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Rewatch S8: 8x06 Southern Comfort

Garth Episode!
I like Garth as a character, because he's a play on a stereotype.... or he's a play on making judgments about people based on the way they look/sound. Because Garth looks and sounds like he should be an incompetent hunter, but he's obviously not. He's such a good hunter, actually, that he can take on Bobby's job of being the go-to knowledge-guy for other hunters.

Ugh, the opening to this episode is BRUTAL THOUGH! I think it's the most brutal of the season...

Sam: "Heads up"
*Sam hands Dean a drink*
- Seriously, the amount of joy I get out of dialogue that ISN'T about plot is ridiculous. I love these very little tiny things that solely consist of Sam handing Dean a drink.

Dean: "You want to talk about Benny, fine, let's talk."
Sam: "How about, he's a *vampire*"
- I love the way Sam whispers "vampire" and then looks around. It's... kind of adorable.

Sam: "Don't think that I don't get it. You had to do what you had to do to get out of there."
Dean: "I highly doubt you get anything about Purgatory."
- I think this is another problem that Dean is struggling with - much like when he came back from hell, he pushed Sam away because Sam couldn't possible ever understand what Dean had gone through. He's doing the same with Purgatory. Sam couldn't possibly understand, therefore Dean's not even going to try to explain it. He'd not even going to try to explain Benny and what exactly happened and why it is that Dean feels so indebted to the vampire, WHY he trusts him so much. And because Dean's not willing to make the effort, Sam continues not only to not understand, but also get increasingly frustrated by Dean pushing him away and not telling him things - and the more frustrated and angry he gets, the less likely he's going to TRY to understand.

Dean: "He's my friend, Sam."
Sam: "And what about my friend, Amy? She was what? Because you sure as hell didn't have a problem ganking her!"
Dean: "Well, I guess people change. don't they - we didn't have a problem letting that werewolf, Kate, go."
- And Dean actually makes a good point here. People change - DEAN has changed. But the thing is, so has Sam - because 8 years ago, Sam WOULD have believed Benny too - in fact, he DID (his name was just Eli at the time). Now, Sam proved inevitably to be wrong about trusting those vampires, and it's soured him on ever doing it again, apparently - but he WAS still willing to give Kate a chance.

Sam: "She was different! She- You think Benny's different? He tell you he's not drinking live blood or something? And you believe him. Wow. Alright. You're right. People do change."
- And here we have another problem with the Winchesters... all those silent conversations they can have because they know each other so well? When you know someone that well, you have to be really careful that those silent conversations are actually what you think they are. Sam is drawing conclusions based on Dean's silences, and they may be right, but they're also not the full story.

Dean: "Yeah, I got a vampire buddy and you turn your phone off for a year."
Sam: "Don't turn this on me."
- And Dean isn't helping. He's defensive an angry and, like I said, wanting to push Sam away because he doesn't believe that Sam will understand. So, the quickest way to get Sam to drop an argument is to make it an attack on him - to turn it into something that Sam doesn't want to talk about.

Dean: "Look, Benny slips up and some other hunter puts his lights out - so be it."
Sam: "But it's not going to be you, right."
Dean: "You coming or not."
- And this here, SHOULD have tipped Sam off that Dean owed Benny a lot - that Dean had a LOT of feelings for Benny - because every other time they've let a monster go, it's with the caveat that if they slip up, then the WINCHESTERS will kill them. That DEAN will kill them. This is the one time that Dean doesn't actually think he has it in him to kill the monster... well, the one time besides those times when the monster was SAM. So, yeah, there's your measure.

Dean: "...you're sulking around like a eunuch in a whorehouse..."
- Eunuchs can still have a lot of fun people. Actually, back in olden times, Kings and whatnot used to let Eunuchs hang out with their ladies, because they thought Eunuch=no sex...and the Eunuchs were not about to quash that myth, because "Sure, I'll look after your harum, Sire... I'll make sure those ladies have EVERYTHING they need." Good times.

Garth!

Sam: "I forgot he was a hugger."
- Aw, so did I.

Dean: "Texas Ranger, Garth? Seriously? We're in Missouri!"
Garth: "What? Come on... I look like a funeral director in one of those." *points to suits*
*both boys consider then nod in agreement.*
- I just love that they AGREE with him, like, yeah, your style is more important than a believable cover story - good point.

"Wow, I heard some chatter you two were back in the batters box, but I didn't believe it until now."
- I so crave Outsider POV. I love stuff like this - the fact that we get a glimpse of the "chatter" that goes through the hunting community.

Dean: "What are you doing?"
Garth: "My job, ombre"
Dean: "And since when is giving advice your job?"
Sam: "Hold up. Are you the new Bobby?"
Dean: "You shut your mouth."
Garth: "Yes"
Dean: "YOU shut your mouth."
...
Garth: "Bobby was gone. You two were MIA. It was a weird time. Somebody had to step in and pick up the slack. Alright, let's just get back to work and we'll talk about this later, alright?"
- Again, it's the Outsider POV that I love. And the fact that the writers didn't ignore the fact that Sam and Dean's lives have an effect on the rest of the world/hunting community. And not just in the "you unleashed lucifer!" aspect, but also just in the other stuff. Their losses are also losses for the hunting community, and whether they are currently hunting or missing is NOTED. The fact that Bobby died would have left a HUGE hole in the hunting community, and it's awesome that they acknowledge that and acknowledge the fact that it's not up to Sam and Dean who fills that hole. (this is starting to sound dirty.)

Sam: "Is that gum or is that ectoplasm?"
Dean: "Ectoplasm is usually black, right?"
Garth *tastes it*: "Ugh, definitely ectoplasm."
- I just love the fact that he tastes it, and both Sam and Dean make grossed out faces. It reminds me of my first fandom (Due South) which had that as a running gag between the two leads.

Garth: "So, Dean, give me the skinny - where were you this past year?"
...
Dean: "Alright, I was in Purgatory."
Garth: "Like the Purgatory Purgatory?"
Dean: "No, the one in Miami"
Garth: "Man, that's balls.
Dean: "That's not how you say balls."
- So, yeah, there's a gay bar in Maimi called Purgatory. It's an awesome fact. No matter which one Garth actually believes, his response is amusing given the context.

Sam: "How do you know all this?"
Garth: "I went to college."
Sam: "You went to college?"
Garth: "Yeah, college and then on to dental school."
Dean: "You were a dentist?"
- I love this, because it gets back to what I like about Garth - which is a play on judging people. Hunting is a very blue collar activity in Supernatural. It's the working class saving the middle class from the forces of evil, when it comes right down to it. It's why Sam's initial attempt at escape was to go to college - much like real working class kids do to try to escape their working class lives. Sam having attended college is an anomaly in the hunting community (Kristy's surprise at learning about it tells us that) - the fact that Garth not only went to college but had a middle class job before becoming a hunter is actually pretty flooring for Sam and Dean, again, they've been judging Garth based on the fact that he adopted the trappings of a hunter - beat up car, blue collar wardrobe, etc, and so just assumed that he was like them, or Bobby, or their father and came from a working class background.

Garth: "Yeah, for like a hot minute. Where do you think I got my first case?"
Dean: "Let me guess - tooth fairy."
Garth: "Yeah. Man, I felt terrible when I ganked that SOB."
Dean: "You killed the tooth fairy?"
Sam: "Yeah man, I mean, it's not my proudest moment, but it happened!"
- I love this origin story.

The mirror in this episode for the main storyline moves away from the "what does it mean to love a monster?" theme of the last three episodes and moves onto the "holding grudges only poisons yourself" theme.

Dean: "So first the mom goes natural born killer and now it's the son? What do we got a ghost with an oedipus complex? I don't know what that means."
- I love Dean, but I'm sure he DOES know what an oedipus complex means - he knows enough that it involves mothers and sons, anyway.

Dean: "Is that Bobby's hat?"
...
*Dean takes hat*
Garth: "What are you doing?"
Dean: "That's not how you wear it!"
- Garth's face here is just brilliant. You can see how angry he's getting with Dean, but then you can also see him let it go and return back to the case.

Oh, Sam flashback time! Sam's flashbacks come at such odd moments - like they can't really find things to trigger him that make sense.

Now it's time for awkward dialogue in bed. WORST PILLOW TALK EVER...actually, pillow talk scene we'll see in another few episodes is worst.

We learn about Amelia losing her husband in Iraq after he enlisted without discussing it with her first. Personally, if your husband enlists without talking to you about it, I think you've got massive problems in your relationship. But, the point is, I think, that Amelia and Sam have both lost soldiers in combat.

End Flashback.

Garth: "You're such an idjit."
Dean: "Idjit's supposed to be said angrily, not happy. If you're going to butcher it don't say it at all!"
Garth: "Whoa then, okay. None of my business, but does this have anything to do with you and Sam?"
Dean: "You're right. It's none of your business."
- Again, Garth is actually quite brilliant. He recognizes that Dean's issues aren't actually with him - they're being caused by something else. Guessing it might be Sam is a good guess. I think in this case though, Dean is upset because he doesn't deal well with grief. He's not only still grieving Bobby at this point, but he's also grieving Cas - a fact that he's been trying to ignore for the past 5 episodes.

In the comments to my last post, ashkiryn made a really good point when I asked the question: Why is Dean being so unsympathetic/unempathetic to other people's grief/pain/love? She pointed out that it's quite possible that it reminds him of his own grief over Cas, that he doesn't want to feel empathy, because then he'll have to awknowledge his own pain - which he's steadfastedly trying to ignore until it goes away - much like he did back in S2 when John died.

Garth: "...I know sometimes, Bobby, he'd-"
Dean: "You're not Bobby! 'kay? You're never going to be Bobby! So stop!"
Garth: "Bobby belonged to all of us, Dean. Not just you and Sam - now I'm just trying to take what he showed me and do something with it. That's all!"
- Garth calls Dean out on another thing he's doing - which is a very cliched male hero thing to do - and that's to act as though HIS pain is the ONLY pain. It doesn't matter to Dean what Sam might have been feeling during the past year, because Dean is too busy feeling upset because Sam didn't look for him. He doesn't question why Garth is suddenly trying to take on so many of Bobby's qualities, because he's too busy thinking of his own grief for Bobby. Garth is actually doing the same thing that Sam did after John died - try to be the son that John wanted him to be - and Dean called him on it then and then felt like a tool when he made Sam cry. Garth misses Bobby, and he's trying to honour him and miss him a little less by emulating him. But yeah, Dean can't see past his own grief long enough to realize that Garth's actions are coming from the same sadness.

Dean: "What, did you learn that in college?"
Garth: "Nope, civil war re-enactments. Once a year. Every year. Don't hate!"
- Dean says "college" here like it's a bad thing. He used to do that to Sam too - and it's a classic trope of working class vs. middle class fights - where suddenly education becomes a bad thing. It's the ol' jocks vs. nerds. And I think he's falling into that trope because he feels threatened by Garth, because Garth IS intelligent and Garth has shown himself to be more than capable of calling Dean on his shit. Dean has Sam so emotionally turned around that Sam's incapable of calling Dean on his shit, but Garth is another story altogether.

Garth: "I kinda feel like we should say something, right? Don't you? Just - a little-"
Dean: "Sure. We won." *lights it on fire*
- Heheh. I do love Dean.

Guy in holding has an asthma attack. Would they really take an inhaler away from an asmatic? It's hard to fake an asthma attack - but I think Tyler Posey did much better on Teen Wolf. (Speaking as someone who grew up with an asthmatic brother).

Garth: "Sam, if you ever need to talk, I want to let you know that I'm here - About anything, you know, about life, Dean, you-"
Sam: "I'm okay, thanks."
Garth: "It just seems like you and Dean are talking but no one's listening to each other-"
- Like I said, never underestimate Garth - he can and will not only figure out what's really going on, but also call you on it.

SAM FLASHBACK wieder einmal!

Amelia doesn't need your pity SAM!

The biggest problem I have with this flashback is that Sam actually stops and leans against the stairs while he thinks - that's not actually how human thinking works. You don't think in "real time" - you think VERY VERY QUICKLY.

Sam: "Dean, what the hell? We went to the hospital. You're not answering your phone!"
Dean: "You should have looked for me when I was in purgatory."
- Okay, Sam, your brother isn't answering his phone, you walk into a hotel room and he's sitting like an automaton at the end of the bed with his phone ringing out beside him and a gun in his hand. He has green goo pouring from his ear. Do you actually believe that there's nothing wrong with him?

I like the montage in this episode - I know some people didn't, because yeah, the audience isn't actually so stupid as to not have put the sequence of events together...but I LOVE Soundgarden and the song Black Days. I mean, seriously... this song just... Soundgarden is one of those bands whose music I'd gladly have sex to.

Dean: "You never even wanted this life. You always blamed me for pulling me back into it."
Sam: "That's not true."
- And here's the problem with psychological issues: You PROJECT. We learned in S7 that Dean blames HIMSELF for pulling Sam back into the life because he didn't want to be alone.

Sam: "What do you want me to say? That I've made mistakes. I've made mistakes, Dean!"
Garth: "That's not Dean, Sam."
Dean: "Shut-up! Mistakes - well, let's go through some of Sammy's greatest hits. Drinking demon blood - check. Being in cahoots with Ruby. Not telling me that you lost your soul. Or how about running around with Samuel for a year, not telling me that you weren't dead while you were doing all kinds of crazy- Those aren't mistakes, Sam. Those are choices!"
- I like Garth trying to get Sam to understand that what Dean's saying isn't actually how Dean feels - it's twisted. Sam doesn't get the message though.
- Also, choices and mistakes are the same things. The choice is the mistake.
- You can tell this is mostly the specter talking and NOT DEAN, because of the things he's blaming Sam for. We already know from S6 that Dean did not consider Soulless!Sam to be Sam at all. He treated him as an entirely separate person who was NOT his brother and when Sam was back, he was adamant that Sam do the exact same thing and not blame himself for Soulless!Sam's actions either. And we know THAT was Dean - so yeah, this is definitely not Dean and Sam should have seen it here. But, because Sam is already so guilty about abandoning Dean and Kevin (given Dean's persistence that he SHOULD feel that way) it doesn't take much for him to just accept that this is how Dean feels and maybe his big brother is right and Sam's a complete failure of a human being.

Sam: "Alright. You said it. We've both played a little fast and loose."
Dean: "Yeah, I might have lied, but I never once betrayed you-"
- I interrupt this moment to talk about Sam's face: Because at first, I was sure it was a "bullshit!" face, and that he felt Dean HAD betrayed him at some points, but now I'm wondering if it's a "you're right" face.
"-I never once left you to die! And for what? A girl? You left me to die for a girl!"
- And I do have to admit that Dean has a point. It's gotta hurt, because Sam never offers an viable excuse for why he didn't look for Dean, probably because he doesn't feel he has one. Dean accused him of abandonment right off the bat, and Sam just slumped inside and agreed with him, and so didn't bother offering a good explanation. Perhaps, of course, because the goddamn writers didn't give him one - but personally, I think Sam's brain broke momentarily. He was able to put himself back together eventually, recuperate, and as he did so he met Amelia and that was a good place to recover his wits... so when he goes to explain to Dean what happens, it becomes "I quit hunting. There was a girl." Instead of, "something went horribly wrong in my mind. I didn't know how to go on without you. I drove aimlessly. I was dead inside" or whatever actually happened.

The fight scene is brilliant. And MAN it looks like it hurts when Sam breaks that table... I actually really love how he doesn't just spring back from that - how he drags himself over to the couch and looks like it could very well be that Dean completely just broke his back there. God, I need some H/C fic for this episode, but I bet anything that's out there is all about brother-blame/hate. Ugh.

Garth: "Come on, Dean, you do not want to kill your brother. You've been protecting him your whole life. Don't stop now."
- I love this line from Garth, because I think he's trying to appeal to any part of Dean that might still be in there and not controlled by the specter - and even though it doesn't work, he's doing it the right way - "protect Sammy" is Dean's #1 modus operandi.

Dean: "He left me to rot in Purgatory!"
Garth: "Maybe he did, I don't know, I wasn't there. But I'm sure he had his reasons."
Sam: "Just like you had your reasons for Benny."
Garth: "Who?!"
- I just love Garth's face, where he starts to make the "Sam has a point" face and then suddenly realizes that he has no idea what they're talking about anymore. I feel for Garth, I do, I hate being in the room when couples fight, because they bring up all sorts of stuff they're still mad about from years previous.

Dean: "Benny's been more of a brother to me this past year than you've EVER been! That's right. Cas let me down. You let me down. The only person who hasn't let me down is Benny."
- Again, this is mostly the specter talking, and we have to remember that, but I think if Dean WERE trying to communicate something here, it would be that Benny has so far been truthful and dependable and Dean has no reason to doubt him. Unfortunately, because he's currently possessed by a specter, it comes out as a put down.

Dean: "How come that penny didn't jack you like it did everyone else? I mean, I get why it didn't affect the kid who took it - he's young and innocent, but you-"
Garth: "Not me, man. I let all that stuff go with the help of my yogi, my sega genesis - and you should too. You can't change the past, amigo. Now there's something I'd like to say to you: Stop being an idjit! With Bobby dead, you and Sam are all each other has, and that's not so bad man. Now you know what's coming next, right - come on...come on..."
Dean: "Yeah, okay." *Dean actually enjoys the hug*
- First, I'd like to point out that the convenience store clerk ALSO had no grudges. Everyone always forgets that convenience store clerks are people with feelings, and not just robots that operate cash registers and dispense cigarettes and lotto tickets.
- Second, again, I like the fact that Garth is just... a stereotype defier.
- Third, I actually like the fact that Garth is the one filling the gap in the hunting world that Bobby left behind.

Moar flashbacks for Sam!

Sam: "I don't pity you, okay! I don't. You and I, we're a lot of things, but we're not to be pitied. Look, I lost my brother, Dean, a few months ago. It felt like my world imploded and came raining down on me and I ran - like you."
Amelia: "Is that supposed to be a pep talk?"
Sam: "Well...yeah, sort of."
Amelia: "Because, see, now I pity you."
- This is, I think, the only mention of how Sam FELT when Dean died. I really really wish we had known more about it, because it would have made me care more about this front-end storyline for Sam. As it was, I just didn't understand it - especially since they never showed us WHY Sam and Amelia liked each other. We never saw them have fun at all. It was all just snark, depression, and confusion.

*Sam's shirt actually matches the wallpaper in Amelia's kitchen area... check it out when he walks through the door:
vlcsnap-00016

Sam: "So, uh? So what now?"
Amelia: "I don't know, do you want to talk about it?"
Sam: "What, last night?"
Amelia: "No, Dean, you pervert."
Sam: "Yeah, yeah, I'd like that. Do you want to talk about Don?... hey, hey, I'd like that too."
- I'm still of the opinion that Don was the last thing that Amelia wanted to talk about and that she didn't really want to talk about Dean either, and that she was asking if Sam wanted to talk about him sarcastically - mainly, because I think it's hilarious, and also just because I don't think that's the face of someone who actually wants to address the pain that they're running from.
- Also, what the hell was Sam going to talk about? How does he sanitize the story of him and Dean for a non-hunting audience?

End of flashback!

Sam: "For the record. The girl. Her name's Amelia. Amelia Richardson. She and I had a place together in Kermit, Texas."
Dean: "Look man, I don't even remember what I said, but uh-"
Sam: "But what? But you didn't mean it? Oh please. You and I both know that you didn't need that penny to say those things."
Dean: "Come on, Sam-"
Sam: "Enough with your crap, Dean. I told you from the jump where I was coming from, why I didn't look for you, but you - you had secrets. You had Benny. And you got on your high and mighty and you've been kicking me ever since you got back. But that's over. So move on, or I will."
- Sam opens with offering information and honesty in the hopes that Dean will do the same, I think, but as soon as he preceives that Dean is going to talk his way out of the subject (which is immediately), Sam's anger about being lied to and being constantly yelled at is back in full force - and he does the thing that Sam always does to Dean when he wants to hurt Dean as much as Dean's hurt him - he threatens to leave.

Dean: "Okay, I hear you."
Sam: "Good. You know. Hear this too: I might just be that hunter that runs into Benny one day and ices him."
Dean: "I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, won't we."
Sam: "Yeah, yeah, you keep saying that."
- And I do wonder if this episode with the specter stayed with Sam - and it was the idea of Benny as Dean replacing him that drove Sam to be more murderous towards Benny than he would have been ordinarily... maybe not... I'm just still trying to rationalize what I see as OOC behaviour for Sam in the upcoming Citizen Fang episode. So, I guess I'll save my guesses for when we cross that bridge.... :P

END!

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Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
ashkiryn
Oct. 26th, 2013 03:52 am (UTC)
Mmm. And you know, I don't think it helps Dean to have Sam's abandonment of him thrown almost immediately into his face, right after Cas abandoned him, before he'd constructed the false memory. I mean, either of those on its own would suck, because Dean has massive abandonment issues already, but to have them both on top of each other, and from the two people he cares most about in the world? Anyone would be sensitive about that, and I think it just aggravates the situation even worse. And hell, it's probably part of the reason that Dean is holding on as tightly as he is to Benny, because Dean's world is painfully limited, and he probably feels like there is no one else besides Benny. And all of that is plus the separate, but related, issue of his grief, and plus all of his PTSD....God fucking damn, but sometimes it really does amaze me that Dean Winchester can even get out of bed in the mornings.

*sighs* And the worst of it is that I can't be mad at Sam either, because like you've said, even if the writers didn't show it, something obviously went wrong in his brain, and so he's suffering too, and just....neither Winchester brother is in any position to be helping each other out with their problems, but they're all they've got because they're dumbfucks with virtually no friends or something (and I say "or something", because even though I'm convinced that they do have friends and people they could go to for support, for some ungodly reason, none of these people ever seem to cross the Winchesters' minds. I mean, for fuck's sake, Garth is RIGHT THERE, and there's Jody, or hell, AMELIA IF YOU HAD EVER BOTHERED TO TELL HER THE TRUTH, SAM, or if you're desperate, there's Tessa or just fucking SOMEBODY. *holds head and cries* I commented at some point while watching these first season 9 episodes that it's amazing the Winchesters are able to make friends at all anymore, given how much shit and betrayal they've gone through...but then I realize, they kind of don't really, at least not really in terms of making friends that they would think of being able to support THEM. If you see what I'm saying? Maybe Charlie comes close, but even though Kevin's family now, I don't think the Winchesters see him (yet) as being like a pillar of stability, someone who could take care of them for a change. And hell, it's partially why I'm excited to see the possibility of the beginnings of Kevin taking over a part of Bobby's job for the boys (as we saw in 9x2), because it's indicative on them relying on him, at least a little bit. But anyway, I hope you see my overall point in this ridiculously long aside ;P).

Essentially: oh, Winchesters, sometimes I am so very deeply appalled by how fucked up the pair of you are. The world needs to inflict a massive cuddling session on you, or something.

Ahem. In other news: thanks for mentioning me here, and Garth is awesome until the end of time. :)
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
Agreed about Dean - he's kind of got a lot on his plate psychologically at the moment, doesn't he? Man.

It's interesting what you say about the Winchesters and friends- because it's true, they don't really have any - or they don't ACT like they have any. They have friends, but treat them like acquaintances - ie: not the people you call when the shit hits the fan. Even though said friends probably would be more than willing to help them out or listen to their problems.

I think the problem with Kevin is that he's so much younger than them. He's a child-figure as opposed to a father-figure, which is traditionally the only type of person the Winchester's are willing to confide in. Kevin is someone that they have to look after - so although they'll use him for research and consider him family, I don't think they want to burden him with their psychological problems...he's not a pillar of stability, because Kevin has a tendency to crumple under psychological tools even more so than the Winchesters.

I think Charlie has a better shot of becoming a pillar of stability for them, because at this point Dean's comfortable enough around her to tell her why Sam seems pissed at him - and she's read all the Supernatural books, so she knows their entire history, much like Bobby did.

I don't know, it'll be interesting to see - but I think they were conditioned by their upbringing to keep everyone that wasn't blood at arms length, and despite their "family doesn't end with blood" mantra, I think they're still trying to break out of that conditioning when it comes to trusting friends with they psychosis.

Anyway, no need to thank me for mentioning you! Thanks for commenting with an answer for my wonderings... :)
borgmama1of5
Oct. 26th, 2013 06:51 am (UTC)
I loved Garth in this episode, he has such insight hidden behind a comic exterior, and I love how smart and unique the writers made him!

"Bobby belonged to all of us, Dean. Not just you and Sam - now I'm just trying to take what he showed me and do something with it. That's all!"

THAT is the way mature people handle being hurt--no accusation, just stating his feelings--the "I" message--and Dean immediately backed down. Contrast that with Sam's expression of his hurt feelings:

"Enough with your crap, Dean. I told you from the jump where I was coming from, why I didn't look for you, but you - you had secrets. You had Benny. And you got on your high and mighty and you've been kicking me ever since you got back. But that's over. So move on, or I will."

All accusations of what Dean is doing wrong, not a word about how that is making Sam feel.

I think Sam's brain broke momentarily. He was able to put himself back together eventually, recuperate, and as he did so he met Amelia and that was a good place to recover his wits... so when he goes to explain to Dean what happens, it becomes "I quit hunting. There was a girl." Instead of, "something went horribly wrong in my mind. I didn't know how to go on without you. I drove aimlessly. I was dead inside..." (Which is my head cannon, BTW.)

And why couldn't Sam have just said that??? Sigh.

That is why I want to strangle both of them, or sit them in a room with a really good counsellor to learn how to TALK to each other!!!

Sadly, your comment that Dean accusing Sam of soullessness as one of Sam's mistakes being put forth only because of the spectre is negated by the bit in the season finale when Dean includes that in what Sam should confess. And it doesn't belong in that list, it was not his fault. How can there be such great writing and such OOC writing on the same show???Sigh...

The shirt matching the wallpaper was one of the things that made me think at the time that Sam was hallucinating or being manipulated in the Amelia flashbacks. That would have made a better story...Sigh.

There is going to be a lot of sighing in my responses to the next several episodes...
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:50 am (UTC)
That is why I want to strangle both of them, or sit them in a room with a really good counsellor to learn how to TALK to each other!!!

Agree 100%!

Sadly, your comment that Dean accusing Sam of soullessness as one of Sam's mistakes being put forth only because of the spectre is negated by the bit in the season finale when Dean includes that in what Sam should confess. And it doesn't belong in that list, it was not his fault. How can there be such great writing and such OOC writing on the same show???Sigh...

Ugh, really?! Well, maybe I'll figure out a way to talk around that one too... sigh. I don't know what was up with the writers this year - if Sera, for all the problems with her myth-arcs, may have been the guardian-of-OOCness maybe? But yeah, the other thing I noticed this year that annoyed me was the complete lack of consideration for driving times - I know it's a small thing, but like I said in a previous rewatch post: it's the small things that make the big things believable.

Anyway, I'm sticking with my idea that it was the Spectre that caused Dean to say that - and I'll figure out how to talk my way out of whatever he says in the finale too. :P

The shirt matching the wallpaper was one of the things that made me think at the time that Sam was hallucinating or being manipulated in the Amelia flashbacks. That would have made a better story...Sigh.

I'm saving up all my ranting about that for 8x08 - you and I will have fun in the comments on that one. ;)

On a related note: I do hope that I'm not getting too negative in my reviews - I always try to keep this journal a positive place, and I believe that all my criticisms are coming from a place of love and appreciation for the show. Anyway, hopefully no one gets too annoyed with me for talking about the parts I didn't like or thought could have been better. I suppose no one got mad at me during my rewatch of S7 and I hated that season. So, I'm probably good with a S8, which I liked overall.
borgmama1of5
Oct. 26th, 2013 01:16 pm (UTC)
I do hope that I'm not getting too negative in my reviews - I always try to keep this journal a positive place, and I believe that all my criticisms are coming from a place of love and appreciation for the show.

Even your ranty bits are clearly coming from the place of "I love you anyway, but you could have done better"--which is why I feel like your journal is a safe place to sigh about things :)

It's the reviews that want the show to conform to what they want and get vitriolic that it doesn't that upset me. I always want to say, "just watch something else" to them :(

I rewatched 6, 7, and 8 just before this season started, and personally I can accept season 7 more than 8--season 7's sins were of omission, there was so much more they could have done with Sam's mental state, but we can fill that in with fanfic. Season 8's problem is the sin of commission, putting things in that either contradict established canon or having a character act so OOC for an entire arc (cough!Sam!cough!) that there's no way to handwave it...

Sigh. When show is good, it is very, very good. When it is bad, it makes me tear my hair out... :)
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC)
Phew, okay, thanks!

And very well said about the differences between S7 and S8 - I still enjoy S8 more, even with the arguably greater sin of having the characters be OOC. Perhaps simply because the plots were more interesting and it was more engaging as it went along.

But yes, the show really does make you want to tear your hair out sometimes - and I think it's because we know exactly how amazing it can be, so when it fails to hit that bar, we're just like ARRRG! Whereas other shows I watch that are mediocre and have always been sketchy on the character continuity are somehow easier to watch because your standards are already low for it.

I guess it's the difference between a straight A student getting a C on a test, and a student who's grades range from A-D getting a C on a test.
liliaeth
Oct. 26th, 2013 09:46 am (UTC)
I think that a big part of my anger with Sam is because the writers never showed any remorse from him over abandoning Dean. I mean, sure I can assume he had his reasons for not looking for Dean, but the writers never gave any.

And it doesn't help that a lot of Sam fans instantly turned against Dean for not being a doormat and actually getting upset about Sam's behavior.

Honestly if there was more fic that had Sam apologize and show he cared about Dean, rather than fics that just tried to get me to feel sympathy for Sam by going over the top with how bad Sam had it and how Dean should feel bad about blaming him, then I probably wouldn't have lost as much of the love I had for Sam before s8.

I still find it hard to care when Sam is hurting, and it's all because I don't believe that s8 Sam gave a fuck about Dean.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC)
See, I'm the opposite... or well, at least not of the same opinion as you. I can't stand fic where Sam apologizes and shows that he cares for Dean, because I feel that that's really all Sam does in the show, Dean just never notices or he notices and doesn't forgive him.

That being said, I also don't like fics that try to make Dean out to be the only asshole in the relationship.

Basically, I like fics that strike that realistic balance that these are both people who are making mistakes, trying to do good by each other, but accidentally being assholes from time to time.

And I understand why the writing in S8 would lead you to believe that Sam doesn't give a fuck about Dean - but I see that as a mistake in the writing, because we've had seven seasons of Sam loving Dean with everything he has - and that doesn't just get erased because the writers messed up with one storyline.
liliaeth
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
But see that's the thing, I do think that Sam cared about Dean, the first seven seasons. And I agree that the problem is that s8 Sam was badly written. Which is why I expect the fans to do better. And they're just not.

I don't expect fic Sam to grovel all through the fic, begging for forgiveness. All I want him to do is acknowledge he did wrong. And most people won't even give me that.

In contrast, Dean is made to apologize over and over and over, both on the show and in fanfic, and it's that more than anything that pisses me off and makes me like Sam less and less.

(added to s9's tendency to go on and on about how awesome Sam is, when I'm already not inclined to give him much credit...)
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
Man, I have to wonder what fic you're reading...

Also, what show you are watching. :P I just don't see it. I see the opposite (in both fic and s8), where Sam's made to apologize over and over.

But we all watch the show with different lenses, so I guess we're just interpreting everything different than each other. It happens. The only character I liked in a Street Car Named Desire was Stanley. I've been told that I watched it wrong.
liliaeth
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
I have to wonder the same about you, because honestly, the only fic I can think of that had Sam actively apologize, was one I wrote for the crossover big bang with a friend of mine.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
Haha, maybe we're actually in separate, but parallel, universes - and the crossing point is the comment box on LJ, but otherwise everything is just SLIGHTLY different.
supernutjapan
Oct. 26th, 2013 11:16 am (UTC)
What a depressing episode aye? Just reading your comments made my heart hurt. Thanks for the effort it must have taken.

I guess I've pretty much said everything I wanted to say in the previous episode comments so I'm not going to be adding anything really except to say that I think those words of Deans while he was possessed stayed with Sam as you said - not necessarily to influence how he acted toward Benny(although it may have) but in his increasing feelings of having let his brother down. Maybe that it was his fault that Dean even had to befriend a vampire in the first place. Which kind of ties in with the last speech(season finale).

I wanted to confirm one thing - I haven't rewatched the episode with you so I am not sure but wasn't there a scene at the end where Dean puts the hat on Garth properly and kind of seems to accept Garth's role or effort and maybe accept him as a fellow mourner? Or was that another episode?



Edited at 2013-10-26 11:17 am (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
Agreed about Sam.

I wanted to confirm one thing - I haven't rewatched the episode with you so I am not sure but wasn't there a scene at the end where Dean puts the hat on Garth properly and kind of seems to accept Garth's role or effort and maybe accept him as a fellow mourner? Or was that another episode?

Yes, that's in this episode. I just didn't talk about it. But yeah, it was definitely Dean pulling his head out of his ass far enough to recognize that he's not the only one who feels pain and Garth is actually a pretty good back-up for Bobby.
supernutjapan
Oct. 27th, 2013 12:02 am (UTC)
I guess it is also a thank you for saving his/Sam's life. But that is quite an improvement over past episodes -acknowledging other people's hurt. Maybe we are seeing Dean being brought back a little from his purgatory mindset.

Sorry, I have not been able to stop thinking about this so here are some more thoughts...

I've been rereading those lines by Sam and Dean at the end, and I don't think Dean is trying to "talk his way out of the subject." Dean is doing what they have always done after a possession episode.

It's reminded me of other similar episodes like Asylum and Sex and Violence. With Asylum, Dean probably felt the same way that Sam does now. I remember that disbelieving face when Sam said he didn't mean any of it(but he did not confront Sam). And in Sex and Violence they both laid the steaming pile of issues to rest with a bottle of pop(while we looked on and thought - seriously?!). That is the way Dean and Sam have always dealt with these kinds of moments in the past(not that I'm saying that is good, but it is what they have always done).

He is also maybe trying to say, "hey, you don't have to try to make silly excuses anymore." Dean has been bugging Sam about not looking for him because for all this talk about "the girl," Dean feels (and we all feel) that Sam has not really explained the real reason. That he actually is hiding something important. Sam's "upfront and honest" probably just sounds like bullshit to Dean.

From this point of view, Sam's outburst actually sounds like he is saying, "If you keep on pushing me to tell you the truth, I am going to leave." and also maybe... "If you don't tell me the truth, I may have to kill Benny."

*sigh*

Edited at 2013-10-27 12:14 am (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Oct. 27th, 2013 01:39 am (UTC)
I don't think Dean thinks that Sam is necessarily lying to him. I think he thinks that Sam IS being upfront and honest, as Sam says he is, so Dean just thinks Sam doesn't care about him as much as he thought he did (ie: his feelings are hurt). Meanwhile, Sam actually isn't actually telling him the whole truth (ie: how his brain must have broke) because the writers suck. Hahaha, no, because maybe Sam is already down on himself for not realizing that Dean wasn't dead and just figures he can offer no excuse beyond what he perceives as the truth "I thought you were dead. I met a girl."

I think though, with Dean's reaction, we're talking around the same point. Dean definitely was just following standard "I don't know what that thing made me say, but I didn't mean it" procedure, but Sam won't hear him out because he just assumes that Dean DID mean it - just like Dean always assumed that Sam meant it whenever it happened to Sam...and like you said, they both assumed that they both meant it in Sex and Violence.

It's what they do.

Anyway... yeah, I don't think Dean thinks Sam is lying to him. But yeah, just my opinion and definitely open to interpretation given how the writers really didn't give us much to go on in the front end of this season for us to understand motivations.
supernutjapan
Oct. 27th, 2013 10:53 pm (UTC)
yeah, I don't think Dean thinks Sam is lying to him.

*shrugs* That part - I am not sure of. The idea was that if we are unsatisfied with Sam's explanation, then Dean should be too but we will never know :)

Ditto on everything else :)
percysowner
Oct. 26th, 2013 02:38 pm (UTC)
The biggest problem I have with this flashback is that Sam actually stops and leans against the stairs while he thinks - that's not actually how human thinking works. You don't think in "real time" - you think VERY VERY QUICKLY.

As someone who is a lot like Sam, I can say that yes, I think very quickly, BUT when I'm upset or emotional I pull back and spend a lot of time thinking about exactly how I want to phrase what I mean. Because I don't want a fight, I want to make my point clear and I want to make sure that I'm not letting my emotions rule so I have to make certain that I'm being accurate and fair, instead of flying off the handle.

I'm going to quote a poster that I like here. I have her permission she just likes to stick to her and her friends journals and stay out of the fandom drama

1. When the Levee Breaks

BOBBY: I'm sorry. I can't bite my tongue any longer. We're killing him. Keeping him locked up down there. This cold-turkey thing isn't working. If—if he doesn't get what he needs, soon, Sam's not gonna last much longer.
DEAN: No. I'm not giving him demon blood. I won't do it.
BOBBY: And if he dies?
DEAN: Then at least he dies human!


And that’s enough right there. Not only is Dean flat-out lying about having never left Sam to die, but he continues to betray Sam’s trust by his failure to come clean about having known the risk of the forced detox.


2. Exile on Main/The Third Man

The closest analogy, to Dean’s aborted unsuccessful attempt to get Sam out of the Cage, doesn’t earn Dean any points. Dean had a lot more information to go on than Sam did. Not just that he knew where Sam was, either. He knows of one and only one way to get someone out of hell, and that’s Cas. Except:

SAM: Dean calls once, and now it's [ imitating Castiel ] "Hello"?!
CASTIEL: Yes.


The Third Man is Dean’s first attempted contact with Cas since Swan Song. So, he wanted Sam back badly enough to hit up the library, but not badly enough to ever try to ask Cas for help.

Of course, no harm no foul. Even if he’d tried, by the time Dean could’ve gotten through to Cas, Sam would already have been raised. And, you could argue, not getting Sam out is not a betrayal, because Sam asked Dean not to try. But that’s kind of trying to have it both ways? Dean says he tried, which goes against what he knew Sam wanted; he didn’t try all that hard, falling below the standard he’s setting for Sam now.

(And while we’re here, let’s define that standard, shall we? Just like Dean knows what it takes to get someone out of hell, he knows what it takes to get anything out of Purgatory. Remember, all it took from Castiel the patron angel of badass was making a deal with Crowley and strategically scheduling his deification around the appropriate eclipse, which kicked off the chain of events which led to Dean landing in Purgatory? That was “all” Sam was supposed to “try” and do. When you hold someone to a standard that impossible, it is because you want them doing nothing but chasing shadows, miserable and failing.) Again, feelings aren’t rational. Dean was burned-out and grieving and conflicted after Sam went into the cage, and I don’t hold it against him. But the way he’s holding a much more difficult situation against Sam now is not a reasonable reaction to something Sam did wrong.


Continued in part 2.
percysowner
Oct. 26th, 2013 02:41 pm (UTC)
Part 2
The Man Who Knew Too Much

CASTIEL: Enough! I don't care what you think. I've tried to make you understand. You won't listen. So let me make this simple. Please, go home and let me stop Raphael. I won't ask again.
DEAN: Well, good, 'cause I think you already know the answer.
CASTIEL (shakes his head) I wish it hadn't come to this. Well rest assured, when this is all over, I will save Sam, but only if you stand down.
DEAN: Save Sam from what?
CAS: *breaks Sam’s wall*
DEAN: *remains belligerent*SAM: *is comatose*
(all transcripts adapted from the SuperWiki)


Now, it’s generally pretty sound strategy to refuse to negotiate with terrorists, and I’m not saying otherwise. But Dean doesn’t think “I’m a good brother because I only ever screwed him over for an exceptionally compelling reason,” he thinks “I’m a better brother than he is because I never screwed him over, ever.” Big difference.

That is, off the top of my head, four instances in which Dean abandoned Sam and/or betrayed Sam’s trust, severely endangering Sam’s life. I am not saying “therefore this proves Dean is HORRIBLE, the WORST BROTHER EVER, and everyone should HATE HIM for not sufficiently protecting darling little Sammy.” What I am saying is that this episode gave us Dean’s uninhibited perspective on his relationship with Sam, exposing at least one fundamental untruth.


It's an interesting take that Dean's I never left you to die is partly Dean not recognizing that yes, he has at times. There were often good reasons for it, but good reasons aren't never did it. Everyone rationalizes their actions and Dean is no exception. He's just too upset with Sam to admit, even to himself, that at times, he has left Sam to die to serve a bigger cause. His reasons may have been better, but the outcomes were still that Sam would be dead.

hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC)
Excellent points that your friend made!! Thanks for sharing them (and thank her for giving permission for you to share them!)

Definitely thinking now that my instinct was right with Sam's facial response to that line the first time, and it was definitely a "Bullshit! You've definitely betrayed me!"
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
As someone who is a lot like Sam, I can say that yes, I think very quickly, BUT when I'm upset or emotional I pull back and spend a lot of time thinking about exactly how I want to phrase what I mean. Because I don't want a fight, I want to make my point clear and I want to make sure that I'm not letting my emotions rule so I have to make certain that I'm being accurate and fair, instead of flying off the handle.

Yeah, but Sam's not preparing to say anything here - he's just thinking about a memory. There's no reason to pause that long - especially when he's in the middle of something (walking up the steps to go research with Garth).

That being said, *shrug* - I'll take your word for it. I'm more like Dean in that I'm more apt to fly off the handle when angry. I don't want to fight either, mind, but I will do and say things that I regret later because I'm just SO MAD and if you hurt my feelings in the fight, I will want to hurt yours back in the quickest most cutting way possible.

claudiapriscus
Oct. 26th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
This was really not the best season for Sam, was it? (which I'm really seeing as more a product of poor writing rather than Deep Implications About His CHaracter).

I've mentioned before I didn't catch the back 9 of season 8, but just from all the meta posts I've seen trying to make sense of Sam's psychology, trying to fit in the beginning of this season with his choices at the end of last season with the first half of season 8 with what we see in his flashbacks... I'm kind of thinking that the writer's didn't even know where Sam's head was or why exactly he did the things he did.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 26th, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I like the back-end of S8 because it's a little bit more believable when it comes to Sam, but even then they do a giant turn-around on us.

But yeah, the rumour in fandom was always that Sera knew Sam best, and I'm starting to think that there was even more truth to that then we thought. I'm not saying that the remaining writers don't love Sam, but, like you said, they don't seem to know how his head works or how to justify the actions that they wanted him to take. A lot of Sam's moves in S8 were "because it advances the plot" not "because it makes sense for the character."

If the writers DID know why Sam's actions made sense for the character, they definitely did not find a way to share those reasons with the rest of the class.
claudiapriscus
Oct. 27th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
Sam's got "the chick" problem: his actions are not informed by any sense of an inner life, nor sense of consistent motivation. Rather, his actions exist so that another character can react to them, like the wife in a sitcom, the object of affection in a manic pixie dream girl movie, or love interests in action films.

And it's the same problem when you get down to it: a lack of appreciation of a character's psychology, the lack of a sense that that psychology matters. (Dean's wasn't exactly clear cut either, but since they basically were hitting the same old beats, they could coast). At least with the women thing, it usually comes down to all male writing teams and "women, amiright?" with a heaping serving of never having HAD to think of women as having motivations and subjective experiences. Which just makes this so bizarre. It's like a caricature of an EDG's attempt to be fair to Sam. Heh. "Sams, amiright? Just so randomly wandering off and having FEELINGS about some stuff for no good reason. And a dog. Sams like dogs, right?"
hells_half_acre
Oct. 27th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
LMAO

In all seriousness, I think you've hit the nail on the head here.

Also, I think from now on whenever Sam does something OOC or inexplicable, I'll just write "Sams, amiright?" as the explanation. :P
claudiapriscus
Oct. 27th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
It would explain a lot.
caranfindel
Oct. 28th, 2013 02:10 pm (UTC)
It took me a while after reading this to decide how I feel about it. As much as I like Garth getting some respect, I think he's dangerously close to a Mary Sue in this episode. Never ruffled, always insightful, utterly fearless, not a single old grudge? Little too perfect.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 28th, 2013 07:53 pm (UTC)
I can see where you're coming from with that comment, and you may just have a point.
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