so how 'bout those SPN ComicCon spoilers?

Jul 24, 2013 01:01

SPOILERS, obviously. tbh very little we couldn't have guessed from what we've seen, this is mostly about S8, but for the purists out there, don't click.

A quick note at first on a theme I kept noticing: I felt like I was hearing a lot of causal language? Like "they stopped the trials, therefore there are angels and demons walking the earth." But as far as we know, the status should be pretty quo wrt demons unless there's something Kevin missed? It's like almost going out the door, stopping, and heading back to the couch. You didn't rob a bank, your ass is on the couch.

MOSTLY THOUGH, two teasers from Padalecki suggested some very promising things to me (transcribed by me

I thought Jeremy and Bob were going to [something] at the panel and they didn't. But the way Sam heals involves keeping a secret between Sam and Dean, something Sam is not aware of that Dean keeps from him. But we'll see Sam go through some changes. (here, starting about two minutes in)

And also:

There is a [thing? secret?] about Sam that Sam doesn't know, that really heavily involves Sam, and even has a lot to do with why Sam is still alive, um, so, Dean is...and he's hating it every step of the way, and Sam can't really tell, Sam's just kind of like "okay, I remember our conversation about teamwork, so I'm going to take you at your word, but when Sam finds out the shit's gonna hit the fan. (here, starting about 7 minutes in)

The first-guess theory, which I do agree seems most likely at the moment, is that Dean will be dosing Sam with demon blood in order to heal him. Here's my initial response from tumblr:

(i) this is completely plausible.

(ii) I am having a surprisingly strong gut response to this idea on two levels:
  1. the idea of demon blood intake being a necessary - or even good - thing for Sam would mean a lot to me, for the same reasons as I am viscerally opposed to him being “purified."
  2. Dean doping Sam would be yet another violation in a very long line of serious violations, including but not limited to: the forced detox in S4, the forced re-ensoulment in S6, and the lying to Sam about Amy after promising he would be a trustworthy anchor to reality in S7. those incidents hurt me on Sam’s behalf more than just about anything in the series, and the thought of it happening again is tough. 

(iii) based on what I saw in S8, I am surprisingly confident that the writers/cast would handle both of those angles, and at least a few I haven’t thought of, with a lot of maturity and insight.*

(iv) *sadly, I cannot say the same for fandom-at-large.

The only thing I don't stand by is the apparent ambivalence. I'm trying not to get really attached to any predictions, BUT THIS IS EVERYTHING I WANT I WANT IT SO BAD. The incidents I talked about, which to me are the starkest (though far from only) violations of Sam's autonomy wrt his own brain, are ripe for interrogation and inversion. (I'm hoping to think this through for a more thorough post, but it's proving very difficult because ~reasons you all have probably gathered, but this is very reminiscent of PWD experience.)

I think, up until now, the show has always given us an out on these violations, by pathologizing something about Sam and then heavily privileging Dean's POV.* There has always been an excuse, something BAD about Sam that Dean just HAD to FIX. This is USUALLY excuse that people give when they are causing someone else harm, that is "there is something WRONG with YOU." And I think the show, up until now, has somewhat reified that excuse by having there be something different about Sam (though it's sporadically done interesting things in how much that "difference" is WRONG). The demon blood inside of Sam HAD TO be purged, therefore the forced detox was okay, even if it meant Sam dying. The soullessness was Not Sam, and so it was okay to eliminate Soulless Sam, even if it meant Sam dying. Amy represented Sam potentially making some peace with his "freak" self, and so that part of him had to be symbolically eliminated through the murder of Amy, even though it definitely meant her dying and had major repercussions to Sam's mental state. In Dean's mind, his actions are always justified because some evil or other inherent to Sam's state of being is greater than the evil of risking or causing unnecessary death.

But look, that's bullshit. You cannot MAKE someone treat you badly by BEING STRANGE AT THEM. Dean pulls the crap he pulls because he wants to do it - or more specifically, because on some level he wants to show himself and Sam that HE is the one who gets to make decisions for both of them. (I do not, of course, think Dean has consciously admitted this to himself. I'm just saying if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and beats on head trauma patients for leaving the house without his permission like a duck, I don't care whether or not it thinks it's a lawn chair, IT'S A DAMN DUCK.)

And so if demon blood is the cure here, that is VERY INTERESTING. Because this course of action implies that annihilating Sam's demon-ness is LESS important than saving Sam's life! GREAT NEWS HUH? Because the change in there might just be that Dean has looked in the mirror and had a come-to-Jesus moment. And hey, maybe! I haven't seen this shit yet. Hope springs eternal and all that.

BUT. The specific language both actors use, that Dean is keeping a big secret from Sam, emphasizes that this is yet another instance of Dean acting in direct contravention of Sam's stated thoughts and desires - indeed, it centralizes Dean as the subject of that sentence, rendering Sam the object even in his own healing. In Dean's mind, Sam is NOT the expert on Sam; Sam's life only becomes worthwhile when Sam thinks it is worthless. Because where has Sam been through all of this? Taking Dean at his word that hey, nothing personal, it's just that eradicating your gross inhumanity IS more important than life itself! And Sam has adjusted his perspective on the value of his own life accordingly, to devastating effect.

This is where you are probably subconsciously expecting some bleating about how this MUST be OOC because  THE RITURRZZZ just DON'T UNDERSTAAAAAND the COMPLEX ISSUES here SOCIAL JUSTICE SAYS I RULE THEY DROOL. This could not be farther from the case. IF this is what the show does - and that's still far from a given, and even if I'm totally off-base and something else happens I am still pretty excited to see it! - this is absolutely consistent with everything we have seen so far. IMO Dean's desire to control Sam has been been a salient issue between the two of them since the pilot, and the overriding priority of Dean in his actions toward Sam since mid-S4. This is NOT a change in his characterization. It IS a different circumstance, where this aspect of Dean's behavior is thrown into relief and MUST be faced by both the characters and the audience. IF they are ever to have an actually healthy relationship, which may or may not be possible, THIS HAS TO HAPPEN.

Moreover, I think it works incredibly well with the mytharc. Last season they tried to bury things, to bury it and ignore it all, the seething bubbling pain beneath the metaphysical human dimension as well as their relationship. They decided not to do that, they let it all out instead. And it's not that it wasn't the right choice to do so, BUT the adjustment is hard and foreign and lets all the big scaries run amok.

*I... am still not entirely sure how I feel about the show's handling of this, there are a lot of ups and downs. It would be very, VERY easy for me to say that it's always gross, particularly because these are metaphorical/coded issues, to privilege the perspective of the Normal on the morality of the Deviant's continued existence. And maybe it is. HOWEVER. The heavy-handedness of this, to me, suggests that the show KNEW how heavy a thumb it needed on the scales just to avoid making DEAN IS TERRIBLE the only story. (He is, of course, but that's not the only story here; a big part of the story is how and why he is acting the way he is.)

In conclusion, have the quote from Carver that actually made me start dancing in my seat:

If you're saying to yourself it seems like there's something missing, it's because there is something missing. [...?] It's all by design, and it's not nice, and I apologize. (here)


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spn: sammay!, supernatural, spn: season 9, spn: dean what even, abuse

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