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the island of conclusions

5.06 reaction post

the island of conclusions

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5.06 reaction post

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Dean-Castiel
Which I watched it in real time for the second week in a row—woohoo!

And which fell into a category of episodes I am apparently a big sucker for. Let’s just call them

The Winchester Brothers: They May be Freaks, but They’re Freaks with VALUES (goddamit).

And no little kids are going to die on their watch, even if it’s to the detriment of the greater good. And neither are (substitute one of the following): the inhabitants of small towns (cf. 4.07); virgins (cf. JiB); their buddies (cf. 5.04); or, you know, most of humanity (cf. 4.22).

Actually, in three of those examples, it’s only, or mostly, Dean who’s invested in this core value, so it was interesting how much on the same page in terms of both ends and means Dean and Sam were about this in 5.06—more so than in 4.07, in which they agree about saving the town, but Sam uses questionable methods to do so. That kind of mutuality was sweeter for me than the key toss in 5.05.

Overall, I liked the episode—and certainly the more so in comparison to last week. It had that signature SPN tonal switch-up, where it went from cracky to angsty without much warning—but I usually like that. I feel like these writers have gotten much better as they’ve gone on (over at TWoP they call them “the comic book guys,” ‘cause I guess that’s their background). They are responsible for the SPN episode I hate the most (“Yellow Fever”) and for “After School Special,” which I didn’t like as much as a lot of people did. But their last ep. For S4, “Jump the Shark,” was, like this one, not great, but quite good—decent story, characterization, nice moments.

Speaking of characterization, I think it’s funny that despite the wildly varying characterization, especially of Dean, over the last four episodes, the one directive that seems to have come down from on high is that Dean will resume the horndog ways we haven’t seen much of since mid-S2. In 5.03-6 we see him chatting up the ladies (or “ladies”) at least once an episode. I’m not objecting—it seems to be part of the return to Dean-ly health that includes eating and sleeping. And in this ep., his childlike glee in the joke-store jokes. I kind of hope he gets lucky—and not with an angel.

Fanon vs. Canon: This episode pointed up some interesting differences between fans’ views of the characters and Show’s.

A minor point: Sam used to make his own dinner too? Not if you believe 99.9% of fanfiction. Dean made him dinner! And if he had to be out, he left something in the fridge or the stove!

More majorly, if a brief survey of LJ is anything to go by: Castiel telling Sam he made the wrong choices is the pot calling the kettle black. I regret to say I can’t get too worked up over whether Castiel is a hypocrite or not, but I think it points to the way a lot of fandom wants Castiel to be a nice guy. Or, at the very least, a friendly alien unaccustomed to the ways of earth creatures (in his “the voice says I’m almost out of minutes” mode). But he’s neither particularly nice, nor is he a guy. Show introduced him a quite scary instrument of power, and at his best he goes back to that kind of fiery righteousness (IMHO, anyway). So we have fanon!Castiel, who is thoughtful, and loving (with Dean, anyway) and often kind of clueless vs. canon!Castiel, who is (often) the hard, cold sword of God.

I can’t say I don’t enjoy reading fic about the former, but in this case I’m glad Show stuck to its (darker-than-fandom) convictions. I liked the images of Castiel not only yelling at Sam, but also preparing to gank an eleven-year-old kid.

Fanwank:
Okay—I know this was probably a throwaway moment, but I loved the suggestion that the pain of childbirth allowed Julia to self-exorcise the demon inside her. I think it is canon that demons don’t like to stay in bodies undergoing extreme pain (ie, when Sam shoots YED!John in the leg, or Bobby stabbing himself in 5.01), but it was nice that she could do it without crippling herself. I truly doubt it was supposed to be a moment of womynly power, but hey, I’m just going to take it that way.

And while we’re on the subject of throw-away details, I also liked the un-remarked-upon singleness of the dad who was assaulted by the tooth-fairy, though I think it probably had to do more with budget restraints than with any social commentary.

Finally, I’d agree that Sam and Dean’s concluding conversation in the Impala didn’t really match up with either what they’d “learned” in the episode, or their actual life experience, but I thought it struck some interesting notes nonetheless. It’s kind of old news, but once again, Dean seems willing to question his father’s parenting choices, even disagree with them. Also, even though Dean acts like a parent all the time—has acted that way pretty much his whole life—it’s rare for him to actually think (out loud) about what it means to be a parent—the choices parents make. So that too was interesting—a moment of maturity, maybe.

  • I'm on my way to the airport and only have time to comment on this:

    A minor point: Sam used to make his own dinner too? Not if you believe 99.9% of fanfiction. Dean made him dinner! And if he had to be out, he left something in the fridge or the stove!

    A MINOR point? I think not. As soon as Sam said that I shouted, "Oh, you so did not you little liar!"
    • oh, I know, me too! Sam may not have made his own dinner til his little break up with Dean after 5.02--from John and Dean, to Stanford dining halls, to Jess, to Dean again...

      Happy travels!
  • I’m not objecting—it seems to be part of the return to Dean-ly health that includes eating and sleeping. And in this ep., his childlike glee in the joke-store jokes. I kind of hope he gets lucky—and not with an angel.

    Yeah, since Dean provides most of the humorous or light-hearted moments, when he's down the show is....really down. But I'm not sure quite what to make of the change, storywise. Is he just putting on a show of 'I'm super, thanks for asking!' or is the apocalypse really that much fun? It's a tiny bit jarring, but I'm inclined to put it down to the fact that the first half of the season is apparently focusing on Sam's 'redemption' and Dean is there to lighten things up while Eeyore goes through the motions.
    • IKR? when Dean mopes, the world mopes with him...

      The whole S1!Dean reboot is a little jarring, I agree--especially because you keep thinking, Michael wants this guy? he's gorgeous, okay, but with the bad table manners and the fart jokes? I mean, I know we're not talking Milton's archangels here, but c'mon...

      It could easily be denial--aside from 4.05, which was kind of cute, the last time I remember the horndog thing going on was 3.01, and that was definitely about denial. And maybe we'll see some payoff from it... But you're probably right, and it's there to balance Sam's newfound maturity, or whatever it is...
  • (no subject) - ex_hansons_
    • I’m all about the Boys, always have been. That other stuff is just the vehicle to tell their story, their brotherly stuff

      Oh yeah, me too--I think the show is at its best when it focuses on questions of family--the boys' relationship with each other, but in a way that makes you think about families, and upbringing, and identity more generally (like in that last conversation in the car). 5.06 was definitely like that, and so really enjoyable (much better than the silly topical analysis I guess they were attempting last week).

      I loved when he was talking to the kid -- Jesse? -- telling him the truth and being completely honest with him. . .like it was a conversation that he was finally having with Dean as well. .
      That's a great point. I loved how different Sam was with this kid than he was with the kid in 4.16 (he was pretty manipulative, there). Nice to see that honesty and earnestness back! (yeah, the kid's name was Jesse).

      Does your 14-year-old like the show? I sometimes think of letting my 8-year-old watch with me, but, even though I thought the hairy palm joke was hilarious, I have no desire to explain it to him!
      • (no subject) - ex_hansons_
        • Yeah--14 sounds like the right age...8 is too young, sadly, not just for the sex stuff, but he's also at an age when the most unexpected thing will terrify him for hours (I guess he's an imaginative kid--my 4-year-old would probably watch it all without blinking an eye!).

          It would be fun to watch with them, since goodness knows the show makes me think of them a lot (two boys, four years apart, in a single-parent family--though no monsters, thank goodness!). But I'll save the DVDs, and maybe one day...

          We did all watch Merlin together over the summer, and that was pretty fun--lots of sword fighting!

          You're right that Cas is nice to Dean sometimes (ie, the end of 5.04), but they do have something special going on ;)...But it seems too much to ask that he be nice to Sam too! *g*
  • But he’s neither particularly nice, nor is he a guy. Wow. The same thought struck me - and about the sword of God bit, too! I didn't get ruffled by what Castiel said to Sam, but then I'm not a Dean/Castiel shipper who reads and writes Castiel slowly becoming absorbed into his favoured earthling's life.

    Like you, I like and respect the fact that Castiel as a warrior of God would have killed Jesse.

    Personally, I'd like it to get out in the open on-screen that Cas was the one who let Sam out the panic room..

    Edited at 2009-10-18 07:33 am (UTC)
    • Personally, I'd like it to get out in the open on-screen that Cas was the one who let Sam out the panic room..

      You know, me too. I can't tell whether Show is waiting to have a big reveal moment about it, or whether they've conveniently forgotten it/decided it was no big deal after all. As is the way with SPN, there's no way of knowing which it's going to be...It would make a nice angsty set-up for an episode, though.

      I like Castiel as a character, and I think I would read more fic about him if I could find stories where he was less "My Favorite Martian," and more of a BAMF, like he mostly is on TV....Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough...
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