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Supernatural report

Insta-thoughts on 5.16 below the cut, with spoilers aplenty.

1. Oh, Sam.  (repeated many times in varying tones of voice)

2. Oh, Dean.

3. Dean's idea of Heaven is other people, seen not only through the memories that he stepped into, but his conversation with Pamela.  He didn't like the idea of everyone being in their own little world because of his need for other people (his greatest fear is everyone leaving him, after all) and for another reason I'll discuss below.  So now that everyone has been stripped away from him, all the way up to God, maybe he needs to find a reason for going on that's not about anyone but himself.

4. Sam's idea of Heaven is independence and showing he can make it on his own, even if his memories showed he was oblivious to the effect that's had on other people (Dean) over his life.  Now that he has gone it on his own and royally screwed things up, maybe he needs to be in it fully with Dean for once.  Which kind of contradicts #3, so I'm not sure what to think about that.  I was a wee bit annoyed that this episode was so Dean-focused, because I feel like I'm missing what this all means for Sam.

5. It is now canon that Sam and Dean are soulmates.  *snicker*

6. Damn, I miss Ash.  That was totally what Ash's Heaven would be like, too, down to the homemade angel detector and the beer shotgunning.  *giggle*

7.  It was creepy but well-done for Dean to get up and be walking around with the bullet hole in his back.  *shudder*

8. I am so happy that it's canon that Sam went to Heaven after AHBL.  Love how they were both so confused as to how they ended up there this time (but how Sam wasn't surprised at all to see Dean, d'awww...)

9. Dean's talk with Pamela reminded me so much of WIAWSNB.  He doesn't want to be happy.  He wants what's real and true and human, and if that means pain in the real world rather than a made-up family, or the misery and guilt of trying to stop the Apocalypse vs. having whatever he wants in Heaven, then so be it.  Which matters a lot because

10. At first, I thought Joshua's message was a clumsy attempt to explain the literal deus ex machina from "Sympathy for the Devil" while also cutting off the possibility of a similar rescue later in this season, and it ticked me off.  Okay, so it was both those things, but it was also something else.  Dean asked why God wasn't going to step in, and Joshua said it was like asking why does God allow evil in the world?  Which to me (and excuse me, my theology is showing here), is not just one of the Big Questions, but is answered by Free Will.  

IOW, the God in SPN wants the Winchesters to win, or he wouldn't have pulled their asses out of the convent.  But he wants them to make use of the free will he gave them:  the most important thing that separates them from the angels.  And to my mind, that's also the only thing that redeems Dean for being so goshdarn stubborn in refusing Michael: the fact that he's exercising his free will, refusing to take the easy way out and remaining his fully human self.  So yeah, God's not being a deadbeat Dad.  He's stepping back and letting his kids grow up and do it on their own, which is what Sam's been trying to do his whole life and what Dean (ironically) has never quite learned to do.  *takes deep breath and stops*

11. We all know Sam picked up the amulet on his way out.  Right?  :(



Apr. 5th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
Did you catch Dean's reaction to that? That was actually one of my (many) favorite moments in this episode. When Sam said "You, I get," Dean looked surprised to hear him say so. I thought that was a wonderful small reaction shot on JA's part - well acted.

Yes, I did, and I had the same reaction as you: great job, Jensen!

for the most part, even though they demonstratively ARE good guys, they don't see themselves that way

Well, Sam had the first angel he met basically go "Ew!" and only reluctantly shake his hand, and I'm sure Dean figures that whatever he did in Hell was enough to get him sent back down there. But yeah, the fact that if anyone called them heroes to their faces, they'd laugh it off, is part of what makes them even more heroic. :)

Hold up! So you think he should say yes? WOW. Why?

I would if canon was just a little different, especially after Michael said he wouldn't leave Dean a slobbering wreck. Dean is obviously willing to sacrifice himself to save anyone and everyone, and he's desperate to make up for helping start the apocalypse, so he comes across as not having a good reason to say no other than stamping his foot and being stubborn.

OTOH, Michael seems to be as much of a dick as most of the rest of the angels, so he's clearly not to be trusted. And while from a strategic POV it would make sense to take out Lucifer when he's not in his chosen vessel, I get the feeling that Michael would hang around till May 2 in Detroit anyway, so there's no point to Dean saying yes.

BTW, I feel much better about Dean being stubborn on principle after this ep, because now I see it as part of the SPN God's plan (oh, irony!).

Edited at 2010-04-05 12:44 pm (UTC)
Apr. 5th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
I guess I think he comes across as having very defensible reasons to say no - I think he truly does see it as distasteful to be an "Angel condom." I also had a real "stand up and cheer" moment in Sympathy for the Devil when he said (paraphrasing) that we should say no to both the demons and the angels and take back the world, even going so far as to say he was equipped with a "GED and a give 'em hell attitude."

Even though he, minutes later, told Sam he didn't really believe it, I think he actually DOES, he just doesn't know HOW they're going to do it. From the time of My Bloody Valentine to God's message to "Back off" in this episode, I think he was willing to believe that finding God was the answer after all (because he certainly thought it was laughable in Good God, Y'all), but I'm hoping he's ready to charge up "Team Free Will" after this.

It just occurred to me that "Team Free Will" has now (with the exception of Sam? Maybe??) given up on the deus ex machina of finding God - Castiel's "You son of a bitch" being an essential step in admitting that Big Daddy isn't going to wave his magic wand and fix everything.

It's definitely becoming more and more intriguing, as we watch it play out.

Thanks for a thought provoking reaction post.

Edited at 2010-04-05 01:21 pm (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
In thinking more about it, there's two other things that come to mind:

1) Dean already said "yes" once with horrible consequences, not only personally but for the fate of the world, so there's no way he's going to say yes this time if he can help it. I guess I would have to say that's more than stubbornness, so I revise my above opinion. :)

2) For Sam, the consequences of saying "yes" are a lot more serious, so he has to believe there's another way out. And now that he knows he's been to Heaven (multiple times!), he knows he's not irredeemable like he might have thought he was before. That's why I was a little unhappy with the Dean-centric focus of this ep, because it seemed to me like it offered Sam as much hope as it took away from Dean, but that was definitely secondary.

Thanks for engaging with my post so much; I appreciate the chance to think things out!
Apr. 6th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm slow tonight - what are you referring to in 1) above? When did Dean say "yes?"

I'm sure I"ll be ready to *headdesk* as soon as you tell me, but again, I'm having a short bus night.
Apr. 8th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
Oh, I meant when he gave in in Hell, saying yes to Alastair.