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SPN: It's a terrible life




Interesting plot points revealed in this episode

1. Stripped of memory, Sam still believes in destiny--there's something "in his blood"--while Dean does not. "I don't believe in destiny. I believe in dealing with what's in front of us."

2. Zachariah's speech to Dean at the end makes it sound like Dean alone will find his way back to hunting no matter what, because it's what he loves and what he's really good at. And I've seen a lot of people complaining about the lack of a Sam tag, as if this quest is Dean's and Dean's alone. But if you look at the episode as a whole, it isn't *Dean* who brings Dean back to hunting, it's Sam. Without Sam's multiple interventions--from introducing the idea of ghosts in the first place to encouraging the hunt to encouraging Dean to want more out of life, it's very likely that Dean Smith would have been satisfied with middle management forever. It's really *Sam* who now, stripped of his memories, thinks helping people is worth the sacrifices. And that's important, and not separable from Dean's choices.

Because it's not just *hunting* that's in Dean's blood--it's hunting with Sam. And wow, this was a refreshing break from the plot arc of this season, because I hadn't realized exactly how much I missed them working as a team until I saw it again. And I loved the euphoria they both experienced at their success--"I've never had so much fun in my life."

3. Angels apparently don't care that Dean fornicates. (What? It's an important plot point!) Also, Castiel has smart yet manipulative superiors. Good to know.

Things I didn't like about the episode

Really, the only thing that goes here is how damn gory it was. BLECK. Grossest, most violent deaths I can remember in a long time.

Oh, wait, picturing Sam's yellow shirt completely spattered with blood, I remembered the other really offensive thing about the episode: Sam's corporate uniform. I get the joke about the ugliness of such things, but come on--it was criminal to make Sam wear something that hideous while the Deangirls got Dean looking smoking hot in all those suits.

Things that made me giggle, squee, or otherwise do the fangirl bop

1. Smith and Wesson. What can I say--I'm easy.

2. THE RETURN OF THE GHOSTFACERS. OMG, I love the Ghostfacers, and it totally cracks me up that Sam and Dean have to learn ghost-hunting techniques from them. (Though inadvertantly from themselves, the douchenozzle Winchesters. Words cannot *express* how much I loved that whole bit.)

3. Dean as the anti-Dean: A Prius! NPR! Salads! Lattes! Pinstriped shirts! Cleanses! Getting rid of all the carbs, even the beer! Stanford grad! His expertise at research! Also, poor Sam could do better than tech support, but I loved how every single problem was solved by turning things on and off, and I loved that his coworker thought of him as Harry Potter. Also, that scene where he destroyed the phone was priceless.

4. I don't care if you are an angel, I will stab you in the face.

5. Zachariah doesn't like taking on a vessel because they're smelly. Hee! I also basically loved his speech to Dean, especially the point about how their are lots of fates that would be worse (from Dean's POV, of course).

6. The fact the Dean apparently ships Bobby and Ellen, and thinks of Jo as his sister. Also? The Madison/animal shelter thing? So wrong and yet SO funny.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
clari_clyde
Mar. 27th, 2009 07:48 am (UTC)
I think the point of the episode is that Dean has so much to lose: a 6-figure, maybe even 7-figure salary; security and stability; health insurance; self-esteem. And yet, at the end of the day, he still gives it all up. That Sam pushes him is irrelevant, what’s important is how much Dean gives up. Though, I think that point would have been clearer if, in addition to the big house and job with perks, he was also shown as having a loving significant other, maybe kids, since that’s also something it’s been shown that he really really wants.

Ghostfacers, lol. I was spoiled having watched a teaser at IMDB but I wasn’t spoiled for the bit that the Ghostfacers referenced the Winchesters. Only Dean and Sam can school Dean and Sam. *nods*

The car! I didn’t know if I should laugh or cringe at the Prius. And when the radio played the hair-band rock, I thought, “Ah, Dean!” But no! He got pissy at that and changed it to NPR! LOL. At first I was afraid that the Dean I love was like, gone! Oh no!
norwich36
Mar. 27th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, sorry--my point about Sam inspiring Dean to give everything up was in response to about 30 reviews I read last night by people who were really pissed off that Sam once again got shafted in the episode. I wasn't trying to downplay the fact that Dean made a decision that involved sacrifice, just that Zachariah was overlooking Sam's role in inspiring Dean to make the decision (probably because the angels would rather leave Sam out if they possibly could--they clearly have problems with him.)

But honestly? I think if they had given Dean a loving significant other, and ESPECIALLY if they had given him kids, he wouldn't have made that choice--and why should he? He's always been a family first kind of guy. I don't think Dean would ever have made the same choices John did, if put in that situation. And considering that the angels *wanted* Dean to choose hunting, they probably knew enough not to put him in the situation.
clari_clyde
Mar. 27th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Ah okay. I view Dean as a “other people first” kind of guy which is why he works so hard at maintaining his family and why he works so hard to save people. And it also makes sense why he’s so successful in sales/marketing and not say, corporate law or accounting or engineering.

I think it’ll be a much much higher threshold if he did have a family but it wouldn’t necessarily be insurmountable if the gravitas of the situation were presented to him. If I were the writers, writing the angels who are playing writers with Dean’s alt life, I’d like to see the angels pushing Dean to the brink of breaking or even past breaking. But then, I have a taste for darker psychology.
norwich36
Mar. 28th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
I certainly think Dean, even with a family, could be persuaded to leave them to stop the apocalypse--but not just to assume an ordinary hunting life, I don't think.
roxymissrose
Mar. 27th, 2009 10:13 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked this episode! I loved almost everything about it--especially seeing them work together again, and feeling accomplished at the end of it.

Nothing made me laugh as hard as the thought of Dean enjoying NPR.
norwich36
Mar. 27th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
I don't know, for me it was the "cleanse" that was funniest, and the idea that Dean would give up beer because of carbs. But just about everything about it was pretty damn funny.
redteekal
Mar. 27th, 2009 11:17 am (UTC)
I'm so glad I read this BEFORE posting my thoughts. You have just opened up a new perspective on my grumpiness about the MISSING Sam final scene *again*. I'm still grumpy about it but I like how you've actually made me aware that whilst the show didn't acknowledge it as loudly and as visibly as I would have liked it was certainly still making sure that it was Sam ultimately who initiated Dean's path back to who he really is. I don't think the fact that Sam is the one that pushes him is irrelevant at all. The show is just trying to pretend it's irrelevant right now - it's a set up I tell you - a set up!!

I LOVED this episode for all those reasons you've listed. Hence the aforementioned grumpiness is really short lived. And whilst I knew it was a precursor to a diabolically horrific death just looking at Sam's face in that lift with the guard telling him to come on was worth it. Jared did good!

I did disagree with you on one aspect though - yes the yellow polo shirt was ugh BUT the important thing was it was TUCKED into the khaki pants and finally we have visibly form fitting pants snugging Sam's butt instead of loose jeans with too long shirts! Mmmm...Sam's ass was definitely conclusive tick in the PLUS column for this episode. I feel so unashamedly shallow for such observations but what can you do? *beams shamelessly*
norwich36
Mar. 27th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think the fact that Sam is the one that pushes Dean back to who he really is is tremendously significant. It goes with a recurrent theme throughout this season of Sam becoming the pro-active one, the one driving the Impala, the one initiating things, as Dean becomes more self-doubting, which to me is good because it means when they get to the other side of the apocalypse, we'll have a Sam who's completely committed to hunting.

And Sam being missing in the final scene is deliberate, I believe, to highlight the fact that the angels are trying to separate Sam and Dean because they're *stupid* and think Sam is the main threat, not realizing that only the Dean-Sam relationship will overcome the apocalypse.

(I think that became really clear last week, since everyone had been thinking prior to that that of course the angels brought back Dean because they thought he was the only one who could stop Sam, when actually they brought him back because he broke the first seal and is necessary in prophecy. Which means the angels probably don't *realize* that Dean will save things by his love for Sam, and Sam's love for him, so they're fucking things up, and setting up a rift that will have to be overcome by Dean telling the angels to fuck off because his priority is saving Sammy, not the world. Or at least that's where I HOPE they're going with this plotline).

I'm afraid the hideousness of the yellow shirt outweighted the tightness of Sam's pants, for me. :-) (Though I saw strippedpink posted something about Sam's butt being one of the stars of last night's episode, so you are not alone).
ciaan
Mar. 27th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
I thought Sam's eyes looked very GREEN, which was a combo of the yellow shirt and actually, you know, filming in color.

(I was actually surprised, in a way, that the angels even brought him along for the ride at all. I wonder if they are all of one mind on the anti-Sammy issue?)
norwich36
Mar. 28th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
I was thinking about the issue of bringing Sammy along. Clearly they had to do something to affect Sam's memory, too, or else he would have spent the whole 3 weeks hunting for Dean--and they couldn't do anything permanent to him for fear of eternally alienating Dean, so maybe it was just more efficient for them to make Sam's new identity at the same company as Dean's? They might have never connected, after all.
ciaan
Mar. 30th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
Those are all very good points.
rsadelle
Mar. 27th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Okay, see, this is the kind of thing I like about this show. I laughed all the way through it. My top three funniest bits: Smith and Wesson (when I realized that I just had to cackle for a while), the AU casting of Dean's family, and Dean's line about not going ghost hunting without health insurance. Ahahahaha!
norwich36
Mar. 28th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I loved the line about insurance because I have often had that thought: if ever there was a job that needed insurance coverage, it is hunting!

I would be perfectly happy if the show switched its current balance of 90% drama, 10% comedy to something more like 2/3 drama and 1/3 comedy. They do a really good job with the funny episodes, and obviously you couldn't have them all the time and still be the same show, but they could do more of them.
rsadelle
Mar. 28th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, I could go for a higher percentage of comedy.
(Deleted comment)
norwich36
Mar. 28th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
Yes, those were their names. I thought it was pretty cute.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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