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8.01 - Mini Picspam with meta-ish thoughts 
7th-Oct-2012 07:41 pm
Thinky thougts
I can't stop thinking about how familiar many of the scenes were in episode 8.01. I love the deliberate choices to "call back" or mirror past episodes. It not only uses our past knowledge of those moments but it also gives them extra significance by being used again.

I thought I'd take a little look at those moments.



1. Monster of the Week:

As I mentioned in my episode reaction, the very beginning is similar to many episode beginnings. We usually have a scene where innocent victims are terrorised and often killed (or munched!) by the MotW. They started this episode much the same, only this time the "monster" turned out to be Dean (poignant yeah?!)

The scene in 8.01 reminded me more specifically of the beginning of 1.02 (Wendigo).



The next few scenes are direct comparisons to 4.01 (Lazarus Rising). I love how Dean's return from Purgatory is mirrored in his return from Hell.

2. The Walk:

I think of this as a symbolic of Dean's journey. I'm sure Dean being framed in green is deliberate in both scenes. Green represents new beginnings and a sense of life and health. Opposite to the places he's emerged from.



3. The Testing:

Testing for the supernatural in each other has now become a returning from the grave ritual. We've seen it when Dean returned from Hell in 4.01, Sam from Hell in 6.01 and now both Dean and Sam in 8.01. It's a motif now - they usually come in threes. Each time it tells us something about the state of their relationship. This time Dean is all business (similar to Sam when Sam returned from the Cage) and Sam is "we've done this enough to know we're each other". So cool!



4. The hug

Another returning from the grave ritual. No wonder Dean was all "Well let's do this. Come here". They've done it so many times now. If we looked at each hug we could see how their response offers a window to their states of mind when it happens - that's probably for another picspam though. Here Dean seems thoroughly warmed and relieved. And Sam, even though surprised, does seem equally warmed. Dean likes to close his eyes when he hugs Sam. He gets totally immersed in the hug. (Different to the way he hugs Benny you will notice. All smiles but no eye closing...)




5. Sam with a mysterious woman:

I think this is an interesting comparison. 4.01 presented us with a "mysterious" woman with Sam in the beginning of the episode. She later turned out to be Ruby. Here we have another woman who Sam has obviously had a relationship with. I think it's no accident that each time one brother is without the other they form a relationship with another person. I think Lisa understood it. The boys aren't able to sustain a healthy relationship with another person when they have each other. (Epic love story I tells ya!)



6. The Impala's key toss: (no good pics for this one I'm sorry...)

The keys to the Impala have become very symbolic over the course of the show. They have been used quite a few times now to represent the various stages in the boys relationship (I plan to do a mini picspam on this later on so will examine each of those later). Twice now Sam has looked after the Impala while Dean has been away and both times he's tossed the keys back to Dean upon his return. I love that they chose to mirror the tossing action from 4.01. A handing back of the Impala is a ritual now.

7. Sammy's "who me?" face.

Both times Sam has handed back the Impala Dean has spotted something different with his car. The first time the iPod and this time the dog smell. Such great mirroring.



8. The phone call:

I'm not sure if this is a deliberate "mirror" as such but Dean's sneaky phone call to Benny reminded me very much of his phone call to John in Home. There's been a suggestion that Dean has become more like John in this episode (military man) so I wonder if this was done for that reason? I think it's possibly done like this to emphasis that Dean is keeping this from Sam - much like he did his phone call to John in Home.





There may be some others but they are the ones the came to mind on the first viewing. I do love that they have chosen to present the scenes like this. It raises the question...what will be different this time and why?
Comments 
7th-Oct-2012 11:56 am (UTC)
oh i love this SOOO much - you know I love these mirrors! The other one that caught me was Dean wrestling Sam to the ground at Rufus' Cabin - certainly reminiscent of the boys first encounter in the Pilot, and recreated in What Is And What May Never Be. And I note in both those as well, Sam is out of the hunting life, and Dean ends up on top *koff*
7th-Oct-2012 12:01 pm (UTC)
All our chatting brought this about! We talked about the key toss and then I realized there were so many more repeats.

Oh and yes! Boy wrestling when Sam is out of the hunting life. Indeed! And Dean ends up on top?! *dies*
7th-Oct-2012 12:08 pm (UTC)
I spotted those too, it's great to actually see them together like this. I like the mirroring, especially because it begs the question you pose too; what will be different and why? I, for once, am excited to see, no matter how OOC Sam seemed in EP01 (and he did), because it is a very interesting story choice and it lends itself for so many fabulous moments and side-stories <3 Thanks for putting this together, it's really cool to see it like this!
7th-Oct-2012 12:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

Sam is interesting because on each return he has seemed "different" to the one we know. In 4.01 there was uproar that Sam slept with Ruby (well, her innocent vessel) and was sneaking off behind Dean's back and in 6.01 that he was so cold and horrible to Dean. In both cases it turned out he had reasons for this. I have absolutely no doubt he'll have reasons for not looking for Dean as the story unfolds in S8. So exciting.
7th-Oct-2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
You know! I wanted to comment on the really observant and clever post you assembled here, but now all I can think of is - if Sam isn't hunting Dean ends up on top!
7th-Oct-2012 12:19 pm (UTC)
HA! I know... it kinda consumes the brain doesn't it?! I now want, no NEED fic - Sam has to return to the hunting life just so he can reclaim top! ;D Lots of wrestling ensues....
7th-Oct-2012 12:19 pm (UTC)
So much mirroring going on in this ep--including these callback mirrors. Not that this kind of callback is unusual, but 8.01 seemed more than usual (and I loved that with all the shoutbacks, 8.01 also propelled things forward story/character-wise).
7th-Oct-2012 12:23 pm (UTC)
Hey! (not sure I told you how much I like your thoughts on Sam on your Tumblr. It resonated with me...<3)

And yeah - the mirrors or shout outs aren't unusual in SPN. I love that they do that and have used it so effectively in this episode. And I certainly had a sense that things have moved forward. That's why these devices are so effective - we can clearly see what has changes.

xx
7th-Oct-2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
Ooh, meta. :)

The scene in 8.01 reminded me more specifically of the beginning of 1.02 (Wendigo).

This reminded me not just of Wendigo itself, but of the moment in Two Minutes to Midnight when Sam asks Dean if he remembers how simple their lives were when they just hunted wendigos. Dean didn't remember then - too much political nonsense in the air - but now he remembers: the purity of it. Except, as you say, he's coming at it from the other side.

It's a motif now - they usually come in threes. Each time it tells us something about the state of their relationship. This time Dean is all business (similar to Sam when Sam returned from the Cage) and Sam is "we've done this enough to know we're each other". So cool!

I think it's interesting how much this operates as a mirror image of Lazarus Rising. There Dean was frightened and confused and had no idea what had happened to him. He was so desperate to have people believe him and help him work out what was going on that the idea that they might think he wasn't himself didn't occur to him until he was ducking blows. Sam tried to kill Dean because he'd given up hope of ever getting his brother back and assumed this was a monster coming to hurt him.

This time Dean knows exactly what happened to him (even if we don't!), and that constant stream of action pushes the possibility of talking about it into the background. And Sam never doubts that it is Dean, either because he's fully committed to not hunting, or because he knows something we don't.

I'm not sure if this is a deliberate "mirror" as such but Dean's sneaky phone call to Benny reminded me very much of his phone call to John in Home. There's been a suggestion that Dean has become more like John in this episode (military man) so I wonder if this was done for that reason?

I think the interesting difference is that, really, in We Need to Talk About Kevin Dean is answering the phone - I mean, technically he's calling Benny back, but it was Benny who initiated the contact. In Home, Dean was pouring out his worries to John's voicemail because he hadn't yet learnt to talk to Sam; here it's Benny who wants to discuss what has happened to them. Dean's back to not being able to talk to Sam, because they get like that when they've been apart, but there's no pretence that anything else will work.
7th-Oct-2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
Hey.

Dean didn't remember then - too much political nonsense in the air - but now he remembers: the purity of it.

The notion of purity in purgatory is fascinating to me and I think you're right, it comes down to the purity of the hunt. Dean has always loved hunting but over the last few years it's take such a personal toll - there's too much other crap surrounding it. Perhaps there he could simply enjoy the hunt - like he did when he hunted with John.

And Sam never doubts that it is Dean, either because he's fully committed to not hunting, or because he knows something we don't.

I really love how different Sam's reaction is to Dean compared to anything we've seen in the past reunions. He almost makes Dean's actions look silly - or over the top. Sam seems to be taken by surprise but is not actually surprised by Dean's return. I wondered if it's simply because it's happened before or because Sam just knows Dean that well. Hmmmm....

Dean's back to not being able to talk to Sam, because they get like that when they've been apart,

Yeah, good point. They have to relearn to communicate again (not that they've always been good at that *sheesh* boys...).

That scene really made me want to know more about Benny - I have a feeling he might be a thorn in Dean's side.


7th-Oct-2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
Great observations! I too was struck by the scene in Home when he said he was going to the mensroom and then walked out of earshot and phoned..

And hon, I am all for a hug comparison analysis at some point ::bats eyes winningly::
7th-Oct-2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
Hee.. hug comparison. I'll get on that! Any excuse to look at the boys hugging. <33
7th-Oct-2012 02:52 pm (UTC)
Love the meta and the pic spam!!

The boys aren't able to sustain a healthy relationship with another person when they have each other.

So true! It's actually rather sad, when you stop to think about it. But, this is the relationship we love!! This dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship between the boys is what we can't seem to get enough of.

(Epic love story I tells ya!)

I don't slash pair Sam and Dean but, yeah, pretty much. I've always been a fan of the bromance. (I maintain that The Outsiders started it all) But Sam and Dean have set the bar so high I wonder if any other or future bromance will ever be able to live up to it.
7th-Oct-2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
Even though I do slash the boys I totally think of the "epic love story" as pure bromance. Their love for each other is just so friggin epic. All the time! (and I love it)

Hee... and I can't imagine any bromance being as intense as this one. How many brothers or partners get to die or sell their soul for each other?!

xx
7th-Oct-2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
The mirroring does seem very out-there and unsubtle this ep. Another thing is when Dean tackles Sam to the floor and how it reminds of the season 1 Pilot. Only Sam doesn't feel the need to fight back?
IDK, but I think I want to rewatch to see the differences and if it speaks to how much has changed since then (and how much is the same between them).

Otherwise, I'm kinda happily lost in thought over "4. the hug" and "6. & 7. the Impala and Sam's face". <33
8th-Oct-2012 10:17 am (UTC)
Oh yes.. the tackling is an interesting comparison. I am so curious why Sam doesn't fight more - he seems resigned to let Dean go through his paces with the testing. But yeah, I think the tackling we have definitely seen before.

Yay hug!! Such a nice hug it was also...<33
7th-Oct-2012 03:23 pm (UTC)
I love your comparisons here from 8.01 to past episodes. This is brilliant and just brings to mind, for me, why I loved this new episode so much. I thought of Wendigo and Home from those particular scenes, but didn't catch on to the others. Most of all I love your observations about "the hug." I hadn't really noticed that but yeah, Dean closing his eyes, totally taking it all in. Dean not wanting anything he sees to obscure the feeling that he has Sammy in his arms. Now I need to go back to all the other hugs and see if he follows suit with all of them. I look forward to your Picspam and analysis of the different hugs. This was awesome.
8th-Oct-2012 10:19 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I am hoping to take a look at all the hugs and see what it tells us about the currently state of their characters' journeys. Dean loves his hugs and I think you're right. He blocks out everything else when he has Sammy safe in his arms. :)
7th-Oct-2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
Excellent meta. Yes, I noticed some things that paralleled earlier scenes. SPN does that often and very well. I'm very intrigued by this season's mysteries and by the huge character growth we are seeing. It's all good stuff.
8th-Oct-2012 10:22 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think seeing the paralleled scenes in 8.01 can give us confidence that the past is not forgotten. I know that was a issue for some going into S8. Their past is extremely important in forming how they handle the future.

Good stuff indeed. :)
7th-Oct-2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
Great notices, and I really appreciate the pix to show the similarities--written descriptions can't pack the punch of actually seeing the mirroring!
8th-Oct-2012 10:23 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad the pics helped. :))
7th-Oct-2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
Ooohhh, this is very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to do this. So many parallels.

Edit. I had noticed a few of them myself. But seeing them side by side is very cool. Plus I was very distracted by The Walk. It was done on a stretch of road they've used so many times before and which I've walked myself. Made me smile.





Edited at 2012-10-07 04:24 pm (UTC)
8th-Oct-2012 10:25 am (UTC)
Thanks hun. Glad you liked. Hee... and if I had walked that same walk I think I too would have been distracted. :))
7th-Oct-2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Ah, so cool!
8th-Oct-2012 10:27 am (UTC)
IKR? Show is very cool. :))
7th-Oct-2012 05:11 pm (UTC)
Just to say I loved this! And the last one I totally think is a shout-back to Home. The setting, the context, the camera angle, the zoom in on the face...it's all there.

8th-Oct-2012 10:29 am (UTC)
Thanks! And yeah, the more I think about it the more I think that phone call is a shout-back to Home.
7th-Oct-2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
Ooooh I noticed those parallels to Lazarus Rising as well. I mean the Season so far certainly has a Season 4 feel already, with maybe Benny being Dean's Ruby, we'll have to see but I love the shows use of parallels
8th-Oct-2012 10:34 am (UTC)
with maybe Benny being Dean's Ruby

Yeah, I did wonder if Benny might be being set up as a kind of Ruby character. I definitely think he might be a thorn in Dean's side.
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