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Supernatural Act I - sorting it all out... 
23rd-Jan-2013 10:53 pm
Discussion / no weapons discharge
Yesterday was a day of SPN! \o/ I spent the day with the lovely redteekal and we talked all things S8 (and re-watched a couple of S8 eps). I need to jot some of it down because we sorted it all out!! ;D

There's a lot of scattered thoughts here. It's my attempt to capture some of yesterday's discussion but also it works as a reflection on S8 so far. It's not negative, it's just musing about some of the unanswered and problematic moments in S8. I know I'm probably flogging a dead horse - it's likely all been said before (and over and over), but I want to get it out of my system before Act II commences. (Lots of points under the cut. I don't claim we answered these for everyone but it certainly helped me).



We didn't sort it ALL out of course. But airing some grievances certainly helped put things in perspective and I've come away with a better outlook and a somewhat rejuvenated perspective.

Some things we talked about...

S8 ain't perfect.

Somehow saying that out loud helps. Especially to someone as positive and enthusiastic as redteekal. Having her agree that there were plenty of lame moments helped. But the reminder that there were plenty of awesome moments too helped even more!

The very act of nutting out some of the inconsistencies and issues rising from S8 make it easier to kind of bundle up the things that weren't working and develop some healthy head canon. We acknowledged that Show really hasn't answered (or dealt with) some really important questions so we worked them out. Fans can find a reason for anything if they want to.;D

Unresolved or seemingly inconsistent plot points:

* Why Sam didn't look for Dean.

This is my biggest issue this season. And to be honest there isn't a good answer for this one. I mean WE, the fans, have fantastic reasons why this could have happen. Having been with Sam for 8 years now and seen what he's been through we can certainly understand WHY Sam may have run away and not looked for Dean. The trouble is the show didn't give us much of that at all. According to a tweet by a show writer Sam was actually following "family policy". And in the show Sam says his world "imploded". We didn't get to actually see that, so we have to take his word that he was such a mess and so alone that the mere thought of trying to find Dean escaped him.

Personally I can't see it but it's now canon so I have to make it work.

We re-watched Hunter Heroici and of all the Sam flashbacks these one, I think, are the best. It comes the closest to understanding where Sam's head was at. He says he lost someone and ran. This suggests that he thought Dean was dead ("You're... freakin' alive" he says in 8.01 suggests that also). Thinking that Dean is dead is the only plausible reason I can come up with that Sam didn't look. If he thinks Dean died then it makes sense that he followed this so called "family policy" and not try to bring him back from the dead. Nothing but trouble comes from doing that and maybe Sam not trying can be seen as a grown up move.

The argument is of course that without a body there's no way Sam would no for sure that Dean died (and probably a million other arguments) but it seems that's the way they played it so...yeah. Sam moved on because he had no alternative.

Another argument we came up with is that Sam was so messed up he just ran away (this is also mentioned in 8.09). He couldn't face the loss of Dean and his friends so he completely blocked it all out.

We have no timeline for Sam's past year but I'm going to guess that 8.01 started just after Don returned. He's lurking outside their house (shadowy figure) and Sam decides to make a break and leave while Amelia is sleeping (he does tell her he's leaving but leaves it until night to do so. - to avoid the final confrontation maybe?)

We know that they had JUST moved into the house they got together. They were still unpacking when Amelia got the call that Don was still alive. It can't have been long after that that we get the scene of Sam asking Amelia to stay with him (Citizen Fang) and then says he is leaving. We have no idea how long they were seeing each other before they got the house in Kermit (probably doesn't matter).

The thing is. He drove ALL THE WAY from Kermit, Texas to Whitefish, Montana (1170 miles as the crow flies) to return to the cabin. We are never told WHY he went to the cabin but a tweet from...ack, can't remember who...Jim Michaels maybe?... confirmed it was to clear his head - take some time out.

This means he COULD HAVE made the decision at that point to either return to hunting (the cabin being a link to the world he left behind) or maaaaybe to start looking for Dean. He's obviously avoided the place all this time so maybe...MAYBE...he was sick of running and was ready to get back in the game (that's my head canon anyway). We are never told so really we could make that be anything.

Soooo many ideas with this whole story line. I think we each have our own ideas (disappointments) with that one. I still hope we get more (Dean disappearing again and seeing what Sam would do this time) but I think that might be it.

* Why Dean left Cas in Purgatory

We wondered if Dean thought that Cas had died after he managed to crawl out. Dean did say that Cas "didn't make it" so Dean probably thought Cas had died in Purgatory. The interesting thing here (and something that never played out) is that Dean essentially reacted the same way to Cas not making it to Sam's reaction to Dean being gone. He ignored it (other than the lingering guilt). He didn't attempt a rescue or even look into it.

The other thought is that Dean absolutely knew there was no way to get him out so left it at that. It's probably a shame that the connection was never made. Dean may have had an easier time understanding Sam's actions if he reflected on his own - maybe.


* How Castiel can find Sam and Dean with the sigils on their ribs

We figured that when Sam came back from hell the sigils were removed (like Dean came back "re-hymenated). As for Dean's.... well, um...let's say at some point in Purgatory Cas removed the sigils on the ribs so he could find Dean in Purgatory. *nods* Sounds good to us.

* Why Sam is so anti Benny

This is a tough one because previous canon tells us that Sam sees shades of grey and he has been sympathetic to vamps in the past. He would also be happy that someone helped Dean out of Purgatory. So there's two ideas here. 1) Sam hasn't had the benefit of getting to know Benny and therefore can't make a good judgement and 2) Sam worries that Dean's experience in Purgatory has clouded his judgement and is concerned he is being taken for a ride. After all, Sam knows what that it like from his experience with Ruby. Jealousy also plays a part, as does Sam remembering that Dean killed Amy after Sam pleaded her case. I think there's plenty of solid reason for this one.

* Why Dean used Amelia in danger as a lure for Sam

At the time he didn't realise the impact it would actually have on Sam. In the heat of the moment (and fear for Benny) he wasn't thinking about Sam's past loves. And he may not have realised just how in love Sam was. After all, he didn't have the benefit of the flashbacks. He knows nothing about Amelia really. (and considering we DID see the flashbacks I don't think we even knew how in "love" Sam was). He knew he made a mistake and genuinely apologized in the next ep.

* Why Mrs Tran went from being gutsy and competent to caricature and silly

Change of writer. ;)

* Why demon and angel tablets

Aaahhhh. This was a big discussion point. Season 1-5 had a definite story/myth arc. Kripke had a 5 year plan and it involved angels and demons. Season 6-7 moved slightly away from the demon and angel story line but not completely. We wondered if Carver might be shaping the next 3 seasons by returning the show to a full on demon and angel myth arc and thus preparing, in some way, for a conclusion. As much as some fans (including me) have moaned about demons and angels they have ALWAYS been part of the Supernatural Universe. Taking them away would be like removing 7 years of universe building. The tablets introduce a way of shutting the gates of heaven and hell forever so it's something the Winchesters will have an invested interest in. They need to have a continued invested interest. As much as I said these weren't that interesting to me I think I've adjusted my thinking - remembering SPN is grounded in this mythology.

* Why Sam and Dean are somewhat douchey this season

ha! *ducks tomatoes* Come on! They are kinda douchey. Their petty jealousies and their nastiness to each other have created some pretty low moves on both of their parts. They also seem less motivated to save innocent lives (or at least demon and angel vessels). They're not exactly unblemished heroes any more. And why should they be? They've been through the mill. The thing is, it is still about The Epic Love Story of Sam and Dean and part of that epic love is being blinded by it and being kinda stupid in their reactions to each others new friend. They have never been perfect and I am confident that we are still in the middle of them arriving at a better place - both emotionally and psychologically.

* Why Crowley doesn't just kill Sam and Dean

There wouldn't be a show if he did. I would love to have an actual reason but,nah...coming up blank on that one. We did ponder that they are more useful to him alive but, yeah. That's it.

* Why Cas keeps changing his, er... persona

This is a really tricky one. I'm not exactly a Cas expert. Personally I think Cas is more solid this season than he's been (to me) before (other than when it was "team free will"). Mostly I think they keep trying to find a way for Cas to fit. Sometimes he's the comic relief but they balance that with actually trying to develop his character as the series progresses.

He's a tricky character because he's all powerful but they can't always have him like that. Too many easy solutions to problems etc. He's been on a path to redemption and now he's going to have to fight to regain his free thinking. I think something interesting could come of this. I definitely like that there seems to be more of a connection between Sam and Cas, which seems natural to me because they share so much (Lucifer being one of them...and turning bad).

* Who was the shadowy figure outside Sam's place in 8.01.

Don. Hence the outsider POV shots in Citizen Fang (which answers that question for me too). It's pretty clear that Carver went into the season with the idea that Sam's new life would present him with a major decision. The catalyst for this was the return of Don. (Carver also said this mystery would be answered in 8.10. Even though it wasn't directly answered there really isn't anyone else it could be). I think Don was also meant to be a mirror to Dean. Don returns and Amelia has to make a choice between him and Sam. Dean returns and Sam has to make a choice between Amelia and Dean. Amelia loses. Dean wins.

* Why the cheesy Crowley zoom in 8.10

Still haven't figured this one. But this video on "cheesy zooms" is awesome! I'm not sure why Singer chose that moment to use this device (especially as the warehouse filming was so cool, stylish and slick), but there it is. Perhaps it was fun, maybe it lent itself to some of the cheesiness of the ep (a kind of acknowledgement by the director), maybe it was to alert the audience that "this is important!. Major reveal ahead!" :D (vid linked to me by bowtrunckle)



*Why Sam slept with a married woman/ Amelia cheated on her husband

I think this has caused a bit of a stir. I don't think we had a great answer to this one. Maybe to set up a plot point in the future? (are we going to be getting preggy Amelia?) Maybe Sam knows he's been sleeping with a married woman all this time so one more time won't matter? Maybe it just wasn't an issue. Maybe they just couldn't help themselves. *g* Infidelity is probably the least of Sam's worries in this stage of his life (and maybe Amelia's?). Tricky one...

*Why Amelia wasn't instantly likeable.

Actually, I don't think we discussed this much but it's something that I find really curious. They could have made Amelia someone like Lisa (or Jess, Sarah, Madison), but instead we had someone who had issues and was a bit, um, snarky. I think the point was "let's us be messes together" (from Hunter Heroici). Sam's not all that perfect (well, I think he is...;D), so maybe it was about not giving us a cliched "perfect" woman for Sam. But rather someone he could bond with over their mutual losses - warts 'n all. (and I could totally buy that if we had the chance to feel that bond. They didn't really pull that off, but I think the idea was there).

By the end I did feel for her. The Winchesters are not men you want to get involved with (and if anyone has the perfect song to reflect the ...um...damage...the Winchesters have done to the women they have met I'd love to know!!! Vid idea with no song....). Maybe in some sort of hindsight they were two lost people who were never going to make it. Tragic lovers almost. We knew it and we just had to watch them discover that.

* Why we keep watching.

Ha!! Now there's the question! We will each have our own reasons for either watching or not. Spending a day chatting about the show and discussing the characters I love makes me realise how invested I still am. Sure, I'm pretty disappointed in the story arc for the boys so far, but with some adjusted head canon, an upbeat chat and the knowledge that there's more to come I can still find things to enjoy. (and also.... THEY ARE BLOODY HOT!) So yay! I shall survive this season... (I hope!! *G*)



While I'm here have a rec! missyjack had the wonderful opportunity to interview Mark Meloche, who is the Visual Effects Supervisor on Supernatural. It's a great interview and it gives you a real insight on some of the behind the scenes stuff. Check it out here. You can leave feedback here.
Comments 
23rd-Jan-2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
maybe it was about not giving us a cliched "perfect" woman for Sam. But rather someone he could bond with over their mutual losses.

This is pretty much how I tend to see the whole Amelia thing. Also, and not even in a tongue-in-cheek way, I think cat/dog people can relate better to others who are the same? I liked Liane a lot but maybe they should have gone with someone who had more chemistry with Jared. I kind of even liked the lack of chemistry, really, because both characters are raw and grieving and maybe they're together more for the comfort and understanding than for anything else.

Sam not looking for Dean is still my biggest issue with S8, but I like your thoughts on it! I'm still hoping Show will come up with something a little better to make the whole thing more IC for Sam.
23rd-Jan-2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
See, if I change my perspective I could actually look at it an see that them NOT having that chemistry is important. They are two people desperately hanging on to someone else. Not necessarily their perfect match, but someone who understands them. WE can see they don't work, we just had to wait for them to see that.

Unfortunately I don't think that was their plan, but I can run with it...;) I'd really love to know what their thinking was there...

And Sam not looking for Dean is probably the singular most awful thing they've given to Sam (and Sam gets a bit of a rough trot when it comes to how he treats Dean as it is...). It could have really worked - IF they actually gave him (and showed us) a good reason.

Curious to see what they do now. I'm really looking forward to the next one. :)
23rd-Jan-2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
Heh. I love you. Don't ever change. &hearts

They are kinda douchey. Their petty jealousies and their nastiness to each other have created some pretty low moves on both of their parts. They also seem less motivated to save innocent lives (or at least demon and angel vessels). They're not exactly unblemished heroes any more.

"Kinda" douchey? No. They've been full-on, 100% douchey and had they behaved this way when I first began watching . . . well, I wouldn't be here today.

No tomatoes from me, bb. TBH, I thank you a bazillion times over for bringing up the fact that they've BOTH been douchey this season. I am so friggin' tired of people bleating that "it's all Sam's fault," or "it's all Dean's fault," while totally ignoring/handwaving all the crap that the other brother has been slinging. They are BOTH to blame for this mess. Period.
/rant

It's okay for them to be blemished heroes -- no one's going to survive all they've been through without becoming scarred, so blemishes are fine. Hell,I'd be okay with them becoming anti-heroes, even (well, sorta) -- but that brotherly relationship has to get back on track. The Winchester credo has got to get back on track. They need to get back to worrying about vessels and meatsuits. They need a return to "Saving people, hunting things. The family business." Because if they don't, we WILL end up with cold, ruthless 2014!Dean and a lost, drifting Sam (if not Samifer.)
23rd-Jan-2013 04:03 pm (UTC)
Heee..I was trying not to offend tooo much with the "kinda" douchey.....

I sometimes wonder if they are planning to take them to a place like 2014!Dean. If they took these two the the brink of not being "good" heroes any more. Make them anti-heroes. It's somewhat feasible - totally risky mind you. It's difficult seeing them as people we can't identify with or not like. I think we want them to rise above the evil and be good. I know that they've been tainted so it's a struggle for them.

I feel like the sentiment of "Saving people, hunting things. The family business." is almost wishful thinking these day. Both by us and them. It almost seems naive to think they can simple do that. But I hope they still can. Its the thing I love the most about them.

xx
23rd-Jan-2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
Soooo many ideas with this whole story line. I think we each have our own ideas (disappointments) with that one. I still hope we get more (Dean disappearing again and seeing what Sam would do this time) but I think that might be it.

I do hope they do something with this at some point. They might. I mean - Sam insists that Amelia saved him. 'From what?' is not an unreasonable question. Obviously we know Sam has done daft things when he lost Dean before, but the thing is, Sam is a goal-driven person. Putting him in a situation where he really has no idea what to do next is so bizarre that I have some hope that they might explore it.

The interesting thing here (and something that never played out) is that Dean essentially reacted the same way to Cas not making it to Sam's reaction to Dean being gone.

Given that Dean basically fought his way out, I think he did assume that Castiel was dead. But beyond that, I think there's also the fact that he framed it as Castiel giving up. I think that ties into two issues: Dean's anger at Castiel's past actions and his own suicidal impulses. Castiel gave in to evil at the end of season six, and for much of season seven gave up fighting it. Dean was only just beginning to forgive that when they were sucked into purgatory. And through much of season seven, Dean had a serious death wish because he saw it as the only way out.

In purgatory, Dean was balanced between Benny and Castiel. Benny was driven, forward thinking and good in a crisis. He wanted to get out and live. Castiel was tentative, pessimistic and prone to flaking out in dangerous situations. Dean had to make a choice: live (like Benny) or die (like Castiel).

I think in not looking for Castiel, Dean was in part exorcising the part of himself that wanted to just lie down and die. The 'twist' is that it's not really like that. In the real world Benny is lost and forlorn, needs to lean on Dean a lot to cope - and gives the impression that he regrets leaving purgatory because there he had no need for blood and was functionally human. Castiel was staying in purgatory purposefully to atone, and if people would just stop messing with his head he'd be happy to get on with that here too.

As much as some fans (including me) have moaned about demons and angels they have ALWAYS been part of the Supernatural Universe.

Hm. No, I'll admit to a degree of disappointment here. I loved it when the writers suggested that season six would be a lawless post-apocalyptic landscape. I liked the idea of old gods crawling out of the abyss. I liked the complicated morality of that - stopping the apocalypse was the right thing to do, but it nevertheless created a power vacuum that bad things could step into.

For me, at least, falling back on angels and demons is a weak spot in the writing; relying on the familiar instead of trying something new. That said, it's not a deal breaker as long as they can make something interesting of it.

There wouldn't be a show if he did. I would love to have an actual reason but,nah...coming up blank on that one. We did ponder that they are more useful to him alive but, yeah. That's it.

Oh. Um. Let's see. If Crowley kills Sam and Dean, they go to heaven or hell. That was one thing when his ally Castiel might be in charge up there, but now angels are his mortal enemies again. Who knows what they might do if they got their hands on Winchester souls? Some idiot might say 'Hey, I found the keys to Lucifer's cage down the back of the sofa!' and then where would he be? And you couldn't have them in hell. I mean - he's not suicidal.

... I'm reaching, aren't I? :)

They could have made Amelia someone like Lisa (or Jess, Sarah, Madison), but instead we had someone who had issues and was a bit, um, snarky.

I don't mind Amelia as snarky. Hey, I liked Ruby. :) I just wish they'd given the sense that Sam and Amelia lived together for months before it all went to hell. That might have given it more weight.
23rd-Jan-2013 04:14 pm (UTC)
I'm going to read this tomorrow as I'm about to hit the sack but I do have to say.... you're up late!! 3am by my reckoning! Don't you sleep?! ;)

Look forward to reading your thoughts....
xx

23rd-Jan-2013 04:31 pm (UTC)
This is what confuses me on when Dean and Cas disappeared. Now Sam just not to long ago experienced Dean going with a Kronos or Cronos however you wish to spell it. Now Dick came out of Purgatory isn't that where he would go back to isn't that logical?? Granted he didn't want to open purgatorys gates and such. But I think had he cracked open a book or something so he could say to Dean yea I tried just there was nothing I could do instead of saying I stopped hunting and went on and had a normal life. And its like he kept on and this is what bugged me is throw his normal life in Deans face. Its like hello he just got out of purgatory? You know aren't you curious how he got out and such and what he experienced instead of going to farmers market and saying this is what I did while you were fighting for your life. Or even the college application. Like I said it was several things for me. I mean I get Dean I think was more hurt and fact Purgatory did have an effect on him and like he said to Cas it toom him a few weeks to get his sea legs back. But its nice to see that he doesn't let these places get to him. What I don't get is the penny also. How many times has Dean been possessed and come on he doesn't get a free pass from Sam. Yes he has never said any of those things to Sam because he buries that stuff and instead he drank to not talk about it. He tried to bury it and took a penny for him to talk about Sam choices. I mean I enjoyed Torn and Frayed I have to be one of the few. I enjoyed that Dean drove to see Sam and when Sam gave him the ultimatium to drop Benny I like that Dean wasn't sure he could do that and he left and I like it you look at Sam its like puppy dog eyes seem to be in full mode but unforunately didn't work on Dean. And I am thinking also knock on door Sam had to think Dean coming back to talk again but turned out to be Amelia. I guess also with what happend at the hotel room would have been nice to see Sam say something to Dean. I mean we get he is upset by Amelia maybe hurt. But why would Sam think supernatural after her and fact Don is there?? Why would she call SAm for help I think if I were Sam would have question before taking off. But he was hurt by the text but he should have listened to Dean about Martin and Benny but Sam was not having any he had his mind made up Benny was doing the killings so Benny needed to be put down. As Garth said both boys talking but neither is listening. I liked though Dean did let Sam go. I think easier on Dean these days. I think if Sam wants normal like Dean said at least one of them should be happy. So he gave Sam his out. I think Dean would have handled the tablet, Crowley, Cas situation if needed and guessing he would have turned to other hunter to help out pretty much like dad did with finding yellow eyes. And I like the brotherly advice if you are going into the relationship with Amelia you do need both feet in you can't have a step out of it because that is what gets people killed. And he took his own advice hurt him to do it and sad he gave up on everything Benny ment to him but he had to take his own advice. And I have now rambled on. Not sure if I made the points i wanted to lol. Gave it my college try.
24th-Jan-2013 01:23 pm (UTC)
Hi there, :)) I don't think we've chatted before. Welcome.

You've made lots of points here and many of them are things I have pondered myself. I'm not sure there are answers to everything in this season.

Sam not wondering about Dean getting out of Purgatory struck me too. Though I think we have to think they discussed it at some point.

I'm hoping they will move on from all this now. we might even get some more answers as the season progresses.

Thanks for dropping by.

xx

23rd-Jan-2013 04:34 pm (UTC)
I have a very easy answer as to why and how Cas found the Winchesters, he called. I imagine with the way the Winchesters apparently care about Cas, they would pick up and tell Cas where they are. And Cas can do his angel thing.

I actually like it that the Winchesters are douche this season, 'cause come on, they are hunters, and all hunters are douche at certain times. And the life they led, it's hard not to be hardened, the choices they had to make, the burdens they had to bear. It's only human for them to not be saints all the time.

Maybe I'm a bad person, but I have exactly 0 problem with Amelia sleeping with Sam, behind her husband's back. It's cheating, but I kind of get it. 'Cause for Amelia, she didn't get closure, she just got left behind. She said she was content, not happy, with Don. Although I doubt she'd be happy with Sam, still, her choice of man is Sam. (Sam did not choose/love her back. Poor girl.) Which comes to the thing between Sam and Amelia, for me, they just don't seem like a couple. They bound over mutual misery, but still, nothing seemed to click between them. Even her father has more of a spark with Sam, the non-sexual kind, obviously, than she ever did. I don't know if this is an actors-don't-have-chemistry thing or is it deliberately written, still, it's really a no-brainer that Sam would not be in the motel room for Amelia. And I like Amelia with all her fault, 'cause she is so much the polar-opposite of Lisa for Dean. She has a life outside of Sam, which is more realistic than Lisa's storyline ever was. (I still do not get how a grown ass woman would just take in someone she had a one-night-stand with like a lifetime ago, and someone obviously broken at that.)

And as to why Sam hadn't looked for Dean, I heard there is a conversation between the brothers that is honest and raw coming up in 8.13, hopefully they'd talk about it there.
25th-Jan-2013 03:23 pm (UTC)
Hey...

Re the first para...but Cas appears when Dean is sleeping. Though it's in the cabin so I assume he knows that that's their home away from home. I'd actually have to go back and look at all the times he "appears". It's not an issue I've really had...just one that came up in a tweet and then it got me thinking.

It's only human for them to not be saints all the time.

I totally agree. It would be unrealistic to think that they can be untouched by EVERYTHING they have been through. I love seeing them face the issues of crossing the line or doing what they have to do to get the job done. I would like to see them acknowledge the fact that they are killing vessels when they kill demons. I sometimes wonder if the Show wants us to forget demons inhabit innocent people, or if it's actually Sam and Dean not really caring about that anymore.

And I have to fess up and say during the episode it didn't even cross my mind that Sam was sleeping with a married woman. I was more focused on how, um, unloving that scene was. There always seems to be so much distance between them. She was standing in a doorway, rather than snuggled up with Sam for instance. It was not until later I realized that Amelia had made the choice to cheat on Don and Sam had no issue with it. I actually don't know what to make of that. In fact, I'm not even sure why they needed to sleep with each other - especially as it was nothing about love. I really have no idea if we are meant to believe they were truly in love or if they were just hanging onto someone who shared a similar experience.

I still do not get how a grown ass woman would just take in someone she had a one-night-stand with like a lifetime ago

Er...have you seen Dean? ;D

I heard there is a conversation between the brothers that is honest and raw coming up in 8.13, hopefully they'd talk about it there.

I've heard that too. I am equally excited and scared about that. I fear that what WE want to hear won't be what Carver thinks we want to hear. I do hope they get to air some of their issues and Sam might get to explain what exactly happened to him in that year. But I'm pretty sure we've seen all that. I guess it will be over Benny and how Dean is feeling guilty that he left him alone. A discussion about how co-dependent they are might be interesting. Or even how they move on as Hunters after everything they've been though.

Though I think them talking about ANYTHING will be awesome. :))
xx
23rd-Jan-2013 04:37 pm (UTC)
Just got time for a couple quick thoughts - that may already be mentioned in the comments or elsewhere, but this is a fly-by comment, as my time to wallow in fandom is limited these days. But I don't want to lose touch!
  • I definitely think that Sam believed Dean was dead, and in fact, therefore, in heaven. (We know the boys have died and gone to heaven before; why wouldn't Sam suspect this? He was stunned to hear that Dean had been in purgatory.) However, I cheerfully admit the show has given me no support for this theory. It's just head-canon - LOL!
  • I think that a key reason why Dean was so pissed at Sam for not trying to get him out of Purgatory was because Dean was feeling so guilty about not trying to go back and get Cas out.
  • For me, Amelia worked in theory, but not in execution. There was a surprising lack of chemistry there -- and it may have been intentional. Sam was never going to be comfortable with her while he's still grieving Dean. All the other times, Sam has been emotionally engaged with a woman (Jess, Sara, Madison...), but this time his heart wasn't free to give away. But... it's one of those things that makes more sense in my head, and on screen it just felt flat.
Anyhoo... I'm glad folks who love the show are able to acknowledge the shows failings, try to make sense of them, admit when fanwank isn't sufficient, and then go on loving those Winchester boys anyway! Thanks for sharing!

ETA: Just like I think Dean's anger at Sam is really re-directed from anger at himself for not rescuing Cas, I think Sam's anger at Benny is really re-directed anger at Dean. For all the times Dean made Sam feel like a monster and had no compassion toward or willingness to try to see the other side... I feel (this is just me) that Sam is taking all that resentment and directing it at Benny, when it's really Dean he's mad at, for giving Benny the trust and benefit of the doubt that he wouldn't give Sam.

Edited at 2013-01-23 06:56 pm (UTC)
26th-Jan-2013 03:33 am (UTC)
But... it's one of those things that makes more sense in my head, and on screen it just felt flat.

I think it's all the.."the woman I love" and they way they are making Sam react that makes it seem like there was meant to be chemistry between them but it just didn't happen. I just don't know. I think like a lot of his story WE can fill in the gaps for why things aren't working. And Sam not being able to give his heart fully because he's still grieving for Dean works perfectly for me.

I'm glad folks who love the show are able to acknowledge the shows failings, try to make sense of them, admit when fanwank isn't sufficient, and then go on loving those Winchester boys anyway

YES! That's why I love catching up with fellow fans. We can talk about it without it getting wanky. I love hearing other perspectives and trying to make things work that otherwise weren't.

Your ETA makes PERFECT sense to me! *adds to head canon*. Dean asking Sam to give him the benefit of the doubt when Dean wasn't able to give Sam that must weigh on Sam. I can see lots of reasons for why Sam would be acting the way he is toward Benny (I just wish the Show would at least give us ONE reason. Though Amy was mentioned in an episode so I think they are playing on that reason).


xxx
23rd-Jan-2013 05:17 pm (UTC)
I wrote an analysis with the Sam/Benny thing here on Tumblr a little bit ago and I have some theories about Amelia and your other questions but I am running out of time to answer them the way I want so I will come back to this on my way home and give you better, more detailed answers!
23rd-Jan-2013 08:14 pm (UTC)
Okay more time for me!

Amelia is a very weird subject. Because sadly, fans have tried to make sense of her and her personality, which given the shows bad habits of telling instead of showing it's horrible we have to come up with (albeit amazing) theories on our own and the show not giving us anything to go off of.

It was just a horrible choice of a story line all together. I'm not particularly happy Carver regressed Sam back to a S1 mindset. Because Sam hasn't been 'I want normal' in a very long while, and in fact even as early as Season 2 had to be the one reassuring Dean about their job and lifestyle and how it's worth it in the end. Like you said, all we've gotten was Sam's world imploded and in theory I can see Sam and understand his emotions and feelings over looking for Dean and going to Amelia but once again we are being TOLD this (very briefly) and haven't touched on it since and it's making the more vocal haters rubs their hands gleefully.

In theory I think I can understand the logistics of the Amelia story line but I think it's something that just fell flat on screen and didn't translate well at all.

Becaise I was just not buying it. They had zero chemistry, and this undying love that he tried to tell us was between them was nonexistent and overall made the whole cheating thing ten times worse. It takes two to tango of course, Sam for going along with it and Amelia for initiating it.

Which did anyone else have a problem with her during that? She was extremely pushy and very wishy-washy about what she wanted. First she was all I love you, we have amazing chemistry can't keep myself away blah blah then after sex said that she was content with Don and didn't need Sam and then again went back on that and talked about wanting him again.

I feel bad for Don overall, because she was just 'settling' for him and no one deserves to be settled for, especially someone who was out fighting overseas and comes home to a girl who moved on (which was understandable) and even when he respected her right to a decision and she ultimately chose him she seemed to have settled instead of telling him the truth. Wow that's an ouch.

So OVERALL I thought the Amelia/Sam story line was otherwise horrible and poorly executed. Once again, I can sort of see the idea behind it but it just fell flat on screen. Jared and the actress had no chemistry which made it seem stale and the love triangle was a classic soap opera move.

Once again, my many problems are the issues of telling instead of showing and the issue that the inserted tension and drama isn't working and makes no sense. Dean's intense anger and regret and Sam's lack of any emotion really makes absolutely no sense given the character development we have gotten over the span of two seasons. It's making it cringe worthy and very difficult to watch, at least for me.

And Sam and Dean are both acting like immature douches which we know for a fact neither of them are. Their lack of communication, which not surprising but seems to have been taken to the extreme, and the Benny issue is all reeking of a soap opera.

I know, I sound like I'm beating a dead horse too but I have given up coming up with excuses for Carver and the writers actions. I just am telling it like I see it and anyone is perfectly okay to see otherwise but this is just what I am getting out of this Season.

Trying not to sound 'whiny' or a 'complainer' (have gotten both of those this season) I just see we have numerous amounts of problems with the overall narrative that is NOT being translated well on TV and it's leaving a lot of fans confused and upset, some have already stopped watching and I KNOW the writers and Carver are amazing writers but their ideas are seeming jumbled and just not fitting into the whole puzzle that is the show.

Edited at 2013-01-23 08:20 pm (UTC)
23rd-Jan-2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this, bb! You've covered most of my issues, so I don't have to :)

- On Sam not looking for Dean: Sam's actions make perfect sense to me if he really thought Dean was dead, or knew he was in Purgatory. What could he have done? Sold his soul? Who's even buying anymore (not to mention there's a lot of mileage on poor Sam's soul)? Sacrifice a virgin to open a rift? That *is* the sort of thing they believably have an agreement not to do. And if Sam thought Dean was dead, then the way he broke and ran becomes understandable. Grief and loss destroyed him, he couldn't cope with his life, he couldn't cope with Kevin's calls, he just ran. And I got the feeling, at least in the beginning of the season (like the episode with the Mayan god) that Sam was actually borderline suicidal at times while Dean was gone, that he had to struggle to find reasons to keep going. And in the end he did so at least partly because he thought it's what Dean would have wanted. Which made Dean's reactions when he got back that much more devastating.

The fact that this was never really explained, and the writers don't seem to feel it *needs* an explanation, does bother me A LOT, but I'm trying to let it go.

- I did quite like Amelia, in all her damaged prickliness. She actually reminded me just a little of Dean, especially at first, with her drinking problem and her snarkiness and her plaid shirts, and I don't think that was accidental. So yeah, it worked for me very well as two damaged people clinging to the first piece of floating wreckage they could find. Less well when they were trying to sell it as an epic love story :( I think that may have been an issue with the SPN writers just not having a lot of experience writing romance, and a lot of the dialogue ending up very cliched. Which undercut what I felt they were trying to do in terms of giving us a real-world love story, particularly when combined with the spectacularly soap-operatic plot twist of her dead husband coming back. That was so weird and unbelievable, it really undermined the fragile, delicate thing they were building with Sam & Amelia. (Sam not having told her about his life, or at least warned her there was dangerous stuff in his past which could affect her, feels really implausible to me.)

- Sam's attitude to Benny - still doesn't quite make sense, but I think he may have internalized Dean's previous attitude to monsters as part of forgiving him for Amy, and just generally because the track record is not very good :( I think Sam is just a less-forgiving person than he used to be.

- Which leads me to another point - I think they *are* bigger assholes this year, and I think it's at least partly because the show is trying to make a point about the damage their life does to people. They are just generally harder, colder, less forgiving people now, less compassionate, less concerned with collateral damage. I think anyone who had lived their life would be, if they were even still functional. It's hard to watch sometimes, but I do think it's an interesting choice. I'm ready for some relief from the bleakness, though :)

Argh, I had more thoughts, but I have to run, and I've probably spammed your thread enough!
26th-Jan-2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
Hey there! Sorry for late reply. Got caught up with all the chat from the last ep. ;)

I definitely think there are very good and plausible reasons for Sam not looking. I do actually think the show meant us to think he thought Dean was dead so I'm settling on that. Of course I really wish they'd given Sam a chance to save Dean but I suppose that wasn't going to create the tension between them that they obviously wanted to create.

that Sam was actually borderline suicidal at times while Dean was gone, that he had to struggle to find reasons to keep going.

The thing that makes me believe this is Sam saying to Amelia that she saved him. We didn't really get to see that either (not like the way we saw that with Ruby) but I do think Sam was an absolute mess and meeting someone did help.

The Sam and Amelia love story could have been such a fabulous thing. Looking back I can see the pieces are there. But as you say, the dialogue was just so clinched and awful. I felt they also make a wrong decision is showing us the flashback in soft focus with pretty high saturation. It gave us a sense of unreality which went against us believing this was a very real thing for Sam. I mean, I get that later Sam's "theme" has all been about living in his real world as a hunter and not the dream world he tried to live in while Dean was gone. In many ways it was really interesting because through the flashbacks we saw that it wasn't, in fact, perfect.

I feel like I know what they were trying to do so I'm taking that and not what we actually saw.

I think Sam is just a less-forgiving person than he used to be.

Yeah, some extra bitterness on Sam's part makes sense. It's been a tough year and he's been through a lot with Dean since he's been back. It's a tangled business.

It's hard to watch sometimes, but I do think it's an interesting choice. I'm ready for some relief from the bleakness, though :)

Hee...lucky we had the last episode. ;)

I think portraying them as assholes makes some sense after everything they've been through. Though it does make it hard watching our beloved characters change. I think part of being a hero is being able to rise above the evil they dwell in. I think maybe the show is exploring that a bit also.

And there's never too much spamming!! I love hearing people's thoughts. :)
23rd-Jan-2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
For once I have nothing left to say, just nodding along with all your points. Nice head canon. *clings to that*
26th-Jan-2013 03:32 pm (UTC)
New head canon helps. :) (new episode helps even more...;D)

xx
23rd-Jan-2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
Couldn't agree more, especially about how "douchey" both are being this season. I dunno, I just don't *feel* them anymore, at least not like I used to.

Edited at 2013-01-23 08:50 pm (UTC)
26th-Jan-2013 03:34 pm (UTC)
It's hard watching them change. I get that they have to to some extent but hopefully it won't be for good. Or that they'll learn from what they've done (and hearing Dean acknowledge his dickish moves help).
23rd-Jan-2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
*nods in agreement* :)
26th-Jan-2013 03:34 pm (UTC)
:DD

At least the new ep help me get past a lot of these niggles. ;)

xx
23rd-Jan-2013 11:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for sharing the results of your in-person Show chat, I loved hearing your theories and how you made sense of S8 (as much as is humanly possible...)

I hadn't thought about the possibility that Sam's unbelievable lack of chemistry with Amelia might have been purposeful - I don't think Show actually is that savvy, but it makes sense to *me* in my own head canon anyway. That's the way I've written my S8 codas, with the two of them broken and grieving and clinging to each other, and so of course they wouldn't have chemistry. It doesn't fit well with Sam's seemingly heartfelt protestations of endless love, alas. But maybe he was just trying to convince himself. Or Dean. Maybe it was a reaction to his jealousy about Benny. *is reaching*

Anyway, I hope that's done with and I can sort of write it off that way.

I don't really mind the boys being douchey - it makes sense considering all they've been through, I'd be douchey too if I'd had to endure all they have. I just need them to have a core of love for each other underneath it, which I do still see. Now let me see more of it, Show!!

27th-Jan-2013 11:55 am (UTC)
Hey hun.. (sorry for late reply).

I'd like to think the lack of chemistry was purposeful but in all honesty I just don't think it was there. I wonder though if it was the dialogue they were given. Neither actors were given dialogue that made it sound like they were into each other. Amelia was always having a go at him and Sam seemed to be on the back foot. I think this may have been an attempt to make their love story more real and less cliched but it needed a deft touch to actually pull that off.

I sincerely hope we are done with it now. It really was a long way around showing Sam accepting that he had to live a hunters life (AGAIN!!).

I just need them to have a core of love for each other underneath it, which I do still see. Now let me see more of it, Show!!

WORD! (and the last ep gives me hope that we will see more of their underlying love for each other).

xoxo
24th-Jan-2013 12:14 am (UTC)
I think so much heartache could have been avoided with this season if they would have given us a montage of Sam before he hit the dog. It wouldn't have been hard. They did it for Dean in Exile, Sam and Dean in Free to Be, Sam in Mystery Spot and I Know What You Did....

If there was something else going on with Sam that we haven't seen yet, they let it go on way too long like they did with the soulless mystery.

The other thing is....we needed to know there was more to the Sam/Amelia relationship than friends with benefits. He said he was in love with her but I don't think we saw it. I never got the feeling that they were physically comfortable with each other and couldn't tell if that was intentional.

If this was truly a relationship story, they totally sucked at writing UST when it was supposed to be there. That's the cash cow for any good soap opera. For Pete's sake, unwritten UST is why people ship these guys with angels and vampires and each other and keep coming back for more. Don't tell me they couldn't have thrown that in there to make this all so much more believable. Without something there, it made that last scene between Sam and Amelia a cheap move to get Sam shirtless, lovely as that is. It also makes the whole infidelity more problematic from a characterization point of view. I don't know.....maybe it's just me seeing it this way and other people saw something there that I missed. I hope we're done with it. Jared mentioned at some con early on that 8.11 was his favorite to that point in filming. I'm going to take that as a positive sign and move on. I had no idea I was this crabby about it all until I wrote my recap for 8.10. Sorry about the rant. 8-(



27th-Jan-2013 12:24 pm (UTC)
OMG if they had been able to write UST between Sam and Amelia I am sure we would have been all over it! As it was it was lacking so much tension it almost put us to sleep.

It really was just one big mess.

And from what redteekal was telling me, after seeing Jared at a number of cons last year, there WAS a sense that he wasn't particularly happy with Sam's backstory. But she said he could never really say that so it was like reading between the lines.

I must admit I never reeeally felt Jared selling this Sam. Compared to soulless!Sam were he seemed to be reveling in it. "In love" Sam just isn't one of the better Sams we've seen. ;) (whereas in love with Jess really came across. Even his connection to Sarah and Maddison and even Ruby. Jared CAN do that kind of Sam but the dialogue just wasn't helping them).

Let's hope their stories move on from here. Though I suspect it may be part of the overall stories arcs for them this season. *shrugs* I don't know. The last ep did give me lots of hope though.

xx



24th-Jan-2013 12:37 am (UTC)
I actually had no problem with Sam sleeping with a married woman. The relationship they had was built on the idea that she was widowed, and Don coming back alive didn't change the feelings they had for each other. Even if they didn't know it at the time, they said goodbye to each other. If that gives them closure I'm all for it.

To Amelia herself. I have no problem with the fact that she has issues, is snarky and drinks. The moment she lost an abundance of points for me was the moment she forced an injured dog on somebody who she has no knowledge of other than the fact that he lives in a car! Talk about unprofessional behaviour. I'm all for the guys getting laid regurlary, but everytime I saw her on screen I wanted to take Riot in protective custody.
27th-Jan-2013 12:35 pm (UTC)
Hi,

Oh yes...good point about the dog. It seemed so weird to me that she said Sam had to now look after the dog. At the time I thought that whole scene was all about Sam having to face up to his responsibilities. He ran away from the hunting life because Dean wasn't around. He probably thought he had a responsibility to that life so Amelia telling him about looking after something that he had injured was a reference to that. I think that was what the writer had in mind. But like a lot of things with Sam's story I'm not sure all those things were thoroughly thought through.

A bit like Sam sleeping with a married women. In all honestly I don't think that even entered the writers (and Carver's) mind. It happened in order to show us their connection and love for each other (supposedly), not to stir up discussions about whether what they did was right or wrong (I think!).

I wonder what happened to Riot? Poor pouch. I felt Sam had a real connection with him but then Sam had to leave him....:( (I'm sure I'm not suppose to be worried more about him leaving Riot rather than Amelia).
24th-Jan-2013 01:08 am (UTC)
I agree on the theory that Sam most likely thought Dean dead. I'm kind of holding on to that head!canon until show tells me otherwise.

So the stalky creeper was Don? I was still wondering about that, TBH. And I've not re-watched, but wasn't the scene with Sam leaving Amelia in 8.01 at night and the scene later on when he's telling her he's leaving is during the day?
Ugh, I'm trying to handwave this whole thing, but I think I'm still confused and want to know more about Sam's year.

Amelia and Sam were a very awkward couple. So unbelievably awkward that I can't imagine it's not intentional. Mutual misery is a good way of putting it, and I have ended up liking Amelia quite a bit. I think her showing up at the motel room shows just how incredibly unhappy she is.

I'm looking forward to tonight's episode. (or tomorrow's - I think you're in the future) Whatever, it's on in an hour where I am in the space-time continuum. :)


ETA: hahaaa -- I love how my icon randomizer selected the perfect icon. *two thumbs up*

Edited at 2013-01-24 01:09 am (UTC)
27th-Jan-2013 12:41 pm (UTC)
And I've not re-watched, but wasn't the scene with Sam leaving Amelia in 8.01 at night and the scene later on when he's telling her he's leaving is during the day?

Yes yes! This is one of those awful inconsistencies. Red and I talked about this. We came up with Sam telling her he was going to leave in the day and then leaving it until the evening to actually do it (which makes NO sense of course!). Don was back on the scene and stalking the place to see what was going on (again...makes NO sense!). In the end it turns out that Don standing outside was a plot devise as was Sam leaving at night. Such a damn shame!

But. Moving on....

I love that I wrote all this before 8.11. It was, in many ways, a turn around episode for me. Certainly the most entertaining one this season.

And yay icon! Matches the one I used! (how does the icon randomiser work?)

xox
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