Ah well, let's talk about this episode - which I can't remember anything about, besides it deals with God and Lucifer's relationship. Fun times!
Let's get into it...
So, we continue the journey of a writer's room in chaos, unsure how to end the current storyline and what to set-up for the next year. Robert Berens writes this one - usually one of the stronger writers on the team.
Lucifer: "So where were you?"
Chuck: "That's a long story - how do you feel? I healed you."
Lucifer: "Hm, yeah, didn't ask you to."
Chuck: "Son, be reasonable!"
- So, this sets up our plot for the episode - or at least the only plot that I can remember, having not watched this episode since the first time it aired. I suppose it's our emotional plot, which is why I remember it. Anyway, it is the reconciliation, or lack thereof, of Lucifer and God. WHICH, arguably, is pretty interesting to take on... I mean, talk about ancient grudges.
- I will say that I wish they hadn't made the father/son thing so LITERAL. I like it better when it's metaphoric, rather than a direct parallel or what have you.
I think, and again, this is just me guessing two minutes into the episode, that a big problem with these final three episodes is that they became about God, Lucifer, and Amara, rather than about the Winchesters at all. I think that's still a failing of S12, where the motional plots are the secondary characters (Mick, Kelly, Ketch, etc) and the Winchester's emotions just aren't explored... but I'm getting WAY ahead of myself. And also making this rewatch longer than it has to be by digressing to much 2 minutes in.
Sam: "Hey, how's it going in here?"
- Okay, I lied, I'm going to blather a bit more about where they went wrong... SAM IS IN FRONT OF HIS GREATEST ENEMY. What do we do with that? Apparently, we forget about it and have him play counselor like nothing is amiss and he wasn't tortured and raped (heavily implied, though I know people argue) by one of these two people while the other did nothing to save him even though he asked (prayed). I'm just saying that as interesting as Lucifer/God dynamic is (or isn't) the episode would have been 50x more interesting if they'd included the fact that the Winchesters also have major issues with working together with those two.
Lucifer: "And then the second your apes sent a distress call, boom, daddy's home!"
Chuck: "That's not what happened."
Dean: "Hey, these apes saved your ass."
- Bless you, Jared Padalecki, with doing what very little you could.
Also, boys are wearing the exact same outfits as the end of last episode, so they've probably JUST come back from dropping Donatello off at the cab. Hopefully I captured that in the timeline, I'll check after.
Lucifer: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Go Amara, team Amara."
Chuck: "You don't mean that."
- I really like Misha's delivery. I know a lot of people didn't like his Lucifer, but I thought Misha did an absolutely fantastic job.
Lucifer has locked himself in Sam's room. FYI. Just you know, to rub that salt into the wound a little more, not that we're going to explore that.
Dean: "It's like the worst episode of full house ever."
- It kinda is.
(I'm really sorry I'm being so negative. Oh man, I'll try to cheer the heck up.... sorry sorry, it's been a tough weekend.)
Lee Shorten! Otherwise known as Attractive Asian-Australian Demon! I'm glad he got another project and couldn't come back for the episode where they might have killed him... mha ahahaha.
Anyway, Crowley has lost Hell.
Chuck: "What everyone wants - my sister, my children, you humans - an apology. A bit wet, I'm sorry."
Dean: "So give it to him. It's not like he's asking for a weapon, or for Hell or for Heaven - he's asking for words."
Chuck: "I can't say I'm sorry if I'm not..."
- At least he's honest.
- Also, it's interesting that Berens divides out humans as NOT God's children, whereas angels are. That actually goes against a fair number of Christian faiths, from what I understand.
Sam jumps when Chuck puts the plate of pancakes in front of him. It's a funny reaction. I like it, even though I don't know why Sam does it.
Oh man, this witch character was so great. I was pretty pissed that she was killed.
Rowena: "The worlds ending Clea."
Clea: "Well, duh."
*points out that her tarot deck dealt all Death cards*
- Death card isn't actually a bad card in Tarot... but because pop-culture is what it is, every single show that uses the tarot deck has to reference it inaccurately, or rather - use it as though it's interpreted the same as most everything else in this world, where death=bad. In tarot, Death is just change. So, arguably, the world is not ending, it's just changing a HECK OF A LOT.
Chuck: "I am sorry that you feel that I betrayed you, that I acted without cause. I'm sorry that you can't see you gave me no choice."
*Dean shakes his head at God*
Chuck: "I'm good."
Lucifer *to Sam and Dean*: "You heard that right."
- I do love the inclusion of the non-apology apology. Also, Dean's immediate recognition of it, and him trying to correct God with silent communication.
Chuck: "The Mark didn't change you, it just made you more of what you already were."
- Bad news for Dean's self-esteem right there - but do we get an exploration of that? Nopers. Also, I don't believe that's true for Dean, because I really don't think I'm just being a blind deangirl when I say that Dean, fundamentally, is a good/gentle person - and the Mark DID corrupt him, or, at the very least, it emphasized a part of him that is so very small (and mostly borne out of necessity, that it can hardly be called "Dean.")
Chuck: "Why should I put you first above all others?"
Lucifer *to Sam and Dean*: "Do you have any idea what it's like to argue with your father when your father is God?"
- Yes, they do. Until a certain age, your father is always god... and sometimes even after that.
Lucifer: "Everything is a tautology with you - everything is because I told you so, everything is 'it HAD to be done.'
Dean: "Pretty sure that's all fathers."
- Yup, Dean knows.
- Also, great use of the officially name of the most common logical fallacy there - it is because it is.
Chuck: "Okay, maybe I didn't handle everything perfectly..."
- The thing that I find fascinating about SPN's God, is that he's fallible... also, arguably, not omniscient. Or at least, not future-omniscient. He probably knows everything that's happening presently, but he makes mistakes and can't necessarily predict the future. Anyway, it's really interesting.
Sam: "I can't believe I'm actually about to say this but... Lucifer is right. All he wants is an apology and you're too concerned about being right to give him one. But apologies aren't always about being right, sometimes they're just about apologizing."
- I mean, yes, Sam makes an excellent contribution here - and he makes it humbly, and wisely... and I suppose it says a lot about him that he CAN side with his torturer in an argument. But... yeah, still not going to like it 100%.
Dean: "And the great thing about apologies is that you don't have to mean 'em. I mean, I lie and tell Sam, I'm sorry all the time - sorry - see!"
- Oh Dean, way to ruin it.... but you are hilarious and I love you.
Chuck: "Okay, enough from the peanut gallery."
*Sam and Dean are zapped to the entry way lounge*
- Yup, probably more helpful there. (Though, also, and I'll talk about this later - I think there's a secret reason why God banished them then.)
Lucifer: "Doesn't matter. You were my father and you foresook me."
- It's so rare to hear the past-tense of that verb. It sounds funny. Doesn't help that sook is slang in a region of Canada (NFLD) meaning... teary/sentimental or whiny (I just looked it up to confirm, and apparently Aussies and New Zealanders use it too. It must have originally come from Ireland or the UK, and died out there but not in all colonies.)
Chuck: "I did. I was supposed to love all creation equally, I wasn't supposed to have favourites - but you, you were mine. I gave you the Mark because I loved you the most, because I thought you were strong enough to bare it - and when I saw that I was wrong, when I saw my choice devour my most cherished son, I hated myself. And so I punished you, and I am so sorry."
- Awww, that's nice. Well, it's bad, but it's also cool? Like, here we get further confirmation that Chuck is fallible.
- Also, I like Lucifer's face when Chuck says "I did" because I almost think that was really all Chuck HAD to say - Lucifer just wanted the admission of guilt.
- It's also an interesting question - if the son disappoints the father, who is to blame? The son for failure to live up to expectations, or the father for not truly knowing who is son was? Or expecting far too much. Anyway, stuff to think about.
Chuck: "Yeah, you were right, she needs to be destroyed, but I won't kill her."
Dean: "Why not?"
Chuck: "Amara was caged for billions of years, but she was always there - she had to be there. You know, yin and yang, dark and light."
Dean: "English, Chuck."
Chuck: "There's a harmony, a balance in the universe - light needs dark, dark needs light - if you blow one of them up-"
Lucifer: "It wouldn't be a good thing."
Chuck: "It really wouldn't be a good thing - like end of reality, not good."
- This DOES circle back to what was a great theme at the beginning of the season, but got a little lost along the way - and that's the return to the SAVING PEOPLE part of the family business. It was Sam's response to letting out the darkness, and his quest to save people rather than kill them was how he defeated the first symptom of the darkness (the darkness!zombie-infection)... so it's really fitting that SAVING the Darkness is also how to defeat the Darkness... and that IS ultimately what happens. They don't even cage her, they just save her... completely. But we'll talk about how that happens when it happens.
- Also, this is a pretty neat marriage of western mythology (Judaeo-Christianity) and eastern mythology (Zoroastrianism, Japanese mythology, other dualistic mythologies that have balance of opposite and opposing forces at their core.)
Chuck: "Michael's in no condition to fight and it's outside my power to bring Gabriel and Raphael back."
- Oh, so we actually get confirmation here that Michael IS as Lucifer has been saying - completely driven mad by his confinement in the cage. Sucks to be Michael, I guess. I like how Chuck is just leaving him in there too, apparently. I guess Chuck REALLY didn't approve of the whole apocalypse plan. :P
Sam: "You restored Castiel"
Chuck: "Archangels are different - they're the stuff of primordial creation. Rebuilding them - it's time we don't have."
- So, we also get confirmation that Gabriel and Raphael are dead (aww) or at least, if Gabriel is secretly alive, God's not about to give him up... but, I think he may be genuinely dead.
- Also, again, we see more limits on God's power here - so, Chuck is fallible, not omniscient, and also not completely all powerful, as he does not have control over time. If he was the Christian conception of God, then he'd be able to CREATE the time he needed, because God can do anything and is all powerful. This version of him, without the ability to do that, therefore isn't. This further lessens the separation of Chuck from the other gods that Dean and Sam hunt from time to time... of course, there's still the main difference (as we learn in these episodes) that their continued existence hinges on the continued existence of this god and his sister (or their mutual near-simultaneous destruction, though that hypothesis is never proven.)
Crowley: "Stealing my moves, Dean. Let me guess, you got Lucifer back in the fold - he snapped you here."
Dean: "It wasn't Lucifer. *takes Crowley's drink* Uh-uh-uh, you need to sober up, you smell like a dumpster outside the liqueur barn."
Crowley: "What's this? Concern for me? I appreciate your attempts at bromantic rekindling, but I think we both agree, that ship has sailed."
Dean: "That's not what this is about. We need your help."
- Man, even Dean and Crowley's relationship would be pretty damn interesting to explore at this point. I think part of the reason I get increasingly annoyed at Crowley's storylines is that they're always so separated from the Winchesters... not that I necessarily adored the demon!dean storyline, but I do like the complete awkwardness that comes from it having happened. It's part of the reason I always liked Sam and Castiel's relationship, because for ages it had the awkward quality of two people forced to hang out because they had a mutual friend. Anyway... this really brief scene with Dean is the most interesting Crowley scene I've seen for a while.
Lucifer: "As you are clearly less than kindly disposed - perhaps you'll lend an ear to my very own jiminy cricket." *Castiel resurfaces* "Hello brothers, sisters. It's me."
- Interesting that Lucifer refers to Cas as his 'jiminy cricket' - it makes me wonder, or perhaps wish, that Castiel may not have been as subdued and non-combative as we saw in the uber-last R-L&B episode. In that he COULD be actually talking back to Lucifer this whole time...or at least affecting his behaviour.
Rowena: "We've got the owl feather, the arrowroot-"
Cleo: "Check and check"
Rowena: "A jaw of pig?"
- I love montages of getting a team together, I'm not going to lie.
Rowena: "What are you doing here, Giant?"
- Also, Jared is goddamn beautiful in this shot.
Rowena: "I'll turn you into a moose, an actual moose."
- I'd love to see that - but there are no movie-trained mooses.
Rowena: "Even if God's back. Why would I care? Hello, Pagan here. I serve magic, not God."
- Have I mentioned lately how much I love the fact that SPN can have atheists/pagans in a god-confirmed universe? Because I do.
Dean: "And that's what you offered them. A chance to stroke your ego? And you wonder why they said no. Well, we've got something better - a plan. Now, you can sit on the sidelines and watch the world die - or you can fight. You know, to be king again, maybe you need to remember how to be a soldier."
- See, is this not the most compelling? Dean advising Crowley on LEADERSHIP?!?!! I'd watch a whole episode of Dean's tips for how to rule a kingdom (be it hell, heaven, or one on earth.)
- Also, I like how they paired the Winchesters off with who they have the most experience with it. Dean with Crowley and Sam with Rowena. It's well done... and also both have interesting dynamics. And also I kinda want to see Sam and Rowena make out... but I think that's down to my hormones being super out of whack right now... but goddamn, that's like the hottest thing I can think of at the moment. My head is a weird place.
Dean: "Why trap her when you can kill her. You gotta admit, there's a lot less room for error if you can shoot to kill."
Chuck: "I explained why."
- I love Chuck's immediate patient tone - like 'did you get confused, little buddy? Do you need help with tying your shoes?'
Sam: "Dean, what is this about?"
Dean: "Nothing, am I the only one thinking rational here?"
Castiel: "It's about her, Sam. It's about his girlfriend."
Dean: "Okay, shut-up."
Castiel: "I mean, think about it - Dean Winchester meets the biggest evil in the universe and he takes a pass? I mean, come on. He wants Daddy to do what he couldn't."
Sam: "Is he right?"
Dean: "Oh, I'm not getting into it with him. Not having it."
Lucifer: "Hey, Dean, what's good for the goose is good for the gander - we opened a vein for you two."
- So, I guess the question here is 'what is upsetting about this?' Obviously, Lucifer is pushing buttons to try to spark a fight between Sam and Dean... or at least, to put Dean in an awkward spot... or to just, accurately, get at the truth even though he knows Dean doesn't want to admit to it.
- What WOULD Sam be upset about here? The fact that Dean is letting his emotions cloud his judgement? I suppose... that's the only thing that I can come up with... the idea that Dean's letting his ego make decisions.
Dean: "I tried to kill her, and it didn't work."
Chuck: "Maybe it didn't work because you didn't want it to work. Maybe, you didn't want to kill her."
- Not helping, Chuck.
Sam: "You want God to kill Amara, because you don't want Amara to be killed?"
Dean: "Yeah, maybe there's a part of me that just can't hurt her, but if she's already dead-"
Sam: "Then she's already dead, right."
Lucifer: "Well, that got weird."
- I love how Sam's immediately understanding though - he doesn't really point out that Dean's being ridiculous, he knows Dean knows. What he does do is acknowledge that Dean's feelings, and the logic that has sprung out of them, MAKES SENSE. That if Amara is dead, Dean doesn't have to confront the fact that he's incapable of killing her... which is basically the Dean Winchester equivalent of erectile dysfunction.
Sam: "Dean, we always sweat this stuff - these choices, but for once we have God on our side. For once we can actually just do things his way."
- Sam concludes the 'argument' by making it NOT about Dean's feelings, but what the best course of action is - to kill or not to kill. In this case, the answer is clear to Sam - go with God's plan, because it is God's plan. Of course, the thing is, I'm not sure that Sam's actually right about this decision... because Chuck has proven in this episode already that he is not infallible (and perhaps this is actually why he zapped them away during the part of the conversation where he admitted it... rather than because they were distracting to the conversation.) But, Dean and Sam also know from last episode that God's plans might not actually be the best (ie: his plan to sacrifice himself, that Dean talked him out of.) Now, I think, Sam's blinded by the fact that Chuck's planning to FIGHT... so therefore a fighting plan has to be a good plan. Is it though?
And Donatello is getting killed by Amara... or consumed, anyway.
Crowley: "I don't hold grudges, besides that dog collar was a lovely touch - really made my eyes pop. I almost wore it here today."
- If only this were true (*shakes fist at S12*)
Dean: "What about Cas?"
Lucifer: "Oh, don't worry, your pet's safety is my highest concern. Trust me, he's on board."
- Well, it's nice we haven't forgotten about Cas.
Chuck: "Once she's weakened, I'll take the Mark back from Amara and use it to seal her away. You ready?"
Dean: "Wait what?"
Sam: "God and I talked about this - someone has to bare the Mark."
Dean: "well that should be me. I've had it before, I'm damaged goods."
Chuck: "Exactly, you've already been tainted. I can't transfer it to you. Sam volunteered."
- So, I'm not sure why this plan is thought to be a good one - but I can see why it would feed into Sam's self-sacrifice default and he'd go for it. Sam often believes that the plans where he suffers the most are the best plans... unless he's suffering because of Dean suffering, then they're the worst plans. :P
- Also, it's interesting that Dean CAN'T have the Mark again because he had it before... like, what makes him permanently tainted? Is it simply that he's worn down and unable to resist? Or did the Mark fundamentally change him in some way beyond will power against it?
Dean: "First Cas is making kamikaze plans and now you, you couldn't have talked to me?"
Sam: "We did talk!"
- No you didn't.
Sam: "Dean, you told me you couldn't beat Amara, that it'd have to be me - well, this is it - me."
- And Dean is like 'note to self, never ask Sam to do anything every again.'
Sam: "We talked about this, it's time to do the smart thing."
Dean: "So what am i supposed to do, just sit back and watch?"
Sam: "No, we're both in this fight - you're leading this army."
Dean: "Oh, you mean babysitting the bad-guys? Okay, Sam, okay. God's plan."
- I'm side-eyeing Dean's rapid agreement there. But I guess he figures he can take care of it later - or jump in at the last minute and save Sam somehow. Or, he figures they're all going to die anyway, so they might as well die with Sam not mad at him.
The picture that Amara pulls out of Dean's trunk - of him and Mary, is a larger framed large print of his little wallet-sized one. Which means that Dean has MULTIPLE COPIES of that picture (and probably digital versions) that's good to know...
I do like the framing where it seems like Rowena has double-crossed, but it's secretly part of the plan.
And all the witches die... and it's sad. Yet Rowena lives, because this is SPN (but she's grown on me, so it's okay.)
There's a lot of fantastic stuff in this next section, and I think Berens really shines with the way he brings together the existence of god in a humanist universe, and also a little of what I was hoping for with the premise of the season - an exploration of the oppression of the feminine and the tragedy that has occured because of it. Anyway, let's break it down a little...
Chuck: "I'm sorry, for this - for everything."
Amara: "An apology at last - what's sorry to me? I spent millions of years crammmed into that cage - alone, and afraid, wishing, begging for death, because of you. What was my crime, brother?"
- I love how Dean wants to go to her... and yes, a lot of that is the non-con connection that Dean's been forced upon him. BUT, also, this is the first time that it makes SENSE it was Dean, because Amara's speech is really about the suppression of the feminine and it's oppression by toxic masculinity... and both those things are things that resonate very well with Dean's character. Since, in the absense of the feminine in the Wincheters' lives, DEAN is the one that took on the role of the feminine in their universe... and, because of that, he's the one that suffers the most from societies rules about the performance of masculinity. Dean has always been in constant conflict with himself and society's (or his father's) expectations of what it means to be a man.
Chuck: "The world needed to be born and you wouldn't let me - Amara, you gave me no choice."
Amara: "That's your story, not mine. The real reason you banished me, why I couldn't be allowed to exist - you couldn't stand it - we're equals, we weren't great or powerful, because we stood only in relations to each other. You think you made the archangels to bring light - you made them to create lesser beings, to make you large, to make you lord. It was ego, you wanted to be big."
- And here we get the feminist theory... the creation of a patriarchal society that can only exist, can only maintain power, by the constant and brutal supression of the female. God, associated with the male, wanted to be all powerful - and in order to do that, he had to both create beings lesser than he was and suppress the female version of himself - Amara. And she's not wrong, Chuck even admits it - but just like his story of protecting creation from Amara, it isn't the entire truth. The reality is a combination of their two stories, which we then learn...
Chuck: "That's true. But it isn't the whole truth. There's a value - a glory in creation - that's greater or truer than my pride or my ego - call it grace, call it being, whatever it is - it didn't come from my hands, it was there, waiting to be born. It just is. As you and I just were. Since you've been freed, I know that you've seen it. Felt it. *nods to Dean*"
Amara: "It didn't have to be like this. I loved you, brother."
- And this is the truth - instead of explaining why he needed to bring grace/being into their universe, he saw the opportunity to both bring it into the creation and also make himself a singular God. It was easier to lock Amara away and get everything he wanted (or so he thought) than it was to SHOW Amara why grace/being had worth.
- Now, I say "or so he thought" because I stand by my idea in 11x20, that God, fundamentally was lonely after a while... that being the sole God without equal wasn't all it was cracked up to be. That God's sojourn as Chuck wasn't just about leaving the mess of heaven behind him - it was about being bored and lonely without a companion.
- And on a completely different note, I want to point out that Chuck claims that the glory of creation - grace/being - 'didn't come from my hands - it just WAS' - and then when Chuck says he knows Amara felt it, he nods to Dean... meaning that what humans have, what CREATION has, is actually outside of God's doing... that what constitutes our uniqueness was something that existed all on it's own. It's painting God as gardener, but instead of planting the seeds, it's more like he's the little girl in the Secret Garden.. the Garden was already there, she just found the key to the door and cleared away the weeds.
Amara: "Tell me, if you won't change - why should I?"
- She's got a point.
Amara: "What have you done."
Sam: "He's dead. God's dead."
Amara: "No, he's dying."
- I love Jared's flinch here. It's the first time that Amara has ever spoken to Sam. Jared's really subtly brilliant with his acting sometimes.
And we get the end of times.
Next weekend, the FINALE! Unless I get super impatient and finish it earlier, but not sure that's going to happen.
But, if that doesn't happen, I'll definitely see you Thursday for the new S12 episode.
This entry was originally posted at http://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/537168.html.