May 1st, 2016

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2x10/2x12/10x22 -- That's a lot of 10s and 2s!

I've always been on the fence about what Sam did to Gordon Walker at the end of 2x10 "Hunted"--mostly because I like Gordon Walker a lot more than Sam does. (Which isn't to say Sam's wrong--I mean, the guy did try to snipe him. And tried to blow him up--twice. And kidnapped his brother. And was, you know, mean and patronizing even before all that. XD) But in the past, I've never quite been able to tell whether, narratively, that moment where Gordon gets tagged by the cops and nailed for being a gun-toting yahoo with a mega-cache of illicit weaponry and weird occult objects was supposed to be smug and triumphal or not.

I'm not personally a fan of that kind of move in writing, because it risks feeling so obviously like some kind of petty, love-your-darlings revenge-aggression the author's taking out on the villains. Overstacking the deck in favor of the hero, as it were. Whenever that happens in stories, it always leaves a bad taste my mouth. :\

To clarify, I've never actually felt like 2x10 went that far; SPN's really good about that. I mean, if anything, SPN's prevailing tendency is to do the exact opposite. XD

And I think that's what makes this last scene in 2x10 so powerful in the context of S2, but also within the sprawl that is SPN overall, with all the force of eleven seasons now implicated within it.

[If you're hazy on which scene I'm talking about: Gordon Walker has failed to kill Sam, kidnapped Dean, and is trying to lure Sam into blowing himself up. Sam does not get blown up, saves Dean, and spares Gordon--but it turns out he's already called the cops on Gordon, who's swiftly apprehended when he comes out shooting off his rifle like crazed yahoo. And Sam's like, haha, anonymous tip. And Dean's like, haha, two for you, Glen Coco. We see Gordon surrendering, and the cops finding all the hunting shit in his car.]

That scene--well, it's a little bit about smugly getting one over on Gordon. It is.

But it also positions Sam and Dean as much with him as it does against him. The scene's less about vindication than it's about terror (or maybe hunting terroir, heh).

In this moment of canon, both Sam and Dean are struggling with how much of Gordon they can feel in themselves--whether it's Sam trying to figure out Azazel's plan for him, whether he's capable of murder (answer: yes, though in fairness Jake killed him first), or Dean tailspinning in front of him. But alongside that, and perhaps even more than that, there's also that slow-burn issue of being in trouble with the law. Soon after this scene, 2x12 "Nightshifter" puts them exactly in Gordon's place x1000. What makes this even more interesting is the things Sam used to get Gordon in trouble were exactly the things he shares with them. After all, his capture was more about his randomly shooting guns in abandoned warehouses and carting around a bunch of firearms than it was about his having shanked the Electric Boy, or trying to snipe Sam. (Additionally, we'll find in 3x12 that at the other side of the spectrum, Sam and Dean also have more in common with Henricksen than not. Hell, that's already true from Henricksen's brief introduction in 2x12.)

Anyway, there's just something really striking about this Gordon Walker scene for me. And it doesn't just boil down to "blurred boundaries between good and evil, hero and villain" etc. etc. etc. Because yeah, yeah, whatever. There is a more interesting particularity to the scene in context than just that, or just "well, there's this archetype called 'the antihero...'"

I can't put my finger on it, but the way we watch Gordon being apprehended, truck inspected, his whole life coming crashing down; and the way that tracks with Dean scanning the perimeter of that bank in Milwaukee, and watching it dawn on his face exactly how many cops, feds, and SWAT teams are outside for them; and frankly, the way both of these things layer onto 10x22 and Dean's arrest, and aggressive escape, and subsequent massacre of the Styne family--for me, all this acts beyond that, or more particularly than that.

I'm not talking about the bland generality of murky moralities, inner turmoil, antiheroics, or (dis)(honorable)vigilantism. All that's like, again, whatever. XP I I haven't articulated this well, though. Just know that I think this is more than that, and we'll work on the whole articulation thing.

For now, in short, <3333333333333333333333333333333.