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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
Finally had a chance to watch 8.08 :)) 
1st-Dec-2012 05:58 pm
Changing Channels gif
Wow, what a mess.

And I don't mean that in a negative way. ;D

Stan: It won't last. You are living in a dream world.
Amelia: I like it here. I like this house. I like Sam.
Stan: Sam is a mess.
Amelia: I'm a mess.....Please. Let us be messes together.

I can't decide if the structure and style of that episode was a mess because of that section of dialogue or because it was just, er...messy.

Let's go with it being messy because that is exactly what this episode was all about. Characters being in a mess. That and the perception of reality.

I consider it a "mess" because it seemed all over the place. It was comedic and dramatic and a little fan-servicey. It was a friggin stir fry of STUFF! The pacing was also weird. But ultimately I found it satisfying because it addressed some of the overall story arc and there were some moments of pure gold.

This show isn't made for the casual viewer is it? (Why I even consider that I don't know...)

It was an episode that embraced the cartoon form and, in someways, was a cartoon and yet explored both Cas and Sam's inner turmoils so was, at the same time, a drama.

No wonder I was left feeling discombobulated. Supernatural is good at doing that.

There were many things I loved, some I puzzled over and some bits I yawned at (but those are purely personal so I'm not going to even address those...)

I have to start by addressing Sam's "dream" world because that was such a revelation and also quite the sucker punch.

After much speculating I think we've finally been given a major part of the puzzle about those flashbacks. There's been a question about whether they are real or not. Personally, I think they are real. I think they've had that dream like quality (soft focus, high saturation) because it's exactly that - a "dream world" that Sam tried to bury himself in. A place that he desperately wanted and needed but in reality it was probably more of a nightmare. Sure, it had ideal moments - picnics in the park, a dog, a house, a gal but really it was a place Sam didn't fit. I really loved how he was filmed in those flashbacks. He looked so big and awkward. They don't usually show Sam as abnormally tall as he is. They didn't shoot around that in these scenes. They made him really standout.

And how awkward were those scenes?! I wanted to leap in there are take Sam away from it all. But they were perfect because it was about seeing the reality. Seeing how out of place Sam was in that world. He was trying so hard to make it work (the fake laughing and the forced smiles almost killed me) but it was never right.

No wonder Sam stayed by Dean's side when he was first talking about not wanting to hunt in episode one. Sam fits into the world when he is hunting and being next to Dean. It's where he belongs and he's beginning to see that in the way that we are. I think it's also why Amelia isn't an easily likeable, clinched "nice" girl. She's troubled and not at all perfect (loved the spaghetti and hotdog dish.../o\). And the same with her father. This "normal" isn't particularly nice or comfortable. It's just real.

I think the flashbacks in this episode gave us more evidence of his world "imploding" and the state of Sam's mind.

I'm sure you've all seen this gif by now:


It's a brilliant moment and I do ponder the significance. I can't tell if this is a deliberate indication that his flashbacks are in his head and never really happened (Lucifer or "other" induced maybe?) or if it's a brilliantly subtle gesture that shows how Sam is feeling at this moment. Personally I think it's the latter. I wouldn't be surprised if Jared himself put that in. It tells us that Sam either feels like he's living in some sort of unreal nightmare or that he needs to ground himself. He's in emotional turmoil and thus turns to the thing that helped in the past. His stone number one. *sniff* IT'S SO FRIGGIN' SAD!!! I FELT SO MUCH PAIN FOR SAM DURING ALL THESE SCENES. WHAT A MESS! /o\ BUT I LOVED IT!

I wonder if it's shortly after this point that Sam left Amelia to head for the cabin as we saw in episode one? He seems to have come to the realisation that he was running away from something (looking for Dean, hunting) and so headed to the cabin to perhaps start on that. Maybe Don being revealed being alive gave Sam the motivation to (finally!) make a start. Though I had the feeling he had lived in that house with her for a while. Hmmmm....difficult to say. The timeline of Sam's year is confusing.

If it turns out that Sam's memories (or anything during that year) have been manipulated it might actually blow my mind. I'm pretty sure it's mostly Sam remembering things the way he wanted to but now he's recalling things as they really were. Again with the perception.

Now to the other stuff (hee...yes. There was other stuff, but I was pretty overwhelmed with all the flashbacks I admit).

In many ways Cas resembled this actual episode because he was both the comic (cartoon) character and the serious (dramatic) character. He lived in the unrealistic world of the hunter (where he didn't really fit) and the very real human world - where he has emotion and remorse. Cas is a mess also and liked the way that mirrored Sam. I wonder if that mix of comic and serious was deliberate to show us how Cas is having trouble "fitting" in. I think I suffered whiplash watching him go from comic "bad cop" to him contemplating suicide. I suppose it's very Castiel though - a mix of characteristics and his search to fit in.

He, like Sam, is also running away. Sam ran away from hunting and looking for Dean and Cas is running away from Heaven and facing what he did there. It's interesting that at the end Cas was ready to return to heaven but was thwarted by a higher power. It looked like Sam was ready to face up to what he needs to do also - I wonder if he was somehow thwarted also? Hard to know at the moment. I think there is still more to be revealed. (see...told ya it was a mess! A good mess though).

It took a while to get the point about the cartoon MoTW. Initially I was a little worried because Show continues to make light of death. Deaths became comedy and it made me squirm a bit. Of course, by the end I could see the relevance and actually it was pretty darn clever. It was a massive anvil of course (particularly taking Sam and Cas into Fred's head so they could talk about reality) but the fact that they literally dropped anvils made it totally acceptable and hilarious.

Of all the cartoon moments it was the exploding cake that well, took the cake. Show loves the blood splatters - it's become a signature. I love the way they played with that by making the cake look like blood and guts splatter. I thought it WAS blood and guts and thought they had gone too far. I thought to myself...if they don't take these deaths seriously now I am turing this off! Instead it was cake and therefore clever. :))

I loved how many times Sam smiled at Dean's quips. There's definitely growing sense of being comfortable together again. I'm not sure what to make of that yet because I think there's still so much under the surface. I'm still struggling with them not addressing that big possessed!Dean rant, but it looks like I have to just accept it as it is. Maybe it will surface again later.

I didn't even really mind Cas hunting with them (shock! I know!). I wouldn't want that to be a permanent arrangement but I liked the way the addressed having "a third wheel". And yay fighting over the front seat and braiding Sam's hair etc. There were some classic one liners that's for sure.

I think the idea of a cartoon world, with cartoon deaths was very cool. Maybe not as deftly handled as it could have been but nevertheless quirky enough to be interesting.

Seeing Mike Farrell as Fred (BJ from MASH) looking so old was weird (made me feel extra old!) I wondered what had happened to him. Nice to see him turn up in my show. :)

Also.... SAM'S HAIR!! OMG! *swoon*

And were they both sporting matching stubble in that one? Hee...

Overall it was very satisfying. Weird, but satisfying. Getting more of Sam's story was great and I like the way they have been teasing it out. It's interesting that Dean seems to be rather well adjusted at the moment. I'm not sure if it's because the focus is off of him (like Sam in previous episodes) and so they are not showing it to us or whether Dean has genuinely moved on. Cas being alive might indeed be what he needed to lift some of his angst.

I am sure there's heaps more to come on that. I can't wait!

Geek moment: I do need to mention that there was a HEAP of prop re-use in that episode. I am particularly fascinated by the, um, teardrop shaped art work. The top one is a martini glass and the bottom one is a lighthouse (I think!). Looks like they picked up a few classic pieces from... somewhere. Hee...so kitsch. I rather love 'em.

Motel rooms 2

Motel rooms 1

motel painting

The painting is from Blood Brother (and from Slash Fiction), the bulb lamp is from Blood Brother (and from Yellow Fever), the bed head is from so many eps I can't list them all and the bedspreads... man, they look familiar but I can't place them (?). They are similar to the ones in Changing Channels, but not the same. /geek
1st-Dec-2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
First, I am very sorry for ranting Ash48,

Honestly, I am feeling like I am watching different show and not Supernatural. I hope Amelia go away with her seemingly undead husband and never appear again. The way Sam's flashback is presented is jaundice and stunted and dragging down the narrative of the story. Sam's traipsing down memory lane during an investigation? How can that be sane? If you're a real police and you spazz out too much you'll jeopardize innocent live for sure.

Some people think they get something from Sam's FB but honestly I don't get anything. We don't get to see what is it that they talk about when they are talking. Are they really talking? How can that be said as fleshing out a story or even a character? I don't see any private moment when Sam is remembering Dean in previous FBs. Only recent episode when Amelia's dad opens a beer for him that Sam said about Dean. And what the hell is with that? A bartender in a bar opens beer bottle for their costumer all the time and I am sure many people do that to someone they offer a beer to. It's just polite. Now, IF the dad opens it with his ring, NOW THAT'S Dean's signature.

Where is the sign that Sam's world is imploded? Nowhere. Okay, Sam is rubbing his hand but we just see it now? If the writers really are being serious of writing Sam running away they could very well make Sam running away to India or China. As long as he still lives in America there are tons of things that will remind him of Dean. We don't have another Dad to reminds Sam of Dean. For example, When Sam was watching TV in motel with Amelia then there's an old cowboy movie he then quickly change the channel because he remembers Dean loves that old movies. When Amelia brought home pie, Sam will flip or just leaves the room or something because he the pie reminds him too much of Dean. Or maybe when Amelia calls him jerk or any other name Sam will freeze and spaz out remembering Dean. But I don't see it in how many scenes of FBs.

I am very sorry that I have to disagree with you because I don't see Sam grieving at all, We don't privy to these supposed talks he supposed to have with Amelia. Does he even has these talks or not? Again the writers fail to incorporate that in their way of narrating Sam's story. If these flashbacks turn out to be real then why would they drag it on and on and on until 8 episode? IKWYDLS in S4 utilize flashback better in only one episode than these FBs. And I thought that IKWYDLS was disservice because it was only one. But it turns out when they drag it down like these it doesn't serve anything other than ruining the flow of the narrative. If these flashbacks are turning out to be real and no twist behind it then I am calling it bad sloppy writing. I am not a good writer but I know there are good writers here in LJ that can write better. I am getting whiplash in seeing different Sam's personality and characterization in different episodes and these flashbacks for a whole storyline don't serve anything to move forward the plot.

For a whole 8 episodes of storytelling, Sam's flashbacks don't reveal anything. It could have been done in one episode with scenes fastforwarding in quick succession how Sam revert to desperation and maybe suicidal (alluding to Heartache) then meeting a mess woman on the way to his downward path of despair holding on together. Done. All FBs in 8 episodes encompassed in One Sam centric episode.

Not to mention that I can't reconcile Sam's speech to Dean in Heartache with these FBs. Sam says, "I have someting that I never had before and I want that.", "When this is all over I am done. I want normal life. I want to go back to that normal I had before." I mean really? Now that i know how fucked up Sam's "normal" is Sam wants to go back to that? What? Being a home wrecker? Being a mess with a woman who is a mess? How is it different with being a mess together with Dean? He is Sam's flesh and blood brother. The one that will sacrifice his life in a heartbeat to save Sam's. Will Amelia even consider to die for Sam?
1st-Dec-2012 01:59 pm (UTC)
Also in episode one Dean said "Hey the rule is simple. Don't take a joint from a guy named Don and no dogs in the car!"

That's supposed to be Dean's life rules kinda things, meaning Sam must have heard that many times during their growing up. Now that Don has returned and Sam has taken a 'joint/wife' from him he should have remembered Dean's rule. What's that said about foreshadowing?

Sorry again Ash48. I hope you don't get peeved with my comment on your post. I'll delete it if it bothers you. It's good that these FBs work for you. To me they are not. Unless Carver hid a knife behind his back, I'd love to get stabbed and twisted by it. :D
2nd-Dec-2012 12:11 am (UTC)
Wow - I had forgotten that quote. That's kinda freaky actually and...yeah...foreshadowing. See, I get really excited by that stuff...it's one of those things that I would have loved them to have included because of Amelia's Don....


Hee... And it's cool. It's helped me tease out come of my thinking a bit more. I certainly don't have the answers but it's fun thrashing it all out.

1st-Dec-2012 02:46 pm (UTC)
Sorry for cutting in, but you have a good point about Sam's speech that he wants to return to normal when the hunt is over. I have a problem with that too. My only explanation is that he was still on the fence about it all. He was still in running mode to a certain extent. Sam ran because he lost Dean, and he knows that it almost inevitable if they keep hunting together that one of them is going to die. He almost self-destructed this time. If he watches his Dean die again, he won't be able to handle it. He will lose it completely. That's all I can think. I don't know that it is conscious or rational, but his coping mechanism now is to run and hide in another 'reality.'
2nd-Dec-2012 12:08 am (UTC)
First, I am very sorry for ranting Ash48,

It's totally cool. I'm glad you feel like you can come here and get some grievances off your chest. I use my journal to do that so I'm more than happy for you to. If the discussion is civil I'm like a pig in muck reading all the thoughts.

Of course, this does mean I will try to address some of these. :)

First off I will say I understand and I am feeling some of these frustrations as well. I haven't decided yet (a bit like this episode) if the FB's have been a clever way of story telling of a messy and sloppy way. I think there is definitely inconsistencies and I am mighty frustrated by not being told up front what has happened and also by having to see both Sam and Dean in the past and then the present.

But I think it's the decision they have made in the story telling so I am going with it for the sake of loving my show and desperately wanting it to work.

Where I am at the moment is that we are learning of Sam's past at the same time he is. I know that sounds weird but I think what Sam remembered in this episode has only just come back to him. So when he said he had normal and wants that he was remembering the "good" stuff. As time has gone on he is beginning to really see what it was like. If Sam really wanted to go back to that life he would have walked out on Dean ages ago. Of course he can't and won't but I like to think that's because there's no other place he would rather be.

We haven't been shown the grief yet. I think that's the missing piece and why what we are seeing is problematic. We keep seeing this past life that looks neither fulfilling or satisfying and we just can't understand why Sam is there. They haven't shown us what "imploding" actually looked like on Sam. My comment above is more about the result of him suffering from some kind of meltdown (post implode). The way I see it, for him to be in that situation things had to get pretty bad. For Sam to pursue this "dream" life he had to be in an awful place. They have hinted at it, but they haven't given it to us (like they did in IKWYDLS).

It's friggin' frustrating and I am concerned that we are just having to accept that Sam had a melt down and ran away. Hard to believe knowing Sam the way we do.

I cant make a call on it all yet because we are still on 8 episodes in. I admit to holding out for the next 2 episodes to see where they are going with this. We should get either a reveal or cliff hanger going into the Xmas hiatus, which hopefully will satisfy some of our current issues.

I will say that if they are going to give us Sam in a relationship then I am pretty happy that they've done it like this. I don't see Sam as a home wrecker though. I see him very lost, out of place and running away from facing what he has to do. Amelia isn't his ideal match - she's no Sarah or Maddison (or even Ruby), she's someone who has experienced loss as well and I think he's mostly just hanging on. She's not Dean's replacements (much the same as Benny isn't Sam's) but I find it really curious and I do like that it's a mess and not simply - Sam found the girl of his dreams. He didn't and he's beginning to realise that.

Either that...or the whole thing is a mess because they haven't thought it all through. I'm seriously hoping that isn't the case.
2nd-Dec-2012 12:23 am (UTC) - Edit...
Actually....I've had another thought about his flashbacks. I said he was remembering when we are seeing them but that doesn't really make sense. He would remember everything (even the bad stuff) but we are just seeing it now because of the story telling.

I'm thinking that maybe there was enough "good" stuff for Sam to want that. I don't think he's referring to Amelia though. I think he's just referring to not hunting. I suspect it will be through the course of the whole season that Sam will realise that normal isn't for him (which yeah, it's inconsistent. Sam has always known normal isn't for him. Maybe he just wants to keep trying or something...)

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