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Woo! I remember really liking this episode! Hopefully I still do (I'm sure I will.)

Let's get to it!

Stuck in the Middle (With You)

We know Arthur Ketch takes one spoon of sugar in his tea/coffee (I'm not sure what he's drinking. Probably coffee, given that Americans don't know how to make tea.)

I just spend a few minutes with it paused, trying to figure out what decade Sam's plaid shirt most reminds me of... this is why these things take me too long, people.

Dean: "Oh, dude, she is into you!"
Mary: "Dean."
Dean: "No, this is good, we've been looking for teachable moments."

- I love Mary's "Dean." because it's very much a "don't start teasing your brother."

Also, I love the domesticity of this scene and them all talking over each other and whatnot, and Sam wanting the wifi and all that stuff.

I think they wear all the same clothes in this episode!! Oh man, I love those, makes my job so much easier.

Wally: "Lucifer's kid, that's a joke right?"
*dead-eyed stares*
Wally: "Not a joke."
Dean: "Alright ramblers, let's get rambling."
Wally: "Lucifer has a kid?!"

- Again, I would LOVE an exploration of how far out of EVERYONE ELSE'S paygrade the Winchesters work. I would love for this to circle back around and effect the BMoL plot, where you find out that the BMoL talk a good game, but their actually just an organized group of level 9s, while the Winchesters are sitting around at level 20.

Slow-mo Resevoir dog walk, so awesome.

I know they kept the clothes the same because it was easiest for THEM too, but man, I do appreciate it. Sam's wearing a new shirt and I'm trying to determine Dean's jacket, hopefully they get a good shot.

They built up this demon really well, with the ominous whistling. This episode actually factors into my ideas for future rewrites - but this episode, I think, can stay as it is.

And the immunity to the demon blade... and then the yellow-eye reveal to Mary - SO WELL DONE.

And then the spear - so awesome. I mean... this is HORRIBLE Cas whump, but SO WELL DONE.

Sam: "Mom, where did those other demons come from?"
Mary: "I don't know. The target [...] did you see his eyes?"
Sam: "What?"
Nary: "They were yellow, he had yellow eyes."
Sam: "Mom, what the hell did you get us into?"

- God, how can Mary stand to look at Sam giving him the scared puppy-dog eyes! AND THEN the guilt! Jeez... if I were that kids mom, I'd just burst into tears and apologize for all my sins right then and there.
- Seriously though, I love that Mary reveals it to Sam first - same with the fact that I love that it was Mary and Sam who discovered the be-ceiling-ed dead body in Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox. I love that, although Sam doesn't feel connected with Mary currently (as we find out in S12), the show is constantly reminding us of the bond that they share when it comes to what ripped them away from their attempts to escape Hunting.
- It also constantly reminds us of their backstory - or rather, the fact that Mary's choice in 1972 directly impacted Sam's life THE WORST (not that it didn't impact Dean's life too) and it's something that we find out Mary still carries a LOT of guilt over.

Man, even this song is just awesome that the play for the Mother Mary segment.

Mary: "Technically, I'm in my 60s"
- Fun fact, Mary died a month before she turned 29. If she was brought back at the same age, that makes her currently younger than both her sons. I mean, regardless of the age of her PHYSICAL body (which may have been brought back older, given that Samantha Smith is older than 29) Mary is still psychologically younger than both her sons. It's even bigger an age difference if you go by real-time counting, and not show-time counting, and consider Sam and Dean to be (at this point) 2 years into the future.
- Samantha Smith looks gorgeous though - she could totally be a 29 year-old, in my opinion - maybe just a "had a bit of a hard life, 29 year-old" which wouldn't be too far off canon.

Dean: "Yeah, they got gear, but they tried to kill my brother."
- I love the look that Wally then gives Mary, because we JUST saw him have a conversation with her about how he doesn't trust the BMoL and she's like "no, they're cool."

Mary: "Sam, where's Dean?"
Sam: "He's out stashing the car-"
Mary: "'kay!" *turns to leave*
Sam: "Wait, Mom?"
Mary: "Yeah?"
Sam: "I just wanted to make sure, you know, you're okay. I mean I know you never really wanted this."
Mary: "Since when is life about getting what you want?"

- So, a couple of things. 1)This DOES cut into the heart more now that we've seen that Sam saw Mary as only connecting to Dean - and here's Mary walking into a room and addressing Sam ONLY so that she can find out where Dean is and then leave to go see him. And Sam tries to engage her in conversation and she kind of just blows that off too.
- 2)I kind of feel like maybe Perez should have re-read Yockey's episode? Because it seems like this conversation is a little bit out of place considering the conversation that Sam and Mary have in Celebrating the Life... because there, Sam is like "look, you couldn't leave then and you can't leave now - it's in your blood, you secretly want this!" and here he's all like "are you doing okay? I know you don't want this." So, either he's realized that he was making wishful assumptions and is trying to amend them, or there's just a little bit of discontinuity there.
-3)"since when is life about getting what you want" is SUCH a Dean thing to say, and far outside Sam's usual preference for hopefulness, and that just (in my opinion) further places Mary outside of Sam's sphere... not that Sam can't relate to her, or she to him, or that Mary is intentially shutting Sam out... but, I DO think that this serves to further drive home the fact that Sam is remarkably ALONE in this family, at least in respect to his optimism.

We see Mary's SORT OF double-cross. Or rather, hidden agenda, I guess you would say.

Dean: "Alright, okay, hey, you know what, I've had worse..."
- Dean's silent freak-out and really quick cover for Cas is pretty goddamn heartbreaking.

Crowley: "You idiots! You're all going to die."
-Love that entrance. When I was in about Grade 4, maybe Grade 5, I was in this play where my whole part was that I stood at the side of the stage with my back to everyone in a dark cowl, and then, at the climax of the action, I wipe around and reveal myself and my first line was "FOOLS! YOU KNOW NOT WHAT YOU'VE DONE!" and my god, that was possibly the funnest part I ever had in a play... riviled perhaps only by when I got to be Demetrius in a Mid Summer Night's Dream. Sometimes I miss acting... I mean, I sucked at it, and it was terrifying, but yeah, good times.

Ramiel... Prince of Hell. I love this addition to the mythology, because it explains FINALLY why good old Azazel had yellow eyes.

Damn, and I just realized that the guitar rif they go to when they do the "six years ago" is EXTREMELY similar to "We all gonna die" by Everlast. I don't know if that's a happy coincidence or on purpose, because for the life of me I don't know how popular that song is/was - but it's on my iPod and I love it, so I know it VERY WELL.

I also absolutely love this backstory for Crowley, because it explains SO MUCH - like why Crowley was so brilliant in S5, to manipulate and get what he wants, and stay alive... and then his weird moves once he's King of Hell. Because he seems to take on desperate measures in order to try to stay in the position, and you can't help but think "if this was the position he was gunning for the whole time, why is he having so much trouble keeping it, why is he making these mistakes?" - BUT, if you think that it actually WASN'T in his plans, his plans were just to suck up to whoever was in charge, but not necessarily BE in charge, then it makes sense that he doesn't know how to rule, that he's not confidence in the security of the position. I think agreeing to be the King of Hell was a spur of the moment decision based on the seduction of power and not actual cunning.

Once he's IN the position, he realizes his mistake, but then tries to use cunning to stay alive by making the deal with Cas to gain more soul-power - when the Leviathans show up, we see Crowley immediately suck up to Dick, thinking that 'yes, they will rule and I'll just survive in my wealth as a suck-up' as we saw him doing in S5 (a lifestyle he was trying to preserve by stopping the apocalyse). In S8, he kidnapped Kevin in the hopes of gaining power again (similar to his S6 plan) but then was put on the defensive with the Winchester's recovery of Kevin and immediate plans to close hell. Again, in S9, he can't suck up to Abbadon, because she sees him immediately as the enemy that she must destroy, and that leads him to try to gain MoC!Dean to defeat her and then secure his position with demon!Dean's support (I think, deep down, Crowley was hoping demon!Dean would be ambitious and rule Hell in his stead...), which quickly backfires on him in S10, where he then contemplates using hit mother as a power-behind-the-throne, that doesn't work out either, so it's back to contemplating whether the Darkness is a force that can rule Hell or not (and whether he can curry favour by parenting her) that also epically backfires on him and eventually he has to join Sam and Dean to try to get rid of her... and that leads us to this season...

.... which is why I really think, once we're introduced to HOW he got the job here, anything involving Crowley AFTER THIS should have been him coming to the realization that with the Princes of Hell on the move again, and a Nephilim in the works, and ALL HIS PREVIOUS PLANS BEING EPIC FAILURES, maybe ruling Hell just isn't for him - and then it's about how he can step down and LIVE and who will replace him, if anyone. And what he wants to do with his retirement - is he still a force for evil or is he tied of it all? Or has the Winchester magic rubbed off on him enough that he counts them truly as friends and actually DESIRES to help them altruisticly and what does that mean for the twisted being that used to be the soul of Fergus?

Ramiel: "Azazel was a fanatic.... Asmodeus has his hobbies. Dagon has her toys."
- See, if they were thinking ahead, they would have introduced Asmodeus at the same time as Dagon, and then him taking over the thrown of Hell in S13 wouldn't be out of nowhere.

Mary: "He got stabbed with some sort of silver-tipped spear."
*Crowley realizes*

- The look on Crowley's face there is excellent - it's ALMOST remorse/grief, which to me is a far more fascinating thing to explore than some grudge match against Lucifer.

Crowley: "What can I do to keep you out of that barn?"
Ramiel: "...those people, they your friends?"
[...]
Crowley: "...I admit they don't sound like much, but every armegeddon... the Winchesters stopped it. Like it or not, they're an asset we can't afford to lose."

- And where's the line between asset and friend? Man, I'd have loved that storyline, you know? We kind of have it, but I wanted it in anvils, not subtext.

Castiel: "Thank you, thank you, knowing you has been the best part of my life - and the things we've shared together, they have changed me. You're my family. I love you. I love all of you. Just please, please, don't let my last moments be spent watching you die...."
- Oh man, such good last words. And our first honest and straight 'I love you', perhaps in the whole show? Hahaha Seriously, I don't even think Sam and Dean say that to each other when they're dying. Though, for them, I think it's because it goes without saying - whereas for Cas, that relationship is still relatively new and Cas wants to make sure they know, which makes it all the more poignant.
- Also, "the best part of my life" means a HELL of a lot when you're talking to a being that has been around since our ancestors first emerged from the sea.
- But, yeah, gratefulness and love - may we all be so lucky.

Castiel: "You need to keep fighting."
Sam: "We ARE fighting. We're fighting for you, Cas."
Dean: "And like you said, we're family, and we don't leave family behind."

- And there's the 'we love you too', Winchester-style. It's basically a 'We all die together or we don't die at all.'

Dean: "Do you have any idea who we are?"
Ramiel: "I don't care."

- You should!

So, is Mary a betrayer for NOT surrendering the colt when Ramiel asked for the thing they stole? I don't think so, because I think at that point, they had a plan - they needed to kill him. If she gave him what he wanted, not only would it reveal her duplicity, but it would also not ensure their survival OR give them an openining to possibly take him down. The possibility was too great that he'd abscond with the item and still kill them, or best case scenario, he'd absond with the item and leave them alive and Mary revealed, and Cas still dying. And Sam and Dean would probably want revenge and just go after him again. But, maybe I'm making excuses.

I love the fact that Sam's the one that kills him. Dean got kill the other YED and Sam gets to kill this one.

And Crowley gets to save Castiel's life!

And we get the double-handed pull up! Love it! Love my Winchester family.

Castiel: "What did he mean by somebody stealing from him?"
*Mary goes to speak*
Dean: "Who knows what that crazy man was talking about, let's go home."

- Ah, and her moment of courage is interrupted, so she keeps it to herself. Thus, perserving the triumphant moment.

And they get to keep the broken Lance! Yay! Put it back together, be awesome lance-fighting bros!

Ketch: "Well, that's quite a story - you did well."
- Again, there's a split second of Ketch's face where he's like "WTF!!" and I LOVE that, man, I'm a broken record at this point, but I just really wanted a "we're in over our heads" moment for the BMoL.

Mary: "That's not good enough! I lost a friend. I almost lost one of my boys."
- And I LOVE That Mary includes Castiel (AN ANGEL OF THE LORD) as one of her sons. I kind of wish we'd seen more Mary/Cas bonding in First Blood, but I do recognize that these episodes are only 42 minutes long.

Mary: "Anything like that happens again. Anything. And I will burn you down. All of you."
Ketch: "Is that a threat?"
Mary: "It's a promise."

- I'd have loved to have seen that. I'd have loved for them to have eaten all their words.

And the Colt! In it's last season. S1-S12 R.I.P. THE COLT.

Oh man, I forgot about this button on the episode... so,
REWRITE: Lucifer is not in Crowley's throne room at the end of the episode. Instead the end scene is Crowley telling the demons in person to find the Colt, and some demon questioning his loyalty in saving the angel and helping the boys against a Prince of Hell. And won't the other Prince's of Hell come after him now? And Crowley tells them to screw off, maybe even in a violent manner that reasserts his authority, but then we see him sit back down and take a drink of his whiskey, and look genuinely conflicted about what consequences his actions may have incurred.

I ended up doing that kind of old-style. But it's such a good episode, I couldn't resist.

And now I'm done disc 3! Onto disc 4 and officially halfway through the rewatch!

As per usj, let me know what you though in comments, if you be so inclined. The rewatch marches on regardless of how many comments I get though, so if you want me to stop TOO BAD.

This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/550130.html.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
Jan. 5th, 2018 07:01 pm (UTC)
Most of the time when a major backstory point gets dropped in now, there's always some disbelief about how we went all these years without ever hearing about the annual trip to Vegas, for instance. But this backstory for Crowley is PERFECT, and just like you explained it, makes all his less than 'king of hell' behavior since season 6 make sense! I love this episode for that alone...but there was a very good mix of character development AND exciting plot going on in this. Just unfortunate it ended on Crowley with Lucifer. :(
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2018 07:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think the difference is that for things like "annual trip to vegas" we would have heard about it, you know, ANNUALLY. lol. Basically, any backstory point relating to the Winchesters, by now, we feel like we should have heard about it - especially if it's majorly character-effecting (the pre-series, when we were kids stories, slide by, because a lot of people have weird stories about when they were kids that never come up.)

Because Crowley's a side-character, and also someone who closely guards and hides his own weaknesses, it makes sense that he wouldn't advertise the fact that he was handed kingship unexpectedly and doesn't know how to handle it.

The Crowley and Lucifer scene at the end of this episode is really the only blemish on it. Which is unfortunate, but thankfully ignorable if you just cut the episode after Mary and Ketch's scene instead. So, still a fantastic episode. I usually pick a favourite episode for each seasons (or try to) and this is definitely a contender, even though it does introduce my most hated storyline in the show so far.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )