gateslacker: (spnomgsam)
[personal profile] gateslacker
I've been trying to marshal my flaily thoughts enough to talk about the finale. I am always amazed at how others seem to do this so quickly and so well while my thoughts are still hyperactively bouncing around in my brain. And even after a 2 and a half viewings, (yes, I had to watch the final 30 minutes again immediately after watching the show on Wednesday) there is still so much to process! How did they manage SO MUCH in one short not even an hour.
First, I will say that this season finale ranks up there with my all-time favorite finales which include, in no particular order because I just can't pick,  Swan Song, No Rest for The Wicked, All Hell Breaks Loose parts I and II (because it was a two part finale, folks), and Lucifer Rising. And I do believe that the final scene with the Angels falling from the night sky is one of the best scenes in Supernatural EVER. The cinematography of it, the church in the foreground, the music, well, it has given me goosebumps every single time I have watched it.
And, dang it. I meant to start at the beginning. See. My thoughts BOUNCE! Maybe I should try to do this by character? By order of appearance? Heck, I don't know! Let's just say that no matter what I try there will be many "Asides"
Aside #1: I am sure it says something that I get all verklempt as soon as the montage and "Carry on my Wayward Son" starts playing,   even if all the heads being lobbed off during the lyrics "Lay your weary head to rest" made me laugh and, briefly, brought me out of the moment.

"I'm killing everyone you've ever saved."
Continuing his quest to kill everyone Sam and Dean have ever saved, Crowley has targeted our BELOVED Sheriff Jody Mills. Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!  Hands off, Crowley!!! I have never hated a character more than I did Crowley in this scene. Damn you, Crowley! Oh......Wait.....

Aside #2:  And I have never loved Sheriff Mills more than when she says, "It's not a date till I've cried"  and when she has that conversation with herself in the mirror. They left it pretty ambiguous about her survival but I'm thinking positive thoughts because of how Crowley is about his contracts and deals and the fact that she is too awesome to kill (Not that that ever stops them!)


    Aside from Aside #2:  I always LOL when Crowley rolls out one of his scrolls because it is pretty funny and I see something pretty similar in my mind's eye when a patient comes in with a notebook and a list....

Aside #3: And if Sam and Dean are "Moose" and "Squirrel" does that make Crowley, "Boris" or "Mr. Big?" (I'm sure he thinks of himself as Mr. Big). Abaddon as "Natasha?"


But Crowley's arc in this episode demonstrates what I love about this show because while I am damning him in the first scenes of the episode, by the end I want to see him saved, even if he is being forced in to it, initially.  I felt bad that he wasn't "cured" despite knowing that it would have killed Sam! And Mark Sheppard really sells that "I deserve to be loved" transformation, even if I didn't get the HBO references.

  Aside #4: "All those motels and you've never once watched HBO."


The question is, "was Crowley faking it?" I really hope not as I think it would diminish his whole monologue regarding deserving to be loved and his plaintive question, "where can I start to even look for forgiveness" (complete with that one manly tear which never fails to suck us all in.) What I also loved about these scenes between Crowley and Sam is how Crowley is a reflection of Sam; how he gives voice to Sam's journey and what has been going on with Sam all along. So, I like to think that, even though he is bound and in a demon trap that, when Crowley offers his neck for another injection,  this is the real Crowley making a choice. So to make that all just Crowley pretending would really cheapen it for me.

And then they just left him there. Oh. My. Gosh!!!
"Why did the scribe suddenly come in from the shadows"
Yeah, why? What is Metatron up to?  Is it truly what you see is what you get? Has he been biding his time waiting for the perfect chance for payback or is that all a clever ruse? Because he does have a point about angelic behavior but he also seems pretty vindictive and unhinged, too. I find it difficult to believe that he could be so self righteous and bitter and, yet, have no knowledge whatsoever of what had been going on before he met Sam and Dean.   He's been playing them all from the get go. Is he next year's Big Bad? Boogertron, as someone (I forget who) has hilariously named him, would make a compelling Baddie because he feels his cause is righteous and just, and not in that megalomaniacal way to which we have become accustomed. But he has also clearly lost it! There's nothing scarier than a crazy person with a righteous cause!

"You've been in all our heads!"
Oh, Naomi. Again, they take a character who has been torturing and mucking around in other angels' heads and rebooting them for a millenia along with slaughtering humans from ancient Egypt to modern day Biggersons in her spare time and make me feel bad for her.  I had this huge lump in my throat when she says, "Our mission was to protect what God created.  I don't know where we forgot that."  Amanda Tapping really sold that scene, too. And then they killed her.

  Aside #5: Just what is the death toll this season? They sure like killing characters just when they become even more compelling. Of course, she may not really be dead but her meatsuit clearly is. And we know Abaddon survived. Clearly the Alaina Huffman meatsuit did not.  I don't like it when they swap meatsuits. It takes forever for the meatsuit to grow on me (*cough* Meg *cough*) if I can be convinced at all.

"You're Family"
Ah, Castiel. You know. I fall firmly in the Cas defense club. Folks wail, "Cas, how could you be tricked again!?!" but the way I see it, Cas may have been fooled by Metatron but, in all honesty, he only had Sam and Dean's encounter with him to go on and the knowledge that he had saved Kevin from Crowley. He knows that Metatron has been out of the game for some time (or so we think). Metatron called the nephilim a "Monster" and isn't think what his adopted family does? Kill Monsters?  But apart from that I will also defend Cas's erratic behavior because he is a child. He just keeps reacting to the events that happen to him and that happen around him without ever being able to see the big picture or even truly have time to process anything other than what he is feeling (guilt, anger, desperation.)

    Aside #6: He's kindof like me after I have watched an episode like this what with all the feelings and flailing and the inability to make heads or tails of any of it.
Cas may have been around forever and certainly has been a part of the Winchester circle of orbit for quite some time but during that time he has gone from a soldier following orders to questioning those orders to  helping (and dying) trying to avert the apocalypse  to fighting and losing (himself) fighting the war in Heaven to having the leviathans take him over, and destroy him in the process. Next we see him he has no memory of who he is or was and as soon as he knows, he takes on Sam's crazy (which, yes, he caused) and goes crazy himself. Then, he pulls himself together enough to help Sam and Dean take on Dick and get sent to purgatory for his trouble. Then, he is plucked from purgatory by Naomi who mucks around in his mind, trying to torture him into killing and betraying Dean, if needed and, oh yeah, this isn't the first time Naomi has performed her mind wiping trick.
So, yeah, I am not a bit shocked that Cas hasn't come very far with regard to the abilities of introspection and discernment. Maybe Cas needs to be human in order to realize that he cannot fix Heaven when he doesn't even know who he is. Maybe he needs to learn that it's not even his job to fix Heaven.  (And I was going to say, "Good luck with that using the Winchesters as role models" but, upon further reflection, I think a mindset may have shifted a bit this season. Of course, maybe that is where he learned this trait from in the first place) So Cas was forced to sacrifice his grace for the spell that expelled the angels. It was an unwilling sacrifice but I look forward to his arc and am hopeful that his character will grow all the more for it.
"You always put good ole human emotion ahead of good ole common sense"
In a total flip flop from the beginning of the season, I am finding Dean the hardest to get a handle on, arc wise.  And that is an odd turnabout. As the narrator, I often get his motivations first and foremost. Even when I disagree with what he thinks, says, or does, I can always understand the why of it. The truth of it is, Dean does not typically put his own human emotion ahead of common sense when it comes to getting the job done.  He has the best instincts of them all with regard to hunting. Sam and Cas look to him because he is a natural leader and has that ability to think on his feet. He makes the tough decisions and, wrong or right, he doesn't spend a great deal of time waffling or second guessing. He thinks strategically.  Sam said it best in that "he trusts himself more."  In a way, considering how he and Sam grew up, he has had to. He was thrust into the role of caregiver and protector at a very young age and instead of buckling under the strain of this role, he took to it. It is a large part of who he is and how he sees himself. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Where would we be without people who feel the need to protect others?  That is his job, first and foremost. And sometimes that job comes along with the concept of "greater good." The flip side of that, for Dean, is how he has used it as a measure of his self worth.
Aside #7: And don't we all do this to some extent or other? Don't we often tend to measure our own self worth  according to our perceived successes and failures?

  In terms of the ongoing theme of purification, I do think Purgatory purified Dean with regard to this tendency.  Though Dean was concerned about finding Cas, his fight there was one of survival at a basic level. He fought only for himself with no concept of saving people or greater good or even winning.  I think this was good for Dean because he realized that he was good at what he did without any strings attached and that his self worth was not directly proportional to his success, or failures, as a protector. That in no way means that he does not continue to feel the need to protect and I think that is particularly highlighted by his need to care for Sam during the trials. It is a part of who he is. Does that mean he has no part in the story on his own? That he is only there to prop up Sam (or Cas) while they do Important Things? I don't think so. When people support do they somehow not count?  I think there's definitely been enough to go around over the course of this show.  I know that Sam and Cas look to Dean for answers even when they are at odds with one another and he was the person in charge of the outcome in this narrative.
`In terms of caregiving and family. "greater good" can translate into "it was for your own good."  All of these traits and in the moment thinking make him good at what he does but they do tend to blind him to how his actions, and words, impact others.  While this can be seen as intentional emotional manipulation or blackmail, I do not really believe it is always intentional nor do I feel his motives are always suspect.  Sending Sam that text was a horrible thing to do. He did it intentionally, and strategically, to get Sam out of the way. But do I think he considered the full ramifications of why it was manipulative and a supremely dick move or even how Sam would react. Nope. The more I think about it the more I see it as Dean's strategic failsafe. (And, as I have said in the past neither is above pulling out dick moves).  I have always seen him as a black and white thinker and, while that has been tempered over the run of the show, I think he still reacts this way in any given crisis no matter what he has thought or done in the past.  As an example. I don't think Dean felt bad at all about killing Amy Pond. I don't think he really considered how Sam would feel about it.  I think his guilt came from him going behind Sam's back and then keeping it a secret after Sam asked him not to go after her. Fast forward to this season and we see Dean befriending a vampire, a monster, who had saved his life in much the same way Amy Pond saved Sam's life, except she killed her own mother for Sam! We see the obvious parallel, here. Sam sees the obvious parallel here. Dean does not. He wasn't there when Amy saved Sam. He didn't have first hand experience of the event and he'd never met her until he went to kill her.  It would have likely never crossed his mind until Sam brought it up because empathy, the capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another person, is one of Dean's weaknesses, especially when he is part of the equation. If he is with Sam, in the moment, and somewhat of an outside observer, such as when Sam had to kill Madison in "Heart" or that bit with Sarah, last week, you can see that he feels for Sam. But most times he does not seem to have any idea or comprehension of how Sam or Cas feel or where they are coming from, especially when their motivations are at odds with his own.
 The tables are often turned when Dean's family and his own emotions become involved. And it all really goes topsy turvy if Dean feels he has been betrayed. We have seen this time and time again.  Way back when, during a season two rewatch, I was struck at how dismissive and condescending he was of the man who made the crossroads deal to save his wife.  I knew why the man did it. Sam understood why the man did it. Dean did not. It shocked me, knowing what happens next. (Another reason why rewatching is a must) At the time Dean was reeling from his father's own deal and how he felt betrayed by it. Fast forward to the end of the season and Dean is making the same deal with no consideration whatsoever of how he felt about it before or how Sam is going to feel about it once the deal is made.
How does this relate to this season, and this episode, now that I have gone on and on? I think Dean has come into his own this season. He is confident and seems to be less dismissive of Sam's take on things and appears to be making the effort at least to try and trust Sam more.  I didn't know what to think when he went off with Cas. A part of me was aghast and all, "What? You're leaving Sam now!? " The other part of me was thinking that we had an actual, bonafide gesture of the trust Dean has been giving lip service to for months. What is it that you want, Glenda?
Aside # 8: No wonder fandom can be so divisive. I can't even agree with myself half the time.
Dean still wants Sam to want what he wants whether Sam wants it or not because he equates Sam leaving to do his own thing as betrayal and abandonment but that is a hugely deep seated thing.  I think he wants Sam to be happy but fears that he will lose Sam forever if he leaves. He still says dick things, blaming stuff on Sam that even Sam had no control over (was it Sam's fault he was soulless??) But, to Dean, these were the big betrayal things. Ruby. He mentions killing Lillith and freeing Lucifer but, really, that all goes right back to Ruby. Soulless couldn't help that he was Soulless but Dean can't seem to move past Soulless letting him think he was dead and running around with Gramps Campbell for a year and then turning him into a vampire.  Not looking for him when he was in Purgatory. No matter whether we see the reasoning behind Sam's choice or not and despite Sam having no idea what had even happened to Dean, Dean does not understand and perceives it as a betrayal.
"There is no out. Only duty."
Cas says this to Kevin but isn't this the message Sam has heard his entire life. If wanting out is a failing, actually opting out is the worst of the worst! While I may be able to suss out Dean's motivations more readily, Sam's pain is the one I get and the one that cuts me to my core and I'm not even sure why that is. Sam must have felt like a failure his whole life. He has a father and a brother who are larger than life and, not only does he feel like he will never be as good as they are, he has always wanted out of the life,  something they consider the ultimate betrayal. We have learned that, even from a young age, he had an awareness of his taint and did not feel worthy.  And, as Dean said, "the hits just keep coming."  It is pretty devastating when you look at it because, unlike Dean,  Sam didn't take to the family role he was given. He was always at odds and, apparently, never felt that he fit in anywhere. I have to consider that he and Jess fit (because they come across that way in the Pilot) but we all know what happened there.  He couldn't save her and he couldn't save Dean. He is always trying to do the right thing, or at least do the wrong things for the right reasons, and, no matter what, it always, always,  always blows up in his face!  And, when I look back, nothing else explains the strange dissonance that I felt when watching Sam's flashbacks with Amelia. I am one of those who liked her and found these scenes fascinating but they were always jarring, too. For the whole season, I have thought it was a way of making it all seem idyllic at first but as the layers were peeled way, you see that it was really two broken people floundering together. I also thought it was a deliberate juxtaposition to the Purgatory flashbacks. Either or both of these may be true but now I see it was because Sam just Did. Not. Fit. It's the life he wants but he doesn't fit there. He may never fit there.
And he's always kept on going, you know. To keep on going with the weight of all that failure is amazing. But then he stopped when Dean got sent to Purgatory. Whether it had all just became too much or whether he went to ground with losing Dean or whether he just felt Dean was better off without him no matter where he was or whether that he was making a real effort to not repeat the mistakes from his past, he hit a dog and just stopped. And, still, it all blew up in his face! Again! He seemed so weary and defeated during the first part of the season. Dean tells him that Benny is a better brother than he will ever be and never misses an opportunity to remind him of his failures both real and perceived. Then along come the MoL and the trials and, suddenly, Sam (and Dean) have got their groove back! They are teammates and brothers again.  So, I believed Sam when he gives Dean all the reasons he, Sam, should do them; that he envisions a future where they both survive. Is anything ever that simple?
The trials are Sam's purgatory. Sam thought they were purifying him. Cas said that Sam was changing at the molecular level.  They are (were) his deconstruction. Physically and, now we know, mentally and emotionally.  I have never been certain that Sam killed the Hellhound because it was a heat of the moment thing and he was trying to save Dean in that moment or if Sam had been trying all along to get to the Hellhound first. He's always trying and he needs a win, badly.  Not only does he long for Dean's approval and trust, he needs to be able to trust and depend upon himself.
And JP plays this all so beautifully!  You see him completely scoured and laid bare in this episode! The scene where he is sitting on the pew and he looks at his watch is such a simple scene. No words are spoken and, yet, it is evident that we have reached the end of the line here. When Dean frantically bursts in, telling Sam that he will die if he completes the trials,  Sam's "So?" BROKE my heart.  The expression on Dean's face mirrored the shock on mine. The only thing left for Sam is duty.  Because that is what it is about, right?  Sacrificing yourself for the greater good? Saving people? And that is what they have done in the past. But not this time!
And I reckon the scene between Sam and Dean is going to go down as my all time favorite because, after years and years, we finally get to the heart of it and it was played so magnificently between JA and JP!  What is laid out is so good it bears repeating. Dean, trying to convince Sam and shore him up but still so remarkably clueless even after this time tells him that they can do it together "like we always do." And Sam, having nothing left,  lays it ALL OUT!
"You can barely do it with me! You think I screw up everything I try. You think I need a chaperone, remember?"
And Dean has thought that. Sam believes that. Best of all,  there's no backpedaling. When Dean says, "C'mon man, that's not what I meant" I expected Sam to capitulate somewhat. Or a huffy "whatever" because he does tend to hold his cards very close to his chest. And then he didn't. HE DIDN'T "No! It is exactly what you meant." Oh. My. Gosh!!!
Then if that wasn't enough, they go and reveal Sam's confession (which I thought we weren't really going to actually get.)
"It was how many times I let you down. I can't do that again." complete with voice breaking and everything. Waaaaaaaa.
Aside #9: You hear that sound. It's the sound of my heart shattering.
And I think Dean was truly floored having never really guessed at just how much these things affected Sam.  How they were still affecting Sam; "What happens when you've decided that I can't be trusted again?"
Then when Sam mentions Dean's turning to an angel or a vampire, I don't see that as Sam throwing  these people in Dean's face or trying to make Dean feel guilty because Sam's got no reserves left to make such an effort.  Sam is taking this all on himself; that it is his own fault and failures that cause Dean to turn to someone else and his fear that one day Dean will have had enough to give up on him is palpable. To Sam's perspective, considering the voicemail he heard and the trashing of the amulet, it is a real possibility. It turns out Sam has real abandonment fears as well. Maybe he is one of those who leaves first so as to avoid being left behind.
Then Dean owns up to the crap he has said saying, "none of it is true." He reaffirms what we know and assuages our worry, too. We know that the brothers love one another but given their tumultuous relationship, their different personalities, and all that water under that ginormous bridge, when could it finally be too much? There is nothing Dean would not do for Sam.  He will always try to save Sam. And I noticed that Dean does nothing and says nothing to negate Sam's perception that he has let Dean down even though I wanted him to.  I just wanted to make it better but that would not be honest would it? Because it is true.  Sam has let Dean down. Dean has hurt Sam with his words and actions and may only now be realizing just how deep it  goes.  "I need you to see that. I'm begging you!" (And Dean's faaaaaaace in these scenes. And Sam's messy tears because he, apparently,  does not cry the one manly tear. )
Aside #10: BTW, I don't know who coined the phrase, "the one manly tear" but it is perfect and I love it. Thank you!
By the time we get to "How do I stop?" and "just let it go. Let it go, Brother." I am completely done for because we are so talking about more than the trial and I hope that Sam and Dean can just let it all go.

I love how Sam implicitly trusts Dean but hasn't always come through for him. I love how Dean always comes through for Sam; saves Sam but hasn't always trusted him. They each long for that thing that they give the other, unconditionally.
It was an amazing season finale and the final scenes were perfection! However, I can't believe I have written all of this and still managed to leave a few thoughts out.
What started as me marshaling my thoughts has turned into most of the day and a dissertation. But I just couldn't let it go and I just needed to process. (I know. It's just a television show!)

If you have read all of this you win. You are amazing for making it through all of this and you deserve all the cookies!

I apologize for the formatting. I did try and include several breaks to make it easier to read. LJ just ignored most of them.

Date: 2013-05-20 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddyclothes.livejournal.com
Excellent! *applause*

I will respond more when I am not so brain dead. Thanks for de-lurking!

Date: 2013-05-20 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Thank you for reading! I look forward to discussion when my brain has recovered from this lost day of flail that I have had.

great review!

Date: 2013-05-20 03:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meckman37.livejournal.com
You deserve all the cookies for such an interesting, insightful review! Nice observation that they both long for the the thing that they each give to the other--Sam longs for trust, and Dean, for Sam to come through for him. And your observations about Sam's failures, again and again, even though he desperately wants and tries to do the right thing--spot on. Thanks for posting and sharing this!

Re: great review!

Date: 2013-05-20 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Thank you for taking the time to read! I wasn't sure if anyone would. Thinking about how it was for Sam makes me wanna cry. I just want him to win one. He thought this was it, when he had that conversation with Dean out by the car. I think it is possible that it will be, even if they did not accomplish what they set out to do. I hope so, anyway.

Date: 2013-05-20 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] borgmama1of5.livejournal.com
"To Sam's perspective, considering the voicemail he heard and the trashing of the amulet, it is a real possibility. It turns out Sam has real abandonment fears as well. Maybe he is one of those who leaves first so as to avoid being left behind."

You know, I had completely forgotten that voicemail and the amulet when watching that scene! You are absolutely right in how those incidents would be fueling Sam's belief that Dean despises him!

"I love how Sam implicitly trusts Dean but hasn't always come through for him. I love how Dean always comes through for Sam; saves Sam but hasn't always trusted him. They each long for that thing that they give the other, unconditionally."

This! You have summed up their entire relationship in 3 perfect sentences!

I look forward to see more thoughts from you in the future!

Date: 2013-05-20 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
You know, I had completely forgotten that voicemail and the amulet when watching that scene!

It is so hard to keep track of these things (especially when you are an avid fanfic reader and trying to separate canon fact from fanfiction.)

I didn't consider it when I was watching, only later when I was thinking, thinking, thinking.

You have summed up their entire relationship in 3 perfect sentences!

Hee! It only took me most of a day and way more than three sentences to come up with it! ;)

Thank you so much for commenting and discussing with me! It is so much fun discussing the show, especially when it just will not let you go.

Date: 2013-05-20 03:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kazluvsbooks.livejournal.com
Where is my cookie? :)

"I love how Sam implicitly trusts Dean but hasn't always come through for him. I love how Dean always comes through for Sam; saves Sam but hasn't always trusted him. They each long for that thing that they give the other, unconditionally."

YES!! THIS!! Isn't this what relationships are about?

Family is HARD!! The thing about it is you are forced to make it work, to bend to change, with friends you can just dump 'em. But this is how the Winchester's grow.

The end church scene would have to be nearly my alltime fave bro moment and the finale in my top 5 ep's.

I hope Jeremy will write some more in S9.

Date: 2013-05-20 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
*sending yummy cookies*


Family is HARD!! The thing about it is you are forced to make it work, to bend to change, with friends you can just dump 'em. But this is how the Winchester's grow.

YES!! And what I don't get is how folks sometimes don't seem to understand how family relationships, especially when they are tumultuous, often fall into the same dynamic patterns over and over despite any prior progress that has been made. The brothers love each other but they are just too different to not have ongoing conflict. I can see growth and effort even when they fall into old habits.

The end church scene would have to be nearly my alltime fave bro moment and the finale in my top 5 ep's.

I could just watch it again and again!! Why is real life a thing?

Date: 2013-05-20 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandycub.livejournal.com
Excellent review of the chapter!! I agree so much!

Date: 2013-05-20 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Thank you! Thanks for wading reading through all of that!

Date: 2013-05-20 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
This is a great analysis, considering there's so much canon to hold onto with these comments about character arcs/characterization.

All of these traits and in the moment thinking make him good at what he does but they do tend to blind him to how his actions, and words, impact others.

So true.

he equates Sam leaving to do his own thing as betrayal and abandonment

I think there's also a deep sense of failure that he feels he not enough for Sam. This may be tied in with Dean's emotional parentification imparted by John and, thus, feeling like he's responsible somehow for everyone else's actions/emotional well being. And if Dean perceives someone "abandoning" him, it's a reflection on his failure and not a result of others' desires. I think in a little twisted way--even though clearly Dean thinks about Sam's well being and is literally selfless in a self-sacrificing way--it's all about himself, Dean, subconsciously in his own head. And instead of Dean becoming emotionally vulnerable when he's hurt or scared, he lashes out and/or becomes defensive, the ultimate survivalist act of self-preservation. Oh, Dean. *squish*

he envisions a future where they both survive

This is what, despite everything Sam's been through, amazes me about his character. He's like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps getting up--even if he's barely crawling--with that dumb, heavy drum (i.e. the emotional weight of all his "failures") and keeps stubbornly going. WTH, Sam? Where are you even going!? ;) I do like how Carver underscored Sam's desire for a life at the end of it all because in previous seasons I had a hard time believing that Sam was really giving himself over completely to hunting (in particular his discussion with Dean "Wishful Thinking") when I thought his hope for something beyond that life was so ingrained and character defining.

I don't see that as Sam throwing these people in Dean's face or trying to make Dean feel guilty because Sam's got no reserves left to make such an effort. Sam is taking this all on himself

Ditto. Well said.

It turns out Sam has real abandonment fears as well. Maybe he is one of those who leaves first so as to avoid being left behind.

Abandonment in the form of death considering most every romantic relationship he's had ends in it (except Amelia ... so far). :( And I think that also plays into this idea that Sam leaves first; it speaks to a great mistrust Sam has of himself and in his ability to keep people he cares about safe, something that he sees as a personal failure even though it's not entirely his fault. And walking around with that sense of fear of failure on your shoulders is self-fulfilling--you tend to over-react/react/run when it may not always be necessary. Oh, Sam. *cuddle*

Thanks for a great discussion. You may want to consider posting at spn_heavymeta as I'm sure others at that comm would be interested.

Date: 2013-05-20 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
And if Dean perceives someone "abandoning" him, it's a reflection on his failure and not a result of others' desires. I think in a little twisted way--even though clearly Dean thinks about Sam's well being and is literally selfless in a self-sacrificing way--it's all about himself, Dean, subconsciously in his own head

YES!!! Dean projects like nobody's business!!

it speaks to a great mistrust Sam has of himself and in his ability to keep people he cares about safe, something that he sees as a personal failure even though it's not entirely his fault. And walking around with that sense of fear of failure on your shoulders is self-fulfilling--you tend to over-react/react/run when it may not always be necessary.

This, too!! And it just cuts me to the core. Can you hear the sound of my heart? It is still breaking!!

Thanks for a great discussion. You may want to consider posting at spn_heavymeta as I'm sure others at that comm would be interested.

Thanks for joining in the discussion! I don't know if anything I ever have to say would be considered "heavy meta." Most times I can't move beyond flail and reaction to even get to meta. Is it a friendly comm? I rather enjoy friendly discussion but I know how fandom can sometimes be a bit unfriendly which takes all the fun right out of it.

Date: 2013-05-21 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
This definitely qualifies as "heavy meta". :) It's a larger comm that's been around for a very long time (since S1), and has a nice readership. I've never run into any major wanktastic issues there. Your meta doesn't strike me as contentious in any way whatsoever and your tone isn't accusatory or self-righteous (which, I think, sometimes can inspire wank more than what's actually being said), so I'd be really surprised if anyone started giving you a hard time. Of course, posting elsewhere is entirely up to you. You have to feel comfortable inviting people to your journal and it can feel intimidating.

Date: 2013-05-22 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Your meta doesn't strike me as contentious in any way whatsoever and your tone isn't accusatory or self-righteous (which, I think, sometimes can inspire wank more than what's actually being said)

That is a very good point about what inspires the wank.

Wow, that comm has been around a long time. I've never even happened across it, before. Of course, I'm a relatively new fan of this show starting last year.(THANK YOU, Netflix!) and it's not like I have as much time as I'd like to play and read all. the. things. And there are so many communities!

But, I'm in why the heck not, mode, and although I can be wordy at times, I may never reach this level of thinky wordiness ever again! Better go for the gusto.

Date: 2013-05-21 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meckman37.livejournal.com
I agree with Bowtrunkle that you should post this on heavy meta. It's worth sharing. :-)

Date: 2013-05-22 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Well, you both have talked me in to it. What the heck, right? :-)

Date: 2013-05-20 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/-leigh-leigh/
WOW!
That IS a dissertation!

Of course, I haven't actually read it, but I scrolled to see how much was there. I am at 8:6 and look forward to reading your mini novel after I watch the finale.

This is major "carrot dangling"!!

Date: 2013-05-20 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Yeah, maybe it has been building for some time only to spew out in one giant episode of word vomit!

I am sorry for carrot dangling. You should be like me and despise carrots! ;) But, it's tagged so you can come back after you get to the end of the season and we'll chat more (as I never seem to get tired of watching and chatting about this show.)

Date: 2013-05-20 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] de23.livejournal.com
Didnt get to finish reading this yet - my lunch break is only 30 min! Terrific thoughts so far, more response later!

Date: 2013-05-20 11:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Haha! Yeah. It's crazy, isn't it!

I had to double up on the exercise today (during my lunch break and still went to Zumba) because I never did get out and move yesterday. The episode would not let me go! It wouldn't even let me take a break. LOL

Date: 2013-05-21 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] de23.livejournal.com
Episodes can do that to you! There's so much in your post that it adds a whole other level of flail on top of the ep. I need to rewatch the ep and re-read and then respond! But now I'm pretty tired - I went to CrossFit tonight (yay!) and did 30 clean & jerks at 45#, among other things. That might sound impressive until I reveal that the weight you're "supposed" to do is #85. :)

So, I'm just going to bed, but I *will* respond later!

Date: 2013-05-22 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
I can't wait to hear your thoughts. I know we texted and all but sometimes things just have to absorb.

Who cares if it was #85 or not. That's still awesome!!

Date: 2013-05-20 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pocochina.livejournal.com
*happily snacks on cookies*

like, sometimes shows lose me and sometimes I find framing of ~sensitive issues really questionable and sometimes I have to sit and re-read all my own posts about how the author is dead just to find my ~zone. And then sometimes I get really self-conscious about those posts because I see a show and think the writers are reading my journal so they can give me exactly what I want and I'm all I'M SORRY I SAID YOU'RE DEAD AUTHOR! AUTHOR, DON'T BE DEAD! ACTAR, ACTAR, ARE YOU OKAY?! And this episode was just that good. This is...I could not have asked for a more honest and incisive exploration of this relationship.

I don't care that it's a horribly unhealthy relationship. I don't care that Dean refuses to acknowledge his motivations for his behavior or consider for a moment the effect he has on Sam. I don't...well, I do care that Sam has terrible, crippling self-worth issues, but I don't object to seeing it. I just want not to feel like watching it requires condoning or romanticizing all that. And the episode was just like: "yes. Yes, we DO know this is unacceptable; you, Audience, are not getting plausible deniability on this possibly being in the realm of acceptable or sustainable; this is not just A Story but The Story."

Then when Sam mentions Dean's turning to an angel or a vampire, I don't see that as Sam throwing these people in Dean's face or trying to make Dean feel guilty because Sam's got no reserves left to make such an effort. Sam is taking this all on himself; that it is his own fault and failures that cause Dean to turn to someone else and his fear that one day Dean will have had enough to give up on him is palpable. To Sam's perspective, considering the voicemail he heard and the trashing of the amulet, it is a real possibility.

I think that the "angel or vampire" speech was so, so close to the heart of it all. Saving Dean's life earns you the eternal benefit of the doubt, be you whatever kind of monster; Amy Pond having saved Sam's life got her a knife through the heart. If that's not the starkest possible illustration of how much Dean values their respective lives, I don't know what is. And I thought it came through very clearly, if painfully, that Sam just completely internalized that message without analyzing it.

Sam's messy tears because he, apparently, does not cry the one manly tear.

Yes! When Sam does something, he means it entirely. Dean is always holding back, is always conscious of the power of appearances, even at his realest moments. Sam is absolutely without defenses or artifice when it comes to the people he loves.

Date: 2013-05-21 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
And then sometimes I get really self-conscious about those posts because I see a show and think the writers are reading my journal so they can give me exactly what I want and I'm all I'M SORRY I SAID YOU'RE DEAD AUTHOR! AUTHOR, DON'T BE DEAD! ACTAR, ACTAR, ARE YOU OKAY?

This so made me burst out laughing!

And this episode was just that good. This is...I could not have asked for a more honest and incisive exploration of this relationship.

I KNOW!!! They just went there! I feel like we have been waiting for this moment forever and they NAILED IT!! It just gives me paroxysms of squee whenever I think about it

Saving Dean's life earns you the eternal benefit of the doubt

It really does have to be personal for him to get it, doesn't it? And, yeah, we are all this way to a certain extent. Things that we experience personally are more real to us. Some folks are just better at being able to put themselves in another's shoes than others are.

And I wonder, if Dean's experience with Benny had happened before Amy Pond, would he have been able to see the parallels? Would it have changed how he approached the situation? Would he have done anything differently? I'd like to think that season 8 Dean would have approached it differently even if season 7 Dean probably would have not. I guess I feel that way because my read on Dean for the second half of the season is that he is making more of an effort.

Date: 2013-05-21 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fourtenpm.livejournal.com
"What happens when you've decided that I can't be trusted again?"

Sam's dead certainty of Dean will decide that Sam cannot be trusted again is the thing that broke me.

Date: 2013-05-22 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
I know! I get this lump in my throat just reading that quote again. If I had time tonight, I'd watch it again. But, I find that after a long day at work, I have to kindof pick and choose what SPN related activity I am going to spend my kick back and relax time on. Will it be fanfiction, discussion, or (re) watching?

Sheesh, it's no wonder my DVR is packed with other TV shows I need to be watching. Maybe now that there will be no new episodes for the next eternity, I will get to the backlog of shows on my DVR. Goodness knows I'll be needing something to keep me away from spoilers for the next, oh, year. (Spoiler free is the way to go but it is so hard for me to resist!)

Date: 2013-05-22 09:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erivar.livejournal.com
That was a lovely read. Very insightful and well thought out. You underestimate yourself. I especially loved all the part on Sam and Dean. I too never saw Sam's revelations as a guilt trip. Sam truly believes that he is such a let down and failure that Dean has to turn to supernatural beings to receive the brother-ship, kinship, partnership and support that Sam has failed to provide. And the emphasis on "Vampire" was not missed. Benny is the most recent and the one that seemed to hurt the most because of the mere fact that Dean trusting a vampire to the degree of a brother is something that even Dean would have laughed at before he went to Purgatory. To see Dean who was going to kill a vampire who had never killed a human before in season 2 to being best friends with one must have been a shock to Sam and really drove his failure as a brother home to him. I loved it all.

I don't think we ever needed Dean to say out loud how much he has always put Sam above every and anyone else in their live. Dean who has a set of rules of how he interacts, sees and handles everyone and then a special book filled with an exclusive set of rules of how he interacts, sees and handles Sam. I mean this is the same guy who has ever thought of and only sold his soul for Sam, who didn't care that the world may end as long as Sam was dead. The Dean who can take any betrayal and loss given time but completely looses it and is incapable of functioning properly when it is Sam who betrays him or is Sam who he looses.
The show has done a good job of illustrating Dean's priorities that we have episodes upon episodes to support every word he uttered. But it was nice to hear him say it out loud to Sam who needed to hear it the most as i'm sure some part of the fandom did too(i don't know why and i would like to know per Dean's words: "what show are they watching?"lol)



Now i just rambled. Anyways, good job! ;)

Date: 2013-05-22 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
I don't think we ever needed Dean to say out loud how much he has always put Sam above every and anyone else in their live. Dean who has a set of rules of how he interacts, sees and handles everyone and then a special book filled with an exclusive set of rules of how he interacts, sees and handles Sam.

YES! Excellent points and we, the audience, see that time and again but Sam....Sam just might not be able to see that because, maybe, he has felt unworthy and a failure for so long that he cannot even get how someone might feel that way about him and really needed Dean to say that to him. Oh, Sam.

what show are they watching?"lol

I do wonder that myself, sometimes. ;)

Thank you so much from coming on here and rambling right along with me!

Date: 2013-05-23 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkrose-9.livejournal.com
THIS. All of this. I agree completely, 100%.

And I think a lot peoples' trust in Carver as showrunner has either been been restored, or vindicated. (Come to think of it, didn't Carver pen the finale?)

Date: 2013-05-24 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
I think he did but I'd have to watch it again (oh the hardship!) to be certain.

While I don't claim to even know who wrote what a lot of the time, I have picked up on a few things since I started following fandom (you know, when you are obsessed enough to want to know ALL of the details) and I felt confident that the person who brought us A Very Supernatural Christmas, In the Beginning, and Mystery Spot would do right by the boys.

I'm pretty forgiving, too. I've thought all of the showrunners brought something to the table. Every season has had episodes that I feel are total duds, poorly excuted story arcs, or plot points that went no where . (Of course, sometimes I am totally proven wrong when, bam, out of no where something that I thought to be throw-away is Significant. What have I learned from this. Stay tuned! LOL) And every season has had episodes that had me reeling and flailing and squeeing.

Still, No show is going to knock it out of the park every single episode. SPN is no different. However, I do feel that this show, since season one, gets it right more often than not and I feel this is mostly due to being so hugely character driven. What happens to the characters *means* something and isn't just dropped or forgotten to suit the needs of the plot. *cough* Merlin *cough* (Do I sound bitter? I sound bitter.)

I think they'd have to really go off the rails for me to stop watching!

Thanks for commenting! I have had so much fun discussing this show this week!

Date: 2013-05-24 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkrose-9.livejournal.com
Wait, why are you bitter about Merlin? Do you mean the Lancelot thing?

Yeah, I'm with SPN til the end. And beyond. ;)

Date: 2013-05-25 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
No, that didn't really bother me. Actually, I rather enjoyed seeing how this series would handle bits about the Arthurian legend. It's more like the character inconsistencies, along with how it ended made the entire series pointless for me. Trying to maintain a plot contrivance of keeping the magic secret stalled the story and the writers wrote themselves into a pit that they could not escape from. The characters became even more plot-driven.

I thought the finale and the Merlin/Arthur stuff were wonderful but it also made Merlin's journey through the entire series seem tragic and pointless. He created more problems than he solved trying to keep the magic secret. Arthur grows and comes into his own only to die in what is really his first real battle as King. His brief reign is nothing legendary.

So, for the first time ever, I ended a favorite series feeling brokenhearted and bitter. I'm not even sure I will ever be able to watch it again. I actually started watching SPN as a way of trying to avoid the Merlin spoilers which also had an impact because SPN is a character driven show and just gets it. I couldn't help comparing the two. THIS is how you forward the plot without sacrificing your characters!

Okay, probs TMI and I have hijacked my own thread..Sorry (LOL!)

Date: 2013-05-26 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkrose-9.livejournal.com
It's okay. :) My sibling had the same problem with the character inconsistancies, although I didn't really have a problem with the finale (tho' it broke my heart - my sib looked at me like I was crazy as I wept like a baby), because being a big fan of the Arthur legend I kind of knew how it was going to end, which made it less shocking, but still traumatic.

So I liked it, but you're right, they ended up being forced to end the series, instead of being able to draw it out, and that's what Carver's been able to do. If the boys had closed the gates, it would have put a damper on things. But now with Cas, and the fallen angels, and sick Sam, as well as the boys being emotionally on the same page, I think the storyline can just carry itself. :)

Thank You!

Date: 2013-05-23 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This was actually a well thought out dissertation on the brothers and their motivations. Very well done!

Re: Thank You!

Date: 2013-05-24 01:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Thank you for reading and commenting! :)

Date: 2013-05-26 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandymg.livejournal.com
Bravo. Nicely written. I understand the rambling because I share the thoughts. I tried explaining to a friend as well how the conversation between the boys at the end wasn't a rehash. How we've skirted around the issue of Sam failing Dean many times, but it's never been just said out loud like that. And how heartbreaking it was to hear.

Date: 2013-05-29 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
I tried explaining to a friend as well how the conversation between the boys at the end wasn't a rehash. How we've skirted around the issue of Sam failing Dean many times, but it's never been just said out loud like that. And how heartbreaking it was to hear.

Yes!! It was heartbreaking but it is something that needed to be spoken aloud, too. I never even realized I felt such a need for all these things to be addressed until they went and did it! And I never feel this show is a rehash even when similar circumstances or similar themes emerge. I guess it is because it is never handled quite the same way every time and the characters grow and change. To me there's always a different spin on it.

Date: 2013-05-30 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddyclothes.livejournal.com
It only took me 10 days, but I'm back! RL issues, mostly.

ANYWAY, the only thing that bothered me in that incredible scene at the end was Dean saying, "Don't you DARE think" etc. That struck me as almost invalidating what Sam was saying--maybe it was the writing--maybe it's just me. But still, I was a weeping mess when the whole thing was over.

One of the final moments that KILLED me was when Dean was tending Sam's hand, looking at Sam with so much love. And then Sam collapsed, and as Dean pulled him out of the church, he says, "Hold on, little brother" (and I almost lost it typing it out!). The whole end of that conversation and the final moments of the finale were filled with so much love from Dean. Unlike some, I have seen Dean as being integral to the finale arc. He is trying to take care of his brother, not just in the usual way, but nurturing him and dare I say, mothering Sam? You know Dean put the blanket on Sam back at the Batcave before he served him Kitchen Sink Stew. For once, Dean isn't pretending that Sam is "okay" or "not that bad" because of the emotional precipice Dean would face if Sam really is "that bad."

Some reviewer thought that it was hilarious that Dean was telling Sam that he should confess about Ruby, etc. Why is that hilarious? Why is that not cutting open a barely-healed wound and then pouring salt into it? (Yeah, I know, pouring salt is their job, but you know what I mean.)

On another subject entirely, I wondered about Crowley at the end. Is Sam's blood no longer pure? Does that mean Crowley is again a full-fledged demon? That's what his look at the end signaled to me. I cannot imagine a human Crowley, and even if he is, he'll still be a bastard (one of my favorite bastards). My guess is that he's gone back to being a demon. But perhaps Abbadon will be S9's big bad.

I didn't think about Dean throwing the amulet away affecting Sam, but I see your point.

ETA: It was brilliant that they showed Cas being human by having him cry at his brothers and sisters falling.
Edited Date: 2013-05-30 01:47 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-06-11 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
It only took me 10 days, but I'm back! RL issues, mostly.

Ditto for me! RL has been steenkin' busy and all my thoughts and feelings and replies to thoughts and feelings had to be relegated to the back burner.

I had the same knee-jerk reaction to Dean saying "Don't you Dare think...." and it didn't last long as the rest of it wowed me so much that I moved "past it" pretty quickly. But I don't think Dean meant it the way I took it initially, i.e., as an attack on what Sam was thinking and feeling at the time. Because, as he kept talking, I got the intent of his words and I do think it maybe wasn't the best word choice. Yes, it does convey how strongly Dean feels about what Sam is telling him and how shocked (I feel) that Dean was to hear what Sam was saying but, often, "Don't you Dare" has argumentative, confrontational connotations, although I am not certain that is how it would be interpreted everywhere in the world.

And then Sam collapsed, and as Dean pulled him out of the church, he says, "Hold on, little brother" (and I almost lost it typing it out!). The whole end of that conversation and the final moments of the finale were filled with so much love from Dean.

And I almost lost it reading it again! There's been quite a few powerful scenes over this show's run and it would be really hard to pick the most powerful one ever but, I don't know, this one is right up there. (You'd probably have to sort them by categories to pick a favorite and it would still be hard. )

Crowley is a fun villain whether he is being downright chilling or chewing up the surrounding scenery. I think it would be interesting to have him conflicted. We saw that in Meg. I think it was subtle. She went from being a sinister demon zealot who questions why she just can't kill Sam and Dean and be done with it to teaming up with them out of self-preservation. And that motivation is something she maintains for quite a while even though I think, as time goes by, the cracks in this facade show more and more. It's subtle but it had to be there, too. Otherwise, we wouldn't have believed that Meg would sacrifice herself so that Sam and Dean can get away rather than smoke out to save herself. What an arc that was when you consider her way back in season one! So, it would be interesting to see a more conflicted Crowley and how everyone deals with that.

Poor Cas! I am looking forward to seeing how that goes, too.

(Can you tell I am looking forward to it all. But, by golly, I need to be strong and stay away from spoilers because they always, always, always give me expectations whether I think they will or not.)

Must. Be. Strong!!!!!

Thanks for posting your thoughts and I'm sorry for my delayed response.


Date: 2013-06-09 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frankie98.livejournal.com
Thank you. I don't feel you about Amelia, but I loved reading the sections on Sam and Dean's motivations and all the rest was very insightful and non-biased. It's a wonderful (not at all too-long) dissertation, thanks!

Date: 2013-06-11 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
I don't feel you about Amelia, but I loved reading the sections on Sam and Dean's motivations and all the rest was very insightful and non-biased.

Yeah, Amelia is a somewhat polarizing character. I don't think she was endearing at all and I don't think she was supposed to be. But, I did get where she was coming from and how she was as broken as Sam. And as much as I hate to see upset fans and whatnot, I do like that they create characters that make us think; that don't always fall into neat little boxes. Take Ruby, for example. I did spend a great deal of time trying to suss out whether she was on the up and up or just playing Sam. I waffled over her quite a bit. And even though I was 80% certain by the time Lucifer Rising came around that she was bad news and up to something, I was trying still trying work out her end game up to the very end. Now that truly was a long con and not something we had experienced much with demons before. (Sure, Azazel wins for the really long-term, "big picture" end game but there was never any doubt that he was bad news. LOL!)

Amelia was not as developed as all that but she had layers. (Even if they are layers most folks don't ever want to see again!)

It's true that she didn't have much chemistry with Sam but I can't even decide whether that was intentional or not; that it wasn't meant to be intentionally jarring just so we could see the "not rightness" under the idyllic picnic, sunshine, and cake. It could be that I am over thinking and reading too much into it but that's fun, too. I should go back and re-watch the beginning again to see if I can analyze it EVEN MORE ;)

I NEVER seem to tire of thinking about and sometimes finding time to talk about Sam and Dean's motivations. I am not sure that I have ever thought about two fictional characters more than I have thought about these two!!! I am also relieved that it came across as non-biased. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment (and spawn even more thinkie thoughts and, I don't know, a probable re-watch of the first half of the season...LOL!)
Edited Date: 2013-06-11 01:25 am (UTC)

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