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19 January 2007 @ 01:37 pm
Supernatural 2.11, Playthings  
Mixed feelings are the rule of the season, I swear...


Now here was an episode where both brothers were in it together, and their scenes were some of the weirdest/most "off" to me yet.

First, the opening exchange with the "antiquing" euphemism. Where's the Dean who slapped Sam's ass in "Bugs"? Who IS this guy who has seen pretty much everything, and now has Sam explaining a situation to him that they've run into before? It seems inconsistent.

Although, the exchange on "Overcompensating"... sounds like a line out of this Wincest story I wrote last year. ;) And I did like how Sam turned that conversation from "Why do people think we're gay?" to "Well, you are kind of butch..." Way to lay it at Dean's feet, though he deserved it for getting all weird.

The expansive lying about Sam being into dolls was actually making ME uncomfortable, and I don't know whether that's good or bad in terms of Dean's characterization. He really can be such an ass.

The big negative for me was the "drunk Sam" scene. At first, I thought Sam had been possessed by the old lady in the wheelchair that we'd seen in the promos. It didn't look or sound like "Sam" at all, let alone drunk!Sam. It looked and sounded like some entirely different person. Jared, what were you thinking in that scene? It lessened the big impact for me of Sam begging Dean to promise to do that one impossible thing, and Dean was just very weird there.

I don't know. Sometime the fumbling between the brothers (and Kripke's anti-touching obsession) just gets weird for me. I like it most of the time, but I need the balance, and I guess it's been too long since I felt we had that. Either Dean's pushing Sam away or the reverse, and it's all just weird.

On to the FABULOUS: The Inn. The doll-sized inn. The bizarro wedding-dress-on-the-wall type of decor. The creepy desk guy who could have gone either way (hello "Rocky Horror Picture Show"), but turned out to be normal enough. The Invisible Friend, and how that was slooowly revealed (loved that). The sheer quantity of evil, glassy-eyed dolls. The "solarium". The crazy/sick lady in the attic. Hoo-doo. Good times, all of it, good times.

The "Supernatural" portion of this episode was really good, I thought. It was creepy, it unfolded to become even more creepy, and the answers weren't as obvious as they appeared.

And in my fixation on small details, I really liked that when the proprietor caught the boys in the attic with her vulnerable grandmother, she immediately kicked them out. That's the normal response to that situation, and it's great to see that little sting of reality, since we get so used to viewing the weird Winchester viewpoint as "Normal" most of the time.

And my final closing ramble, which is brought home by the last scene in the car.... I really, really love the acting Jensen does with his face. A good half or more of his "Dean" characterization is non-verbal, and I love the changing emotions he conveys in situations like that. Awesome.

Still want my hug. And I do believe it's about time Dean got drunk, at least once in awhile. The boy's got a lot he's bottling up these days...

Whether you skipped over the entry or not, here's a question for you: does Jensen walk like Dean (all wide-stanced and bow-legged with that rolling gait that makes him look like a bear), or does he walk like a normal person? I seem to remember Alec and Jason Teague as being more lithe and athletic in their movements. Anyone?



 
 
 
Ah yes, quite a bunch of us, isn't it?unhobbityhobbit on January 19th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
I completely agree about the whole "antiquing" bit and the drunk!Sammy. I was wondering why the hell Dean seemed to be lost for words and completely unable to think of a comeback about the gay thing. Then drunken Sam seemed more unhinged than drunk and the scene didn't seem to know if it wanted to be humourous or serious.

I don't think I can help you out with Jensen's walking, can't say I've looked at it much.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on January 20th, 2007 08:00 am (UTC)
I was wondering why the hell Dean seemed to be lost for words and completely unable to think of a comeback about the gay thing.
I hate having the feeling that the characters are becoming dumber over time (and it's more frequently that I get that impression of Dean). :( And the drunk!Sammy... had Jared been more obviously drunk, instead of looking and sounding like an old lady, that probably would have worked better for me. Plus, his sudden angst over people dying seemed to be coming out of the blue, and that didn't work for me at all. :(

mooyoo: SN - SamHuh?mooyoo on January 19th, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
I think my biggest problem with the drunk scene was that it made so little sense to me why Sam hd gone and gotten so drunk. When I first watched it I was all "what the hell is wrong with him? He's drunk? Why is he drunk? Did he go out drinking as part of the job? Was he trying to get info from someone and had a little too much? What on earth happened?" And the leap to Sam being so upset about people dying just really seemed too far. He's seen people killed before, and he really had so little connection with these people and with this case that to all of a sudden break out the "I'm so sad because everyone around me dies" felt very out of place here. I liked Sam's drunken silliness, but beyond that the scene kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

As far as the being mistaken for gay thing, someone at TWOP suggested this - to be mistaken for gay once is funny (especially if Dean can make Sam uncomfortable with it), to be mistaken for gay several times might make one wonder what they're doing to come off that way, which I think makes sense. But that also, while funny, just didn't feel quite right to me, in large part because the whole exchange between Dean and the woman seemed too close to his exchange with Michael in Something Wicked, and a lot about this episode struck me as the writers copying themselves just a bit too much.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on January 20th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC)
I think my biggest problem with the drunk scene was that it made so little sense to me why Sam hd gone and gotten so drunk. When I first watched it I was all "what the hell is wrong with him? He's drunk? Why is he drunk? Did he go out drinking as part of the job? Was he trying to get info from someone and had a little too much? What on earth happened?"
I actually had that same problem. It landed into the script out of nowhere, and it actually made more sense to me in the context that the spooky attic-lady would have possessed him. It was a seriously WTF lead-in to that scene, and it didn't recover well.

And I agree about the leap to Sam's angst over people dying. I can see him feeling that, definitely. But he's weathered tougher than that all his life, and again-- it's coming out of nowhere here, and that bugs me.

someone at TWOP suggested this - to be mistaken for gay once is funny (especially if Dean can make Sam uncomfortable with it), to be mistaken for gay several times might make one wonder what they're doing to come off that way, which I think makes sense.
Now that's a valid and interesting point. But still... he suddenly seemed like a younger and more naive Dean, and that doesn't stay true to what we've seen of the character. Word on the Michael/King-sized-bed-redux as well. I don't like sloppy writing-- heck, so many fanfic authors beat themselves up to avoid this, and I expect the people who are paid for it to do a much better job!
BEWARE OF JENMAR.: SPN - Gen - Deanclex_monkie89 on January 19th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
According to Julia (Who is totally credible on this) Jensen only walks all bowlegged when he's Dean.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on January 20th, 2007 08:05 am (UTC)
I believe that's true also. I've never noticed Jensen walking in any particularly noticeable way, i.e., he walks like a regular person.

But Dean's got this bow-legged bear gait, and by god, it actually DOES make him shorter. :0 ;)
BEWARE OF JENMAR.clex_monkie89 on January 20th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
That totally explains why everyone thinks Dean is so tiny. Standing next to Jared makes him itty bitty and standing next to him all bowlegged and kinds crouched sure as fuck don't help it none.
Ice-T: an actor, also a refreshing beverage: SPN - This sucks out loudfiddleyoumust on January 19th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
Okay. So I hated this episode. I kind of didn't like it last night, but now, HATE.

I suspected from the moment the little girl tells Sam that the other little girl didn't twist the dolls head around, that the other little girl wasn't real. I immediately was like... where's little girl #2? So that reveal wasn't slow in coming for me and it left the whole Supernatural portion of the ep kind of meh. Plus, my mom keeps creepy dolls in her house and so I don't find them particularly creepy having been exposed to them my whole life.

As far as the Winchester scenes go. I only enjoyed three parts. The part where Dean asks Sam why they come off gay seemed very Dean to me. I enjoyed that, because like Mooyoo was saying, it's one thing to be mistaken for it once and use it to tease your brother, but it's an entirely different thing for it to keep happening over and over again. It means that you're probably doing something that gives off a vibe and that would make any heterosexual male uncomfortable. Next, I liked Sam's silly drunk, it was funny and Dean's reaction was kind of enjoyable... like his shock at Sam saying things like that to him and then his realization and irritation at Sam getting drunk. And lastly, I really liked the clutch when Dean is putting Sam to bed. Or at least I liked Dean's reaction to the clutch because Sam's grabbing and begging and Dean just comes off PISSED. Like Sam's touch is hurting him and I felt like that was an entirely perfect Dean reaction to what Sam was asking him. And frankly, Dean's the type of character who takes orders. And now he's been given the same order by the two people he loves the most and his internal desire is waring with his "follow orders" upbringing and that has to be killing him. So I though Dean's underlying rage there was so perfect.

I'm going to officially throw my hat in to the "I don't want a hug" camp. At this point, it would feel almost OOC to me if they hug. And further more, a hug now would feel to me exactly how this entire episode felt. Like Kripke and company are patronizing me. Throwing me a freaking bone just to keep me watching. And you know, this show has plenty of stuff to keep me watching. I think ellipsisblack said it best when she said she didn't need the writers to make her subtext text. That's fandoms job and frankly, we're better at it than they are.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on January 20th, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)
Oh, bummer that the Supernatural part of the story was obvious to you. That was the only part that really worked for me, and some of the season has been more about the Meta-Arc and a little skimpy on the spookiness that gives the show its charm.

And lastly, I really liked the clutch when Dean is putting Sam to bed. Or at least I liked Dean's reaction to the clutch because Sam's grabbing and begging and Dean just comes off PISSED. Like Sam's touch is hurting him and I felt like that was an entirely perfect Dean reaction to what Sam was asking him.
That particular moment-- and Dean's reaction, like Sam was pulling the lifeblood out of him with everything he did just then-- was really nice. I just, in general, feel like I want more kindness-based touching, and I want it to creep in as an indicator of their (we hope) increasing ease with each other over time. I just have a hard time imagining them being like this Before Stanford, and so this is still a sign of estrangement to me. And I think the lack of it is starting to verge on weirdness to me, and not in a good way.

I wouldn't mind a big hug, in a desperate moment. But overall, I'd like some build toward a more "comfortable" relationship, let us say.

THAT particular issue aside, I agree with much of what you said about not needing the writers to make the subtext text. That tends to come off SO badly in virtually any show (see Smallville for some examples of just godawful ways to do it).

That's fandoms job and frankly, we're better at it than they are.
:D I know this is one of thelana's pet peeves, but I honestly think it's true. The creator and writers have invented an amazing framework of a show. But damned if many of the fandom writers don't do a far better (and more consistent) job of fleshing it out...
aeroport_artaeroport_art on January 20th, 2007 10:29 am (UTC)
Skimpy on the spookiness, what?? This is the spookiest episode I've seen since maybe Bloody Mary! o.o To each her own I guess XD The face of the victim doll.... brrrr.

And YES Dean's facial expressions completely make his character, as well as the episode in this case. You really get to see how Jensen Ackles is so much stronger of an actor than Jared (the drunk scene... *slaps forehead*). I guess he's got a few years on him though, we'll give Jared a fair chance :3
plutogirl10 on January 20th, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
I don't think Jensen walks as bow-legged at Dean, but I think all his characters have a man-strut that's uniquely jensen. heee :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Jensenhalfshellvenus on January 20th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure Jensen does walk like a normal person. Dean is just definitely the most outrageously butch of the characters he's played (thanks, Sam), although Alex was forceful in a different kind of manipulative, menacing way. :D
bluesister on January 20th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
I knew a guy who was really bowlegged and his legs were just formed that way. I didn't know it was possible to fake it but I think JA does. Maybe he's based the character on some rodeo guy he knows.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on January 20th, 2007 08:26 am (UTC)
I think JA does fake it, and I was wondering what other people's opinions were.

I see a couple of guys who walk like that around the office, and it's often some of my fellow cyclists who way overdo it. The men always-- never the women.
     Mandya_phoenixdragon on January 20th, 2007 06:58 am (UTC)
I too, thought he was possessed at first - then I thought, 'What the hell?' - I dunno, didn't seem to be Jared's fault though, just ovecompensation on the part of the writers.

It was overall a good ep - and I kinda felt sorry for Dean all over again... It's like dealing with a younger version of Dad, isn't it? LOL!

I think he rides horses, which eventually gives you a bow-legged look, my sister had that same walk for the longest time...

*Hugs you*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on January 21st, 2007 08:23 am (UTC)
I too, thought he was possessed at first - then I thought, 'What the hell?' - I dunno, didn't seem to be Jared's fault though, just ovecompensation on the part of the writers.
I think Jared played it oddly, but then the thing is... the director is supposed to shape that, if it doesn't come off right. So it's a two-part responsibility, really. It sure as heck had me confused. And I kind of liked the idea of an evilAtticLady possession, just for the weirdness potential. ;)

It's like dealing with a younger version of Dad, isn't it? LOL!
:D Yes, that's exactly what Dean needs. Another source of guilt! Besides Dad and himself. Oy. :0

Did you ever wind up creating an angst comm for Supernatural? I've got a few stories that definitely fall into that boat, obviously. ;)
     Mandya_phoenixdragon on January 21st, 2007 08:33 am (UTC)
Poor Dean, lol!!

Yes, actually I did - it looks kind meh right now, but extremefangirl did a banner for me! and it looks AWESOME... I can't do the 'lj-user thingie' corretly - but it's at spn_dark_vault! Feel free to join up and send some yum!

*Snuggles you*
Destinadestina on January 20th, 2007 07:37 am (UTC)


And in my fixation on small details, I really liked that when the proprietor caught the boys in the attic with her vulnerable grandmother, she immediately kicked them out.


Yes! She seemed very real to me; her reactions were exactly right. Who wouldn't be pissed? The normal thing would be to want to protect your defenseless relative.

Yes also to drunken Dean. Soon, I hope. *g*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on January 21st, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)
Yes also to drunken Dean. Soon, I hope. *g*
Somebody did point out the possibility that drunken Dean might be all belligerent and prone to taking swings at Sammy, which was not what I was hoping for! I was thinking something along the lines of loopy and affectionate, perhaps with a face-plant or two for the physical humor. ;)
Skywalker-Winchester: supernatural_brothers05  jsie_iconsanakin415 on January 20th, 2007 08:06 am (UTC)
Dean drunk.... [art of me is afraid of that.... he has way too much pent up and sooo much built up I dont think it would be pretty and hell that could be a whole episode in and of itself.

I loved the creep factor in this episode but drunk!Sammy... I dont know Jared was off a little there.

Jensen... that bowlegged cowboy he is naturally wide stanced but I think he knows it and tries to change that but you cant change a cowboy no siree. I know I wouldnt want to change that LOL. Yah though seriously.... I think its the Dean bravdo there not Jensen.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on January 21st, 2007 08:28 am (UTC)
Dean drunk.... part of me is afraid of that.... he has way too much pent up and sooo much built up I dont think it would be pretty and hell that could be a whole episode in and of itself.
I just addressed this in the comment above, because I remembered you saying that, and I thought "No! AngryDrunkDean was not the point! I want funDrunkDean!" Because you're right-- it could get very, very ugly if he were angry.

but drunk!Sammy... I dont know Jared was off a little there.
He definitely was for me. This is one of the things that fandom jumps all over you for saying, but Jared is definitely still growing as an actor, and that scene was definitely in the WTF category for me. *Sigh* The voice, the mannerisms, the body language. It was just all wrong.

I think its the Dean bravdo there not Jensen.
I think so too. I think Jensen walks more like a regular person (even in photo shoots of just him, his legs are together when he's standing, and his body is kind of relaxed). For Dean, though, even when he's not moving he's kind of wide-stanced and he often has this tension about him like he's waiting for trouble to strike.

In conclusion, though... it definitely makes Dean shorter than Jensen. ;) And does that ever suffer in comparison to Sam.
Skywalker-Winchesteranakin415 on January 21st, 2007 08:37 am (UTC)
Yah drunk!Sammy I was wondering if maybe that was a scene they played with and nothing just seemed to quite work out and finally its the end of the day and everyone is like "fuck it Jared just go through it because its not working but we need this scene" kinda thing. Jared though you are right hes still a growing actor. I like that he has the opportunity to work off of Jensen who gives me that kinda "perfectionist" vibe. Jared is getting into the swing of things which works well for Sammy because they seem to have that same stage in life thing going for them. I hope he continues to grow.... ok so maybe that I meant to grow into Jensen pants ... god I got to get those pics out of my mind... *my pic spam is haunting me LOL*
I'm for wine and the embrace of questionable womenmissyjack on January 22nd, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
Now I loved the ep so just watch me magically turn your negs into positives!

Dean's reaction to the homo-assumption. I think he is like like "once or twice maybe, but why do people KEEP thinking it?"

drunk!Sam - I loved him. For me the point was that we were seeing a side of Sam he keeps hidden. Dean ain't the only one good at repressing his feelings.

Totally agree on the non-verbal in the car - brilliant.

And as to your comment that Dean really can be such an ass. He can be. I think fans often ignore this but exchanges like this? And last week when he sees Ava in Sam's motel room and says "you sly dog" *shakes head* sometimes Dean...

(In Australia we'd call dean a bit of a "tool", but I don't think that's used in the US?)




The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on January 22nd, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
Dean's reaction to the homo-assumption. I think he is like like "once or twice maybe, but why do people KEEP thinking it?"
Yes, other people said that too. Perhaps if it was played a little differently (or a slightly different line)? As in, "Why do people keep thinking we're gay" is a whole different situation than "Why do people think we're gay," for me. Because it acknowledges that Dean at least remembers that they've been through this before. ;)

I think fans often ignore this but exchanges like this? And last week when he sees Ava in Sam's motel room and says "you sly dog" *shakes head* sometimes Dean...
Yes, exactly. That "you sly dog" aspect of Dean is one that I really don't like, but that's because it's juvenile and assy. Doesn't mean it isn't Dean-- it just isn't one of the better parts of who he is.

(In Australia we'd call dean a bit of a "tool", but I don't think that's used in the US?)
OH yes, it definitely is. Check out the opening of this story I wrote over a year ago (about 5-6 paragraphs down). THAT part of Dean's personality showed up virtually all the time last year. *head-thwaps him* ;)
I'm for wine and the embrace of questionable womenmissyjack on January 22nd, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
oh i've just started reading that story and now must read all of it....