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So, while we're going through the obvious choices (and please remember that these are in no particular order) - next up is Death.

Death - Two Minutes to Midnight (5x21)

Death is so important here that he's, to this day, the only character that gets his own separate intro (that had that intro released as a teaser to the episode too) where Sam and Dean aren't even present. Not only that, but he gets his own intro music. I mean, he's basically Darth Vader, only better.

And why is he better? Because Death isn't a villain - he's not even presented as a villain (not really) - he is presented as a FORCE. He's a force of nature. To fight death, would be like fighting the wind, or the ocean, or the vacuum of space. You can certainly try, but you aren't going to win.

That's all conveyed through this intro - we don't even see Death's face, we see his shape, sure... but we only glimpse his face briefly when he turns to brush his sleeve, as if removing lint... and it is quite clearly an act of simply removing lint from a jacket sleeve, only we immediately see that the lint is a man's life. A weighty thing for us, a stray bit of lint to Death.

In addition to that, while he does this, we get the lyrics "When God is gone and the Devil takes hold, who'll have mercy on your soul?" 

And this is what makes this character SO RICH AND AWESOME. The lyrics directly reference the situation we are in as a show - God is gone, and the devil has taken hold... and the boys are looking for a little mercy. And we've just seen death be spectacularly UNMERCIFUL... and yet, we know that our hero(es) have to encounter him next if they're to have any chance of victory. Again, it makes him this force that is, more powerful than anything we've ever encountered before, a force of nature, and undefeatable*. 

Fundamentally, this sets us up perfectly for the scene where Dean meets up with Death - we know what Death is capable of, we know how outside Dean's paygrade he is (to borrow a phrase the boys have used), and we know that we need this mysterious unstoppable force to show us mercy.

Which, of course, inevitably he does - but we don't know that yet.

*Now, to go on a little rant - Death DID work best when he was undefeatable - and, I suppose technically Death still is. I have one friend quit watching the show when Dean ostensibly "killed" Death at the end of S10, because "it was the stupidest thing the show's ever done." And I have to agree, Death works best when Death can't be killed. Likewise, I got SUPER MAD when Reapers became an order of angel-class and were killable in S8 onwards - and I had to develop a very specific headcanon in order for me to not just storm off in a huff - because it was throwing out WONDERFULLY established mythology and replacing it with crap. Reapers and Death have to be outside of Sam and Dean's ability to kill in order for them to work effectively in the show - they have to be a neutral force of nature. That's what makes Death so precious in the moments that he decides to help the Winchesters, it's also what lends weight to mortality and stability to the universe in general. Now, this isn't all to say that I don't like Billie... but again, I basically have to believe something other than what the show told me, in order to get behind Billie as the "new" Death. Mainly, because YOU CAN'T KILL THE HORSEMEN, you can only weaken them - that's been established. Moreover, Death established that he will reap God in the end, and I firmly believe that to be true. Anyway, this whole rant has nothing to do with the intro. The great thing about this intro is that it was BEFORE they broke their own mythology and made it crappier - so when this happened, this was EPIC. Death was a force. The only slim hope Dean had was getting his hand on the scythe... and it was quite clear that wasn't going to happen with any sort of ease.

This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/563495.html.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
Sep. 16th, 2018 05:24 am (UTC)
Can I just add that I love that Death came to Chicago where I live? :)
hells_half_acre
Sep. 16th, 2018 06:26 am (UTC)
Yes!

It was also a great setting, which I didn't add, because it mostly affects the scene between him and Dean - but I love it when things are rooted in a particular place.... and Chicago is a good one. ;)
supernutjapan
Sep. 16th, 2018 01:05 pm (UTC)
Everytime I see Death, I mistake it first for Dean and have to read it over LOL

I agree, Death should have stayed this way. And if they needed to change actors, they should have thought of another reason to release Julian from the role.
hells_half_acre
Sep. 16th, 2018 06:05 pm (UTC)
Yes, or at least - when Billie arrived, explain right off the bat that she's Death, and in a new form in order to recover from the blow. I'm not saying that Death has to be unhurtable, just unkillable.
tabaqui
Sep. 16th, 2018 03:53 pm (UTC)
YES, oh yes. This intro was so incredibly *perfect*. The music, the editing, that brushing of dust (lint) from his sleeve, as he brushes away a life. We see there that Death can be casually cruel, even petty. We see that Death can be swayed by mortal 'luxuries' (pizza). We see that Death likes to make Dean sweat, but that he also is clearly just...playing.

Gods, I do love this Death, so much.

And A+++++ on the rant, because i *hate* that the writers can't make the plot move forward without fucking dumbing things down/fucking them over. ARGH.
hells_half_acre
Sep. 16th, 2018 06:06 pm (UTC)
Glad you didn't mind the rant!

And yes, to everything you said about Death - we're in complete agreement, it seems.
ramblin_rosie
Sep. 16th, 2018 09:46 pm (UTC)
YES. SO MUCH YES. Especially your concluding rant. (Been re-reading Demented-'verse, as it happens, and enjoying your much improved version all over again!)

But yeah, this entrance really is epic.
hells_half_acre
Sep. 17th, 2018 01:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! :)

And I'm glad you're enjoying Demented'verse all over again!
madebyme_x
Sep. 17th, 2018 10:53 am (UTC)
Yes, such a classic entrance! I can imagine just about everybody loves it in our fandom, because it's pretty much perfect in every way (the casting is spot on!)

I loved your rant too, because it was such a cop-out, I was sure he wasn't going to be really dead, but then we learned he was *sigh* They should have at least replaced him with Billie from the get go; I mean she had a strong entrance too, with the same song...
hells_half_acre
Sep. 17th, 2018 06:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wanted to touch on Billie's entrance too in this series - so I may just do that next, and I think you've already guessed at (part) of what I want to say about it!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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