Gaelicspirit (gaelicspirit) wrote,
Gaelicspirit
gaelicspirit

  • Location:
  • Mood:
  • Music:

Stream of Consciousness, Epi. 10.23 (at last)

Wow, you guys. Ten years in the bag. And despite everything, these guys bring their all. I gotta say, I'm worn out after watching that. On multiple levels.



"The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." -- Genesis 1:2

First, let me apologize for the lateness of this Ramble. Those of you who read these regularly know I was in London for work during the finale and expected it to be late anyway, but probably not this late. I had a plan, you see. I was going to use my US VPN for work to download the epi for viewing and rambling during my long flight(s) back on Friday, but I was denied. And then a week's worth of sleeping 2-3 hrs/night caught up me quickly on Saturday and every ounce of energy I had was put into simply being mom and wife and person. Which brings us to Sunday.

I recognize you're probably all talked-out and have sufficiently dealt with the aftermath of viewing, but I hope you'll drop by with your thoughts/reactions one last time before we head into the hellatus. Depending on a fair number of things, this may end up being my last Ramble. I could never quit these guys -- they're family now, y'know? But I'm wondering if after seven years of Rambling for every episode, every week, it's run its course. I tend to feel like this at a season's close and realize by the next season premier that I'd miss you guys and talking about our show too much and dive in once more. So we'll see. A lot can happen in three months.

Since this is a closing of a long and intense chapter, this Ramble may be a bit lengthy. I find I have some things to say! So, sit back, grab a cuppa, and play along at home. If you feel inclined to share your thoughts -- whether or not you agree with mine -- I would very much like to hear them. And I will respond to all, my promise to you.

I want to start with the brand-new mythology they introduced in this finale. I will admit to you that at first when Death was rambling on about The Darkness my first thought was, a bit late in the game to be introducing a new baddie, isn't it? Then, as Death continued to bring down the fire-and-brimstone threats of The Darkness (turning Dean's face pale and his eyes wide with honest-to-goodness fear), I couldn't help but be reminded of The Neverending Story and the threat of "The Nothing." I mean, they even scoffed at Genesis and the fact that it said God created the Earth out of "nothing"...only it wasn't "nothing" it was "darkness."

For some of us? Those two are not that different.

But then it occurred to me that rather than being lazy writing and Carver scrambling to get himself out of a hole since he now has another whole season to helm, this could actually be quite genius. If we had known from the start -- if Dean had known -- what the Mark really was? The whole human journey he traveled in the latter part of this season wouldn't have existed. He wouldn't have fought to keep the Mark at bay, fought to stay himself for as long as possible. He wouldn't have allowed himself a modicum of hope. He would just have found a way to do what he was willing to do here: live forever, somewhere locked away, keeping The Darkness at bay, keeping the world safe, going slowly insane.

So, because they waited until the end to reveal the true nature of the Mark, we were given an emotional punch through Dean's journey that we would have otherwise been denied. Then there's the truth of the Mark itself, both lock and key against The Darkness -- an entity (or perhaps lack of entity...they weren't really clear on that) that took God and his Archangels to defeat. I mean, we knew the Mark was bad, sure. But now we know that even Lucifer himself couldn't manage it. Per this show's lore, God gave the Mark to Lucifer not as a punishment, but as a job. Lucifer was his most trusted angel and he was to keep The Darkness at bay.

But it clearly drove Lucifer mad. Turned him against himself, against his father, against his home, until he fell, and he never recovered. Because the Lucifer we saw in our Show, and know of if we are believers, is irredeemable. The epitome of evil. And, if this lore is to be believed, that is directly linked to the Mark. The evil that is The Darkness is so pervasive that even the most righteous of men will be defeated by it.

Cain bore the Mark for centuries, controlling the violence with the Blade removed from him. There's no way of knowing if he understood the true burden of the Mark, the true reason he carried it. Not as payment for saving Abel from his own weakness, but because Lucifer couldn't take it anymore. I know that's not specifically what Death said; I'm reading between the lines. But the Mark destroyed Lucifer. Caused him to be cast out. He wanted to be rid of it, but even as evil as he was, he apparently couldn't release The Darkness into the world after having been part of the battle to cage it in the first place. Enter Cain. And then Dean.

Part of me would like to think that the more righteous the man, the more quickly the Mark burns through them.

Though both Death and Dean shrugged Genesis off as a lie because it claimed God created the Earth from 'nothing', I am actually turning that on its ear a bit. Because when The Darkness emerged and swept over the Earth, it did so from within the Earth. Not from some celestial, Heavenly Cage. The scripture I quoted above had me thinking about this lore they've created. God and his Archangels defeated The Darkness and God's Cage for it became Earth. Makes perfect sense to me. He created Earth and its inhabitants and humankind which he loved more than the angels and it was all to combat this great evil. To keep it defeated.

Meanwhile, Lucifer was burdened with the lock and key and feeling more and more unloved and unappreciated and was poisoned by The Darkness and the biggest family squabble of all time was born.

So, now we have Death dead, leaving open great room for interpretation about what happens to life, and we have a wave of evil sweeping the Earth in a great smoke cloud with no clear recourse for humanity. If the writers do it right, this could make for a very interesting 11th season. No one can die and yet everyone is hell-bent (no pun intended) on destruction as a result of The Darkness? It'll be like...Supernatural Walking UnDead.

I've often lamented (mostly silently) about the way our Show has chosen to treat God. I feel it's a writing cop-out to have said, way back in S5, that he's "left the building." They can write about Lucifer and the Archangels and the King of Hell and all of that, but they won't write about God. Evil is easy to write, apparently. Even the angels on our show are tainted. Jealous, vengeful, wrathful, merciless, selfish. The only truly good beings in our show are our boys and their compatriots. Like Yoda said, the darkside is not stronger; it is quicker, easier, more seductive. Clearly that is true in the writer's room as well.

And yes, it can be argued (probably rather vehemently depending on the kind of fan you are) that Chuck is God, backed up by his showing up at the school musical. But my point is that they (the writers/the show) have never come outright and said that Chuck was God. And they still have God doing a fat lot of nothing. So what if Chuck is God? Big whoop. The boys are still in this alone and humanity suffers because the angels can't get their act together.

But, with this new development -- an evil greater than the boys have every encountered, when they're both at their emotional and physical weakest, when their friends are gone, when they have no one and nothing -- there is an opportunity for God to step in. I'm not talking about some deus ex machina solution. But something where we see his hand in it, see his angels fighting for us rather than against us. See the boys actually being the ones to be saved rather than the ones to do all the saving. I am intrigued by the possibilities. I would have been back because of our boys no matter what, but now they have me ready to see what happens next in the story. I haven't been as intrigued by the story hook for several seasons.

Okay, so let's talk about the boys.

God love Sam. I mean, really, that guy has just been through hell this season. And in many ways, from my perspective, it was worse for him than when he went through the trials or when he was coming to terms with being possessed by Gadreel. This was all Sam, and it wasn't about Sam at the same time. It was a role reversal I could get behind because -- and I really don't mean to piss anyone off by saying this, but -- for the first time Sam was able to see just what Dean has gone through in different times of their relationship. He was able to experience first hand the pain of the helplessness that wrapped around Dean when he was fighting desperately to save his brother and not only did there not seem to be a solution, but he was actually going against  his brother's wishes.

Sam got an inkling of that in S3 when he was trying to save Dean from Hell, but after a bit of posturing to the contrary, Dean was on board with finding a way to keep him out of Hell. And, what's more, they didn't get an innocent -- a friend, family to them -- killed in the process that time. This time, Sam knew exactly what drove Dean to give up his soul at the crossroads and to say yes to Gadreel/Ezekiel. He knew exactly how Dean felt when Kevin died. He knew the pain that came from the integrity of doing the right thing even when everyone around you is telling you differently. The right thing, of course, being to save his brother...not to keep it from him.

If there is ONE THING I hope Sam Winchester learned from this season it is that SECRETS ARE BAD.

I loved the look of tension and fear that sat at home on Sam's face when he arrived at the From Dusk 'Til Dawn-like Juan's Bar at Dean's request and was confronted by Death. I'd forgotten that the last time he faced Death (literally) was just before Ezekiel infiltrated his subconscious and talked him into denying Death his prize. *gulp* And I loved how he did not give up on his brother. Not once. He was just amazing in that whole final confrontation. Every word out of his mouth a word of love, of belief, of saying the only way he could that he knew what Dean had done for him all his life, had given up for him, had sacrificed for him. And he loved him for it, no matter what he might have said in anger in the past.

Family does shitty things to each other. Most families anyway. My family certainly has. Words are said and trust is broken and feelings are crushed and hearts are shattered and yet there's something in us that keeps bring us back to each other. Sometimes I can't honestly call it love. It feels more like...duty. Obligation. Guilt. But we do come back, and each time there's chance. This moment of truce where everyone takes a collective breath and restitution and remorse balance on a knife's edge. No one ever really...forgets the words that were said with such venom they poisoned both parties to their core, but they can choose to leave them behind.

Sometimes things are broken so badly that no amount of forgiveness can glue them back together, and the parts that are repaired never quite fit the same way. Sometimes there's no going back, but there is going on. And that, I think, is what our boys have realized this season. Individually and collectively.

Sam's words to Dean about being a good man, about remembering what it was to love and be loved, those were the truest words he's ever spoken. For me, anyway, those were the balm needed to heal the wound from his spiteful words about not choosing to save Dean. And I nearly joined him in that amazing single-man-tear that zig-zagged down his cheek and over his jaw line.

I loved the way he showed Dean that he accepted his death, he accepted Dean's reasons for his death. I loved how he got it -- got the fact that to save the world, Dean knew it meant they both had to leave it: Dean to whatever realm Death would take him to in order to keep the Mark and Sam...to Heaven, most likely. Killed by his brother's hand, just like Cain. It made me wonder if there was a story for Lucifer and Michael before Lucifer was banished where Lucifer nearly killed his brother (in this 'verse, I mean). I also loved how Sam never accused, never blamed. There was understanding, forgiveness, and acceptance in his eyes as he knelt before Dean -- one of the reasons, I suspect, that Dean pleaded with him to shut his eyes. And finally, I loved that Sam knew exactly how to find his brother again.

He knew that his Dean, the good man that he believed in and loved, was screaming behind that Mark. He knew that his Dean was desperate and scared and alone and he needed to remind his Dean that he wasn't alone. That he'd never been alone. He'd been loved from day one and would be loved until the fight was over. Those pictures were the perfect trigger and I applaud Sam for having the foresight to not only rescue them from the pile of debris the Stein's left behind, but to bring them with him. Sam had no way of knowing if Cas and Rowena would come through with the spell -- this was it for him. All he had was that moment and his brother and he owned that moment.

And Dean, oh man, Dean. He wore me out. Broke my heart. He was so cold, no buffer of compassion to ward the world from his bitter feelings. He's been up front and tactless before in conversations with cops and victims but always had Sam to smooth things over. Now, without Sam's softening of things, he was like a tactical strike. Merciless and uncaring about how he got to the truth of the matter. And if someone didn't listen to him -- like his late friend Rudy -- and got themselves killed, well, that's their own damn fault, isn't it? Jensen has been breathtaking to watch in his performance of Dean's spiral into darkness while at the same time trying to convince everyone (most of all himself) that he was fine. But at the same time it's been so hard for me to watch because I miss my Dean. I miss seeing his heart and compassion and light and all the things the Mark systematically stripped from him before our eyes.

I loved how we first saw him, all sweaty and hung over and looking sick and rough and spent. And when he drank the beer like it was air, exhaling a shaky, "I'm good," I saw so many layers in that look. It wasn't just an okay, I've got this, hair-of-the-dog, just need some grease to get through the day kind of "I'm good," it was a I'm not a bad man, I'm not evil, I've got control of the devil inside of me, I am not going to be that thing again kind of "I'm good." I loved the moment in the hotel room where he finally broke. Where it all became too much for him and he realized he was losing. He was lost. I loved how his fist came up with a snap, like a viper's strike, to punch the mirror. And then the tension in his body as he proceeded to trash the motel room in rock-star style.

I loved how he asked Death to kill him -- that helpless, defeated, "I've got no moves left," plea that he couldn't confess to anyone else because he thought they all needed him to be okay. I loved the look in his eyes when the reality of the Mark's ramifications came crashing down on him. And I loved how he turned himself off inside when trying to convince Sam that their deaths (more or less) were the only way to save the world. As much as it brought to life my prediction that one brother would have to kill the other in order for this ending to be different, and as much as I found the whole notion of Dean going through with it to be horrific...I kind of didn't disagree with him. If he had killed Sam and allowed Death to send him to a galaxy far, far away to keep The Darkness trapped and the world safe, it would have ended the destructive cycle and done what they have been trying to do all their lives.

Admittedly, while it brings up loads of holy crap where is this going to go-type questions, I prefer the way it did end up going to down to what could have happened. I don't think Dean expected to actually kill Death when he swung the sickle away from Sam. I think he figured he'd just buy them some time because he was not going to kill his brother. He recognized in Sam's plea the same devotion he'd showed Sam when Lucifer had control and was beating the hell out of him. This was Sam's, "I'm not going to leave you," declaration. And Dean could do no less. Swinging the sickle toward Death was Dean's way of falling backwards into the Cage. He had no idea what was going to happen. And I loved how the first thing he did after Death disintegrated was to ask Sam if he was okay.

I only wish there had been time for a bit more of a reaction from Dean when the Mark was removed -- something that flooded his heart back into him. Something like a surge of Dean-like emotion where he was overwhelmed by all that had happened to him -- physically and emotionally -- while the Mark held sway. I wanted there to be one of those breath-catching moments where we say, there you are, Dean before the boys stumbled outside to the car and The Darkness swept over them. Who knows...maybe there's room for a one shot in there.

After 10 years, we have the brothers together at the end once more, united in their terror as they were when they witness Lucifer rising, united in their brotherhood as they were when they watched the angels fall, united in their mission as they were when they declared they had work to do. Neither of them is dying or dead, neither of them is possessed or evil, neither of them is (currently) a pawn for a game played by entities much bigger than either of them. We enter S11 with a chance for an intriguing storyline and a united front from the brothers and that's exactly what I like in my show.

I'm ready for a breather, for a chance to mentally regroup, and for the time to stretch just long enough I find myself missing them so that when they come back to my living room, I welcome them with open arms. Metaphorically speaking of course. *grins* So, lists?

LIKES:

  • First, see above for the word 'loved' because I pretty much populated this list with my write up. *grins*

  • The Road So Far set to both the musical version of Carry On Wayward Son, and then Kansas' familiar riff.

  • Sam saving the family pics and keeping them nearby as he's making witch-killing bullets (hope those come into play in the next season...I was kind wanting him to use them).

  • "I'm good." So. Many. Layers.

  • "Could be the Whore of Babylon, but all I see is someone's little girl." (Anyone else think, no it's not because we've met her?)

  • "Good luck cracking the case with your eyes shut." Day-UM, Dean. You're right, but still.

  • Dean, expressionless, letting the dead girl's dad hit him twice before he pulls his gun.

  • The fact that the forbidden fruit and the golden calf were part of the spell to remove the first curse. Special kudos to Crowley for calling out that it wasn't actually an apple.

  • "Who summons anymore? Can't you call?" "You're not in my contacts list." I guffawed.

  • "No is not an acceptable answer." I'm going to have to remember that one.

  • Sam finding the Impala keys and the "She's all yours," note from Dean. *rubs heart*

  • Dean Latinating to summon Death. I love it when he does that. Latinates, I mean. Not summons Death.

  • Dean providing snacks -- that he made -- for Death as an 'offering'. I will always dig Death (may he, ironically, rest in peace) and his love of snacks.

  • Realizing that the Mark is why Lucifer fell. And Dean's shell-shocked response of, "Well, that's just fan-freaking-tastic."

  • Dean refusing to pass the Mark on to anyone.

  • The utter exhaustion in Dean's voice as he talked to Sam. "I gave it a shot, Sammy." "Brother, I'm done."

  • "What? He's gonna send you to outer space?" {pure big-brother eye-roll} "No one said outer space."

  • "The Darkness." "What the hell is that?" "What does it sound like? Does it sound like a good thing?"

  • The whole realization that Dean "traded" Sam for the greater good...as Sam had wanted him to do not so long ago.

  • Crowley's exposition about how he built his whole identity around lack of his mother's love.

  • "We are not evil. We're far from perfect, but we're good. That thing on your arm is evil, but not you. Not me."

  • Dean trying so hard to push Sam away, to point out all the things they've done that could be easily construed as evil, including Sam being willing to let The Darkness into the world just to save Dean.

  • Sam's counter argument. A thing of beauty, that. "You were willing to summon Death to make sure you could never do anyone harm. You sacrificed me because you knew I would do anything to protect you. That's not evil, Dean. That's not an evil man, that's a good man. Crying to be heard. Searching for some other way."

  • The look of relief on Dean's face when Sam throws the first punch. He needed that like nothing else, needed to be able to fight for this.

  • "You will never, ever hear me say that the real you is anything but good."

  • "Sammy, close your eyes." *gulp, rubs heart, sniffs*

  • "One day when you find your way back, let these be your guide. They can help you remember what it was to be good. What ie was to love."

  • "Forgive me." This meant so much more in retrospect because at the time, we believed it was because he was going to kill Sam, but before he said that he knew he was going to turn to turn the sickle loose on Death. And the plea for forgiveness was because he could no longer save the world from himself, from the Mark. He wasn't strong enough to do what he knew was the right thing to do -- he loved his brother too much. And felt he needed to be forgiven for it. *sniff*

  • "You okay?" "I'll live. You?" "Fantastic. I think I just killed Death."

  • "Get in the car -- let's go, let's go!"

  • The fact that the last thing we hear is Sam's tense, "DEAN!" as The Darkness washes over the stuck Impala and the screen goes dark.

NOT SO MUCH:

  • Crowley making the leap to Oscar. That was very hand-wavy for me. I mean, we saw him learn from Olivet (in hamster form) that Rowena had a demon lover -- and that's who I thought Crowley was going to find when Cas gave him the list of ingredients. But then he ends up at that diner where he'd popped in a few episodes ago with his "I'm in the business of making dreams come true" shtick and suddenly he knows that Rowena loved this kid? I mean, where did that come from? And what was the point of us learning she had a demon lover? Are we to believe that Oscar, a dying Polish boy who'd been granted immortality 300 years ago, was the demon lover? Pfft. That's thin. I either clearly missed something here or they asked us to just take this leap and go with it knowing we'd be all twisted up about the brothers anyway.

  • Enough with the mirrored experiences. Sometimes in writing stories, that works really well. And sometimes in shows and movies it works well, too. But not when almost every emotional gut-punch we experience is flipped and shifted and turned and we're asked to live through it again, only with a slightly different set of parameters and a role-shift in who is going through what. I now wish I hadn't heard that Jared likened the end of this finale to Swan Song because as it was happening, I saw exactly what he meant and it lessened the emotional impact for me. It felt as if we'd simply been waiting five years for the tables to be turned. I don't like that. I want the emotional impact, the tears.  But I don't want to feel manipulated into feeling it because I'm being reminded of how I felt when something similar -- yet different -- happened to them before.

  • I appreciate Jeremy Carver's "thanks for watching S10, come back for S11" tag at the end of the episode, but I really wish he hadn't said, "and for the boys things go from bad to worse," because...duh. They always go from bad to worse. Their relationship is always tested, they always are up against insurmountable odds, it's SSDD all over the place. What I would have loved was to have heard him say, "and for the boys, things are going to be bad, as they usually are, but these guys are heroes and you're going to see them kick some ass in S11." I mean, hell yeah, y'know? I'm so there for that. I mean, I'm there anyway, but I don't want to haul the doom along with me.

BURNING QUESTIONS:

  • Did it seem odd to anyone else that Sam just had a lock of Dean's hair in his pocket to give to Cas for the spell? That triggered all sorts of questions -- especially since he didn't leave between finding out that it was going to be needed as an ingredient and handing it over to Cas. When did he cut it? When Dean died, maybe? Does he just carry it around with him all the time?

  • Holy crap, CAS! Okay, first, how the heck did Rowena suddenly get so powerful she not only broke out of her chains but can control an angel?? Did that spell to remove the Mark jump start her somehow? And Cas with the bleeding eyes and whatnot -- everyone else who'd been dealt that hand from Rowena died. I don't want Cas to kill Crowley, but I also don't want Cas' demise to be at the hands of a witch! Gah! That was a great cliffhanger, that was.

  • Dean killed Death...? I mean, that will have some serious ramifications. I commented that death had no dominion over these guys before...I never expected them to take that to such an extreme. I'm dying of curiosity how that's going to play out in this 'verse, and if it can be fixed! I mean, it could mean anything from no one actually dies anymore to those who have died can come back....

  • How does The Darkness affect people? Is it like in Once Upon A Time where it infiltrates the soul and can be controlled by a talisman? Is it a 'being' unto itself that will eventually (like all other baddies on SPN) become humanoid and assigned an actor? Will it take over the entirety of the storyline or will there be any way to have MotW episodes with a giant smoke monster running amuck?

  • Does Dean have any residual effects from the Mark now that he's just a regular human again? From having died and come back a demon? From all that he went through while bearing the Mark? PTSD perhaps? That would be interesting. To me..... *shifty eyes*

And that closes another year of Rambles. Thank you all so much for reading and most especially those of you who take time to comment. If you are also a fanfic reader, I'll be posting some things over the hiatus as time and life allow -- including, I believe, an SPN story. I hope I'll see you around. If you're not a fanfic reader, I'm grateful for the time you've given me each week reading these reviews.

This show has personally brought me a great many things over the last decade -- a realization that I am and want to continue to be a storyteller, a confidence that my opinion is valid and might actually matter to some, and most important of all, friends. True, lasting friendships that my life would not have been complete without and wonderful aquaintances that have gifted me with deeper thinking than I would not otherwise have experienced. I thank each of you for being a part of that and hope you have a peaceful, safe, and happy hiatus.

May good luck be your friend in whatever you do, and may trouble be always a stranger to you. Slainte!
Tags: episode review, ramble, stream of consciousness, supernatural, what do you think?
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 28 comments
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →