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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
Visual Clues to Soulless Sam in Season Six 
25th-Aug-2015 08:30 pm
Geeking Out
It's been a while since I've posted anything visual or meta-ish, so I thought I'd put together a little pic-spam. It's possibly grasping at straws a little bit (ok, maybe a lot), but *shrugs*, I enjoy examining the visual elements on the show and it always looks so pretty anyway.




I've always been intrigued by the scene where Soulless!Sam is filmed behind bars in Live Free or Twihard (6.05). I've always felt it was a visual clue to the fact that Sam's soul was still in the cage. Of course, when the episode aired we didn't know that but looking back I really like the idea.

I decided to see if there were any other moments during the soulless!Sam episodes where bars appear and sure enough there were.

I have no idea if any of these are deliberate "hints" that a major part of Sam is still locked up, but I feel that there are times when it looks like a choice has been made to include bars - or the feeling of bars, in a scene.


6.01 Exile on Main Street.

I'm probably really stretching the idea here, but I rather love that Sam is sitting on a stripped blanket when he first appears to Dean. There are also bars on the window.

6.01-blanket


6.02 Two and a Half Men.

I love the glorious barred shutters in this shot and how awesome are those knives sitting on the bench?! Great choice of prop. We could stretch the them even further by thinking that the streams of light are actually a reference to Sam's soul (I'm pretty sure it's not, but I adore the idea it could be). I love this shot even if it's not a deliberate reference to Sam's soul being in the cage.

6.02-bars-of-light-and-knives-small


6.02 Two and a Half Men.

This isn't "bars" as such, but I love the way the police tape frames Sam.

6.02-Sam-behind-tape


6.03 The Third Man

Ok, I hear ya. This is a gratuitous shirtless Sam shot but there are bars on the windows! Or, what looks like bars. Oh shuttup. You can't do a soulless!Sam picspam and exclude this scene. :)

6.03-Sam-(bars)-small


6.05 Live Free or Twihard.

Bars of light on Sam's face.

6.05-Bars-of-light-on-sam

6.05 Live Free or Twihard.

This is the scene that I feel demonstrates the theme best. It starts off with baby locked away behind these bars. Then Sam is filmed on the phone through the bars. It's such a cool location and beautifully shot.

6.05-baby-behind-bars-small


6.05-Sam-behind-bars


6.06 You Can't Handle the Truth

The bar-like room divider is pretty neat. And with a stretch of the imagination we can picture them being pried open - like someone/thing trying to get out (come on, work with me here...;D). The light streaming through the horizontal blinds is a nice touch also.

6.06-light-in-motel


6.06 You Can't Handle the Truth

Appropriate doors.

6.06-Sam-beingd-door-(bars)


6.07 Family Matters

Horizontal blinds are used a lot in the show, but I do like the use of them in this scene. This is when it's first confirmed that Sam's soul is missing.

6.07-blinds-in-background


6.07 Family Matters

Yep, bars.

6.07-Sam-benind-bars2


6.10 Caged Heat

Sam is knocked out and filmed in bars of light.

6.10-Sam-out-cold-(bars)-small


6.10 Caged Heat

I really love the composition of this shot. The barred windows behind Sam are wonderful, as are the shadows they create on the floor under him.

Much of this episode is set in a prison and it even had Sam (and Dean) locked up in a cell at one point. It's a really dark episode I think. Looking back it was quite poignant considering where Sam's soul was.

6.10-boys-tied-up-(bars)



The next few couple of examples are after Sam's soul is returned.


6.13 Unforgiven

In this episode Sam has flashbacks of being soulless. It opens with this lovely shot of Sam behind the mesh room divider. There are also horizontal blinds in the background.

6.13-Sam-behind-bars-divider-small


Sam is locked up during this episode and the way they film the bars is a great visual reminder of the cage his soul was once trapped in. I remember thinking that when the episode aired (probably even wrote about it once).

6.13-bars-small


While I'm here I can't neglect a wonderful shot and scene from season five, where Lucifer first appears to Sam. The room divider is an intricate weave of wrought iron. I've always felt this was a visual hint of what's to come.


5.03 Free To Be You and Me.

5.03-Room-divider-cage-small-


So there you have it. Even if they are all coincidental, I do believe that directors and set designers can work subconsciously to create these hidden elements.
Comments 
25th-Aug-2015 12:39 pm (UTC)
Loved this; such amazing insights and visual themes I wouldn't have thought about on my own.
25th-Aug-2015 01:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Glad some of my geekiness makes some sense. :))
25th-Aug-2015 01:02 pm (UTC)
Wow! I love that you caught these things.

Oh shuttup. You can't do a soulless!Sam picspam and exclude this scene. :)

No, you most certainly can't! XD
25th-Aug-2015 02:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

It would have been very remiss of me to neglect shirtless soulless Sam…;)
25th-Aug-2015 01:04 pm (UTC)
Delighted to see one of your thought-provoking analysis of the visual elements again--they always make me go 'wow, I didn't see that!'
25th-Aug-2015 02:12 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! I'm glad you like them. I've missed doing them. Hopefully S11 will give us some more great visuals. :)
25th-Aug-2015 01:07 pm (UTC)
Was this what you were teasing at? Because AWESOME!!! I love it when they give us visual clues which they know we'll pick up on, even if it is at the back of the cortex! These are fantastic examples of something being slightly out, slightly skewed!

Wonderful post honey, wonderful!

I firmly believe that even if it's possibly subconscious on the set designers parts, or even the camera operators parts, it's still an intended tick towards a certain *feel* :)
26th-Aug-2015 12:03 pm (UTC)
Was this what you were teasing at?

Yep! :)

These are fantastic examples of something being slightly out, slightly skewed!

Exactly. The soulless episodes always had a hint of something being so very wrong. It frustrated the hell out of me. It's only looking back that I can appreciate what they were doing. It was quite a daring story line in hindsight.

it's still an intended tick towards a certain *feel*

I agree. I'm not sure many of these are deliberate, but I do think they were going for a certain "feel" in this part of the season and the mood and the way they filmed things certainly led to that feel.

Thanks for your feedback. <333
25th-Aug-2015 01:07 pm (UTC)
Very interesting take! Thank you!

And if so - a much more compassionate take on Sam's soulessness on the show's part than the show seemed to give him - I'm glad it wasn't something to portray Sam as dark or sinister

Edited at 2015-08-25 01:09 pm (UTC)
26th-Aug-2015 12:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

a much more compassionate take on Sam's soulessness on the show's part than the show seemed to give him

Oh boy, that's a can of worms isn't it. Looking back I think there are definitely moment of compassion It was SO hard to see at the time. Even I (a die hard Sam!gal) was lacking compassion for "this" Sam.

I think the bars are a nice way of at least acknowledging that a part of Sam is missing.
25th-Aug-2015 02:00 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is amazing ash!!
I had never noticed any of these before!!

Wonderful shots you chose <3
26th-Aug-2015 12:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much hun! <3
25th-Aug-2015 02:54 pm (UTC)
This is a really interesting post, I'd never noticed all the clues to the cage Sam's soul was trapped in, and shirtless soulless!Sam is always good to see!
26th-Aug-2015 12:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :) I always thought that one shot from 6.05 was a definite reference, but I didn't realise how many more examples there until I went looking.
25th-Aug-2015 02:55 pm (UTC)
\o/ I love seeing meta thinky thoughts from you.

Simply from the amount of examples you've shown, it certainly leans towards a conscious effort to depict it that way, and I like it think it was purposely done. It would certainly add an interesting dimension to souless!Sam, one that maybe the writers didn't explore.

(and personally I was hoping that you would include a still of *that* scene ;)
27th-Aug-2015 01:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks hun. :)

and I like it think it was purposely done

So would I. I always hope they're doing things deliberately when we discover stuff. :))

And *that* scene is a must of course…:D

25th-Aug-2015 05:10 pm (UTC)
This is very cool. I realized when I watched 6.01 that there were a lot of bars, plaid and horizontal lines. Lisa's house is full of them. The plaid is everywhere. I never expanded the theme out to look at that through the rest of the season though. These caps are really awesome. The one of the impala inside the fence is particularly exquisite. So many of these shots look dark and gritty. Is this the season that was supposed to have a film noir feel to it? Some of the seasons run together after a while. It feels good to be able to have fun looking at some of these images again.
27th-Aug-2015 01:19 pm (UTC)
Hey!

The show certainly likes to use plaid (I always remember S8 with Amelia and all that plaid type wall paper). With Lisa's house being full of them too it might be a shout out to Dean feeling equally trapped (or stuck).

Is this the season that was supposed to have a film noir feel to it?

I think it was this one. It did have a noir-ish feel - in fact it was pretty dark. Caged Heat is such a dark, nasty episode.

The one of the impala inside the fence is particularly exquisite.

I adore it! There's even a pot of flowers in the background of that scene. :)

Fun to be talking about images again. I hope we can do it again in S11. :)
25th-Aug-2015 05:34 pm (UTC)
I always love these posts of yours. I find myself going, "I noticed that!" but wasn't aware enough to make the next step to connect to a theme. I hope you have more chances in S.11 to make these kinds of connections.
27th-Aug-2015 01:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I hope S11 gives us some more great cinematography. I'm sure it will. :))
25th-Aug-2015 05:35 pm (UTC)
My favorite in this context is 6.02, but all your list is awesome. :)

The scene in the cell - 6.10 - is also interesting, because it's a double prison. First, Sam is locked by demons, and then he traps them in his own cell and runs away.
27th-Aug-2015 01:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)

First, Sam is locked by demons, and then he traps them in his own cell and runs away.

Yes yes. Clever Sam is clever (and *argh* he bleeds himself to achieve this).
25th-Aug-2015 06:43 pm (UTC)
Your eye for detail is amazing! I especially love the idea that the light beams could be referencing Sam's soul -- what gorgeous imagery! ♥

. . . and yes, there can be no "Soulless!Sam" retrospective without including shirtless soulless!Sam. ;)
27th-Aug-2015 01:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks sweetie! I would love to think the light beams could be Sam's soul. :)

And never enough shirtless soulless!Sam. :)
25th-Aug-2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
Hey - 6.02 has bars in the background - the fence on the left and, at a stretch, the white wooden thingy on the right too....!
27th-Aug-2015 01:30 pm (UTC)
Oh it does too! Great catch. :)) In fact, the whole scene is full of lines.
25th-Aug-2015 07:11 pm (UTC)
Mmmm! Soulless Sam and the no shirt will be a winner to me every single time.
27th-Aug-2015 01:32 pm (UTC)
I know right?! :)
25th-Aug-2015 08:49 pm (UTC)
Lots of bars! Love your interpretation!
27th-Aug-2015 01:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks hun. :))
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