SPN 10x02, Reichenbach

Oct 15, 2014 14:44


To start off with, I just would like to make clear that I did not sell my soul for demon!Dean, though I can see why you were wondering. This is what I have been seeing when I look at the character for….years now. Definitely since S8, but really, I think since my first time through S4/5/6. I’m not sure how it’s changing my response to him, now that it’s framed so clearly rather than being a consistent pattern on the character’s part, but this is…definitely challenging my reaction to him. Like. What if a critical mass of his ~stuff really does get dealt with? Can Sam trust him again? Can I invest in him again? Should we do those things?

Not that I'll have to answer those questions anytime soon, yanno. The “addiction to killing” is a misdirect, I think. “Men have to sleep around because SCIENCE!” “I have to kill because THE MARK!” This Dean is a sadist. Well, he’s had sadistic tendencies for a very long time, but he’s always had other needs or goals which usually kept him busy, except for the low-hanging fruit of Sam cruelty. Now, though: no rules, no expiration date, no reason not to indulge. The power to destroy a thing is the ultimate power over it, and so, sure, killing helps. But he doesn’t want to accomplish anything with that power, and anyway, there are so many more inventive ways to cause pain than killing. (WHAT DID WE SAY. EVIL HUFFLEPUFF.) Throwing Sam’s affection back in his face is probably more satisfying to whatever part of his psyche is touched by the Mark than actually killing, Sam or anyone else.

I’m more interested than impressed by the capture at the end of the episode, which IMO says more about Dean than it does about Sam. Dean was perfectly capable of incapacitating someone and hauling tail before he was a demon. Dean could’ve gotten away from Cole, and he definitely could’ve gotten out of the bar instead of standing around trolling Sam’s brotherly love. I guess there’s a chance that he wasn’t taking Sam seriously as a threat or that he’s just getting sloppy, but really, I think on some level he was stalling because he wanted Sam to “catch” him. He’s had his fun as a demon and he wants to get turned back now, or he’s testing their relationship like usual, or he’s bored and wants a new chew toy.

SAM BBY. The first time around I wasn’t sure how I felt about the scene in the bar? Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely good. I don’t think it’s a sign of bad writing that I found them painful to watch. But ugh, it felt like network television humiliation porn. There’s this idea in fandom that maximum emotional vulnerability by Sam is a good because Dean always wants more of it, and no critical examination of why that is, or what Sam’s emotional vulnerability might mean for Sam. The second time around, though, I loved it. The point was that all the “you’re my BROTHER!!” fanservice gets thrown right back in his face. Sam says all the things that Dean claims he’s missing, “you just MAKE ME hurt you because you don’t love me enough/give up on me/whatever,” and they do him absolutely no good. I am curious how much he was actually expecting Dean to respond, or if he was testing the water to figure demon!Dean out, or even if he was saying all these things just so later on he can say he said them; regardless, Sam takes all of Dean’s cruelty in heartbreaking stride. This whole arc of the show is a gigantic meta-wishing well, like the one from way back in S4: be careful what you ask for, you just might get it, and everything that comes along with it.

I’m…not entirely certain Sam didn’t kill the blonde lady who was (supposedly) Dean’s job the night before, because we didn’t hear all the terms of his “asking price,” we just saw Sam give him the Blade. First off, I strongly suspect Crowley would’ve asked for more than something that he could probably convince Sam to do anyway? Even without the additional leverage of Dean’s location, it’d be easy enough to convince Sam to hand it over, because better Crowley (who can’t use it to any particular effect and who has plenty of interest in getting rid of it himself) than Dean. On top of that, there’s so much that smells off about the hit itself - why not be explicit with Dean about the job, when he’s usually the kind of guy who gets everything in writing? Why decide to collect today, when he knows Sam is already on his way? &c. Paralleled with, say, Cole having “let” Sam slip through his fingers so he could lead the trail to Dean. The episode title could just be a Sherlock shout-out, but if it’s an actual allusion, I remember Reichenbach Fall as being a lot about a big plan pile-up based on misdirect and mistaken identities, so…yeah. I think there’s more to that deal than “give me the Blade.”

The stuff with the angels was cool, too, in how it puts a slightly different spin on a lot of the parallels. Like, the obvious comparison of Cas telling Hannah that he has limits on what he’s willing to do to get his grace back is to Sam in early S9, but one could just as easily argue that the “we’re going to get you back to your old self, even if we have to make an unsavory deal with an adversary to do it” looks a lot like the Dean situation now. (Ethically, I think Dean’s situation is different because, given his words in the S9 finale and throughout S8, he effectively has a Ulysses pact in place. But emotionally, there’s a lot of overlap.) Castiel’s burnout, like Sam’s, has been caused by his own brother, and has in no small part been exacerbated by these men that he loves so much and their endless ~drama. Hannah, unlike Dean, has an allegiance to her family as a whole which allows her to respect her brother as an individual. &c, &c. The theme is just, dealing, a group of people coming to terms with a malicious injury inflicted by one of its own.

Anyway, angels, <333. I love Hannah, she can stay. And I love Metatron. You’d think he’d have torn down the walls already, with all that scenery-chewing. Metatron’s finding his feet in the bargaining process was fantastically done. With Hannah, he’s grasping in the dark, trying to push generic buttons and figuring out where to start. He’s just warming up with her, though; by the time Cas comes, he knows exactly what to say. Dying to know that the Metatron situation was resolved, well, that’s one thing, but dying for a cause that’ll collapse in the long run? Well, that sucks.

This was a great Cas episode. I like seeing him interact with other angels on a Cas-level, because it’s really good for him to have non-Winchester friends, and on a viewer-level, because I think we understand the character a lot better when he interacts with other angels. My favorite moment, though, was CAS AND THE KID OMGGGGG. He somehow stumbles into exactly the right way to talk to a child: he listens closely, answers her questions honestly but without diverting the conversation to topics she can’t understand, makes a joke that she can understand and which clearly isn’t at her expense, accepts a small bite of the snack she offers him. THESE ARE WINCHESTER-APPLICABLE SKILLS, FRIEND.

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spn: cas you so fly, spn: sammay!, supernatural, spn: corpus angelorum, spn: dean what even, episode review

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