Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,

My super Dean-centric review of 9x02.

Because this is America, I feel obligated to assess whether every picnic table scene after 1967 is a reference to Cool Hand Luke. 9x02's answer?

His body language tells all. That and he definitely hasn't ingested nearly enough eggs. But anyway. Random hunters! Demonic regime change! Oblique (and not so oblique?) S4 references! The camera holding dramatically on nearly static scenes! :D

Of course, I don't understand why Dean bothered calling Irv--why not just call Garth and let him disseminate this? And why call any hunter about angels falling, period? Tracy was strangely kempt, in a way that's unusual for even SPN's women, versus CW women at large. Which is too bad, because I'm rather a fan of the 'wow, you look like shit' aesthetic everyone else has got going on right now. :( I'd love to see her back, though, if only to give her a reason for existing, because she didn't quite manage that in her stint just now.

And what's with the References to Torture? Which was probably the weirdest part of the episode to me; that is, Dean and Sam's conversation on the picnic table, not-a-reference-to-Cool Hand Luke notwithstanding.

Dean's explanation of Crowley's continued existence as "What would Sam Winchester do?" did not seem particularly well thought out on Dean's part. But I guess when you suddenly realize you can't just say "Well, I thought I might need him to save you, Sam" you gotta make do with whatever comes out of your mouth. Except for the part when Sam is just like, yeah I would've just killed him, dude, and that throws you for another loop all over again. (WHICH WORKS SO WELL WITH THE CROWLEY DELETED SCENE FROM 8x23.)

But to come back with "Well, I thought we could torture him for info" was even weirder than Dean's initial cover, since Dean has a lot more experience with torture than Sam ever will, uh. XP

If you keep saying weird things, Dean, it's not going to take very long for Sam to catch on. (This, added to "Yeah, I just drove around with you for a day!" and later, "Yup I killed all those demons, no prob." is not making for the best track record with this.)

But the narrative continues in this vein even without Dean's help, keeping him well abreast of anything torture-related--Crowley attributes torture to Sam ("putting the SAM into S&M"), and Abaddon threatens Dean with the opportunity to feel infant blood dripping down his chin, or whatever.

This could all be chalked up to lazy writing continuity, sure. But the elision being asserted three times in the span of single episode is honestly more tantalizing to me than aggravating. What's going on with this? Because color me interested.

And then it just gets even more interesting to me because of the way it plays into

Dean's Stupid Speeches, though one of them did make Kevin cry, and Kevin's sad face is so, so sad. :( Half of Dean's dialogue in this episode is dedicated to reiterating the same palliative verbiage to anyone who will listen. He's keeping everyone together, and making sure nothing flies of the handle, and all things considered, he's doing a pretty good job. But what in the name of god are you even saying, Dean? (AKA My mantra for the whole episode.)

-- He tells Tracy to lay off on Sam, because he's not the only one who did wrong hoping it was right, you need to know who the real enemies (i.e. monsters) are, etc. Which, obviously, is mostly about himself and his own recent actions. But I think that reading is a little simplistic, given the number of times Dean has taken the opportunity to align himself with the monstrous (his admission to Veritas in 6x06, the cinematographic mirrorwork coupled with this conversation with Amy in 7x03, his assessment of Purgatory in S8). Food for thought.

-- He tells Kevin they're family, which BAHAHAHA NO sir, you are wrong, Crowley is right, he and Sam are definitely abusing Kevin's abilities and not caring for his person as deeply as he needs to be cared for. And anything you say contrary to that, Dean, is wrong. I'm not convinced the Winchesters quite understand how wrong they are about this, but given that they're not even able to extend the same care to themselves, and barely to each other, it's not like it's nefarious, willful neglect. They actually just can't be that for Kevin.

And I don't really think Kevin believes that they can; but I do believe that whatever lame speech Dean does offer him did him some genuine good, too. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

I hope you get more, Kevin.

-- And then Dean offers Sam consolation of a similar vein. Which is only interesting with the respect to the other two times Dean offered the same story earlier on in the episode. And, of course, with respect to how glaringly apart it was from

Dean's conversation with Ezekiel. Which was lovely in its wariness, suspicion, relief, self-castigation. Dean's response to Ezekiel's simple "but you did it out of love" justification was beautifully nuanced in ways I cannot articulate with words, though I can indeed comment on Dean's garbled "not the love thing blah blah" which I took to mean, he's not actually sure anymore if he gave Sam to Ezekiel out of love, or something else. In any case, I think it's fascinating that even as he's failed to couch his Questionable Moral Choices in the self-righteous "it had to be done" mentality he usually adopts, he's still using that skill to keep everyone else from falling apart. Eeeevery one but himself.

And then of course I need to mention the Dean/Abaddon scene because if I don't, then what kind of Dean H/Cer am I, seriously. There are a lot of scenes I've watched multiple times now, but this one is the top-rated of them all. I've seen similar comments floating around by others, so I don't think I need to go into the how and why of this scene's Awesome. The end.

I do, however, feel like I should mention Abaddon's line about being "suicidally stupid." Which, first off, true. But more than that, it clinched the bizarre S4 vibes I was getting throughout the entire episode (from Tracy's fresh opposition to Sam's bygone Boy Kinghood, to the elisions wrt Dean and Hell/torture, to Abaddon's army vs. the one Lilith commanded back in the day).

Flash back for a moment to 4x15, "Death Takes a Holiday." That's the episode where people mysteriously stop dying due to supernatural intervention... hey, kind of like Sam in 9x02! While Sam and Dean are gravedigging, Dean expresses his uncertainty that their muddling around with this apparent "miracle" is the suitable course of action.

Sam: lol, u so funny, there's no way this apparent miracle is kosher, man.
Dean: :|
Sam: You went to Hell, I have demon blood in me, we're exceptional and where have you been for the last four seasons to suddenly be so averse to this, I reiterate, there's no way this apparent miracle is kosher--

After an altercation with Alistair, this quickly devolves into Sam keeping demon blood secrets from Dean, and Dean being moody about it. Flash forward to 9x02, and Dean is keeping angel secrets from Sam and being moody about it, yadda yadda.

But the point is, Dean explains all of this to Tracy as "being human," even as--as Abaddon terms it--their suicidal stupidity is a clear gesture towards their being special. They're not part of the natural order, patently so in Sam's case atm. And somehow, the fact that Dean's endless repetition of things contrary to this fact--all this shit is just a part of being human, Tracy; we're a family Kevin, not two cosmically fucked hunters and a Prophet of the Lord; there's nothing wrong with you, Sam!--only invigorate the paradox.

And that thing's already harnessed the power of a hydrogen bomb.

To close, I love the drawn-out apprehension of the last scene in the episode. It is my favorite kind of everything. And as a Dean H/Cer, I feel obligated to note that when Sam looks Dean over, his gaze flicks first to the whiskey, and then up along the rest of Dean, before resting on his countenance.

Be still my heart.

jfc, This episode was so bad, but more than anything, so so good. It's the kind of episode that makes me want to watch it again, makes me want to write eight billion tag fics proceeding from as many different aspects of it, and makes me want to clip show S4/S2 hunting down back references, as well as relevant points of comparison to bring up in said tag fics. I feel like I actually have truly interesting thoughts about this episode--and they are LEGION no less--regardless of how poorly I've managed to articulate them here... :( So again, if you had a reaction post to 9x02, please link me? I will keep up with these on my own as of 9x03, I swear! I'm just late to the party this week!

Anyway, thinky eps are so my kind of episode. <3 Come to me, S9. Come to me.
Tags: fandom: spn, i can't watch tv like a normal person, spn s9 reviews

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