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the island of conclusions

"I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry" (SPN 5.14 episode reaction)

the island of conclusions

bright star

"I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry" (SPN 5.14 episode reaction)

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bright star
“I’ll eat when I’m hungry, I’ll drink when I’m dry
If moonshine don’t kill me, I’ll live ‘til I die”

(Moonshiner, trad., Alison Moorer's version)

I liked the episode, though possibly not as much as the two other Edlund eps this season (5.04 and 5.10), but I don’t have much to say about it that hasn’t already been said better by oselle (here), [personal profile] yourlibrarian (here) and smilla02 (here).

Just two things, then.



Thing one: to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, I rejoice to concur with the rest of the (Dean-loving segments of) fandom in finding Famine full of shit when he says Dean is “dead inside” (for all the reasons beautifully articulated by the writers above).

I actually liked Dean’s own explanation better—repressing the hungers of the body has never really been his issue, and how can something you’ve never suppressed come back to torture you? Now it would have been nice if Edlund could have come up with a physical correlate for Dean’s emotional hungers (for approval, companionship, etc)—as with the lovers eating each other up—but since we just had an everybody-goes-crazy episode (5.11), it was nice, for the narrative, to have one character remain cogent throughout.

However, to indulge in a bit of fanwank, it was interesting that it wasn’t just that Dean didn’t feel any unnatural hungers—it was that some of his usual hungers--hungers he had recently experienced-disappeared: for burgers, for sex (something he had been hungry for just last week, in his dreams, anyway).

It was if Famine was affecting Dean by playing on his hunger not to hunger, as it were—giving him his desired state of being free of desire; the common wish of people who feel too much not to feel anything at all.

I think this works for Dean not so much because his problem is that he feels/wants too much (though that too), but because his most secret yearning (though not so secret to us) has been for death (cf. 4.15) or at least a release from whatever feelings/drives are motivating him to get up and shoulder the burden of saving the world every day (cf. WIAWSNB, 5.11, etc.).

Of course, once Famine is vanquished, he’s back to the agony of caring too much—about his brother, about the fate of the world…

I really don’t think this is what Edlund intended—I think it was supposed to play as broken!empty!Dean. But that’s a hard pill to swallow, doesn’t make sense in terms of character arc, and is certainly not the way JA is playing the character.

Thing two: Like everyone else, I loved the return not just of teamwork between Sam, Dean and Castiel, but also of mutual concern and support. I also liked the glimpses of Dean/Cas shippery. So, where, I ask those of you more up to date on the Dean/Cas fic, are the fics in which Cas makes Dean feel again? I don’t mean in a cuddly, supportive kind of way; I mean more like this amazing 4.16 tag. If I were capable of writing a PWP I would do it myself. But it doesn’t even have to be porn—just Cas in his wall-slamming mode. Send me recs!

  • I really don’t think this is what Edlund intended—I think it was supposed to play as broken!empty!Dean.

    There is a ghost of a chance that this is what Edlund intended, because the fact that Dean's normal cravings so suddenly dried up (just when everyone else's were out of control) seems pretty inexplicable in any other light. It could be telling that Dean's despair came back in full force once Famine was vanquished. But this would imply a subtlety that I'm certainly not used to on this show, and Edlund seemed so determined to bop us over the head with the "Dean's dead inside" business that I'm pretty sure that was his real intent and the rest of it is just us fanwanking.

    Speaking of Famine, why didn't they ever cut the ring off his finger? I know that Sam kind of tore him inside out, but I still think they should have gotten that ring just to be on the safe side.

    Edited at 2010-02-13 08:45 pm (UTC)
    • But this would imply a subtlety that I'm certainly not used to on this show,
      No shit, huh? No, I'm resigned to it being fanwank *sigh*--though Dean's desire not to feel anything was pretty canonical last season...This season is so all over the place that one can't tell from week to week what's going on (it's a little miraculous that JA still gives it some continuity)

      I did like the episode, but it may have been my least favorite Edlund ep of this or last season--and I think the weird characterization had something to do with it (both Deans of 5.04 very much more tightly written.) Also, I guess I don't find jumped-up!Sam as hot as many seem to...

      Speaking of Famine, why didn't they ever cut the ring off his finger?
      No kidding! Dean just standing there with the knife was distractingly ridiculous...
      • Also, I guess I don't find jumped-up!Sam as hot as many seem to...

        DO people find jumped-up Sam hot? I have to confess it's been a very long time since I've found Sam hot, jumped-up or otherwise. I don't know if it's because I've so come to dislike his character, or because JP is starting to look like he's on steroids -- I think it's some combination of the two.

        Dean just standing there with the knife was distractingly ridiculous...

        ARGH yes. WHY do they do this?? I guess we're supposed to think that Dean was paralyzed with horror over what Sam was doing (we've seen this happen before) but still I was sitting there going, "The ring, Dean! The ring!!"

        These guys wouldn't have lasted a day in Middle Earth.
        • I don't know if it's because I've so come to dislike his character, or because JP is starting to look like he's on steroids
          Yeah, I'm with you there...I've never really found JP that hot--just not my cup of tea, I guess--and the bigger he gets the less he does it for me...Though the demonic!Sam of BUABS was pretty cool...

          But yes, according to my trawl through the reaction posts, people find "wait-your-turn"!Sam astonishingly hot. YMMV...

          These guys wouldn't have lasted a day in Middle Earth.
          This made me lol! Nope, they really don't have the sense Tolkien gave a hobbit, do they?
  • However, to indulge in a bit of fanwank, it was interesting that it wasn’t just that Dean didn’t feel any unnatural hungers—it was that some of his usual hungers--hungers he had recently experienced-disappeared: for burgers, for sex (something he had been hungry for just last week, in his dreams, anyway).

    It was if Famine was affecting Dean by playing on his hunger not to hunger, as it were—giving him his desired state of being free of desire; the common wish of people who feel too much not to feel anything at all.

    I think this works for Dean not so much because his problem is that he feels/wants too much (though that too), but because his most secret yearning (though not so secret to us) has been for death (cf. 4.15) or at least a release from whatever feelings/drives are motivating him to get up and shoulder the burden of saving the world every day (cf. WIAWSNB, 5.11, etc.).

    Of course, once Famine is vanquished, he’s back to the agony of caring too much—about his brother, about the fate of the world…
    Huh! I definitely think you are on to something here. That makes more sense than the more superficial interpretation that the show seemed to be presenting. Either way, I just hope Dean gets some relief from all this soon. I love me some Dean!Pain but this is just getting ridiculous.
    • Glad it made some sense!

      I just hope Dean gets some relief from all this soon.
      Me too! I was actually thinking at the beginning of the season that Dean was getting more in touch with his body again (here)--so it's even more sad to see him sinking into this slough of despond again. As many people have said, it would be so nice to see him recognize his own strength...
  • (no subject) - ex_hansons_
    • First of all, you are completely eloquent! I was moved just reading your description of those scenes!

      I'm glad you liked the ep. (especially after we all had some many doubts in the run-up to the Christmas hiatus). I wouldn't say it was my favorite--I probably even liked 5.13 better--but I know a lot of people felt as you did, and I can see why. It did a great job of showing Sam, Dean and Cas all struggling--and still managing to work together. And moment when Sam admits he shouldn't come with them was so moving!

      He's not defeated -- he's broken, but very often a person has to break before he/she can begin to see himself/herself in a different way.
      Yes--I believe this so strongly--and I thought Jensen really brought it out in that scene--he did an amazing job, as well as in the scene in front of the panic room. It's mind-boggling how he can bring out the nuances of Dean's anguish in that way.
  • Your theory about Dean's greatest desire being "not feeling" is an interesting one and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Playing off that, Dean's not "dead inside" if you accept that "dead inside" is the final point of a process, not the process itself. Dean's "dead inside" in 2014... and there's a pretty clear disconnect with that situation, and what we have now.

    Conversely, a clever person pointed out on a community that in this episode Team Free Will all showed shades of what they would become if 2014 were a fixed point of arrival= Dean Dead Inside, Castiel helpless when confronted with physical desires ("I'm an angel, I can stop whenever I want." Oh!Cas), and Sam... is a little more muddled for me, though you could certainly say that a Power hungry hopped out Sam would seem easy prey for Lucifer. And yet he doesn't follow Famine's enticements. This may be foreshadowing to the Great Climax. mmmhhh. *ponders*
    • Dean's "dead inside" in 2014... and there's a pretty clear disconnect with that situation, and what we have now.
      That's an excellent point! There was such a difference in the way JA played 2014!Dean and 2010!Dean in 5.14 that it's hard to believe it's the same state--I guess the question is whether one will lead to the other...

      And and interesting point from the community--especially re:Cas: are those Jimmy's addictive tendencies in the future, or is Cas lying to himself about their origin?

      And yeah, Sam's condition (?) status (?) vis a vis "going darkside" was confusing to me too--perhaps it was meant to be???

      *joins you in pondering*
  • It was if Famine was affecting Dean by playing on his hunger not to hunger, as it were—giving him his desired state of being free of desire; the common wish of people who feel too much not to feel anything at all.

    I thought about something like that after I watched the episode... It was indeed weird how Dean so completely refused everything - even food! I'm now officially adopting this theory (and I don't care if it's fanwank or not!).

    Happy Valentine day!
  • to indulge in a bit of fanwank, it was interesting that it wasn’t just that Dean didn’t feel any unnatural hungers—it was that some of his usual hungers--hungers he had recently experienced-disappeared: for burgers, for sex (something he had been hungry for just last week, in his dreams, anyway).

    I really, really wish this would have some significance beyond the usual Dean's epic manpain hoopla. But I've been burned so often that I'm going to assume that it's just a slightly hamhanded attempt to emphasise Dean's fucked up mental state. Which isn't entirely a negative, since it might also be the writers finally getting around to giving us some very belated PTSD stuff. After all, this season is supposed to be Kripke's attempt at 100% fanservice and they must be aware that not all the fans are Sam fans (sorry, I"m trying to tone down the bitter ;P).

    I also liked the glimpses of Dean/Cas shippery.

    Thank God for Ben Edlund :)
    • It's hard to be bitter (or to find consolation in fanwank) after that atrocious run between 5.04 and 5.10 (ie, between the last two Edlund eps.!)--I didn't like this one as much as the other two, but at least it popped along and had some interesting plot points (and Dean/Cas :DDDD).

      I hope you're right, and Dean's on-again-off-again PTSD is finally going to be dealt with in an interesting way--

      But regardless, the day I get tired of Dean's manpain will be the day I get tired of Jensen's face...(ie, not anytime soon ;))
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