Firstly - yay new female writer on the show (Nancy Won). Secondly - yay for her doing her homework and knowing the SPN universe. Thirdly - yay for being able to write a mix of MoTW and myth arc. For the first time this season I am genuinely intrigued by "The Darkness". I like her ambiguity - I particularly like that she's eating both light and dark souls (demon and non-demon). She can "bliss" people out or make them feel empty and calm. The soul-eating is nothing new, but (so far) the way people respond to her is different. It makes me wonder if they perhaps "balance each other out" and if she can eat angel grace. She seems truly "bigger" than either angels and demons and I rather like that.
Overall, I really enjoyed that episode. It was intriguing enough to keep me engaged and had some great little moments that had me smiling (I particularly like the characterisation of Len. He reminded me of Ronald from NightShifter - which I would like to think was deliberate, but probably not).
There's lots I want to say about this one, but mostly I would like to talk about Dean.
The major message in this episode was about what it's like to be soulless - and how everybody reacts differently. I had a major gripe earlier about how being soulless seemed to affect people differently. Other than Sam, soulless people were violent murderers. Now we have seen Len who describes his state of being as more like Sam's. The conclusion (rather conveniently *g*), is that losing your soul is different for everybody.
I was settling into the episode when Dean came out with "working with family can be tough". Sam gave Dean a hurt, puzzled look and it made me feel pretty uncomfortable and annoyed. Like - where the hell did that come from? Earlier Dean ribbed Sam about "this is your freaky fetish for serial killers", and generally seemed pretty put-out that Sam had found a hunt. In fact, Dean was pretty grumpy about the whole thing (moaning about the B&B and gleefully letting Sam know that he was wrong about the hunt when he discovered all the fakery).
Up until this point I could accept that Dean was just being his old snarky self. He's annoyed by the lack of info on Amara and concerned about what "The Darkness" is etc.
But then we also had this:
Dean: "We can't kill him because he hasn't done anything yet"
Sam: "Dean, we don't want to kill him we want to save him remember?"
Dean. "Right. The new rules"
Um...new rule? To save people? Since when was that a "new" thing (maybe Sam's speech in 11.01 is connected here?)
and other lines like:
Sam: "Maybe we're dealing with a series killer"
Dean: *pfft, you'd love that wouldn't you" (and not said with a smile)
"you got a better idea? We could follow the crazy that you've been seeing"(particularly harsh considering Sam's history with visions).
It seemed like constant put down after put down. And not just of Sam. The way he treated Len in the beginning was scornful and mocking. Because Len reminded me of Ronald I am reminded how accepting Dean was with him back them. In fact, it was Sam being a bit of a dick toward him. Dean is someone who knows
that the supernatural is out there. Watching him dismiss Len's accounts just didn't ring true to me.
Now. There's a few things this could be. 1). My interpretation is off and I'm reading too much into it (if so, *weeps* because I don't want Dean to be like this), 2). Poor Dean characterisation on the new writer's part (which is hard to believe considering all the other stuff she got right), 3). Dean is still not fully recovered from the MoC and is finding his footing (um, yeah...I'm not convinced to be honest and I don't really want it to be that), 4). He's being affected by The Darkness (the most likely reason) OR...dun dun duuuunnnn 5). He's soulless or partially soulless (which now makes more sense considering what we've just seen and learned about soullessness).
When the episode finished my first reaction was "wow, Dean is soulless, that's gonna be interesting." (Interesting to me because of what Sam has been through and Dean's past reaction to that (beating Sam up when he found out and blaming Sam for "losing it" in 8.23). Seeing what Dean is like soulless would be fascinating to me. It would also connect to Sam (like Sam going to hell after Dean did, Sam seeing purgatory after Dean did, Dean dying after Sam did etc). Show works on Sam and Dean connections and this would just be another one. I also like it because from Sam's experience he could maybe help Dean. It also adds an urgency to finding a way to get the souls back Dean is missing some of his.
I know there's quite a few arguments against this - namely that the Js have been saying neither of them are affected by anything this season. Either they are lying or they don't know enough about it yet. Chances are it's not what's going on, but after an episode of discovering what it is to be soulless it certainly opens up that possibility. It would also be a unlikely that they'd go from demon!Dean to MoC to Soulless!Dean in three seasons...(or would it...?!). And yeah, there's heaps of other reasons it would be that (the last episode Dean was much warmer for instance), but I feel like I need
some reasons for Dean being this cold and calm.
I just can't accept that this is some sort of "new" Dean. I can see now that he's been "off" since the first episode. I have been *handwaving* it a bit - especially in the last episode where he shut down Sam when he was talking about his visions - I thought it was just the way Dean reacts when he's concerned. I thought we were seeing a more "mature" Dean by his calm response to finding out Sam had been infected, but looking back Dean would have been much more concerned about that. And now when I look back, there are so many more instances where Dean wasn't being the Dean from the past (his phone call to Sam when Sam was infected for e.g.). After that episode there are just too many instances where Dean is being cold and distant for it to be just how Dean is now.
Also - there were lingering moments on Dean when Len talked about "going through the motions for as long as he can" and when Sam asked him what he felt when he was with her. When Sam mentioned that "bliss" it looked like Dean knew exactly what he was talking about. And in that scene when we first see Dean with her? He was transfixed. We don't see what happens next, but what if she took part of his soul to kick start the "birth"? (oh shut up! It's merely speculation! *G*)
I mean, it's not easy on Sam but he's so damn stoic now all of Dean's put downs are like water off a duck's back. *sniff*
And speaking of Sam. I think this season's Sam might be might favourite since Carver took over (so far!). We're getting smart, competent, caring Sam who has been given more screen time. The moment with the boy at the end was lovely. I actually saw a lot of Jared in that moment. Him being a father has meant he knows what that concern feels like. Sam's eternal strength is shining through and it's my fave type of Sam. Now, if only I could have my fave kind of Dean back we'd have a happy match! And for those who don't know me that well - I am not "hating" on Dean. I love him dearly. This is about what's going on with the character
in the story - not Dean "hate" at all. *hugs* him because, damn that boy has been through a lot.
Also, I love the reason they find to keep Cas out of the picture. This time, watching Netflix in Sam's room. *snerk*
I know that AS ALWAYS I read far too much into things and maybe hope too much. In S8 when Sam was acting OOC fandom came up with all sorts of great reasons as to why it was so. It turns out it was the storytelling - Sam thought Dean was dead and fell in love. It created conflict and that's what Carver likes. So it's likely that Dean is just being written like this because...um...*headscratch* I really don't know to be honest. Or maybe I AM being too harsh and there's nothing out of the ordinary after all.
But yeah, I enjoyed this episode a lot. It was Sam and Dean working a good old fashioned MoTW case (which turned out to be not so much MoTW). There was a great secondary character and the traditional blood splatters. Lots to love!
5 = Awesome! 1 = Nope