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SPN: On the head of a pin



My one real complaint about this episode was that it turned out that Uriel was the murderer, which just (a) reinforces all of SPN's skanky race issues and (b) was way too predictable. (I guess having it turn out to be Anna would also have been predictable and reinforced SPN's lamentable gender issues, but since I really liked the actor who played Uriel and am not too fond of the actor playing Anna, I think I would have preferred it to be her).

However, I loved the way this episode fleshed out the SPN mythology.

1. I was *deeply* relieved that Dean's orders to torture Alistair didn't actually come from heaven, because even if that was angelic middle management rather than our Deus Otiosus, it still would indicate to me that there is *no* difference between the angels and the demons, and while I'm perfectly happy with a certain amount of ambiguity about the angelic agenda, outright confirmation that they were evil would leave me...uninterested in them. They'd just be demons with wings, so why should I care about them?

2. Dean as the righteous man who broke the first seal. OMG. Suddenly everything makes sense--why Sam couldn't trade himself for Dean, why angels needed to break Dean out in the first place, why Dean is important to the apocalypse. It's not that he's particularly special in and of himself (it was supposed to be his dad--and OUCH, how horrible to get confirmation that John lasted when Dean didn't), but that he was already implicated in the apocalyptic struggle in the first place.

However, it josses everyone's theory that Dean was brought back to prevent Sam from turning. Which, given all the anvilicious foreshadowing about brothers having to kill brothers tonight, is a little disturbing.

3. We also got a little hint about why they left Dean in hell so long that he turned--they had to fight their way in, and it took a long time.

4. Also, confirmation that it isn't sex but demon vampirism (or whatever you want to call it) that's making Sam stronger.

Ok, and speaking of Sam (and Dean) and the rift of doom, things that made me say "OUCH":

1. Sam assuming that Dean can't get the job done with Alistair, because he hasn't been the same since he came back from hell. Ouch ouch ouch ouch. Ok, if he hadn't made that assumption, Dean would have died and Castiel would have lost his vessel, but still.

2. The opening conversation in the car, where Dean really does just seem so despairing. I do like that he's actually mourning Pam, but he really seems like he's in a bad place. (And of course, then finding out he was the one who started the apocalypse, and that he has to be the one to stop it, is not helping him. *Pets poor Dean*)

On the other hand, I do like to see both boys get their badass on:

1. Sam killing Alistair? YOU GO SAM. Though I honestly thought he had been killing the demons before--but I was so happy he got to take down Alistair, even if it did mean going over more to the dark side. And speaking of dark sides,

2. Dean in dark-Dean torture mode? Umm, I can't help it, I thought it was hot. GUH. I mean, I was heartbroken that he got pushed to that place, and it was horrifying to see how well Alistair could push his buttons even when he was the one being physically tortured, but still. He was wickedly hot.

3. In contrast? Castiel's badass is not so badass. (Is that supposed to be because of his doubt?) I thought Castiel and Uriel's fight was kind of lame, actually, though Anna was pretty badass.

Despite that, though, I did love to see Castiel's crisis of faith, and how bewildered he is, and how he instinctively turned to Anna to discover what to do. He and Dean are so much alike; they're both more comfortable when they're under authority.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
ladydreamer
Mar. 20th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
My one real complaint about this episode was that it turned out that Uriel was the murderer, which just (a) reinforces all of SPN's skanky race issues and (b) was way too predictable. (I guess having it turn out to be Anna would also have been predictable and reinforced SPN's lamentable gender issues, but since I really liked the actor who played Uriel and am not too fond of the actor playing Anna, I think I would have preferred it to be her).

Enormous agreement. I kind of liked Uriel and his plotline (even though he's a dick, a lot of them are), but I should have known that he was going to die. Sigh.
norwich36
Mar. 20th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
See, what I was *hoping* Uriel was doing at the beginning of that scene was just testing Castiel to see if he would fall. That would have been a nice reversal. It's not that I have complete issues with angels deciding to follow Lucifer--as far as I can tell, we haven't really seen any concrete reason to follow God in this universe--but it would have been nice if the Black angel hadn't been written as a total speciesist.

(I'm also hoping this doesn't prevent people from writing more interesting Uriels in fanfic, because I think his character is potentially extremely fascinating.)
ladydreamer
Mar. 20th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC)
Aw, Sammy looks so sad.

Yeah, I guess it would be okay if they'd had some Luciferian angels (and agreed on the reasoning), but I thought there was more depth in the portrayal with Uriel. He seemed to be testing Castiel from the start. And I honestly thought that the characterization made sense. Seriously, if your JOB is to raize cities and off the humans whenever God says so, you would have to find some way to rationalize it, or I think so, anyway. He can't think very highly of them, or he might start to feel sympathy, and disobey.

I hope fanfiction does him one better. All the characters on SPN that I REALLY like besides the bros get offed. If I ever get into the habit of writing SPN or crossing over with other fandoms I write, I'll give it a shot. It's nice to not have to make up my own minor characters and just explore what's been wasted.
norwich36
Mar. 20th, 2009 08:20 am (UTC)
It would be a lot more interesting if they had factionalization of the angels without necessarily dividing them into "good" and "evil" camps, wouldn't it? (Then when Ruby inevitably turns out to be working for Lucifer, maybe she could persuade Sam he was really one of the good guys. That would be a much more interesting turning of Sam than just his quest for revenge against Lilith).

Oh, yeah, there are *so* many good characters they've just gratuitously killed off, turned evil, or both: Henriksen, Pamela, Bela, Ash, pretty much all of the psychic kids, not to mention Jess, Mary, John, Mary's parents...pretty much everybody except Sam, Dean, and Bobby, really. (I guess Ellen's still alive out there somewhere, so far.)
ladydreamer
Mar. 21st, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
Factions and complex metaphysical politics would have been MUCH better.

Sigh. I miss Bela lots.
rsadelle
Mar. 20th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Huh. I really like Anna, and I was delighted to see her back. I also loved Castiel in this, and especially his doubts and his relationship with Dean. (Okay, now I totally get the Dean/Castiel thing - they are so having some kind of ex parte communication we're not seeing.) And John not breaking? OUCH. The other thing I absolutely LOVEDLOVEDLOVED were the angel wing shadows with the dead angels. That was an amazing visual.

Overall, though, I just kept thinking, "blahblahblah," and that I really don't want to hear the same exact angsty blahblahblah for another twenty-something episodes. (I'm excited that next week is a one-off ep.) Things that are making me like this show less:
  • SCC, which makes everything else look inferior in comparison, and which has Weaver who is ten times scarier than Uriel and Alistair put together.
  • Spoilers, which mean I'm not surprised by things, in this case Sam drinking Ruby's blood. (Maybe - I read more SCC spoilers than SPN, and I still don't know what's going to happen on SCC. I'm still thinking out how not watching TV in a vacuum changes my perceptions/expectations.)
  • J2 fic, which makes me think of Jared and Jensen totally differently. I'm always surprised by how BIG they really are. (This might partially be because Kripke & Co like to fill the WHOLE SCREEN with Dean's face.) I also can't watch it without thinking about them acting, which is maybe also about their acting ability (Dear Jared, Furrowing your forehead and flaring your nostrils is not acting.) and definitely pulls me out of focusing on Sam and Dean.


Two things I didn't like about this particular episode: 1. Kripke's race/gender politics, both with Uriel and with the first dead angel being a blond woman in a white gown (although that could have been a fangirl shout-out). 2. Uriel saying "There's only one thing that can kill an angel. Another angel." He should have stopped after the first sentence. "Another angel" was way too predictable and not really necessary.

As for the mytharc: Uriel repeating Lucifer's arguments was AWESOME, and I started wondering if there are other angels thinking the same thing. I also want to know how many garrisons there are, because he was only killing angels in their garrison who refused him. I wonder if angels keep an eye on who goes to hell or if they only noticed once the seal was broken. I'm also trying to think out the fate thing: Azazel made the deal with Mary that made Sammy one of the special children, which made him die and Dean make a deal that put him in hell. But in the meantime, John also made a deal and went to hell. Now, if Azazel was working for Lilith the whole time, then how much did she know about the events she was putting into motion? Did she know this was going to work, or did she have other plans that were also in motion? What if Sammy hadn't been the one to die? Then how would they have gotten a righteous man to break in hell? And did she want John specifically in hopes that he would break, or was that an opportunistic move?
norwich36
Mar. 21st, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
For some reason, I liked the actress playing Anna better as a human than an angel. Something about her affect (in the psychological sense) when she's playing an angel bugs me, I'm not really sure why.

The Castiel stuff was just pure joy to me, but of course I'm biased since I've spent the last two months reading every piece of Castiel/Dean fic in existence, so I'm very happy to see more fodder for that.

I kind of wish they hadn't killed off Uriel, but instead kept him as an opponent, because as I said above to ladydreamer, I think the whole apocalypse would be a lot more interesting if they had many different factions of angels all warring against each other.

I tend to suspect, on the SPN mythology stuff, that Lilith was working for (with?) Azazel rather than the reverse, since it was Azazel's grand plan to open the hellgate and to break the first seal via John. John was actually supposed to be the righteous man who broke, and his deal preceded Dean's. (In fact, it makes the crossroads demon trying to seduce Dean in Crossroad Blues make even more sense--they'd had John in hell at that point for about 50 years and he wasn't breaking, so they decided to go for option B.)

It is no fair comparing SPN to the BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION, come on. Though you are far from the only one bored with the angsty blahblahblah. Next week is supposed to be a break, though.
rsadelle
Mar. 21st, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I see what you're saying about her affect - she was warmer and less calculating as a human - but I think it works for the plot.

Different angel factions would rock.

Except that Mary's deal precedes John's so it seems like Azazel's plan to open the gates to hell is the certainty and breaking the seal more of a chance - although maybe they knew that would get John to become a hunter and eventually find a way to get him to hell then. Also interesting: it seems like their righteous man had to come to hell of his own volition - John and Dean both deal their way in - rather than taking him there somehow.

How can I not? I think about TV, and then I think, "SCC is totally awesome; why can't you be?"
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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