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The Bunker and the state of Sam and Dean's relationship (picspam) 
16th-Mar-2014 08:46 pm
Batcave Legs up
I've been thinking about the Men of Letters bunker and how it's gone from a place that represented a warm, comforting space to a claustrophobic, cold one.

I love the way the cinematic choices reflect the state of Sam and Dean's relationship.



When the bunker was first introduced it was mostly filmed as an open space with lots of warms colours - oranges, browns and yellow. It was a place full of wonder, lots of books, warming light and comforting whisky. It had a feeling of home.

(8.13)



The bunker hasn't changed, in terms of the set, but the way its been filmed has. There's been a focus on lines and bars and the colour has changed also. The warm colours are not used as much, instead we see more grey and steel blue.

(9.14)

Sam behind those swords and ghost!Kevin behind those bars are such great shot choices.


Absolutely love these shots. I initially thought they just looked cool, but I think they are definitive attempts to create a locked in (or even locked out) feel. Even as early as 9.04 (Slumber Part), we begin to see some changes. More corridors, stainless steal in the kitchen and that fabulous shot of the shadow lines.

(9.04 (top left) and 9.14),



The room where Sam and Dean have their first major confrontation is a perfect set choice. The concrete is very noticeable and Dean looks anything but comfortable on that tiny stool attached to the table. The room feels closed in and small (in comparison to that great hall we've seen them eat before). I feel like it's quite oppressive and it's here that the bunker starts to feel less like home and more like a claustrophobic prison.

(9.13, 9.14, 9.04)

We've also seen more corridors (navigating the twists and turns) and the kitchen is full of cold steel.


Dean's room has changed also. When we were first introduced to his room he was seen taking a pride in setting it up - hanging weapons on the wall. Later, the weapons no longer on the wall. I also love that low angle of Dean on the bed. We see lots of that cold, concrete floor. And Dean seems almost hemmed in by the bed.


(8.14)


(9.14)


As hard as it is to watch the boys at such horrible odds with each other, at least we can appreciate what Jerry Wanek (Production Designer) and the production team are doing to emphasis the strain in the relationship.
Comments 
16th-Mar-2014 01:21 pm (UTC)
That is cool.

I saw some meta, probably somewhere on Tumblr because I can't remember where and Tumblr is a formless void, suggesting that the bunker might actually be vital in Sam and Dean eventually being able to work through this stuff, because for the first time in their lives, really, they have some kind of happy medium between complete separation and no distance whatsoever. They've never been able to give a conflict space in this way before, where they can retreat to separate rooms without retreating to separate states. It's an interesting take, I think, though I'm not sure the writers are going there, but it is true that the current situation is actually less claustrophobic in a lot of ways than shared car and shared motel room 24/7.
16th-Mar-2014 01:30 pm (UTC)
Oh that sounds great! And it's a good point. It's a different space from anything they've been in before so it might play a part in them resolving their conflict. And even though it's a bigger space than the car or a hotel room, it still feels like they are somewhat confined - even if they can retreat to separate rooms

The bunker may not be the reason why they are fighting or even why they might come back together, but I think they have definitely made choices in the way they've chosen to film it to reflect their situation (well, I hope. I'd hate if it was an accident…).
16th-Mar-2014 01:29 pm (UTC)
This is so great to see as a picspam. It feels like they're just hunkered down in cold, confining, concrete. I love all the shadows that just play that up. The kitchen was a place Dean was doing his own cooking for himself and Sam and making a home out of it and now it's booze and pizza from a box. Mostly booze.
16th-Mar-2014 01:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, after chatting with you I wanted to put the caps together and see if there was something there. I knew it felt different - and I think the colours and set choices have made the difference.

The kitchen was a place Dean was doing his own cooking for himself and Sam and making a home out of it and now it's booze and pizza from a box. Mostly booze.

Oh yes. It's interesting how homemade food represents a better state of mind - and better state in their relationship. And when they are drinking in that top cap it's communal. But in the kitchen (or…what even is that room? like an anti-kitchen or something…) Dean drinks by himself. I've always been interested in the way sharing a drink also reflects their relationship.
16th-Mar-2014 02:10 pm (UTC)
I love your eye for detail, and agree 100%. The absolutely desolate kitchen (where Dean once "nested") breaks my heart, and the unsettling changes to Dean's room -- which is now closer to a monk's cell than to the memory-foam retreat that made him so happy. (I wish we could also compare any such changes in Sam's room.) This is gorgeous pictorial storytelling and I love where production design has taken it. May the writers be able to reach the same level of clarity with the scripts. *crosses fingers*
16th-Mar-2014 10:42 pm (UTC)
-- which is now closer to a monk's cell than to the memory-foam retreat that made him so happy.

Yes! That. :(

I wish we could also compare any such changes in Sam's room.

It would be interesting. Sam's room wasn't exactly homely before - more a place of work (maybe he's starting to put thing up - surrounding himself with more comforting things or something).

May the writers be able to reach the same level of clarity with the scripts.

here here!
16th-Mar-2014 03:11 pm (UTC)
I had noticed how closed in the bunker was feeling, and how any hint of there being access to natural light seems to have been forgotten - this season particularly the sense of being underground and in a cold war type situation has been much more pronounced.

But of course, this was an impression based on no particular observation which is why I loves ya for pointing out WHY.

Edited to say, that screen cap of the odd kitchen/diner room is like an anti-Bobby's kitchen. I'd be interested to compare it with that shot from a similar angle of Bobby's place where Dean is going to the fridge and Sam is wandering about.

Edited at 2014-03-16 03:14 pm (UTC)
16th-Mar-2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
this season particularly the sense of being underground and in a cold war type situation has been much more pronounced.

Oh yes, hasn't it? It feels much like they are underground - whereas before it didn't feel like that so much. I think the grill at over the war table is the only nature light they have (I think?).

that screen cap of the odd kitchen/diner room is like an anti-Bobby's kitchen.<?i. Yes, Bobby's kitchen was full of stuff -his whole house was. It always felt like a homely place. The bunker's kitchen feels much more industrial.
16th-Mar-2014 03:17 pm (UTC)
This is a seriously awesome analysis. I have friends who do this work - property masters and production designers - and it's really remarkable to think about how much of the
work that goes into the storytelling goes basically unnoticed...
16th-Mar-2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Hee…and believe me I've spent quite a bit of time (:koff:: way too much time…) looking at the SPN sets and props. Evidence. I think this show is particularly good at letting the sets be story tellers - considering how many motels they've had to create. I love it!
16th-Mar-2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
This is excellent - we talk about it a lot but it's great to actually SEE the progression laid out in one place. The transition to a virtual prison is marked in comoarison to the open and welcoming place it once seemed. Thank you!
16th-Mar-2014 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I knew I was feeling it so I wanted to check why.
xx
16th-Mar-2014 05:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks for posting this.

I noticed a change, too, particularly in the last ep, where suddenly we where seeing more scenes using those cold, barren corridors. A perfect visual allegory for the coldness and distance in the relationship between Sam & Dean, I thought.

I also love the fact that the bunker is not a finite space (meaning we don't know the full layout and whether we've seen all rooms yet), and they make great use of that, adding to the set as well changing existing sets through lighting and camera position. I would so love somebody from the art and set department to be at a con for q&a, I think they could talk more comprehensively about the dynamics and relationships between characters than the actors, and I'd love to hear all those little touches that I'm sure are there but to small to notice...

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17th-Mar-2014 10:19 am (UTC)
A perfect visual allegory for the coldness and distance in the relationship between Sam & Dean, I thought.

Yes indeed!

I also love the fact that the bunker is not a finite space

It's a great way to work a space I think. They can add rooms as the script needs. I also get the feeling that even the boys don't know every room - which is a little weird as you'd think the first thing they'd do is explore every inch. But it means we get exciting reveals each time they add a new area.

I'll be interested to see if the trend continues in future eps.
16th-Mar-2014 06:12 pm (UTC)
I think the bunker is the biggest symbol of this show never again being what Kripke intended it to be. Depending on your POV, that's a good thing or bad thing lol.
17th-Mar-2014 10:25 am (UTC)
It sure is interesting. Personally I'm torn. I love the bunker - I think because (sentimentally) I want the boys to have a home (and also Domestic!Winchesters!) but it totally removes the original idea their nomadic existence. I actually think they'll lose it one day - just a theory I've had in my head for a while.
16th-Mar-2014 07:18 pm (UTC)
Great insights! I could feel that the representation of the bunker had changed this season, but I couldn't put my finger on it until I saw this.
17th-Mar-2014 11:54 am (UTC)
Thanks. That's how I was feeling too….
16th-Mar-2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
Ahh, this is fantastic!! Especially those shots of the noir-esque shadow lines ... And that still of their confrontation--does that look like the breakroom at the worst job you ever had or what?!

Beautiful compilation of shots and analysis--thanks for posting this!
17th-Mar-2014 12:21 pm (UTC)
I love noir-esque shots!! Always a fav of mine. Give me a fan and streams of light and I'm in heaven. I love the way light is used in the bunker.

does that look like the breakroom at the worst job you ever had or what?!

Haha! I'm sure I've had a break in a room like this before.

16th-Mar-2014 11:13 pm (UTC)
Nice!
17th-Mar-2014 12:22 pm (UTC)
:DD
17th-Mar-2014 04:32 am (UTC)
Wonderful observations! I knew something had changed in the bunker but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Thought I did sort of notice the cold blues and greys.

Seems much like the Impala in the earlier seasons, the Bunker is reflecting the status of the boys. Nice. I do love sneaky filmmaking. Heh. ;)
17th-Mar-2014 12:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I love sneaky filmmaking too. Jerry Wanek's episode made good use of the bunker - which is not surprising I suppose. :)
17th-Mar-2014 10:16 am (UTC)
I love this! :D Wonderful picspam! From castle to cage... so sad. Somebody turn the warm lights on again, please!... *thinks of Sam and Dean rather than the bunker*..

xx
17th-Mar-2014 12:49 pm (UTC)
Ack! Castle to cage…very true. I hope those cosy, warm lights will be back too!
xoxo
17th-Mar-2014 11:34 am (UTC)
wonderful insights here - has got me thinking lots more about the bunker and the role it plays.
17th-Mar-2014 12:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :) It's almost like another character - a deeply layered character.
17th-Mar-2014 07:45 pm (UTC)
Lovely observations and lovely screencaps! Thanks. :-)
18th-Mar-2014 01:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
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