On the other hand, I'm also sure SPN is also the only reason I ever get anything done/get through anything. I have these vague recollections of Hellatus life before S10 and that interstice between summer and Show, and it sucked!!
I've never been in love, but I imagine THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE.
Some bullet points:
[10x07 - this got stupidly long]* Like Cole, Rowena is just off-kilter from the usual Evil Witch Brigade (and/or Vengeful Action Man Brigade) to be supremely interesting in ways I was not expecting. And all the girls in this episode? Same. In these micromoments that were just so, so effective.
* Speaking of Cole, if that's where we leave him, super disappointing. But I want to say that not knowing what kind of monster his father was should keep him in the game--even if the point of not killing Dean was to allow him to go home. Dean and Constance Welch have said it best: You're in too deep. You can never go home.
* Hannah and the vessels and akjfakljal;kfja;kfjak;j all of that. And her husband also being a hair's breadth away from being Spurned Lover Brigade. It's weird, I know, but seeing someone so desperately sure of their partner, and completely disbelieving of their sudden turn, immune to the idea that "you don't know her as well as you thought you did," is really refreshing, and a move I general reserve for "classy, you have to pay for this channel" TV. <3
* Also, for all you D/C shippers, the profound loneliness Cas's seen conveyed when he dropped Caroline off at her house and looked to his empty passenger's seat reminded me so very much of 5x22, when Sam was gone and then when Dean blinked, Cas was gone, too. ;( <3333
* So, there are mytharc episodes and MotW episodes--but I think more useful to me is the sense that there are character episodes, form episodes, and story episodes. 10x03 was a character episode, because what was so good about it was all the Sam/Dean stuff. 10x06 was a story episode, because its strength was the story it wanted to tell, then and there. 10x07 was kind of a character episode, and kind of a story episode, and kind of a mytharc episode (inasmuch as Cole and Rowena and Cas's Grace/the Novaks are global mytharc pieces, but the soul brothel was sort of a case), but more than anything it was a form episode.
We have strange alignments structuring the episode (parenthood -- Cole and his father, Rowena as Crowley's mother, as the potential teacher-mother to her girls, Jimmy as Claire's father; lovers (in its most liberal definition) -- Caroline and Joe, Hannah and Castiel, Sam and Dean, Dean and Shaylene). And as I said before, the episode itself is built on peripatetic rupture. There's a lot going on, and most of it doesn't logically follow from one instance into the next, which makes it feel even more meandering. And no, obviously, there's very little sense of cohesion here between Rowena and Cole and the brothel demons and Crowley's Hell and Caroline and Joe and Hannah and Castiel and Dean getting laid and Dean and Sam and Dean's unsalvageability and rogue angels and whatever else was going on.
But there are many forms of storytelling, and not all of them take cohesion as their point. That's just not what this was written to be. And I'm not saying that everything SPN has even done to move the story along and make room for MotWs and whatever else it needs to do across its 23 episodes was a good idea, or intentional, but intent is so not the point in the first place. In the second place, you meet a story on its own terms. 10x07's term is "rupture": Almost everyone had the rug pulled out from under them today. Dean doesn't get to shag Shaylene, Cole finds out (and takes rather well) Dean is no longer a demon, Rowena gets captured (and her girls don't take to her), Crowley meets his mom, Hannah literally ruptures with her vessel, Castiel confronts the emptiness of his mission, and Sam hears from his brother's mouth not...surprising things so much as things that make clear what dealing with Dean is probably going to be like. These are not stories you tell in Aristotelian unities.
What I'm really interested in right now is this idea of the story, and the Point A to Point B that's definitely been roughhoused since S5 and its discussion of Fate and Free Will and whatnot, but and certainly across S6-9 was basically just slithering at the margins, XD, but is now coming down to its knees with a gun in its face. I'm still thinking about the CGI Impala scene from the end of 10x06, where Sam looks down at the car and then out the window, and we pan out to the unreality of this car on the road. And I want to put that in conversation with Dean's speech to Cole at the end of 10x07.
Generally speaking, I think Dean's speeches are always full of shit (telling Kevin that he was family? his pep talk to the girls in 10x05? unpopular opinion but those just aren't moments that felt truthful to me). And Dean talking to Cole here didn't really feel any different; I don't believe Dean's earnestness and I can't actually take the way he talks about most things as a viable means of interpreting truths about the world. To me, it's always performative, and more than a little hypernarrativized.
So like, Dean telling Cole things, doing the whole gun thing, blah blah whatever, Dean. Whatever you say, bro. XP
But at the same time, I will always believe Dean at the level of self-referential subtext. (That is, moments when he says "Nobody cares that you're broken!" to Cas in S7, but he's actually just talking to himself. When he says Tasha is "in too deep, and there's no coming back from that" and is again just talking to/about himself.)
In this scene we have those same self-referential sentiments at play, but they are the text, rather than the subtext. And I don't know what it is about that, but it's totally throwing me! It's blowing my mind, really. Because I'm simultaneously just like, "you and your speechifying are so full of shit, Dean" but also "I unerringly trust you on this topic, Dean." (Which probably seems like small potatoes but this whole deal is extremely close to the core of what I love about Dean and what interests me about Show, so give me a break here. XD)
It's not that Dean's never said things like this directly before, but idk, for me Dean talking to Sam is a very different thing from Dean talking to just about anyone else.
So anyway, in an attempt to regain some semblance of clarity. The part I found most interesting about Dean's interaction with Cole right here was this idea that he attempts to connect with Cole on the basis of having "a story," or a master narrative--a story that structures, that provides impetus, that makes cogent whatever's happening in the world. And the fallibility of that story. (Cole's story, the one he's been living about Dean and his father. But also Dean's story (AKA Mr. Hypernarrativized)--not the story of John Winchester's crusade, not the story of the nobility of hunting, not the story of the Apocalypse and the Righteous Man, or even Cain's story, or any of the other-authored stories "free will" rails against and endeavors to protect you from, but Dean's story. The one he wrote.)
And I'm thinking of that, again, with respect to the painted Impala driving off into a painted dusk, and Sam looking out the window onto this, and I am really, really interested in seeing where this takes us. And our boys. <3