So… I watched the 1st half hour with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, a good-humored grin on my face, and the 2nd half leaning forward clutching my pillow. This was a FAN-tastic episode, emphasis on ‘FAN.’ And novembersguest if you’re reading? How appropriate was the first part of this episode to the conversation we were having earlier today?
*chuckles… emphasis on ‘chuck'*
Okay, so I write this with the very sincere hope that those of the fandom who read my ramble have a good sense of humor and recognized this episode for the nod to us that I saw it to be. I worry, though, because so many of us take this show so seriously (which is exactly why I avoid forums) and I can just imagine some of the fallout.
Just so everyone knows, it does not bother me if you have differing opinions from mine, but if anyone reads my ramble and looks for unbiased, 30,000 foot viewpoint of the storyline you’re probably going to be disappointed. ‘Cause I had a great time tonight and I was completely sucked in… even though at about the mid-point mark I found myself wondering if I’d ever be able to write fanfiction again.
I mean, seriously. Ever. Again.
I got over it, but there was about five minutes there where I was like… well, hell. I quit. I can’t make up stories about these characters that feel so real to me. I can’t take them through hell to watch them walk out on the other side. I can’t explore their reasoning and give them hope and take hope away. I can’t use them and abuse them and escape into them.
But, like I said. I got over it. And I'm back to seeing if there is even a chance I can do justice to this clever show. Oh, and Irish, please to not be scolding me, but I was so caught up in the whole Carter Edlund penname that I totally forgot to look at the writer.
First things first – the title. A couple of weeks ago I told you that I usually don’t pay attention to the titles until well after the episode, and then only for referencing of the episodes. I’ve since changed at least that habit. Even though I apparently can’t be bothered to watch for the writer. *hides face in shame* This epi’s title caught me, mainly because I have a two-year old who insists on being read to each night (“Five books, Mama.” “Two.” “Three.” “Okay, three, but that’s it.” I’m nothing if not firm. *wink*)
The Monster At the End of This Book is a Sesame Street children’s book that my girl pretty much has memorized. It’s all about Lovable Furry Old Grover. The thing is, though, in that book, Grover himself turns out to be the Monster at the end of the Book. Nothing to be scared of at all. Silly, silly us. I think the writers may have been using a red herring technique with us. I haven’t formulated my entire supporting plan to this theory, but perhaps I’ll get there at the end of this ramble…
We start with Agents DeYoung and Shaw, going Renegade and dropping their Blue Collar Man persona for a little badge flashing, which is really All In a Day’s Work. They ask their questions in a Haven’t We Been Here Before tone of voice when what they really want to be doing is telling the spirit to Kiss Your Ass Goodbye…
Okay, sorry, enough with the Styx songs. I couldn’t help myself.
You know what I just realized, though… whatever brought them to this town—the reports of a haunting—was never further investigated once they discovered the books and Chuck Shirley. Huh.
Anyway… the comic book store guy outs them as “LARPing” (I was totally with Dean and the wth?? Live Action Role Play, Oooohhh…) and reveals the series Supernatural by Carver Edlund. Didn’t sell a lot of copies… underground cult following… *Gaelic is already laughing*
The boys buy out every copy and head back to the motel they were staying in—oh, and I just realized something else…I looks like part-way through the episode they change locations to try to thwart the predictions in the book, but the interior? Looked exactly the same. Huh. ANYWAY! Dean’s on the bed reading while Sam’s looking at the laptop. Dean exclaims that everything is in the books from the racist truck to him having sex.
“I’m full frontal in here, dude.”
—Sam looks slightly sick at the thought—
Sam reveals that the series started in ’05 (well, duh) and the last episode, er, I mean book, No Rest for the Wicked ends with Dean going to Hell. *Gaelic laughs a little harder* Not only that? But there are fans.
“For ‘fans’ they sure do complain a lot,” Dean observes. “Simpatico says that the demon story line is trite, clichéd and overall craptastic. Screw you, simpatico, we lived it.”
*Gaelic full-on guffaws*
So, they (meaning the writers) haunt the forums, turns out. And not everything they saw was encouraging. Which is exactly why I don’t. I hope that wherever they find these kinds of reports they’re also seeing the comments that say how much we love this show and its characters. That’s out there, right? Somewhere?
They boys realize that there are SamGirls and DeanGirls… and then… Dean asks, “What’s a slash fan?” I tell you, I was rolling. On the floor, holding my knees, rolling.
“Like… together together? They do know we’re brothers, right?”
“Doesn’t seem to matter.”
“That’s just… sick…”
OH, it gets better. THEN they go to the publisher’s office/house and she is a doll. I mean, not literally a doll, but I thought she was a cutie. She was so into her boys, too. Scoffing at the readers who’d rather have romance crap and “Dr. Sexy, M.D.” *BWAH!*
Oh, Show. You do humor me so.
I will say that for a little bit there, I was struggling with the point of this episode. I was really a little bit tangled. Because they ultimately explained it and it worked with the whole mythology and arch that they had going on, and I really don’t know how else they could have introduced a Prophet that wouldn't have had half the fans up in religious arms and half the fans scoffing at the ridiculousness of it and half the fans—oh, wait, that’s three halves. Whatever. You get the idea. But, even though it was explained, and even though I laughed heartily, I still had that aforementioned moment of “what the hell am I doing writing fanfiction?” I didn’t like that feeling. At all.
But that says a little too much about me and my insecurities then it does about the point of the episode. I think this is definitely one of those "wait and see" episodes that will become clearer in a few weeks. I mean it wasn't just a MotW epi, or even a "just for fun" epi (like Hollywood Babylon, for example) because of the Prophet/angel/Lilith business. That, and the end... but I'll get there in a minute.
Cute Publisher Girl goes into how the best parts of the books were when the boys cried, like when Dean went to Hell or Sam had to kill Madison.
“If only real men were so open and in touch with their feelings… No offense, but how often do you cry like that?”
Dean: “Right now I’m crying on the inside.”
To prove that they were actually Really Big Fans, they show the tattoos, and I tell you, Dean’s “kill me now” expression when he pulled the collar of his shirt down has to be made into an avi for me. It was the most adorable thing of the whole episode. *pets him* OH! I totally just thought of something!! In a comment to a previous ramble, someone commented that they feared that Lucifer would use Sam’s body as a vessel for when he rose. But he can’t do that, can he? ‘Cause of the whole anti-demonic-possessing-tat? Right?! Right?!
Minor little aside, I thought it was totally cute when Sam had to struggle to remember his own LSAT score and I wanted to hug Dean for the Zeppelin favorite song tie. Ramble On would be my vote (though, I think Dean may have actually said Ramblin' On...). Two guesses as to why. *grin*
Okay, so they head to Chuck Shirley’s “ramshackle” house and after sharing a “soulful look” basically barge in and finally convince him that they’re real and he’s not hallucinating. Mainly, I think, because they use their last name and he’d never used that in the stories. Which, I just kinda found weird. Never? He’d never made a play on the name Winchester when they eat, sleep, and breathe guns? Huh. Not a literary choice I would have made.
Chuck, though, poor lad, looked terrible. Rough beard, red eyes, DARK circles, boxers that have seen better days, ratty white T-shirt, bathrobe… c’mon, dude. He also thinks that he’s a god. *snort* He rattles off for about 10 mins about how he was so mean to them, killing their dad, burning their mom, what Sam had to go through with Jess, toying with their lives, their emotions.
This was definite “yeah, okay, we heard you, they sucked,” comment from the writers: he asked them if they really had to live through the bugs and the ghost ship.
“I’m so sorry… I mean horror is one thing, but to be forced to live bad writing…” Heh.
I gotta agree with Chuck on one point, though. Writing is hard. Chuck says that the last book got weird. Like Vonnegut weird.
“Slaughterhouse Five Vonnegut or Cat’s Cradle Vonnegut?” asks Dean. Sam gives him a “What?” to which Dean replies his own “What?” Sam, get over it. Your brother reads. ‘Nuff said.
Chuck wrote himself into the story, being confronted by his own characters. So… what’s the male version of a Mary Sue?
Okay, possibly my favorite scene in the episode was the Laundromat scene. Is this a first for the show, too? I can remember writing Laundromat scenes, but not really seeing one before, though we know that’s how they’d have to live.
Dean: “I’m sitting in a Laundromat reading about myself sitting in a Laundromat reading about myself… my head hurts.”
He goes on to read what Sam is doing, saying that Sam turned away from Dean, “his face brooding and pensive.” I swear if he’d have called out the “bitch face” I would have died laughing in that moment.
“I can’t see your face but those are definitely your brooding and pensive shoulders.” *giggle*
“You just thought I was a dick.”
Sam: “This guy’s good.”
Dean’s mouth shuts with a click. Hee.
And it’s then that we segue into the Serious Half of the show. Mainly because Chuck reveals that Lilith is coming for Sam. Tonight. Where they will, apparently sink into the throws of fiery demonic passion. *cough* Lilith isn’t going to be a little girl this time, either. She’s going to be an all grown-up dental hygienist from Bloomington, IN. (Go IU!)
Not to bounce out of order here, but when Lilith was in Ruby’s body, she was creeeeeepy. Like a little girl wearing her big sister’s clothes. But in Miss Dental Hygienist, she just sounded like every other pissed off demon with an agenda. Except for the white eyes, she didn’t really creep me out. I missed that. I just thought of that, too.
Sorry, where was I? Oh, right, fiery demonic passion. Sam’s pretty much like hell, and Dean gives him a stranger things have happened look. Dean is not liking this one bit. He is scared—not an I’m not strong enough, this is too big scared. More of an I don’t have all the facts and I can’t protect Sam from what I don’t know and the kids getting in deeper and deeper and I don’t know how to stop it and I have to save him scared.
So, they try Opposite Day. Where Dean dares to order tofu. It truly is the end of the world as we know it. They pack up and move to the Toreador Motel because the book says Sam gets hit by Lilith at the Red Motel. And Dean orders Sam to not research, but watch porn instead. With a grin that I have to say I wanted to kiss him for. It was pretty much at this point that my “oh, God, I can’t know that” wigging out about fanfiction faded and I just sank back into the story.
Quite happily, I might add.
Still trying to do the opposite of the events in the book, Dean tries to park the Impala instead of driving around in it all day, but as he’s walking away some punks dare to try to break into her. *growls* Turning to stop them, Dean totally misses the minivan…but it doesn’t miss him. WHAM!
While Dean’s out cold in the parking lot getting zero real medical attention (what is wrong with these people?!) and a little girl is putting daisy-colored band aides on his face, Chuck and Sam have a heart to heart where Chuck reveals that he knew about Sam’s demon blood habit but that he didn’t put it in the story because he thought it would make Sam more of an unsympathetic character.
Chuck says gently that Sam has to know it’s wrong, and Sam echoes my thoughts of a couple of weeks ago saying that he has to do it because he has to be strong enough to stop this. Chuck replies that that’s Dean’s job—making me wonder if Sam does know about Dean breaking the first seal and being the righteous man who puts an end to this, though they never really come out and flat-out say that—but Sam argues that Dean isn’t Dean anymore. Not really. Not since he came back from Hell. That he needs Sam’s help. That Dean took care of him his whole life and now it’s Sam’s turn.
To which Chuck plays Devil’s Advocate (pun intended) and asks Sam if he’s sure, if that’s it, really, or if he just wants to be stronger, more powerful.
And again, I’m tickled by that damn red herring. I’m worried about Sam going darkside, as is Dean, apparently, but we have also seen tiny little tidbits of Dean’s darkness that I’ve been able to justify and write off and explain away. But now I’m drawing them out and taking another look.
Dean gave up his soul for the sake of his brother. Dean was ripped to shreds. Dean was tortured in Hell. Dean broke (consequently triggering the apocalypse). Dean tortured souls. Dean enjoyed it. Dean was pulled from ‘perdition’ by an angel to ‘do God’s work.’ Dean is broken. Dean is haunted. Dean isn’t all here. Dean is scared. Dean is losing Sam. Dean isn’t strong enough. Dean has to save them all.
A little tiny itty bitty part of me wonders if Dean would do it all again—if he will do it all again—to save his brother from going darkside. If that’s the way he has to stop it.
Like I said, not fully formed. Okay, so back to the story.
So, Dean wakes in the parking lot, finds some tarp somewhere to cover the Impala’s broken rear window (just like the book said) and head’s to Chuck’s house where, after confronting him angrily, finds out from Cas (who shows up with a soft flutter of wings that I think is Too Cool) that Chuck is a Prophet. *blinks*
They just love those curve balls to left field, don’t they? Anna’s an angel who lost her grace. Chuck is a prophet with head-splitting visions. Screw speculating. I’m just trying to hold on. Thank goodness I have Dean’s eyes to anchor me.
Dean and Sam face off back at the motel—where Sam has removed all of the anti-Lilith hex bags. Dean wants them to leave because he knows they’re not strong enough to defeat her yet. And seriously, if Sam could just freakin’ get over his power trip for one minute, he might realize that this isn’t his brother’s fear talking. It’s the soldier in him. Pick your battles. Check your six. Be prepared. Know your enemy.
Dean knows Sam is strong, powerful. He knows Sam killed Alistair like he was swatting a fly (thanks to Cas). He doesn’t know how he’s getting stronger, just that he is. But he also knows they're not ready to take out Lilith. Not broken like they are. Dean wants to protect his brother. He wants to keep him more than just alive. He wants to keep him Sam. He tries to bluff, grabbing his bag and stalking toward the door, but when he realizes that Sam means it—that he’s not going, that he’s going to wait for Lilith—Dean drops his back on the chair and stomps out because staying in that room with that freakin’ stubborn, willful little brother is just this side of insane. Not if he wanted to not take another swing at him.
And, then, Dean proceeds to break my heart without the benefit of tears. He stands before the pop machine, arms spread, looking up, feeling silly, and asks for help. He prays, saying he needs help. He doesn’t say “to save my brother” or “to kill Lilith” or “to stop this madness.” Just that he needs help. His heart filled in the rest.
Cas shows up saying that prayer is a sign of faith. They have words and when Cas says more than once that he can’t intervene, Dean’s face curls up into folded lines of disappointment and rage and he says that if Cas doesn’t help him now, “when the time comes and you need me, don’t bother knocking.” To me he looked so much like John in that moment that it was a bit breathtaking.
He is trying, dammit. He had hit bottom mentally, emotionally, physically. He’d been taken out of his reality by Cas’ boss and shown that he was a hunter and was told to snap out of it. And He. Was. Trying. But there is only so much a human can take. That boulder is being pushed up the hill, and it’s heavy enough, but if you have both the forces of good AND evil on the other side pushing back, that boulder isn’t going anywhere fast. He just needed a break!
So… Cas helps him.
“You must understand why I can’t intervene… if anything threatens a prophet—anything at all—an archangel will appear to destroy that threat. Archangel’s are fierce. They’re absolute. They’re heaven’s most terrifying weapon.”
So… if a prophet is in the same room with, say, a demon…
“The most fearsome wrath of heaven would rain down on that demon.”
*Gaelic bounces on couch with a quiet YAY!*
I will admit, none of my Sunday school teachers ever told me that there were so many levels of power in heaven. I’m starting to think we need an org chart. There’s GOD, then the archangels, then beings like Zach, then beings like Cas… somewhere in there are the guardians, the seraphim, the cherubim… *head spins*
It’s one of those smiles that triggers a gasp of breath so quick you didn’t realize you hadn’t been breathing before those lips curled up. Before those eyes softened with a slight bit of relief.
Dean goes to Chuck, even though the prophet didn’t write it, and through The Threat Of Dean makes Chuck go with him back to the hotel. So, this is another thing with the whole red herring. Dean makes a move that the prophet didn’t write. And he is able to do it because an angel—a being who isn’t really supposed to care about humans, at least according to Uriel—helped him. Because he cares what happens to him. I like it. I don’t know what to do with it, but I like it.
Meanwhile, back at the Red Motel (yup, turned out Dean took them right to the hotel he was trying to avoid), Lilith shows up looking a bit like Jamie Pressly from My Name Is Earl. Sam and Lilith exchange “I’m stronger, no I’m stronger” words where Sam attempts to kill her to no avail. Still, she can’t toss him around, either, so they’re in a bit of a supernatural Mexican stand-off.
Lilith reveals that she knows she won’t survive the apocalypse. Gonna die right before all the fun starts. Hmmm… Interesting. Not sure how she came about this information, but it caused her to seek Sam out in a grown-up body and present him with an ‘offer he can’t refuse.’ She’ll stop everything—breaking of the seals, Lucifer rising, all of it—in exchange for Sam and Dean’s lives. Sam of course tells her to piss off, basically, spitting that he is nothing like her.
*Gaelic frowns, worried*
Not that this has anything to do with anything, but as I write this, “Wanted Dead or Alive” just started playing on my iTunes.
So, Lilith plays on his Winchester sensibilities, taunting him with the whole “you think your life is worth the lives of 6 billion people” and mocking him with self-sacrifice being a Winchester trait. She starts to walk away with a “going once, going twice…” and Sam blurts out an agreement. She says a deal with her can’t be sealed with just a kiss… *cue porn music*
I will say I didn’t buy it for a moment. No matter the amount of doubtful, worried looks shot Sam’s why through his brother’s (gorgeous) eyes, no matter the profit’s predictions, no matter the almost sinister look on Sam’s former little-boy face, there was NO WAY Sam was going to sleep with Lilith. He still believes that he’s doing what he’s doing for the greater good. So when he sank down onto that bed, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how the hell he was going to get her.
He grabs for the knife that she couldn’t touch earlier—I missed why on that one…just saw the sparks—and tries to stab her, but she’s stronger and gets the upper hand, pinning him down and raising the knife…
Just as Dean and Chuck burst into the room.
“I am the prophet... Chuck!”
Five funniest words I’d heard in a long time. I don’t even know if they were supposed to be funny, but I barked out a quick laugh and had to clap a hand over my mouth. There is some serious archangel shaking and light and scariness and Lilith runs away leaving the three men in the room panting with adrenaline and confusion and more than a little fear.
Sometime later, the boys are in the car and Sam has told Dean about Lilith’s deal. Dean wonders if Sam actually thought about it, seriously, which Sam denied because it would have cost them their lives. Sam says Lilith is right about one thing… “She’s not gonna survive the apocalypse… I’ll make sure of that…”
Dean looks sideways at him, his eyes heavy, his face tight, and the lighting crew does a super awesome thing by having it go completely dark for about two heartbeats then a streetlight passes over and Dean is looking straight ahead again and man are his gears turning.
Back at Chuck’s pad, he’s having a wicked dream/vision thing and sits up looking sick and scared. Zach is sitting there, asking him if he saw it. Chuck nods and wants to go warn the boys, but Zach stops him, saying no one should know too much about their own destiny. Oh, why, Doc Brown? Will it mess up the space/time continuum?? *frowns* Chuck then decides he’s going to go kill himself, but Zach says they’ll just bring him back to life.
“What do I do now?” Chuck asks.
Zach’s answer? “Write…”
So… I go back to Grover. Who was the real monster at the end of this book? Sam? With his demon blood and his semi-sinister eyes and his “I’m bigger and stronger and I can kill demons with my mind and I’m gonna stop Lilith” mindset?
Or maybe Dean? With his drive and his need and his history of being tortured and doing the torturing and his “screw you and your divine plan” attitude?
Or Chuck the Prophet with his ability to see their future and write The Winchester Gospel (really, guys??) and his archangel protector?
Cas with his doubt and his care and his rebellion and his on-the-edge-of-falling persona? Lilith with her demonic plans and white eyes and goal of returning Lucifer to the world and raining Hell down upon an unsuspecting world?
Maybe it’s Zach with his smug self-assuredness and his arrogant withholding of knowledge; he’s like John Winchester in angel form: “I have the facts and I’ll give them to you when I think you need to know them, but not before.”
I don’t know… Maybe it’s us. The fans. The influencers. The instigators. Maybe we’re the monsters. Maybe Kripke created us. Not us us… but us as a fandom us. Rabid, protective, invested, engaged, obsessed… not as individuals, but as a group we managed to basically decide the fate of at least three characters on the show, and are on our way to swaying the outcome of more.
I don’t know of another show that can say that. No matter how complex the storyline.
Kripke still surprises the hell out of us, though. He and his writing team have kept us riveted for nearly four years now, and I know I’m not going anywhere. He has me scared for these characters that I’ve grown to love as though they are real people. My boys. Our boys. They have me invested, even as they poke fun. Because under all the humor is a thread of imagination and creativity, and it feels good to get involved in that. Under the angst is a backbone of iron and it feels good to anchor myself in that.
And let’s not forget the ohmygodhowcantheybereal gorgeousness of the main characters. That don’t hurt.
SO… two weeks, huh? What do I do now?