Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,
Kalliel
kalliel

14x06 "Optimism" Redux

I had this grand plan to rewatch S14 up to this point during our hiatus week, but I ended up putting over 36 hours into my dissertation over the course of three days instead. Dx And then yesterday I celebrated the holiday/turning in a draft by mainlining the first five episodes of Firefly. <3

And then I was going to start with 14x02 and go chronologically, since I’ve already rewatched 14x01, but I’d already gone a whole week without Dean and I was just like, nope nope can’t do it I’ll go backwards instead. XP

I know I already talked about 14x06 at length, and in fact pretty much got all my Dean for this episode out of the way, lol, but!! I WOULD BE REMISS IF I DID NOT SAY

DEAN

DEANDEANDEANDEANDEAN before continuing.

If the last 14x06 was all my thinky angsty thoughts, let this post be the "everything else I loved about this episode!"

First we have some vaguely thinky angsty thoughts.

SAD SAM DDDD:
I also got most of my Sam out of the way in my previous 14x06 post, but can I just beseech someone to go help him out? Like, omg, save him. I love that both Sam and Dean are full willing to let complete randos join them in their escapades (or force them to—shoutout to Kaya) but letting Jack out without an entire angel in tow? Nope, not gonna happen. Not only does Sam not trust Jack hunting alone (understandable, even before the Maggie incident), but Sam’s palpable dismay at the thought of Jack and Dean off on a hunt is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Hilarious because gosh Sam, is your assessment of Jack’s abilities really that low? THAT’S SO LOW. You let him come on a hunt with demons capable of kidnapping an angel! And heartbreaking because yeah, I get it. Sam doesn’t want to lose him. Sam can’t lose anyone right now. Sam doesn’t even want Jack hunting with Dean, who is arguably Jack’s best protection; but it’s Dean Sam is worried about, which means Sam sees Dean with Jack as being riskier than Dean just by himself. I just want to echo my assessment of Sam’s headspace from the last post and note that Sam’s really scared right now.

I imagine it’s easy for him to imagine a scenario where Jack is in danger and Dean throws himself on the line to protect him. It’d give him a convenient reason to be the martyr. Maybe chase redemption, get his lashes for letting Michael wreak havoc on their world—without making it too obvious that’s what he was doing. It’s not as though Sam doesn’t have data to draw projections from.

I think working through and living with that particular family of fears is what’s driven Sam toward everything he’s done so far this season, from running Summer Camp for AU Refugees to being so insistent Charlie stay. (Having played a key role in getting the original Charlie killed definitely isn’t helpful to his headspace, either.)

But anyway, there were so many little lovely things that I adore about this episode!

JACK SORT OF TRANSCENDING THE FOURTH WALL WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT!!!
The genre-awareness of Jack commenting on how weird it was that the guy’s obituary so conveniently referenced the exact cafe he liked to eat at. The zaaaany romantic music cues coupled with Harper’s dewy sensitive eyes. The scene where Harper is (feigning) panic as she tries to find the right keys for the library—such a classic scene in horror/drama, SPN included—until Jack’s just like “lol the door is unlocked you were supposed to go back to work remember??”

Jack may not have his nephilim powers within the narrative, but I love that at the meta level he is very much God’s little prodigy, posing at the boundaries of that fourth wall. <3333

RANDOM ENDEARING BACKGROUND EPHEMERA!!!
And the stage business/set design, too! THAT ACCUSATORY GLASS ROOSTER IS MY FAVORITE ROOSTER, and Dean turning its glare away from himself was the cutest. XD Shoutout to Constitution Waitress as well, for being an awesome bit waitress even though her role in the story did not particularly require it. Also Harper’s hipster “amore” sign, which was a nice touch. I also loved that when Dead Guy #2 gets offed, Dean is plausibly the only one in town who heard the commotion because there were construction workers fixing the road in the background. It made it seem like there were indeed actually people working and living in this nutty town (in spite of not recognizing the zombie in their midst), but that there were also reasonable reasons no one heard the scream.

THE FAMILY BUSINESS!!!
This episode was so much about the minutiae of how hunting works—not necessarily what its stakes were, or the ways it can hurt (though Sam and Charlie touch on that a bit), but the actual practicalities of it—the interviews, the haphazardness of the monster kill methods, the sitting and reading and waiting and sitting and sitting and sitting. The kinds of things Jack is still learning. And because he’s actively thinking about all of this, that attention ends up bleeding into the POV of the episode in ways that I really enjoy. And Jack is actually really good at doing bits!! Which is definitely not something he learned from Castiel on their hunting trips together, so it’s nice to know that Sam and Dean rubbed off on him over the course of S13. Also... LOL at “But if she is, I need to know everything there is to know about sex. Go.”

Absolute gold.

I’ll talk about this more when I talk about 14x05, probably, but GOOD LORD can you imagine the way Jack and Castiel’s hunts panned out? What kind of bad hunting habits did Jack pick up from Castiel (even as I’m sure he also learned lots of actually useful things)? Because Castiel is…not good… at the whole hunting thing. Not at MOTW-type hunts. He’s just not, and honestly I don’t think he really tries to be, most of the time. Surely there must be some stories there.

Also, shoutout to the fact that Dean, after getting bowled over by a zombie on a mission (NOT getting attacked by a zombie), somehow managed to get to Harper’s apartment just before Vance did. Did he Find My iPhone Jack’s location, once he determined the zombie was probably headed to Harper’s apartment? Did he track the zombie to the apartment building, then out of the corner of his eye see Harper’s mailbox and her door number, such that he could sprint up the stairs and get there right before Vance? And then not only did he run all the way back across town, he also stopped at the car to get a full-on shotgun and silver handcuffs before sneaking into the library via a back entrance. Did he find that entrance right then, or did he already note it when they went to the library the first time, and file that information away? He probably didn’t know for sure Jack and Harper were headed back to the library (unless he saw Vance pick up the library book) until right before they got there, so evidently he trusted Jack enough to be able to keep himself and Harper safe in the few minutes it’d take him to get the appropriate supplies. Granted, he didn’t have much of a choice, but still. There’s some trust there.

I did pick up on the fact that Dean spent all this time running around and didn’t seem to have time to wonder why there was a zombie there in the first place. In past dead-raising encounters, that’s been his first question: “WHO THE FUCK DID THIS.” Shoutout to his look of faint surprise/betrayal when he realizes Harper is on the zombie’s side. I wonder—if he’d suspected Harper before then, would the order of his actions have changed? e.g. nab Jack first with whatever weapons they have on their persons, and THEN go to the car to finish the job?

On the upside, I’m sure the Lebanon post office knows Sam and Dean and their crew pretty well by now, so the letter Harper sent will likely get to Jack eventually. I’m sure there’s all kinds of tracking spells you can do with someone’s handwriting, something they touched, something they licked. Were Jack not busy coughing up blood and dying, I imagine at a later date he would quietly and perfunctorily dispense of Harper off-screen.

On the topic of tying up loose ends, I assume that while Sam and Charlie were discussing whether or not Charlie’s arc resembles the musca’s, they were on their way back from dropping off their victim guy at the ER, and were planning to go back to that warehouse and clean up all the dead human bodies as well as the dead FLY MAN body. SURELY THEY WEREN’T JUST LEAVING THAT ALL BEHIND… XP

Props to the musca for having the presence of mind to try to blend in by dressing up as a goth beekeeper and carrying a suitcase filled with cloths drenched in chloroform.



I mean, sure, there isn’t a single word of that that isn’t extraordinarily suspicious, but if you’re a fly man and you’re not well-versed in human culture, think of how much research it must have taken him to decide that that was going to be his go-to! I’ll bet he watched one of those Cold War era sci-fi movies with fly men in it that also featured hard-boiled detectives and decided, yup, that’s gonna be me! I love him so much. <33333

MONSTER FUNERAL!!!!
And finally, last but not least, words cannot describe how much I adore that the musca came and fetched their boy—they brought a stretcher and everything. They didn’t just drag his body off—they came en masse to act as pallbearers. I love that that’s the image we got as Sam was talking about god knows what and the goodness of the universe and how people aren’t fundamentally animals who will go batshit the moment things go south: Monsters caring for their dead.

Monsters observing ritual, valuing the lives of their kin, and honoring their dead.

In 1x03 of Firefly, Shepherd Book says, “How we treat our dead is part of what 
makes us different than those that did the slaughtering,” in explanation of why he wants to administer rites to people who’d been killed by reavers (which in the Firefly world are mindless, violent, torturous monsters-who’d-once-been-human).

But in a world still trying to convince itself of the goodness of humanity and the power of that goodness, what we see is monsters tending to their slaughtered dead. <3



ETA: Forgot this note. Please no negativity or spoilers beyond 14x06 (or, in the case of this particular post, the 14x07 trailer. I couldn't help myself...)
Tags: #2, fandom: spn, spn x
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