Hell's Half Acre (hells_half_acre) wrote,
Hell's Half Acre

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Rewatch S13: Advanced Thanatology (13x05)

I have been extremely lazy all weekend. So, let's try to get at least ONE thing done, shall we?!

Advanced Thanatology

Unrelated - sometimes when I'm taking screencaps to do the clothing catalogue, I assume that I already have a listing for a certain shirt - so I just take a random screencap to remind myself what scene they changed clothes in, and then I move on. Then when I go to my clothing files, I discover it's a new shirt, and now the only picture I have of it is a picture where Dean or Sam are making a stupid derpy face. Anyway... it's hilarious to me.

These boys break my heart. The older I get, the more I can't stand watching kids die on TV. That's probably why I'm "talking" over it.

Sam: You want a beer with that?
Dean: I'm cool?
Sam: Ah, come on, live a little. Here.

- Oh Sam, you are trying too hard.

Just zoomed in on that article Sam placed on the table and discovered that this episode most likely starts (with the Winchesters) on a Saturday.

Sam: So, strip club?
Dean: What?
Sam: S-strip club? There's one just outside of town. The, uh, Clam Diver.
Dean: You want to go to the Clam Diver.
Sam: It got 4 and a half-
Dean: Dude, what is going on with you?
Sam: What are you talking about?
Dean: You gave me a beer for breakfast. You let me be Agent Page, which you always like to be. You didn't whine about my music the whole way here; and when we stopped for lunch you ordered me chili fries.
Sam: You love chili fries.
Dean: Everybody loves chili fries that's not the point! Now you want to go hang out at a strip club? You hate strip clubs.
Sam: No, I don't.
Dean: Dude, the last lap dance you had was at Christmas - it was a gift paid for by me - you spent the entire song trying to convince the girl she should go to nursing school.

- I love them. I love the way Jared delivered the lines about the strip club, how OBVIOUS it is that the last thing he wants to do is go to an establishment called "The Clam Diver" and I love how Dean talks about chili fries... and I love that they celebrated Christmas by going to a strip club and having Dean force Sam to get a lap dance. They're so dysfunctional it's hilarious.
-Fun fact, according to the timeline, they were actually incarcerated last Christmas, so either they celebrated Christmas belatedly once they got out. Lotus didn't happen chronologically and the episodes between First Blood and Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell happened SUPER SQUISHED TOGETHER, or Dean might be referring to the Christmas the year before, which would have happened in and around the time they met Eileen.

Sam: Nothing, nothing. I'm just trying to be nice.
Dean: Why?
Sam: Because... you know why.
Dean: I'm fine.
Sam: No, you're not, Dean - you said you don't believe in anything, and and that's not true - you do believe in things and people, that's who you are that's what you do! I know you're in a dark place and I just want to help.
Dean: Look, I've been down this road before and I've fought my way back, I will fight my way back again.
Sam: How?
Dean: Same way I always do - bullets, bacon, and booze.... a lot of booze.

- Firstly, I love how Sam got super depressed last episode, and Dean was like "You can't be depressed *I'm* depressed! And so Sam is now like 'MISSION: MAKE DEAN HAPPY' and it's actually... like, working to keep SAM from being depressed, because it's giving him something else to focus on... that something else being Dean's well-being instead of his own. But like, that's also a super unhealthy way to not be depressed. I will devote myself fully to making sure my brother is okay, and in so doing, ignore my own concerns, doubts, and grief. Oh, the Winchesters.
- And while I'm 'oh, the Winchesters'-ing, I might as well point out that they've both got really determental coping mechanisms. Sam's transferred his grief into anxiety over his brother's well-being (most likely also encouraged by the fact that Dean is once again his only living relative) and Dean is back to nihilistic alcoholism masked in 'if I pretend everything is okay, eventually it will be.'
- Now, of course, I'd be remiss as a Sam!girl if I didn't complain that, once again, Sam's grief and state of mind is sublimated in favour of exploring Dean's. Sam has also lost his mother (though he has more hope that she might still live) and he has ALSO lost his friend Castiel - now, it's true Dean has a more 'intense' friendship with Cas than Sam has, but weighing griefs against each other is fools' errand and the truth of it is that we SHOULD ALSO be exploring how Sam feels about Castiel's death, but we haven't, beyond his initial reluctance to name it. And the only reason I identify as a Sam!girl is because I notice this stuff, which seems to be the only thing that sets Sam!girls apart.

So, you can't tell me that Sam SLEPT THROUGH his brother stumbling around the hotel room drunk and passing out on the floor. Seriously. I mean, I GUESS you could make a case for the fact that if you're very familiar with a noise - or, if you wake up, recognize the noise is just your brother, and then go back to sleep, you might not remember it in the morning... but I hardly doubt Dean was altogether quiet. But then, Dean obviously snores (sometimes) and that didn't wake Sam up, so maybe he really CAN sleep through "Dean noises" and that includes his brother passing out on the floor after a night of drunkenness. OKAY FINE, I'VE TALKED MYSELF INTO IT.

And this other kid breaks my heart, because he's just completely in denial that his friends are dead/hurt/missing. Seriously, I can't take kids in distress anymore. I am an old sensitive person who has to protect all the babies now.

The problem, ALWAYS, with when Sam is like "saving people will cheer Dean up!" is that he can't guarantee that they'll actually be able to save people - and not saving them just makes Dean's depression worse. :(

And Dean goes with the "kill yourself plan" - oh Dean.

Reaper: Hi! My name is Jessica and I'm here to lead you to your next life.
Dean: Yeah, hey, Dean. Little busy right now. YO!
Reaper: Oh god.

- I love her face. I mean, it's a great moment, but I also find it sort of funny that she doesn't know who he is already.

You gotta hand it to Sam for going along with the plan that Dean forced him into. If it were me, I'd be like "nope, antidote now, that plan is stupid" and I wouldn't wait the three minutes. But, mind you, my landlord is a paramedic and gave me a long lecture one day about what happens to the brain the longer it's deprived of fresh oxygen. I know real-world rules don't apply to SPN, but still - it'd mostly be me being petty. "I DID NOT AGREE TO THAT PLAN!"

Billie: ...and one of those rules: Kill one incarnation of Death - like you did, the next reaper to die, takes his place.
- So, okay, one of the big disagreements me and my watching-buddies have had with this show was that YOU CAN'T KILL DEATH (or reapers), which was an established fact from S1-S7, and I REALLY don't like that Carver changed that. Seriously, the more I reflect on the Carver years, the more pissed at him I get because of how he really doesn't respect rules of canon at all.
- So, arguments in his favour are cultural misunderstanding - when Death said, in S5, that eventually he'd reap God. He may have been using a different cultural understanding of the first-person pronoun. "I [Death] will reap him too" could have just mean DEATH will reap him eventually too, and not necessarily THAT Death. And that's basically the only argument that you could make there.
- Okay, the other argument that you can make is that you CAN kill reapers with death's sickle/scythe as we saw in S4. And we know from War, Pestilence, and Famine that although you can't kill a horseman (ie: get rid of them completely) you can defeat them enough for them to go away for a long time.
- Still though, killing reapers with angel blades is the stupidest thing and you'll never convince me otherwise.
- If I were to do a rewrite here, I'd do it so that I wouldn't have to make any arguments. I would make Billie Death as we knew him. "One of those rules: You can't kill Death. That visage had served me well for millennia, Dean, and you went and destroyed it - can you blame me for being a bit ticked off. I thought if I came to Sam as Billie, and made a few threats, you'd actually leave me alone for once - but we all know hot that turned out. And here we are again... another dramatic exit from your lives ruined, by your constant need to USE me to get what you want. So, very well, the jig is up. I think it's time I made a few things clear to you..." and then you could go into the whole "your lives are important to the fabric of the universe" spiel in the shelving units.

I do LOVE Billie though. I mean, I loved the old Death too - but if they were going to replace him with anyone, I'm glad it was Billie.

Billie: "We know not to leave this lying around near you, don't we."
-Ha, the shade.

Dean: So, am I dead?
Billie: You killed yourself.
Dean: No, are you keeping me dead?
Billie: Now, that depends on you.

- I love how Dean never even FATHOMED the idea that his VERY DANGEROUS PLAN might not work. Dean did, in fact, kill himself. The fact that he was so cavalier as to think it was only temporary doesn't change that fact. I mean, there's a daredevil free-climbing a mountain, and then falling to his death - that's an accident and not killing yourself, even if it was a great unnecessary risk. But actually being like "I'm going stop my heart and be legally dead for 3 minutes" is a whole other thing altogether. Let's remember that the last time Dean did this, he wrote a letter to Bobby in case he didn't make it. This time, he's just SO SURE that it'll work that it's kind of stupid - on many levels. And pretty inconsiderate to Sam too.

Dean: What's in it for me?
Billie: What do you want?
Dean: Free the ghosts.
Billie: Excuse me?
Dean: Free the ghosts at the Meadows house. I'll tell you everything you want to know.

- I like how Billie seems genuinely taken aback, for all she already knows Dean, that Dean is asking for something completely selfless here.

Dean: Lucifer's son, Jack - when he was born, it created a little rip.
- I wonder how Dean would describe Jack today, if someone asked him this same question. I don't think he thinks of Jack as Lucifer's son anymore, even though he technically is. I also don't think he'd say Jack's name with that much disdain anymore.

Billie: Because this whole multi'versal quantum construct we live in? It's like a house of cards, and the last thing I need is some big dumb Winchester knocking it all down.
Dean: That does sounds like us.

- I wonder if Death is the Death in all universes - or just this one. I wonder if God is the God in all universes, or just this one. If we're going with the idea that each multi-verse is created by a CHOICE (ie: Mary didn't take the deal = apocalypse world) then God would be the God of all universes, and each time a choice is made, a new universe is created with a copy of everything in the old universe. EXCEPT, if we went with that construction, then it doesn't make sense that Michael wouldn't immediately recognize Lucifer, or that there'd be a difference in the power of Michael from our universe vs. Michael from the other universe, and the show heavily implies that there IS. In which case, the universes weren't created by choice, but rather CREATED, and if they have the same history to a point and then diverge, that's coincidence. They'd have been parallel all along until the divergent point, not created AFTER the divergent point. In which case, it could be argued that there could be multiple Gods, multiple deaths, multiple Amaras, etc. Anyway, possibilities.

Billie: You've changed. When you bargained with me just now, you could have asked to go back. To live.
Dean: Well, I figure with you in charge, there's no getting back for me.
Billie: That doesn't sound like the Dean Winchester I know and love...

- See, that line would be so much more powerful and awesome if we knew Billie was the same Death we've always known.

Billie: ...maybe you're not that guy anymore. The guy who saves the world. The guy who always thinks he'll win, no matter what.
- Uh, not to belabour a point, but Dean did literally just kill himself on the assumption that his plan would work perfectly and Sam would be able to save him.

Billie:...you have changed. And you tell people it's not a big deal - you tell people you'll work through it, but you know you won't - you can't - and that scares the hell out of you. Or, am I wrong?
Dean: What do you want me to say? It doesn't matter. I don't matter.
Billie: Don't you?
Dean: I couldn't save Mom, I couldn't save Cas. I couldn't even save a scared little kid. Sam keeps trying to fix it, but I just keep dragging him down. So, I'm not going beg, so if it's my time - it's my time.
Billie: You really believe that. You want to die.

- I think depression is a complicated thing. I think you can both want to die, and definitely NOT want to die. How do I put this... I think Dean is being genuine to Sam, he GENUINELY is an idiot who assumed his plan was going to work. He didn't set out to die, because he was that stupidly confident. BUT, simultaneously, he went with that plan because he was devaluing his own life. And simultaneously, he's not UPSET that it didn't work. He's really sad, so he's willing to accept death now that it's here, even though he didn't intentionally seek it out like this. (He was, at best, flirting with it.) Like, a free climber whose a little sad the day they set out to climb that mountain. They don't plan to lose their grip, but maybe the thought that it might happen doesn't get their adrenaline/panic response up to the same level it usually does.
- I think, Dean's genuine in the fact that he feels like a failure, that he feels like Sam might be better off without him - that Sam can handle this stuff better and will be okay, but Dean won't. I think Dean doesn't want to die, but he's OKAY with the choice being taken away from him.

Billie: But, unfortunately, none of these books say you die today.
Dean: Come again.
Billie: Since I got this new job - I stand witness to a much larger picture. You know what I see? You and your brother - you're important.
Dean: Why?
Billie: You have work to do. That's all you need to know. And trust me having my eyes open to the necessity of humans, especially Winchesters, is not a thrill. So, you want to die, but I say, keep living.

- Again, if I were to rewrite this with Billie being the Death we knew - I'd just change this line to "As much as I'd like to hold a grudge against the way you abuse my good nature - I am, as always, witness to the bigger picture, and whether I like it or not, you and your brother are important..." etc.
- Now, on to what this means - So, I've spoken a lot before about how Edlund and I had similar desires for an end game of the show. That, in my mind, in order for the show to be most poetically complete, Sam and Dean have to become legends/urbanlore themselves, they have to ascend to an almost deity level of "being" and cease, fundamentally, to be mere humans. NOW, the argument against that, and it's a good one, is that this show is about how HUMANS are the most powerful, and so as soon as Sam and Dean become BEYOND human, you lose that. BUT, we do have examples of human immortal figures in cultures and religions. Anyway, it's an interesting thing to think about. What it means to be as important to the fabric of the universe as Sam and Dean seem to be - whether, even without immortality, that makes them unlike the rest of humanity already - or, if the argument is that they AREN'T unlike the rest of humanity, and we're ALL, or at least all have the POTENTIAL to be, just as important to the fabric of the universe - to the survival and happiness of our fellow man, etc.

Sam: Dean! Hey - you're okay.
Dean: Yeah
Sam: You're okay.

- I actually love Sam's reaction when Dean wakes up, in how understated it is, but it really reflects how I react to really stressful things when they end. So, to me it's actually super realistic, because as much as my body might want to hug people or weep or whatever, what I'm REALLY trying to do is CALM THE FUCK DOWN, and so I'm actually trying to do is NOT cry, NOT hug people, and convince myself that all this panic in my chest is for absolutely no reason... and so, what I end up doing is repeating "it's okay" or "I'm okay" or "you're okay" over and over until I convince myself of it. It's not about telling the other person they're okay, it's about telling MYSELF they're okay.

Dean: We can talk about it later.
Sam: We won't talk about it later. You know that.

- I love you Sam.

Dean: I saw Death. The Death.
Sam: He's dead.
Dean: No, she's not.

- So, one thing about Sam's reaction here is that he's genuinely frightened when he insists "he's dead" - and it really brought back how frightened Dean and Sam always were of Death. Lord, I miss that. I don't think we got that so much with Dean and Billie scenes in this episode, maybe because Dean was so resigned to his fate? Maybe because Dean had a relationship with Billie before she was Death. But MAN, Sam's reaction really drives home the best part of Death as a character.
- Basically, reapers, they can evade (and now kill) but Death has always been something else entirely. Dean got lucky, to have been handed Death's scythe the last time, that's unlikely to ever happen again.

Dean: It's Billie. I guess she got a new gig. I guess she got rid of the ghosts.
Sam: Why would she help us?
Dean: She said we were important. That we had work to do.

- I really do love the repetition of that line in this show.

Sam: You okay?
Dean: No, Sam, I'm not okay. I'm pretty far from okay. You know, my whole life, I always believed that what we do was important - no matter what the cost, no matter who we lost, whether it was Dad or Bobby - and I would take the hit [...] but now Mom and Cas, I don't know... I just don't know.
Sam: So, now you don't believe anymore.
Dean: I just need a win. I just need a damn win.

- Cue Cas's phonecall.
- But seriously, this harkens back to What Is And What Should Never Be, when Dean gives his speech to John's grave in the Djinn dream. Questioning why they always have to suffer so that other people can live. In that case, he had hard evidence that what he did saved people - without him hunting, that plane went down in Phantom Traveler. So he killed himself in order to escape the dreamworld and return to reality, where he could save people. "A win" is a re-showing of the evidence. I know it's going to be case coming back, but I think fundamentally, what Dean needs, is to be shown the happiness he creates, rather than the problems. I'd say in the last... well, basically since the end of S8, but arguably right from the jump of S6, all the EPIC problems Sam and Dean have faced have been first CAUSED by them, or Cas. Dean needs proof that they do more good than harm, being in the world.

I really wish they had shown us what Castiel's first words to Dean were.


So, all in all, another great episode. 

My only rewrites:
1. Make Billie reveal that she's the CONTINUOUS BEING of Death.
2. I want hugs, damn it!


As usual, let me know you're own thoughts in comments!

This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/569039.html.
Tags: rewatch s13

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