So, late review tonight. Geez. I not only stayed late chatting at my friend's place, but I also got distracted by the internet when I got home. Usual rules apply - I've been drinking, and have only seen the episode once, so things are going to be slightly misremembered and quotes are only paraphrased.
Let's get to it....
This episode was really good! It had some great character moments in it - the kind that I really look forward to dissecting in rewatches. That being said, there were also a lot of really weird abrupt cuts. I don't know if that's in the editing or the writing, but there were a few scene changes that were pretty jarring to me.
I'm not sure whether I should talk though this episode form beginning to end or just talk about it in general - I kind of just want to talk about it in general. Maybe I'll do a mix?
- It was super cool to see Jimmy again. That was a huge surprise after the revelation mid-season that he was dead.
- I also liked that they didn't make Amelia a dead-beat mom. I'm not going to lie, I was stewing a bit with that, because it seems OOC for such a religious maternal personality. It makes far more sense that she would have gone off in a quest to save her husband and then been kidnapped and detained against her will.
- Also, we find out that Claire's really only been in the system for a year and a half or less, since Amelia disappeared 2 years ago and it was only after that that Clarie's grandmother died and left her guardianless.
- I LOVED all the little character moments in this episode. Cas' two very different conversations with Dean and Sam about what he should do with Claire. Dean and Sam's different ways of bonding with Claire. Claire's own realization about who exactly (as people) Cas, Dean, and Sam ARE... it was gold. (Okay, I'm definitely going to talk about these moments more indepth)
- And Claire gets shipped off to Jody's! Yay! I love imagining Jody's life now. It's so much fun. My friend thinks that Jody and Donna should get married and be the moms of two teenage girls.
The opening, when we see Jimmy coming home and then Amelia getting black on her arm... and then the whole feeding thing by what we find out is an angel... SUPER CREEPY!
And then we get Claire asking questions at the bar. She's bold as brass and I love it. Also, I like the fact that Donnie wasn't a COMPLETE scumbag, just MOSTLY a scumbag, and he still called an ambulance for Claire instead of leaving her passed out in an alley by a bar for any creeper to find.
My friend also completely identified him as Dean's friend from when Dean lived with Lisa back in 6x01! Oh, Vancouver, you don't actually have that many actors, apparently.
The scene with Cas telling Dean and Sam that he was waiting for back-up before he saw Claire was adorable. As was him straight-out telling Dean and Sam that they were both troubled teens. Ah, tact - it's not something that Cas has in abundance.
Really, what I want to talk about is the different ways each of the characters interact with Claire, because it's SO INTERESTING TO ME! So, let's just decide to structure this review that way...
Dean and Claire
Dean relates to everyone through emotions, and Claire's no exception. He warns Cas that Claires not going to want him there because of how he killed her friend - and he's right. He actually stays VERY respectful of Claire's feelings for the whole episode. He never tells her she shouldn't be feeling the way she is, that she's wrong to hate him - the only time he comes close is when he defends Cas to her, but that's more him making sure she has all the information so that she can make an INFORMED choice about what feelings she has.
Even when they bond, it's not through any words, really, but rather through emotion - he plays mini-golf with her, for crissakes. He does a Bill Murray impression and then gets her into a generational golf-in-pop-culture reference battle. He allows her to have FUN with him, so that the hard edges of her feelings soften a bit.
And when he DOES defend Cas, it's not "you shouldn't be mad at Cas", it's more - "You should be proud of your dad's sacrifice, not mad at him for it." He comes at it from the standpoint of getting her to a healthy place in her grief, probably partiatlly because Dean spent a long time being furious at John for the way he died, but in the end, he had to come to understand his dad's decision too, one way or the other.
At the end of the episode, when Dean gives her Caddyshack and the book on Enochian Myths - he's arming her with knowledge, like Sam did, but he does it based on what he can read about her feelings... he knows what taking the sword means about her feelings, despite what she tells him about her feelings. And even then, he doesn't say, "you're lying" he basically just says, "you wouldn't have taken this for no reason."
We also see how much Dean respects Claire's feelings when he gives her the gun. Because he gives her a gun and says "don't shoot me" and then immediately turns his back. And again, at the end of the episode, when Claire apologizes for trying to get him killed before, Dean just smiles and says "it's in the past" not "you're damn right you're sorry!" but more "it's okay, I understand how upset you were and all is forgiven."
Also, like Sam, who I'll talk about in a second - Dean treats Claire like an equal when it comes to researching and listening to her ideas, which is also a sign of respect.
Dean's Conversation with Cas:
Now, at first, you could probably read this conversation as confusing, because just last week, Dean was all like "we're better together" and then suddenly he's telling Cas that Claire is "stronger alone." But it makes sense if you consider that he's approaching Claire from an emotional standpoint.
All Dean sees is that seeing Cas upsets Claire... seeing Dean upsets Claire too and Dean's part of the Cas packaged-deal. Claire is stronger emotionally when she doesn't have a constantent reminder of her loss and grief walking around and trying to be her dad.
Of course, that all being said, it could very well be that Dean's backsliding a bit and thinking that you have to deal with problems on your own for some reason... it's hard to pin Dean down 100% this season, given that he's basically suffering from moodswings.
Sam and Claire
I think this was my absolute favourite relationship. Especially after Cas puts it in the context of Sam leaving home when he was 18 "to go to college" (which we all know was actually more than that, considering that it briefly got him disowned.)
Sam treats Claire like her own person. He treats her exactly how he wanted to be treated when he was her age. He tells her the fact - "We're here to investigate the same thing as you, and we need the information you have, so the sooner you give it to us, the sooner you get rid of us." There's no trying to convince her to keep them around for any reason, or trying to suggest that they're staying whether she likes it or not. No, she can get them to go away easy, just by telling them what they need to know.
This is even stronger when Sam talks to her in the motel after she escapes the hospital. It's not "I'm here to prevent you from running away", it's "okay, let me get the last of the information I need, then I'm going to HELP YOU run away." Sam doesn't say "don't run away", he says "run away smarter - here, let me show you how." He teaches her how to hack credit card records so that she can track people. He offers to teach her how to SCAM credit cards so that she will always have money... and it's not all criticism either. Sam compliments her on her investigation work too. He's basically saying, "you're good, let me show you how to be better."
He basically IMMEDIATELY sets himself up as her ally.
Cas' conversation with Sam:
This strategy of being Claire's ally is also reflected in Sam's advice to Cas, when Cas asks Sam whether he should leave Claire alone or try to stay with her. Sam says that he shouldn't abandon her. Sam says that what Cas needs to do is to let Claire go, but make sure that she knows that she can call Cas - that she has people that she can count on to help her if she needs it. Sam tells Cas to let Claire live her life, but not to leave her "alone".
This, I can only imagine, is what Sam WISHES he had when he went to college. He wanted to go to college, but Sam never wanted to be "alone" - he wanted to know that he had support, that he could call someone if he needed help. Instead, his dad told him to go and stay gone... and Sam had to chose between a stifling authoritarian home environment and the possibility of a better life, but a better life cut off from the only two people he thought he could always depend on. I don't think Sam wants that decision to be forced on anyone else.
Cas and Claire:
Cas really is sort of like a guy who is TRYING to be a father, but doesn't know how to go about it. He's the absentee father who was gone for a while, but has had a near-death experience and now wants to try to be a family man in some vain attempt to reinvent himself. Of course, I'm not saying he IS that, I'm just saying that he comes across like that sometimes. He goes for the gestures rather than the substance, because he doesn't know how to provide the substance.
He genuinely cares, but he's an angel trying to act human - with very little frame of reference for what that means. It's both endearing and a bit smothering for Claire, I think. Still, the endearing part wins out in the end.
Claire and the Winchesters:
I really loved how Claire came to understand the Winchesters in turn. She had seen them as people who stood by while a monster killed her father... and it's only in this episode that she begins to understand what their lives actually are, WHO they are. She realizes that there's no benefit to hunting monsters for them, that they do it JUST to help people... she realizes that they're human too, basically... that they've also lost loved ones, that they have complex emotional lives just like she does.
And I think this is part of the reason that when Dean tells her that Cas saved the world, she begins to see Cas as a person, rather than the angel who killed her dad. Dean isn't trying to come up with an excuse for what happened to her father. He's telling her that her father didn't die for no reason and that Cas, despite ultimately being the cause of her father's death, is also a guy that is worth caring about... because he's also just trying to do good in the world.
Claire and Cas:
I love at the end when he tells Dean to look out for Cas, that "he's been through enough" - because it really is a cumination of this lesson that Cas is a person too, like she is, like her father is... he's a guy who saved the world once, and is struggling to come to terms with what the price was.
Sam and Cas:
Okay, this isn't a super huge relationship thing, but I just wanted to mention how much I loved loved loved the brief exchange between Cas and Sam when Cas looks at Claire leaving and says "someone tell me she's going to be fine" and Sam DOES. And he does it even though he has no way of knowing whether she'll be fine or not - even though in his experience, no one is every fine for long. It just reminded me so much of Swan Song, when Sam basically told Cas to tell him the same thing about Cas, Dean and Bobby, and Cas didn't understand what he meant and was like "oh, you want me to lie?! Sure! We'll be fine!"... and now Cas GETS it, and he not only GETS it, he ASKS for it too, and Sam provides it for him - and they both KNOW. And oh man, my feelings. I really love little exchanges that are 95% character histories and what very carefully isn't said.
Back to the episode:
Returning to random bullet-points, because I'm sleepy...
- Amelia's death was tragic. I realized as sooner as Cas and Dean both left them in the barn that they probably wouldn't be safe there... and I'm glad Claire didn't die too. But yeah, Amelia's death was well done, but tragic. She got her good name back in Claire's eyes, when Claire could SEE that Amerlia was detained against her will... and Amelia got to see that Claire was alive and healthy, despite her two year absence. But yeah, very sad... and man, the acting choice to just have Amelia completely limp like that and Claire to continue to shift her around, to try to get a better grip on her, to not be able to hold her up well, because Claire was TOO SMALL - ugh, my heart.
- The sword was frickin' cool! I loved that thing. I'm glad it's still around. It's also cool that Claire has it now and not the Winchesters. I like the idea of Claire becoming a swordsman and wielding an angel sword.
- Interesting new angel mythology. I don't really have any thoughts on it. I just thought it was an interesting concept. The soul-eating was a weird touch, but also kind of makes sense, given that we know human souls are a hot-commodity.
- Seeing Amelia reunited with Jimmy in heaven in a flip season to her personal-heaven dream was a really touching and cool thing, so of course, our paricular viewing party had to undercut it with sarcasm. I've got two versions for you.
1. The local-architecture undercut:
Amelia: "Jimmy? Is it really...."
Friend: "Yes, it's a Craftsmen. No more living in a Vancouver special for us."
2. The Casting-Choice Undercut:
Amelia: "She's beautiful and strong..."
Jimmy: "Just like her mother."
Me: "And blonde, just like the postman."
- My friend thought it was kind of shitty that people in Heaven in Supernatural can't seem to see what's going on on earth. But then we decided there was probably a good reason for that - because Heaven is supposed to be peaceful, and there's nothing peaceful about watching people you love get into trouble and not being able to do anything to help. Now, granted, in the past we've seen that Ellen was able to see Dean and Sam... but Ellen is probably hanging out with Ash up there, and Ash has hacked into the operating system of Heaven, so I'm sure the rules no longer apply.
- I guess the only other thing to talk about is the whole "Dean's getting worse" thing - which he obviously is. That being said, I didn't think he went too unnecessarily overbord with Donnie (Ronnie?) at the bar. I wasn't sure why Cas was all up in arms about that. That being said, I HAVE been watching Daredevil lately and my appropriate-amount-of-violence measuring might be screwed as a result. I was also sort of surprised that they made him stay behind instead of coming with - I mean, they KNOW that killing takes the edge of, right? Wouldn't it be a good thing to let him kill? Or do they worry that killing is a bit like cocaine, where the more you take the more you need more and more of it to get the same high you once did with a little?
- I thought that the alias Page and Clapton were a little TOO obvious. My friends laughed that the Sheriff was named Coltrane, like from the Dukes of Hazzard.... sort of like a sarcastic, "yeah, you're Page and Clapton, and I'm Sheriff Coltrane." :P
- Okay, is that it? I think that's it. Man, I've hit the exhaustion wall.
So, sorry about the different format for this weeks' review, but hopefully it works, since I mainly just wanted to talk about the character moments.
As per usual, comments welcome! Keep it positive! Forgive my spelling! Let me know if you desperately want to talk about something that I missed or only glossed over.