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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
12.11 reaction 
15th-Feb-2017 10:33 pm
Ain't heavy
Better late than never... *g*



I have to say one of the things I'm really loving about this season is the nostalgia. The "then" segments are mini flashbacks to the early seasons and I'm all "oh I had forgotten about that" or "oh I loved that bit". I'm also loving that in so many episodes Sam has had a chance to reflect on something that has happened to him in the past - possession, powers, soullessness and in this episode it was watching Dean die. I know there have been some complaints about Sam not having a story line this season (and yeah, that is a thing but I don't actually think Dean really has one either), but at least there's a recognition of what he's been through in the past. Of course I would LOVE them to actually address all the non-con that Sam has had to endure over the many years, but I'm not sure that will ever happen.

It's always satisfying to have a brother focused episode and I did enjoy this one for that reason. Any episode where something is happening to one bro and the other one has to "fix" it is engaging and always makes my heart skip a happy beat.

I did have a few reservations about this one but mostly it hit all the right notes. It's a shame they didn't make it a two-parter because dealing with memory loss is such a deep and fascinating subject, they could have really explored it further - especially considering how well Jensen and Jared handled the material. Dean's memory loss had to be crammed into such a short time frame (basically that mirror scene) and I can't help but think it would have been amazing to watch a more gradual loss for Dean and then with Sam realising it's just a matter of time before he's forgotten completely. As it were they actually did a remarkable job fitting what they did in - particularly the fine balance between humour and seriousness.

I was thankful that it wasn't all just funny Dean moments (which I feared once it started). Dean's mirror scene was very much needed to show the fear and enormity of what was going on for him - of which Jensen did a great job (though I'm not sure why it made me feel uncomfortable to watch?). I also loved that they gave Sam the chance to show his fear. Jared did a great job of showing Sam as the carer but also as someone realising what it would mean to losing a brother to (essentially) dementia. It was a nice balance between the brothers I felt.

I loved all the little moments between them - my fave being the one in the bathroom. There was something very personal about them sitting in a bathroom together - in a space that's usually reserved for private stuff. I love the idea of Sam filling Dean in on his life (I want the outtakes!) And Dean's admission at the end that remembering "us" was better than living a life not remembering all the things he's done was poignant and honest.

I suppose my only real reservation was that final Dean montage. It weakened the episode for me - mainly because it didn't fit in the narrative and was pretty much just fan-service. I have no issue with fan-service as such, but after such a thoughtful episode it seemed to be a way of just saying "oh look at the way Jensen can pull these funny faces". I figure they wanted to use the bull-riding footage - but they could have found a way to fit that in without adding bits of footage we had just seen. I don't want to be a party-pooper because I'm sure it was a joy to many (I would have enjoyed it too as part of a fan-vid *g*), so I'll take it in the spirit I know it was meant - as a bit of fun. :)

I continue to enjoy this season, even though it feels a little uneven. It lacks the intensity of some previous seasons but I kinda like that. The lack of intensity comes from the fact that the brothers aren't fighting each other - which I'll take over them fighting any day. :)
Comments 
15th-Feb-2017 02:30 pm (UTC)
I treated the bull riding montage pretty much as a DVD extra - like they tagged on Eye of the Tiger to Yellow Fever - because like you say, it didn't really fit with the episode, but we would have felt a tiny bit cheated if we hadn't seen it.

Unless you look at it as a way of showing that Dean doesn't have to be stripped of his hard and nasty memories to be able to enjoy himself like a (big) little kid. It was a nice reminder of Dean's ability to take a childlike pleasure in the little things.

I found this episode very nostalgic because for me it was harking back to Mystery Spot and Yellow Fever, and I loved that. Like you say, it was so lovely to give us worried Sam, and see the depth of their caring for each other, without any other characters getting in the way. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
16th-Feb-2017 11:04 am (UTC)
but we would have felt a tiny bit cheated if we hadn't seen it.

Oh I agree! I think the bull-riding footage was great - and in fact that could have been included in the episode as a fond memory for Dean (as it happened before he was whammied). It was all the other footage (that we had just seen) that was weird. They probably felt that the bull riding wasn't enough as a stand alone (though I think it would have been *g*)

Unless you look at it as a way of showing that Dean doesn't have to be stripped of his hard and nasty memories to be able to enjoy himself

I think this is poignant for Dean. We know he can enjoy himself - even with all his memories - we've seen it before. I think the lack of memory made him more child-like rather than just care-free. It was an interesting take on his personality. I loved that about the episode.
15th-Feb-2017 02:38 pm (UTC)
I have to say one of the things I'm really loving about this season is the nostalgia. The "then" segments are mini flashbacks to the early seasons and I'm all "oh I had forgotten about that" or "oh I loved that bit".

SAME! Like yourself, I also love the fact that there have been so many references to the events of previous seasons. While things still aren't perfect, it feels like the show is beginning to regain a sense of continuity it hasn't possessed since the beginning of the Carver era. So far it actually feels like the exodus of old writers and the introduction of new ones this season has actually been good for the show.

As it were they actually did a remarkable job fitting what they did in - particularly the fine balance between humour and seriousness.

Once again I agree! I feel like a bit of a 'yes' man haha. I have to admit when I first heard the premise of this episode I was less than enthused by the idea. I was given the impression this was going to be a comedy episode and that filled me with dread. One, because I am generally not a fan of the comedy episodes. I think it's just a case of the writers have a different sense of humour to me. Two; the issue of memory loss hits too close to home to the real issue of dementia and I was worried the episode would come across as disrespectful.

Thankfully, though, as you said, the balance was very well done and I enjoyed the episode far more than I expected to. Meredith Glynn has definitely proved herself to be an asset to the team :).

I suppose my only real reservation was that final Dean montage. It weakened the episode for me - mainly because it didn't fit in the narrative and was pretty much just fan-service.

Yeah, it was a really weird choice all round. Plus I've seen others mention that montages like that are usually reserved for exit episodes as a kind of memorial to a character / actor who has just left the show. Obviously this isn't the case with Dean / Jensen so it was just odd all round.

I loved all the little moments between them - my fave being the one in the bathroom.

I went into detail about it in my review for the episode, but my three favourite scenes were the brothers scene in the bathroom (a really poignant scene and lovely display of bonding), Sam's scene with Rowena in the bedroom (it was a wonderful display of Sam's worries and his fear of how much worse it would be to have Dean die not even knowing who he was or that he was loved) and Dean's scene in front of the mirror (Jensen was just brilliant here and displayed how fine an actor he is).

Edited at 2017-02-15 03:12 pm (UTC)
16th-Feb-2017 11:11 am (UTC)
So far it actually feels like the exodus of old writers and the introduction of new ones this season has actually been good for the show.

I agree. I'm loving the new writers - I think they have been hitting the core of what makes SPn what it is.

One, because I am generally not a fan of the comedy episodes.

Yeah. I'm a bit like that too. I like some comedy eps, but not ones that lose the heart of the characters.

And I agree with those fave scenes too. I'm glad the writer allowed those moments. The actors did a great job. :))


16th-Feb-2017 01:28 pm (UTC)
And I agree with those fave scenes too. I'm glad the writer allowed those moments. The actors did a great job. :))

They really did! I think their performances are also a testament to just how much they both must have approved of this episode and enjoyed filming it.

Also, I just posted some thinky thoughts on Mary's behaviour during season twelve so far over on my LJ. Don't feel obliged to reply if you're too busy, or just don't care haha, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter :).
15th-Feb-2017 03:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, I loved and hugely adored all the nostalgia, and the Mystery Spot vibes in terms of humour turning suddenly to heartbreak (and there were many laugh out moments for me including Dean's "Whhhhaaatttt?" and "sucks for that guy!"!!) And you're absolutely right, given the time they had they managed to tackle such a lot in a perfectly balanced way.

I can see what you mean about the final montage, but for me it just hammered home my heartbreak; seeing the carefree happiness that Dean was throwing away because he'd rather remember his family and his life *sniff sniff*

Take care ♥
16th-Feb-2017 11:15 am (UTC)
but for me it just hammered home my heartbreak; seeing the carefree happiness that Dean was throwing away because he'd rather remember his family and his life *sniff sniff*

Ah, I didn't think of it like that. But yes, it could have been a reminder of what Dean was "giving away". But also, the bull-riding was before he was whammied so maybe it was to say he can still live a little care-free as the real Dean. I'm not sure it was meant as a comment on Dean (though I love that its open to interpretation) and I know many loved it - so yay! :)
15th-Feb-2017 03:33 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you said here, especially...

"It's a shame they didn't make it a two-parter because dealing with memory loss is such a deep and fascinating subject, they could have really explored it further - especially considering how well Jensen and Jared handled the material."

They did an amazing job in 42 minutes but it really could have - should have - been a two-parter. But I loved it, and even liked the montage at the end, showing Dean being carefree and happy in a way he rarely gets to be.

I'm really liking this season so far - although a couple of episodes have been weak - and can't wait for the new episode!
16th-Feb-2017 11:18 am (UTC)
Agreed. A two-parter would have been quite something.

I didn't think about that montage being about showing Dean carefree (I think because the bull-riding happened before he was whammied), but maybe it was a way of seeing a rare sight (though I'd argue that Dean is very good at enjoying himself even with his full memory - he has some great escapes *g*)
xx
15th-Feb-2017 03:42 pm (UTC)
Before this episode came out I was a bit unsure. The were a few cases of Alzheimers in my family and this reminded me so strongly of that experience (obviously just extremely fast) that was good for the episode while still making me uneasy.

To the montage, while I enjoyed it visually, I needed to actually listen to the lyrics to make completely sense to me since I didn't know the song. But yeah, the whole episode reminded me strongly of my late grandfather and his struggle.
16th-Feb-2017 11:23 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear of your experience. It's must be devastating to watch someone lose themselves. The show did well to navigate such a sensitive issue - and I think the actors performances helped that too.

xx
15th-Feb-2017 04:20 pm (UTC)
The mirror scene was hard to watch, esp. the second time. It's amazing how well they handled it given the short period of time. I start watching the episode 20-30 minutes in so I can start the DVR and ff through the commercials. The scene in the bathroom was fantastic. Such an off-beat and yet natural setting.

Dean's interactions with Rowena were gold. At first her dialogue seemed OOC but then when it was revealed she knew he wouldn't remember it made sense. But did Dean remember any of it?

Sam's role in their brotherhood was also well done. I cried when he talked to Rowena about losing his brother.

The montage didn't work for me the first time. But when I read the lyrics to the song, it made more sense.
16th-Feb-2017 12:29 pm (UTC)
But when I read the lyrics to the song, it made more sense.

Perhaps I better look them up also. I figured it was just for us to enjoy Jensen's comedy, but maybe it was part of the narrative after all.

But did Dean remember any of it?

It would be curious if in a future ep he remembers...
15th-Feb-2017 05:59 pm (UTC)
They could easily have made the bull-riding a flashback while the girl was talking about what Dean did the previous night (and could have showed them making out too!) It did feel very weird as a coda to the episode...

BTW I'm always happy to see your comments after an episode!
16th-Feb-2017 12:40 pm (UTC)
Hi! Thanks! :)

And I agree - there were a few ways they could have worked the bull-riding footage in. It was a weird (or maybe interesting?) combination of footage before he was whammied and then after.
16th-Feb-2017 01:45 pm (UTC)
Duh, I never put it together--he did ride the bull before he was whammied by the witch! That makes it even odder!
15th-Feb-2017 06:09 pm (UTC)
I love your thoughtful takes on the episodes. I felt so much the same, but you're the first person I've heard voice the same reservation about the ending montage that I had! I was even going to use that exact term, fan service. OI think my objection was slightly stronger than yours, even-- I wouldn't say it ruined the episode for me, but it sent it from great to just pretty good IMO. Mostly, I'm always conscious of the limited time we have in an episode, and I thought that two minutes could have been used better.

I agree totally with the overall assessment of the season, as well-- I'm pretty happy that they lowered the stakes, and there have been some really good episodes, but some bad ones too.

:-)
16th-Feb-2017 01:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

and I thought that two minutes could have been used better.

That was my feeling too. Actually, I didn't mind it at first because I thought they might have ended it with a carefree memory of Dean and Sam (to add some weight to Dean's comment about preferring to remember the two of them than nothing), but they didn't so it felt more like fan service.

The season has been a curious mix. I sometimes forget what's gone before (the lucifer stuff seems like ages ago) but have really enjoyed them not being at odds with each other. That's been refreshing.
22nd-Feb-2017 12:40 am (UTC)
My thoughts on this were pretty much the same as yours.
22nd-Feb-2017 01:06 pm (UTC)
*thumbs up* :)
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