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

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Rewatch S14: Stranger in a Strange Land (14x01)

Finally!!

But, before you get your hopes up too much - because of the (obvious) time constraints I have this year, I'm not going as indepth on these as I have in the past. I know a lot of you like my dialogue analysis, or my rewrites, and I do feel bad that I can't deliver the same quality of rewatch this time 'round. But the choice is either put it off until I have more time - which, who knows when that will be? Or do a quick and dirty version, so that I can, at the very least, get the clothing cataloged and posted.

I'm going with the later option - because then at least SOMETHING gets done.

So, without further ado... my general thoughts on 14x01:

I'm a sucker for an in-scene music source, so I loved Sam turning off the radio after the THEN segment and thus ending the song. Also, it makes thematic sense given that Dean's the one who likes hard rock. So Sam turning it off very much states "Dean is not here right now. The world is out of balance."

I'd forgotten about the amount of hunters in the Bunker. It's still weird, even though I know the Bunker was designed to house a bunch of people. (FYI to the Hunters, you shouldn't use the word "gypsy" it's technically a derogatory/racist word). I also like how Sam asks Maggie to hack a traffic cam, because he's just treating all the AU citizens like they have the same level of experience as he does - but the AU had obviously been without technological infrastructure for at least 9-11 years. So, why would Maggie need to know that?

Jack is learning to fight from AU!Bobby.

Castiel is having an ill-advised meeting with a demon.

Lines I loved from this meeting were "Did you just say that you lost a Winchesters?" - which, was good acting on the demon's part, because he later insinuates that he's already met Michael - so he knows full well where Dean Winchester is.

And I also like the line "I thought you were joined at the... everything" - I always go back and forth on lines like that, on the one hand, it could be construed as queerbaiting, and or "haha homosexuals!" sort of brand of homophobia/toxic-masculinity, etc. BUT, I have to admit that I also really like shows that leave relationships ambiguous... of course, I think I've already said that at this point I think SPN should shit or get off the pot when it comes to Destiel. But I think it works here because it's a demon, and so him misunderstanding a platonic relationship or trying to rile Castiel up in a stupid matter still works. Okay, maybe I'm not sure whether or not I liked this line... maybe it's just a point of interest and it depends on the day. :P

I forgot about Danneel/Sister Jo too. Man, I forgot a lot about S14 apparently. I like how Michael calls the angels of this world "sad lost fallen things" - that version of an angel is a far more compelling one, in my books.

But, UGH, I also somehow forgot about Nick?! I mean, I knew that he was in the end of the season, because he's the whole final boss that Jack kills before he accidentally kills Mary. But for some reason I forgot where he came from. It's absolutely ridiculous in my books for Nick to still be alive. He was DEAD DEAD for.. what? 6-8 years? Longer? Why would Lucifer bring back the soul with the body? THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!

It also annoys the heck out of me that Mary is like "I can barely look at him" but then sends Sam in to deal with him, even though Lucifer was wearing Nick's face the whole time that Sam was TORTURED FOR A SMALL ETERNITY IN THE CAGE! Like, maybe Mary just doesn't know?! But man, bad parenting move right there if you ask me. Granted, I don't have kids - but I'd like to think that if someone had to look after a person who looked like a person that had tortured both me and my kid, I'd volunteer in order to spare my kid.... especially if my kid was tortured worse and for longer than I was.

I also like how they quickly set up how many directions Sam is being pulled in in this episode... he gets home from checking out a lead on Dean, and there's a vampire hunt he has to research and send people out on, he gets two minutes to finally check on his kid, and then the guy who looks like his former abuser wakes up and Sam's the only one willing to medically treat him... and then he finally gets done doing that, and oh hey, your best-friend has been kidnapped by demons, btw.

Jack wants to come rescue Cas too - and Sam lets him, much to Bobby's dismay. But, I'm with Sam on this one - you have to remember that Jack sees Castiel as his father, and has since birth. Like, even before he came to see Sam and Dean as parental figures - he was born with the knowledge/decision that Castiel was his dad. I think Sam letting him come on the rescue mission is Sam knowing EXACTLY what it's like to have your dad need rescuing.

In the car on the way there, Sam finally snaps about Mary telling him things will be fine. Sam is tired of optimism and false hope. This goes right back into what I like about Supernatural - that it's always a pessimist and an optimist, and depending on the storyline, Sam and Dean switch those roles. In this case, since Dean isn't around, SAM becomes the pessimist in his stead, and Mary actually steps in to fill in Sam's role - right down to sitting in the passenger seat while Sam drives. Sam has become Dean in Dean's absence, and Mary is doing her best to be Sam. She points out that if you don't cling to hope, you'll drown in the bad - and so Dean needs them to cling to hope, so that there's a chance he could be saved.

The other thing that Supernatural has been doing in these later seasons that drive me bonkers is NEEDLESS EXPOSITION. It's a small thing, but when Sam hands Mary the demon knife outside the bar. She's like "demon killing knife - [are you sure you don't want to keep it yourself]?" - like, why state what it is? WHY DO WE ALWAYS HAVE TO STATE WHAT SOMETHING IS. Why don't you assume that your audience has some measure of intelligence and even if they've never seen the show before, will see a knife with crazy carvings on it, later see it kill demons, and think "hey, that must be a special knife." 

(Sidenote: Having recently become a fan of BTS, one thing I really love is how they do the exact opposite of hold your hand for their MV storyline... like, the videos still fit with the tone of the song, but they're also their own separate thing with their own storyline that continues through nearly every video, and it involves time travel and multiple timelines/realities and weird powers, and they just show you it all like a silent movie and are like "okay, you figure out what's happening..." and it MAKES IT FUN! I find a lot of storytelling out of Asia (because now I'm thinking about some animes that I've watched as well) are really good about not treating their audience like idiots. Maybe I'm stereotyping though... there are some animes that I watched that I still don't understand, and I'm fine with that. They were fun and beautiful and made me think.)

I think the best part of this episode is this part - where Sam basically makes HIMSELF the King of Hell. I like the build up to it too - whether it's a line or not, I like Kipling calling Sam "my Beyonce" - I'm a huge fan of the Winchesters becoming "Legends" so, this really feeds into that love. I also like his reference to "late capitalism" - I'm just glad that as a society we're acknowledging what stage of capitalism we're living under... and I like the fact that it's "late" because that gives me hope that it might change soon.

I also like the idea that Kipling legit thought that the Winchesters and Crowley had a formal deal - rather than Crowley just either knowing how to play them, or Sam and Dean actually playing Crowley... which is what happened at the end of their relationship.

Then we get the fight - and again, I hate the break where Mary hands Maggie an angel blade and is like "do you know how to use it?" Um, question - if Maggie doesn't know how to fight, why on earth did Sam automatically bring her on this mission?! It's ridiculous. Or was his plan all along to use Maggie as innocent bait and then hope she doesn't die? Because if so, I have some questions about your morals, Samuel.

But yeah, Sam basically declaring himself the King of Hell is my favourite. (I know he doesn't actually use those words, technically he says that there will be no King, not now, not ever... but by adding that anyone who wants to be King will have to go through him? Guess what that means for who is in charge of Hell, Sam? If they need your authority to assign a ruler, than YOU are the ruler.)

Back at the Bunker, I like how Sam is finally honest with CAS about what he's doing. The Sam/Cas friendship doesn't get as much love as the Dean/Cas friendship, but I've always been fascinated by it. I like to see the fact that Sam does treat Cas as a friend he can confide in here. 

That being said, did no one teach Cas how to wash his face? He's still got dried blood caked on there, meanwhile, Sam's all changed and pretty again.

We see Mary and Bobby hitting it off.

Then we see Castiel give Jack a pep talk - Jack feels like he has nothing without his powers, but Castiel tries to impress on him that he still has what is most important - his family. Awww. They really did start this season as the closest family they'd ever been, and then end it in shambles... but I guess that's realistic with what can happen to families after the death of a child, or when a child goes off the rails.. I guess we'll be following that particular train-wreck during this season.

And then we get Michael finding the vision of the future he most connects with - one where the earth returns to having animals(/monsters) only, and no humans. He describes Monster desires as "clean", which I took to mean "uncomplicated" - I thought of that meme from a few years ago, where God creates humans and someone tells him "you fucked up a perfectly good monkey - look at it, it's got anxiety." Michael wants a world without lying, dishonesty, ambiguity... so monsters appeal because there needs are basic - they're focused solely on basic survival and nothing more.

I wish I could re-write this season without Nick in it, I'm not going to lie - because him being around really doesn't make any sense. But alas, they hinged too much of the plot on him.

Anyway, tell me if you have any additional thoughts in comments!

This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/583675.html.
Tags: rewatch s14
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