After the jump, some positive thoughts--though maybe not in the sense one might expect.
[9x07 is so 1995]Solid stuff; it hit all the notes it meant to hit--got in, got out, did its thang, hit the road. And WOW was that old school, like somewhere between 1x03 and 1x18 levels of old school. There was some great, zany camerawork in this, which is also very old school SPN, and was much appreciated in this corner. <333
NOT TO SOUND LIKE A TOTAL CREEPER but the bathroom scene with Rosa was actually a thing on my wishlist. Not uh, the woman-dying-in-a-bathtumb thing, but the downward shot from the curtain rings thing, and the music, and actually just the shower curtain thing in general. I didn't even write these wishes down, SPN, how did you know!
I spent a decent portion of this episode gurgling. And maybe suffocating. Take that as you will. XP And this Dylan Everett fellow? He ROCKED this. I couldn't begin to enumerate all of his little kinesthetic tics, his expressions, and the way he held himself, but he was so Dean, he was SO young, he was just so--SO! He was Dean in a way that's really specific to Jensen Ackles, and I think that may have been the most haunting thing about the episode; I thought he was phenomenal. He sort of looked like a baby Robert Sean Leonard, but he acted Dean. I was just mentioning to brightly_lit how I can only REALLY really recognize JA as JA (or JA as Dean) when he is motion (in still photographs mostly I'm just like, yeah, sure, I can see that that is Jensen Ackles. I think. But IDK that doesn't really look like him, does it? Maybe it does?), so these kinds of things are my #1 as far as Dean goes, and imho Dylan Everett aced it.
Outside of bb!Dean's magical uncanniness, I think my biggest takeaway from this episode is...not the same takeaway I've seen on my flist/Twitter feed so far. Like, I loved the episode, but it didn't do for me what I think it's grand slammed for others. Mostly what this makes me realize is how much the structures of S1/S2 no longer serve SPN, nor who Sam and Dean are in the here and now, at the back end of 2013. It simultaneously is and is not "what SPN is about" (another moment of the haunting uncanny!). And as much as I enjoyed the throwback, what this really does for S9 is demonstrate how far afield this purported "core" really is.
Because what I think when Dean "gets lucky" is the number of times Sam's noticed it happening lately. What I think when "the story becomes the story" isn't just John. What I think when "sometimes you have to do what's good for you, even if it hurts your family" is not just the self-actualizing empowerment it was meant to awaken in a small haunted child; there are more twisted ways that phrase can arise/has arisen. What I think is that even in the isolation of upstate New York, in the closed system of a MotW case, these things don't have the privilege of being put neatly away. You can play around with old school all you want, but that's gone, and it's not coming back.
So as much a comfort as these forms may seem, sooner or later you're gonna have to realize that what you're playing with is actually a fetid, charcoal cinder of a ghost.
IN CONCLUSION, TONIGHT'S EPISODE: PRETTY GOOD. Awww, my heart! <3
TONIGHT'S EPISODE, IN THE CONTEXT of S9: PRETTY GOOD AND OH MY GOD, MY HEART, MY SPLEEN, MY STOMACH ACIDS. I CAN FEEL MY INSIDES NECROTIZING.
Other than that, I think narratively, the script itself felt a little nervous, but if I were Adam Glass this year I'd be nervous, too. XP Don't sweat it, dude--speaking from personal experience, the less time I spend on Twitter, the happier I tend to be! And I think the, hm, extreme self-consciousness of the script (lots of very straight interview-type interactions, from Sonny introducing the case to Timmy's explication of the drawings Sam found) in itself underscores exactly the feeling I've tried to describe above, so I rather like what that does for the ep analytically, even if I wouldn't personally have chose to write it that way.
I guess that's my long way of saying that I think S1/2 are comprised of really strong, mostly well-written, very iconic stand-alone episodes. But I also think that their character/emotional arcs were more one-note, in a way that simply cannot contain what later-season SPN is doing. I think S6 onward deals more complexly and more ambitiously with Sam and Dean than the early seasons did (or ever could have, since you need grounds before you can build up from them), albeit with a lesser degree of inter-episode...structural integrity? and less technical finesse. This is SO VERY MUCH a trade-off I'm on board with, because everything is just, ugh, completely fascinating, and just--well, more. And as a writer?
Also, on the topic of writing. A note on some preemptive 9x07 wank: ['Is that made up? That sounds made up.']So Dean didn't know what a rugaru was in 4x04, yet hunted one at some point in the past, says 9x07. Continuity issue? If you want.
But speaking from experience, human memory is basically just one big continuity issue. To my mind, they did the hunt, the same way they did hundreds of other hunts--so they light some flesh-eating, humanoid...thing on fire, the same way they do to quite a few other things in the supernatural world (like wendigo, for instance). Many decades and a trip to Hell later, "rugaru" comes up again, and WOW IT DOES SOUND MADE UP. At which point Dean redacts and thinks, huh, so that's what that thing was, that one time during that one year in that one state. And from then on carries a modified, more informed version of one of many similar memories. Voila! Of course, I also have this bizarre, huge, OTP love for Dean and completely harmless, unportentious, non-H/C slippage/obfuscation of memory. So really I'm just serving my own interests here, lolz. I'm so not even kidding; if in the future you read a fic I write, and Dean is in it, watch for this trope and I can almost assure you it will be there, and it will not be a plot point or an even remotely relevant detail. But it'll be there. XD