Anyway, watching this ep made me feel happy. Something that has always felt very true for me, and that I remember being pleasantly surprised by super early on, when I started watching S5 live for the first time, is that even if a SPN ep is patently not for me, against its best efforts I still have a really good time. BECAUSE MAN, there's nothing I should enjoy about rampant realm-hopping, random mystical object searching (my least favorite possible plot in anything: searching for magical objects and/or having to collect multiple magical objects, like HORSEMEN'S RINGS or HEAVEN'S ARMORY or the Marbles of Magoo, or whatever), etc. None of these things are things I like!!
And yet, even with all that working against it, I liked this ep. IT WAS BONKERS, and it has this all-in energy to it that I always find very attractive!! Where like, you're already neck-deep anyway, so at a certain point you gotta just launch that rocket and "yes and" yourself. Even if you know you're being patently ridiculous, trod those boards and wear it with confidence. And if you're going to push two universes through each other, refigure a past timeline, drop in on Hell, treat the Empty like a Yahoo Messageboard, ENTER EDEN, AND go to Rio, the only possible way to do that is go big or go home. I feel like SPN is very good about owning that, and being able to say, "Fuck it, yes." I just like it, man. Like I said, I find that really attractive and I'm just like, OH, TO BE SO BOLD <3. Idk if Buckner/Ross-Leming wrote this episode--though I'd put money on yes, they did--but I've also said that before and I'll say it again: I liiiiike themmmm!! (Except 8x15.)
Part of what makes all this work so well for me is Sam and Dean still play the role of having one single toe outside the Kool Aid--just enough to vaguely recognize that what they are about to embark on is ridiculous but not enough to be self-conscious enough as to dampen that all-in feeling. They're not overly invested in repudiating the ridiculousness, so to speak. Like, Dean rapid-fire listing off the plots of Indiana Jones movies, to which Castiel replies, completely straight-faced, something about Mongol hordes? LOVE IT. The fact that Dean has been extremely variably invested in everything all year (and Sam has given him some pretty pointed "uh, can you care a little more about this important development, Dean" looks recently) and THIS, for whatever reason, is suddenly the day he comes up with not one, but two actionable plans? Amazing. (I say "actionable" because I can't say they were "good" plans. ...But they do act on them!)
I also love the way they hear the hellhounds in the trees and Dean's sharp, immediate, reflexive turn for the lock on the door. I love the churn and weight of the last scene, where Jack has rediscovered his soul and the aftermaths lurking there are also sharp, immediate, and reflexive--and the ways that it's clear Sam and Dean both understand how it feels to have a soul returned, even though all three of their circumstances were quite different and their experiences even more variegated.
And ughhhh this makes me really want to finish all my S15 tags, because I really want to write for these eps I'm watching (even though I think in terms of writing these tags I'm only up to like, 15x06 or something stupidly early). But right now my whole life is just working 12 hours a day for 5 days, then 8 hours a day for two days, and then repeating the process, all while cutting more corners than even exist and still being behind. PLUS I have an ill-fated Bleach fic I have yet to finish, AND I have a not-really-a-casefic fic I really want to write, the premise of which is...thin, but feels id-y and good. I wouldn't mind a little pocket universe to call my own, just saying.
FIRST THING'S FIRST, THOUGH. 15x15, 15x16, 15x17. And since I'm unlikely to catch up before Thursday, 15x18.