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11.21 reaction 
14th-May-2016 04:50 pm
Becc_j Art

I confess to thoroughly spoiling myself before watching this episode. I didn't want to feel the anger I did after the last episode, so I went in prepared!

I think it helped a bit actually. I didn't feel anger or annoyance. In fact, I didn't really feel anything. I'm not sure if that's worse actually. Feeling anger at least means I still care. After this episode I just felt numb and I'm worried that if I stop caring it will mean the end of this obsession (which might be a good thing? *g*).

It's true to form for me though. All through S11 I have been thrilled with the MoTW stand alone episodes and mostly non-plussed with the myth arc ones. In fact, I usually feel that with most seasons, so I'm not too worried about feeling it now.

There are elements in the myth arc I'm liking (Dean's strange connection to Amara has been intriguing and I'm holding on to some hope that it will all mean something significant by the end of it all), but the rest of it has mostly left me scratching my head. I think if I was prepared to look into it all more deeply (perhaps see the heaven and hell stories as parallels for Sam and Dean's story etc), I might be more enthralled but at the moment I just can't do that because I don't thing they're doing it. So much seems ad hoc, or rather "how about we do this and see what happens". I dunno. Perhaps I'm just a little tired with it all.

The positive take aways:

Jensen's performance (and therefore Thomas Wright's direction) was excellent. There's no doubt this was a Dean heavy episode and Jensen really committed himself to it. His anger, disappointment, wariness and confusion were all in play and it was pretty much the highlight of the episode for me. His response to God was believable. It's how I expected Dean to react.

Resolving Kevin's storyline was satisfying (even though it made little sense. So he was in the veil all this time? Where is his mom? Did he go to heaven without his mom? etc).

Resolving Metatron's storyline was also satisfying (even though I don't doubt he'll pop up again some time in the future. There seriously is no such thing as dead in this Show). Also, I applaud Curtis' performance as Metatron. He was thoroughly despicable (until they decided to redeem his character) and I put that down to his performance. I'm not sorry to see him gone though.

Even though I really dislike the idea of God being "real", it was handled better than I thought it might have been. It makes little sense to me, but at least they didn't even attempt to make it make sense. God was arrogant enough for me to accept that he wouldn't go and alleviate the world's suffering. All heaven and hell beings are pretty much dicks, so at least there is consistency here. And Rob was thoroughly loving being on set - there was delight in his performance and if I wasn't still so annoyed at them making Chuck God I am sure I would have liked it even more.

No mention of the amulet. Not surprising. It's either being hidden until the finale or just hidden.

The negative take aways:

I'm not one to complain about Sam light episodes as such. I believe you can have an episode where one of the actors has less to do than the other, but that character can still be important. The problem with this episode is that Sam was rendered insignificant. He was written over (as in, cut off and not present) and I can't work out why. I accept that it was a Dean focussed episode (and an important one for Dean), but I'm not sure why Sam had to be whitewashed in the process. Especially when his faith in God has been very much a part of his character. Him fanboying God was weird. I know it's very Sam (he did the same to Cas when they first met), but surely Sam has moved on since then. That said, it did prove how utterly forgiving Sam is. He can look at God, know he let him suffer in the cage, leave his prayers unanswered, blame him for letting out Lucifer and STILL look at him with the utmost respect and wonderment. Go Sam. One day I hope someone will be as forgiving of you.

Sam's "maybe my prays got lost in the spam" was heartbreaking. It would have been lovely to have a follow up scene about this.

I liked the new prophet, but I'm tired of them introducing things like that just to get out of a problem they've written themselves into.

I can't work out what's going on (though I admit to not reeeeally trying). I'm going to wait until the end of the season and hopefully look back and see what that was all about. My only hope is that both Sam AND Dean are involved in the resolution - and it's not one of them having to sacrifice themselves or dying. But I think I better not hold my breath on that one (and there's just so much to resolve - Amara (wanting to destroy the world? Or just get with Dean?), Lucifer (getting him out of Cas and then using him to stop Amara and then putting him back in the cage. Or maybe he'll be redeemed also?), and God abandoning the world (which wouldn't be any different to how things have been anyway). Let alone the suggestion that a "chosen one" has to use a Hand of God to banish Amara. That episode suggested that both Sam and Dean are chosen ones? Or just Dean? And what about Crowley and Rowena? I suspect it ALL won't be tied up by the end of the season.

I know the next two episodes are all myth arc so I confess to not being that excited about them. But knowing that Beren's is writing the next ep and Dabb the finale does give me hope. I do trust Beren's ability to solidly tie things together.

News of Carver leaving.

I've had a hard time with Carver's tenure. I will always be sad that there was so much nastiness and distrust created between Sam and Dean for the sake of drama during S8-S10. S11 went a long way in fixing that and I hope with Carver leaving we will see a new era of the boys working together and not doing horrible things to each other. I'm certainly not mourning his departure. I have no idea what Dabb will be like. As I tweeted - as long as S12 doesn't start with Sam not looking/saving/rescuing Dean it will already be off to a better start than Carver's first season (and yep, I am speculating that Dean will need saving/finding. I hope I'm wrong, but we'll see!).
14th-May-2016 11:49 am (UTC)
I've been wondering this also. Apparently (and I'm just going from hearsay) Carver started to take over toward the end of S7 when Sera knew she was going. So it would make sense that Dabb and Singer have started to steer the second half of S11 for a S12 set up. But yeah, have no idea about that.
14th-May-2016 12:01 pm (UTC)
I've always thought that. It just seemed to me that as painful as s7 was, it was always driving a certain way and Sera had a meaningful plan, but then it all got abandoned and the end of the season just got ridiculous. Plus I noticed that titles and plot summaries for the later episodes got changed, and so did writers. The original posted summary for Out With the Old was all about Dean touching the cursed shoes and dancing himself to death, but then they changed both the writers and the summary and the aired episode itself bore clear evidence of having started off as one plot and then having that swept aside to make way for a new one. I have always felt robbed of the conclusion we should have had to that season.
14th-May-2016 12:26 pm (UTC)
Oh I didn't know that about Out with the Old.

I definitely felt that too about S7. I liked where S7 seemed to be going and then it ended weirdly and S8 continued is such a different direction. I'm hoping the brother positive-ness off this season has been the influence of Dabb because it will give me hope for the following season/s. :)
14th-May-2016 12:45 pm (UTC)
I felt that way too, I remember on re-watch being surprised at how much stronger the first half of season 7 was then I remembered, it was around 717 that I first remember being disappointed with the lack of pay-off to what had been set-up with Sam's memories of hell.
14th-May-2016 12:56 pm (UTC)
That was the ep tat changed it all for me. The re-introduction of Cas was weird (with him being married and absolutely nothing later about his poor wife suddenly missing her husband) and then Sam suddenly being cured of his hell memories and the two of them strolling our of the institution. Such a strange ending to what was an interesting storyline for Sam. But seeing what Carver did to Sam at the beginning of S8 it might not be a surprise looking back.
14th-May-2016 01:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, that was likely a substituted episode. I had been waiting fr those two episodes for ages because I expected them to resolve all the angst. It seemed to me that since "Defending Your Life" the season, for Dean, had been about stripping away all the props in his life to examine what he was at his core. I expected that, after almost dancing himself to death in "Out With the Old" he would be reborn in some meaningful, metaphorical way in "The Born Again Identity." I mean, damn it, we'd been getting Jason Bourne references all season! Then the shoes got tossed aside and we got that stupid realtor plot and the weird return of Cas and the too easy fix for Sam and I was like: wtf?! That's when I checked the plot summaries again and noticed the changes. And, as for Dean, his character stayed stripped and was never rebuilt again. The character has really remained a one-dimensional, stick-figure caricature ever since.

And then there was the Sam plot and the questioning of what was and wasn't reality all season. It always seemed to me that we never got to the bottom of what actually happened to him in that hospital early in the season, and there was a moment in the next episode when he kind of phased out and we missed what Dean and Bobby were saying and it was clearly something important. All that season the colours were way too bright, which is usually a cue that what we're seeing isn't real. I was expecting a reveal at some point that at least parts of the season we were watching through Sam's delusional pov and we were going to find out there was a gap between that and what was actually happening.

Edited at 2016-05-14 01:34 pm (UTC)
15th-May-2016 04:41 am (UTC)
And, as for Dean, his character stayed stripped and was never rebuilt again. The character has really remained a one-dimensional, stick-figure caricature ever since.

Sadly, I agree. Dean is such an interesting character and I constantly long for greater examination. Even with something as major as demon!Dean and MoC Dean - they happened to him and then...nothing. This episode was the first time, in a long time, Dean had a chance to really express some emotions.

And yeah. I can't even start on on Sam's missed story opportunities (and emotional pov). Which makes me think there really isn't any major character journeys or arc planned for them. It's just what works for them at any given time to prop up the plot (and same for Cas actually. He's done this huge, horrible thing and I will be interested to see if there's any emotional examination of that).

This season I felt like the MoTWs were at least centred around the characters stories, rather than the characters "fitting in" to the plot. Whereas the mytharc is the other way around. But, tbh, I honestly can't work out what they're doing with that. I think they are one some journey of self awareness (saving others, examining what they do for each other, free will and choice etc), but then it gets diluted and is seems to have ended in a big mess. But we'll see. I don't feel I can fully judge that until the finale. One-offs are easy to pic the parallels and mirrors. Myth arcs are a bit harder as you need a whole season to see it.
16th-May-2016 03:11 am (UTC)
We've certainly had some good MOTWs this season, and I do feel there's been some attempt to return Sam and Dean to the characters we recognize but, in general, I don't think developing character has been the show's object for the past few years. Even plot continuity from one half of the season to the next has not been a priority. Story telling is not the object, only manufacturing drama, and it seems the majority of viewers don't notice and/or don't care. Personally, though, I've found it very frustrating to see interesting premises set up only to be dropped, and I've found the finales disappointingly lacking in dramatic pay off and dishing mawkish melodrama in its place. Whether any of this will change under Andrew Dabb, I don't know.

It's so sad when you think back to the first 5 seasons when every episode built on what had gone before, and the characters' motivation made perfect sense and was part of a coherent journey. And when they broke down you felt the reality of it because you'd been watching it coming for ages; it wasn't just plucked out of thin air because it was time for some fan service : /

Edited at 2016-05-16 03:20 am (UTC)
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