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just enough to make us dangerous
10.09 (non)-review 
15th-Dec-2014 09:32 pm
Sam with Heron
I prepared a "proper" review for 10.09 but after mulling over it I've decided that I don't really have much more to add since my reaction post (and other discussions I've had recently), so I'll leave it be.

I do have a couple of reviews that I think are worth checking out though. Fangasm's review is balanced and presents some interesting points about the episode. It's not all sunshine and roses, nor is it negative. It's certainly much more objective than I could have been. cuddyclothes review is hilarious and entertaining. It's not a positive look at the episode, but it did make me smile and help me to pin point why I had some issues with the episode.



After writing a heap of stuff about the episode I came to the conclusion that the main reason I didn't like it is simply because it's just not my favourite genre when it comes to television. Family dramas have never really been my thing, so when it felt like my show had been hijacked by teenage angst and parent dilemmas I kind of got a little pissed off. And since there was nothing supernatural in it, it really wasn't the show I was used to watching (I even mused that this might be the spin off they've been talking about ;D)..

I re-watched it and nothing much changed for me (except I did notice the gorgeous cinematography and will be posting about that shortly). I did watch all the Hell scenes this time and I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed Rowena. I loved that she wasn't made to be sympathetic. She was clever and nasty. I loved the twist of her playing everyone so beautifully.

I loved that Sam is looking after Dean but was saddened that (as was said so eloquently in a comment to me) Sam could have been played by a sexy lamp and it wouldn't have effected what he did in the episode (except the grilled cheese might not have tasted so good). It's not that I mind Sam being in the caretaker role - I'm enjoying the role reversal, but I'm not sure why he has to be completely ineffectual -that he has to be reduced to worrying looks and inaction? Is that how Dean fans see Dean when he's caring about Sam? Does the "carer" automatically become a side player with little or no input (or story of their own?) I don't remember Dean ever being a side player, but I accept that could just the the way I view the show. Anywho *muses that Sam is a very sexy lamp indeed*.

The scene where Sam and Cas leave Dean behind has created much discussion. I know that there are many ideas about what happened there - from Sam being a bad brother for not watching Dean's back, to Sam believing Dean when he said he was ok and therefore trusted he would bring up the rear as he usually does, to Sam denying anything is happening to Dean, to slopping writing because there's no way Dean could have killed all those guys in the space it took Sam and Cas to realise he wasn't behind them. For me, the only thing that was important in all of that was Dean needing to be by himself to allow the mark to take hold and kill all those people. No one could be there because then the confusion about "what happened" would be too clear going into the next episodes. I think it could be have been better handled, just so it didn't create so much confusion (or arguing...). I'm not going to dwell on it much more because it was a means to an ends and I think any range of interpretations are valid (except Sam is a bad brother of course...;D).

I am curious about Dean now and what it means that he's now killed five humans. And I wonder if premonitions are actually a side effect of the mark or if that scene was just used for dramatic effect.

That's it. Looking at the cinematography has made me feel more positive about it. It still isn't my kind of thing and I'll probably remain a little annoyed at it for a while (because dammit! I don't want to be disinterested in an ep), but I'll move on. As I often have done. :)
Comments 
15th-Dec-2014 02:04 pm (UTC)
I haven't got round to watching again yet. Maybe I will just to look at the cinematography, but the story isn't pulling me back, even though I wasn't as discontented at the time as you and others clearly were.

Sam's hair - I just realised after watching the last ever Sons of Anarchy that this weird male bob must be in fashion or something, because it's the exact same style as they'd given Jax Teller. I'm happy to say it looked just as silly on him as it does on Sam.
15th-Dec-2014 02:10 pm (UTC)
I posted "Part Two" of the trenchcoat videos for you! I know this is OT.
15th-Dec-2014 02:24 pm (UTC)
Haha! Thanks hun. :) I'll check it out.
15th-Dec-2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh noes! Jax has that hair now too?! *sobs* What even is it with that?! Sooo bad…:((

I wanted to watch again incase it was just my mood that made me annoyed with it. But I watched it in a much better frame of mind and it made me grumpy again! I enjoyed looking at the shots again though. :)
15th-Dec-2014 04:01 pm (UTC)
OMG, YOU'RE RIGHT. I think Charlie Hunnam is a hottie too, but dang, that boy bob is doing no one any favors. I've never wanted Sam to get a haircut more than I do right now, and you know what a huge fan I am of Jared in longer hair!
15th-Dec-2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
*And I wonder if premonitions are actually a side effect of the mark*

I'm not so sure that was a premonition. I kinda thought it was a memory surfacing through his dream, much like the memories of Hell did.
16th-Dec-2014 08:30 am (UTC)
Awww, a memory dream. That didn't occur to me. Could be, particularly as I don't think they're going for a premonition side effect of the mark.
15th-Dec-2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
After much reading about that consternatious scene, I've come to the very same realization you have: it needed to happen that way because it needed to happen that way. Dean needed to be alone, to go into that killing frenzy. And Cas needed to bring Claire back in to scream and be shocked by it all.

Now, we as fans can thread whatever Watsonian explanation into it that we wish (and depending upon our proclivities, it could be any of the spins you mentioned), but that's truly irrelevant to the show. What chafes my buns a bit is that it shouldn't be irrelevant to the characters...but I guess we'll see when the show returns if we get any exploration of that!

I imagine what happens is that the director figures out how to make the script work, make it look as great as they can, and if that means some things are left in a bit of an ambivalent state, them's the breaks.

Gives us something to write scene tags and codas about, eh?
15th-Dec-2014 08:12 pm (UTC)
And Cas needed to bring Claire back in to scream and be shocked by it all.

The first thing I thought, after thinking "Way to go, Cas," was that I would have been more horrified by the scene without the screaming.
16th-Dec-2014 09:46 am (UTC)
What chafes my buns a bit is that it shouldn't be irrelevant to the characters...but I guess we'll see when the show returns if we get any exploration of that!

I would love to have some hope for that. I haven't seen any promos for the next episode so I have no idea, but my feeling is it will be hunting as usual but this time Sam's face will look even more worried. That probably sounds sarcastic but I'm not sure they will be wanting to resolve anything about the mark tooooo soon. If a cure can't be found soon they'll just have to go on hunting - only their relationship will be more strained (yay) and their trust for each other will continue to be torn apart. We now know how much Carver loves the boys at odds so I figure they'll be much more "I'm ok" from Dean and "I know you're not, but there's nothing I can do so I'll look worried" from Sam. or maybe I am being just a little bitter…

I imagine what happens is that the director figures out how to make the script work, make it look as great as they can, and if that means some things are left in a bit of an ambivalent state, them's the breaks.

I suspect Guy is more interested in how it all looks and not so much what it means for the characters (or character) if they didn't realise what was going on sooner.

Yay codas!
16th-Dec-2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
I honestly think we actually WILL get some serious myth arc business in January, because of how little we got in the mid-season finale. It's well and truly time they addressed the Mark of Cain. I can't even imagine dragging it out longer, jeeze. *crosses everything crossable!*
15th-Dec-2014 04:09 pm (UTC)
The difference is that when Sam had the mytharc, Dean had the emotional POV. We would see him worrying or researching or talking to other people (including guest stars) about Sam or the situation. Hell, 8.20 was basically an entire episode about Dean's fear over Sam's situation couched in the guise of a Charlie one-off.

Or how about this -- beginning of S9 when Sam had the mytharc, Jared had over 20 days off with Jensen not having even one fourth of that off. That sound like Dean getting side-lined to you?

When they flipped the script on the mytharc, they forgot to flip the script on who got the emotional POV. Perhaps they have written Sam with the myth for so long that they don't know HOW to give him the emotional POV or to give Dean less of it. Or Carver and his Merry Band of Useless Hacks are just lazy and don't care enough to figure out how to do and figure the ratings are good so why not keep things in cruise control?

p.s. sometimes I think I miss recapping and then I think about spending 8 hours a week trying to turn that hot mess into something funny and I sigh with relief that I quit haha
16th-Dec-2014 01:39 am (UTC)
Of course that ignores the fact that many of us are STILL gnashing our teeth about your quitting and yelling WHYYYYYY???
16th-Dec-2014 09:54 am (UTC)
What I want to know is why are the ratings so good? I figure it's more about appealing to the general viewer that the hard core fans maybe? When I see the ratings for the last episode at the highest for - what? 4 years, I wonder what it is I am missing. The problem is (for me) that this signals that this type of episode is popular with viewers and more will be created like this. It didn't even have anything supernatural in it so I'm not sure what that says? It hardly featured S&D so does that mean (as some often say) Castiel is the real draw card? I would have thought the MoTW eps may have been more of a draw card for the casual viewer anyway...

*headscratch*. I mean, I'm really happy for the show I suppose (more Js to enjoy!) but I'm confused.

And yeah - 8 hours working on something that's a struggle ain't fun (though I'm sure many people need a laugh sometimes to cheer them up!).

16th-Dec-2014 12:38 pm (UTC)
the ratings were NOT the highest in 4 years. As I said was going to happen on twitter, the overrun from Flash inflated the early prelim numbers. It's metwork PR's job to lie, so they release press releases based on prelim numbers that they know are inflated to look better to create a narrative. People who have a vested interested in that particular narrative (Misha, Jim Michaels, Guy Bee, Superwiki) repeated the lie even though I'm sure they knew it was a lie, and then of course failed to correct their error when the final numbers came in later showing the ratings were not much more impressive than the ratings for the Clue episode, a regular MOTW vs. a mid season finale.

Sorry -- I work in TV and look at ratings data twice a day I roll my eyes at this stuff lol. The ratings are FINE and S11 (and probably S12) are a guarantee, so it's just silly.

Content rarely affects ratings, particularly in a show this old. But this is a convo for another day because it would get long and technical haha.
16th-Dec-2014 12:53 pm (UTC)
Ok cool. I think I only saw one tweet on it (or two maybe) - and got confused by it.

Hmmm, S11 and 12 eh? Maybe with a new show-runner *fingers crossed*

ta
16th-Dec-2014 12:56 pm (UTC)
S11 is a guaranteed renewal, S12 is depending on whether J2 sign again lol

Carver does have a pilot in contention at NBC so maybe we'll get lucky (and then watch whoever take over be even worse haha)

eta: and want to clarify that I wasn't rolling my eyes at you but the PR stuff! *snuggles*

Edited at 2014-12-16 01:03 pm (UTC)
15th-Dec-2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
I'm reading your review and find myself thinking: A sexy lamp in an episode where they otherwise seem to have forgotten to switch the light on...
*Focusses on the sexy lamp* ;)

^^These are the only words that came to mind. That I find my comment very clever might be due to all the Glühwein with Amaretto I drank today at the Christmas market... lol ;)
16th-Dec-2014 09:56 am (UTC)
Haha!! :D - forgotten to switch the light on! (it's that hair - they can't find the switch under that bob!)
16th-Dec-2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
lol :D
16th-Dec-2014 01:40 am (UTC)
I got stuck on the sexy lamp comment and couldn't stop laughing. It's only half funny though. Damn it, Show figure out how to write some Sam pov!!!
16th-Dec-2014 10:00 am (UTC)
What gets me is reading a comment that Kripke made when he started the show where he said that Sam is the "luke" character - the audience will follow him and sympathise with him"…etc. Since S8 the audience has neither sympathised with him (much) nor been given anything to follow him on. Sure, he's had things happen to him but with no insight into how those things have affected him (aside from giving Dean grief about them - which has meant the he's got the audience off side). It's all had to come down to speculation and interpretation. It makes me so sad at times. But, I keep hoping. :)
16th-Dec-2014 04:10 pm (UTC)
So so agreed. And me too!
16th-Dec-2014 06:01 am (UTC)
I finally watched most of the episode. I think the end was poorly written and then executed. It sounds like Sam was supposed to just not realize that Dean wasn't right behind him but the way it was shot and edited didn't convey that at all. The main thing that struck me was that the way they filmed it with Cas bringing Claire back in along with Sam made me think it would have made a lot more sense if we hadn't had the scene with them in the car. It was as if they all just came right back in instead of having been somewhere else and that's why Cas still had Claire in tow. I think it's interesting that Dean didn't go over the edge until the people that pulled him back from it earlier weren't there. I know Crowley was sending him demons to kill to sate the Mark. Dean had the Blade then though. Why is this going on without that? In both the premonition and at the end, he had a regular knife. That's the only reason why I think the dream was a possible future rather than a memory unless it was a Hell flashback.

And tebtosca is right about the swap in caretaker rolls but not the swap in the emotional point of view. I really think they need to have Sam talk with someone about what is going on in his head so we have somebody who we can connect with. With Sam quiet, there is a big piece of the story not being told and I wonder if the writers realize that.
16th-Dec-2014 11:42 am (UTC)
It was as if they all just came right back in instead of having been somewhere else and that's why Cas still had Claire in tow.

Yes. That could have worked much better. I could suspend my disbelief that there was a time shift - in that what was happening in the cabin happened so fast that neither Cas or Sam had time to realise Dean wasn't there. I remember when I was watching it, it puzzled me that Sam actually got into the car without Dean. I went back and re-watched that scene to try and make sense of how it was all working. But it really just didn't. Dean yells "back off" immediately after Sam leaves and Sam would have heard him. Again, we can "pretend" he wasn't able to hear but it just makes the scene all the more clunky.

Why is this going on without that?

Good question. In my review that I didn't post I had a whole section on trying to understand what was going on with Dean. I mean, why now? I wondered if maybe that dream triggered something that made him "hungry" again. He was eating lots of food in the episode - perhaps suggesting he was trying to feed the mark. In the end he was presented with an opportunity to kill and took it. It looks like the blade isn't needed anymore maybe. Last season he killed that vampire and kidnapper without the blade I think (?) so his bloodlust exists without the blade.

It could be a hell flashback but it seems weird that they would be suggesting that now, after all this time. It looks like he might be in a hell cell (perhaps symbolic more than his real time in hell?). TBH I just don't think they figure this stuff out. Having an opening and ending scene with Dean slaughtering people is a powerful image and the whys and hows don't really matter that much to them. Sadly.

I really think they need to have Sam talk with someone about what is going on in his head so we have somebody who we can connect with.

From your brain to the writers room! I honestly don't think it crosses the writers' minds. I actually think they believe there's nothing else we need to know. Sam's worried about Dean and that's it. Not even the "monstrous lengths Sam went to get his brother back" has featured - other than to give Dean something to hold against him.

I think another reason why I was so angry after this episode is because I've been trusting ALL THIS TIME that we'd finally get some Sam POV in the mid-season finale. I've enjoyed S10 so far and felt we've be coming to a climax that effected Sam in some way. But it didn't happen. Most of the screen was filled with OCs having their moment.

Aaanyway. I am trying not to be toooo negative (which might not be working as well as I had hoped.../o\).

16th-Dec-2014 08:51 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed the bit at the bar where Sam and Dean reminiscing about their Dad. It's been such a long time that John was mentioned - and that was mostly congruent because Dean is not a talker, and Sam's relationship with his Dad has been conflicted - but equally in this episode (your dislike of family drama aside) it really worked. Both J's pulled off the acting here, and put so much unspoken emotion in their facial expressions. I felt like a bit of closure for them, too.
16th-Dec-2014 11:46 am (UTC)
Hi. So glad that scene worked for you. :) It was lovely to hear them talk about John again. I had mixed feelings about it. I loved that we got some more Sam and Dean time and the way Sam prompted Dean to tell the story was such a brother thing to do. Initially I worried it was retcon - considering what we've heard them say about John before, but maybe it's just them having been through so many experiences now they can look back and see him in a different light. I think closure is a good word and it seemed like the perfect episode to give that too them. :) Thanks - I'm feeling better about that scene now. :))
16th-Dec-2014 10:39 pm (UTC)
The cinematography in this show is always a saving grace no matter what you're feeling about the episodes :)
20th-Dec-2014 12:14 am (UTC)
I still can't believe that the mid-season finale didn't have the brothers as the central focus. And Sam was pretty much in the background (except for the last few seconds). Do they writers even care about him any more? *sigh*

About the ep not having anything supernatural in it... the only connection I can make is that Claire became the way she is because of something Supernatural (her father being possessed by an angel), and her life unraveled because of it. But, the mid-season finale isn't the right place to explore this.
28th-Dec-2014 12:33 am (UTC)
Hey Hun ,

Whether the writers care about Sam anymore is a question I constantly ask. At the moment (and for quite a while now) my answer is that I really don't think so. TBH I just think they don't know what to do with him. Most season he was a plot device and now that's finished they seem to be at a loss. Losing Dean, what he went through to find dean and even the aftermath of what dean said to him has been brushed over. I'm just hoping there's something more for Sam in the next half.

And yes, Claire (and Sam, Dean cas) have all,been affected because of the supernatural influences in their lives bus, as you say, shame that they chose the mid-season finale to explore that.
28th-Dec-2014 01:17 am (UTC)
Hi hon,

Yes, they don't know what to do with him. We had a little bit of insight into Sam in the earlier part of the season but once they got past the demon storyline, he went back to having a supporting role, while the guest stars get the main focus. And that's pretty much true for Dean, too. Maybe we'll see something more for Sam later on, but it seems like the writers are more interested in the other characters.

I like Claire, and i am interested in what happens to her, but a mid-season finale should have emotional payoff for Sam and Dean, and they should be the focus. But with Castiel and Crowley having their own storylines, Sam and Dean got pushed aside.
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