Reaction: Supernatural (6×20)

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Hello, THL! It’s Friday again, and you know that that means! SBG blathers on about Supernatural!

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In general, and this has nothing to do with Castiel, I’m not fond of the particular kind of storytelling. The kind of noir, voiceover retelling of events just doesn’t do it for me, I guess. It’s not a huge bugaboo or anything. I like to be shown a story, not told it, and while we were shown some stuff, it felt like we were told more. They did a similar thing with Sam a few years back – we all knew something was up, and the explanation we got was a condensed telling, which made it difficult to connect.

I doubt that’ll be the case for most people on this one, but I remain eh about the choice to tell us this part of the year’s arc using flashbacks of stuff we already knew (because, y’know, we were shown it) and various scenes from Castiel’s point of view.

I liked bits, didn’t like others.

Liked how completely understandable it was for Castiel to make so many bad choices.

Didn’t like how he hadn’t learned enough to know when to ask for help.

Liked Bobby. Loved Bobby.

Didn’t like how long it took Dean to get what Bobby and Sam were seeing and saying. I know he’s loyal to Castiel, but I don’t get the total blinders he was apparently wearing. But then, I don’t see Dean/Castiel either, so maybe I’m the one who’s messed up? *shrugs*

Liked Rachel making a posthumous (sorta) reappearance, even if it was to fawn all over Castiel for his second coming after Lucifer blasted him to bits.

Hated that during the course of this whole episode, she was the only female with a speaking part and it lasted about half a minute. Women, who needs ‘em? (Also, it bugs me how quickly people call Castiel Cas. IIRC, no one called him that until
Dean did a few years ago, and suddenly footsoldier angels are? Erm.)

Loved Crowley being Supernatural’s best manipulator, ever. He even beat Ruby, who did a fair job of it.

Hated how easily Castiel fell for it all, though not surprised. Castiel always was naive, and with his newfound freedom, it was bound to be a disaster.

Liked Dean laying it on the line for Castiel.

Didn’t like how sidelined Sam is becoming in all of this. But then, I’m not ever going to be a proponent of the Dean and Castiel show. Hopefully now that the truth is out there, things will be a bit more balanced. Because he’s starting to remind me of Teal’c from SG-1, that looming presence mostly in the background. ;)

Liked Sam not being super thankful for Castiel pulling him out of Hell all broken and sans soul. Because, yeah, soulless!Sam did a LOT of bad things our Sam is probably having a tough time dealing with. Even if he can’t remember what he did, he knows some of it, and knows it was capital b bad.

Didn’t like that Castiel apparently wasn’t using Sam’s soul as a power reserve, or Dean’s for that matter. It would have been kind of interesting had Castiel gone that far. Though neither of those options is off the table, I suppose.

Didn’t like the reiteration of the villain (Raphael) is a PoC (I know, we knew this last year already. Hated it then, hate it now). Seriously, Supernatural fails on race issues as much as it does on gender. Anyone not white ends up dead or a Small, Medium or Big Bad. There was Tamara from S3, who survived but her husband didn’t, and we’ve never seen her again. I ramble.

Didn’t like Castiel looking for a sign at the end. I reiterate: has he learned nothing? Though, honestly, I thought he’d given up on God in this universe a long time ago.

For that matter, I didn’t like that who Castiel was telling the story to was God. Uhm. Hello. God probably doesn’t need a recap.

Well, that’s about all I have to say about this week’s Supernatural. Slightly disjointed, so sorry about that. Not much by way of feminist issues to tackle, but for the fact there were so few of them shown. I know there were a couple in Heaven and I thought I saw one in the waiting line Hell, but I don’t think that counts. :(

And no new episode next week – after that, the finale on May 20th! However, chances are good I’m going to miss it or be late. I’ll be otherwise detained by a trip to the far off land of Arizona for various and sundry celebrations. I’m … bummed about the timing! LOL, don’t tell my family.

Comments

  1. iiii says

    Missouri Moseley survived the Winchester clan, too. Is it just me, or did they used to be better about hiring not-white people for the walk-on roles?

    I’m thinking our heroes’ best next move is to get Castiel to let them talk to Ash. If anyone can put a spoke in Raphael’s planned apocalypse, it’s Ash.

  2. sbg says

    iiii,

    Yeah, Missouri survived. Of course, she was also very close to a Magical Negro character. I just meant – generally, they fail very hard when it comes to characters of color. Rufus was awesome, so they killed him. ETA: etc, etc.

    I’m not sure our heroes will be on speaking terms with Castiel for a bit.

    Also, did anyone else half expect a fish to crawl out of that pond as the sign Castiel asked for?

  3. iiii says

    I totally thought the wrong codger walked away from “And Then There Were None.” Not just because Rufus was awesome, but also because it’s way past time the boys had their father figure kicked out from under them.

    A fish would have been the perfect.

  4. sbg says

    iiii,

    While I can never fully endorse offing Bobby (because I love him), your point is a good one. TBH, I’m still mad they killed John so early on, though. ;)

    Oh! That reminds me – in this episode, I found it ridiculous the demon equivalent to Bobby was done so cheesily. I mean, really. I’m sure that was just Castiel’s view of him, but the scraggly beard, the hat, the plaid shirt, answering calls as FBI headquarters. Ridiculousssss.

  5. iiii says

    Yeah, that dispatcher dude was… not well thought-out.

    A conversation elsewhere reminded me: what about Adam? Deliberately leaving the poor kid alone in a box with a couple of fratricidal archangels was totally a dick move. Castiel should have at least *tried* to get him out.

    Once Adam was out, and soulless, there’s all kinds of possibilities. Sam could take him along hunting with the Campbells. That way leads to more fun with Show’s pet topics, like What makes a monster? and Who counts as family? Or they could keep Adam mostly off-screen, trying to go back to college and his old life, and have the boys have to hunt him up when the soullessness became a problem.

    Having Adam present this season would’ve made for some tidy symbolism, too, expanding the Dean/Sam = Heaven/Hell binary into a ternary with Adam representing Purgatory. The brother they didn’t know existed for the afterlife option they didn’t know existed.

    And Dedee Pfeiffer would have made a much more interesting Eve.

  6. sbg says

    iiii,
    I think Castiel’s priorities are warped. He knows how to serve God and he knows how to serve Dean, and I’m not sure yet he grasps the vast middle ground in there enough to know how to handle it. I doubt it even occurred to him to pull Adam out as well, especially if it was as difficult as he says it was to retrieve Sam. Hard to say, because the only Hell we’ve seen were snippets of Dean hanging by meathooks and Sam burning alive – and then Crowley’s never ending wait line. I’m not sure I understand how Sam came back without his soul. Is it because he went down while Lucifer was in him? If so, then Castiel would have had to take on Michael AND Lucifer to get both Sam and Adam.

    Actually not sure how he even went against Lucifer.

    But I doubt we’ll ever know the specifics of that.

  7. Brand Robins says

    The thing I wanted to see so very much was in all of Dean’s “I’m so righteous” posturing, Cas pointing out just once that Dean himself has made at least four separate deals with the devil. Including at least two with Crowley.

    Seriously, every time Dean’s gotten in over his head in the series he’s cut a deal with something evil. Dude sold his soul and went to hell several seasons back. Even in this season he worked with/for Crowley.

    And Sam? DUDE DRANK DEMON BLOOD.

    And yet they sit there blasting on Cas because he made some fubared choices. The same fubard choices they’ve made. And now they sit there with great and profound self-righteousness lecturing about it.

    I didn’t approve of Cas’s choices, but I find that the Winchesters lack any moral authority at all. Every time Dean (who is normally my favoritest character, I’m a Dean fanboy) told Cas off about working with devils I had to laugh at him. What a hypocritical little snot.

  8. sbg says

    Weeeeelllll, he is an angel and they probably hold him to a higher standard, especially since he’s watched them make all these bad choices. IIRC, Castiel was a dick to Sam most of the time Sam was making all those bad choices.

    That, and this was all from Castiel’s POV. Yes, Dean was harsh, but we don’t know how much of that was spin of Castiel’s uncertainty and disappointment in himself.

    Sometimes when you’re in moments like those, reactions are extreme. Like extroverts who blurt and bluster, think for a bit and then have a more rational take on things. Sometimes that’s okay, and sometimes that can really fuck things up.

  9. says

    Lovin the recaps. I am a little iffy on this week. I do love the Dean/Cas business, but if that isn’t ACTUALLY going on, it does make Dean’s blind trust a little hard to understand. I am rewatching the series currently and I’m just starting the angel storyline while watching the recent stuff, and it’s startling the contrast here. Dean especially REALLY did not trust Castiel to start, and rightfully so, as the angels spent all season blowing smoke up his ass and then screwing him over to start the apocalypse. Sam was actually the trusting one to start with, because of some random faith in god that came out of left field.

    However, it does hold with Dean’s character, that once he trusts someone he trusts fairly blindly, as evidenced by his defending John Winchester against Sam for years, and trusting Sam when he was on demon blood even though he was a little put off by Sam blatantly sneaking around and lying. But it is frustrating to see he hasn’t learned that sometimes giving someone the benefit of the doubt can go too far.
    But here they are also faced with ok, Castiel has gone a bit bad, who is gonna call him on it? He seems a little drunk with power at this point and has no clue what to do with it. They already have Crowley on their ass, do they really want one of their greatest allies to be hunting them as well? How long could they survive that? Seems like they’re better at this point just waiting to see who moves next and then decide what to do.
    Cas calling out to God does seem a bit childish, but he’s shown very clearly recently that that’s what he is. He’s not used to free will, and he wants to go back to easier times when he didn’t have to make hard decisions. He’s about to hit the really rebellious phase of adolescence and I think he’s going to get far worse before he gets better (and he will, because we loooooooooooove Cas).

  10. sbg says

    Stassja,

    Actually, Sam’s faith in god came long before Castiel came around, and wasn’t really surprising to me. I think Sam knew for a long time he wasn’t “right” and needed to have something good (besides Dean) to believe in, and I also think they demonstrated that angle pretty well.

    I personally hope they end the angel civil war in the finale. I’ve never been particularly sold on it – it’s not like we’ve seen much of it first hand. Makes it very hard for me to connect to Show, when Show’s main arc is all happening behind closed curtains.

    LOL, you’ll probably hate me, but I wouldn’t be too sad if Castiel went away after this year. Then, I was perfectly content to have the show end with Sam tossing himself in the Pit. Horrible, gutwrenching, final.

  11. says

    sbg,

    Well yeah, Sam’s god deal went back further. But as I recall, we didn’t really hear about it too much before then, yeah? I am totally looking forward to the end of this civil war business because yeah, we haven’t seen it! Really hard to be interested in it when we really don’t know what’s up. I felt similar when they first started the angels/apocalypse saga, it came a bit out of nowhere.

    As much as I am enjoying the continuance of the show, I was honestly SHOCKED they continued past Sam going into the pit. Truly. I came into this season VERY hesitantly and I am still kind of unsure of their decision to continue. The fangirl is loving it, but as far as the good storyline, I’m just not feeling it. We went through all the Sam Soul business and for me that ended a bit anti-climactically. Is there more on that note to come?

  12. sbg says

    Stassja,

    I … think we didn’t get a lot of Sam beyond the visions and demon blood. Despite SPN being “all about Sam” for the first two years, we learned a lot more about Dean. Dean was and is the everyman character, which is, frankly, why I tend to lean toward Sam more. I find what they don’t show us about Sam is great fodder for my own imagination. ;)

    I’m hoping they can pull it together next year, because this year’s storytelling was all over the place. It feels like a good chunk of the first half of the season really has little to do with anything and was full of red herrings (the mother of all, yo). I know Sam’s soul will probably come back to play in the finale, but they didn’t really continue that thread much once he regained it. Personally, I’d love a Castiel/Winchesters (and Bobby) showdown, but I don’t think they’ll do that.

  13. says

    sbg,
    Yeah I don’t see a Cas/Win showdown. I can see them finally killing off Cas, most likely with him sacrificing himself to stop Crowley or some such. Mmmmm Sam fodder. Hehehe. The Mother of All story line, if that was it, was a serious let-down. Granted there was not a HUGE amount of leadup, but that was at least more real to the viewer than the stupid angel war.

  14. sbg says

    Stassja,

    I know Castiel is much-beloved in fandom, but it would be very interesting for them to do something like that. I think they’re more apt to off Bobby, though. :( Bobby will always pwn Castiel in my way of thinking. Heh.

    The Mother of All storyline was important, but I would have really liked to have seen something more. You know, like the boys figuring out that she’s not the biggest evil and perhaps start working with her to root out Crowley and, therefore, Castiel. But, nope, they just killed her. My genuine hope for next year is that they develop a female character who does none of the following:

    -becomes evil
    -becomes dead
    -walks around in a white nightie while barefoot

    Ah, pipe dreams.

  15. iiii says

    sbg: iiii,I’m not sure I understand how Sam came back without his soul. Is it because he went down while Lucifer was in him?

    My theory is it’s to do with the construction of the cage. It’s meant to hold an archangel, a multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent, not corporeal matter. I figure a human soul is similar enough to an archangel’s that it couldn’t pass through the bars, but a human body? Doable. What I don’t get is how Sam’s empty body formed intent enough to walk and talk, much less go places and carry on conversations.

    On a completely different tangent: the more I think about it, the more I suspect that Crowley has reasons he isn’t telling for wanting to find Purgatory. I mean, I’m sure he does want those yummy yummy monster souls. But he’s spending a whole lot of time on earth personally torturing monsters when he should be in Hell, running the joint. All those unsupervised demons, with all the time they used to spend torturing damned souls hanging heavy on their hands – even without the Lucifer Loyalists kicking up trouble there’s got to be rebellion plans a-plenty cooking up down there. So why is Crowley chasing Purgatory when he should be consolidating his power in Hell?

  16. sbg says

    iiii,

    I could see that explanation working. And, LOL, yeah. Souls are what it’s all about. They are the most important thing evar. You just don’t explicitly need one. I think the case there was Sam without a soul was, uhm, rather sociopathic and the perfect soldier. I wonder how much mileage Crowley and Grampa got out of Sam in that state.

    Nothing Crowley does should be taken at face value, so chances are good there’s more to that whole thing.

  17. Kex says

    Some of my thoughts about the episode:

    Does it bother anyone that “the good guys” are torturing demons to get to Crowley? Those bodies belong to innocent people who is aware of what is happening and who could be saved if they just did an exorcism. Maybe they did and we just didn’t see it, but I felt a bit sick when they are supposed to be the moral high ground.

    I was kind of glad that Castiel went to the “dark side”. I have been so tired of them calling their pet angel every time they are in trouble. No suspense at all! I actually like Castiel and I feel sorry for him, but he is kind of superman.

    My problem with supernatural right now that I am absolutely positive that nothing will happen to the four main characters (I count Bobby and Cas as main now). Fandom loves them too much so as long as the show goes on they will survive. And every side character how shows their face on the show dies within an episode or so. I was watching the last episode with a friend and as soon as we saw vampire girl I turned to my friend and said “How much do you want to bet that she’ll die”. And of course she did.

    I would actually like a spinoff of this show with other hunters.

  18. sbg says

    Kex,
    It’s long bothered me that our heroes resort to torture so often, and so quickly. I suppose some would argue that it’s war, so anything goes. But it would sure be nice if someone showed some distaste and distress for what they were doing – you know, like Sam used to do before he went dark out of desperation.

    I find it very rich they call him friend, when all they’ve ever done is treat him like the ultimate deus ex machina. Dean, especially, if I’m going to be honest, yet there’s apparently this strong bond between them? I’m not buyin’ it.

    You’re right, of course. They could do with another shock, and I don’t mean bringing back a female character to kill her off (*cough*EllenandJo*cough**cough*Pamela*cough**cough*Lenore*cough*…you get the point). I think fandom would through a tanty if Castiel bit it, and I’d throw a tanty if Bobby bit it and…

    Well, sometimes show runners shouldn’t pay so much attention to the petty wants of the audience. ;)

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