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thinky thoughts on SPN 4x16
dean is stern
innie_darling

Oh, so much to think about!

I've only read about five episode reactions, as I capitulated to sleep about ten minutes after the episode finished, so I don't know if this is just the same stuff everyone else is posting (my usual reason for not posting my thinky thoughts). So.

First of all, I was *so* impressed by both Jared and Jensen last night. Jared's face in the scene where he's questioning and then killing Alistair? That was a beautiful, complex, balanced look on his face - it was less "yay! killing!" and more the pride of an artist, a pleasure in his own competence. I was really impressed by that.

And I liked that Sam's instinct in this episode was to stand up for and stand by Dean, to try to do what Dean tried in "Heart" - to say, no, my brother shouldn't have to do this because it will hurt him too much, destroy him, and I'm willing to stand in his place. I adored that.

The question of how Sam got his power? I really didn't like Ruby's smile, but it got me wondering if what Sam needs is not Ruby's blood, specifically, but any blood voluntarily offered (though of course only someone who's in on the game - Dean, a demon, or an angel could realistically offer blood), and Ruby knows that and is determined to be the one there for Sam. I don't know if I'm being clear here. I would love for Sam's power to be less about demon blood and more about choice and sacrifice.

My regard for Castiel was sky-high after "Lazarus Rising," but after that, he hasn't impressed me or been, frankly, all that interesting to me. But last night - how stupid was he? Alistair says - while trying to kill Castiel - "I wish I knew how to kill one of you" and it's clearly true that he has no idea. And yet, when Sam shows up and starts questioning Alistair, asking not only "who is killing the angels?" but also "how are the angels being killed?" Castiel doesn't say anything about Alistair not knowing the answer to the second question, and just gapes dumbly at Sam. Meaning that Sam has to keep expending his energy on controlling Alistair, and Dean and Castiel himself are both kept waiting for medical attention. And let's not even get into the fact that after asking Dean to torture Alistair, Castiel waited outside like a huge wimp.

About the angel whose death opened the show: I thought that was a fantastic moment, so characteristic of this show. Because not only was the angel a fragile-looking blonde woman in a long white gown - the kind of angel many other shows would have offered without irony, where we get muscular, conniving, complex figures - but also because the camera, spinning above her, captured her, bright against the darkness, bleeding and jumbled, and reminded us of the other beautiful blonde woman who started the show: Mary, as she was splayed and bloody on the ceiling. That was amazingly done.

And Uriel's treachery - I really loved that reveal. Because it's both shocking and not. We thought, as an angel, that he would be a good guy, but we also have seen that he has never had any patience with our boys, that he has always looked down on humans - even those fighting by his side. So his character stays consistent. And of course, Lucifer was an angel too. And Uriel's choice gives, in hindsight, a wonderfully shivery feel to that flickering moment when he smiles at Dean and claims to like him, because of course he likes that the person he picked as his sacrifice will go out fighting.

(Aside: Anna and Uriel both using the nickname "Cas" really bugged me. But what if they were both doing it to get under Castiel's defenses, since he clearly is invested in Dean?)

As for Dean. My poor beloved boy. I don't think I can even talk about him. I just want him to win and rest and be happy.

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I hate that any of the characters call him "Cas," even Dean. That has really bugged me from minute one. I can kind of see, now, why Dean might use a nickname, but can totally not see why other angels use a human's nickname for him.

Thank you. It bugged the crap out of me and threw me out of the moment. Dean at least is the kind of person to nickname, but this was the first time we've seen other angels do it and it was irritating.

Dean, yes; other angels, noooooooooooooo.

Bad form, Show.

I'm trying to remember when Dean first used the nickname - it's always seemed like something he does to be flip but also to assert some level of familiarity, when he's suddenly faced with beings whose existence he's always denied.

That was a beautiful, complex, balanced look on his face - it was less "yay! killing!" and more the pride of an artist, a pleasure in his own competence. I was really impressed by that.

Yes! I thought he looked impressed by himself, which is somewhat of a dangerous place for him to be mentally.

I really like how Sam's use of power has made his body language and his facial expressions evolve throughout the season and a half. Very nice work by JP there.

hey, thank you for the mention of the angle and shot of the dead angel in the beginning, I also thought that it was symbolic of Mary's death on the ceiling. I think that's got to mean something
maybe not though, but could be very interesting.

That was such a beautiful thought, and the way the camera swirled to disorient us meant that we could forget momentarily that we were looking down and think that we were looking up.

I totally agree on Castiel - I don't dislike the character, but I'm not invested in his emotional journey or whatever, either. Also agree on the blonde angel - it was visually spectacular, and as someone else pointed out, I liked that the pretty, traditionally delicate angel figure obviously did some pretty major self-defense before going down.

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I totally agree on Castiel - I don't dislike the character, but I'm not invested in his emotional journey or whatever, either. Also agree on the blonde angel - it was visually spectacular, and as someone else pointed out, I liked that the pretty, traditionally delicate angel figure obviously did some pretty major self-defense before going down.

<i.Alistair says - while trying to kill Castiel - "I wish I knew how to kill one of you" and it's clearly true that he has no idea. </i>

Which also messes with their own canon, IIRC. Castiel's definitely made reference to his brother angels falling in battle previously (Are You There God maybe), presumably against demons, so you'd think Alastair would know how to kill them, and it didn't seem to be such a big tragic problem to be fixed then.

I was thinking about this, and it seems that there's fallen angels in the sense of Lucifer as well as fallen angels in the sense of Anna. Maybe demons like Ruby (fallen humans) are weaker than demons as Lucifer and possibly Azrael?

That was my thought too. I'm just guessing what the show's mythology intends. But if some of the baddies working with the demons are fallen angels, and some are former humans (demons), then it makes sense.

So we'll have to assume that Alastair is not a fallen angel. But I strongly suspect Azazel was.

In Christian mythology, Azazel is (I think) first listed as an angel.

Sorry, I don't think I'm understanding your point here. Alistair quite specifically says that he wishes he knew how to kill angels as he's banishing Castiel back to heaven. How does Ruby's strength enter into the picture?

I mean that the angels must have fought *someone*, as Castiel says - angels fell in battle. But Alistair (demon with a human name) doesn't know how to kill angels. So maybe there's two levels of demons: Type 1 are made from fallen humans (Alistair and Ruby) and aren't so powerful, Type 2 are Biblical creatures (Lucifer, maybe Azrael) and are powerful enough to kill angels in battle.

OH. That makes a lot of sense! Thanks!

Yeah, as powerful as this ep was, I'm not sure how much of it holds together, particularly the bit about angels falling in battle. Unless what Castiel meant was that while demons cannot kill angels outright, they can inflict so much damage that the angels lose the strength to recover. Hmmm.

Yes, that angel fought for her life so well. Brava!

As for Dean. My poor beloved boy. I don't think I can even talk about him. I just want him to win and rest and be happy

*nods*

Remember when he could make this face?

oh yes! and now it's stuck on this one :(

Mmm, you're right. Such a thinky episode. Actually, the last two eps have been really fab thinky episodes. Like, after 4.15 we know Castiel faked Booby's voice via phone. How many other times has that been done?

Also, only an angel can 'kill' and angel. Does this mean only a demon can 'kill' a demon? If so then Sam's actions against Alastair take on OMFG! proportions.

Black wing outlines for the WIN!

While I like your theory about demon-on-demon mortality, didn't John say that he'd figured out a way to *kill* Azazel, not just send him back to hell?

Those black wing outlines were so lovely!

Aside from your thoughts on Castiel, where we'll have to agree to disagree, I'm right with you on your thinky thoughts. Beautifully put, especially about Sam. JP has really been terrific this season. And I feel bad for Uriel--his actions came out of hurt and jealousy and confusion, and all of them--Castiel, Uriel, and Anna, have gone off the heavenly script, just for different reasons.

With regards to Dean I still really don't have all that much coherency. It really does hurt too much to meta about it. /o\

It's interesting to think that, as you put it, all the major players have gone off the heavenly script, because then it becomes so much more about choice and repercussion, instead of a static destiny.

...it got me wondering if what Sam needs is not Ruby's blood, specifically, but any blood voluntarily offered (though of course only someone who's in on the game - Dean, a demon, or an angel could realistically offer blood), and Ruby knows that and is determined to be the one there for Sam.
Oooh, I love that idea! I was thinking more along the lines of they were just showing us the obvious: demon blood=Sam becoming more demon, but wouldn't it be awesome if they let Castiel offer him blood since, if we're saying that occupied humans change their physical form, then angel blood would be comparable in terms of powers offered? That would be a nice twist.

I have to say, when they did the Uriel reveal, all I could think was, "I will be sad if you kill Castiel. Kill Uriel instead." Fortunately, they always listen to me. (Yeah, right.)

Anna and Uriel both using the nickname "Cas" really bugged me
Yup, and Ruby using "Sammy" did as well. Some nicknames should be sacred. (I typed "scared." That might be even better.) For Dean, it's a thing of power to be a bit belligerent. With the others using the name Cas, it becomes an endearment, and I'm not sure that's appropriate (though it's clearly an endearment coming from Dean now as well).

I loved the cinematography of the opening scene with the dead angel spotlighted by "helicopter." Not original, but I don't care. Beautiful camera work. I, too, thought that her posture resembled Mary on the ceiling. Loved that, and glad you pointed it out.

As for Dean? Well, I think he'll believe in his own strength again soon enough.

Occupied humans must have their physical form change, if throwing holy water on a possessed person causes that person's skin to sizzle, right? I would love to see what Castiel's blood could do for Sam. (I don't want Dean drinking it, because he's got enough going on.)

The Sammy moment was just appalling. Sam, you're supposed to PROTEST when a non-Dean calls you that! (He even protested it with one of the angels, right?)

I just read a super-interesting meta that posits that, since the angels only ransacked Hell after Dean went there (and not while John was there), that John could not have been the "righteous man" of the seal, and that Dean's righteousness is tied into his goodness, which John, while great, did not share.

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