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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
11.06 reaction/review 
12th-Nov-2015 10:08 pm
squeed, posted, I watched
Wherein I gush and maybe swear a bit.



Perhaps one of the best things about going into an episode with low expectations (I knew it was going to be angel, demon and myth arc heavy) is how wonderful it feels when it exceeds them. And not just in a small way, but in a way that reminds me that this Show can be fucking awesome when it wants to be. This essentially came down to the writer (Robert Berens) and the director (John F. Showalter).

Some of you may wonder "who are you and what have you done with Ash?", but I feel that is (perhaps) one of the best eps this season. I know I know! It doesn't beat the warm fuzzies of "Baby" (but really? that was kind of a figment of our imagination wasn't it? A wonderful trip, but much like "Fan Fiction", a moment away from the "real" show?) and maybe doesn't beat the kickass-ness of the first episode, but this ep had SO much going on that I truly don't know where to start.

But I will try. I will try and explain why that episode was so good (bear with me!).

The reason I (mostly) don't enjoy the angel and demon episodes is that they are either a) boring and/or b) don't make any sense. The thing this episode did (that I loved) was make sense of a lot of the senselessness that has gone before. It finally addressed issues that I have had FOR AGES (to the point I felt like Beren's has been spying on me). Namely - why Crowley didn't kill Dean in "The Bad Seed" (and many other moments) and why the hell (hee) Crowley isn't in Hell. It also addressed issues I have had with Castiel (namely why he's so lame lately) and even (FINALLY!) made REAL sense of why Sam and Dean keep secrets from each other.

This episode also had pay offs. Loads of them. Something I feel the show often lacks. It has so many moments that keep you feeling eternally frustrated (like Sam being infected/dying and Dean finding out 2 episodes later with a mere "oh" etc), but hold off on those wonderful pay-offs. This ep gives you satisfying answers as well as opening up new questions.

It also used one of my all time favourite songs (Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon). \o/ I can't tell you how many times I've danced to that in my living room. I was giddy with joy when that came on. And what a perfect use of the song! Fuck, I loved that.

I have to break all this down to try and "sell" to you why this episode was so strong (*g*).

The Darkness

Berens writes women really well and in his hands "The Darkness" had more depth and interest. I could SO EASILY have not been interested in this episode because "teenage" girls usually bore me to tears. But there was something about her that really spoke to me. I'm a mother of a teenage daughter and much of the stuff between Crowley and Amara made me laugh. But mostly I loved her aura of danger and strength. Credit to the director because he shot her perfectly and managed to get the young actress to "sell" this ancient darkness.

The payoff? Crowley. The push-pull between the two of them was meaningful because in the end Amara pushed-back at a character who's needed that since...FOREVER! Berens tapped into teenage angst (so much better than we had from Claire) and abusive father figures. There's an ambiguity to Amara that has been maintained during S11 and I am enjoying that. Also - young girls pushing back at male oppressors? I'm there for that! And Crowley getting his come-upance was PURE GOLD!

Also? I love that we had a reason why Crowley was on Earth. And the building he was in was PERFECT.

Cas and Metatron

I hate Metatron. With a PASSION! So how much did I enjoy the fact that Berens knew that? Yeah - a lot! Another pay-off. Not only was Cas re-discovering his power, he also asserted that power over the my hated slime-bag. Cas was GROWING before my eyes. He went from being trapped in his memories of his attack-spell, to re-discovering what it means to take control. He went from hiding behind television addiction (hehe - hello ;D) to being actively involved in his choices. Seriously, I have NO interest in Castiel and his story line, but in this episode I actually saw what it might mean to be this angel trying to get a grip. Dammit. I also stopped and thought how strong the acting was by Curtis playing Metatron. For me to hate him this much means he's doing an awesome job.

And I would have hated all that beating up EXCEPT it was narratively important. It not only helped Cas regain his strength but it directly connected to Sam. And how fucking much did I love that?!

Sam

One of the strongest moments in the episode was the cutting between Cas beating up Metatron and Sam beating up the demons. It wasn't the beating up, it was the juxtaposition of their choices to stop. It was the humanity seeping into what they were doing. Sam deciding that the "meat suits" were (finally!) worth saving and Cas knowing he has "humanity" inside him and even though he hated Metratron found mercy. *guh* the editing, writing and directing in that sequence was perfection.

And Sam. Sam. Sam. My darling Sam has finally been given his "voice" back. He's considerate, but not stupid. He's remembered that there are people in those demons (thank you Berens - who have most definitely been lurking around fandom), but not so much that he can't kill in order to survive.

And HOLY FUCK!!! We got to see the ACTUAL CAGE!! I can't EVEN with that. Seriously. That was a huge reveal to me and I am BEYOND thrilled that they are re-visiting this. I just can't (but WHEEEEEEEE!).

Dean

Finally! Some delicate subtly for Dean. This has been my big beef with Dean's characterisation lately. They've made him this "mean" guy without a reason. I know the "meanness" has been in contention with many of us (*g*), but after this tweet from Jared:



I'm feeling a little vindicated after my last review. ;) Though, weirdly, I felt he was much less "mean" in this ep.

What I loved about Dean in this episode is that I REALLY felt what was going on with him. He's fucking confused and after his meeting with Amara I actually appreciate why he wasn't telling Sam about it. I felt like he really doesn't know what the hell is going on. I haven't felt that until now. He wanted to kill Amara, but there was just something holding him back. But when he saw Sam hurt he went for it - so he knew he COULD if he had to. It was a lovely play on the contradiction and I finally GOT why he might not be telling Sam.

And THAT'S THE THING! Have these contrivances, but make them believable. It was the same with Sam. He hasn't told Dean about his visions because a) Dean has been shutting them off because of reasons and b) what the hell does he say? This episode gave us the story WITHOUT pitting the brothers against each other. Their secrets weren't about contrived "tensions". They were about proper characterisations.

I felt something for Dean and that was so damn refreshing. He's confused and scared, rather than being a dick for the sake of it (and please PLEASE future writers - write like this for our characters. And future directors - don't be scared to give the actors direction. The acting was SO MUCH better in this episode due to the director (I will ALWAYS maintain that it is the director that brings out performances, NOT the actors).

Dean is definitely afffected and it's clouding his choices and the way he is with Sam. He (one again!) shut down Sam's visions. They've made a point about him wanting to kill (which, if I had a gripe, it would be this - since when has Dean NOT wanted to "just" kill?!), and remembering the "saving people".

Other stuff:

Sassy! I don't ship Sam/Cas, but I did have a little WOOT when we saw Cas happily living in Sam's room. AND the moral connection with their "human" decision (damn that was awesome).

Dean and Amara. There's a level of creepiness about this that is unsettling. There's definitely a "connection" that's almost sexual. Which, considering she's represented as a teenage girl at the moment, has some levels of "wrong-ness". BUT - she's ancient. She's unworldly. She's NOT a teenage girl. She's a growing GOD and Dean is connected to her. Played right (and if Berens could write ALL the eps it would be), this could be awesome.

Amara is God's sister? What the HELL?! Haha! She's Leia to Luke. *g* I LOVE SO MUCH THAT THE SUPERNATURAL UNIVERSE HAS SUBVERTED THE BIBLE. So cool. THIS is what I want from a TV show that's going to delve into biblical stuff. Go BEYOND it. Stretch what we accept. A female God that MIGHT actually be on Sam and Dean's side would be awesome.

Sam and the cage! *meep* Yep I mentioned that, but had to say it again. I can't. Just.

So yeah. Incredible episode on so many levels (I can't believe I am saying that!)

I get that this episode wouldn't have been for everyone. It worked for me because it addressed many things


If you want to skip the gushing and cut to the geeky prop stuff click here:



I haven't been excited about wall paper and props for ages (sadly). But seeing the wallpaper from Changing Channels had me excited!

11.06-wallpaper-&-clock

S5 Motels 44

And my fave clock from the show! (from Point of No Return). \o/



There's no meta with prop re-use (love it if there were), but it's fun seeing the stuff again. It's kind of comforting.

Poll will be in a separate post because this got so long!

(sorry for typos. I am HOPELESS at checking text /o\).
Comments 
12th-Nov-2015 03:02 pm (UTC)
Trivia first - I thought of you the moment I saw the Changing Channels wall paper and that clock! You, and the echo of Sam saying you're gonna need a bigger mouth...

I'm with you on really loving this episode. It reawakened all sorts of speculation and theorising in me that has been dormant for too long. I'm taking the last 3 episodes as a package that has woken up my excitement for the show.

I'm loving Amara, how she's retaining that sense of being apart and different and definitely dangerous, through her incarnations. I think each of the actresses they've had so far have been excellent. I'm loving the ambiguity in her relationship with Dean, and yes, his confusion which is growing with time rather than diminishing. I felt the second time he went for her there was no conviction there that he would succeed, it looked to me more like going through the motions because he had to.

But overall, as I've said on my journal - a big thumbs up from me!
13th-Nov-2015 03:17 am (UTC)
I thought of you the moment I saw the Changing Channels wall paper and that clock!

I was happy! And surprised because it's such memorable wall paper. They also re-used the outside brick wall and that floor sure looked familiar.

I confess I haven't been that interested in Amara until name - mainly because it was much clearer about what was going on there. And it's not that I needed clarity as such, I just wanted it to be more interesting than what I thought we were going to be getting. I hope they can keep up the momentum. :)

12th-Nov-2015 03:18 pm (UTC)
First episode of the year that I have loved, and your review sums up all the reasons why perfectly. Nothing to add -- Bobo done good!
13th-Nov-2015 03:18 am (UTC)
He did indeed! \o/
12th-Nov-2015 03:32 pm (UTC)
I really liked this episode but I wasn't really sure why.
You actually explained to me why I loved it so much lol Thank you!
Excellent summary & yea wallpaper!
13th-Nov-2015 03:18 am (UTC)
Yay! Thanks. :))
12th-Nov-2015 03:33 pm (UTC)
I love your wonderful break-down of this ep! It seems like strangely simple things, enjoying the violence and action of Cas vs. Metatron, Sam vs. demons. But it was so nicely done, and that spark of humanity in both of them was beautiful. Especially with Dean there to push Cas and Sam into thinking about why those people deserve mercy.

It always, always bothers me when the boys kill (or seem to kill) without considering the host. Tbh, a lot of it is always going to be internal - you can't expect even TV show characters to voice all their thoughts and internal struggles aloud - but as a viewer, I NEED to know that these things are being considered.

At the moment, I'm not sure how I feel about Amara and Dean as a unit, but I loved that what broke Dean from whatever connection they have was Sam getting hurt - and Amara knows that now. She might not be so certain Dean's won't ever hurt her. Not when Sam's on the line.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I also thought it was going to be too angel and demon-centric, and I had such low expectations with Metatron. But... it worked.

Also, I love the self-indulgent wallpaper. It was distracting, but in a good way? It might have even lightened that tension when Sam and Dean were talking about what to do with the demon.

And I shouldn't like this so much, but Dean saying this so flippantly:
Sam: Where did you ditch the body?
Dean: School playground.
13th-Nov-2015 03:38 am (UTC)
Especially with Dean there to push Cas and Sam into thinking about why those people deserve mercy.

It's curious that they've taken Dean back to "forgetting" what it is to be merciful. He's been quick to kill for a while now - he seems to always have a new reason. Hopefully they're beginning to address that.

but as a viewer, I NEED to know that these things are being considered.

Yes. For too long they've shown the boys forgetting all about the innocent people trapped with a demon inside them. I love they they are finally at least mentioning it.

but I loved that what broke Dean from whatever connection they have was Sam getting hurt -

YES! Even SHE couldn't break their bond. I've been getting worried about how Dean feels about Sam this season (after the last few episodes), so it was great to see that side of him is still there.

And I loved that line you quoted! In fact, there were so many great lines in this one. I'll have to watch it again to get some others. :))
12th-Nov-2015 03:47 pm (UTC)
Yes to all of that! And you put into words things that I liked very much, but I only got subconsciously while watching the epi (like how Amara was portrayed with so much depth or the importance of the Cas and Metatron scene). I enjoyed the epi so much. And I think the biggest reason why is that it had so many pay offs, like you say. Robert Berens' writing is pretty damn amazing! He ties up all those little loose ends and makes the whole experience rewarding!

And you're not the only one who thinks the director did an awesome job, Jensen praised John Showalter twice during his live-tweeting :)

I LOVED how Dean turned rabid when Amara hurt Sam. (Nobody hurt his Sammy!!!) Yes he's confused, and he doesn't understand what the connection with her means, but his connection with Sam is the biggest thing in his life, and nothing can change that. This was pretty damn important, I think.

Sam and the Cage gave me the creeps. Poor Sammy looked so scared during and after those visions. And doesn't the Cage look amazing, or what?! I also read on twitter that there was a whispered "Dean" when they showed the Cage in his vision.. (I never noticed that) Would that be Sam while in the Cage, calling out for Dean?! *my heart* I really need to re-watch the epi! (And I'll gladly do that, cos *awesome*!!!)

I SO can't wait to see where this story will go. #SPN, how can you be so damn amazing? :)
12th-Nov-2015 09:00 pm (UTC)
I heard that! I sort of dismissed it because I wasn't *sure* that's what I heard, and on the surface I couldn't figure why either Lucifer or Michael would be calling Dean, and then it got lost in all the other episode reaction. But thanks for bringing it up. Glad I didn't just imagine it.
12th-Nov-2015 04:04 pm (UTC)
Yay! I love your break down of this, I thought pretty much the same. And yes, the pay-offs were worth it! I can buy the crap between Sam and Dean, as long as there is a reason to believe. I'm really loving Amara, and your description of Crowley's relationship with her is just what I had been trying to articulate in my understanding of this episode but couldn't. Yes, he needed pushing back! And how lovely has Sammy been this season. Just the perfect mix of compassionate and badass.

(And I love your vids and reviews: mind being friended?)
13th-Nov-2015 07:26 am (UTC)
Thanks! (and yes of course!! Let's be friends - argh. I thought we already were.../o\).

I can buy the crap between Sam and Dean, as long as there is a reason to believe.

This above everything. I actually really understood the reasons why they don't tell each other what's going on. Up until know, it just seemed like lying for the save of it. And I loved feeling for both the brothers and their struggles. I hate it when they play one off the other.

And how lovely has Sammy been this season. Just the perfect mix of compassionate and badass.

Yes! This is the Sam I have missing for so long. <33
12th-Nov-2015 04:18 pm (UTC)
This episode gave us the story WITHOUT pitting the brothers against each other. Their secrets weren't about contrived "tensions". They were about proper characterisations.

Agreed 100%. And it felt good to NOT see the brothers at each others' throats for artificially-created reasons. May the writers manage to keep going this way for the entire season.

She's Leia to Luke.

Now that is a comparison I hadn't thought of -- and can definitely live with. \o/
13th-Nov-2015 07:33 am (UTC)
May the writers manage to keep going this way for the entire season.

PLEASE! I think Berens should be the script consultant and check ALL scripts for contrivances. *nods*

xx
12th-Nov-2015 04:51 pm (UTC)
I wholeheartedly agree with you that this was a great mytharc episode! Unlike sometimes, the 3 storylines were interwoven to show how they affect one another instead of chopped into discrete bits.

Amara being God's sister--now that certainly is something to think about! Also, do you think the type of souls she is ingesting is affecting her? She absorbed Len, who was basically a decent guy, and when she met Sydney last week she first said she was going to help her...then after she ingests Sydney and Goldie, two kids with parental issues, she becomes a rebellious teenager...What would happen, then, if she were to ingest Dean's soul with it's mix of self-sacrifice and guilt over his failures? Might that be the only way to stop her, to give her a conscience?

Loved seeing the eerie and disturbing effect of the bond on Dean--and how a threat to Sam can pull Dean out of it...

I think why this season is working for me is because, like Season 5, we are getting solid blocks of development that we viewers can sink our teeth into, trying to figure out what things mean and how the boys are going to save the world against the odds. There is mystery for us to figure out, not we are not just watching a train wreck unfold.

And I love that Cas finally resisted Metatron's verbal manipulation and I am happy he beat the crap of of Metatron--that was cathartic!
13th-Nov-2015 07:39 am (UTC)
Also, do you think the type of souls she is ingesting is affecting her?

I would love this to be the case. They have made a point of her not eating demon souls - and we have watched quite a few bright light "good" souls eaten now. So yes, I think this would (should?) be having an effect. I love that she's neither good or evil. Just surviving - and curious (though I wonder if she sees "killing" as evil - or just a necessity).

if she were to ingest Dean's soul with it's mix of self-sacrifice and guilt over his failures? Might that be the only way to stop her, to give her a conscience?

Oh wow! Cool idea! I figure Dean's soul has to come into play somewhere with all of this. My feeling is she has "imprinted" on Dean somehow. Like ducklings do. He was the first person she saw and she has a connection to him. I'm thinking Dean is feeling somewhat protective toward her (but the jury is out on that as it will be interesting to see what happens when she becomes a woman).

and how a threat to Sam can pull Dean out of it...

Awesome moment!

I am happy he beat the crap of of Metatron--that was cathartic!

So satisfying. I can't stand him. I loved that he was a slimy night stalker - suited him perfectly.

12th-Nov-2015 05:06 pm (UTC)
I loved this episode so much -- and yes, it's so good to finally see clearly what the hell was going on with Dean. Scared and confused I can live with. Deliberately hiding some malevolent knowledge from Sam, not so much. Glad the show resolved that question! I LOVED Crowley in this episode for the first time in SO LONG! Struggling dads with teenage daughters are well known in my household, so this was a delight. I trembled for Sam when he had those visions of the Cage. I don't know how I will survive what must surely be coming, if those visions are any indication!

But most of all, the question I'm left with is, if God and Amara are Luke and Leia, what about Darth Vader? (sorry, I couldn't resist ;-)
13th-Nov-2015 07:43 am (UTC)
Yes! All of this. I was worried there for a bit regarding Crowley. I loved that he got his when Amara exerted her powers. It felt very satisfying.

if God and Amara are Luke and Leia, what about Darth Vader? (sorry, I couldn't resist ;-)

Haha! A god father to god children! A possible "evil" entity - but with with the potential for "good". Much like "God" in the SPN 'verse - good? bad? indifferent?. I rather like the idea of all that. :))
12th-Nov-2015 05:13 pm (UTC)
It's funny, having confirmation that Something is Definitely Up with Dean makes me not want to watch this or any more episodes until we know what it is. I need to know how to watch them. Guess it's back to saving up eps and reading spoilers for me, for a few weeks.
13th-Nov-2015 07:45 am (UTC)
The thing about this episode it that it addresses that. Personally, I think Jared was referring to the fact that Dean is hiding his connection to Amara. The thing this ep did, was show Dean as genuinely confused and unsure if he really IS connected (he broke out of it when Sam was threatened).

Best ep this season I felt (though, not on the level of "Baby" in the warm fuzzy department.

But yeah, there's probably more to be revealed as to what's up with Dean.
12th-Nov-2015 06:20 pm (UTC)
This was an extremely interesting episode and I love your review, partly because I agree about Amara "mostly I loved her aura of danger and strength" and I was so pleased they didn't turn her into just another stroppy teen! I also love your view of Sam and Dean here, as I know there have been moans about them keeping secrets from each other again, but I agree with you that Dean is confused and scared by his relationship with Amara, and trying to deal with it. He's probably scared that Sam's having visions too, which is why he can't deal with that too, and it's not surprising as these two have gone straight from one disaster to another with no time for a breather!

It was great seeing Sam in fight-mode and I loved his "2 out of 3" quip! And good to see Cas becoming more himself - I really wanted him to beat Smugatron to death! I hate that man with a vengeance!

I'm really pleased you liked this one and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next ;)
13th-Nov-2015 01:09 pm (UTC)
pleased they didn't turn her into just another stroppy teen!

Thank goodness!!

He's probably scared that Sam's having visions too,

See, I think that too. But it wasn't until this episode that we could, maybe, appreciate that more. The scene between Dean and Amara really sold the idea that he's terrified about what that could mean. I also felt like there was nothing he could really say to Sam. whereas, the past episodes made me want to shake Dean and tell him to TELL SAM! I know Dean will be scared about Sam's visions, but all we are seeing is him shutting Sam down whenever he mentions them (and mocking his praying to God). I can't tell yet if it's because he's connected to Amara or his just so scared about them that his best approach is to brush them off. Personally, I think it's the former - but we won't know that for a while I think.

I'm pleased I liked this one too! I'm trying not to be picky about what works for me and what doesn't. On paper this really shouldn't have worked for me - but the tight writing, excellent directing and editing AND top performances really made this one stand out. :)
12th-Nov-2015 06:54 pm (UTC)
Great review, as always. I'm loving this season so far--in stark contrast to last season. And your enthusiastic and thoughtful reviews are perfect to read after watching!

Question: Did the actress playing Amara remind anyone else of a young Gillian Anderson?
13th-Nov-2015 01:36 am (UTC)
YES! Absolutely. I've been watching Hannibal and this young actress was definitely channeling Scully/Bedelia, which is not easy to do!
12th-Nov-2015 07:39 pm (UTC)
my grade for this is a C, did love the look at the cage :)
13th-Nov-2015 01:11 pm (UTC)
The cage looked amazing. And DAMN! Poor Sam!
12th-Nov-2015 08:14 pm (UTC)
Like you I went into this episode with low expectations, and I guess I was still on my high from the previous two episodes so my review was a bit more negative at first. I went back and rewatched though and I found myself liking it more. It did answer a lot of questions IMO.

I loved the shoutout to the Changing Channels wallpaper! :D

I did enjoy seeing Cas beat up Metatron too... that was satisfying.

Honestly the reveal of Amara being God's sister was a big "WTF" to me and at first seemed like desperation, as if they knew they had to make her such a big bad and basically God's nemesis in such a big way. But I admit it does intrigue me to see exactly what she is going to do - if, like you said, she'll end up being an ally of the Winchesters. Hell, they've spent so much time talking about how God is absent, doesn't care, etc., maybe she'd try to sell that she DOES care and will help? And then of course there might be a reveal at the end that she was playing them/being devious all along?

I am loving Sam so much more this season. Really. For all the reasons you mentioned. And seeing the CAGE!! I have to wonder where these visions are coming from? Lucifer? Michael?

Edited at 2015-11-12 08:15 pm (UTC)
13th-Nov-2015 01:17 pm (UTC)
Hi! I know this episode will get different responses from each person. :) On paper this ep shouldn't have worked for me. Too much Crowley, Cas and Metatron. But it was the WAY Berens wrote those characters that worked so well for me.

The sister reveal was a shock and I loved that I hadn't even considered something like that. I'm not even sure she's God's nemisis. Especially as we don't even know what "God" is up to (or where he even is). I'm not even sure Amara is even "evil" yet. I mean, she's the Big Bad, but if they are clever she'll end up being more than that.

I LOVE SAM THIS SEASON! YAY! And those visions...I can't imagine where they are coming from! Can't wait to find out. :)
12th-Nov-2015 09:03 pm (UTC)
I agree pretty closely with all of this. It's odd to be this excited and exhilarated after an episode--I remember feeling like this, and it's nice!
14th-Nov-2015 02:51 am (UTC)
It's a nice feeling. I wish I felt it a little more often...;))
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