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10 October 2008 @ 01:02 pm
Post-SPN 4x4 Squee and the usual randomness  
Working at home today, and the house is freezing. 66o! That's a big change from a few weeks ago. Brrrr.

Last night's SPN was finally pure squee for me.

Dean finally found out what Sam was up to, and as we expected... was not pleased. Ensuing showdown-- about time! The best part of this was Sam spelling out what he'd been living with (which Dean had no idea about), including the way he felt Dean regarded him. That was a lot to carry around, so it was nice to hear him say it.

I do question why Ruby needed to come along with Sam every time he was doing his thing-- backup, I suppose, since he hadn't let Dean in on it. But it tended to seem like an excuse to drag Ruby 2.0 out of the box again and again, and I really find the actress' line delivery godawful, so less is more!

Dean and Castiel's objections aside, it's hard for me to see what's objectively bad about what Sam's doing. Previously, the boys could exorcise demons (which freed only the host-- the demon was still loose) or use Ruby's demon-killing knife (which killed the host along with the demon). Sam's ability to extract the demon and send it back to Hell seems VERY useful to me, and in no way bad. Hanging out with Ruby might be cause for alarm, but as things stand now I don't see a problem. Perhaps Castiel is as knee-jerk suspicious as Dean, or knows more about the extent of Sam's capabilities and how they might someday be used if Sam chose to learn.

It was great to find another hunter in the SPN universe, especially one who seemed happy to see the boys. In the end, though, he showed that he could handle the problem fine on his own (broken arm or not), up until Montgomery got him. Which, in a twist of irony, happened in part because by capturing the wife and leaving too much talking time, Travis created the exact thing in the proto-Ruguru that Sam and Dean wanted to avoid. He made that "inevitable" moment inevitable purely out of his own actions.

I liked how much of this episode was the proto-Ruguru and his wife, partly because it helped personalize someone who was not yet a monster and was struggling to understand what was happening to him. Also, we got the humor of his outsider-POV on the boys when they showed up and tried to educate him. Funny how that kind of talk never goes well, though I agreed with Sam's insistence that they try anyway. It was the honorable thing to do, and the humane thing, and that's Sam all over. I've really missed seeing that part of Sam so clearly on the show.

I could have done without the term "long pig" being used over and over. It tended to downplay the horror of what everyone was talking about, making it seem almost comical. Kind of set the wrong tone.

Funny how S2-S4 have all started off a little rocky for me. For S3, it was mostly the bad writing early on, as if the scripts were from a stable of new writers who had never watched the show. But for all three seasons, there's been a fundamental "disconnection" between the brothers which for me tends to impair the dynamic of the show (and also the main reason I watch the show). Last night's was really the first episode this season that felt like Sam&Dean. Even though they fought for half of it, it was an overdue fight that they needed to bring them back in alignment. So from that standpoint, very satisfactory altogether.


Next week: Humor episode, obviously, and I have no opinion on it except for the Glee! over the creepy-creepy music. \o/


 
 
 
jeyhawkjeyhawk on October 10th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on the Sam&Dean part. :0)

I didn't like Travis, but that was mostly because of canon issues. ;0)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on October 10th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
The boys still have their issues, but I want to see them closer again.

I hate the disconnection we've started every single season of the show with. Especially now-- Dean's back! Hugs and togetherness! What's with all the sneaking out and the "meh" on the whole topic, huh, Sam?

I didn't like Travis, but that was mostly because of canon issues. ;0)
Would that be the, "What? There are other hunters? Dad never said anything about that-- he kept it all a big secret!" vs. "Hey, Travis old buddy!" situation? ;)
jeyhawkjeyhawk on October 10th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC)
Would that be the, "What? There are other hunters? Dad never said anything about that-- he kept it all a big secret!" vs. "Hey, Travis old buddy!" situation? ;) Could be, could be. ;0P
ErinRua: Samerinrua on October 11th, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)
Too tired tonight to wax very thinky, but I loved reading your review! :-) Per Ruby, yeah, I'm still waiting for ... something. I mean, what's she *here* for? And I'm not even a Ruby-hater, I just ... don't get why she's here. Backup? Mentor? Drill instructor observing Sam's mental calesthenics? LOL, I do hope we find out before she bores us. ;-)

Per Travis - Huh. I never even thought about him being outside of canon. I'd have to go back and look. Did the boys really make it seem they didn't know *any* other hunters? Since clearly they knew Bobby, Father Jim, and Caleb. I just presumed, especially given his age, that Travis was from those days, one of the select few John ever exposed his boys to, and the boys just hadn't seen Travis since they were teens. Hmm.

Anyhow, I'm sorry I can't brain enough to return your thinkiness, but thanks for posting your thoughts! Last night really us back our SAM, and the explosions between him and Dean were ever so overdue. All is not happy in Winchester World ... but I was so, so glad that Dean unbent to tell Sam that he's not alone. Returning what Sam said to him when Dean was facing hell. I don't think Sam will be able to keep his vow, not when he finds himself in a situation where his powers are the only thing that will work. But I think right now he's just feeling so defeated, rejected, isolated and confused, that he *means* ever so well.

And that ... yeah, that looks like one of Hell's paving stones, don't it? ;-)

Wow. Look. Random think. I can has brain, nao? *G*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on October 11th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)
I mean, what's she *here* for? And I'm not even a Ruby-hater, I just ... don't get why she's here. Backup? Mentor? Drill instructor observing Sam's mental calesthenics? LOL, I do hope we find out before she bores us. ;-)
I'm becoming a hater of this Ruby because I really think the actress is terrible. Which means I don't want to see her at all unless she improves her abilities, so there had better be a good reason for why she's around constantly. What, Hell forgot about her? She doesn't have a set of assignments she's supposed to be following through on? Most of the demons we've seen in SPN (of Ruby's ilk) have not been particularly random. They've always been up to something, even if they're a small piece in that 'something.'

Did the boys really make it seem they didn't know *any* other hunters?
There was that moment in S2, when Ellen called from The Roadhouse and the boys discovered there was an entire network of hunters. They were shocked-- it was clear that their father had cut them off from all but a very small group of hunters, so much so that they didn't even realize there was a larger subculture that everyone else knew about. :0

but I was so, so glad that Dean unbent to tell Sam that he's not alone. Returning what Sam said to him when Dean was facing hell.
I was glad too, but I also felt the same flip side of it as when it came up earlier: I know what each of them means, and yet I also know why the other finds that a hollow promise. Because having something like going to Hell (contract sealed!) in your future, or feeling the demon blood in your veins... that really IS something you go through alone. No-one else can really understand how terrifying all of that is, or how inevitable it feels.

I don't think Sam will be able to keep his vow, not when he finds himself in a situation where his powers are the only thing that will work.
I don't either. It pains me that Kripke likely has that planned for him, because it tortures the very nature of Sam-- who has ALWAYS been about what's right, and remembering the people involved, and never rushing to judgment. It makes me ache that someone so absolutely bent (so innately focused) on doing good could wind up unintentionally doing something very wrong. *is worried*

Wow. Look. Random think. I can has brain, nao? *G*
It was plenty brainy, especially because I think you're 3 hours ahead of me, so it's getting late on your time!
ErinRua: Hunterserinrua on October 13th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
Which means I don't want to see her at all unless she improves her abilities, so there had better be a good reason for why she's around constantly. What, Hell forgot about her? She doesn't have a set of assignments she's supposed to be following through on? Most of the demons we've seen in SPN (of Ruby's ilk) have not been particularly random.

Very good point. The only thing I can think is that Ruby is here at *Sam's* behest, summoned deliberately by him, so he's doling out the assignments. Sort of. Because I'm still pretty sure she has some ulterior end game that we're not seeing. So maybe she's *here* due to Sam, and otherwise is simply back to whatever sneaky mission she had in the first place. Which I think involves some power play or other, even if it's "only" to be the demon at Sam's right hand, *should* he go "evil." *head spins*

But yeah. Either the actress can't act, or the writers just don't know how to give her anything that she can do. It's just ... give us a reason, Eric, or send her on down the road. :-/

There was that moment in S2, when Ellen called from The Roadhouse and the boys discovered there was an entire network of hunters. They were shocked-- it was clear that their father had cut them off from all but a very small group of hunters, so much so that they didn't even realize there was a larger subculture that everyone else knew about. :0

Ahhh, right, now I remember. So ... hm. Well, I can still excuse Travis as one of that very select few. I think there have been one or two other names the boys have dropped without us ever seeing the characters. Wasn't there a Joshua mentioned in passing? But maybe those ... *counts on fingers* ... four or five guys, including Bobby, were all that Sam & Dean ever heard of, and maybe assumed they were it? Dunno, but LOL, I guess I'm willing to excuse Travis appearing from the blue. Even if I'm having a harder time excusing Ruby. ;-)

*I'm having more thinkies, further reply to follow ....
ErinRua: Daddy's boyserinrua on October 13th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
I was glad too, but I also felt the same flip side of it as when it came up earlier: I know what each of them means, and yet I also know why the other finds that a hollow promise. Because having something like going to Hell (contract sealed!) in your future, or feeling the demon blood in your veins... that really IS something you go through alone. No-one else can really understand how terrifying all of that is, or how inevitable it feels.

YES! Exactly! *smishes you* Since my first comment on this post, I saw someone elsewhere ranting about why doesn't Sam just snap out of it and quit with the emo-angst, "Woe, I've got Demon blood" thing, and I just ... GAH! I wanted to turn around and slap the woman upside the head, because CLEARLY she hasn't done an instant of deep thinking about where Sam and Dean truly are, and where they've truly been. She hasn't tried to imagine herself on the bullseye, truly imagine, with God or Hell *in reality* looking straight at her.

I come from a Methodist preacher's family, which actually is very liberal and laid-back and non-judgemental, but I still carry with me that soul-deep twinge of fear about ... yanno, divine retribution and stuff. For Dean and Sam it's not an abstract religious concept, it's REALITY. Hell exists, Dean has been there, and his savior has threatened to send him back. Heaven evidently exists, because warrior-angels are appearing, and they are threatening to squash Sam for using forbidden powers. Not maybe, not possibly, not an interesting concept for debate. This is real.

Dean could go back to hell, if he doesn't to the line. Sam could be slain and sent ... lord knows where, if *he* doesn't toe the line. I cannot imagine a lonelier, more terrifying place to stand, and yeah. Sam and Dean are going to have a really hard time finding that old common ground, when each must face the whole, collossal, unimaginable weight of eternaty, damnation, and salvation from two totally different perspectives. For all Sam's desperate claim on choice ... there's so much he has no choice about, at all, and that's what I fear most. When something happens where he feels there is no choice, and he strikes with the one weapon he knows can work.

And then? What then, O Heavenly Host? Does the smiting begin? Strange to think that Sam and Dean have both been threatened with their deepest fears: Dean a return to Hell, Sam retribution from the very powers of Good he thought he could twist his powers to serve. Wow.

It makes me ache that someone so absolutely bent (so innately focused) on doing good could wind up unintentionally doing something very wrong. *is worried*

Yeah. That right there. That scares me.

LOL, pretty heavy stuff for a fictional story on an obscure television network that shows in the middle of the week! *G*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on October 13th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
because CLEARLY she hasn't done an instant of deep thinking about where Sam and Dean truly are, and where they've truly been.
How could Dean help but be terrified over his future? It's not a day or a week of torment-- he's tough enough for that. It's an inescapable eternity of it-- you'd have to be stupid not to be afraid of it.

And Sam... Sam now has to be afraid of himself, of whether something dormant within him will destroy everything he's fought so hard (against the world and his own family) to be. For Sam to become an instrument of evil is as terrifying as it gets, next to telling him he'll wake up one day and slit Dean's throat. It thwarts the very essence of his soul.

Not maybe, not possibly, not an interesting concept for debate. This is real.
I so wish Kripke hadn't gone there, myself. I'm an agnostic, and so I have no vested interest in the religious angle appearing. Moreover, Kripke's previous universe made more sense before. It's random evil and the people who try to stop it. If there were a greater, empowered good, they wouldn't have to know these things that other people don't know and live these dangerous and desperate lives trying to save the world.

Otherwise, like Dean, I get stuck on someone who's supposed to be grateful for being rescued from Hell when the reason that he went was because a demon engineered a showdown that got his brother killed. Where was God when Sammy was bleeding to death? How does an omnipotent being let that happen to begin with?

You know that's got to rankle for Dean. It would rankle for me!

When something happens where he feels there is no choice, and he strikes with the one weapon he knows can work.
When someone or something threatens Dean and that's the only hope Sam has left... *bites fingernails*

LOL, pretty heavy stuff for a fictional story on an obscure television network that shows in the middle of the week! *G*
I'm sure this whole conversation would make Kripke proud. That his characters inspire this much feeling and thought is a sign of creative success. :)
ErinRua: Samerinrua on October 16th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
And Sam... Sam now has to be afraid of himself, of whether something dormant within him will destroy everything he's fought so hard (against the world and his own family) to be. For Sam to become an instrument of evil is as terrifying as it gets, next to telling him he'll wake up one day and slit Dean's throat. It thwarts the very essence of his soul.

Yup, and that I think is the sheer terror we glimpsed in his face and voice, when Dean hit him with the news about angels against him and all that. Sam fought so hard against his supposed "destiny", and thought he'd put it aside in S3. You know, like maybe being dead kinda washed it out. *g* But oh, lookie, it's not only still with him, it *transcended death!* I've got to wonder if the being-dead-and-resurrected thing affected his powers at all, and he just never knew it until Lilith tried to light him up. Eeps. But he managed to put a good spin on it, somewhere in those 4 endless months, and now it's all come crashing down... Oh, Sam.

I so wish Kripke hadn't gone there, myself. I'm an agnostic, and so I have no vested interest in the religious angle appearing. Moreover, Kripke's previous universe made more sense before. It's random evil and the people who try to stop it. If there were a greater, empowered good, they wouldn't have to know these things that other people don't know and live these dangerous and desperate lives trying to save the world.

Unless, as Kripke was quoted as saying, Mankind is the true force of Good in the world, Mankind and his free will *choosing* to save people, hunt things. LOL, I come from a moderately religious upbringing, and to me it's *more* terrifying to imagine totally random evil. I'd rather a God who is somewhat distant and wants us to grow up and learn to fight, than a universe ruled only by chance and chaos. But ... I totally understand what you're saying.

Otherwise, like Dean, I get stuck on someone who's supposed to be grateful for being rescued from Hell when the reason that he went was because a demon engineered a showdown that got his brother killed. Where was God when Sammy was bleeding to death? How does an omnipotent being let that happen to begin with?

Exactly. The hardest questions in the world, for which I have no answers. My only guess is that Death doesn't mean the same thing to God as it does to us. For Him, it's just a change of form and place. For us, it's catastrophe and grief and emptiness. Maybe it's not that God doesn't care, it's that He sees another goal.

Sort of like Sam, when he's willing to override any rule or law or sensibility, to reach what he perceives as a greater goal. *G*

I'm glad I'm not called *to* answer those kinds of questions, though, and I'm curious to see how Kripke is going to deal with them. I was actually *pleased* when Dean asked some pretty hard questions, and Bobby didn't even try to reply. I was pleased the writers and Kripke chose to leave out any easy solutions or smarmy answers, since I thought it made it seem more real. Dean is questioning, and now I expect Sam to be asking hard questions.

It's interesting that he seems to have held onto his vestiges of faith, even though Dean died so horribly at the hands of evil. But now ... now those powers of good are telling him his fight is NOT just or right, and I wonder if that isn't a harder blow to his faith in Good and God, than even losing Dean. Maybe Sam could rationalise that sometimes bad things happen ... but he'll probably have an even harder time rationalising that Good is not only not helping, it's actively NOT on his side.

:-/

Wow, did I have a point? LOL, if I did, let me know if you find it anywhere ... :-p
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on October 13th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
summoned deliberately by him, so he's doling out the assignments. Sort of.
I was thinking more of her Hell-based work (feels so weird just to type that!). I've always assumed that the demons typically don't wander around doing whatever, but that they instead have specific tasks and goals. That is to say, why haven't the other demons taken Ruby down yet? Or the big bad boss, if he exists in the SPN universe? Are you thinking that he's summoned her via spell or something else that's tying her to him? I think she'd be willing for one thing.

even if it's "only" to be the demon at Sam's right hand, *should* he go "evil." *head spins*
This is one of the best ideas yet! I've always loved that we truly don't know what she's up to-- it might be good, it might be very long-term bad, or it might be the intention of good that winds up serving the bad. The inability to be sure makes the situation all the more interesting (and the character very malleable for any number of purposes).

Either the actress can't act, or the writers just don't know how to give her anything that she can do.
Even I could deliver a line more convincingly than she does. She says them like she doesn't know what they mean, and that's not the writer's fault. That's the fault of the casting director, who should have passed her over. Pretty people with even a smidgeon of talent are readily available for the CW-- no reason to pick ones who can't perform the acting basics.

ErinRua: so baderinrua on October 13th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
I was thinking more of her Hell-based work (feels so weird just to type that!). I've always assumed that the demons typically don't wander around doing whatever, but that they instead have specific tasks and goals. That is to say, why haven't the other demons taken Ruby down yet? Or the big bad boss, if he exists in the SPN universe? Are you thinking that he's summoned her via spell or something else that's tying her to him? I think she'd be willing for one thing.

Well, I think before the Devil's Gate opened, demons only came Aboveground for a certain purpose. But once it opened ... remember that "Sin City" was all about the chaos of unstructured evil, demons just out having a great big party, with no leader, no purpose, nothing but random evil and baseless vice and violence.

Now, it's clear that Ruby has *some* sort of plan ... but to date, we've had no real indication that she is answering to any boss. So perhaps she is one of those 'freelance' demons who joined the rush out the Devil's Gate, but did so with her own ambitions. Clearly, many of the demons who escaped did so with full knowledge of who Sam was, and Azazel's failed plan for him. Maybe Ruby, though, came out with the plan of not scorning him, but aiding him ... towards some unforseen end. *That's* what I imagine her intial game being.

Now, though .... Yeah, I do suspect that Sam somehow summoned or called her by some spell, or whatever. Lilith (in Ruby's body) seemed very confident that Ruby wasn't gonna get out of wherever she sent her, any time soon.. So perhaps Sam's first order of business, once he decided, "Screw it, I want to learn about my powers, I want to get strong enough to hunt and find Lilith," was to summon Ruby back. Not randomly, but directly to *him.*

Which is dark in itself, even without the hints of carnal knowldege between them. ;-) But I don't think Ruby could have simply walked out of Hell in a couple month's time, when she had been sent there by the full force and malice of Lilith's power. So yeah. Ruby is there by Sam's behest, I think, and perhaps she *is* bound to him. Could explain why she's still around, despite her professed fear of angels. ;-)

This is one of the best ideas yet! I've always loved that we truly don't know what she's up to-- it might be good, it might be very long-term bad, or it might be the intention of good that winds up serving the bad.

Yup. Kripke *does* have a plan for Ruby, no matter how hard a time he has *casting* the blasted demon, lol. It'll be interesting to finally learn what that plan is.

That's the fault of the casting director, who should have passed her over. Pretty people with even a smidgeon of talent are readily available for the CW-- no reason to pick ones who can't perform the acting basics.

I hate to jump on the "eww, Ruby" band wagon, but I have to say I'm with you, there. :-/ I honestly had little problem with Katy Cassidy as Ruby. This gal, though ... *sighh* I hope someone up there in SPN-land is nudging the directors, saying, "Pssst, hey, you'd better beef up Ruby's portrayal, here, because the fans are yawning ..." ;-)