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10.21 ep reaction and poll 
8th-May-2015 07:22 pm
Nothing but a song

It's been 24 hours since I watched the episode and I still haven't been able to work out what my reaction is. I'm feeling discombobulated (I hope that's the correct use of that word because it's my fave word ever and I'm pretty sure it describes my reaction…*g*).

I'm torn because in my heart I feel like this is a cheap way to tell a story. It feels lazy and openly contrived. I'm not sure if that's because of the writing (this writing pair lack the finesse of, say, Berens), or because we've seen this so many times we just know how it all works now.

I was spoiled for Charlie's death (couldn't help myself - Twitter man /o\) and so I was on the edge of my seat during the whole episode, wondering how they were going to do it.

When it happened I found it strangely underwhelming. That's possibly because I was spoiled for it, but I think it was mostly because the events leading up to it were so annoying that I almost felt like say "well, you all deserve this because you all acted so stupidly!". I know "classic horror" is to scream "don't go down there" at the stupid person going down to the attic when the lights are mysteriously out, so I should just accept that it's part of the genre. But man, Charlie not calling for Cas the minute she knew she was in trouble seemed like a glaring oversight (?). Maybe she was embarrassed that she went behind his back. Maybe she was blaming herself for the trouble she was in. I'm not sure about that one.

I was also disappointed because the purpose of her death is clearly about moving the emotional story for the brothers forward, and that just seemed so crass. It is no doubt the catalyst to the rest of the season and I can tell you now it will be HOW they play that out as to what I ultimately feel about them killing her off like this. If it's a catalyst for understanding and change between them (I mean come on! How many times did they have to mention doing stuff like this will end badly?) then I'll see that it might not be completely in vain (or pointless). If (and I suspect this will be the case) it is about sending Dean over the edge - blaming Sam for Charlie's death and pushing Dean to the predicted fratricide, then *sigh* I really don't know. So much will depend on how that is written if it goes down like that.

But. And here's the bit I'm torn with. This is Supernatural. This is what they do. Time and time again. Secondary characters are expendable, it really shouldn't shock or surprise us when one of them is written off killed. It's always about increasing the emotional journey of Sam and Dean (or Cas), so it should really be no surprise. I accepted that long ago and I'm rarely up in arms because they've killed off a character. I liked Charlie (a lot!), but I'm not going to start ranting about killing her off because - yep, if you're on the show, expect to die! (also, she'll be back one day. Along with Kevin and Bobby probably).

It was an incredibly dark and brutal episode. The "dark" I don't mind (these characters live in a dark world and so it's expected), but I found the "brutal" not as easy to accept. The mindless, relentless killing of people was just the wrong side of too much. But, each to their own. That's just me.

The part I'm not looking forward to is all the fandom in-fighting about who's to blame etc. etc. At this point Sam and Dean are so equally involved in pretty much everything that happens that there is just no good argument (I think) for laying blame on any one character. This is the dark side of their co-dependeny. One thing that the last three seasons have made very clear - their inability to live without each other ends up hurting other people, not just themselves.

"Family don't end in blood"

Actually, it does. Lots and lots of blood. See, here's the thing for me. In "The Whether Project" we saw Sam willing to drain himself dry of blood to open the safe as a means to save Dean. It was the first time this season that I really felt that Supernatural, the one I fell in love with many years ago, was back. It was about seeing the personal sacrifice each are prepared to make for the other. But this episode wasn't about the personal sacrifice. It was about being prepared to sacrifice other people, and potentially the world to save the other. It was the same when Dean "saved" Sam in S9. Dean didn't make a personal sacrifice in doing that. He sacrificed Sam and, eventually, Kevin. I know Sam didn't willingly sacrifice Charlie of course, the same way Dean didn't willingly sacrifice Kevin, but by involving other people in their quest, they are putting them in danger. Charlie made her own choices (as did Cas in being there), but I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to say no to either Sam or Dean. And they are essentially good people, so they do want to help. I do actually enjoy the complexity of that. And I think it makes for a great discussion (but not out and out arguing…).

I said in a previous reaction post "I want them to burn the world for each other." To do that they'd have to become the psychotic, serial killing, selfish murderers that the show hints at. Maybe I'm not really prepared for them to go that far after all. I like liking my boys. I want them flawed, but have the ability to learn.

So yeah. I think there were some problems with the episode (how did the baddies find Charlie so easily after not being able to find her for so long?), but the end result is really not surprising. I think I'm just disappointed that we're going to see the brothers at odds again.

I'm torn between loving this level of angst and hating it. If Sam buries himself in guilt (because, you know, that boy clearly hasn't suffered enough) and Dean tears into Sam because he "lied" to him (because, you know, Dean's never been guilty of that) I'm not going to be very happy. I am hoping they change things up and actually have an equal acknowledgement of why shit keeps happening to them from their choices.

And one last thing. It has never been made clear why Dean gave up trying to find a cure. Maybe because he knew that no matter what it would end badly? The thing is, Dean's destiny is going to end badly anyway. He's either going to turn into a demon and be full of evil or…? Idk…die and be evil? Kill Cas and then Sam and then be evil? Just…be evil? I wonder what it would have been like to see them fighting this together, to the end.

I think I'm just finding the constant roundabout of lies and deceit leading to hate and destruction tiresome. It's emotionally draining - and not in a good way. I want to cheer them on. I want them to fight the good together. It won't happen in the next 2 episodes I'm guessing (I'm still thinking it will end with MoC!Dean killing Sam *meep*), but maybe one day.

And after all that, I AM looking forward to the next two episodes. If nothing else, they will be full of action and emotion. They will tear at our heartstrings and leave us hanging for Season 11. :)

Poll #2010499 10.21 reaction

I thought 10.21 was:

Fantastic! What a riveting episode!
Pretty good. Most of it was great.
Ok. Not great, but not terrible.
*meh* Predictable and disappointing.
*ugh* I can't believe we're here again…:(
8th-May-2015 11:40 am (UTC)
I found the episode annoying, too. I wasn't as upset about Charlie dying than I should have been, because, man, what lazy writing. How *did* they find her so easily? How could Cas not know she was getting away, and why leave her alone like that so she could? Why didn't Sam and Dean call Cas and let him know what was up - surely he was also close to the location? Why didn't they take away they guy's cell phone? Ugh. There were parts I liked, and I enjoyed the episode as a whole, mostly, kiiind of, but I really hope they step it up with the writing for the next two eps.

Edit: one more annoyance lol. Why was Sam so adamant that Cas couldn't leave Rowena alone even for an hour, if he'd left her alone for much longer than that himself? *sigh* And why not call Cas immediately when they found her so that he could try to bring her back? She might not even have been dead!

I did like the way Dean eventually pieced together what was going on, and the way he caught Sam out in lies. Idk why, but I enjoyed Sam's constipated lying face, lol.

Edited at 2015-05-08 11:45 am (UTC)
8th-May-2015 01:52 pm (UTC)
but I really hope they step it up with the writing for the next two eps.

I think that will happen. Out of all the writers I find these two the weakest, so I'm excited that we'll have two stronger episodes to come.

And *nods* at all the questions. The end game was dead Charlie - I would love them to have cover all those questions cleverly.

And yes! I actually love that Dean knows now. I thought that might not come out until the final episode. At least we have two more with him knowing it all. The lies are out in the open (and really, it's just Sam trying to find a way to cure Dean - I'm hoping Dean can see that), so at least there's no more deceit. We'll have them at odds, but evening is out in the open now.

And, oooh, I just thought. Sam's deceit may, ironically, be the very thing to set Dean off. So, poor Sam, not only guilt for Charlie, but guilt for trying to do the "right" thing, but it completely backfiring and speeding up Dean's change. Arghhh
8th-May-2015 11:47 am (UTC)
I wasn´t spoiled for Charlies death till now!
8th-May-2015 12:50 pm (UTC)
ack! What do you mean? Everything was behind a cut?

eta: sorry I didn't warn for spoilers. I just assumed as I was talking about 10.21 it would be a given. I'll put warning. Sorry you were spoiled.

Edited at 2015-05-08 12:58 pm (UTC)
8th-May-2015 02:04 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed it too (I know it doesn't seem like it in this post, but I was engaged during the episode. It was only after that I was left feeling confused…).

Sam and Dean's response was emotional, I agree. I think I just know how much this is going to tear them apart and eat at them and I'm finding it hard to be excited by it. That's probably a good thing - I'm just that invested in these characters. The fallout from this is going to be devastating. And maybe that's great story telling (I actually think the ideas are very strong, the execution - in this episode - could have been tighter I feel. Ultimately, the act of Charlie's death is the catalyst, so that's now in play)
8th-May-2015 12:30 pm (UTC)
no comment or grade from me, im just going to agree with your post
8th-May-2015 02:04 pm (UTC)
Ok. ;)
8th-May-2015 12:49 pm (UTC)
As made nauseatingly clear, both Charlie and Cas were there FOR DEAN, so if fandom wants to start throwing blame... ;)

The 'for Dean' scene felt off to me. I mean, I get them wanting to help Dean, but it seemed like they were brushing off their aid to Sam at the same time, which irked me.

I think you're right and both Sam and Dean are equally involved in what's taking place, but the only people responsible for Charlie's death are the Steins.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the episode. Discombobulated feelings are better than none at all, at least as far as this reader is concerned.

8th-May-2015 01:01 pm (UTC)
I hated the universal we are doing it FOR DEAN, screw the fact that he's turned into a demon once before and demons are destructive and Dean will be a demon with knowledge of hunters and the hunting world that makes him even more dangerous. I hated that the one thing everyone knows is that the MOC represents killing a brother, but not one person has said they will do it to help keep Sam safe. I hated even more the implication that if it were to save Sam, they both would have gone Eh, I have to wash my hair. We will only do it FOR DEAN. Deeply, deeply annoyed.
8th-May-2015 12:56 pm (UTC)
I too was annoyed, less by Charlie's death but by how it was handled. I'm not thrilled that killing Charlie was pretty much only to further Sam and Dean's manpain. When Jo and Ellen died it was part of being in the hunting life and going up against Lucifer PLUS we got to see Ellen loving Jo so much she wouldn't leave her alone to die. Bobby too went out because he had taken on a foe that he knew to be virtually unstoppable, and he got a look at his life and psyche before he died and became a ghost. In both cases the deaths fit into the narrative that hunters die bloody and often young.

But Charlie died because everyone (except Rowena) drank stupid juice. Charlie wouldn't accept Rowena being moved to a different room as a compromise so she wasn't being distracted. Cas lost his ability to track people who don't have Enochian sigils on their ribs. Sam prioritized staying with Rowena over staying with Charlie. Dean in conjunction with Sam tied up Styne in such an incompetent manner that he was able to get out of his chains AND apparently they didn't even blindfold the guy, because he knew how to get out of the bunker. It was people acting like fools the entire hour.

I'm also sick of the lampshading of it being Sam's fault for lying to Dean and really nothing else. Yes, the were kind enough to drop in the nugget that the Stynes were going after Charlie no matter what, because she might have the book and it was implied they would kill her in any case because she was someone who had bested them at some point. But then we got every character telling Sam that his lies were the unforgivable actions here.

I was not thrilled with this episode at all.
9th-May-2015 02:30 am (UTC)
I'm not thrilled that killing Charlie was pretty much only to further Sam and Dean's manpain.

*nods* this is one of the biggest issues I have with it. That and all the stupidity leading up to it.

Jo, Ellen and Bobby's deaths were all handled beautifully. Seeing any character die is hard, but this is the universe they have set up for themselves. Death is around any corner. But yes, so many stupid character moments all leading up to this - it's left a nasty taste in my mouth.

AND apparently they didn't even blindfold the guy, because he knew how to get out of the bunker

And now knows where the bunker is. It has continued to amaze me how many people they've let into the bunker without precaution. The Styne's have been set up as next season's big bad (which, actually, I don't have an issue with), so I'll be curious is the bunker is compromised now.

But then we got every character telling Sam that his lies were the unforgivable actions here.

SO MANY TIMES! They are determined to make Sam the bad guy here. It just makes NO sense. It's as if nothing from last season happened (oh, except him being mad at Dean for LYING and BETRAYING him). The double standards just kill me. It's good to see some of fandom seeing through it - understanding the hypocrisy, but I've also seen "Dean should just leave Sam after that" and it does my head in.

I am dreading the next two episodes - I seriously hope it is better handled than this one. I think we can pretty much count on Sam being "wrong" and spending next season paying for it. :( I seriously hope I'm wrong.
8th-May-2015 01:16 pm (UTC)
Still haven't watched the episode, though it sounds like it unfolded in such a stupid way that I'm better off skipping it. I love the way you put this, though:

And one last thing. It has never been made clear why Dean gave up trying to find a cure. Maybe because he knew that no matter what it would end badly? The thing is, Dean's destiny is going to end badly anyway. He's either going to turn into a demon and be full of evil or…? Idk…die and be evil? Kill Cas and then Sam and then be evil? Just…be evil?

This is the thing that's been really getting to me all season, and preventing me from getting deeply invested. As far as I can tell, the reason Dean gave up is so that they can make a parallel between Sam having "given up" at the beginning of S9 and Dean now. Like, the whole point of this season was to make as close a parallel as they could, to refute Sam's "same circumstances, I wouldn't." They've ignored the actual consequences and possibilities of the Mark, and of Dean going evil, because the point is that if Dean is suicidal, Sam will do terrible things to save him—just like Dean did in S9. Which also ignores the reasons why Sam "gave up" at the end of S8/beginning of S9. In episodes like this one, it's as if they can't be bothered to notice the details of their own storytelling, IMO.

Last week's had a lot more going on, in terms of character and subtlety, and that's the show I still enjoy.
9th-May-2015 02:40 am (UTC)
The stupidity for the sake of the story telling and consequent death of a character to enhance the bro angst makes it a difficult episode. It's also horrible that, once again, we are going to have two brothers at terrible odds. Dean will be SO pissed at Sam. Only this time, instead of words to express his anger it will be much more bloody (I suspect. I have no idea, but this can't end well).

It seems very much that they are trying to parallel the story lines but the circumstances are SO different. I just don't understand why they are addressing what Sam said to Dean, rather than addressing problematic nature of what Dean did. It's like they HAVE to let Dean off the hook - that Sam is the one who needs to learn a lesson here. My mind just boggles because if anything Sam was the one who actually understood the nature of their sacrifices for each other. Not the other way around. But *shrugs* I'm trying to not get emotionally invested (hee, well, overly invested…) because we're back to square one and, as always, Sam is on the back foot. Poor guy just can't catch a break. :(
8th-May-2015 01:28 pm (UTC)
I loved it. I watched it on my phone just now after having no internet access yesterday (still in SA). The angst made up for any storytelling holes for me.
8th-May-2015 01:44 pm (UTC)
So much angst! And I have a feeling it's just going to escalate! Arghhhhh! I have no idea how I'm going to survive the next two!

8th-May-2015 01:28 pm (UTC)
While I wasn't spoilt for her death per se, I went into the episode hoping that Charlie would die or get written out of the show in another way. Simply because the character has lost everything that made her so interesting and lovable in the first episodes she appeared in. But I didn't want her to die like that, as the result of everyone's crass stupidity, herself included. (When have Sam and Dean ever chained someone up by one arm only???)

The writing was just so very, very terrible, and the directing was just as unsubtle and gross. I love this season very much and don't necessarily think that it's wrong for the show to explore the same dark roads again and again - for the most part I find it gripping and entertaining. But these two writers would ruin the best plot in the world... By the end of it my ears were ringing with the messages they screamed at us ad nauseum: LYING IS BAD! PEOPLE WHO GET CLOSE TO THE WINCHESTERS GET KILLED!...

I adored Rowena, though, and the scenes between the boys. Particularly the one where Dean interrogates Sam and creeps around behind him. So scary and hot. Great acting too.
10th-May-2015 01:38 pm (UTC)
*nods* I have been wondering what this episode would have been like in different writers hands. I think Robbie Thompson should have been the one to write her out as (I think!) he was the one who first introduced her. I think he would have done it more respectfully. I think the idea was for her to come across as a hero, sacrificing herself for her "brothers". Unfortunately, because of all the stupid moves, she lost that shine (as did Sam, Cas and Dean). It really didn't have to be that way. At all. I am hoping they'll be back on track next ep.

Though yes. I think there were some great things happening between Sam and Dean. Sam is scared of Dean and Dean is becoming increasingly menacing to Sam. If they keep up that angle (and not simply Dean being pissed at Sam), it could become very interesting indeed.

8th-May-2015 02:30 pm (UTC)
I think I got knocked unconscious by one too many Sam-is-so-very-guilty-and-all-this-bad-stuff-happens-because-of him anvils dropping on me. To use Charlie for this purpose cheapens her death immensly. Her character doesn't deserve that.
I found that instead displaying the storyline grim and gripping and truly dangerous it was smothered with artificial, nearly teen like drama vibes. A bunch of disoriented headless chickens running around and a threateningly angry Dean with neon signs of rightousness on him. - Not sure if I'm wording this all properly but I found this episode sooo frustrating to watch. :/ So yeah, very much on board with your underwhelment. (Is that even a word? lol)

ETA: I just realized you said you were underwhelmed with Charlie's death scene. (not the whole ep). Sorry. Pretty tired atm.

Edited at 2015-05-08 02:41 pm (UTC)
10th-May-2015 01:44 pm (UTC)

Well, actually, I was pretty underwhelmed with the whole episode. I mean, I was engaged because I was so nervous about what they were going to do. It looked like it might have been heading somewhere interesting - and, it actually was, but because by the end the stupidness was so obvious it ended up being a huge let down.

The teen-like drama vibes are here to say I fear. They've been present in the show for a while now (since Carver anyway) and they keep creeping in.

I am hoping that this episode was (pretty) bad because of the writers and not because of where the season is going. I don't mind dark and dangerous, as long as it's solidly written and the characters don't do dumb things to forward the story. Just hoping it's a hiccup before the next two episodes. :)
8th-May-2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking that maybe last and this weeks' episodes should be ones I skip as part of my 'keeping myself happy with Show' strategy? I've only watched about 60% of the season's episodes and while I'm a little confused over the details, I've been pretty satisfied. Your posts have been incredibly useful for this strategy, so thank you!!!!!!!

I like Charlie very much as a character but have been surprised they've given her this long!
8th-May-2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
I didn't dislike 10x20, actually. It wasn't a great ep, but I thought it brought some closure to the Novak story, and had some nice moments.

I didn't hate Claire in her previous ep, however, because while she made some terrifically awful choices, I could see how a teenager in her position could get there. And the point that I think a lot of people are sticking on didn't bother me as much, because I saw it as Dean telling Claire what he thought she needed to hear to find peace.

That's a part of Dean I remember from the early days, the one who tried to protect children and keep people out of hunting, and let them believe that some of their sacrifices had meaning, because he thought that's what people need to believe to live alongside the darkness, but without falling into it.
8th-May-2015 06:25 pm (UTC)
As disappointed as I am in Charlie's (probable) death, it's the bad, inconsistent, OOC writing that is nigh intolerable. The SPN method has become reading "Don't do that! It'll kill us all!" as a direct instruction to "do it anyway!" It's become "this is the only (dangerous)(witchcraft-laden)(evil)(deadly) way" because neither of them look any farther than the terrible thing they're facing. This is a problem that has settled in and bloomed during Jeremy Carver's run--from the trials in S8 to the Mark of Cain to Gadreel to Rowena now. We never see them looking/finding/discarding other probable solutions; we see them finding the worst *maybe* solution imaginable and then doing it. Over and over again.

What's so offensive to me about Charlie's (probable) death is that they made her stupid. Charlie wouldn't leave safety if she knew about the mortal danger facing her, and she did know, no matter how much she couldn't stand Rowena. What a trumped up reason to have to get away from her. Yeah, she was willing to lie to Dean and work with the evil book/spell/witch but not so much that she'd die for it. Will Cas bring her back?

I can't stand the Buckner-Leming writing team. They've been writing doo-doo since Route 666.

On the bright side, Dean confronting Sam was gloriously wonderful. You could see him putting 2 and 2 together from the opening scene, and Sam was none too sneaky about it. Dean's no dummy, and Sam always forgets that.

*is sad*
*is fed up*
8th-May-2015 10:05 pm (UTC)
*pops in* Thank you, dear, for that thoughts of yours - I couldn't have said it any better because this are exactly the same sentences, I would've put into a comment too.

And because of the *coughs* writing team you mentioned above, I had to vote for only 'ok'.
[- But just because of the hottielicious eyecandy and the fact that all four leads were in one eppy again!!]

Finally, let me second you again, dear, about Dean, "putting 2 and 2 together from the opening scene..."
*high-fives& waves*
8th-May-2015 06:50 pm (UTC)
I'm finally caught up with Show for the first time in months (ploughed through 10/14-10/21 in the past week) and have thoughts. Now that I've calmed down, I'm less mad at Show just for killing Charlie than I am about how/why they did it. If it's just to make Dean completely lose his shit in 7/22 I'm going to be absolutely furious, because there are other ways they could do that. And while I can see, as was pointed out, the parallel with Kevin, but why does it have to come down to who screwed up more/worse - Sam or Dean? While I consider myself more a fan of Sam'n'Dean than either brother individually, I'd really hate to see Sam get blasted by Dean or anyone else for this. The writers had people making bad/dumb choices left and right here.

To top it off, while I enjoyed the little we got of them in the previous ep, I think the idea of the Steins/Stynes is dumb as presented here, because while I'm willing to believe a lot of silliness for this show, that didn't even pretend to make sense. The whole family had to go underground because their guest/acquaintance Mary Shelley discovered their secrets and wrote a book about it? I'd think that a group capable of secretly manipulating markets and world events could handle one nineteenth century lady, no? It's not like they'd have had qualms about killing her, or keeping her book from ever being published, right? So they're amazingly smart and powerful, and one lady's book forced them underground. Please. It really feels like the basis for another dumb spinoff, imho.

Some of the vitriol is because I mostly enjoyed the run of eps leading up to this, and was so hoping the trend would continue. Dratted Duo - we need more Berens eps.
8th-May-2015 06:59 pm (UTC)
You can tell from my review that I am NOT a fan of this episode. Most of what I would complain about is covered in your review and subsequent comments. If Cas is back at full power, couldn't he have appeared at the Blackbird Motel, even if he was too late? He's got his wings back, so WTF is he doing going for snack runs?

And of course, the breaking point for me was...the Frankensteins. I'll be retching over in the corner if you need me.
(Deleted comment)
8th-May-2015 11:38 pm (UTC)
You make some really good points. I didn't find Charlie's death to be a surprise at all. I figured that's where they were going even when I saw the promo for this episode after last week's. It was really badly written, though. I get that Charlie was going nuts being holed up there with Rowena, but would she really be that stupid to just leave on her own knowing the Styne family were after her? And to have Cas leave her and talk to Rowena (who was tied up anyway and obviously not going anywhere)?

I'm really going to be unhappy if they use her death to push Dean over the age, go off on Sam and then eventually kill him. *sigh* And I completely agree with you - the roundabout of lies and deceit is just draining now. I know it's what they do, but there comes a time when enough is enough.

I wish they'd find some clever way to move on, some way that's not totally predictable and is done well, but I'm not very optimistic. :(
10th-May-2015 02:11 pm (UTC)
I accept that Charlie felt that she could leave without being caught (she has alluded them until then), but not sure why she didn't work out other methods of coping with Rowena. The thing that was annoying was how did the Styne's find her? Just happened to see her? What she tagged somehow? (I might have to watch again to see if they mention how they spotted her so easily).

With two episodes left I figure they had to find something to tip Dean over. It's probably a mix of this and Sam lying. If Dean didn't have the Mark then he probably would be more rational about it, but with the mark he's just itching to get violent. Though - I may be wrong! I have no idea about what the next two eps are about…! Argh!
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