?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
On the Head of a Pin: "Well, I guess I'm not the man either of our dads wanted me to be."
sophie_deangirl
 
"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"  - Samuel Johnson (though this has been disputed)

"Men heap together the mistakes of their lives and create a monster they call destiny." - John Oliver Hobbes



OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!!!  Despite the fact that this episode nearly destroyed me, it was the most AWESOME, AMAZING, PHENOMENAL episode EVER, at least for now and those same adjectives and MORE could be applied to Jensen's performance in this as well as similar ones for Misha Collins who was amazing in his own right.  

I was left shivering, quivering, shaking, and completely uncertain about the future for the boys, but specifically for Dean because like Dean, I felt like everything I had known had been pulled out from beneath me.  I felt like a hole had been created and that I was free falling helplessly, screaming, "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"  It was THAT good, THAT mind-boggling, THAT MOVING!!   

I truly don't know where to begin.  Anything I could possibly say would never do justice to this episode and how it opened it's own Devil's Gate of horrors for Dean.  I guess I will start off, for those who know my unrepentant DeanGirl ways, by saying that NO WAY IN HELL will Dean shirk his responsibilities in the end. I REFUSE to believe that he will walk away from this even though a part of me wishes he could.  

I truly believe that he can't walk away.  The Dean we know and love, though tortured, changed, and weakened by all that he's gone through, WILL NOT be destroyed by the knowledge he's just learned (please oh please don't let that happen oh mighty Kripke and crew -- don't make me a liar). Oh, I know that he will be completely shattered and I will give that maybe so much so that he may not come out of it whole at all or be the man, the Dean we knew from Season 1.  That Dean truly died. Realistically, he can never be that man again anyway, not after everything he's gone through, but Dean, he is a man of principle and no matter what, he will rise to the occasion when he's needed.  

My only hope is that unlike in Season 2, they don't have him wallow too long in self-recrimination. There were hints of that in the episode and I JUST can't stomach another round of self-flagellation just because I want to believe that Dean has come to terms with at least some of his personal "demons" last season, that all that self-discovery he made about himself wasn't wasted, but I did see him returning to berating himself for not measuring up to his father, John Winchester and his expectations (yes, Mary and Cindy, both of you knew that John Winchester's presence would always loom in the mythology, even in death) and he's now even added the Almighty Father as yet another being he's disappointed. Worst of all, I worry he'll truly become Atlas, shouldering the blame for everything that's happened despite Castiel's insistence that blame isn't the issue. I'm worried that he won't get past what he feels is his bottom line, that HE caused everything to be put in motion, Lucifer and the Apocalypse.  He won't see that he went to Hell for the right reason.  You won't convince him that everything would have been avoided if he had just let Sam die.  He won't see that the angels failed him by not rescuing him soon enough, that if they had, the seal would never have been broken in the first place. No, all Dean Winchester will see is that he is solely and irrevocably responsible for everything that's happening and he'll see it as a weakness in his will and character.

Alistair's chilling statement was BEYOND heart breaking.  Shattering was a good word to use for this moment, Dean's downfall and for the episode itself:

"And it is written that the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell.  As he breaks so shall it break."

Okay, props to Christopher Heyerdahl for making a really, really creepy villain come alive...sort of. He sold Alistair so well that the psychological torture he inflicts on Dean is awful in its cruelty.

I love the idea that Dean is considered a righteous man, but by being so, his fall was all the greater.  Angels are not the only ones who can fall and Dean's descent was truly horrific in its completeness.

There was SO MUCH in this episode, I might have to make a TO TALK ABOUT list and still not cover it all with the justice they all deserve so forgive me if I leave something out or keep too brief on something that deserved more mention, but here it is, in no particular order:



Dean's terrible shattering revelation (check, but it might resurface over and over again throughout (those who know me are rolling their eyes and thinking, "duh, no kidding".  I'm still reeling from it myself)


Sam drinking Ruby's blood - presumably giving him the power he's been developing

Okay, NO AMOUNT OF EWWWWWWW can cover what I saw.  I was barely accepting that Sam was having sex with Ruby and I thought that was what was coming in the scene when Sam asked for "it", but this, this was just too much for me to endure.  Granted, it was a great way to introduce why Sam is gaining so much power.  He's become some kind of vampire, deriving some kind of strength from Ruby's blood cocktail and it just disgusts NO END!!!!  Here though, you can see Ruby in what I thought was a much truer light.  Her satisfaction is written all over her face and Sam's "addiction" to it (asking for it) is clear and just oh, gosh...I don't think I can go on about it.  One thing about this resonates in a way that makes sense a little.  Here Azazel fed Sam his blood at 6 months old to what end? Make him a demon? Acquire demon powers through Azazel's blood in him?  If so, then it should come as no surprise that Sam gleans power from drinking Ruby's blood. Now here's the speculative kicker...could it be that Ruby is Meg or that Ruby, herself, is some "spawn" of Azazel and that by drinking her blood, Sam is drinking Azazel's blood?  Again, ewwwww...but scarily interesting.

Suffice it to say, I thought the reveal of this was effective in its impact upon me specifically and for what will likely turn out to be a real factor in Sam's potential, not necessarily inevitable, downfall of his own. It was the perfect "cootie"-inducing moment.

Now, to be fair, though Sam's growing power is scary and likely doesn't bode well, I have to admit that Sam's "desire" to gain his power had altruistic motives, or at least projected that way for me. Granted, it could be taken both ways, but Jared displayed the right look of brotherly concern and tone in his voice at this moment that made me long for the Sam who, also, would do anything for his brother short of becoming evil.  It hasn't been all together apparent lately that he even cares about Dean on any level anymore, more perfunctory at best. I enjoyed that Sam said, without recrimination or cruelty, that Dean can't torture Alistair:

"No, I mean he can't do it. He can't get the job done. Something happened to him downstairs, Ruby. He's not what he used to be. He's not strong enough."

Now, as an unrepentant DeanGirl, I could have attacked Sam's evaluation of Dean, but again, I don't think it's coming from cruelty in this case.  It felt like it was coming from something Sam is genuinely feeling about his brother. I didn't hear it as insult, but as concern for someone  who is definitely looking and feeling tired in more ways than one.


Sam's Powers

Trying to erase the burned in image in my brain of Sam drinking Ruby's blood aside, Sam's demonstration of his powers was both awe inspiring and crazy scary.  Sam swoops in and saves both Dean and Castiel, Cas looking on in shock, and I'm grateful, but I'm SERIOUSLY conflicted about what this means for Sam.  On the one hand he completely subdues Alistair with barely a flick of his mind, tortures him in a way that Dean could never have accomplished, then kills him.  Sam now as the ability to kill demons with his mind...YIKES! On the other hand he gets what, again, Dean never could have, an admission that no demon can kill an angel. Does using his powers in both those instances to accomplish a goal (end justifying the means) justify his growing dominance? Does Sam's rationale of helping people, in this case Dean and Cas, make him an essential "weapon" on his own and at least for now for good?  If Sam hadn't come to the rescue, Dean and Cas would have been goners and Alistair would have been "alive" and free to wreak more havoc.  See? Conflict here.

There's also this lingering tickle of hairs at the back of my neck that tells me that when Dean at the end of the episode said, "Find someone else.  It's not me", Sam came to mind and the thought that what if this is an opening for Sam to take over?  Even Sam's comment to Ruby when she asks him if he's strong enough and Sam says, "I will be" seems to indicate Sam's readiness for the job. *shudders.  What if Sam really believes he's strong enough to be leadership material to end the war? If he does, for  which side?  I mean from the beginning he's been seen as this leader to be groomed for the demon army. Now it looks like he's going to lead something, but lead what or who and to where? Salvation or damnation? Interesting, no?

Jared plays this dichotomy FANTASTICALLY.  I'd LOVE to be able to unequivocally say that Sam is going to find a way to make his powers work for him for good, but after Pamela's dying words last week, Ruby's eerie delight over the control she has over Sam, and Sam's enjoyment of his growing prowess with his powers, I can't see that any of it will end well.  

As a side thought, the most awful thing about forcing Dean to torture Alistair to get information he was never going to get anyway was that it was all a waste of time and sacrificed Dean's will, his conscience and likely his sanity for nothing and could drive Dean into depths that will make him useless in the war.  Allowing Dean to take part in torturing Alistair at all could have damaged him in ways that maybe even Anna couldn't have foreseen in her warning to Cas.

It sounded like Dean knew somehow though:

"You ask me to open that door and walk through it.  You will not like what walks back out."

You can assume two schools of thought here, that Dean will emerge so scarred he becomes a monster or that he is SO devastated that he's the root cause of all that's happening, he will be unable to lift himself out of the self-imposed Hell he's likely placed himself.  Though neither option is acceptable, I'm leaning towards the latter just because Dean would rather self-blame than become what he hunts.


John Winchester - lasting 100 years under torture and not breaking

Okay, this was cruel and hit at the very heart of Dean.  As I mentioned earlier, I don't want Dean to fall back into the "I'm not as good as my Dad was. I wasn't as strong as him" or worse, "I didn't measure up to Dad's expectations of me" which I'm sure was Alistair's intent in mentioning it at all, exploiting one of Dean's core weaknesses. The ending between Dean and Castiel seems to hint that Dean is already there, but I am hoping that he won't get too far into it.  I know, I know, not likely, but allow a girl to dream, will you? Hee.

The idea of John Winchester lasting 100 years under Alistair's torture without breaking is actually a really great way to redeem John a little.  Maybe not as a father, but just as a man who was strong and who gave that strong stock to his sons. For me, it makes Dean's hero worship of his father somewhat justified. Not perfectly, after all, idol worship is inherently blind, but a little. John was a military man and could very well have suffered torture during his tour in Vietnam, certainly not to the degree that he suffered in Hell, but it could given him the kind of resistance that helped him endure.  All that is merely speculation, of course, but I think it would be a nice way to remember John.  As Mary and Cindy have always maintained, John's "spirit" still permeates the mythology.  His actions in Hell now reflect starkly against Dean's  and yet again casts his large shadow over him.  I am so hoping that Dean can shrug this off quickly, but I fear, this will be a very hard shadow to cast off, if for no other reason than by holding on, John prevented the Apocalypse during his time in Hell and by giving in, Dean began it.  That is a harsh burden to bear. Still, for me, all the more reason for Dean to rise up and overcome it. In my view, the greater man is one who is subject to the truest of human frailties and succumbs, yet takes all that he has endured and turns them into assets in his favor.  In many ways, Dean has always tried to turn adversity into opportunity.  I hope he continues to do and gains some strength in seeing his father's resistance as something to aspire to.  


Castiel's crisis of faith

We've seen this coming for awhile, but this episode totally revealed the conflict and turmoil within Castiel beautifully.  Misha Collins was AMAZING here.  He and Jensen OWNED this episode together and I LOVED EVERY MOMENT!!  Misha brought the perfect blend of an angel wanting to believe in his own Father's orders, wanting to justify the orders he was getting as just versus questioning them and finding himself unable to grasp the blind faith that's required of him because of what was being asked of him. Hearing Alistair's screams and understanding what he had asked Dean to do and that it could destroy someone he truly respects makes Cas wonder if his Father's decisions were just.  They certainly didn't feel merciful.

The pain was palpable and the frustration aching.  I was THRILLED that they brought Anna back to help Castiel come to some realizations.  Castiel doesn't want to be lumped with Anna at this point. He doesn't want to fall, he doesn't want to disobey, he doesn't want to believe that their Father would ask such terrible things of him, but Anna's words do reach him and when he sees that the Devil's trap has been broken and that Dean is being beaten to death, he finally intervenes only to get beaten up and nearly killed himself. It's thanks to Sam, that they are both rescued and Sam gleans the information from Alistair that it's not demons who are killing angels and then Castiel comes to his conclusion about Uriel.

I really enjoyed this conflict and though much as I thought Robert Wisdom played Uriel well, I was glad to hear that it was he who was pulling the strings, who manipulated the situation.  I'm not a religious person, but to know that it wasn't God who was giving these painful orders was a relief.  It doesn't keep Cas from questioning and doubting and he, like Anna, will have to come to some kind of resolution on his own, but I like the idea that he could be following his emotions, the ones he's not supposed be having for Dean lead him to a heroic turning point.  He's not there yet as Anna observed and the guidance he seeks is still a product of his own kind of training and indoctrination.  He will have to take a risk, defy what he knows in order to seek out what he feels is the right thing to do in his own mind, heart and soul.  A journey like that is always painful.  I'm hoping that Dean and Cas will help each other because they both need someone and even in his lost state, Dean is a wonderful example of what devotion and love can do to mold a man.


The Road Ahead

I'm afraid that the brothers will find themselves still at odds with one another.  They even seem to be on different paths and I see Cas becoming the person who will help Dean out of his darkness and willingly too. It's now all a matter of how long it will take.  Dean was left so bereft, I just wanted to hold him, encourage him.  Boy, did Tessa's words come back to haunt in the worst of ways, but I fear there is more to come and it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

I'm glad that we have a break of two funny episodes.  I need a serious break from the intensity though I do wonder how they are going to segue from what happened last episode to "It's a Terrible Life"? Clearly a fantasy world, but whose world is it and how do they end up there.  Should be fun nevertheless and I welcome it.

No surprise, but Jensen was just beyond any word in the dictionary with his performance in this episode.  He can bring me down to my knees with his eyes and face.  I loved that he played Dean preparing to torture Alistair as resistance, that he didn't just transform into Alistair's student as soon as he walked in.  He didn't even rush into it when Alistair was torturing Dean verbally about John and about his breaking the seal.  You could feel Dean's hesitation, of his intense desire NOT to do it.  I LOVED IT!!! It just endeared Dean more to me because Dean wasn't acting like a monster.  He was acting like a man, a good man, being asked to do a horrific thing, knowing that it will cost him dearly and dreading the idea even though Alistair deserved it.  It wasn't enough to drive Dean to become a monster right then and there and I LOVED it.  I could on and on, but you all witnessed it.  It was awe-inspiring and just...WOW.... 

Bottom line, JENSEN DESERVES AN OSCAR!!!!!! HE WAS FREAKIN' AWESOME!!!!!

There.  I think that's  a good place to end.  Thanks for reading as always.

Addendum to my blog:
 
I forgot to mention a key point about how this revelation about Dean breaking the first seal is SO DEVASTATING to him. It's the most obvious reason, given how Dean has lived his life. Dean's motto has always been "saving people, hunting things", emphasis on the "saving people" so finding out that by breaking the seal (due to what he'll perceive as a weakness on his part), he started the Apocalypse, every death that has occurred from the moment he was lifted from Hell, he will take personally and responsibility for because he will always believe that if it hadn't been for him, no one would have died.

This hammers home what he told Tessa in Death Takes a Holiday, that when he was facing her the last time, he had wished he had let go, gone with her, figuring then that if he had, both his father's and Sam's death would have been avoided. It was hinted at the beginning of the episode when they're coming back from Pamela's funeral and Dean said he was tired of losing people. Add to that the fact Dean initiated everything and you have a man who will blame himself for every life already lost and every life that will be lost from now on. He will now really wish he had died back then. He will torture himself with the idea that if he had just died when he was supposed to, none of what they were going through now would be happening. He may even stretch his guilt to extend to never having been born.  I realized that this could be the segue to the comic relief episode for this week, It's a Terrible Life. Maybe there was something strategic about that.

Now, I believe this newfound horrific knowledge will weigh on Dean, BUT at some point I truly believe that the motto he's lived by will come back into play and will drive him back into the war. Though the guilt of being the cause of the Apocalypse will never leave him, he WILL see that only he can save everyone and he will do everything to make that happen. He will eventually see that as his responsibility and his alone and will not walk away from that. Saving people, it's the fabric of his character, it's what makes him the noble man that he is. 

Also, there's this intriguing thread that Alistair, Sam and Dean noted. Something might have happened to Dean in Hell, that he left something behind there, that he's not the same, in both Sam and Dean's minds something that's weakened him when he was brought back. If it's not just a statement about Dean not being strong enough to resist breaking or to continue the fight, then maybe there's something more there to discover. Did Dean lose something essential to his being able to stop the war in Hell? And does he need whatever was left behind to become whole again and will he have to go back to Hell to get it back? Lovely speculation!

Thanks. Just had to put that out there. It was bugging me that I had forgotten to mention it.

  • 1
I felt like a hole had been created and that I was free falling helplessly, screaming, "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" It was THAT good, THAT mind-boggling, THAT MOVING!!

Such a good description! That's the perfect way to put it! You really are left feeling like you're free-falling, and there's nothing nearby to grab onto to stop that fall.

Oh, I know that he will be completely shattered and I will give that maybe so much so that he may not come out of it whole at all or be the man, the Dean we knew from Season 1. That Dean truly died. Realistically, he can never be that man again anyway, not after everything he's gone through, but Dean, he is a man of principle and no matter what, he will rise to the occasion when he's needed.

I agree! I can't see Dean giving up. It actually reminds me of what Uriel said, that Dean just won't quit. I think, even when he voices the desired to stop, he always, always comes back, always dose what he has to and keeps fighting.

No, all Dean Winchester will see is that he is solely and irrevocably responsible for everything that's happening and he'll see is as a weakness in his will and character.

So true!!!! He never tries to blame anyone else...he always heaps all the blame on himself, and I think it's difficult for him to see past that. Very opposite of what Sam often seems to do, trying to justify his actions.

Her satisfaction is written all over her face and Sam's "addiction" to it (asking for it) is clear and just oh, gosh...I don't think I can go on about it.

I love your description here too! He really does sound like an addict! And I'm completely with you on the EW! It makes so much sense though, really explains why she has so much influence over Sam.

Now here's the speculative kicker...could it be that Ruby is Meg or that Ruby, herself, is some "spawn" of Azazel and that by drinking her blood, Sam is drinking Azazel's blood? Again, ewwwww...but scarily interesting.

Oooh...great speculation! I wonder if that is what's going on....

I am so hoping that Dean can shrug this off quickly, but I fear, this will be a very hard shadow to cast off, if for no other reason that by holding on, John prevented the Apocalypse during his time in Hell and by giving in, Dean began it.

Great point! Dean has always been about saving people first, and to know that because of him the world might be destroyed would be a very hard blow to overcome.

They even seem to be on different paths and I see Cas becoming the person who will help Dean out of his darkness and willingly too.

I agree! Dean's been saying that he misses having someone who understands him, a fact that the siren exploited, and I think Castiel might fill some of that role while Sam drifts further away. Dean and Castiel are both struggling, both uncertain, and both warriors.

Bottom line, JENSEN DESERVES AN OSCAR!!!!!! HE WAS FREAKIN' AWESOME!!!!!

TOTALLY! He just blows you away! The emotion he can pack into the simplest line is just...wow.

An absolutely awesome blog as always!!! :)

-Laughter

Hello. I'm happy to read another of your beautiful comments.

"I guess I will start off, for those who know my unrepentant DeanGirl ways, by saying that NO WAY IN HELL will Dean shirk his responsibilities in the end."
I really think you don't need to worry about Dean giving up. Now he is (understandable, in my opinion) depressed, he feels very guilty and he is physically hurt, he is at his lowest. But I don't think he knows how not to fight. He has said several times that he doesn't think that they can win, yet he has been fighting all along. At this point, I think that is normal that he doesn't think he is the man for the task, but I think he will try. He didn't want to do what the angels asked of him, but he gathered his strength and did it all the same. I think that he is going to fight, hard, and of course I hope they win. Dean reminds me of a quote I read in a Spiderman comic, some years ago. I read it in spanish and I don't know it these are the original words, but the quote translates into "you give up ten minutes after you are dead". That's our Dean, and even thought he feels defeated now he will fight when the moment comes.

"In many ways, Dean has always tried to turn adversity into opportunity. I hope he continues to do and gains some strength in seeing his father's resistance as something to aspire to."
I couldn't agree more with your beautifully put opinion.
I love your comment that John's spirit permeates the show. I think you are right, and not only John, but Mary too, like you show in some of your wonderful fanfics. I feel that this is the story of the four Winchesters, their fight, their mistakes, their love, and I hope that after all they have suffered and lost in this war they are going to win it, Dean and Sam are going to win the war for their parents and for one another.

About John, I'd like to know how he managed to go to the gate when it was open. Did he scape? How? Is the demon saying the truth?

As always, thank you for your comment.
Almu

Hey Soph! Sorry so late to your party again, but I am here now!
Goddess, what Jensen can do with his eyes, his body language, his very essence-I don't know how, but he makes me love him and feel for him more every damned time he comes on the screen. The scene when Alastair told him about breaking the first seal was one of the finest pieces of acting I have ever seen in my life-while standing perfectly still, he yet shattered into a million pieces right in front of our eyes...simply amazing. I will never be able to fathom why this man doesn't have an emmy already, but maybe, by some miracle, this performance will be the one they notice-it should be, and in a perfect world, it would be!
And you KNOW I was thinking of you when we got HurtHurtHURT-and-then-UnconsciousDean after that brutal beating he took! And then again, when we got those HurtVulnerableDean scenes in the hospital bed!-GUHHHHHHHHH!!! God, my pause button got so much use this week, I'm surprised it still works! But, I just used it some more this morning, and it does!! Hee...
I think the torture scenes MADE this ep. Jensen and Christopher H. rocked every single one of those scenes. Dean and Cas-chemistry, chemistry, chemistry-it was so good to have it for more than just a few seconds, wasn't it? These two light up the screen like a 1000 watt bulb when they are on together. I like Anna. I always have, but the touchy-feely stuff with Cas-not too much. Hope the show doesn't go there. Uriel-SO SORRY to see Robert Wisdom go-LOVED his little scene with JA there at the beginning and the funny exchange between Dean and Cas that it lead into-but we could all feel that one coming. Uriel hates humans. We've known it from the start.
Sam-Sammy, Sammy, Sammy...heading for SUCH a fall. I feel like every episode he just makes me angrier and angrier with his disdain for Dean, because unlike you, I'm not buying that he was "concerned" for his brother's well-being. IMO,Dean's not being "strong enough" is what Sam needs to keep telling himself to justify his demon-blood cocktails(I really like that they are using an addiction analogy-addicts care about nothing, except where and how they are going to get their next fix-mark my words, it's going to get ugly for Sam) and the use of the powers. I DID see hope when he was sitting by Dean's side at the hospital, though. Let us hope Kripke sends Dean some kind of help, soon. It's not coming from Sammy-of that, I'm sure. But I'm also sure that Dean WILL find his way back,somehow-because HIS is the strength and the power to endure-it ALWAYS has been! LOVE HIM TO PIECES! Thanks for your words! They were great, as always, my best Deanfangirlfriend!

  • 1