Cain did, and yet still tremble and still doubt and still rage and still look at himself in the mirror with eyes swimming with shadows tugged at something inside of me and reminded me how and why this character owns me. It wasn't his most emotionally powerful episode or his most outwardly compelling, but I think that's why it got to me. The subtle resonance of his internal struggle crept up on me, grabbed me from behind, and didn't let me go.
- Dean making egg-white omelets. For both of them.
- "Demon tramp stamp."
- "Our Charlie - wouldn't hurt a Hobbit, practically sparkles?"
- The way Dean referred to Charlie as a 'good kid' and as someone who no matter what deserved the benefit of the doubt. His faith in her and instinctive protectiveness made what happened at the end have so much more of an impact.
- The health-food stakeout in the Impala.
- Alias' Gabriel and Collins. Nice Genesis shout-out there.
- Charlie's quest to find the man who was responsible for her parent's death. That was believable and good closure for that part of her character's story.
- Charlie referring to Dean and Sam as 'Rocket' and 'Groot' from Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a funny twist on their size and personalities (gentle giant vs a scrappy scoundrel), but then I remembered this line from Rocket about how he never asked to be torn apart and put back together and turned into a monster. In fact, the more I thought about it -- Groot sacrificing himself to save his friends, Rocket's defense mechanism of sarcasm and solitude, pushing everyone away to protect himself, but coming through in the end every single time...it suddenly felt like one of the best analogies every made for these two. And yes, I may have seen GotG a few times. Chris Pratt is possibly my new virtual boyfriend. So there.
- Dean's surprised, "Oh, crap," gasp when he realized that Dark!Charlie's thigh-muscles were no match for his neck.
- Good!Charlie unable to pick up the pretty bartender [and am I crazy, or did that bartender look an awful lot like Braeden from Teen Wolf?] and instead wanting to "sip club soda and send her to college."
- For once I liked the way the storyline harkened back to an already-told version of the same theme: pulling oneself back together. Sam had to do it when his soul was fractured back in Season...what was it, 7? Reassembling his Id, Ego, and Super-Ego was no easy task, but telling Dean, "Hey, I did it, and you've got both dark and light in the same psyche, so you're a step ahead of the game," isn't really going to do that trick. Watching Charlie physically deal with her two halves, though, now that sends Dean a message.
- "Skip to the end, Dragon tattoo." *guffaw*
- Dean's stall tactic with Russell Wellington.
- The fact that both Charlies could detect something was off about Dean. It's a good wake up call to him that he's not hiding his pain as well as he thought -- or used to be able to.
- "No right, no wrong, just us and them." This I didn't so much like as found compelling. The idea that being dark sets you free -- just like the idea of Purgatory being pure -- has got to be very tantalizing to Dean. It's what appealed to him when he was a demon...not the evil-ness, but the fact that he didn't have to answer to anyone or anything, not even his overbearing conscience. To be free of obligation, consequence, regret, pain, loneliness, burden...it's like an open bottle of vodka to an alcoholic. No wonder he was shaking.
- Dark!Charlie getting one over on Dean and stealing the Impala. Clever girl.
- "I learned it by watching you." Okay, I may be showing my age, but how many of you guys immediately flashed to that '80's-era anti-drug commercial with the same line?
- Dean being so focused on protecting Good!Charlie from Dark!Charlie that he forgot the fact that every punch he landed on Dark!Charlie hurt the one he was protecting and that jarring realization slamming down on him like a ton of bricks when Sam carries Good!Charlie outside. The gutted, aboslutely horrified look on his face, the way not only his hands but his whole self shook with the realization that he'd done that...he'd hurt her...was the kind of wake up call he needed, and a much more effective one than whatever that randomness was with Claire and those drifters last week.
- The fact that Dean's face was still bruised and battered two days after the fight with Dark!Charlie -- showing he'd not been simply beating on her, he'd been fighting to protect her as well.
- "Book of the Damned." "Sounds legit."
- Charlie forgiving Dean, despite the fact that he doesn't forgive himself. Or maybe because of that fact. And telling him that he has something that Cain didn't: "You are a Winchester."
- "Prove it."
- "You good?" "No." "You can do this, Dean. WE can do this." Loving Sam's support of his brother right now. How he's actually being a brother after I've wondered for so long if he knew how to be the brother Dean needed him to be. Love him proving me wrong.
- Basically everything about the Oz storyline from the broken key, to the split wizard. Done.
- Dean being the one to protect the bad guy. I like how it ultimately worked out, of course, but really, the guy's barely hanging on and so everyone agrees that the best thing is to send him into a room filled with gasoline holding a lit match?
- Again, bodies, people. Charlie killed a man. Fingerprints everywhere. Just once I'd like to see them clean up a crime scene they'd created. Or at least worry a little bit about being arrested.
- The wizard 'Force-choking' Sam. Laaame.
- Okay, first off, I'm confused. In the THEN, Sam says (which I missed this nuance last week) that Cain still has the Mark. As though Cain and Dean both have it. Which is his basis for saying that since Cain is living with it, Dean can learn how to, too. That gave me a double-take. I thought that when Cain gave it to Dean, he gave it up. What's ya'll's take on this? Did I hear Sam wrong? Am I confused? Are there one or two peeps walking around on Earth with this hair-trigger tattoo?
- Last season, Dean resisting the pull of the Mark's urges actually made him sick -- throwing-up-blood-sick. What say you about why that's not happening now? Just not enough time yet? He was a demon and that changed his molecular structure? The Blade isn't in close enough proximity? The writers basically forgot about that part?
- Was it me or did it seem like Russell Wellington knew Charlie a bit too quickly? He'd gone through alllll of that to keep himself protected from prosecution for killing two people and Charlie walks in -- years after all of this happened -- and he knows her immediately as Celeste. I thought that was a bit too easy.
- Still wondering why they aren't heading out to Cain's place, even with Charlie on the way to Tuscany to find the Book of the Damned. Maybe they're just afraid of him? I mean, he is the first demon after all. *shrugs*
Thanks again for reading, you guys. I know I have failed you once more not getting to the replies for 10.10 before I wrote and posted 10.11, but as I said before I did/do read them and I truly appreciate the gift of your time spent sharing your thoughts, reactions, and answers to questions posed herein. It's not you demanding it; it's me feeling as though I owe it to you. One day I might catch up in time to reply. BUT! Until then, I love hearing from you and I hope you enjoy.