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Rewatch S10: Dark Dynasty (10x21)

Alrigh, after nearly a month away, it's time that I actually accept the fact that I eventually have to watch this episode and I might as well get it over with.

So...

Dark Dynasty

So, we all know the things this episode has going against it - it's written by the weakest writing team (IMHO and apologies for admitting so), and it also fridges a female character in order to further Dean's plot... which, doesn't even piss me off because of the tropey non-feminism reasons, but just because it's the EASY thing to do. Again, a sign of a weak writer who isn't more imaginative.

Also, it starts out with eye-stuff in the teaser death - and I can't stand eye-stuff. So, excuse me while I completely ignore it by typing in this box instead while the episode-window is minimized.

So, we get re-introduced to the Stynes, when they kill this girl and steal her eyes.

Sam: "So, now we need to break a code to break a code?"
Rowena: "Quick, aren't you?"
Sam: "Look, Dean gets worse every day. Get this done."

- Poor Sam can't catch a break. The code is in code.

The Stynes bug me. Maybe because there supposed to be immortal, but they all have Southern accents. If they've been alive for centuries...shouldn't they have different accents? Maybe they haven't been alive for centuries. Maybe they aren't like the dude that Sam and Dean "killed" in S3, but instead of normal life-spans that are just enhanced with abilities? Like...they ONLY die of natural causes (because they only ever have one brain?)

Daddy Styne: "Here's how you redeem yourself. First, clean up your mess in Omaha. Next, you will track down these Winchesters, who murdered your brother Jacob, and who may now have in their possession the Book of the Damned."
Elton: "It will be done."

- See, this is the thing, you don't even NEED Charlie in this episode. Have Rowena crack the code herself (or Sam or whatever), have Dean get mad at the Stynes not for going after Charlie but for coming after HIM and HIS HOME. You can still have the entire storyline - with Dean capturing Elton, then Elton escaping, and then the next episode just have Dean tracking Elton down to the his home-turf and then Dean gets captured, and Elton still returns to the bunker to trash it, and Dean still kills everyone - but simply because he's SUPER ANGRY and SUPER INFLUENCED BY THE MARK. It's even BETTER actually, because then it really shows how Dean's losing control of himself becuase it's a huge over reaction to a prisoner escaping and Sam lying to him, rather than a slightly understandable reaction to a friend being slaughtered.

You don't even lose anything - YOU GAIN things and avoid costing your universe a good character.

Ugh, this episode annoys me.

Dean: "Well you look like crap on toast."
Sam: "I just haven't been sleeping well."
Dean: "There's a woman you haven't mentioned?"
Sam: "A woman?"
Dean: "Well, I'm just saying, you weren't here when I went to bed last night. You've been running off on your own a lot these last couple weeks."
Sam: "I do that."
Dean: "You actually don't."

- Haha, oh Sam, you are such a rotten liar.

Also, for two episodes they haven't mentioned the Stynes at all, and now Dean's suddenly researching them when it just so happens they're about to strike?! Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh. It would make way more sense if Dean just read the article about the dead chick and went to go check it out and THEN realized it was the same family and researched them.

Charlie: "Of course he doesn't know. Geez, the two of you."
- Yeah, Charlie, I think we're also getting kinda tied of the boys lying to each other after the last few seasons.

Sam: "I can't be here full time to referree"
Cas: "And I can?"
Sam: "Please. Please do this for me!"
Cas: "Well, what are the rules. I'm a referree, I should at least know them."
Rowena: "Quite literal isn't he. Does he know that the first rule is 'don't tell your brother what we're doing.'"
Cas: "Dean doesn't know? Sam! This never ends well."
Charlie: "That's exactly what I said."
Sam: "Okay, everyone take a breath. Look, we're up against it, okay? And we're all been up against it before, and we know that there are times when every choice sucks. Now us, lying, to Dean, is the choice that sucks the least. We have to make this work. Please."
Charlie: "Okay, yeah, for Dean."
Sam: "Cas?"
Cas: "Okay. For Dean."
Sam: "For Dean."
Rowena: "I barely know the man."

- *snerk* I do love that punchline.
- Also, poor Sam, everyone will do something out of their love for Dean, but now their love for him.... awww... (I'm joking, I know they love Sam too.)
- I do like Sam herding all these cats. It's great.
- I'm once again irritated by Cas' reiteration that they shouldn't lie to Dean - just because it's a theme I don't think we need repeated, nor do we need it pointed out that Sam should have learned this lesson by now.
- I'm torn about Cas being literal, mainly, because I think the writers are inconsistent when it comes to him - they want him there to make these kind of "he doesn't understand references/sayings/metaphors" kind of jokes, but only when they WANT to make those jokes - other times, when they want him to immediately understand, he does. Pick one or the other, people. Come to an agreement in the writers room and stick to it. In this case, I think it annoys me because it's quite CONTEXTUALLY clear that Charlie and Rowena are not about to start playing a game, so Cas should have interpreted the referree comment as metaphorical.
- I do agree with Sam though that he's stuck between a rock and a hard place. He needs to cure Dean to prevent him from murdering the world, and the only way he knows how is by using the Book of the Damned, which is inherently evil - so, no matter which way you slice it, Sam's letting something bad happen.

I really like Crowley's ties.

Asian demon! I love Asians on the TV, they are so rare and precious.

*Crowley jams the rest of the darts into the guys chest*
*Guy screams*
Crowley: "Shut-up."
Guy *looks down*: "Nice grouping."

- I like this joke too. Maybe Leming&Buckner's secret strength is in scene-ending one-liners. That will be my positive note for this episode, since I do try to make my LJ a positive happy place where we like liking things.

See, even in the building when they're investigating, and they see the security footage - they zoom in and see his tattoo and deduce that he's a Styne. So, have them see that first, and then have them either research, or say "Yeah, I researched them after our last run-in, and blah blah blah, popped up in the 1800s, etc." Then it doesn't seem like weird coincidence-town.

The building they're in is obviously by the Port... what with all those shipping containers. It's either that or they are seriously fooling me and it's on a set and that's all prop-backdrop. But... is there a port in Omaha? Where the hell is Omaha? It's in Nebraska... I just looked it up (I'm Canadian). I guess it could be a train port? Do they still have those? Supernatural doesn't make any sense sometimes with their location decisions.

And Elton knows Dean and Sam are after him....

Rowena: "I'm more old school - I read the signs that nature shows me - the forces that ruled before there was math."
- Uh, not to sound like a mathematicians daughter - but there was ALWAYS MATH. It's not an invention. It's a discovery. It's like gravity. Just because you've never studied physics, doesn't mean you're not going to fall when you jump out that window.

Rowena trying to manipulate Charlie into identifying as a witch/similar-to-a-witch is interesting, but again, it doesn't go anywhere - why set it up? Just filing time? Just working Rowena's angle.

Charlie: "Sam and Dean are like my brothers. I love them."
Rowena: "And that steadfast loyalty will be your undoing, my girl."

-Ah, it's just foreshadowing... again, annoying and lazy.

Sam: "How about you? How you doing?"
Dean: "Oh you mean the thing? I'm having some dark thoughts, creepy visions, violent urges, same old same old. I'm happy I got a murder to focus on though."

- I think Jensen did a good job with Dean this season, because it very much reminds me of S4 Dean, when he was darker and more on edge when he got back from hell, and all the Dean-fans bemoaned the loss of their more light-hearted love. Here Jensen takes that even further, while having Dean "play" at being Dean. It's Dean pretendig to be Dean, while he gets further and further away from that being true. I think that's part of the reason why S11 has felt like some fresh air, after 1.5 seasons of Dean going dark (and arguably the first half of S8 had Dean COMING BACK from dark), it's nice to have Dean back to being Dean (with reasonable changes caused by character development.)

Oh, and Cas calls while Dean is wearing his "I was murdered in this" plaid shirt. Demon!Dean must have pre-soaked that thing to get the bloodstains out.

Cas: "Sam!"
Dean: "No, it's Dean. What's up?"
Cas: "Nothing. I'm just staying in touch. Like I do."
Dean: "Something on your mind?"
Cas: "No. This call is pointless. My ride's here."

- Hahaha, I did love that conversation too.

Dean: "Hey, you talk to Cas recently?"
Sam: "No, why?"
Dean: "I jsut wondering what he's up to. Gotta be up to something, right?"
Sam: "Yeah, angel stuff. I don't know."

- Oh Sam, SO BAD AT LYING.

Crowley getting intel from a hamster... Asian demon returns! I'm sure he eventually dies... but I'll enjoy him while I can.

Dean is ambushed while getting pizza. I hate it when that happens. The pizza is going to get ruined.

Charlie wants to escape. Bad idea. Also, it annoys me because Cas takes Rowena to another room to talk to her - why not stick Charlie in a different room "where it's quiet"... blah, okay, I'll stop comining, we're not actually at that point yet.

Why shackle super strong guy by only one arm? (Sorry, sorry, so nitpicky.)

Elton: "The family's vast - spread all over the world."
- Drat. I liked the idea that Dean killed them all better. Also, this explains the southern accents, so I stand corrected. These dudes must be new.

Elton: "Every man in the family's had a little something."
- Every MAN? Are these guys sexist too? Kill them all, Dean!

Elton: "...one Europe's oldest families - the House of Frankenstein."
- See, I don't know, it just wasn't that much of a shock? Maybe... maybe it was... Styne just seems too on the point. I even remember spelling it Stein before I saw the official spelling, because I know German, so that's just the way you spell it. It'd have been more surprising if they were the like...the Czykovskis and he was like... "What do you think Igor's last name was?" Hahaha, okay, sorry, that's hilarious and stupid, not more surprising...plus, Igor wasn't in Shelley's Frankenstein, I don't think. I've only seen the play adaptation though and read excerpts, I've never read the whole thing, so who knows. Anyway...

Again, why doesn't Cas just put Charlie in the secondary room. Or forbid talking?

Sam: "Just separate them, Cas! Do the best you can!"
- See! I guess that's what Cas does - he just chooses to stay in the room with the wrong person.

Elton: "The book is protected by a spell. It's eternal. It cannot be destroyed."
- Aww, the jig is up.

I also love the jump scare of Dean being right around the corner when Sam gets off the phone.

Cas: "You have a child?"
Rowena: "Do I have a child? The King of Hell - that's all. The King."
Cas: "Crowley is your son? Well that explains a lot. I'm sure that was a challenge."

- Haha, I do love Cas' reaction.

I guess I also hate this episode because Charlie's a dumb dumb for leaving. Though, in fairness, she didn't know that people were after her.

Dean: "...I thought this was bad, but it would be really bad if these guys had the book. At least they don't have the damned book."
Sam: "Yeah, yeah."
Dean: "At least the book burned, huh, Sam? But then, Elton Frankenstyne hits me with this fun fact - he says the book can't be destroyed. He says that it can't be slice diced shredded burned drowned...."

- I repeat: The jig is up!
- I do love how Dean's in interrogation mode with Sam though... he stalks behind him just like he did with Elton.

*Sam's phone rings*
Dean: "Sam you answer that, so help me!"

- See, you could have stretched out the middle bit and the ending could be Dean being FREAKING PISSED AT SAM. And then the next episode is Dean going after the Styne's while Sam hides out with Rowena because Dean's pissed and looking for him, but doesn't know where he is... so Cas goes to talk sense into Dean, or apologize on behalf of Sam or something, and Dean is like "Well, first thing I'm going to do is kill the damn Stynes, before they come after us, then I'll deal with my brother later... and then you can still have the whole next episode pretty much AS IS.

Dean: "And then you pulled Cas into! And Charlie!"
Sam: "Charlie loves you, Dean! We all love you!"

- Awww, well, that's nice.

And now Charlie's dead. Ugh. Annoyed.

And no more episode! Yay! Done! Still pissed off about it. Also, how come Gadreel can bring people back from the dead, but Cas can't? So annoyed.

But whatever. It's Supernatural. They do this crap. It's a good thing it happened last year though, and not this year with the whole Bury Your Gays fiasco going on with 90% of the lesbian/bi character-having shows on TV right now. They contributed to the problem, but did it before the problem gathered enough steam to get people super enraged by each new addition to the trope.

For fairness sake, I do know that some people were indifferent or kinda glad that Charlie was killed... because they didn't like her character particularly and they enjoyed the motivation it gave to Dean. Which you know, fair enough, we all have characters that we don't connect with and are indifferent to. I'm sure there's been deaths on Supernatural where I'm like "well, finally" or *shrug* and other people have been incensed or heartbroken.  And again, it's not like I'm particularly HEARTBROKEN, I'm just annoyed at the lazy writing, where ONCE AGAIN, they kill a secondary character in order to motivate Sam and/or Dean. It's like Kevin all over again. You didn't necessarily need Gadreel to kill Kevin, he could have just beat him up, stolen the tablets, and stolen Sam's body - and Sam STILL would have been pissed at Dean, and Dean still would have been upset about everything and probably still been manipulated by Crowley...and meanwhile, Kevin could just go home... or go try to find out what happened to his mom, and then come back to Sam and Dean's when he got a lead.

I'll stop complaining now, I promise. Really. This is me stopping.

Sorry this review is more negative than usual. I do generally try to enjoy the things I watch and not be a huge complainy person...but yeah.... I also just have to be honest and this just is one of my least favourite episodes/plot-devices. It sucks, because there are a really good one-liners, and I think Jensen and Jared both do a fantastic acting job... but alas.

I'll try to do another rewatch either tomorrow or on the weekend, and then finish up the rewatches before May. 

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
Apr. 20th, 2016 04:33 am (UTC)
I haven't watched this in a long time, but it feels like you left chunks of it out in order to rewrite it so it wouldn't piss you off so much :) I totally agree with you on the rewrite, enjoy your version SO MUCH MORE.

Of all the things that were wrong in this episode, though, why did they make Charlie so dumb as to leave the safehouse? Like you point out, Cas could have taken her to another room... Sigh.

Do you think we'll get her ghost back too, sometime next season? :(
hells_half_acre
Apr. 20th, 2016 04:51 am (UTC)
I didn't even leave chunks out! That's how easy it would be to rewrite this episode. :P

It probably felt like I left chunks out because like a lot of L-B episodes, it's mostly exposition and there's not actually that much to talk about... so, I didn't write out as many interesting quotes or what have you. I also didn't talk about Crowley getting the information from the Hamster very much, which sets up the finale with him tracking down the kid that Rowena loved. Maybe I should have.

I should have at least mentioned that he used a very nice looking fountain pen to write down the name of the guy.

In fairness, Charlie didn't know that she was in danger outside the safe house. At least, I don't think she did. But still... why not just move her desk into the other room and leave Rowena in the big room. :P

Do you think we'll get her ghost back too, sometime next season? :(

I hope not. I hope if Charlie comes back, it's because she's alive again.
percysowner
Apr. 20th, 2016 02:37 pm (UTC)
There were ways that this episode could have been improved. First, make this part of the Thule Society. Have the Frankensteins be part of that. It would fit with previously established mythology. I really don't need TWO old evil societies running around the Supernatural universe.

Like you, I think the Charlie part was unneeded. It actually would have been better if Dean had been melting down and becoming dangerously, unreasonably angry because of the MOC and for no other reason. That would have helped give Sam's desperation more weight. Instead, they had to keep giving Dean "good reasons" for his actions, which made Sam's actions look wrong.

Also, poor Sam, everyone will do something out of their love for Dean, but now their love for him.... awww... (I'm joking, I know they love Sam too.)

I actually don't think they love Sam too. Cas is friendly towards Sam, but I'm pretty sure he'd feed him to the wolves to save Dean. At the very least, he has constantly acted as an apologist for Dean when Dean does bad things, while being pretty willing to let the blame fall on Sam when things go wrong. Note: I'm still ticked about Cas telling Dean that shoving an angel into Sam was just fine, his only mistake was picking the wrong angel.

Charlie has shown like zero interest in Sam. She thanks Dean for stopping the Apocalypse and makes fun of the fact that every woman Sam loved has died (she didn't know about Amelia). I see her as Dean's friend and Sam is not even an after thought.

Rowena barely knows Sam as well and she'd chuck anyone over the side to survive, but she's an equal opportunity disinterested in the Winchesters, so I don't mind.

One of the big improvements for me this season is that we see people actually liking Sam, sometimes more than Dean. That was absent for most of the Carver years and is a welcome change.

hells_half_acre
Apr. 20th, 2016 04:00 pm (UTC)
First, make this part of the Thule Society. Have the Frankensteins be part of that. It would fit with previously established mythology. I really don't need TWO old evil societies running around the Supernatural universe.

Oh man! That would have made SO MUCH MORE SENSE. Why have TWO evil Germanic/European secret societies that helped the Nazis gain power back in the day? Also, the harvesting/enhanced body parts would explain why the Thule don't die easy. I mean, I think the Thule are a little harder to completely dispose of (you have to burn them), so Dean's murder spree would have a lot of more fires...but that's fine too. Just have him note that he piled all the bodies in the house and burnt it down or something.

It actually would have been better if Dean had been melting down and becoming dangerously, unreasonably angry because of the MOC and for no other reason. That would have helped give Sam's desperation more weight. Instead, they had to keep giving Dean "good reasons" for his actions, which made Sam's actions look wrong.

Agreed! That's exactly what I meant when I said that they should just have Dean going off the deep end because Elton got away and he's pissed at Sam. There's no need to give him a more sympathetic reason. We already know he's being poisoned by the MoC. The only reason to make the reason more sympathetic is to portray Dean as in-the-right and Sam as in-the-wrong, but that's not actually the case at all.

I actually don't think they love Sam too. Cas is friendly towards Sam, but I'm pretty sure he'd feed him to the wolves to save Dean. At the very least, he has constantly acted as an apologist for Dean when Dean does bad things, while being pretty willing to let the blame fall on Sam when things go wrong. Note: I'm still ticked about Cas telling Dean that shoving an angel into Sam was just fine, his only mistake was picking the wrong angel.

Charlie has shown like zero interest in Sam. She thanks Dean for stopping the Apocalypse and makes fun of the fact that every woman Sam loved has died (she didn't know about Amelia). I see her as Dean's friend and Sam is not even an after thought.

I disagree with you here. I DO think that Cas and Charlie both love Sam. Yes, Cas is closer to Dean, AND yes, he's a Dean apologist - but I don't think he'd throw Sam to the wolves for Dean and I think Cas DOES love Sam too. He's actually become increasingly tender towards Sam as the seasons progress. He was much more of a blame-Sam-for-everything type of person when we first met him, but as Cas has softened up as a character, he's also softened up towards Sam.

I also don't think that Charlie has shown zero interest in Sam. We see her chatting with Dean more, it's true, but just the previous episode she was in, she had a similar BFF-chat with Sam, and did not treat him any differently than she treats Dean during similar chats. I see her as both their friends, with her and Dean having slightly more opportunities to chat. I also don't think she was making FUN of Sam's love interests all dying.

But this is all down to interpretation, so while I don't agree with you, I also am not saying that your "reading" isn't also valid.

I DO agree that Carver hasn't been good at writing Sam, or writing people liking Sam, very much until S11, arguably. Sam seems to be a difficult character for the writers, for some reason.
supernutjapan
Apr. 20th, 2016 02:53 pm (UTC)
This was a very controversial episode. Good for you for going through with the rewatch despite your dislike for it.
hells_half_acre
Apr. 20th, 2016 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I guess I should have tried harder to be objective, but hopefully it's better that I'm just honest. :P
khek
Apr. 21st, 2016 02:24 am (UTC)
Yes.

(I think that's all I need to say. I agree. With everything.)

And I hope that someone, somehow, actually saved Charlie and will bring her back. Alive. I didn't really like her when she first appeared, but she really grew on me, and I hate that she's gone. And I wish that savior would also get Kevin too.
hells_half_acre
Apr. 21st, 2016 02:31 am (UTC)
Agreed!

And yup, that's all I have to say too. ;)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )