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08 May 2007 @ 10:52 am
SPN 2.20, "What is and what should never be"  


What a fascinating episode this was-- I'm still thinking about it, into this week.

I liked the whole djinn backmyth on this one, the way people are put into a dream-world stasis where something they want is granted inside their head, spinning out like reality in what seems like a lifetime over a matter of days or weeks. This is very much like a real dream, which apparently takes only seconds-minutes to start and end even though it seems much longer. maygra posited the idea that the djinn feeds in some way off those happy ideas and not just the blood itself, otherwise why not just tie them up and bleed them all the same? Or it could be something simpler, i.e., that fear-adrenaline-infused blood doesn't taste good.

Dean's fantasy world-- his childlike wonder at it-- was so bittersweet. Funny, sad, sweet all at once.

It's sad that his version of himself was the kind of guy who still steals credit cards and bangs Sam's prom date. Though, given that Dean doesn't appear (deep down, that is-- not his mouthy surface) to think much of himself, that doesn't surprise me. Sam, on the other hand, was a raging success in Dean's mind.

Dean's apple-pie dream is heartbreaking because, as destina said, he really wants all of that too, in his own way. It's just that in his real state, he knows it's not an option-- he doesn't get to choose that life, except at the cost to other people. But if he could... it's the life he was promised as a child, back before his mother was killed.

I also liked Carmen, as his more "realistic" view of his kind of woman. She's funny, she gets him, she's easygoing. Not a knockout-- attractive and real instead.

And Mary... she looked realistically older in Dean's "at home" scenes (odd, because you'd think she'd be frozen in his memory as she looked in photographs and such), though in the white-nightgown-of-doom reappearances, she was younger again. Her touching his face-- loving him explicitly, the way no-one seems to have done in forever-- was worth this episode by itself.

One of the things I found interesting is that in gaining this "alternate" life, Dean loses the things he had in his real life. John is still gone from that point forward, so he can't be reclaimed. And Sam... is not Dean's friend/support/partner-in-crime anymore.

Making the choice to return at the end was, I think, more for Sam than anything. Dean would avoid all of the potential unhappiness that awaits him back in the real world, and enjoy the life he never got had he stayed. But he would have left Sam alone to take up the hunt he'd tried so hard to escape (which hardly seems fair), and moreover, there's no longer anyone to watch Sam's back. *sigh*

Does anyone else think that if John HAD been there in Dean's alternate world, back with Mary and happy again, Dean might have had a harder time choosing to look behind that curtain at what was really going on?

Closing with some shallow notes:
1) Though I hated Sam's tracksuit, and I've missed his forehead-covering bangs, he's been awfully cute these last couple of episodes. He's smiling and he's charming, and he's getting to be more like Jared than Sam.
2) The more I see of Jess, the less pretty she gets. I think she's maybe a little heavier than she was in the Pilot, and though still pretty... I dunno. Big, rough features. She looks less like Mary, if that makes sense. F-list, don't hurt me!
3) Editors: I noticed the gnome the first time, thank you. Put the sledgehammer down!
4) John is SO much better looking with stubble. Mary got gipped...
5) Jensen's RL photos and photo-shopped-in pics were kind of eerie. I think I've seen them too many times in their original context.





 
 
 
jeyhawk: coffe: swirlyjeyhawk on May 8th, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
Jess just looks awkward all of a sudden. Like her face grew out of proportion. I don't mean that she's in anyway fat, but her face was... weird. *g*

Such an heartbreaking episode. Poor Deeeaaan!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 8th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
Like her face grew out of proportion. I don't mean that she's in anyway fat, but her face was... weird. *g*
That's pretty much what I mean-- it was her face I noticed. It's kind of large and rough-feature now, and I don't remember thinking that in the pilot (though I do remember re-watching and thinking she wasn't as pretty as first suspected).

Great episode, over all. I even liked the djinn's tattoos, which were wonderfully mystical and creepy-looking!
Ice-T: an actor, also a refreshing beverage: SPN - Dean soft bed (playthings)fiddleyoumust on May 8th, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
I just have to say that I think the actress that plays Jess is beautiful. I actually like her because she has broad, almost ethnic features. She's not one of those common looking blonde girls. It's the same reason I really liked Alona Tal too. She's an ethnic looking blonde chick. It's refreshing.

I think even with John there Dean would have gone back. At the end of the day, as much as Dean loves and loved his father, it's all about Sam. Sam's the love of his life, (even in a not wincest way), he's Dean's reason for living, his job, his responsibility, and I don't think leaving Sam in reality to fend for himself was ever really an option.

In fact, the whole ending scene with everyone begging him to stay with them didn't really pull at me because I never thought Dean would actually consider staying once he knew what was really going on. His Sam, the one that loves him and needs him and is his true brother, was waiting for him somewhere else. He had to go back.

But it was a wonderful episode. I really liked seeing inside Dean's psyche. We got to see how much he thinks of Sam, how little he thinks of himself, how much he really wanted Sam to have his dream despite the fact that it took away the thing he loves the most. *sigh*

The more I find out about what makes Dean tick, the more I fall in love with him. He's so beautifully fucked up that it hurts.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 8th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
I actually like her because she has broad, almost ethnic features.
Yes, which I actually don't find terribly appealing. She's still pretty, but that's less pretty to me than classic beauty or... intriguing attractiveness.

It's the same reason I really liked Alona Tal too. She's an ethnic looking blonde chick.
Huh. She's incredibly bland-looking to me (not that pretty), and I don't care for bland at all in general. Bland is what's filling up my movie screens these days! *koff* Daniel Craig/Matt Damon/Marky Mark/Paul Ruffalo/Ryan Gosling/etc. etc. The ones that are very good actors I'll forgive, but the rest... throw me a Jensen, please-- talent AND looks.

think even with John there Dean would have gone back.
It's more a question to me of how hard Dean would have pursued the strangeness of what was happening to me. Once he knew it was unreal, I don't think there's any question he'd go back. But I wonder how hard he'd look for that answer to begin with in that case.

it's all about Sam. Sam's the love of his life, (even in a not wincest way), he's Dean's reason for living, his job, his responsibility, and I don't think leaving Sam in reality to fend for himself was ever really an option.
Truer words were never spoken! ITA. :)

His Sam, the one that loves him and needs him and is his true brother, was waiting for him somewhere else. He had to go back.
Yes-- if for no other reason, because the real Sam is the one thing that truly matters. The rest of it is pretty pictures and fantasies. But the dream doesn't need him, and he doesn't truly love it.

The more I find out about what makes Dean tick, the more I fall in love with him. He's so beautifully fucked up that it hurts.
Yes-- I don't necessarily "like" him the best of the 3 main characters (really, he's not terribly likeable in a lot of ways), but he is definitely the most intriguing one to me. He's the one whose pain and complexity I just can't resist.


Ice-T: an actor, also a refreshing beverage: SPN - Dean in playthings hand/chinfiddleyoumust on May 8th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
Gah! It's so nice to hear someone else say they don't particularly like Dean. I mean, I love Dean. But he's NOT very likable. I find myself laughing pretty hard when I read all these arguments about how self centered, selfish and ungrateful Sam is. Because... NO. Sam did what a person is supposed to do when they grow up and come of age and his father and brother used guilt and duty to try and blackmail him into doing what he didn't want to do.

Dean guilts Sam into coming with him in the pilot and while I know he loves Sam more than anything in the world, he does and says a lot of things, I think unconsciously, to try and keep Sam with him. Which is not only cruel, but also unfair.

We won't even get into his really unhealthy attachment to Sam, his total lack of guilt about the identity theft and credit card fraud, his detached method of killing things, his total lack of empathy, and his complete inability to give the people he loves any kind of honest emotion.

Wow. That makes him seem sort of horrible, which I don't think he is. I just think he's more flawed and fucked up than Sam and it sort of bothers me that everyone defends and loves him and dumps all over Sam.

It's like I've been taken over by body snatchers this year. I've come along way since season one, huh?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 9th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC)
I mean, I love Dean. But he's NOT very likable.
Yes-- I almost feel like I'm not allowed to admit that. He really isn't. He's assy, he makes it hard for Sam to love him (I'm torn between whether Sam doesn't even care to give Dean enough affection, or whether Dean simply doesn't let him. Which is also a chicken-and-egg question, but I'll bet things might have been different way back when). He does what he does (the hunting) because it saves people and he's supposed to, but he doesn't actually like people much at all. He loves his family, he gets an occasional kick out of a fellow geek apparently, and he makes moves on the women, but that's about it. And the assy part-- that goes on all the freakin' time. His overall behavior (when he's not aching, which undoes me) makes me want to smack him upside the head. :0

I find myself laughing pretty hard when I read all these arguments about how self centered, selfish and ungrateful Sam is.
I have thought of Sam as self-centered and ungrateful, especially in Season 1. That's mostly because he turned his back on Dean (remember the "no phone calls" thing?), and because you could see how badly Dean missed him and ached for him, and Sam just didn't give two fucks. And that's really typical, too, for the baby of the family-- the rest of the family spoils them, makes them self-centered, and then surprise... it sticks. And we also get into that parent/child dynamic, where Dean was partly also Sam's parent (as I see it), and the child just can't ever love the parent back in quite the same way. Children do take their parents for granted, for a very long time if not forever.

But! Sam's not wanting to hunt and follow the family lifestyle? I don't think that's selfish. I think that IS normal. The darkness, the ugliness, the emotional trauma of it all... that definitely hits Sam differently from John or Dean. It destroys part of him to be a Hunter, and he knows it. Wanting to get away is kind of self-preservation. It isn't wrong.

That makes him seem sort of horrible, which I don't think he is.
No, I don't either, but I completely agree with your assessment of him.

He was hit hard by losing his mother and losing that beautiful life he would have had. The life that took its place-- dark and scary, where he was more soldier than son, I think-- you either stop letting yourself "want" things like light and unconditional love, or the lack of them will kill you. He hides his emotions because he needs too much from Sam and his Dad, and he's so terribly afraid that they don't really care (because in his mind, he isn't worth much after all, and damn if he isn't fully aware of how unlikeable he is). As an obnoxious consequence of that, he also breeds the thing he's afraid of.

Which is fucked-up and tragic and fascinating, because the ache is real.

I've come along way since season one, huh?
Yeah, baby! I'd hardly recognize you, but the thinkiness behind all these ideas is all well-born-out and very much you. :)

And there's also S1 vs. S2. Season 1 has Dean pining over Sam and Sam mostly seeming not to care. S2 begins with Sam emotionally crumbling and Dean blowing him off, and continues with Sam reaching out to Dean and Dean being more of an ass, and... the characters have expanded during that time, so I think a lot of our opinions have changed.
ErinRua: Motor runnin'erinrua on May 8th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
Everything you said, just ... yeah. You found the words I haven't yet. Thanks. :-)

I'm not sure about Jess - I personally thought it was her hair, that the style was off for her features, but what do I know, LOL! She was Sam's so I just take her as she comes. ;-)

Anyhow, again, lovely, thoughtful overview and you voiced pretty much everything I thought.
Cheers ~

Erin
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 8th, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
I personally thought it was her hair, that the style was off for her features, but what do I know, LOL!
I actually thought the same thing-- the big wavy hair, although pretty by itself, doesn't suit her very well. The hair she had in the pilot in her nurse costume seemed to work better.

Hair makes more difference than a lot of people (men in particular, it appears) seem to realize. Too-short hair makes Brad Pitt look like Matt Damon instead of himself. Yikes! Gelled-up swept-back bangs made Pierce Brosnan look like Albert Finney-- quite a comedown.

Back to the episode, though... it's one of those I feel like I could just chew on forever (like "Home" or "Scarecrow" in Season 1). So much happening on the sidelines in all of those.
ErinRua: Dr Badasserinrua on May 8th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
Back to the episode, though... it's one of those I feel like I could just chew on forever (like "Home" or "Scarecrow" in Season 1). So much happening on the sidelines in all of those.

Oh, absolutely! Chewy, crunchy, Winchestery goodness. ;-) Even my hubby, who is not a fanboy for much of anything (tough guy former Marine that he is) spent the episode worrying out loud how on earth Dean would ever get back, and then when it was over, he remarked what good writers the show had, that they can keep surprising and plot-twisting us. Coming from him, that's tantamount to a full stadium cheer, LOL!
Cheers ~

Erin
zora_sourit: deanzora_sourit on May 9th, 2007 10:12 am (UTC)
Though, given that Dean doesn't appear (deep down, that is-- not his mouthy surface) to think much of himself, that doesn't surprise me
*bangs head* of course! You know, that was the detail I was wondering about. Why is AU-Dean a loser? but of course, the AU was created out of Dean's own thoughts and feelings so maybe that's what he thinks he would have become without the never-ending quest of hunting.

Jesse always looked kind of cheap. I always thought - even in the pilot - that she does not seem to be Sam's type. I liked Sara much better for him.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 9th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
Why is AU-Dean a loser? but of course, the AU was created out of Dean's own thoughts and feelings so maybe that's what he thinks he would have become without the never-ending quest of hunting.
Exactly-- this is his projection of himself, and isn't that sad? More than anything, this makes clear that he really doesn't like himself, and there are clear consequences of his "negative side" in his alternate reality.

I always thought - even in the pilot - that she does not seem to be Sam's type.
Yes, me too-- probably the nurse costume is partly at fault, but she seems more Bimbo and less, well, smart than I'd expect for Sam. Fortunately, we don't really know that much about her, and fanfic tends to be pretty kind to her with the invented backstory and character.

I don't have an ideal for Sam (except Dean!), but the person (other than Sam) that I like best for him is the Sheriff's daughter in "Dead In The Water." She saw right through his B.S. from the beginning, but in the end she also saw into his heart, I think. Awwww...
zora_sourit: Jenzora_sourit on May 9th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
I think it also shows that he reducs himself to the superficial smartass/ladies men he likes others believe he is. It all boils down to growing up without a Mom and always having to take care of both your father and little brother.

Bimbo is the right word! And let's not forget the Smurfs... I love the Smurfs ;). I didn't realize people liked her so much in the fandom... oh well.

The Sheriff's daughter was really good, you're right. but I also liked Cassie. I know, she is not very popular among fans ;).
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 9th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
but I also liked Cassie. I know, she is not very popular among fans ;).
The actress was pretty, but she didn't appear to care in the slightest about Dean-- even when he was clearly still a little in love with her. That tends to piss fans off. ;)