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just enough to make us dangerous
13.05 reaction / review 
11th-Nov-2017 10:30 pm
Becc_j Art
I can't believe we're already 5 episodes into the season. It's going so fast!



There were so many things to love about this episode. I have to admit I was expecting something really dreadful after seeing my twitter feed (lot's of discontent about it), so maybe because I was expecting that it ended up being not nearly as bad as I thought it might be.

There was only one thing (Dean's willingness to die to save the ghosts) that truly puzzled me, but I have since reconciled that (I'll get to that in a bit...).

The stuff I loved:

Genuinely scary opening scene!

The two brothers hunting together (*happy sigh* just like the good ole days).

Billie! The wonderful actress (Lisa Berry) just gobbles up the screen and is a gorgeous and powerful presence. I actually liked the explanation for how she became Death. It was a good get-out for the situation they had created (seriously, it must be SO difficult creating a tv WIP).

Sam being the BEST LITTLE BROTHER EVER! There were some of complaints about Sam being sidelined in this episode, but just his desire to lift Dean out of his depression and hopelessness gave him a powerful role in this episode. I know fans don't like either of their faves being the "caretakers", but there are times when they both play that role. Dean has done it MANY times for Sam. I don't think it hurts us seeing Sam being equally caring when Dean is in need.

The lovely banter between the brothers. More reveals about their relationship. They just know each other SO well (I loved that exchange about Dean knowing what Sam doesn't like etc).

Dean eating bacon. PERFECT! (That's me when I'm hung-over too *g*).

Dean post strip club. :)

Dean desperately wanting a win. This was so reminiscent of S2 when Sam needed a win to prove he wasn't evil. Sure, these themes are old ones in the series, but watching the boys struggle with their job in classic SPN. Either Sam is struggling (with Dean keeping the faith) or Dean is losing hope (with Sam keeping it for both of them). They BALANCE each other perfectly and I think this episode really explored that theme beautifully.

I loved - once again, that the boys were allowed to talk it our rather than what Dean saw being left unsaid (I thought for a minute that was going to happen and would have been majorly pissed off if that had happened).


Now for that kinda strange moment when Dean decided that killing himself was the best way to save the ghosts. I literally yelled "what the fuck?!" to the TV screen when he did that. It really came left of field and seemed completely over the top as a course of action. I then just thought "this is clearly a story devise to deliver some new information". And it was. It was created to re-introduce Billie as Death and help us understand the depths of Dean's disconnect and despair with his job. I also just felt that he, like us, knew he really wasn't going to die. It was a really strange moment. As much as I felt like, yes, Dean was ready to die if it was his time (he is just THAT tired and over it all), he wasn't actually suicidal. If that makes sense. He was just ready to make that ultimate sacrifice if it was called of him. I didn't like that Dean chose to die (seriously? He carries those syringes around with him??) in order to help ghosts - I would rather that he somehow died and met Billie that way, but *shrugs* that was the direction the writer decided to go.

It was also a little weird (but also heroic) that when asked for whatever he wanted, he chose to save total strangers and not asked for his loved ones to be returned to him. It just felt that if Dean was that cut up about his losses THAT is what he would have wanted fixed - instead he thought beyond himself. Or maybe it was for himself? In that he wanted to still feel like he saved innocent people.

Death is a really difficult thing to deal with on the show and each time the boys choose it over life it creates interesting dilemmas. I figure we, as fans, examine it much more than the writers probably do.

Anyway. I enjoyed the episode. The acting was solid and it was well paced. Some good scares also. I wanted to see more of the drill ghost tho! He was interesting and scary....
Comments 
11th-Nov-2017 03:17 pm (UTC)
People were complaining about this one? Huh. I loved it. It gave me the feels and I actually had tears in my eyes for my boys - the scene with Billie and the conversation between the brothers once Dean was resurrected were especially good.

I'd agree Dean's decision to kill himself to get into the veil was a shock and didn't make much sense, and I had shouted out loud at the editing decision to have them peel out from the missing boy's house with such urgency only to apparently go back to the hotel, get changed and wait until dark before going to the haunted house to rescue him - which in some ways made less sense than Dean's syringe death. But by then I was so happy with the way the episode was going I was ready to handwave almost anything LOL.

I am SO happy they brought Billie back. If we are no longer going to have the wonderful Julian Richings as Death, then Billie is an awesome second. Like you say, she has a huge screen presence. And this way, she's going to be hard to get rid of, so should be around for some more episodes yet. It almost (ALMOST) makes up for the summary demise of Missouri.

I'm less than thrilled about Cas - but I realise that is almost as much because I'm so fed up with the craziness that flies around the Destiel camp as it is because I think the character is tired and uninteresting. I kind of hate the way the writers are pandering to those vocal Misha fans and building Cas up to be so significant to Dean. Seriously, that is one fire that really doesn't need any fuel. *sigh*
12th-Nov-2017 11:51 am (UTC)
People were complaining about this one?

Yeah. I saw a few twitter threads about Sam's lack of storyline so far this season. And I get it - we've had 5 episodes focussing on how Dean is dealing with the losses they've had. There's no doubt I've love to get more insight into Sam's state of mind at the moment, but I actually feel we've been getting a bit of that. Even though it's not said, Jared is pretty good at portraying Sam's feelings without words. I also don't feel that caring for your brother is as problematic as some find it. I remember a lot of complaints when Dean was in that caretake mode - I think it's what makes them work so well - one is down while the other one supports. I don't see it as a lessor storyline.

with such urgency only to apparently go back to the hotel, get changed and wait until dark before going to the haunted house to rescue him

As yes. I wondered if I'd miss something there actually.

I'm less than thrilled about Cas

Yeah. I'm particularly un-thrilled with all this so far. I just wish I felt Dean and Cas as actually true buddies (like I did with Dean and Benny, or Dean and Charlie etc). I'm finding it hard to swallow that Dean would be this down (to the point of willingly killing himself). He'd lived all this time with out Mary (and has completely written off trying to even look into saving her) and I just don't buy that he'd not be able to live on without Cas. In fact, for all the trouble he causes them I'd say there would be some relief.

But yeah, I suspect there is a lot of trying to appease the destiel side of fandom. I have zero issue with ANY ship in fandom - I just find the whole need for it to be canon kinda hard to understand. I pretty much try to stay away from all that (though it's damn hard sometimes!).

I am still hopeful that something interesting will be going on with Cas. If he's simply just returned it will be pretty uninteresting. I suspect something as to be going on because Cas will need some sort of storyline. I just hope it doesn't take away from our lovely brothers. :)

xx



11th-Nov-2017 05:27 pm (UTC)
Dean sacrificing himself to save some ghosts just seemed really off to me...I can think of other ways they could have reintroduced him to Billie (and carrying an instant death-and-resurrection kit around with him--what?!?)

Bur what really bothered me was that Sam wasn't given a reaction when Dean revived--he should have been furious at Dean from the scare of losing him after what Sam revealed about how hard he was taking his mom's loss last week!

But at least Dean told the truth about Billie--that is a big change in how they used to hide things...
12th-Nov-2017 11:56 am (UTC)
Bur what really bothered me was that Sam wasn't given a reaction when Dean revived--he should have been furious at Dean from the scare of losing him after what Sam revealed about how hard he was taking his mom's loss last week!

Yes. I think because I was prepared for that (from twitter reactions) that as I was expecting nothing at all, I was relieved that we did get Sam at least looking mighty relieved. For me it simply came down to the episode not being about Dean dying. Sam wasn't given the opportunity to react because it just wasn't at the heart of the episode (sadly, because it would have added another dimension. Imagine how Sam would be if he lost Dean after his recent losses?

Sam revealed about how hard he was taking his mom's loss last week!

It's that old chestnut of lack of continuity because of the change of writers. :( What Sam said last week didn't even play into this episode. Sadly.

I thought Jared did the best he could with pretty much no dialogue. His urgency when Dean didn't return was evident and I did watch closely for his utter relief when he was revived.

But at least Dean told the truth about Billie--that is a big change in how they used to hide things...

SUCH a relief! I loved Sam's "you know we won't talk about it later" line. A great observation by Sam AND the writer. :)
11th-Nov-2017 06:45 pm (UTC)
I'm really enjoying the season so far, and looking forward to a new episode--which is quite different from recent seasons. Like you, I'm going to miss Julian. He was a wonderful personification of the concept of Death, managing to make me shiver and smile at the same time.

I *love* Billie in her new role, but then I've always loved Billie. Berry has presence and acting chops. At a recent con, Briana and Berry were two people Jensen mentioned when asked about actors he liked working with. Briana proved she could match him in a comedy scene, and Lisa can go toe-to-toe with him in a dramatic scene, and command the screen as much as he can. Something to challenge any actor.

I have to admit I'm totally indifferent about Cas' character--he's been so many different plot devices he's little more than a cake topper now. But I actively *hate* that he didn't have as intense an exchange of gazes for Sam as he did for Dean. By me that's just pandering to the screechiest voices, and I'm more than a bit annoyed with the decision maker for that scene.



12th-Nov-2017 12:05 pm (UTC)
I'm enjoying it so far too! I mean, there have been some missed opportunities (and I'm finding it hard to buy Dean being THIS mopey), but overall, there have been some solid eps.

But I actively *hate* that he didn't have as intense an exchange of gazes for Sam as he did for Dean.

Yeah. I think it was totally to play to that side of fandom. Though, that said, I felt that if they really wanted to play to that Dean would have asked for Cas's return when Billie asked. I was expecting it actually and was so damn relieved when he chose the ghosts. And each time he mentioned his mood he mentions Mary (and even Crowley) as well as Cas.

The final zoom was simply for effect and it would have been SO much more powerful and poignant if there was a dual shot of Sam and Dean looking at Cas. It baffles me that Sam is constantly left out of his connection to Cas. He always sticks up for him - even when Dean doesn't.

Oh well. Onward and upward. We'll see where this heads. next.
12th-Nov-2017 10:09 am (UTC)
. I also just felt that he, like us, knew he really wasn't going to die. It was a really strange moment. As much as I felt like, yes, Dean was ready to die if it was his time (he is just THAT tired and over it all), he wasn't actually suicidal. If that makes sense.

That makes perfect sense to me because it's exactly the same way I saw the situation. :) I also thought that Dean was feeling so guilty for what happened to the kid Shawn that he was willing to do really unusual things to save him (plus he didn't think he'd actually die). Dean just wanted desperately to get that win. And to me he asked Billie to free the ghosts so that he's helping people and also protecting Sam from the ghost mayhem.

12th-Nov-2017 12:08 pm (UTC)
And to me he asked Billie to free the ghosts so that he's helping people and also protecting Sam from the ghost mayhem.

I like your thinking! There were some complaints about Dean dying without a care for Sam, but I really didn't feel Dean thought he was going to die (I mean, he knows it's only S13 and it's not going to end now! *g*)

13th-Nov-2017 09:29 am (UTC)
I struggled a bit to connect properly with this ep. It might have been a personal mood thing though because it certainly wasn't a bad episode. :)

Meanwhile I came across this song and totally pictured a fan-vid with it. If anyone feels inspired and still does videos.. ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2CoUeXXJD4
15th-Nov-2017 10:50 am (UTC)
Hey!

Actually, I've seen quite a few people not connecting with this one. It was kinda weird that way.

I WISH I WAS STILL INSPIRED TO VID!! Actually, it's not even the inspiration anyway more... it's mostly time and I have to teach myself a new editing program and I just don't have the time...:((

Great song though! I can't believe how many great songs that beg for a SPN fanvid! I still hope I will find my way back...

*hugs*

xx
13th-Nov-2017 09:24 pm (UTC)
I've skimmed through everyone's commentss, so I'm going to try to distill my response into ONE post. WARNING: I CAN BE WORDY.

I liked the episode! But I have to preface that by saying we STILL aren't getting much Sam POV. We see Sam doing things--AWESOME things!--but we still aren't getting into his noggin, and we're still being robbed of reaction shots from him. (When he had that outburst in the shifter's office, last episode? I nearly fainted.) This is, in part, due to the editing and I have some side-eyes going on towards the post-production department. I can't help feeling there's an agenda over there, to be perfectly conspiracy-theorist. Annnnywho...

Sam trying to give Dean all the comfort he can is A+++. Because come on, y'all, Dean is a hedonist. It's his go-to place when he's stressed, so Sam casually (and adorably awkwardly) playing into Dean's vices of bacon, booze and broads is magnifico. (I actually saw someone slamming Sam for enabling Dean's alcoholism. Fandom, you wacky.)

I also squinted at the scene where Dean was quick to pull out those syringes and temporarily kill himself to solve the case. It certainly felt like more of a clumsy plot twist to re-introduce Billie, but when Dean was willing to stay dead? I was wincing. I totally get the whole "ready to die if it's my time" thing, because Sam had been this way too, post-Trials (but Dean went and tricked Sam into not going into that good night, after all). And given Dean's current frame of mind (that nearly every scene this season is beating into us), his bone-deep depression speaks to a very different motivation, to me. Dean was done with it all, and if he could give up his life to free the ghosts--go out in a hero's death--it would make sense to him. He found value in that. (Dean has a storied history of not valuing his own life, of putting other people's lives before his own. Even in the Veil.) I seriously don't think he considered what it would do to Sam, because Sam usually just keeps going. Even if Sam's miserable (Mystery Spot) or hallucinating (with the Devil screaming in his brain) or disassociating (the Purgatory year) or neglecting his own well-being (chasing the demon formerly known as Dean Winchester). He. Just. Keeps. Going. And as long as Sam is alive, in whatever state, Dean has done his job.

I'm with amberdreams and fufaraw re. Cas. I don't dislike the character, I really don't, but he just isn't doing diddly squat anymore. And I swear to everything holy, if Dean pops out of his depression because Suddenly Castiel, and Dean doesn't dare question the whys or wherefores of Castiel's reappearance, and Sam does question but is shunted to the side in favor of Destiel fanservice, I will grind my teeth into powder. (This feeds into my totally circumstantial theory about post-production, btw...)

Billie, however? OMG, COULD LISA BERRY BE ANY MORE INCREDIBLE? I think not. I'm so stoked to see her back! God, she's good. And so was the scene between her and Dean.

I certainly enjoyed the episode, but boy, do I have some niggling fears in the bottom of my brainspace about Sam being thrown under the bus again. About Jack veering evilward (betraying Sam's faith in him) and Sam being pushed aside so that Dean and Cas can get alone time. Call it a conditioned response to the way this show usually plays out. Prove me wrong, show.

Dammit, I wasn't gonna get grumpy! Okay, let's end with this: I truly believe that this season is trying to balance the characters' kick-assedness. Now, let's let them ALL have emotional thru-lines!

OH OH OH! A big PS...
The Winchesters, officially "important" to the universe? I am dying like whoa to find out what this is! After their whole bred-to-be-archangel-vessels thing expired, I dunno, I just sort of felt like there was something missing. I get the show's decision to explore how mere humans can triumph over evil (therefore offering hope for us all), but man, did I love these two guys struggling with staying "human" despite outside forces and tribulations. Or even better, overcoming their inner monsters. I want that again.




Edited at 2017-11-13 09:42 pm (UTC)
16th-Nov-2017 09:14 am (UTC)
Hey honey! Always love hearing your thinky thoughts :) Thanks so much for sharing. I catch some stuff on twitter but I often have trouble following the threads. I really miss this forum for ease of discussion.

Aaaanyway. Yes, yes and YES.

But I have to preface that by saying we STILL aren't getting much Sam POV.

Ya know, I don't know if I'm conditioned to not getting Sam's POV (anymore) or I'm still so completely burned by his total lack of POV and (awful) storytelling from S9 that these days I just shrug it off. I think what I'm doing these days is seeing through what the show is giving us to making up my own Sam story. I think Jared has been doing a remarkable job with what he's been given and I feel like I can see what's going on with him.

I think the thing that's been more questionable - and damaging - is Dean's story line. In fact, looking back they keep giving Dean questionable things to do (especially to Sam) with no consequences (did I mention S9 still bugs the hell out of me?!)

I can't help feeling there's an agenda over there, to be perfectly conspiracy-theorist. Annnnywho...

OOOhhhhh. Conspiracy theory! I would LOVE to know what's been shot and what's been edited. I wonder if they took a shot of of BOTH Sam and Dean seeing Cas (and that zoom was done with the camera and not post editing) or it was edited that way? I WANT TO KNOW!!

He. Just. Keeps. Going. And as long as Sam is alive, in whatever state, Dean has done his job.

Yeah. In my mind I see that whole dying scene as expedience and Sam wasn't even considered in that storyline (in that, because we KNOW Dean wasn't going to die the story wasn't focused on the brother story. It's bloody annoying, but it was all purely for him to meet Billie and show us Dean's despair).

if Dean pops out of his depression because Suddenly Castiel, and Dean doesn't dare question the whys or wherefores of Castiel's reappearance, and Sam does question but is shunted to the side in favor of Destiel fanservice, I will grind my teeth into powder.

I'll be grinding with you. In fact, I'm going to skip the next ep until I see how they're going to play it. Dean suddenly being happy and carefree will send immediate alarm bells.


The Winchesters, officially "important" to the universe? I am dying like whoa to find out what this is!

Yes! Me too. I know they've been told it before - but that has already been explored (unless they are going to revisit it?), so I wonder what their new importance is. *rubs hands*
14th-Nov-2017 11:32 am (UTC)
I too, really enjoyed this episode. It had some wonderful brother moments, and I felt a heavy sense of sadness at seeing Shaun die and not really being able to accept it (in fact Jensen's being doing such a great job at muting Dean and outwardly showing his depression, that I think I've been feeling that more than I thought I was). I loved seeing Sam trying to be supportive in every way that he could; emotionally, but also physically as he salt ringed Dean, and hovered protectively over him as he clock watched. It gave me lots of feels.

Like you say it wasn't perfect, but I can forgive a lot when we got lots of boys and their relationship, and seeing them talk inside ignoring pivotal moments; seeing Sam trying to be strong and supportive when he knows that his brother is struggling so much, and obviously shelving his own emotions and grief so he can put Dean first.

Like you say I'm all behind Sam taking a care-giving role, in fact, I love it. But I'd to get some pay off further down the line; I'd like Sam to air some more of his emotions, particularly about Mary, when he feels that Dean is maybe a bit stronger. I would have liked to see Sam's reaction to seeing Cas, but I'm not going to go into that.

If Cas is really back, that I'd like to see him do something; whether that's go off with Jack, and build a nice little father and son thing, or something to do with the Empty. But he needs something.

Take care *hugs*
17th-Nov-2017 09:20 pm (UTC)
I'm also surprised to hear people complaining about it. After watching it I suspect it will be the best episode all season. It's certainly the best I've seen in a long time.

When they killed off the doctor ghost halfway into the episode it made me pay attention, since that automatically meant something more important was going to happen. I figure any episode that explains an important past event, brings back a recurring character (by which I mean Billie), and actually makes an emotional change meaningful and in character is a plus for me. This is probably more character development than Dean's gotten in a while.

I was entertained by Sam's efforts to make Dean's days better, even if he could only do so by checking out strip club reviews and ordering chili fries (and I'
m
a person who doesn't like them Dean, so there). I was pretty amused by the story that Sam was trying to get the dancer to go to nursing school. It sounds very much like Sam -- not only because he wants the best for people but also because he is into nurses...

As for Dean's decisions, actually I think it did make sense. Losing Mary and Cas had to be a devastating blow and anyone who feels that hopeless (not to mention with the kind of backstory he has) would want to end things. What could be worse than losing his mother twice and feeling responsible for not saving her? We know Dean has an overdeveloped sense of it.

I also think it makes sense he would help the victims rather than ask for Mary or Cas back for several reasons. First, he had made them a promise and he already felt guilty for not making more of an effort. Plus, he knew he could help the victims but given that Billie knew nothing about the other dimension meant he probably couldn't count on her helping with Mary, even if she'd been willing. And lastly, it showed that at heart Dean was still a hero (something which has some relevance when you consider the latest episode with Jack).

I do agree with you though that it's a little strange that Dean would be carrying those syringes around with him anywhere at all, and very strange that he'd expect this ghost issue to head so sideways that such a drastic measure would be part of his planning. That was definitely an awfully convenient decision clearly written simply to save time in a scene and money in setting up a departure and return. If I was to fanwank it though, I'd suggest that perhaps all hunters should have a type of "cyanide pill" given the sort of situations they can get into. There are undoubtedly some things they would prefer not to live through, whether because of horrible torture or because they could be turned to become a threat to others.

I thought that Dean's discussion with Sam as they view the heartbroken mother, of just needing a win, rang very true. As many wins as they've had in the past the costs have always been heavy -- heavy enough that they don't always feel like a win, just a job completed.

I'd actually forgotten about Cas' impending return, but I think that given the ending of this episode, Dean's turn in the next one feels earned.
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