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Hello my lovelies!

Mid-season finale time. Once again, I took notes while I watched to remember sequence of events, but I've only seen the episode once while drinking, so my memory is not going to be great.

Let's get this road on the show...


The THEN reminded me about that "grunt" angel and demon pair. I had forgotten about them.

Anyway, NOW, woot!

We join Amara in a park with one of those soapbox preachers. She's asking questions about God, and the preacher makes the mistake of talking about wrath. Amara says that God isn't the only game in town and then kills everyone - so, obviously, unlike previous villains, her goal isn't to subjugate humanity... because if it was, she could have easily started a cult right there instead of killing everyone. She kinda looks around at them afterwards with a funny expression, so part of me wondered if maybe she hadn't meant to kill them and heaven killed them or something - but then she asks the sky "well?" and so, yeah, I guess she did kill them in an attempt to get God's attention...which seems to flow with what happens later in the episode.

Then we get another Sam vision. This time he's in the cage, and Lucifer touches his face all gentle like and Sam looks happy... and I'm creeped out because Lucifer is a Rapey mcRaperston in SPN. Then Sam comes out of it and asks God what it means and a bush catches fire...

...which is Sam's main argument when he talks to Dean about the vision - that a burning bush meant that it was a vision from God and suchlike. I loved Dean's counter-point of how "sometimes bushes burn". Anyway, Sam thinks the vision means that Lucifer knows how to lock away the darkness again.

I guess Sam convinces Dean enough about it for them to go talk to Crowley. Which they do. Crowley then unleashes the secret about how Dean and Amara had a moment where Dean could have killed her (or she him) but they didn't, and how Dean is really weird abou her... and Dean is all giving Crowley the "shut-up!" eyes and trying not to look at Sam, and Sam is all side-eyeing everything, because this is NEWS TO HIM... but then he NEVER BRINGS IT UP! I mean, what the cheese? Seems sort of a major point if Dean's acting all shady with the Darkness.

Anyway, Dean and Sam tell Crowley about how Amara is God's sister, and Crowley is like "damn, I really should have tried harder to leash that girl" or words to that effect, and Dean is like FOCUS!

Basically, the boys want a way to talk to Lucifer, but not to unleash him, and to keep Sam safe while they do so. Crowley admits that Sam is on his bucket list of people to kill, but I guess he doesn't feel like it right now? So he agrees that Sam has to be kept safe. He also doesn't really want to let Lucifer out of the cage and into Hell-proper.

Then Dean asks a seriously stupid question that I ROLL MY EYES AT THE WRITER'S FOR SO HARD. Because he asks whether Crowley has a key to the cage or whatever... and I'm like, DEAN! DO YOU NOT REMEMBER HOW IT TOOK HELL 66 SEALS TO OPEN THE CAGE?! Of coure they don't have a friggin' key, moron. Ugh... it's not Dean's fault though, he's just saying something shitty that the writers wrote. I'm immediately erasing that line from my headcanon.

Anyway, the upshot is that Crowley thinks it can be done using the Book of the Damned - which means they have to recruit Rowena.

Back to Amara, who is looking for God in a church this time... and the priest tells her to do it through prayer. She is super skeptical and then asks the priest if he's ever seen God, and he's like "uh, no, that's what faith is all about" and then he hands her a bible. And here is where me and my friend had to pause the episode and wonder what church they were in, because pews should only have the Book of Prayer and a Hymnal - there is no church that we know of that stocks bibles in the pews. Also, we figured that she must be in a protestant church, since the priest was saying that she could talk directly to God through prayer... but then my (former-catholic) friend said that you can pray to God, you just can't confess and be forgiven directly from him, you have to do that through a priest...and prayer through saints is for specific requests and a leftover from trying to recruit the pagans. THEN I started to wonder if Jewish people and Muslims can speak directly to God or not... and we tried to google it, but it lead us down a Christian-based propaganda google-hole that was mostly about which religions have people in them who God directly talks to... but I wanted to know the reverse.

Anyway, the upshot of this is... Do any of you know whether you can talk directly to God in Judiasm and Islam? I'm just curious.

So, Rowena is dragged into Crowley's headquaters, looking pretty put out about it. Then Crowley reveals that she's there because Sam and Dean need her. They're allies for the time being. Rowena is super skeptical and wants to know how she's supposed to trust them with her safety after she helps them out, and Crowley says she can't, and that it's a devil's bargain. I think that's a pretty cool line.

Next up, we have an angel meeting. It's just the low level angels. They're scared of the Darkness and worried that their leaders (the leaders of the remaining civil war angel fractions) are too caught up in the ongoing civil war to band together and defeat the Darkness. They've also pretty much alll lost faith in God, which is interesting. Anyway, they decide to band together. I gotta wonder if there's a similar thing going on in Hell underneath Crowley's nose. I don't even know who is running Heaven now that Hannah's dead. (I'm also still pissed that Hannah's dead.)

Back to Rowena, who is being brought up to speed on what's shaking. The deal she gets right now is that if she helps them, Crowley will call off his demon hitmen. They want to know how to open the cage and how to protect Sam. And then they tell her that Lucifer is in the cage, and Rowena looks WAY TOO HAPPY ABOUT THAT. Guys, that should have been your first "CALL OFF THE PLAN" red flag.

Also, it appears that Rowena made off with the Book of the Damned and the Codex at the end of S10, but DIDN'T make off with Charlie's code-break, which Sam and Dean apparently still have... so, yeah, that's what they bring to the table, I guess.

Back to the Protestant Church, where Amara is eating souls and then killing the vessels. She is trying to get God's attention by killing people. It's not working.

This all leads Dean and Sam to split up, which is never a good thing - Dean goes to the church to investigate the deaths, and Sam is with Rowena while she reads the Book of the Damned.

Sam and Dean actually have a decent brother talk, I thought... where Sam promises not to do anything without Dean there. Of course, that's pretty much a guarantee that Sam is about to do something without Dean there.

Rowena then gets all judgy about Sam's brother issues. Also, Sam is wearing a very nice new shirt. I like it. It looks super cozy and I want cuddles from him while he is wearing it, please. Thank you.

Oh wait, I'm watching a show...

Dean is still at the church, but then gets a SPIDEY SENSE! This leads him to a park, where he orders a hotdog and then Sam calls, because Rowena found the answers... but Dean doesn't pick up the phone! OH MY GOD DEAN! Always prioritize Sam over your weird spidey sense!

Anyway, upshot is that Amara gets her hands on Dean and transports him to a pretty meadow by a river somewhere west of town.

Sam, unable to get in touch with Dean, and being rushed by Rowena (and I guess Crowley) ends up going to Hell without his brother. Oh man, this is not going to end well.

I like the way this hell is rendered more than the S8 Hell... though, in my headcanon this is all still a construction of Sam's mind, who needs to put it into a visual frame of reference that he understands in order to not be driven insane.

There's a Sam line somewhere in here about how it's Dark and Empty, just like Crowley. I liked that line, and I think Crowley had an interesting comeback about it, but now I can't remember what it was. Ah well.

So, the deal is that they have another cage in this other part of Hell that has the best secruity for being non-Lucifer's cage. They ward this second cage, and then summon Lucifer out of his cage and into it. Personally, I'm not sure this should be possible, but apparently it is.

Back with Dean and Amara... Amara is explaining how she's misunderstood, how millenia of propaganda has made her out to be the bad guy when she's not. She's just trying to get God's attention, but she doesn't have an ill-intent towards humanity, she just has issues with her brother. Dean thinks that if her issue is just with God, maybe she should stop killing people.

Amara then says that the souls she's eating are part of her, and in that way they "live forever" - and that's interesting. I wonder if that means they're still whole, and if they kill her, those people will be resouled?

Back to Sam and the Cage... the summoning is successful, and Lucifer (in Nick's appearance) is now in the secondary cage. Crowley claims to be a follower, but Lucifer knows better and says Crowley is "too kind...to yourself", which is a line that I liked. Anyway, Crowley and Rowena amscray up a staircase to give Sam privacy, which I also think is a super bad idea.

And Sam is clearly terrified, you guys...I don't like it.

Sam tells Lucifer about the crisis topside and the fact that the Darkness has been released, and Lucifer seems surprised...which I find sketchy, because if Lucifer was the original Mark-Bearer/Lock, then he should know full well that the Darkness is released (and I'm right, of course, but we haven't gotten there yet.)

Meanwhile, up in their balcony, Rowena is drooling over Lucifer, again not a good sign... isn't the original witch lore in SPN that they are humans that pledge their souls to demons in exchange for witch-powers? That was the case in Malleus Malificarum, anyway.

Lucifer also makes a dig where he asks "however did that happen?" when Sam tells him the Darkness was released... and yeah, just rub it in that Sam holds the world-title for accidentally releasing villains into the world. Castiel only did it once. Sam's done it twice. THOUGH, Sam also holds the title for then vanquishing the evil he releases into the world, so that's a pretty good sign for the future...

Sam launches in right away to saying that God's been talking to him, and I did think that was a pretty bold statement given that he has no substantial proof that it's God...and turns out that my hunch is super correct... but we'll get there.

Back with Dean and Amara, and.. oh, HERE is where Amara complains about the propaganda. She says that God vanquished her because they had competing ideas on what creation should look like. In Amara's opinion, God has built religions that are monuments to his ego, and he offers safety only in return for adoration. (I'd argue against this, because it's quite clear that God also keeps atheists safe.) Dean makes a good counter point, in that there's some good stuff - "golden rule, brother's keeper..." - but that Amara's main failing point is that she's arguing with someone who is PART of God's creation, so, of course, he and everyone else is going to favour it.

Amara then tries to describe what she wanted to create - which is a place without rulesand with bliss for everyone... so, she's into anarchist hedonism, I guess?

Meanwhile, Sam and Lucifer continue to chat. Crowley is concerned that Sam might make a deal - and he probably should be. Rowena argues that sometimes you don't have a choice but to make deals, which brings Crowley back to the fact that Rowena tried to have him killed, and I liked Rowena's line about how parenting is hard, and you don't know when to hug your child or kill him.

Lucifer tells Sam that he's God's master strategist, but in order to help, he'll need a vessel. Yeah... like we didn't see that coming.

Dean and Amara, meanwhile, as still chatting it up. What's in it for Amara? Apparently everything, Amara is the beginning and will also be the end. Dean then gets over his weird pretection-bond thing and then knifes her, but the blade shatters...which isn't too surprising.

Then my friend and I were derailed into a conversation about how much we hate boob makeup in TV shows, where they make the part between the boobs darker in a dumb attempt to make it look like there's more cleavage or something, but instead what it does it make it look like the woman has super super saggy old flat boobs. On close-ups from the side, you can totally see that Amara's boobs are nicely shaped, but from the front angels, they look horrble. Maybe it's the cut of the dress too, but ugh, they're ruining perfectly good boobs!

Back to the show! Amara says that Dean is a warrior, and warriors always resist, but that Amara can't be resisted... and then she goes in for a soul-swallow, seems to not be able to and/or change her mind, and instead makes out with him. And yeah, consent issues everywhere here, because it's quite apparant that Amara has a mind-whammy on Dean, even if he has moments where he can exercise free will against her.

Our consent issues are just starting though - beause we then return to Sam and Lucifer. Lucifer argues that desperate times call for desperate measures, but Sam's smart enough to not fall for that logic. So, Lucifer tries the whole "it's God's will" thing....

Dean and Amara again, and Dean is wondering what the hell that kiss was about. Amara goes on about how they're bonded, because he set her free (I'd argue that SAM set her free, but whatevs), and that it's Dean's destiny to become one with Amara. Dean is like No, nope, not going to happen.

Then ANGELS show up! I had forgotten about them, but they have banded together to smite the heck out of Amara. Dean cautions then against it, this time not out of a weird protection thing for Amara (seemingly) but because he realizes that a smiting on that level will be massive and kill humans too. Amara kills the three angel messengers in, I suppose, a demonstration about why they don't intimidate her... and Dean has a great deliver of the line "what have you done?" ... because, yup, the smiting is coming. Amara save Dean though and send him back to the park. I highly doubt the angels will be successful, so, yeah, a whole bunch of people are going to die and Amara will probably be injured at best, completely unscathed at worse.

Back in Hell, Sam refuses to be a vessel. YAY! And then the wards fade and Lucifer is able to pull Sam into the cage with him. Crowley is concerned, but Rowena just leads him away, not surprised in the slightest... so yeah, DEFINITELY shouldn't have trusted Rowena's spellwork.

Of course, that's not the worst of it, because although Sam tries to stay unafraid and sure that his visions forsaw this and that God will protect him - Lucifer explains that the removal of the Mark caused fissures in the cage, and Lucifer was able to renew his connection with Sam... and that it was Lucifer that sent the visions. God's never been with Sam.  Sam starts crying and breaks my cold dead heart.

And then Lucifer continues to be Rapey McRaperston, because apparently we didn't get enough of those references in S7.

So... yeah, I can't say I'm TOO surprised that the visions were Lucifer not God. Cain set-up the precident for that when he told us the real story of Abel... and although I WANTED the visions to be from God as much as Sam did, I was already assuming it was probably a manipulation.

So, is Lucifer still stuck in that cage? Does the lesser secure cage mean that he can break free completely? Can they stuff him back in the other cage? Can they get Sam out again without letting Lucifer out? So many questions.

I like the idea of Dean actually rescuing Sam from A cage with Lucifer, because there's been twice now that we've been cheated out of a good brother-rescuing-brother-from-Hell scene, so just a little one would be nice to see.

That being said, the promo for the return in January looks like it's on crack.



Anyway, tell me your thoughts in comments!! It's going to be a long break!!

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
liliaeth
Dec. 10th, 2015 12:55 pm (UTC)
Not a fan of the show once again focusing on Sam's time in hell, especially as they completely and utterly ignore Dean's time in hell.*grumble*

Aside of that, much as I loved Dean's scenes with Amara, I have to tell you, I utterly hated that dress they have her wearing. I know the poor girl/creature/being/divinity/whatever, hasn't spent much time on earth to gain a decent fashion sense, but come on Amara, you can do better than something 'that' ugly.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 10th, 2015 05:44 pm (UTC)
You forgot my one positive for each negative rule! But that's okay, I'll let it slide, because I definitely agree with you about the dress, and I partially agree with you about your first point.
liliaeth
Dec. 10th, 2015 08:38 pm (UTC)
Oops, well as it is, I can give another positive; I loved the scene of the lower level angels deciding to unite against a common threat. I find the angels far more interesting when they stand together, than when the show keeps focusing on their infighting.

Also the poor guy who tried to lead them, had more personality in his two eps, than that Bartholomew guy had in all his eps in s9. It was a shame to lose him so soon.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 10th, 2015 10:14 pm (UTC)
Agreed agreed. I also like Heaven as a united front.
quickreaver
Dec. 10th, 2015 02:08 pm (UTC)
Also, Sam is wearing a very nice new shirt. I like it. It looks super cozy and I want cuddles from him while he is wearing it, please. Thank you.

Oh wait, I'm watching a show...


You are me.

Anywho, there were bits and pieces I liked (J2 acted the hell outta this!) and parts I didn't (continued LOLcanon, but I expected this from the Dastardly Writing Duo.) The old school vibe we've been enjoying in S11 seems to have vanished with this episode, which is weird given that this writing/directing team has been with us since DAY ONE. No clue there.

OH OH! But HELLO, LUCIFER. Pellegrino always rocks it like whoa, even if he is being redundantly rapey in his threats. That's not the character's fault; it's the lack of imagination of the writers. Again, no surprise. Also, OMG, SAM'S LONE TEAR. His fear was palpable, SO GOOD, and I admit, I squealed a "NO NO NO!" when Amara had a near-soul-suck moment with Dean. She's got him whipped.

For me, this was my least favorite of the episodes this year but it furthered important plot doings and gave good acting. So there's that!
hells_half_acre
Dec. 10th, 2015 05:54 pm (UTC)
I agree that J2 acted the hell out of it. Jared does such an amazing job of making Sam terrified and destroyed.

And yeah, I don't understand why the Dastardly Writing Duo (and I love that name) can never seem to jive with the rest of the writing staff even after all these years... it's like they dug themselves a trench and then lost even the ladders that allow them to peer over the top at the the rest of the world.

And good point about reminding me that it's the DWD that are doing the queer-coded-villain thing and also the ones making him over the top rapey. Maybe the next episode he's in will be a little toned down on that front. I mean, I'm fine with the concept of Sam having been raped in the cage (possession is already coded as rapey in the show and has been since the beginning), but I just think that if they're going to be that blatant about it, then they should ADDRESS it's ramifications, rather than basically making jokes about it and then never mentioning it again...(/rant before I get to carried away)

So, yeah, all that aside, I DO like the reintroduction of Lucifer and the fact that the cage is being pulled back into the storyline. I think that's super interesting.

And I too was heart-in-throat when Amara leaned in to do the soul-suck.

For me, this was my least favorite of the episodes this year but it furthered important plot doings and gave good acting. So there's that!

Agreed!
quickreaver
Dec. 10th, 2015 08:23 pm (UTC)
You know, I think that part of the reason we don't see the show dealing deeply with rape, PTSD, alcoholism, all those things our main characters likely suffer from is because TPTB willfully decided NOT to address them. Maybe they feel the Supernatural universe is grim enough without really digging into all the Winchesters' potential issues, apart from the one that has come to drive the show: their abnormal devotion to each other. (Which is how I like them, but it would be nice to commit a smidgen of time to some of the really obvious human side-effects that spin off of trauma.)

So I feel you.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 10th, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think my problem with the rape stuff, as opposed to the ignored alcoholism/ptsd stuff, is that when they DO mention the alcoholism or PTSD, they tend to do it in a serious manner, whereas the rape stuff tends to be...jokey? I don't know, sometimes I just feel like they're trivializing it.

Though, I have to say that Jared's acting tended to make up for that in this episode - in that his reactions didn't brush it off... and the same could be said for back in S7 too.

So, yeah, I'm probably just being too sensitive about it. Probably my career history is playing a part - I'm sure people who work in the rehab business, or people who work with sufferers of PTSD feel more strongly than I do about those storylines.

On a weirdly related but not really note: The other day I was thinking it'd be really cool to chart what physical scars the Winchesters SHOULD have at this point and draw their portraits. I wish I had kept up my artistic skills, because that project it beyond me... though, that might be a good thing, I have enough weird tracking-meta SPN projects.
quickreaver
Dec. 10th, 2015 10:18 pm (UTC)
On your weirdly related note, I don't have time to compile a scar list, but OOOOH would I love one and could probably be coerced into arting the damage! (No surprise to anyone who knows me...)
hells_half_acre
Dec. 10th, 2015 10:25 pm (UTC)
Oh man, don't tempt me... I love weirdly specific research like that...

...just you know, just if I have the time... I might...might make a list.

...and you might end up getting that list, I'm not gonna lie. No pressure.
quickreaver
Dec. 10th, 2015 10:28 pm (UTC)
Well, yanno, if it happens to find its way to me, I can't help but be companionable and do something with it. Because it would just be polite, right? And I might like it. A lot.

>;-)
percysowner
Dec. 11th, 2015 03:34 pm (UTC)
The question is where does the list start? For Dean we know all of his scars were removed when Cas pulled him from Hell, although since Dean didn't die after being de-demoned it's possible that the MOC/Blade combination healed not only his fatal wound from Metatron, but also any residual scars. There's also a possible reset from Dark Side of the Moon where we find out the boy are being constantly brought back from death. Are the resurrections just resetting to before they died, or are they doing an entire body refresh?

Sam probably was healed when Cas brought him out of The Cage but it is possible that Gadreel did a body reset on scars when he was healing Sam. You know as a practice run for healing the big fatal damage.

The scars are an interesting question.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 11th, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
See, that's the thing - I want to do a portrait where there IS no healing of scars, whether by production or plot. Like, you know how scars ARE healed skin, right? That's what our skin looks like when it heals itself - so, what if angel/demon healing just caused human-type healing, with wounds scaring over rather than disappearing? THAT's what I'm talking about.

So, the list starts S1 and ignores all angel/demon healing between S4-Present. What would the boys look like?

The only episode I would skip over is something like Mystery Spot, and possibly Changing Channels too, since Dean died way too many times in that episode and mostly off-screen... and also because there's some argument as to where those episodes occurred - like, where they in some pocket universe? Inside Sam and Dean's minds? Other?

But yeah, the boys do have in-universe explanations for why they don't have scars - my question is just "What if they did?"
borgmama1of5
Dec. 10th, 2015 06:09 pm (UTC)
Yours is the first episode reaction post I hit so you get the full brunt of my emotions after it...

OMG, did anyone else scream inside for Sam?!

I was SO proud of him for saying no to Lucifer, for saying there has to be another way--finally he will not sacrifice himself...and then Luci gets him anyway!!! NOOOO!!!

That scene would have gone so differently had Dean been there to bluster at Lucifer and tell Sam no way--but Sam did it on his own. And his terror at being face-to-face with Lucifer--how horrific must the Cage have been to reduce Sam to such a state?

I thought back to Swan Song, when Sam was ready to go into the Cage with Lucifer to save the world, he would take the consequences--and now, faced with knowing what was going to happen to him in that Cage, the silent tears that trickled down his cheek--

My heart...

Jared was magnificent in portraying Sam's flat-out surrender to the horror he was going back to...

I just can't...

The only thing that I can cling to as the tiniest sliver of comfort is that being an angel, at least Lucifer still can't just take control of Sam's body without permission. So Sam is about to be excruciatingly tortured but at least he'll be in his own mind...

Not so much comfort, really, I guess...

And then there's Dean and Amara...if she were human, it'd be clear that she has some deep-seated psychological issues going on...how does one deal with a superhuman being who is obsessed with getting back at her brother? I don't even think it's so much that she wants revenge as she wants acknowledgment! Like if God would talk to her like Sully talked to Reese, saying he'd made a mistake and was sorry...

At least she's not out to just destroy humanity like Lucifer was, we're only collateral damage--at least until we find out what making us all 'blissed out' means...

Her hold on Dean? That's scary/intriguing. That moment when it looked like she was going to take his soul and kissed him instead? She's got a hold on him...but she is also captivated by him. And while her hold was strong enough to keep him from answering Sam's call, he did pull out of it long enough to try and stab her with an angel blade--which, the sight of it breaking was a real shock! I wonder if there will be a way that Dean leverages her fascination with him to take her out? If he rejects her, would she reform or go away?

Thinking ahead, I cannot imagine how the season will resolve--the resolution looks like it needs to involve Amara and the absent God. How will Dean and Sam fit in? I'm trying to envision a scenario like the Dean/Michael and Sam/Lucifer standoff but don't see how it would quite fit. Thinking about a God/Amara confrontation, can you picture Rob Benedict in the serene God persona he had in Swan Song calmly confronting Amara's raging? And maybe with Death on the sidelines making snarky comments? (Cause I don't know, but I don't think Death is really dead...no reason for it, just optimism...) But I can't figure out how God could justify his absence and his imprisoning of Amara, and I don't want Rob Benedict playing God as a jerk...

I guess the first order of business after hiatus will be for Dean to rescue Sam--I hope they show us Dean discovering what happened to Sam, being furious at Crowley and Rowena and most of all himself for not being there...and then mounting a rescue mission, probably with Cas...

PS I've seen people wondering where were Adam and Michael in the Cage, but I don't think that was THE actual Cage because it was very different. I think Rowena's spell brought Lucifer's essense to a 'holding cage' separate from the real one. And I wonder if Lucifer and Sam will snap back to the real one when the spell completely dissipates?

5 weeks...

hells_half_acre
Dec. 10th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC)
PS I've seen people wondering where were Adam and Michael in the Cage, but I don't think that was THE actual Cage because it was very different.

Yes, you got it. That was a second cage that they summoned Lucifer into, not Lucifer's cage. I predicted that fandom would get confused about that, because it wasn't made overly explicit in the dialogue - it was more that we had to infer what was going on because we saw them walk up to an empty cage, say magic words, and then we saw Lucifer appear in the previously empty cage.

OMG, did anyone else scream inside for Sam?!

I am still screaming inside for Sam.

That scene would have gone so differently had Dean been there to bluster at Lucifer and tell Sam no way--but Sam did it on his own.

I'm actually glad that Dean wasn't there, because Dean WOULD bluster and say no FOR Sam, and I like that Sam got to say no for himself - so that unequivocally, we can say that Sam made the right choice on his OWN.

Jared was magnificent in portraying Sam's flat-out surrender to the horror he was going back to...

Agreed. Absolutely stellar acting from Jared this week.

And while her hold was strong enough to keep him from answering Sam's call, he did pull out of it long enough to try and stab her with an angel blade--which, the sight of it breaking was a real shock! I wonder if there will be a way that Dean leverages her fascination with him to take her out? If he rejects her, would she reform or go away?

I think if he flatout rejects her, she'll either a)just get angry at him and kill him, or b)condescend to him and tell him that he's just "resisting the inevitable" or whatever. Man, I'll say it again, both Lucifer and Amara were very rapey this episode.

Just a little quibble - it was just a straight knife that Dean used, not an angel blade. Though, I'm sure the angel blade would have the same effect.

Thinking ahead, I cannot imagine how the season will resolve--the resolution looks like it needs to involve Amara and the absent God. How will Dean and Sam fit in?

Yeah, I'm wondering that myself. It's either that or God never comes back and it's up to Sam and Dean to get rid of Amara on their own somehow.

I too don't really want Rob Benedict to play a jerk-God... but I do think the serene God of Swan Song would be very interesting in a scene with a raging Amara... but that would definitely paint Amara as unhinged, and I kinda prefer her as an actual viable alternative to God (and yes, I know she is killing people, so, that boat probably already sailed and she's already unhinged...but, yeah...)

I hope they show us Dean discovering what happened to Sam, being furious at Crowley and Rowena and most of all himself for not being there...and then mounting a rescue mission, probably with Cas...

Yes, that's what I want to see too! With the addition that I'd like to see Crowley TELLING Dean what happened - because although Rowena didn't seem surprised at all that Lucifer gained the upperhand and the wards failed, Crowley did seem concerned for Sam. So, maybe it's the fact that I like my villains grey, but I want Crowley to help Dean rescue Sam too.



percysowner
Dec. 11th, 2015 03:37 pm (UTC)
I'll admit to not really wanting God at all and not wanting Rob Benedict as God either. Maybe if they say he took that form because the boys know it, but Chuck was always Chuck when they knew him? I could live with that. I do like the idea I've seen that the hot dog vendor was actually God. I don't know why I like it, but I do.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 11th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm kinda conflicted on it all. I really don't know what I want to have happen.
shadowsong26
Dec. 11th, 2015 12:01 am (UTC)
Man, that one was intense!

I really liked the opening with Amara. I really liked Amara in general this episode, actually. Despite all the murder and soul-eating and creepy kissing and such...

That creepygentle touch was super-creepy, and set me up to expect a Lucifer who was much closer to S5!Lucifer than S7!Lucifer than we actually got, which was a little disappointing. But that comes later. Main thing is, it was super-super creepy.

I think Sam fails to bring up the Amara stuff because it's taking all his mental energy to avoid curling up in a corner and flipping out over having to face Lucifer again? But, yeah, you'd think...

I acutally sort of understand the 'key-to-the-Cage' question, almost? Like...obviously, Crowley can't open the Cage itself, but maybe he can open like...a window, or something, so they can communicate safely? Because if they wanted to straight-up open the cage, they have all four Horseman rings again, don't they? Or at least they know where to go to retrieve them all. Or they should, anyway. But, yeah, it was probably phrased poorly, I'd have to rewatch the episode to be sure.

Agreed about the Devil's bargain line.

I loved that the angels were basically unionizing or something. And I, too, am pissed that Hannah and her Bambi-eyed dude vessel died...

I think they got the codex back from her in her other episode this season? But she never actually had the codebreaker...but I might be misremembering.

I think the way the not!Cage spell is supposed to work is...like...'make a thing similar to the Thing so you can access/manipulate what's inside?' Like, there's a whole branch of magic that does that. I want to say thaumaturgy? It's a similar principle to 'have a small piece of the thing to deal with the big thing,' only it's model instead of a fragment...

You know what I wonder? Sam's visions keep pointing him at the Cage--why did no one bring up Michael? Michael is also a heavyweight douchenozzle, but he's slightly less of one than Lucifer, and slightly likelier to actually unite with them, however temporarily...I mean, I know why he wasn't there for Sam and Lucifer's conversation (as discussed in one of the other comments, this was not the Actual Cage), and I mostly get why from a narrative perspective (and I actually think that Michael has already reached out to Sam the same way Lucifer has been [unless he was lying, which I doubt, since Lucifer doesn't usually straight-out lie], trying to subtly warn him away or something...) anyway, I get why they don't try Michael instead from a writerly perspective, but I don't quite get the internal justification for not even suggesting him...

As much as I was hoping for the creepy-gentle/subtler S5!Lucifer (as opposed to the snarkier, more vicious S7!Lucifer), I did really like pretty much everything he said to/about Crowley. Like, when Sam is flailing about how he's not crazy enough to agree to what Lucifer wants, Lucifer has a great line about how working with Crowley is no less crazy...

I think you're right about the original witch-lore, but didn't it get expanded last season, so there's the demon-powered witches, and then ones that just have a natural ability or something? I'd have to rewatch Rowena's first actual episode, but I think she exposits on the subject there.

So, speaking of the Amara+Dean/Lucifer+Sam parallels (and I agree, they were really well-done in this episode), I think I mentioned, back in one of the first couple episodes of the season, how much Amara playing off Dean reminded me of early S5/Free to Be You and Me!Lucifer playing off Sam (and, to a lesser extent, Nick)...I think it's really cool that the two conversations are cut together here, because it brought those parallels up in my head again and I like them. Because creepy.

And then horrible, horrible things happen and my heart weeps for Sam. :(

I think Lucifer is still in the Cage, but I may be wrong about that...and agreed about Dean rescuing Sam would be awesome. And about the preview looking like it's on crack.

Man. Six weeks to wait...
hells_half_acre
Dec. 11th, 2015 08:09 pm (UTC)
I think Sam fails to bring up the Amara stuff because it's taking all his mental energy to avoid curling up in a corner and flipping out over having to face Lucifer again? But, yeah, you'd think...


Good point. Sam kinda has other things on his mind, I guess...

Like...obviously, Crowley can't open the Cage itself, but maybe he can open like...a window, or something, so they can communicate safely?

I suppose. I suppose Sam and Dean don't really know the lengths to which the YED had to go to talk to Lucifer. (In that he had to massacre a whole bunch of nuns directly over the cage).

I think they got the codex back from her in her other episode this season? But she never actually had the codebreaker...but I might be misremembering.

Haha, I'll have to make note of it when I do the rewatch... next year. :P

I think the way the not!Cage spell is supposed to work is...like...'make a thing similar to the Thing so you can access/manipulate what's inside?' Like, there's a whole branch of magic that does that. I want to say thaumaturgy?

Oh yeah! Now that you mention it, that totally sounds like a thing that I've read about before in magic-themed things.

You know what I wonder? Sam's visions keep pointing him at the Cage--why did no one bring up Michael? Michael is also a heavyweight douchenozzle, but he's slightly less of one than Lucifer, and slightly likelier to actually unite with them, however temporarily..

I'm wondering if that's why Sam's visions started out with torture. Like, in S7, it wasn't Michael haunting Sam's hallucinations (which I know was done for other reasons by the writing staff, but it still MEANS something in canon)...and I think it means that when it came to the cage, Michael MAY have left Sam alone. I know Castiel predicted that Michael would take his anger out on Sam too, but I'm thinking that it was just Lucifer who tortured Sam...and Michael just didn't do anything to stop it. Anyway, that's my reasoning for why Sam knew it was Lucifer he was being guided towards. Though, why Dean didn't ask after Michael, I don't know...you have a good point.

I think you're right about the original witch-lore, but didn't it get expanded last season, so there's the demon-powered witches, and then ones that just have a natural ability or something?

Yes, you're right. I JUST rewatched that episode yesterday (so, after this post went up), and Rowena definitely talks about "Naturals" which she apparently is, who are just born with the ability to do magic. Still, I gotta wonder what her angle is here, because she definitely has one, and she's definitely interested in the fact that she's dealing with Lucifer.

how much Amara playing off Dean reminded me of early S5/Free to Be You and Me!Lucifer playing off Sam (and, to a lesser extent, Nick)...I think it's really cool that the two conversations are cut together here, because it brought those parallels up in my head again and I like them.

Ooo... yes, good reference. You're right. Very creepy.

I think Lucifer is still in the Cage, but I may be wrong about that...and agreed about Dean rescuing Sam would be awesome. And about the preview looking like it's on crack.

Yes, I think Lucifer might still be in the cage too, and that's why when the wards failed he couldn't just leave - but COULD pull Sam into that mock-cage with him. It'll be a long time to wait to see if we're right and what powers Lucifer still has in this situation.


claudiapriscus
Dec. 12th, 2015 07:59 pm (UTC)
I still so love your recaps of these. But I'm still so glad I'm not watching the show, because so much of that would have me pulling my hair out! hah.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 12th, 2015 08:09 pm (UTC)
Haha, yeah, I think you made a wise decision there. :) I still enjoy the show, but I've shifted mentality in order to do so.
kailita
Dec. 28th, 2015 10:07 pm (UTC)
Late catching up, as usual...but now I'm on Christmas break and finally watching all the episodes that I've missed. :)

And here is where me and my friend had to pause the episode and wonder what church they were in, because pews should only have the Book of Prayer and a Hymnal - there is no church that we know of that stocks bibles in the pews.
This is fascinating to me! It is incredibly common for Protestant churches (at least in America?) to include Bibles in their pews - though slightly less common for a Protestant church to be so formal. Maybe it's an Anglican church, or a High Presbyterian church...those denominations are Protestant, but more "high church" (formal, including liturgy, etc). I wasn't paying attention...did the set look familiar? Paint it Black, Houses of the Holy? They can only have so many churches at their disposal...

I second the distaste for Amara's dress. (And the make up choices that accompanied it! That makes a lot of sense of why it looked so...droopy.) I feel like wardrobe choices like that reduce Amara to a seductress, or the Evil Woman. She has some complex motivations, which I appreciate...but a dress like that does not exactly scream "complex motivations," haha. The other wardrobe choice that cracked me up was when the angels were discussing how to respond together...all these angels in suits...except for one guy in a pullover sweater. I don't know why, but that felt so out of place that it made me laugh.

I'm not a fan of this writing team at all (Dastardly Writing Duo indeed, haha), but I actually wasn't too jarred by the dialogue, and I enjoyed the episode a lot more than I thought I would. I didn't register the "key to the cage" question (though I agree with you - they went through so much trouble with all the seals, I don't think Dean would be forgetting that any time soon). The only line that really stood out to me as out-of-character was Dean saying to Amara, "It is His [God's] universe. His rules," as if that settles the matter. Dean may not be sympathetic to Amara's cause, but he has ALWAYS pushed back against the "that's how God decreed it, that's just how it is" mentality that the angels (and others) have professed. It just seemed like a lazy line to put in his mouth - he doesn't think like that. Also didn't like how much exposition they put in Sam's mouth when he first encountered Lucifer...can't they give those "catch up on the plot" lines to Crowley? I would imagine that Sam would be almost too traumatized for words. Though maybe I can head-canon that as him trying to anchor himself in the mission, stay focused on something other than the terror of interacting with Lucifer again.

For all of that, I have to say that I really enjoyed this episode...probably the high stakes and the stellar performances from the actors. And Mark Pellegrino! Sam's visions of him in season 7 were so...darkly amusing? bizarre? off the wall?...that you can forget how menacing he truly is, underneath all the snark and banter. I thought Mark Pellegrino did a great job bringing that right to the forefront. No one can play that role like him...thank goodness they brought him back for it.

I can't envision a scenario where Sam could believably say yes to Lucifer...just because Lucifer put the Darkness away last time doesn't mean he has any stakes in that fight this time around...and even if he does, what do we gain with the Darkness gone but Lucifer free to walk the earth?? But I also have no idea how Sam is going to get out of this one...it's been a while since I've felt this kind of a pit in my stomach at the end of an episode. Which is wonderful...in a twisted, terrible way, haha.
kailita
Dec. 28th, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)
PS...The Cranberries?! <3 Are you a Cranberries fan? That just lights up my 90s-adoring heart with love. :)
hells_half_acre
Dec. 28th, 2015 10:26 pm (UTC)
The Cranberries were the first CD that I ever owned! And the first CD that I ever played in my very own CD player. (The family had CDs and a CD player before that happened - but these were the first things that were MINE.)
hells_half_acre
Dec. 28th, 2015 10:37 pm (UTC)
This is fascinating to me! It is incredibly common for Protestant churches (at least in America?) to include Bibles in their pews - though slightly less common for a Protestant church to be so formal. Maybe it's an Anglican church, or a High Presbyterian church...those denominations are Protestant, but more "high church" (formal, including liturgy, etc). I wasn't paying attention...did the set look familiar? Paint it Black, Houses of the Holy? They can only have so many churches at their disposal...

Really?! Wow. Well, it's not the Anglican church, unless Anglican churches are different in America than they are in Canada - because I was raised Anglican and we only had the Book of Prayer and the Hymnal in the pews. Interesting!

The church, at least on the outside, was the same one from Houses of the Holy. I haven't been inside many churches in Vancouver, but it wouldn't surprise me if that was a reused location too.

...all these angels in suits...except for one guy in a pullover sweater. I don't know why, but that felt so out of place that it made me laugh.

Yeah, I kind of miss what they had sort of set up earlier on with was that angels just wore whatever clothes their vessels were wearing when they were possessed. But, I guess the president was set with Uriel and the hench-angels in S5, that angels just wore suits all the time... anyway, that wasn't your point, so, yeah, I agree, the random sweater was a funny choice.

Dean may not be sympathetic to Amara's cause, but he has ALWAYS pushed back against the "that's how God decreed it, that's just how it is" mentality that the angels (and others) have professed. It just seemed like a lazy line to put in his mouth - he doesn't think like that.

I completely agree with you - that being said, I kind of interpreted that line differently - because Amara is complaining about how she doesn't understand how people follow God or fall for his sort of ego-trip religions or whatever - and so I took Dean to mean "well, it's his creation, so he created it to have a default of God-worship." So, Dean wasn't so much talking about himself, or his beliefs, he was talking about God making it so that most people just believed in him for no reason and people like Dean, who don't, are the minority. Of course, that being said, even THAT interpretation is a little clunky, since it assumes that there's a "default" state of being human, which is something that I personally think is bull.

Also didn't like how much exposition they put in Sam's mouth when he first encountered Lucifer...can't they give those "catch up on the plot" lines to Crowley? I would imagine that Sam would be almost too traumatized for words. Though maybe I can head-canon that as him trying to anchor himself in the mission, stay focused on something other than the terror of interacting with Lucifer again.

I agree. I sort of headcanon it that it's Sam attempting to assert to both Lucifer and himself that he is in control of the situation - which is just even more depressing, given how Lucifer seems to be in control of the situation from the jump.

I can't envision a scenario where Sam could believably say yes to Lucifer...just because Lucifer put the Darkness away last time doesn't mean he has any stakes in that fight this time around...and even if he does, what do we gain with the Darkness gone but Lucifer free to walk the earth?? But I also have no idea how Sam is going to get out of this one...it's been a while since I've felt this kind of a pit in my stomach at the end of an episode. Which is wonderful...in a twisted, terrible way, haha.

Agreed on all counts!
kailita
Dec. 29th, 2015 03:59 am (UTC)
It's funny how "suit" has kind of become shorthand for "angel" in this show. They changed that up a little bit in Season 9 with Hael, and Gadreel's buddy Abner, and Thaddeus the Justin Bieber angel...but we've gotten lazy again since then, heh.

Your interpretation of Dean's line makes sense - I'll have to listen to it again in context. The whole discussion is painting in VERY broad strokes, regarding humanity and the choices that people make about religion. I wish they wouldn't do that, but I guess it's kind of a moot point at this stage of the show. I was rewatching "Faith" recently and was struck by how much mystery is left in the script regarding religion and the divine...but that was season 1! It seems like the more complicated the myth/worldbuilding of the show becomes, the narrower the view of religion becomes. Who is the last complex religious character that we've seen? But I guess that's another discussion entirely.

I like your Brave Sam headcanon. :)

I'm also inordinately happy about your Cranberries nostalgia. The first CD you ever owned! No one sings like Dolores O'Riordan. I loved them in the 90s before I really knew who they were, and to this day I always sing along with "Linger" wherever and whenever it comes on, whether I'm driving in my car or walking through a mall. :)
hells_half_acre
Dec. 29th, 2015 08:26 pm (UTC)
The whole discussion is painting in VERY broad strokes, regarding humanity and the choices that people make about religion. I wish they wouldn't do that, but I guess it's kind of a moot point at this stage of the show. I was rewatching "Faith" recently and was struck by how much mystery is left in the script regarding religion and the divine...but that was season 1! It seems like the more complicated the myth/worldbuilding of the show becomes, the narrower the view of religion becomes. Who is the last complex religious character that we've seen? But I guess that's another discussion entirely.

It IS another discussion entirely, but it's something I've been trying to articulate for a while and I think you kind of hit the nail on the head with your use of the phrase "painting in VERY broad strokes" - I think in the early seasons, the show used to PICK something, some little detail, and they'd explore that - whether it was the emotional response to the death of a loved one, or the consequence of being seen as a "freak" by society/humans...or the idea that as hunter you could be atheist or a believer and either one equally may have merit. And I think in exploring the DETAILS of things, they left so much more a mystery and to the imagination - there was a whole vast world where we didn't necessarily know the every rule.

And I think as the show has progressed, they stopped looking at the details and started going with broader and broader brush strokes - they started only focusing on the BIG and the EPIC and not the nuances or the little things. And I think that has, ironically, made the world less mysterious, less vast, there's less out there in the darkness to tantalize our imaginations, or to lead to great fan debate as to the nature of the universe in which the boys live.

No one sings like Dolores O'Riordan. I loved them in the 90s before I really knew who they were, and to this day I always sing along with "Linger" wherever and whenever it comes on, whether I'm driving in my car or walking through a mall. :)

Me too. I basically memorized that whole CD. :)
kailita
Dec. 29th, 2015 08:47 pm (UTC)
I think in exploring the DETAILS of things, they left so much more a mystery and to the imagination - there was a whole vast world where we didn't necessarily know the every rule.

And I think as the show has progressed, they stopped looking at the details and started going with broader and broader brush strokes - they started only focusing on the BIG and the EPIC and not the nuances or the little things. And I think that has, ironically, made the world less mysterious, less vast, there's less out there in the darkness to tantalize our imaginations, or to lead to great fan debate as to the nature of the universe in which the boys live.


That's it exactly! I wonder if that always has to be the case? I was HUGE into LOST back in the day, and the same thing kind of happened with that show...the more the mysteries were revealed and the "rules" of the world were laid down, the smaller the world seemed to become (and the less compelling the show became). And yet I think of Harry Potter as well...an example where the more the world was fleshed out, the more my imagination was ignited...MORE open space, MORE possibilities.

Though maybe that's an entirely unfair comparison, because a novel is a very different medium, and J.K. Rowling had complete control over how she developed that world. It's radically different from building a universe serially through a television show, in a writers' room where a lot of people are contributing and taking turns writing episodes.

It's amazing that the show has lived this long, and I am grateful for it - and one of the forms that my gratitude has taken is letting things like this go, ha, in order to enjoy what we have, even if it's different from what I used to love about the show. But it does make me miss the early days. Season 2 is my happy place forever.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 29th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC)
It perhaps is an unfair comparison - for the reasons that you state - but I do think it's really interesting. As a writer myself, I'm curious as to what the difference...what made Rowlings rules less confining? What made Harry Potter's world expand with knowledge, while LOST/SPN contracted with it? I guess I should say that the comparison is a super interesting one - and is actually only unfair if your using it to criticize the showrunners (because, as you say, a TV serial written by a team is much different than a series of novels written by one person).

I'd say my gratefulness to the show has taken the same form. I like the actors involved with the show, the community that has grown up around it, and so the fact that the show doesn't excite me in the same ways as it used to is...well, of little consequence, I guess?

I like to say that Supernatural is like a movie and it's sequels. S1-5 are the initial movie, and then after that, you get sequels - and sequels are very rarely as good as the initial movie. So, when I recommend SPN to people, I always recommend S1-5, and then, the sequels if they want some officially sanctioned fanfiction ;)

[For the record, I'm currently dividing up the movie and sequels as SPN=S1-5 (Apocalypse), SPN2=S6-7 (Post-Apocalypse), SPN3=S8 (Transition), SPN4=S9-10 (Mark of Cain), And now we're in SPN5 (The Darkness). ]
kailita
Jan. 1st, 2016 08:23 pm (UTC)
I like to say that Supernatural is like a movie and it's sequels. S1-5 are the initial movie, and then after that, you get sequels - and sequels are very rarely as good as the initial movie. So, when I recommend SPN to people, I always recommend S1-5, and then, the sequels if they want some officially sanctioned fanfiction ;)

That is so interesting that you say that! I used to explain the show exactly the same way - seasons 1-5 as the official canon, seasons 6 and beyond as glorified fanfiction...though "officially sanctioned" sounds much kinder. ;) But after rewatching seasons 6-9 (still need to do a rewatch of 10!), I actually feel very differently about the later seasons. Plot-wise, they will never be as tight as the first five seasons, for the reasons that we talked about upthread. But character-wise, I think they are treading new and interesting territory, themes worth examining that we didn't explore in the early seasons. I think specifically of Sam's soullessness...the trials in season 8...the total CARNAGE wreaked on their relationship in season 9. And I think what makes those choices powerful is that they are not just pulled out of thin air to keep the plot going...they are based on character development that has been building since the very earliest seasons. Those things are still paying off in new and interesting ways. (I've always watched primarily for the characters, not the plot or the worldbuilding...I think we all have.)

I have SO many problems with season 8 (SO MANY)...but the end of the finale of Season 8...that is earth-shattering stuff, an exchange that I don't think we could have believably had in the earlier seasons. For all of the brothers' setbacks and relapses (and there are so many), they are still moving forward as characters, after all of these seasons...they have not become stagnant...and I find that fascinating and compelling.

Sorry, this turned into a tangent-ramble! It's been a while since I've thought about this, and reading your comments makes me realize that these things have been rattling around in my brain, and helps me to articulate them!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 1st, 2016 09:18 pm (UTC)
Plot-wise, they will never be as tight as the first five seasons, for the reasons that we talked about upthread. But character-wise, I think they are treading new and interesting territory, themes worth examining that we didn't explore in the early seasons. I think specifically of Sam's soullessness...the trials in season 8...the total CARNAGE wreaked on their relationship in season 9. And I think what makes those choices powerful is that they are not just pulled out of thin air to keep the plot going...they are based on character development that has been building since the very earliest seasons. Those things are still paying off in new and interesting ways. (I've always watched primarily for the characters, not the plot or the worldbuilding...I think we all have.)

Agreed. And that's actually why I think they compare well to fanfiction - and why I sort of view them as "officially sanctioned fanfiction" - because, at it's core, that's what fanfiction is (when it's not smut). Fanfiction is actually just character meta in the form of a story. Or at least, GOOD fanfiction is. I'm sure there's fanfic out there that is well plotted case-fic, but chances are that unless it's got some really juicy character meta woven in, then it comes across as bland and boring.

For all of the brothers' setbacks and relapses (and there are so many), they are still moving forward as characters, after all of these seasons...they have not become stagnant...and I find that fascinating and compelling.

Agreed agreed. I don't want to through the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to S6-11, there is some amazing stuff in there... but, yeah, there's a certain something about S1-5 that they've just never been able to capture again. But that being said, it's been amazing that they even though they DO sometimes rehash old themes and lessons that the brothers should have learned by now...the fact is that the brothers HAVE evolved tremendously, and you rarely see that with procedurals (and SPN IS a procedural) or even dramas... I remember during S4-5 when everyone was bemoaning the death of Dean, because Dean post-hell was a fundamentally darker character than Dean pre-hell... but at the same time, that was amazing, because it wouldn't have made sense for him to be the same guy. And I love the fact that the writers don't shy away from that - that they allow the characters to change and grow and become different people, just like REAL people. (And again, there's the bathwater of the OOC Sam in early S8, but at the same time there's the baby of Dean post-purgatory, who again, has gone through an understandable character shift.)
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