Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,

14x05 "Nightmare Logic"

Let me start this off by saying—

I mean that in the very best of ways! Mary gonna be who she’s gonna be. In some ways she’s always going to be a drifter of sorts (and we knew that from the Asa Fox flashbacks), even as she really is interested in forming attachments and maybe settling down, in time—Ketch, she wanted for sex, and for some form of human attachment that didn’t require quite so much baggage as Sam and Dean. Because say what you will, I don’t fault her for not immediately loving Sam and Dean deeply and intensely and as her own children. Blood doesn’t make family, and I think in a lot of ways her circumstance of being plucked from the dead 30+ years later, to a world where her husband was dead and her children were grown without her, precluded her from every really having that relationship with them, rather than making it possible.

But man, she wants Bobby, and she seems to want to make a go of some semblance of post-Apocalypse, post-war civilian life with him. If her marriage to John had been as rocky as Dean never quite admitted, I feel like Bobby feels like her second chance as a young young widow. (But maybe she feels more like a divorcee, since for her, John had this long life after the life she’d shared that she’s learned only through hearsay. You don’t usually get what as a widow.)

And here she is wanting to escape off to some cabin with Bobby that Sam had to arrange for her, in the middle of all these AU world people who need tending to, and a literal world-hungry Archangel in the wind. Mary don’t care. Sure, she’ll help save the world if the time comes; she’s not going to ignore that. But before that? Nah. EVEN AS SHE KEEPS MAKING GESTURES AS THOUGH SHE CARES MORE THAN THAT. And I do think she cares a little. But she’s not capable of fully committing, and I don’t think in spite of the last two seasons she and Sam and Dean will ever have a deeper relationship than they currently have. Because instead of forming it, Mary keeps feeling like she needs to play catchup—like they should have more than they do. But it’s like realizing you haven’t prepped for class and then having to spend more time covering for your failing than learning. And Sam and Dean, for their parts, have basically just settled. They will always care what happens to her, but they’re not looking for anything from her. Not anymore. So yeah, go to your cabin. Be happy. Whatever.

And oh man, it makes me so uncomfortable when she touches them. XD At the Rawling house, she makes a grab for Sam when leading him away from Bobby’s accusations to talk, and back in the bunker before leaving to Cabinland she grabs Dean, too. I don’t think it makes either of them uncomfortable—they probably don’t think much of it, and Dean did give her a hug afterward to affirm her—but it sure makes me uncomfortable. Because like I said before, it always feels like Mary has this sense that she needs to/wants to perform a deeper relationship that isn’t there.

Also, if I were Sam, I’d be annoyed at all these people telling him how Meant For the hunting life he is, because they’re only reiterating a script he’d been trying to escape for half his life, and a script that had played a dramatic role in his first encounter with Michael and Lucifer during Apocalypse: The First Movie. I feel like Mary or Bobby telling Sam he’s made for hunting is very different from Sam’s long process of committing to the job himself. Even if they mean it as affirmation—like Bobby, for instance, who critiques Sam’s attempts to act as a hub and leader for the AU crew, only to come around in the end in saying “oh, you’re better for this job than I was. Peace!” It just seems weird, coming from people who seem so eager to life that life behind.

And it’s probably pretty messed up for Sam to be hearing this all from Bobby, because for all that Sam had a mutually loving relationship with Original Recipe Bobby, it wasn’t without its hangups. (Sam doesn’t know this, but I’ll never forget it—Bobby did confess under Veritas that Dean was his favorite.) More to the point, Sam once thought in 5x01 that Bobby was for real, and not possessed, when he told Sam to “lose his number.” We know it was Meg, not Bobby, but that doesn’t change the fact Sam was willing to believe that was something Bobby secretly felt. D: Anyway, the role Sam is stepping into with the AU crew and the supplying of lore and the backup on call and the check-ins—that was, of course, OG Bobby’s role. So AU Bobby basically telling him he was shit at it probably sucked more than usuall, and then AU Bobby telling him that Sam was meant for the life while he wasn’t was probably an emotional brain-teaser in itself, since we see with his interactions with Charlie it’s difficult for Sam to separate his relationships with the OG and AU versions of his friends.

I feel like that overall weirdness with random people telling him how much he’s meant for hunting (while they aren’t) definitely plays a role in Sam’s desire to reel Charlie in and get her to stay, instead of letting her leave the life and go live on her mountaintop—something both Sam and Dean have been only too willing to let others attempt at various points (Alex, Cesar and his beau JESSE, that psychic child Ketch killed MAGDA, etc.).

DEAN, YOU’RE DOING AMAZING, HONEY (but also a tiny fuck you too, probably)
Then of course Sam has Dean, who can only make things more difficult, in spite of his ardently genuine best efforts not to. While Dean is clearly not interested in leading any armies—of hunters or otherwise—he’s only gently dismissive of the project, and then not because he thinks it’s doomed and Sam is shit at it, but because 1) it’s too much for one person, and that person happens to be someone Dean actually cares about (Sam), and 2) these people did survive a war. He keeps saying things like “you kids have fun out there” so clearly he recognizes their learning curve re: hunting, but he’s right that they’re survivors. They can figure their shit out. Probably. And as much as Dean is concerned that Sam is overextending himself, he’s not about sharing that burden. XP Which is probably healthy behavior in the long run, but still isn’t helpful to Sam in this moment.

Especially because even though Dean is supportive (if perhaps as gently supportive as he is gently dismissive) he’s also still exhibiting a little of that flight reflex that everyone else seems to have caught and Sam can’t do anything about. (Mary and Bobby want to leave, Charlie wants to leave. Dean wants to interact with the AU crew as little as possible rather than join Sam on this project; and then wants to do a solo run to check on Mary and Bobby; and then goes on a hunt alone/with Jack; and [spoilers for the preview for 14x07]then takes a joyride with Jack.)

It’s not that Dean has this huge desire to leave or to abandon Sam (never)—but his actions are also not making a strong case for being indelibly committed to staying. And I feel like anything short of indelible, Sam can’t trust right now. Sam can’t even trust that if Dean does wander away with the rest of them, it will have been Dean’s choice. That’s the real anxiety of not knowing Michael’s play, or the nature of his leaving/potential to return.

Especially given the djinn’s reaction to searching around in Dean’s head. That was the reaction of a mind-reading monster who appears to have stumbled on a hidden nugget he shouldn’t have. (I would also like to LOL and point out that I think for last year’s summergen, one of my prompts was “A shapeshifter or other mind-reading monster tries to go after Sam or Dean and gets fucked over by the sheer trauma stuffed inside them. THEY’RE TOO RICH FOR ITS BLOOD.” XDDDD) While I love that idea, I feel like Michael being secreted away somewhere wily and deep within Dean is a bit more likely, and I loooooooove that potential. For an angel—particularly one of Michael’s stature—to be able to hide so well (because of course they tested for this shit, especially Castiel) is pretty terrifying. Honestly, I’ll be sad if this is not the case. But those are ruminations for another day—probably one closer to the mid-season finale.

I do wanna talk more about this djinn, who seems like such a low-level grunt in the world of djinn. Like, all his djinn pals probably hate him and think he’s their weakest link. Because djinn aren’t part of the Judeo-Christian mythos, I feel like the bulk of them don’t give a shit about Michael or any of that. (It took the better part of an Apocalypse to get all those non-Judeo-Christian gods into a room together for “Hammer of the Gods.”) They just do their monstery thing.

But Michael found the one djinn willing to bite at what he was peddling—the power to spin nightmares beyond the realm of the mind.

Do you think Michael phrased it like, “Have you ever wanted to be a tulpa?” When in actuality, the model Michael had in mind was his brother, Gabriel.

Gabriel, of course, could create things out of his own mind—entire universes. Far more than just bringing some nightmares over to the corporeal realm. But Michael knows this djinn doesn’t have his brother’s imagination.

We know this too, given that the djinn had such a limited view of horror, and how horror works. It’s not actually the monsters that are truly horrifying, but what they represent. This djinn didn’t understand that. The fear of dying alone and unloved, per Rawling? Djinn can’t relate. If the djinn had stuffed a vision of Sasha’s mother, dead the way 12-year old Sasha found her, that would have cut far deeper than some vampire. The vampire scared Sasha, but it didn’t hurt her. Not in the way that true horror would have. Nightmares are personal, and horror is always more than the monster that animates it.

I think that djinn was only just on the cusp of recognizing that. He made vampires because he got a sense of their importance to Maggie’s familial trauma—but then he sic’d them on Sasha without realizing that horror wouldn’t translate. Then he got to Bobby, and understood that in addition to the nightmare of a kid with his eyes burned out, it had something to do with Bobby’s relationship to his son, with Bobby’s feeling that he had failed as a parent. The djinn was beginning to figure out that these dimensions of relationality were key to horror, somehow.

That’s my hypothesis as to why Mary could shoot Daniel without him collapsing into dust as the others had. As the nightmares became more grounded in the personal horrors they conjured, they became more difficult to kill—and only the originator of the nightmare could banish it.

The djinn was as much an experiment, in that sense, as were Michael’s previous failed creations. He went with the weakest djinn—the most suggestible, the most expendable—in order to see how its powers might play out. I like to think of that as Michael using his resources wisely, but I wonder if it doesn’t also speak to Michael’s attachment to dominion. Of always wanting to ensure he is the most powerful. I feel like even if you’re an archangel, giving a monster the power to read minds and create nightmares is like playing with fire, even if you’re pretty sure you can smite him faster than he can turn on you. Michael is not so different from Lucifer in that regard—Lucifer who created demons and spurned God’s favorite creations. Michael also isn’t willing to raise humans (or monsters) above him. Or anywhere close. Maybe the only difference was, when God created humans, Lucifer was honest, and voiced his displeasure. Michael held his tongue.

Maybe that's Michael's weakness--why Michael will never be God. He's not willing to create something greater and bigger than himself. (At the risk of going full ESG on you, this is something Sam has demonstrated he is very much willing to do, in a very human way, in creating the AU Crew.)

Because imagine if this djinn had been a little more ambitious, a little more attuned to the powers he’d been given but had not even remotely begun to master. He could have brought Michael to life—stuffed the real Dean away and made it seem as though this were happening irrespective of the case they were trying to work. That Michael just up and took Dean back. Sam probably wouldn’t have shot Dean to discover that the nightmare could be turned to dust. It would have been a whole different ball game.

But maybe this djinn didn’t feel such things were at his leisure. Aside from being the lowest common denominator of djinns already, I mean—maybe it’s gauche to spin nightmares in Michael’s image. Like, you’re not supposed to look upon the image of God, nor his likenesses. You’re not supposed to create images of Michael, to whom you owe your power.

And Dean being able to kill the djinn with an eagle bookend and a gun, instead of a knife dipped in lamb’s blood? I’m sure if that hadn’t worked, Dean would have kept at it until he had a bloody pulp into which he could later stick a knife dipped in lamb’s blood. But clearly that was not necessary.

I think that’s probably the downside of accepting Michael’s power boost—adding angelic Grace gives, but it also takes away. Makes you less of the monster you were, and therefore less tied to the myths that made you. In one sense you are lifted from the shackles of your destiny—this is your lot in life, this is what can kill you—but in another you’re made vulnerable, because when you’re not bound by those rules in life, then your death isn’t bound by them either. You can die another way.

The Michael-touched vampires and werewolves also required different deaths than usual. Which was very useful in terms of the element of surprise—but once Sam, Bobby, and Mary got over that part, they were able to kill them without too much extra fuss.

LOL so that’s where I’m keeping all my Dean feels—the bonus section. Here it is!
Other random things I loved during this episode:

— The way the shakiness of the camera embodied the emotional state of whoever the camera was on. Anyone who was expressing emotions loudly or was otherwise upset got a shaky camera—but in the same scene, any character feeling more level-headed would get a stable one.

— Dean’s “You won’t believe what I found in the shed!” followed by Sam and Mary absolutely unsurprised by what Dean found in the shed, and Dean also entirely unsurprised by what he found in the shed, and by the fact that Sam and Mary were equally unsurprised. It wasn’t even that Sam and Mary had found all those hunter IDs—they would never have been surprised by a dead guy in a shed, regardless. And Dean, himself unsurprised and knowing that they would be unsurprised, STILL led with “You won’t believe what I found in the shed!” and followed it up with an absolutely perfunctory, “Dead guy.” XDDDDDDD So good.

— The fact that Dean remembers Fred Jones’s name, and didn’t even have to pause to reach for it. Dean has such a fantastically eidetic memory for very particular things. Like, he probably doesn’t remember half the shit that’s happened in the last six years (I mean, it’s been an eventful six years, and he’s been under the influence of something or another for most of it—the Mark, being a demon, the Mark again, Amara…) but FRED JONES. OH, TOTALLY. Granted, Fred being a friend of John’s probably played some role in making him memorable, and surely a case that involved Looney Tunes antics would stand out even on the Winchesters’ illustrious resume. But there’s a difference between remembering having worked a Looney Tunes case and remembering that the dude’s name was FRED JONES. A NAME SO BORING IT’S LIKE HIS MOTHER NAMED HIM TO BE FORGOTTEN.

I haven’t watched that episode since the Winchesters lived it, and I can assure you that my memory of what all went down is very limited. Sam clearly doesn’t remember Fred’s name, either—and it doesn’t really seem that much more familiar to him once Dean brings it up. Like, Dean could’ve said a completely different, incorrect name and Sam wouldn’t have known the difference. He’s just like, “Okay, sure, Fred Jones.”

IDK man, I don’t even know why I’m obsessing over this, but it’s very endearing. FRED JOOOONES.

-- Dean dropping his “almost” on Sam after grabbing his second beer of the denouement, and Sam’s reaction to it. Dean’s being—and has been—pretty open with Sam, inasmuch as there’s anything to say. (There’s not, really.) But while he’s clearly making that effort, it’s not really enough to make Sam feel any better about anything. Sam’s clearly not content to let Dean wallow in even moderate levels of guilt-ridden depression in ways that for the better part of the last decade Sam has kinda-sorta mostly accepted as “this is as good as it’s gonna get.” (Note: This is the opposite of how Dean and Sam appear to be treating their relationship with Mary. Like, the limitations of that they can accept. But here Sam is expressly not willing to take “good as it’s gonna get” as the best he can do for Dean. Codependence evolving into something other?)

Like, on a scale of behaviors, even for someone less inclined to alcohol than Dean a second beer of the night ain’t no thing. But Sam recognizes where it’s coming from and he doesn’t want to settle. Because the first beer was vaguely social—Dean brings them one for each of them and were it not for Bobby and Mary needing a damn cabin getaway right then, they would have had their moment. By the second beer, Dean is done with social, and is clearly planning to go drink his depression beer by himself in his room, and not with Sam. Sort of like how horror is not about the monster, but what comes attached to it, Sam’s concern is not about the beer. He just doesn’t want Dean to wander away. Which Dean is totally not trying to do and is actively acting counter to, but he still probably doesn’t realize entirely that that’s still how this feels to Sam.

(Cue 14x06's random solo supply run to Bobby and Mary.)

Hold onto this moment, Sam. <33333

Hold it tight.


Also, what was with this guy??? He just "went home" and that was that?? XD If this guy isn't cozy with Michael in some capacity, life is meaningless.

Alternatively, this man has seen Get Out, and he's just like "FUCK this, imma go work at Orchard Supply or some shit. White people be UP to something out here!!!"

Please no negativity and no spoilers beyond 14x06! Thank you!
Tags: fandom: spn, spn x

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