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Quick Reaction: 10x21 Dark Dynasty

Okay, so this is a hard episode to talk about... it's really just a set-up for the next two episodes...

But, before we get into it: I've had two glasses of wine, but i'm mostly sober now. But, as usual, I've only watched the episode once and my memory might not be exact. Please don't correct me unless it's intrical to the plot or character motivations... or I specifically ask you to correct me. I'm actually only going to talk about the episode in broad terms anyway (similar to last week) so this shouldn't be a problem.

Let's talk about the episode...

So, another disclaimer right off the top: I was accidentally spoiled for Charlie's death by a friend of mine. It was COMPLETELY unintentional on their part and I don't even think they realized that they were giving me enough information for me to figure out what happens in this episode.... but, yeah... the problem is that I know a LOT about the production side of Supernatural, and so I see spoilers in things that most people don't see spoilers in - for instance, and very ironically, I don't think the friend that spoiled me was spoiled.

Anyway, because I was spoiled, I had time to come to terms with what was going to happen, so my reaction to Charlie's death is probably a lot calmer and accepting than 99% of you. I really apologize for this. Just know that DESPITE my calm acceptance, I still understand why you are upset and I agree that all the emotions you are having are genuine and true and reasonable reactions to this event.

But that all happens later....

The teaser death... uh, I didn't watch it. As soon as I knew eyeballs were involved I SHUT MY OWN EYEBALLS and waited until my friend gave me the all clear at the title screen before I looked again. I really can't stand anything happening to eyeballs. I'm sorry.

The other thing about the teaser death - I watch the show with scientists every week, and this week one of my scientists had a bad day, so was a little more ferocious in their scientific criticisms... anyway, they don't do clinical trials on women of child-bearing age. It's a major problem with the pharma-industry, because men and women have different brains and bodies, yet all drugs are only tested on men, because drug companies don't want to fuck up women's reproductive capabilities for fear of being sued or something... so yeah, drugs are only tested on dudes. So, ladies, that's why your anti-depressent meds suck. (I'm assuming they must at least test birth control pills on women, but that's probably it.)

Okay, so once that rant was over, we returned to the show... and I think I'm going to split up these plots a little and talk about them just in general terms and separately. Because this episode really IS just a set-up for the season finale, so it's really more about the themes....

Sam, Cas, Rowena, and Charlie....

Firstly, I really love how one of the strongest peaces of character continuity with Sam is how shitty a liar he is. I also love that Cas is a shitty liar too... I love that Dean is SURROUNDED by shitty liars. It's kind of hilarious, and also let's us watch Dean be fully aware that he's being lied to on all sides and to watch what he does with that.

But, that's Dean...

Sam drawing more and more people into his plan was actually awesome. I LIKE the theme of all of Dean's loved ones working behind his back to save him - helping him, even though he refuses to ask for the help he obviously needs.

That being said, I also agree with Charlie and Cas, that lying to Dean never works out well for anyone.

Since I was spoiled for the end, I actually has a small glimmer of hope when Rowena seemed to be trying to recruit Charlie into witchhood... but nopers. It was neat to see the two characters interact though.

It was also really nice to see Charlie declare her love for Sam and Dean. She really was the sister they never had... which of course makes the ending all the more auspicious, since Sam and Dean never deal well with family dying.

(Also, I know Microsoft is giving SPN/the CW money, and that's great - but I could do without the random inserted Surface commercials... there is no way any hacker worth their spit would be using a microsoft computer. My headcanon is that Charlie made a microsoft 8 shell for her linex/unix/other system in order to fool the authorities, should they ever find her and confiscate her computer.)

Dean

So, this whole episode, Dean wears the shirt that he was wearing when he was killed in 9x23. I'm sure that's not auspicious at all. But, hey, good job on getting the blood stains out, Dean!

Again, I just love Dean knowing full well that he's being lied to and watching him work with that... he starts trying to find out the nature of what Sam is up to by seeing what things he lies about. It's great.

What I LOVE though is Dean - The Interrogator. I love the juxtoposition of Dean starting to do his intimidation routine on Elton, and then we see it pretty much immediately repeated when Dean confronts Sam about the book... and Sam is MORE susceptable to it than Elton, even though (or because) Dean is his brother. It's really well done.

The Stynes/Steins

So, the Stynes/Steins are the Frankensteins. INnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnteresting. A little unbeliable that Dean wouldn't know who Mary Shelley was, but maybe Dean ONLY reads Vonnegut. Still, she's the mother of sci-fi, come on!

When Elton was building up to telling Dean who he was though, and he was saying something along the lines of "Our real family name is...." I was really waiting for him to say Habsburg, because that's their goddamn family crest, but Frankenstein makes much more sense what with the whole harvesting of organs thing. Also, it makes me wonder about ol' Doc Benton back in S3 (I think that was his name). Was he a failed Stein? Was he someone who independently came up with the same formula? It would have been cool if they had tied him in somehow, but I guess it would have been too hard to explain why he lived and worked alone instead of being backed up by the family.

In truth, I'm not really sure how I feel about having this secret-society family thing... of southerners... from German-speaking Europe. (I can't remember whether Frankenstein was German or Swiss. I know Frankenstein castle is in Germany, so let's just go with that.) Anyway, it's probably my hatred of mob-type stories. I just never really had a taste for the whole mobster-family story plots... and that's basically what the Steins are. So, yeah, personal taste probably.

It would be wicked cool to see Dean single handedly kill them all in revenge though, not going to lie. And if that's how this season ends, I'll be happy. However, if their setting the Steins up to be a major villain in the future, I might be kind of put off by that. I mean, I'll probably still watch the show because at this point I'm in too deep - i've signed the marriage certificate and we have two kids, you know? But I'll be less enthused.

The one thing I DO kind of like about the Steins is that it's yet another exploration of the word "family" and what that word means in different contexts and to different people - and how it can be good, bad, perverted, corrupted, etc.

The Ending: Dean Finds Out and Charlie's Death:

I really loved Dean finding out. I have a thing for guys when they're furious (as long as it's not directed at me... when it's direced at me, I have a thing for 'mildly annoyed'... it makes me horrible to date, so I'm sure everyone is glad that I don't.)

And I LOVED LOVED LOVED that Sam tells Dean everyone loves him by YELLING it at him in the car... oh, Winchesters... it's just... that's the only way they're ever going to say that word - yelled in fury in the car.

Sam's not wrong though - YES, he asked them to help Dean, but everything they did after that was their choice. Now, I'm not saying that Sam's not going to blame himself for what happened - or that Dean's not going to blame him (because when Dean's mad, he tends to blame Sam for everything, really.) But, it is nice that it WAS their choice. Even Charlie leaving the sanctuary of the distillery was her choice.

And it WAS Charlie's choice - everything she did there. I also like that she ran as soon as Cas and Rowena were out of the room - that it's not Cas' fault either. He didn't "allow" her to go. He tried to keep her safe AND fulfil her wish to not be in the same room as Rowena.

Now, did Charlie know the Steins were after her? I don't think so, but then, Sam didn't know they were looking for the book either - Sam thought that they were capturing the Steins in relation to the eyeball death... not that the Steins were actually also following them and looking for the book.

Anyway, Charlie did go out fighting, and she did make the choice in the bathroom to draw the blade and stand her ground, rather than telling the Steins where Cas and Rowena were...even though Cas and Rowena may have been able to hold their own (and Charlie could have perhaps stayed alive by leading them there instead of telling them....) but hey, hindsight is 20/20. Charlie, I think, knew exactly what the outcome was going to be in that bathroom.

So, am I upset about her death: Yeah, of course. I think Supernatural has become far more kill-happy over the years than it needs to be. Am I SURPRISED by her death? No, not really... as soon as she came back from Oz, as soon as she became a resource that they could possibly rely on, she became a prime candidate for death. The only reason Bobby stayed on as long as he did was because once the apocalypse hit, it was beyond his expertise and he was fumbling through just as much as the Winchesters... and even then, he was still killed 3.5 seasons later. Charlie is too skilled, she's ALWAYS a good resource because she's super intelligent... as soon as they started linking her to the myth-arc, I was like "well, she's probably not long for this world."

Now, there's always a chance she could come back... but I doubt it. It won't be this year anyway. And although Supernatural always says that death isn't necessarily the end, more often than not it REALLY IS... and that's just a false-hope.

Man, I'm such a DOWNER.

I will say that I'm glad they didn't show the death. I mean, yes, we see the dead body - but i'm glad it wasn't a gratutious death scene... I think it had more impact like this, and also, less... violence for the sake of violence. (I'm still recovering from watching Daredevil, obviously.)

Anyway.... in conclusion: yeah, I'm pissed that they killed off one of their best female characters, not to mention a fan-favourite... but I'm not surprised. I know what show I'm watching. We've had ten seasons of consistent tragedy-writing here.



So, I guess those are my thoughts. MUCH shorter this week and not at all a funny recap. I'm sorry! Maybe I'll be funnier next week?

As usual, let me know your thoughts or whatever you desperately want to talk about. I know I'm a downer this week, but please don't take that to mean that my positivity-policy isn't still in effect. If you don't have anything nice to day, don't say anything at all. If you want to be negative, you should balance out every negative thing with a positive thing. For example: "I hated the part where Dean burned down the bunker, but I loved the part where he washed the Impala in his underwear." 

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
May. 7th, 2015 07:41 am (UTC)
Cutting to commmercial with Charlie facing the Styne dude with her little sword out got to me more emotionally than anything I've felt from show in a long time...we know Jared and Jensen aren't going to be cut from the show no matter what happens to the Winchesters, but I was scared for Charlie...and sadly, rightfully so...

I yelled at my TV in distress at the final scene, and I haven't done that in a long time...

Oh, Charlie...

We are really getting good Sam POV now, and sadly can see how it all makes sense in his mind...

Can you explain what you learned that spoiled the end for you? I'd love to see how your brain put random clues together!

PS I am awed that you had the ability to identify Dean's shirt!!!
hells_half_acre
May. 7th, 2015 07:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm loving the Sam POV this season!

I will PM you to answer your question about the spoiler.

And don't be too awed! It's just because I JUST finished updating the clothing catalogue, so it was fresh in my mind. By the time S11 starts, I'll be out of practice again. ;)

*hugs for having to scream at your TV*
claudiapriscus
May. 8th, 2015 05:00 am (UTC)
PM me too? I'm super curious about your sleuthing.
hells_half_acre
May. 8th, 2015 06:51 am (UTC)
Done.
jedinic
May. 8th, 2015 08:38 am (UTC)
I'd also love to hear the story about the spoiler if it's not too confidential? (I love hearing how you connect the dots!)

This was a tough episode, and a tough review to read. I'd seen speculation that Charlie would die but didn't actually believe it. Sigh. But this is Supernatural, I should've expected it!
hells_half_acre
May. 8th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
I'll send you a PM. It's not actually that thrilling though. :P
missyjack
May. 7th, 2015 11:28 am (UTC)
I find myself much more upset by Charlie's death than I expected, although again, not surprised. I thought the fact that she was appearing in a non-Robbie written episode was the writing on the wall! really sad to lose her, and it hurts. But hey, its Supernatural.

i loved the reveal of House of Frankenstein! If they do stick around, i am hoping they are sort of an evil X-Men, and I am wondering about the women in the family and what role they play!

Amazingly the Styne family crest is actually really similar to the one used in the Mel Brook movie Young Frankenstein.

I agree i loved Sam yelling WE LOVE YOU at Dean. I am hoping Dean despite everything understands why Sam did what he did.

And the next two eps are going to be corkers!
hells_half_acre
May. 7th, 2015 04:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm pretty sure the subtitle for Supernatural should be "spoiler alert - everybody dies."

Interesting question about the women in the family and what they do...unless the family is a whole bunch of dudes? They're kind of setting them up as neo-nazis, in my opinion, so... yeah, there's a possibility that the women don't have the best lot in life. Though who knows!

It's been a long time since I've seen Young Frankenstein, so that's really cool! My memory wasn't good enough to recognize it from there.

Next week looks pretty insane! As usual, I am frightened of the finale, because I just know that everything is going to go to shit in new and unexpected ways.

supernutjapan
May. 7th, 2015 02:48 pm (UTC)
The different meanings of family. YES. I noticed with the scenes that they were comparing the Winchesters to this other "family" but glad to get your observation. I'm going to look out for those differences in future eps.

I agree that I would like the boys(and especially Dean) to go after that family. Let there be a huge showdown, and I would not like them becoming a major part of future seasons. If they are going to be left alive, let them just be filler :P

Love Dean being so scary to Sam. He was way more scary there than with the Stein guy.

Great episode.
hells_half_acre
May. 7th, 2015 04:55 pm (UTC)
Agreed, agreed, agreed.

I don't even have anything to add, I just agree with you!

I guess we'll just have to see how it plays out! It should definitely be an interesting final two episodes this season.
shadowsong26
May. 7th, 2015 10:57 pm (UTC)
You’re right, this episode is hard to talk about for a lot of reasons, including the ‘mostly set up’ aspects you mentioned. But because this is me, I managed to babble a lot anyway...

Totally with you on the teaser death. Eye trauma is one of the things that freak me out most…eye trauma and bees.

Part of why this episode is hard for me to talk about is also how enjoyable Sam and Cas’ terrible lying/Charlie and Rowena interacting was/how giggly it made me. And then…yeah. At least partly because I wasn’t aware from the start that this was a Tonight Someone Dies episode, I got major mood whiplash, which makes it hard to dissect right after. Although I think there’s something to be said here about Sam maybe drawing people in partially as a sort of safety net so he doesn’t go as far off the deep end as he did the last time he was in this situation, in S3/S4, (especially with the ‘shit comes back to haunt you’ that’s been floating around all year, and Lucifer specifically brought up at least once)…but it’s not coming today…or maybe I just like the idea of Sam learning from his mistakes at least a little so I’m reading way too much into it, because it's not working too well if that was part of the goal. I really loved the parts of it you pointed out, too.

Dean figuring out what Sam was lying about was golden. Agreed with everything you said re: interrogation.

I’m kinda mixed on the Stein family secret? Because on the one hand, really cool concept, but on the other…well, having read Frankenstein…if I remember right (it’s been a couple years) the family in the novel in no way has anywhere near that much power, which is part of why Victor’s education is super outdated until he goes to university and then off the deep end a little bit…anyway. It is a very cool idea, even if it has very little to do with the source material. But many awesome things start out that way, so!

I think Doc Benton was independent, because I think his formula/process was significantly different, but I’d have to rewatch the two episodes back to back since I don’t remember him very clearly. Other than I think he did a creepy eye thing, too. What is it with body-harvest episodes and eyes?

Agreed about the Steins/Stynes/Frankensteins being another exploration of what ‘family’ means and how cool that is.

I feel like Sam had to know they were after the Book—didn’t the one he stabbed say something like ‘we’ll just keep coming for it?’

Yeah, pretty much everything you said about the relative guilt in this situation...

Regarding Charlie’s death...yes, I’m upset—I don’t want her to be dead!—but I acknowledge it made narrative sense for all the reasons you said, and from the time she went off on her own the only real alternative (given what kind of show this is and where we are in the season) was her getting captured. And that would have been so much worse and likely would have ended up with her dead in the long run anyway…so, yeah. It was awful and I don’t want to see her go, and I’m upset that she did—but I’m not really surprised, and exactly how upset I am is probably affected by the way my brain went in a weird creepy Winter Soldier-esque direction before I realized that they were in fact going to kill her which at that point seemed less cruel by comparison. Also, unlike Tessa’s death last season, at least Charlie’s kept everyone involved more or less in character? …I dunno. Maybe I’m just reminding myself of all the ways it could've been worse so I don’t stay too upset…

And, yeah, this is probably perma-death (…or, at least, as much as Bobby’s has been) for Charlie. And I agree with you, that the way the death was filmed/handled/presented to us was very good. Like...as far as side character deaths on this show go, I'd rank this one up with Ellen and Jo's.

So…yeah. Tense/nervy for of the next couple episodes…it will be epic and soul-crushing I’m sure.

Edited at 2015-05-07 11:35 pm (UTC)
hells_half_acre
May. 8th, 2015 06:58 am (UTC)
Although I think there’s something to be said here about Sam maybe drawing people in partially as a sort of safety net so he doesn’t go as far off the deep end as he did the last time he was in this situation

That's a really cool interpretation and I like it!

I think Doc Benton was independent, because I think his formula/process was significantly different, but I’d have to rewatch the two episodes back to back since I don’t remember him very clearly. Other than I think he did a creepy eye thing, too. What is it with body-harvest episodes and eyes?

Yeah, he did the creepy eye thing on SAM - I can't watch that scene either. His formula was obviously not as advanced as the Styne's.

I feel like Sam had to know they were after the Book—didn’t the one he stabbed say something like ‘we’ll just keep coming for it?’

Maybe, but Charlie was just off on her own somewhere before Sam called her in, so obviously she had been fine on her own for weeks and for some reason the Steins only attacked her now.

and exactly how upset I am is probably affected by the way my brain went in a weird creepy Winter Soldier-esque direction before I realized that they were in fact going to kill her which at that point seemed less cruel by comparison. Also, unlike Tessa’s death last season, at least Charlie’s kept everyone involved more or less in character? …I dunno. Maybe I’m just reminding myself of all the ways it could've been worse so I don’t stay too upset…

I think my brain also went to those same places and tempered my reaction... in addition to the week that I had to get used to the idea. I also saw the potential for a Winter Soldier situation (that would end in death too) and felt that killing her immediately was the less heartbreaking/violent option.

And yes, like you said, at least they didn't assassinate her character before they assassinated her.

So…yeah. Tense/nervy for of the next couple episodes…it will be epic and soul-crushing I’m sure.

Agreed.







khek
May. 8th, 2015 12:32 am (UTC)
I can't watch anything with eyeballs either. Blergh.

I still have hopes that Charlie isn't dead. I think that there are ways that it couldn't have been true...or that there is a way to reverse what happened.

I imagine that my hopes will be dashed next week. But until then, I'll keep on hoping!
hells_half_acre
May. 8th, 2015 06:48 am (UTC)
I will not confirm nor dash your hopes!

Also - eyeball stuff is the worst. :P
marikanola
May. 8th, 2015 09:39 pm (UTC)
Charlie Stein
Ok, first the Steins - crappy southern accents. But know it was going to br Frankenstein the minute they took the eyes because they need the body parts.

Death of Charlie. It was cheap writing. At the point where fans can predict a death it's time to change it up ... also I think it's a pretty pointless death if you ask me. I know that on the whole that women in the real world do make most of the sacrifices in this world, most without recognition. It is women who suffer, it is women that experience violence etc ... and I get that being carried over into art.media etc ... HOWEVER, the death of women shouldn't be a trope, and on SPN it is. Charlie was smart, capable and independent - of course she was going to die ... She was going to be the sacrifice for the Winchesters, just like Jo, just like Ellen, just like Mary, Jess etc ... I'm kinda bored with it... and it no longer has impact.
hells_half_acre
May. 8th, 2015 09:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Charlie Stein
Agreed. Not to mention that someone commented earlier and reminded me that 9x22, (ie: this time LAST year) included the death of Tessa, another long-running fan favourite female character.

I mean, I try to keep this blog positive about the show but COME ON. In the early seasons, Ellen and Jo's death was impactful because the Winchester's friends RARELY died (John and Ash are the only ones that spring to mind, and Ash was relatively minor)... and that was after 5 seasons. All other suspense and increased stakes or increased heartbreak was brought on by the challenge of what they were going up against or the Winchester's OWN lives.

Supernatural has become a bit of a bloodbath for major characters in the past few years, and I'm really starting to get sick of it.

Okay, end of rant... sorry for the negativity.

Thanks for telling me their southern accents are crappy! Haha. I can't tell, because I'm from Canadaland.
marikanola
May. 8th, 2015 09:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Charlie Stein
I didn't mean to poo on your diary :(

I will say, the Rowena/Charlie dynamic was awesome... adding Cas to the mix, was awesome. When Rowena said "First rule, don't tell my brother." I did HA out loud, and I would have loved a few episodes of Charlie and Rowena interaction, they had a great "the path not taken" vibe going, and SPN is a show that counts on chemistry of it's actors, they really had it. I would have liked to see them together a little more ...

Edited at 2015-05-08 09:56 pm (UTC)
hells_half_acre
May. 8th, 2015 09:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Charlie Stein
Oh no, don't worry, it's me who's pooing on it. :P

I loved the Rowena/Charlie dynamic too! I'd have loved to have seen that developed more - very much "the path not taken" which is always fascinating to me.
liliaeth
May. 12th, 2015 04:51 am (UTC)
Re: Charlie Stein
Thing is, and I keep seeing people talk about how spn kills all the women, and they're plain out wrong. It's not that SPN kills all the women, it's that they kill ALL recurring characters, male, female, white, poc, straight, LGBT, if you return to spn for more than two eps, you're lined up to die.

Castiel and Crowley have so far been the only exceptions, which is why I'm pretty sure that Crowley at the least is going to be dead pretty damn soon.
rovallie5
May. 11th, 2015 08:38 pm (UTC)
still sad
Lately I've been reading your reviews, and I think are good :). But didn't have the courage to comment until now.

You know, I agree that it was up to Charlie to left the building and took some time for her. But by other side , can't stop thinking that once again this prove how the Winchesters drag their friends into their issues anytime they need to save their other half. The thing is, and though I know Sam truly tried to have everything under control and protected, mainly Charlie, his desperation didn't allow him to think properly. For me is something that always happen when one of the brothers is in danger.

As for the coming episodes, I'm so afraid of what could happen. Who else will die?
hells_half_acre
May. 11th, 2015 08:47 pm (UTC)
Re: still sad
I agree. The Winchesters really do put everyone and everything else aside when it comes to saving each other... there's only been one instance where they choose to save the world over their brother, and that was Swan Song.

It's definitely their greatest failing as heroes - their one weak spot, and the one where they allow themselves to be selfish - is their brother. I think the show is slowly exploring this since S8... but as for what that means for the future, I don't know!

Also, hello! I'm glad you've been enjoying the reviews and I'm happy you found the courage to comment! :)
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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