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the island of conclusions

5.08 reaction post

the island of conclusions

bright star

5.08 reaction post

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bright star


This episode had a lot of problems, but I can’t bring myself to really light into it, because it also, at least once, did that thing that SPN sometimes, serendipitously, does—tugged on my heartstrings in the most unexpected way.

Okay, you can get ready to point and jeer, but weird as this is, I found the little faux-credits sequence to the sit-com, utterly ridiculous as it was, incredibly poignant.

I think it was because it was a miniature version of one of those snow-globe AUs the show knocks together every once in a while—and that never fail to pack a punch. It was like they done 90-second version of “What Is and What Shall Never Be,” in which Sam and Dean smiled a lot, and wore track pants and rode bikes. And it reminded me, more effectively than any angsting, how miserable the boys’ lives ordinarily are.

So I liked that credit sequence best of all, and I may even have liked the sitcom parody, stupid as it was, the best of all the TV show parodies. Because while the other parodies were, in fanfic terms, crossovers—in which regular Sam and Dean were inserted into a strange world—the sitcom was more of a “fusion”—in which we got to see what the Winchesters’ lives would look like through a different generic frame. Which was, for me, like I said, oddly touching—though, of course, at the same time, dumb as fuck.

There were some other sweetly funny moments, too, in the OTT parodies. Dean’s mooning over Dr. McSexy, for one, and, especially, Impala!Sam’s endearing offer to honk. I think that might be my favorite Sam line ever (I’ve never been much for cute!Sam).

I also liked that even though we mostly got some very familiar flavors of Dean—doofus!Dean, and pissed-off!Dean and fangirl!Dean—all of which I like, actually—we also got what seemed to be another test-drive of a new flavor—something like leader-of-the-free-world!Dean—with his rescue of Cas and his imperial “we” at the end. If I squint, that seems like the continuation of a character arc started in 5.01 and 5.02 (and explored in 5.04).

Which is more than I can say for Sam, who seemed to be inexplicably back on his let’s-make-deals-with-morally-ambiguous-creatures-because-the-end-justifies-the-means kick of seasons past. I thought he’d gotten over that with the whole Ruby thing. No character arc for you this week, Sam….

As for the rest of it:
I can’t get that worked up about the whole the-Tricker-is-an-angel retconning, or the weird, “it was always you,” “on earth as it is in heaven” attempt at mytharc coherency because as annoying as the incoherency is, I suspect it would all only be marginally less annoying if it were coherent.

I think the thing that would make it less annoying would be if they picked up the narrative pace a little. Okay, if they picked it up a whole lot.

The lack of forward movement is really starting to drive me nuts. They’ve set up a perfectly reasonable narrative premise—Lucifer is on the loose, the apocalypse is coming—that offers at least a couple of obvious narrative trajectories: the boys hunt Lucifer (like Dean said they were going to do in 5.01), or, alternately, they run from Lucifer.

But instead, they (the writers, Kripke, IDEK) have gotten stuck on the idea of vessels, on the issue of saying yes or saying no to having a mighty being take over your body. Which is psychologically and ethically interesting, granted, but pretty damn static as a narrative.

It has all the dramatic suspense of that old skit:
“You must pay the rent!”
“But I can’t pay the rent!”
“You must pay the rent!”
“But I can’t pay the rent!”
And so on and so forth, and we’re just waiting for someone else to come in and say: “But I’ll pay the rent.”

Let’s go kill the devil already, huh?

(S4 had a similar kind of narrative stasis at times--all the seals being broken off-screen, etc., but it was somewhat mitigated by the ongoing interpersonal storyline. Muffed as a lot of that was, Sam’s lies, Dean’s trauma, made for some interesting potential even “filler episodes.” This season, since after 5.04 they are supposedly on the same page, we’ve been deprived of even that….).

But, like I said, I’m not gonna really rag on any of it in this episode, ‘cause it tugged at my heartstrings a little…

ETA: There's an interesting post on interactivity between fandom and TV PTB in Heroes, Castle and SPN here (via [info - personal] rivkat)


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