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Quick Reaction: 4x16 On The Head Of A Pin


Ok, first off...let me say that I totally called it in a discussing over on spnforthesane  this week. Someone was talking about how they didn't fully understand why Sam felt he had to use his demon-powers now that Dean was back from the dead, and I said:

"Dean was always the solid unshakable force in Sam's life. The one thing he could always depend on. Dean's death shattered that, but it didn't just return when Dean returned. The Dean that returned to Sam is broken and VULNERABLE. This is new for Sam, and I think he is trying to protect his brother the only way he knows how...by going into full-on kill-the-bitch mode."

...which is basically confirmed within the first 15 minutes of the show, when Sam tells Ruby that Dean's not up for the job, that he's not strong enough.

Ok...now on to the actual episode:

WTF! Sam's addicted to demon blood now!!?!?!!? Holy crap, Sammy! How far down the rabbit hole have you fallen?! I know you are frickin' useful, but there is NOTHING good about drinking demon blood, especially if it gives Ruby that self-satisfied smile (as far as I'm concerned, that just proves that she has been up to no good from the start.)

I don't even want to talk about poor Dean...ugh, that broke my heart nine ways from Sunday. Dean breaking starts the apocalypse...the angels arriving too late...and you KNOW he's thinking "if I had just held on a little longer" and then there's Alastair telling him that it was supposed to be John, but that John wouldn't break...that John was down there for a century and didn't break...and so now not only has Dean started the apocalypse, but he's also not measured up to his Dad. Dean already hero-worshipped him, and now...now he feels like a huge disappointment to the only guy he ever wanted approval from. The only guy he ever NEEDED approval from. It just broke my heart at the end, him crying, and telling Cas that it's too much, that they're screwed.

And how much does it suck that he's there crying in front of a semi-emotionless angel, instead of someone who will give him hugs and tell him that his father still loves him.

So, things we learned...

1. The reason Dean was saved. Interesting to note: The demons had originally planned to use John, yet there were no angel armies saving him at the time - so, either the angels didn't know that was the plan then and only found out when Dean went under, or Alastair was lying, or the angels knew Dean would break, or the angels only bothered rescuing him once he broke. Personally, sadly, I think it's probably the first one.

2. Sam's drinking Ruby's blood. Bad Sam!

3. Sam can kill demons and also make them tell the truth - handy skills! though I disapprove of their origin! Also, I LOVE Castiel's face when Sam is working his stuff. There's something there.

4. John was in hell for a century of hell time, meaning he was dead for 10 months before the Devil's Gate opened. In my timeline, I have it at 9.5 months, which I consider close enough to say that I'm completely correct! Woo! I'm awesome!

Things I loved...

1. Sam's "Damn it!" when the angels disappeared with Dean.

2. Cas's line of "Uriel's the funniest angel in the garrison, anyone will tell you that." because it WASN'T an intended joke.

3. The fact that Dean only ever called him Cas (as did Anna, but whatever)...I love the familiarity. I don't ship Dean/Cas, but damn if the cute little shortform doesn't make me feel squishy. I just love nicknames, I guess.

4. Sam killing Alastair - that guy was getting on my nerves.

5. Jensen's acting, as always.

Things I didn't like so much...

1. I'm still iffy on Anna. I don't hate her as much as SOME people do, but I don't know...maybe it's just me distrusting women, I tend to do that.
 </lj>
And that's what I thought (man, my quick reactions are getting longer and longer. Can you tell that I'm just itching to do a Rewatch S4 already and work on my timeline more? But alas, I must wait for the DVDs in the fall.

I am so worried for both our boys...hey, remember when this show was relatively simple? Those were good times. I like these times too, I'm just saying...sometimes I miss the Ghostfacers.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Aug. 21st, 2012 06:34 am (UTC)
Re: Things we've learned, item 1
So, turns out show would have us believe it's the second explanation.

But, as has been pointed out other places, John must have broken, because he got out of the Devil's Gate, which would have been impossible if he were still on the rack. He maybe could have ripped himself out of the chains when everyone's back was turned, but the demon in 'Malleus Maleficarum' seemed to imply that the line waiting to get out had a pretty tough crowd. Could someone who'd been tortured for a hundred years really hold his own? It seems more likely that Alastair was lying to get to Dean, a tactic that worked, incidentally.

Problem with this theory being that it would leave the first seal broken in the middle of season two. The only solution to this is if John were not, in fact, the Righteous Man.

What defines a righteous man? The man from Crossroad Blues who made a deal for his wife seemed pretty righteous, and he only escaped by the skin of his teeth and Winchester Intervention. Surely, someone righteous must have gone to hell before Dean Winchester, and hell-time being what it is, must have broken.

It seems more likely that the Righteous Man is an angelic codeword for Michael's Vessel. Which would still leave the problem of how the heck John could not fit the bill, seeing as he was, in fact, possessed by Michael.

You know what episode of Supernatural has always bugged me? 'It's a Terrible Life.' I love the whole thing, especially the Ghostfacers cameo, but it made cannon that Angels can change memories. If Dean remembered angels as good guys with fluffy wings, if he forgot about Sam, If he remembered killing puppies and orphans before he found the Good Word, he would probably say yes to Michael. And yet, out of the four times in season five that Zachariah has Dean under his power, twice he makes with the braking of kneecaps and bestowing of cancer, once with time travel, and the other he tracks down their mom and hits on her in front of them. Since he can alter their memories, why doesn't he?

Maybe it's not considered playing fair. God gave humans free will, and angels need consent to take vessels. Maybe tampering with someone's mind makes them unable to give consent, sort of like how you can't legally consent to sex while drunk. This would mean that Zachariah had to put Dean's memories back at the end of 'Terrible Life' if Dean was going to say yes to Michael later on. In 'The Song Remains the Same,' Michael changed John's memories before leaving, which would make future consent impossible.

Do angels need consent to re-enter a vessel? Castiel had Jimmy's consent. When Dean and Cas tried to summon Raphael back into his vegetative vessel, it didn't work right away. Maybe the catatonic guy wasn't technically a vessel until Raphael fixed him up and asked his consent again. Of course, the man would have to either be really devout or getting something awesome out of it, like resurrection of a loved one, but it's possible.

So, my theory is that Michael changing John's memories made him unable to give consent, which made him unqualified as Michael's vessel, and therefore not technically a Righteous Man (though you can see how the demons would get confused). Therefor, the angels had no reason to save him. More importantly, John did break, and Dean has nothing to be ashamed of.
hells_half_acre
Aug. 21st, 2012 06:44 am (UTC)
Re: Things we've learned, item 1
VERY well reasoned!

I think you are spot on with the consent-issues that come with altering memory. And it's also a very good argument for why by the time John broke, he no longer qualified as the "righteous man."

That being said, I'm actually of the opinion that John NEVER qualified as the Righteous Man - that Alistair was lying about that as well. I think that the Righteous Man is a combination of factors: 1)Has to be a viable vessel for Michael and 2)Has to fit into certain characteristics.

But yes, I think there's a strong argument for Alistair to be lying through his teeth about John not breaking. Considering it took an angel army to bust Dean out of hell - the fact that John was able to walk out an open door? He definitely would have had to push some heavy duty demons out of the way to get to that door, not to mention having to be out of his chains.

So, yeah, basically, I completely agree and then some. :P

Also, wow - it's interesting to me that I used to think this constituted a LONG entry. Little did I know how long my quick reactions were going to get three years later. :P
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )