Today, we tackle Robert Berens' first episode from last season...
Our Little World
We get too teenagers hanging out by the tracks - one of which is named Goldie, which is a bizarre name, but I kind of like it for some reason?
And then Amara shows up TO EAT HER SOUL.
Goldie: "Are you okay? Do you want something?"
Amara: "I want to be like you?"
- So, I know Amara means 'older' - but... we haven't really talked much about what Amara consuming people means... is it the same as her offer to Dean to make him "part" of her? If that's what she wants from him, why doesn't she just take it like she does from these randoms? My theory is that what she wanted with Dean was slightly different.
- But, the question remains - does Amara absorb the life experiences of those that she consumes? Does she learn from them? Or are they just food, devoid of meaning beyond that? If she does learn from them, what can we determine from her choices in human victims so far? I don't know - things to think about.
Crowley's waiting up, trying to get her to stop sneaking out.
Crowley: "You're strong, but you need to remember, I'm stronger."
Amara: "For now."
- Ah, yes, one of my favourite ominous warnings...
To Sam and Dean at Riverview! I was just at that little cottage when I went location spotting with one of my VanCon friends.
Sam wants Dean to call in Cas for help. So we get Cas sitting in Sam's room watching TV. There's actually not much not to talk about in this conversation... meanwhile, Sam also gets a call.
Sam: "Remember our friend Len?"
Dean: "Weird as hell, soulless, took the rap for all the murders - Len?"
Sam: "Yeah, he's dead."
Cas goes to leave the Bunker and has a PTSD panic attack about going outside - and damn, I forgot completely about this storyline. Man, it's always a horrible tease, these shows, because I LIKE storylines that explore psychological consequences to events, and the way our experiences shape our personalities... but TV writers like things like "plot" and "action"... sigh....
Demon: "Marco got one of them last night - a Len Fletcher"
Crowley: "Tell Marco to keep looking. The last thing I need is one of Amara's candywrappers blabbing to angels or hunters about what- who- happened to them."
- Ah, this is wise, but in this case, Crowley is not only too late, but his clean-up crew have caused the Winchesters to remain suspicious and in the area rather than abandoning it as a dead-end.
- I actually forgot that it was Crowley's clean-up crew that killed Len. Ah well. I guess it saved him from a boring soulless existence from which he could derive no joy.
Demon: "Oh, our ranks have been a bit thin since Amara ate everybody...."
- And here we get the first hints that Crowley might be losing his grip on Hell in his failed attempt to use Amara to his own advantage.
- I think Crowley's flaw is, ironically, forgetting what his strengths are - Crowley became King of Hell by keeping his head down, staying loyal to the right people and disloyal to the right people, and then orchestrating a power vaccum that allowed him to take control. He maintains control best when he does much the same - pitting his enemies against each other rather than himself, and maintaining a status quo that's just good enough for his minions to be satisfied. As soon as Crowley tries to make BOLD movements - getting the souls from Purgatory, recruiting MoC/Demon!Dean, his mother, or Amara - basically, anytime that he attempts to gain VISIBLE and UNQUESTIONABLE power - that's when everything blows up in his face and he ends up losing power and control rather than gaining it. Crowley's advantage was never power or strength, but rather cleverness - as soon as he tries to change that, he fails.
And Cas is back to watching TV.
News Anchor: "Haha! Aww, that dog thinks it's people. Up next, a very upsetting story out of Omaha..."
- I love how ridiculous OTT and yet spot on this news anchor is.
(Apropros of nothing - were you aware that the set for Sam's room is just Dean's room with the bed against a different wall? Fun fact!)
And Cas spots Metatron as the cameraman in the news story.
And poor Goldie is about to get murdered! But nope! The Winchesters were there first and set a trap!
Ah, the motel with the flowers - they used that wallpaper in Changing Chanels, I think.
Sam: "We can exorcise him - save his meatsuit."
Demon: "My two cents - you exorcise me - let me smoke on out of here. I give you my word not to tell Crowley-"
Demon: "Hey, you heard me, he's hardly my favourite guy at the moment-"
Sam: "Wait a second. Shut-up"
Dean: "Would you look at that."
Sam: "There's no way his suit survived that wound."
- Aww, good try though Demon boy.
- Also, like the through line of the emphasis on saving first! Way to remember yourself SPN!
Sam: "Where'd you ditch the body?"
Dean: "School playground."
Sam: "Come on."
Dean: "Hospital parking lot."
- I wonder how Dean avoids security cams.
- Seriously though, what I love about this exchange is how completely "brothers" it is.
Oh crap, they're not wearing suits anymore, I gotta pay closer attention.
Dean's wearing his angled-pockets shirt! I like that one because it's weird. And I really like Sam's soft brown plaid - I think it's new, and since it's not blue (and also looks soft) I like it!
Sam: "Why does Crowley have Amara on earth in the first place? Wouldn't it make more sense to keep her in Hell?"
Dean: "Yeah, but then he'd have to spend more time there, and he hates that place."
Sam: "Oh right, I keep forgetting about you and Crowley's Summer of Love."
*Dean does not look impressed*
- So, there's something about the comment that rubs me the wrong way, and I can't quite put my finger on it... it could be that Sam is making a jab about an extremely horrible event that went against all that Dean as a person stands for... like... if I suddenly got hooked on heroine or something and spent a summer out of my head with a local murdering drug-dealer and then recovered and got out... like, I might not want to have it reduced to something like "Oh yeah, I forgot about you and that drug-lord's summer of love?" I mean, that's.. really horrible? I'd much prefer someone say, "Oh right, I guess... you learned that fact during that horrible summer." Like, I highly doubt that Sam's FORGOTTEN that it's only been a year since his brother was a full out demon... and only been a few months since his brother was a rage-monster on his way to demonhood yet again? It seems... unnecessarily digging, but also simultaneously too flippant.
- Up UNTIL that line though, I actually like this exchange and the fact that Dean knows this about Crowley. I actually think that if Sam had just given Dean that studied look that Dean didn't actually see, and then said, "oh right." and left it there, it would have been a much better call back to "there's a past there that means Dean knows Crowley a little better than Sam." You don't have to spell it out in a cheap/inappropriate way.
- I do love Dean's delivery of the line though - just how matter of fact he is about it - how it's the exact same way that Sam might say, "No, Cas doesn't like PB&J anymore."
- I also like it in a really weird sort of "know your enemy" way. I LIKE the fact that Dean and Sam know weird things about Crowley - like he's the King of Hell who hates Hell. Though, I think even without Dean's summer with him, Dean would have put that together (so would Sam) - because a)Ruby already told them that all demons hate hell, and b)Crowley has made enough disaparaging comments about demons and Hell in the past that it's pretty clear where his feelings lie on both topics. He rules them, but he doesn't like them.
Dean: "...POI what's that?"
Sam: "Uh, point of interest"
Dean: "I know what it- What IS it?"
- Ah Sam, always underestimating Dean's intelligence - except for when you don't. :P
- For the record though, I worked for 6 years on child abuse/rape cases, and so POI to me is always "PERSON of Interest"... a phrase and acronym that I saw so much, that I couldn't actually watch the show Person of Interest because the title made me think of child abusers and reminded me of work... even though I knew the two weren't related at all and it's a common phrase. Anyway, the moral of this story is... uh, I probably would have needed Sam to clarify that he didn't mean "point" and not "person" and also - working on child abuse/rape cases for 6 years will fuck you up and make you miss out on good TV shows?
Riverview! I was also just at that building this summer - it's nearly as rundown as it looks in the show. It's been abandoned for years and years... though creepily, there are still lights on inside.
Crowley tries to feed Amara with a human, but she refuses.
Crowley: "I'll leave you to your memes. *sighs* I have no idea what I'm here - not a bleeding clue. Moment to moment, what will make you happy, what will set you off, how do I even begin to forge a connection with you. What I do know if you're growing so fast. It terrifies me."
Amara: "I bet. You only want me for the power I'll wield, and you know soon enough I won't need you anymore."
- I love this moment of honesty between them. Where they both stop speaking around the elephants in the room. Crowley's cleverness only goes so far, and he knows he can't control Amara the way he wants - and Amara knows, not only the reason for Crowley's interest in her, but also, that eventually she'll leave him... because he's right, and he CAN'T control her.
(Also, this is just a random thought that suddenly popped into my head and has nothing to do with this scene or this episode - but... I know I give Ross-Leming+Buckner a hard time about their writing... but for some reason it suddenly occurred to me that since we're not in the writer's room, we don't know if maybe their strengths lie elsewhere. I know a lot of writers who are absolutely brilliant at PREMISES and IDEAS, but absolutely horrible at execution... like, the summary or outline of their thing will be AMAZING, and then when they actually write it, it sucks... like, it's... empty. When I first joined fandom there was a J2 fic writer like that - their summaries were EXACTLY what I wanted to read, but their stories were so horribly written that I couldn't stand to read them. Anyway, it just occurred to me that Eugenie and Brad could be like that - they could be in the writer's room, pitching these great ideas, but then when it comes to writing their own episodes, what they end up with is flat. Now of course, this weird hypothesis completely breaks down when you take into account the fact that they thought it was a good idea to kill Charlie... but, *shrug*, I'm putting it out there anyway... mainly because I feel bad for constantly giving them a hard time, just because they... uh, suck a little. :P ... also, I know they didn't even write this episode, so I'm suddenly talking about them out of no where... so, yeah, sorry.)
(On a completely different note - do you ever notice how many synonyms for "giving someone a hard time" are misogynistic - ragging on, nagging, bitching about... "giving a hard time" was the best I could do without sounding shakespearean.)
Okay, back to the actual show...
God, I really love Sam's new shirt.
Sam: "We're going in to kill Amara. Are you ready for that?"
Dean: "Why wouldn't I be?"
Sam: "Because we don't know the first thing about her, Dean? We don't know her powers. We don't know if we can take her down - we don't even know if she can be killed."
Dean: "I know, but she's too big of a threat to wait - I say we go in there and hit her with all we've got."
- I like the ominous thing where... I think... anyway, that at this point, we know Dean's been told that he won't hurt Amara, that they're connected some how (how soon I forget)... but that Sam doesn't know that yet. Sam's not concerned about Dean being ready to go against some implanted instinct - he's concerned that Dean's not RESEARCHED enough.
- I can also see Dean's point though - researching delays, and with every delay, Amara grows stronger and kills more people (or at least ruins their lives by making them soulless). And I like the fact that Dean's LOGIC isn't affected. As long as Amara isn't in the room, he can still think "yes, I want to kill Amara, she is a threat." But as soon as she's there, he can't bring himself to do it. It's like the reverse of me and spiders - I know they're not frightening. They're fragile creatures that I can easily kill... but as soon as one is in the room, I'm paralyzed by terror and sometimes start weeping... even while my brain is like "oh my god, you are so ridiculous right now."
Crowley: "But I believe, deep down in my gut - I have something to offer you, if you just give me the chance."
Amara: "What are you asking for?"
Crowley: "Time. Slow down. Play by my rules - but just a little bit longer. You give me your patience, I give you my protection - until you decide you don't need it anymore."
- Aww, this isn't going to last long.
Oh, back to Metatron - I'd forgotten about him, honestly. Didn't take me long.
Metatron is robbing a dying man.
Metatron: "You know, there was a time, I could have brought you back from the bring with a snap of my fingers. Not that I would have - but I'm not that guy anymore. I can't save you."
- Ah Metatron, I like how he freely admits that even if he DID have the power, he still wouldn't have saved him. He's just a douchecanoe through and through.
Metatron: "Hey! Do you have any idea how much stuff I had to steal and then pawn to pay for that!?"
- I love how he adds in the second step there.
And Sam and Dean break into a near empty asylum with not many guards.
Back to Castiel and Metatron.
Castiel: "I don't know what I expected, but this is disappointed."
Metatron: "You're one to talk - you took the life of a wage slave, slinging slurpees for what? A month?!"
- Man, at least he wasn't stealing from dying people.
Metatron: "...and you know, my story has only just begun!"
Castiel: "And what story is that? You're preying like a vulture on human tragedy!"
- You know, that's basically ALWAYS what Metatron was doing the whole time... think of his set-up when the Winchesters first found him? He had established himself with a Native American Nation... basically preying on the human tragedy that was 95% of the Native populations dying, in order to secure a safe spot for himself where they waited on him in exchange for only their small group surviving... did he even offer to help save more? Probably not. I mean, arguably, he'd probably been there for years before 1492, but still... he's an angel that totally hid away in a room listening to stories rather than lift a finger to help 95% of the continent who could have used a hand. Anyway, Metatron is kind of an amoral selfish bastard, but that's not unusual for angels.
Metatron: "...religion is dead! The novel deader! You think I'm ashamed for dealing in fleeting visual sensation? In gif length glimpses of horror, waste, and degredation. No! I've just caught up with the times! Reality is the great literature of our era, and I'm out there, every night, on the streets, capturing it! I am reality's author!"
- I do love the way Metatron can sling bullshit together though. I mean... that's quite the speech! Haha. And while we find out that he's covering for how absolutely miserable he is about how far he's fallen... I love the stance he takes here. Mainly, because assigning an "author" to reality, removes the "reality" of it and turns it back into a fabrication. As soon as you control the visual, you manipulate the interpretation. Anyway, that all gets into some meta-historiography/philosophy crap that I never enjoyed study, so I'll just WALK AWAY.
Metaton: "So, straight to business - you want the demon tablet? Well, you're not going to get it. I have hidden it very carefully in a place where you and your friends..."
Castiel: "You hid it under your mattress. The TV station gave me your address and I went to check it out. Do you realize you have bed bugs?"
-HA! I know some people were annoyed, but I love the anti-climax of getting the demon tablet back.
Metatron: "You broke into my apartment?!|
Castiel: "What do you know about the Darkness?"
Metatron: "The band? Okay... [...] but, I don't have to tell you anything."
Castiel: "Are you forgetting? You are human now, and I could crush you like a bug."
Metatron: "Good, but you won't - you are broken Castiel. You were always a bit of a nancy, but this? You have gone full wuss? I don't know what it was that happened, but whatever it was, you are scared deep - traumatized by trauma, by fear - I mean, look at you - you can't even hit me?"
*Castiel hits him*
Castiel: "It's not fear."
- We also know that Metatron is purposefully goading him at this point - but he's not far off. So, I do wonder what it is that Metatron picked up on where he knew that line would work - or whether he just took a gamble, knowing what he did of Castiel's past and his complicated psychology.
And then Dean uses a recording of Crowley yelling at Dean about his bartabs to lure the demon guard away from Amara's room. Clever.
Then Sam tackles and cuffs the demon...
- It's really genius refocusing on SAVING people, because it makes their jobs HARDER. Now that they've become desensitized to it, it's EASIER for them to just kill everything in their path - and yeah, that's fun to watch on some base level - but, the tension increases the minute they CAN'T do that... when every take-down has to be orchestrated in such a way where they win without inflicting too much damage - where things take LONGER and have a better chance of attracting attention. Which is exactly what happens here.
Sam: "Go, take her out - I got 'em"
- And now the pressure is on, because Dean has been in denial this whole time about the whole non-con connection thing... and I love his quiet panic as he realizes that he has to put it to the test, and deep down, he knows he's going to fail.
Dean: "I'm sorry, Amara"
Amara: "For what?"
Dean: "What I have to do?"
- I think this is Dean's equivalent of "It's just a spider" - it's not going to work, Dean!
Dean: "What do you want with her, Crowley? What you think you can use her? Control her? You're an idiot."
Crowley: "I'm not trying to control her. I'm helping her to realize her fullest potential. Do you know disturbing it was to realize that I couldn't bring myself to kill you? I've had tons of chances over the years. Some you don't even know about - but still, I made my peace with it. Embraced my softer side. Learned to accept that there was just too much going on between you and I - bromance. But you know what? I think I am going to killl you today. I feel different somehow, ready. What can I say, fatherhood changes a man."
*Amara hits him in the head and breaks his hand, and flings him.*
- Again, Crowley is best when he lets his enemies take EACH OTHER out and he himself doesn't get his hands dirty and never seems to take a hard stance on his preference, so that he can fool the victor into believing that the outcome was what he wanted the whole time. I'm not sure why he changes here - but it might be, as he suggests, Amara's presence - perhaps he thinks that a SHOW of his protection, hands on and undeniably associated with HIM, will endear him to Amara... but he hasn't realized that Amara has an attachment to Dean, that, for whatever reason, she plans to kill him differently at the end of all things (or not kill consume him QUITE the same way... and I'm kinda working up to that in my head, but my current theory is that Amara hopes to replace her brother with Dean... but I'll probably talk about this more once we get to the episodes that directly address God and Amara's life before this current Creation.)
- I also like this speech, because Crowley is asking Dean if he knows how disturbing it is to not be able to kill something? IN A ROOM WITH SOMETHING DEAN CAN'T BRING HIMSELF TO KILL. Dean knows exactly how disturbing it is - and it's even more disturbing for him, because unlike Crowley, who has no doubt talked himself out of killing the Winchesters because their easy for him to USE to his own advantage, Dean has no use for Amara... he's got no reason to keep her around, and everything in his life and upbringing and soul is no doubt in agreement that she is a danger to the world as he knows it and must be removed. So, anyway, my point is, Dean's answer should not only be "I know perfectly how disturbing that is" but also "Haha, YOU HAVE NO IDEA!"
- Also, I'd argue that it goes the other way - Dean and Sam should have killed Crowley tenfold by now, but most of the time they're keeping him around because he's the devil they know... and there's a comfort in knowing exactly who your enemy is and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
- Complaint: I don't like the facial-expression punctuation on the "bromance" line (from either actor) - at this point, either go full bi/pan or go home.
Metatron: "You're not scared - you're mad. And I get it - it must suck, being everyone's tool - manipulated and used by the angels, by your enemies, by your friends... "
- And here we get the first seeds sown for Castiel's self-doubt of his status as someone beloved and useful in his own right (as something better than a tool.) But then, he and Dean share the emotional baggage of considering themselves "daddy's blunt little instrument."
Demon *to Sam*: "You trying out some sort of no kill policy?"
- ...um, hello attractive demon. I am sorry you're about to die.
Demon: "A hunter - you of all people should know - pacifism doesn't pay..."
- I think this whole season is kinda about how pacifism can ALSO work to resolve conflicts. Just... you have to get all parties to agree to it, and that's the hard part.
I also like this mirroring of both Sam and Castiel deciding not to kill their opponents.
Sam: "Alright, 2 out of 3"
- Haha, I love you Sam.
Sam then has another vision.
Castiel: "You said you were happy. Your bootstraps."
Metatron: "I was faking it. I mean, I thought, how hard could it be?"
- Ah, the truth.
Metatron: "I can't take any more. Not a single human day. The indignities, they just don't stop - making my rent, and keeping my phone charged, and hemoroids."
Castiel: "You were right, Metatron - I'm sick of having my strings pulled, which is why I won't let you manipulate me into letting you off easy."
- If only Castiel actually got better at recognizing when he's having his strings pulled though... because...well, it happens again, doesn't it. And his being sick of it probably only contributes the problem.
Amara: "Tell me, what is happening here, between us? You save me, I save you. Why? You were the first thing I saw when I was freed - and it had been so long. Maybe that's it. My first experience of His Creation. You can't help but represent that to me - the sweet triumph and the even sweeter folly of what he's wrought, there's no fighting it - I'm facinated."
- So, besides the creepiness of a teenage girl practically coming on to a 30-something year-old.... this is the first time we get the connection explained from Amara's point of view.
- The reason Amara gives for sparing Dean, is that she's fascinated by him - because he was the first part of her brother's creation that she came across. She takes him as the representative - the taxonomy example. He's her museum piece... and the rest of her encounters are her exploring how these creatures behave in the wild.
- Also, she's been alone for eons, and she hates her brother... i think this is where the joining with Dean part comes in... because Amara both wants to kill her brother, but also misses the days when it was just the two of them... so, she'll replace him. But again, I'm getting WAY ahead of myself.
Metatron: "The truth - would make the bible thumpers head's explode. I mean, they want their God to be a finger-snapping all powerful creator, you know? They want magic - Mary Poppins. But what he did - creation? It took work - it took sacrifice. In order to create the world, God had to give up the only thing he'd ever known. He had to give up and sacrifice his only kin - the Darkness - his sister."
- And here we get the first reveal of who Amara is to God. Only, the way Metatron frames it (because again, controling the visual controls the story), it's a sacrifice, rather than a calculated decision. It's something that God was FORCED to do, rather than something God CHOSE to do. Arguably, both are true simultaneously... but the one you give emphasis too is the one that directs your sympathy.
- I mean, if you want a real world example - I know a mother of a premie baby who got rid of her cats, because they were considered a health risk to the child.... now, obviously, we all understand that decision, but I'm sure the cats felt differently about it, and I mean - she adopted them out, so it's okay, but I know another similar instance where the animal was dropped off at a shelter, the former owner thinking it would be adopted out, and then it was killed a week later when they got an influx of new animals and had to make room. So... yeah... who tells that story and where does your sympathy lie in that case?
Amara: "Soon, I'll be strong enough to do what I came here to do."
Dean: "What's that?"
Amara: "Settle an old score. The oldest score."
*Dean threatens with the knife but doesn't follow-through right away*
Amara: "Told you."
*Sam kicks in the door*
*Amara flings Sam*
*Dean moves to attack Amara*
*Amara flings Dean*
- I also LOVE how we see the hint that there IS a limit to the mojo that Amara has over Dean. That when Sam is directly threatened, Dean can at least for an instant OVERCOME his reluctance and move in for an attack. Mainly, I like it because it hints and forces more powerful than God and his sister... the ol' "power of love" that always saves the day. :P
Dean: "You let Metatron GO?!"
Castiel: "Dean, how many times are you going to repeat that question?"
Dean: "I'll say it again - You let Metatron go!?!"
Castiel: "Dean, he's not GOING anywhere - if he makes any move, if he shows up on any radar - the full force of angelkind will snuff him out! You! Neither of you saw him, he is a human - and a pitiful one at that - he's not a threat to us. I mean, I put him in traction."
- I do like how Castiell didn't heal him. Like, that really is the ultimate torture/revenge... give him a life so horrible that he WANTS to die, but then refuse to give him the satisfaction. Also, where would Metatron go at this point if he did die? Heaven? Hell? The Empty? If angels are souls+grace and you take the grace, where do their souls go? (And we don't even really know if they're souls+grace, because Castiel's been pretty adament in the past that he doesn't have a soul - so whatever "souls" angels have aren't really recognized as human souls - even when they're "human")
Dean: "I'm sorry, what about God's friggin' sister did you not understand? She overpowered me."
- I love how Castiel knows Dean's lying.
And then Sam gets another vision - this one, definitely, of the cage.... and I LOVE the animation of it suspended in hell by chains, which is a great callback to the hell we saw in S3, which was AWESOME, and much better than the more stereotypical hell that we saw in S8... though, in fairness, I also like the idea of layers of Hell... and the times that Sam and Dean entered it superfiscially, they were in the first layer, rather than the deeper layers, where the hell hounds would have dragged Dean, and definitely not the lowest hidden layers where the cage is kept.
Then Amara walks down the street and we're done!
I do wish we could have found out the conversation that Dean and Castiel had when Sam left the room - because I swear Castiel knows Dean's lying when he says that Amara got away because she overpowered him. Though, in a way, he's not lying - it's just that she's overpowering his WILL rather than his phyiscal body.
- Scene 11 - the news station.
Castiel walks up to the news anchor.
Castiel: "I was hoping you could help, but... I'm a big fan of yours, by the way."
Anchor: "Big fan? yeah right?"
Castiel: "No, I am. I don't know how you do what you do - I mean, you're tough one second and then you're compassionate and tender the next and you move so seamlessly from one to the other, and then to do that in front of millions."
Anchor: "Honey, these days try hundreds"
Castiel: "Well, you're an artist and you put yourself out there every night. These days, I can barely even... sorry I took your time."
*then she gives him the information*
- Aww, it's sort of sweet, and a little weird, but it IS superfulous.
See you guys Thursday for the new episode! (Or in comments, if you have something to say about this rewatch!)
Also, please forgive any spelling errors - this is just your friendly reminder that my spellcheck doesn't work and I've got a mental problem with homonyms.