This is why I wear waterproof mascara when needed. Which is to say always.
If they gave out awards for worlds biggest sap, I would certainly be in the running. You'll have to forgive me — I'm writing this through a veil of tears. I'll get over it, but Good Lord. In thirty years of TV watching and many random crushes on stars from… Richard Dean Anderson, to Scott Bakula, to… Ty Miller from the Young Riders, no one has affected me to the extent of the way Jensen Ackles portrays Dean Winchester.
I can forgive the thin logic of storylines forced into the space of 45 minutes. I can forgive the loose freedom of fiction. I can even forgive apparent folds in the space/time continuum. Just to know more of Dean's story through Jensen's eyes. Just to see him react.
This is certainly an episode that I'll need to process to truly formulate final thoughts. But… since when have I ever given you anything other than pure emotional reaction in this ramble?
If you're still reading after 10 epis, then you must not mind gut reaction.
And right now, my gut is saying, It's a complicated thing to be human.
And I don't just mean flesh and blood, beating heart, senses, and soul. I mean the definition of our actions. The motive behind our choices. The way we react to situations beyond our control.
*pauses to take a breath*
They did a great job layering the foreshadowing in this episode with Uriel's growl that Anna was "far from innocent." Although, I have to say, what was eventually revealed — I did not see coming. For those of you that suspected, kudos. Because I seriously blinked at the TV and said "she's a what?!" out loud.
There were several moments during this episode that I caught my breath. One moment was the very beginning with Uriel attacking Ruby, and Dean, of all people, charging Uriel to save Ruby, and getting the crap beat out of him. When the angel's are pulled suddenly away, I was as confused as the wounded trio — and a little worried about Sam since Castiel put the whammy on him. Anna's blood-smeared mirror was bizarre. I didn't get a good look at the symbol on the mirror, but it almost looked like a compass.
Sam's comment that Anna was "getting more interesting by the second" was echoed by me. And Dean caught me off-guard with a genuine laugh with his "Angels to the outfield" comment. There are times I wonder how much of the wit is from the writers and how much is from the boys' themselves. There were a lot of quick, clever quips by all parties in this epi.
Dean putting Anna in Bobby's panic room was clever. As was Ruby giving them "extra crunchy" hex bags. Bobby, apparently, was off somewhere… I caught hedonism and banana hammock in Dean's comments, but was too busy laughing at the banter about the image being "seared into" Sam's brain… Dean's crack about Anna's real father being the plumber — "snake in the pipes" — and Sam's admonitions that Dean was once again confusing real life with porn.
Oh, I almost forgot — I liked Dean checking on his car, though I was a little lost as to why he'd have to… I forgot about the why, though, when Sam's eyes went all sensitive and his voice softened as Anna came in and demanded that they just ask her about her past and her 'real' father.
Which… I get the need to not be left out of the conversation, and the irritation at being talked about, but she'd already said she didn't remember anything. So… chill out, Anna.
I have to smirk just a bit about the fact that she threw full-on fits at two years old. My girl is two and I've commented to the hubs that the people who make movies depicting demonic possession had to have seen a two year old throw a fit. She can writhe and scream like nobody's business.
Okay, so Pamela is back in business, which was good to see. I liked her sassy character and was pleased to see that she was still doing her psychic gig complete with plastic orbs. Her casual comment about seeking revenge on the angels made me worry for her, though. Not like we all haven't cursed at or about God at random times when life twists the knife, but I worried for her in this situation because the angels were like…right there.
Anna going under hypnosis was another tense moment. For a moment there, while Dean was listening, I wondered if he would be pulled under as well — kind of a Stir of Echoes thing. But instead, he tries to calm Anna when she goes full-on crazy, and gets belted across the room as thanks for that effort. Ouch.
Okay, this is where I had to decide to sink back into the story. That very rarely happens to me with this show. Usually, I'm along for the ride the whole time and escape into whatever story they offer. But… Anna being an angel. I had to adjust to that.
I started to settle once more when she told her story of falling. She had been Castiel and Uriel's boss. And had disobeyed.
I feel a little like I missed something — was her rebellion simply that she wanted to be human and chose to "fall?" Or did she do something else as well — disobey first, and then chose to fall? I think it was becoming human, but I would have to re-watch to be sure I didn't miss another sin.
I remember in the Nic Cage, Meg Ryan movie City of Angels he chose to become a fallen angel because he'd become infatuated with her and wanted to really, truly know what it was like to love. To feel as she felt. To know what the joy of emotion, though he ended up also feeling the pain as well.
I also thought about the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck movie Dogma where the desire to be human stemmed not from the yearning to feel, but from jealousy of where humans "ranked" in the grand scheme of things.
I sat with that a moment as I watched. As I listened to Anna talking about how painful it was to rip out her grace... To Dean quip that she just had to take a divine bong hit and she was back in business... To Ruby comparing her to the Stanley Cup.
I guess there's always the desire to want something different than you have. To not know how to value what you've been given. I'm so guilty of that. And I can't possibly be alone in this. The need to just stop everything — to turn off the world. To be hollowed out and not feel, if just for a moment, is sometimes overwhelming. There are times when my filter goes on the fritz and too many feelings come through.
Then again, I can't imagine not feeling that rush of pleasure when my husband smiles at me just the right way. Or when I taste a really good wine, or let crème brulee melt on my tongue. I can't imagine not feeling the indescribable sensation of warmth and love and possession and release when I watch my daughter. I can't imagine not feeling.
I pulled back into the now when Ruby said that Sam was pretty buff for a nerd. Hee. Nice — that was actually very cute. Not only that, she referred to the Heaven vs Hell battle as Godzilla vs Mothra. Hee. I think we should have seen the end result coming when that comment was made. It pulled me back to The Benders and the show the little boy was watching when he witnessed the kidnapping of the first guy. And Dean scoffed that Sam liked the remake. *wrinkles nose with a grin* Good times.
Here is another question that I would have to rewatch to get answered. Ruby said that Sam knew what he had to do to get rid of Alistair (whom she feared more than the angels, apparently). The way they spoke, it almost seemed like there was something that he could do and wasn't doing beyond using the Force. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but their conversation had me quirking my head.
Dean returning from dropping of Pamela was a nice bonding moment with Anna. I really enjoyed watching him in that scene, taking in how he absorbed her. How he really listened to her. She wasn't like anyone he'd ever let close, you could see that. She wasn't demon girl like Ruby, she wasn't truly human like Layla or Cassie, she wasn't a conquest like the random girls in the bar, she wasn't a past possibility like Lisa, she wasn't a dream like Carmen. She was real, and she was unreal. She poured out her feelings and could have been speaking his own.
And I never once got the feeling that she was fabricating any of it for a purpose other than honesty. She truly couldn't understand why Dean wouldn't understand her desire to become one of us. Their word play was sweet — especially his not being able to argue with "sex" being a human facet that was enjoyable. Something that made being human worth it. She had me at chocolate cake, but then again, I'm easy. *wink*
Dean's wonder at the perfection of the angels, the fact that they were so powerful, made something inside of me crack just a little bit in worry. I started to wonder what we were going to find out about him even more. I started to honestly fear a bit for him.
Anna's return that they were like marble statues, cold with no choice, how every emotion we get to experience is fabulous, even the bad ones… the reveal took my breath away a little. There is so much we take for granted in life.
I remember a nightmare I had once, a long time ago. I was in high school at the time. I dreamt that I was sitting on a bench and a man in a white shirt with shoulder-length blonde hair and bright blue eyes was sitting next to me. He looked at me and asked, "Why do you assume, when you fall asleep at night, that you'll always wake up in the morning?"
There's a lot I take for granted in life.
I found it interesting that Anna said only 4 angels have ever actually seen God. I remembered that fact from a Sunday School lesson once upon a time. The rest of the angels had to take God's existence on faith just like we did. But when they doubted, when they decided to think for themselves, when they decided they wanted something different than to be God's soldiers, the punishment was death. I mean, Anna pointed it out herself. Lucifer disobeyed. He was an angel once.
If you are a believer, then you have to admit, we have it pretty darn good in comparison. The chances we get to choose and decide and believe are boundless until the ends of our lives.
Anna caught Dean completely when she ranted about having to be on the road, invisible, waiting on orders from a father she couldn't begin to understand. The cynic in me thought — how much does she know about Dean, really? Did she know he'd lived just that life for so long he doesn't know how to do anything else? Did she say that just to get him? But… to what end? He was already protecting her. He was already on her side. I had to believe she truly felt that way and it just so happened that her heavenly mission, her burden, was exactly the same as Dean's.
The angel and demon riding side by side in the back seat of the Impala was too funny. As was the boys' exchange of "Penthouse letter"… "Reality. Porn."… "You call this reality?"
Anna's grace is gone. Hmm. Forget angel and demon in the back seat — there's a joke in there somewhere… I had a feeling I knew where it was, but I soon forgot to keep speculating when Dean and Ruby started in on each other like a couple of cranky siblings and Sam stepped in to stop Ruby from going too far.
Anna's reveal of the angel's ultimatum had my stomach churning a bit for Dean, as did Dean's instinct to call Bobby. He still needs a general, even after all this. He wants someone to help them think of something. Turns out, he has that in his little brother. He just has to learn to trust it.
And then comes the scene that had me thanking the DVR gods. It's a fantastic dance, really. Where Ruby seduced Sam by playing to his baser instincts, his need to hid in sensation, and his anger at the world in general, Anna's seduction of Dean was more of a soft word play of feeling and forgiveness, touch and understanding. After connecting with his self-loathing by saying that maybe she didn't deserve to be saved, she allows Dean a quick "we've all done things we gotta pay for."
Revealing that she knew what Dean was guilty of in hell, she pulls a fantastic Robin Williams with her "it's not your fault." My throat closed up a bit as Dean looked down at her, wanting so badly to believe, to be forgiven, but unable to even breathe around those words of absolution. His stuttering "I don't wanna… I can't talk about that" broke my heart as did Anna's understanding and her reminder that when he could talk, there were people (aka Sam) that would understand and would listen. "You're not alone."
And then the girl has to go and steal his best line with a "our last night on earth" play. Dude, at that moment? With those freakin' amazing eyes looking down on me? I would have pulled out all the stops to get him to crawl into the back seat with me. Dean's love scene was the exact opposite of Sam's. It was slow and tender, Ready For Love playing in the background (NICE!). There were pauses and grins, there was that funny moment when you try to get your partner's jean's off and get them caught at the ankles.
And I melted a bit when she touched his angel-scar. My husband has a lot of scars. And now, so do I. And touching them somehow signifies to us that because of this mark, I still have you. If it weren't for this, I wouldn't be holding you right now.
I kinda felt that that could be true of these two a bit.
And there was his back. And his bloody, bruised knuckles gripping her leg. And his back. And his jaw working as he did everything but crawl into her. And his back. Everything about the scene was bloody perfect, until they had the Titanic-hand-slap down the steamed-up windows. *shakes head*
Still, don't think I won't be rewatching. Again and again and again and then one more time.
When Ruby lit the extra-crunchy hex bags on fire, I actually gasped. I'm not sure if it was an "I knew it!" gasp or a "What the hell??" gasp. But there was sound. Alistair showed up with her knife and I muttered "I've got a very bad feeling about this." Ruby being ready to give up the angel didn't really surprise me. What did surprise me is that she wanted to bargain for not only her freedom, but both of the boys. Huh.
Uriel visiting Dean in a dream made my bad feeling twist just a bit south. His comments make me snarl. I know, he's supposed to be this bad ass angel — love to hate him kind of thing, but the whole "funny when monkey's wear clothes" and "cut yourself a slice of angel food cake"… *growls* I hope he either finds his happy place or someone kills him.
Dean was ready to sacrifice himself to save Anna. Ready to go back into the pit. With a cavalier "I don't break easy" I thought, oh, God. I know how they got you. I wasn't entirely right, but it is how they got him this time. Because Uriel was right. He does break easy if they apply the right pressure. Sam.
I didn't get the whole set up at first. The Godzilla vs Mothra set up. All I could think when Alistair was torturing Ruby was where the heck is Sam?! And, I suppose, that's when I realized I'd accepted what had transpired between Sam and Ruby. When I wanted him to get Ali to stop hurting her… I realized I'd embraced her as one of the team. And if my theory about her ultimately betraying them in the end is right, I'm going to feel as hurt as I suspect Sam will feel.
Because these guys are too freakin' real to me. It's scary, people.
When Dean was drinking again in the barn, I knew then that he'd given them up. He looked haggard, like someone had sliced through his heart with a serrated knife and he was trying to figure out how he was still breathing. Sam's look of shock was well-played in retrospect. The face, though, that I found the most interesting in the whole play was Castiel's.
That is one angel that is dangerously close to not only questioning his "orders" but questioning the whole thing. Uriel said it — Cas likes Dean. He's getting invested in this guys' future. He's starting to believe that there is more to this battle than meets the eye.
And I think, honestly, that will be the thing that saves them all. Castiel's doubt and Dean's faith. How ironic, huh?
Anna forgiving Dean was touching, but I think it just made his wound bleed a little more. Because when we look back, Dean knew about The Plan, but Anna didn't. At least… I don't think so…
The last battle was extremely tense for me. So much so I think I actually ducked when the boys slipped off to the side. Wanting them to hide further. Uriel is running around killing demons, Castiel is being choked to death by Alistair, Ruby is bleeding, the boys are hiding Anna… Gaelic is chewing a hole in her lip.
Dean saving Cas was the best. I knew it had to come, but I loved seeing it anyway. The boys are downed by Alistair and Anna, as Ruby said earlier, gets her groove back.
And then… she quite literally, explodes with heavenly power, taking Alistair with her. Now, I'm not sure if she killed him or what, but when the smoke cleared, she and Alistair were gone. So… huh. Alistair leaves behind Ruby's knife, so they have that again. Which is nice. And Dean give's his little brother a verbal clap on the back for concocting such a scheme.
Though, Dean knows Anna isn't happy being a full-on angel, as Sam suspected she was.
So, when you have guys and you have emotions running high and you have something to get off your chest, it must be done a) with beer, b) outside, and c) near or on a car. And not just in this show. In life. My girlfriends and I can have a heart to heart in the ladies room of a restaurant if we need to. Tears and all. But my husband and his friends? Not so much.
And so, when the hunt was over, and the boys were musing about how they'd actually made it out of that one, and they're sipping beer, I felt my heart thud. I knew it was coming and I suddenly wanted to both climb inside my TV and turn it off at the same time. I couldn't wait to know, and I didn't want to hear. I admit it. I'm screwed up.
When Dean said, "I know you heard him," you could almost hear Anna's voice echoing in his head about the fact that there were people who cared about him, who would want to hear. That he wasn't alone. I loved that Sam's reply to Dean's "aren't you curious" was a big hell yeah, but that he wasn't going to push. Sam learned that lesson. He was an expert at waiting.
Man, alive, people, I was crying. I admit it. Terry, I know you're shaking your head right now. The way Dean stumbled through the confession, his eyes tearing up, his voice tightening, his body so tense you could feel the air retreat from around him. Forty years. Slicing and carving until there was nothing left. Every day. And then he was back, whole, so they could start again. And endless loop of fear and pain and suffering.
I almost expected him to say they used Sam against him in some way — showed him a "what might be now that you're gone" scenario. But they just went with pain. With pure, unadulterated pain. And even the most stalwart of heroes can only take so much. And as far as Dean knew, this was his forever. This was his existence. And he resisted. Telling Alistair to stick it. For thirty of his forty years.
But when he climbed down off the rack, and joined the ranks of the torturers, that's when his true pain began. Because he remembers what he did to other souls — some like him, perhaps, some truly evil, some having simply made enough mistakes in their lives. But all people once. And Dean is a hero. A savoir. And he took them apart.
His tears were heartbreaking. And Sam's tremble, the way he worked to even speak. The way he looked at Dean without actually looking at him… man, his whole being visibly hurt. You could see him wanting to pull his brother close but unsure if that would completely shatter the little control Dean had left. And he knows his brother well enough to know that without that control, Dean is lost.
Dean saying that how he feels inside now makes him not want to feel anything… it brings everything into sharp focus: the drinking, the disbelief that he was chosen to be saved, the wonder at Anna's desire to be human… And I think Sam hit the nail on the head. Dean's thirty year resistance is what caught the attention of the angel's. It's what caused them to pull him out.
Because he's still a hero. It was my last thought as he looked away, his cheek twitching with emotion, face wet from tears. You're a hero.
I'm spent. I'd hoped that we'd get ourselves a little montage to hold us over until January 15th, but… I suppose we have to be happy with getting 10 new ones in a row, getting two confessions to tide us over, and getting several weeks to wonder how these reveals, these experiences, these Really Big Things are going to affect the relationship of our favorite brothers.
Because they've each been through their own hell. Alone. And they've each survived it. And they need each other now more than ever. But despite finally coming clean with each other, we really haven't touched on what they think about each other now. And how they're going to keep going through the war as brothers.
I'm a little bit in love with Bad Company. Just so you know.