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And now we go from laughter back to drama... with a scene from S7, which really makes me start humming that Adele song... we could have had it all...."

S7 - Dean finds out that Sam is suffering from hallucinations

Why I chose this:

This storyline had such rich character potential. Also, this was back in the day when I still liked Lucifer as a character (or, rather, I liked Sam's hallucination of Lucifer, because actual Lucifer was locked away in the cage where he goddamn belongs.)

But, instead of talking about potential storylines that may or may not have been disappointing in the end, let's just focus on the one scene.

One, this scene is amazing because Sam is being honest with Dean about the problem he is facing, rather than trying to hide it. With Sam returned from hell and as well as can be given the circumstances, we're still moving forward having learned our lessons from the mistakes of S1-5 - in that we aren't keeping secrets, and we're both fighting together and staying on the same page about things. Does it lessen the drama? No! Because the drama is in the circumstance and the problems being faced, rather than in familial conflict. 

Two, there are just so many fantastic, and completely heartbreaking, lines in this one scene - "you can't torture someone who has nothing left for you to take away", "it had to be a mess, Sam, otherwise you wouldn't believe it was your life", and "He says the same thing about you."

Three, just, the PERSONAL relationship that Sam has with Lucifer flows through their interactions here, it tells us so much about the cage - about the trauma that Sam may have suffered therein. There's such a story being told in behaviour, in positioning, in the words and gestures being used. 

Four, Jared just knocks it out of the park with that thing he can do where he makes all 6'5'' of him look small and fragile and on the cusp of breaking, and you just sit there going "oh no oh no oh no..."

Five, I know it's happened before this too, but I love how in S4+ we start getting to things that Bobby doesn't know how to deal with either. Bobby has flaws and knowledge gaps, and he's not necessarily always going to do the right thing, or know the perfect thing to say. And you see that here, where he just LEAVES... like, my goodness, dude, that's your adopted son, but Bobby is just like "wow, I'm out" and leaves Dean to it. I don't even mean that as a bad thing - it's just another example of how nuanced everyone's relationship is with each other, and how the characters are all multidimensional people.

Man, I wanted this storyline to continue with this same level of richness - I wanted to see a seasons where we directly addressed hunting when one has a mental illness, rather than just alluding to it. And it would have been fine and understandable if it set back their growth as characters a little - they could have had familial conflict in Dean treating Sam too gently, or Sam pushing himself too hard, and having to find that balance... and having to find some way to recover, or manage, or just move forward in some capacity. I mean, not to complain too much, but I really think it's here where we start really seeing the problems of not being able to plan for the next season/showrunner early... because if Carver really wanted to start S8 with Sam not looking for Dean, then you had your perfect set-up with this storyline, instead of Gamble giving Sam a magic cure that doesn't make sense - have Sam become incapable of looking for Dean - even if you wanted to use Cas as a cure, at least tie Sam's sanity with Cas's existence, so that when Cas disappears, Sam's ability to manage goes with him. That's seriously what I have to headcanon in order to make S8 (and Sam's "cure" for that matter) make any damn sense. /rant.

Really, I love this scene because it's RICH with character and possibilities, and if you just watched to this point, and didn't know the future - you could right so many different kinds of stories going forward. 

This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/560863.html.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2018 03:55 am (UTC)
Wow, it's been so long since I watched this season I'd forgotten this scene.

Lucifer baiting Sam--damn, I hate villains who gaslight the good guys...and Sam looks so resigned to being unable to free himself from believing Lucifer is right...

Inevitably when the show started being written one season at a time the quality of the narrative fell down. It's so much harder to accept the flaws of the lack of continuity after we were spoiled with the complete arc of the first 5 seasons. I wish Sera Gamble had stayed...I don't think Jeremy Carver ever really understood what made our boys tick...
Jul. 11th, 2018 04:17 am (UTC)
Very true. And I agree about Carver - it's a shame really, because Carver was obviously brimming with plot ideas, but taken down by neglect and non-understanding of character, and Sera Gamble had such a rich understanding of character, and arguably was just a little weak on plot... some combination of the two might have brought wonders.

But you're right in that we were spoiled by a 5 season arc, where it didn't matter how strong or not you were on character, because the characters had so much room to breathe that really it was only a writer here and there, and Jared and Jensen who really needed to be strong on character, and THEY ARE, so yes - spoiled rotten, we were.
Jul. 11th, 2018 04:11 am (UTC)
Is this from “Hello Cruel World”? Damn, season 7 might have dropped off in quality, but I stand by my assertion that the first three episodes were gold. Who wrote this one?? That really is some quality dialogue - heightened by STELLAR performances from each of the actors. Is this the same one where Dean talks about being “your flesh and blood brother who can kick your ass in real time”? GUH. Slay me. I probably would have picked that scene, but you picked an amazing one.

“Are you seeing him...right now?”
That tiny broken nod from Sam...!! Jared is so so good.
Jul. 11th, 2018 04:21 am (UTC)
Yup! And it's a Ben Edlund episode - so it's really no surprise that a)I love it, and b)it has phenomenally composed lines.

And yes, it's the same episode as that scene - which I very nearly picked, because AWESOME, but instead I went with this one, mainly because of Jared's acting in it and the tableau of character positioning... and I'm always a sucker for establishing scenes.

But yes, first 2 episodes of S7 = awesomesauce... and then there's a drop off in quality with only a peak here and there (I love Death's Door too, even though it is only heartbreak).
Jul. 11th, 2018 04:17 pm (UTC)
Ben Edlund! Ugh, I still miss him.

You said it above already, but it’s notable that you chose this one even with Lucifer featured in it, considering your vehement feelings about him in later seasons! This was back when they were still writing him well, and his motivations were obviously more focused.
Jul. 11th, 2018 05:18 pm (UTC)
Exactly - and he was there for a reason, not because of stupidity (either on the part of the characters or the part of the writers). I mean, we know THIS Lucifer was a figment of Sam's imagination (which is interesting in it's own respect) but even if he weren't - and they went the route where it was actually Lucifer "projecting" from the cage - that would have been interesting as well, just as long as Lucifer was STILL IN THE BLOODY CAGE.

As soon as they took Lucifer out of the cage, that was when I vehemently started hating everything about the character and the writing around the character. So, basically mid-way through S11, was when my Lucifer hatred kicked in tenfold.
Jul. 11th, 2018 05:10 am (UTC)
This is after Sam's wall crumbles, so Bobby is still dealing with almost being killed by soulless Sam, maybe?
But, Dean and Bobby, both helpless (at this time anyway) against Sam's hallucinations is just heartbreaking.
Jul. 11th, 2018 05:18 am (UTC)
Bobby's reasons are sort of besides the point - the point is that, for whatever reason, Bobby is imperfect in this moment, and I love him for it.

It's a very heartbreaking scene, but I guess I like it because amidst not knowing what to to, and being confused, the boys are working through it together.
Jul. 11th, 2018 08:22 am (UTC)
I just did a season 7 rewatch, and back to back, it's not half as bad as I remembered - and like you say, some parts are powerful and rich with potential. Ok most of the potential was wasted but we did get some gems - this being one. Plus the cure episode was overall moving and Jared was excellent. Poor broken Sam who was somehow still clinging on and even saving people while he hung there by this fingernails, legs dangling off the cliff.

I also agree on characters showing their imperfections and fallibility. It makes them more relatable and human. Nobody can be gruff and unflappable ALL the time, not even Bobby!

Edited at 2018-07-11 08:25 am (UTC)
Jul. 11th, 2018 05:24 pm (UTC)
It's true, I watched a few from the season a couple weeks ago, and they're not as bad as they seemed at the time. Perhaps my standards have gone down. :P

And yes, imperfections and fallibility make things interesting when it comes to character interactions - if everyone is perfect...well, that's the stuff of mediocre fanfiction.
Jul. 11th, 2018 09:12 am (UTC)
Yes, all of this!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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