SPN 9x2: Devil May Care

Oct 16, 2013 21:32

Starting with Ezekiel's intentions: right now I would predict that Ezekiel does mean well but, like everyone else on this show has on some time or another, is about to find out that good intentions can sometimes go awry. If nothing else, Zeke wasn’t screwing around about his own injuries - wings don’t lie, and his are raggedy as anything. It seems most likely to me that Ezekiel is sincere, but not necessarily right, and the real question is what kind of unintentional fallout his possession of Sam will have.

What I’d really love is if Sam were to develop angel powers too. Part of that’s just...power fantasy, I guess, I want Sam to have power and not have too much self-loathing about it to use it. But I also think it would do cool things in examining the relationship so far. Because what if, as I idly speculated but dared not hope for last week, Sam gets a little extra boost from Ezekiel? What if Dean then has the same revulsion to it as he had to the demon blood, about something he can’t pin on any external associations or inherent evilness to the power itself or “bad choices” Sam’s made because Sam didn’t get a choice here? Maybe - as I have long suspected - it was really about Dean being pissed Sam could do something Dean couldn’t.

“I’m happy with my life, for the first time in…forever.” I LOVE IT IT’S JUST WHAT I WANT. Because sure, Sam could just be doing better. He could be riding a wave of relief after an aborted suicide attempt, which I would imagine is not that uncommon. It could be to do with the trials - maybe a global catastrophe that’s definitely not his fault is a step up by Winchester standards; even just the sheer relief of having all that physical pain and fatigue lifted from him is bound to have him buzzing with endorphins.

Because the brain, too, is a thing that can be healed, which brings me to the most likely possibility, which is that Ezekiel isn’t just healing Sam’s body. He’s healing (or "healing") Sam’s mind, perhaps even his soul. At the very least, Ezekiel can remodel all of those neurotransmitters and receptors and blah blah and fix the problems that Sam’s long struggle with depression and PTSD (for starters) has carved into his brain. But there’s also the scarier mind control possibility: if Ezekiel can suppress Sam’s memories, can he also pick and choose which of Sam’s complicated feelings can poke through at any given moment. Dean, and we, have no idea of the extent to which Sam is angel-filtered or -feigned Sam. And if so, is that so bad? He didn’t choose a hell of a lot of other things that color his perception of the world or even himself.

And, like the power question, how are we going to see Dean react to that? As much as he’s claimed to have Sam’s well being at heart, his behavior says something completely different (because OH MY GOD, NO, YOU SHOULD NOT JUDGE CHARACTERS BASED ON WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THEMSELVES). A happier, better-adjusted Sam is a much harder Sam to manipulate and control, and I suppose there’s always the outside chance Dean has grown as a person, but the Dean we’ve seen for the past several years would not like that development one bit.

The parallels to Naomi and Cas last season are blowing me away, man. I saved you. I fixed you. Cas slipped in and out while his angel got up in his head to do her business; Sam has twice already done the same. That ability to selectively mess with someone without their knowledge is - it’s playing God. It’s messing with reality itself. Because it’s not just that Dean let it happen, it’s that he’s the one pulling the con now, using the same tactics he’s used all along. How creepy is that moment when Zeke lets Sam wake up? “Saved your ass. Like usual.” A claim of Sam’s indebtedness to Dean, an insult to Sam’s general competence, and then a lie cutting across Sam’s logical objections to Dean’s story. In crisis, people slip back into what’s familiar, and Dean is so used to gaslighting Sam that it’s the first thing he reaches for. The difference between his actions last week and his actions now is the difference between dragging someone to the hospital after a suicide attempt and trying to convince them that they’re not locked up in an institution afterward. And Dean absolutely knows he’s out of line on a whole new level. He distracts himself from what he is, right now, at the moment, doing wrong by dwelling on what could happen because of things he has done - or, actually, the choice that Sam made not to finish the trials, doubling down on his current violation of Sam’s agency by claiming that he, not Sam, made Sam’s choice there.

He also pulls that crap on Kevin. Now, I do think both boys care about Kevin a lot, and I do think it’s true that Kevin is a dead man the minute he steps out the door. But look how Dean offers extreme, total devotion (you’re family, we’d die for you) after convincing Kevin he’s all alone in the world even if he’s not (if your mom’s alive, she’s dead). I do tend to believe Linda is alive somewhere, if only because I don’t see Crowley giving up such valuable leverage when lying about killing her would get the same effect on Kevin. And it’s not so much that Dean’s preventing Kevin from going out and finding her - Kevin going out and getting captured isn’t going to help her any, but keeping him around to get intel out of Crowley just might - but that Dean talks him out of even trying by promising love and affection that’ll only make another appearance when Kevin threatens to take his toys and go away again.

ANYWAY WHAT ELSE ABBADON IS SO FUCKING COOL. The king is dead, long live the queen. Abbadon-in-Josie seems to have been actually resurrected, in the show’s first female resurrection ever? And she’s a big-picture thinker. She’s way more than a worthy opponent, willing and able to coordinate a top-down effort as Team Winchester is scrambling around, newly committed to the traditional decentralized hunter style.

  • Abbadon driving home the scary things possession can mean and flinging Dean into a window full of mannequins. (I'm really not rooting for Dean to get possessed as some kind of cosmic justice, btw. the key thing here isn't that possession sucks. it's the fact that Sam trusts him over and over and over like Charlie Brown and the friggin football.
  • did Dean consciously use Zeke as backup, or was he just bluffing about lucking out?
  • the psychological dynamics of that talk between Dean and Ezekiel are amazing. Ezekiel draws Dean out and gets Dean to share his vulnerabilities; Dean uses the conversation with Zeke to pretend to himself that he's getting absolution from Sam; Ezekiel not only goes along with it but actually uses the line "that's why I said yes" for Sam.
  • the somber music behind Sam's assertion that he's the happiest he's ever been OMG THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED. I KNOW THIS CAN'T LAST JUST LET ME HAVE MY ~MOMENT OKAY.
  • OKAY EDITED AGAIN. I was thinking about Dean's shifting reasons for not killing Crowley - maybe he can help Sam! maybe Sam would want to protect him! maybe they can get info from him! Or....maybe Dean just didn't want to kill Crowley, because he can't kill monsters once he's stopped othering them the way he does. Crowley might be evil, but for better or worse or a hell of a lot worse, Dean empathizes. As with everything, it's stop and go - it's good that murder is no longer his #1 go-to impulse, it's really unhealthy that he won't own those better impulses.

I didn't mention this in my initial post or my update yesterday because I thought it was pretty obvious, but then I saw a couple of reasonably cogent reviews fall for the sleight of hand:

EZEKIEL: Everything [Sam] knows, I know. And I know that what you did, you did out of love.

Do y'all see the disconnect here? It's like saying "I'm looking at the Pizza Hut menu right now. I'm going to get pad thai." It sounds like there's some flow between those two sentences, but you can't get pad thai from Pizza Hut, and Ezekiel can't pull absolution for Dean out of Sam's mind because Sam doesn't know what Dean did. Ezekiel is speaking for Ezekiel. I believe he is doing so genuinely, but he is. But he is using everything he can find in Sam's mind, and Dean is using Zeke's violation of Sam in order to soothe his own conscience about initiating and enabling Zeke's violation of Sam. Because if he looks like Sam, and he shares some knowledge pool with Sam, then...can that be Sam enough for Dean? It's apparently Sam enough for some viewers. Hammer, meet nail.
In conclusion, if you can handle this storyline and you haven't watched Dollhouse, you are wrong as fuck. That is all.

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spn: sammay!, supernatural, the dollhouse is real, spn: dean what even, abuse, episode review

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