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10 November 2006 @ 01:07 pm
SPN 2.07 "Usual Suspects" and Friday randomness  
It's been quite a week, what with fics for THREE f-list birthday ladies (wenchpixie, tyrical and fiddleyoumust). mini_wrimo and you November-birthday people have been keeping me busy.

I spent last weekend doing the matrix and emailing for the pbfic_exchange2 Round 3, and what a head-breaker of a chore that was. 25 authors! Unsual prompts! And clex_monkie89 isn't doing this one, which removed some opportunity. Thank goodness we have so many versatile writers still in this round.

I've started the morning with a headache (working at home with the kids underfoot doesn't help), and sealed the deal by reading the last few chapters of "The Miraculous Journey Of Edward Tulane." Yes, the various adventures of a toy china rabbit made me cry this morning. I wanted my daughter (age 9) to read this book, and she bailed out at Chapter 5. Maybe that's all for the best. Ow, ow, ow!

On to Supernatural, the center of most of our minds today anyway...

Mixed feelings on this episode-- most of my f-list loved it more than I did, and it was a little flat overall (the writing) spreckled with pieces of awesome.


Some of these are echoed on other people's journals as well.

The Bad
The mini-exposition of Sam's past for us all again (including the exact phrase "free ride") was klunky. Shake it up, writers! She doesn't watch the show.
Dean. Sam. If you're going to touch stuff on a B&E, wear some freakin' gloves. That's just dumb.
Sam's forehead. Klingonesque. :(
Didn't like the "Matlock" insult-- I can imagine that they both thought of it, but I can't see Sam randomly being mean to that lawyer.
Must virtually every female cop on television drop her gun? :(
Split pea soup reference threw me right out of the show. Klunky.
Lack of hug after badCop is dead (instead, right to commercial where that hug should have been)


The Good
Creepy vengeful ghost lady. Aaaaaaah!
Bathroom scene with creepy ghost. Awesome.
The whole non-verbal communication between Sam and Dean during the interrogation (!) of the widow.
Giant.Ball.Of.Twine.
The brothers' logistics on how to find each other when they've had to split up-- incredibly awesome. As good as a fanfic writer would have done! (No, I'm not being facetious)
Dean's extremely sincere confession of what was in fact the actual truth.
Mouth noises to pester Sam. That just cracked me the hell up.
The once-again inventively evil motel-room decor. Wow.
If I'm not mistaken, Sam used Dean's EMF meter-- and it served a crucial purpose!
Brotherly shoulder-bump (though a hug would have been better)


The Hmmm
Why didn't Diana go further with the train of thought that started with "Apartment burned up. Girlfriend died. You disappeared... who set the fire?" NOT that I wanted her to, but you know?
Dean mouthing off to cops when he's in deep shit already just makes me cringe. And it's dumb, so IS that something Dean would really do?
How can Dean/Jensen write so big? It's like he's writing with his whole hand. Sheesh.

anteka went on a whole discussion in her journal about Dean and lying that was really interesting. Namely, Dean is a terrible liar-- that's obvious. SAM, apparently, is a very good liar, which is not what you'd expect from Mr. Wholesome now, is it? anteka theorizes that perhaps this has not been a major problem for Dean before, because he always had John to handle the savviness of lying and conning and now he (usually) has Sam. I love the moral questions that brings up, because Dean is smart and able to charm when he wants to (most of the time, he can't be bothered). But he doesn't do "sincere" at all well, and the underlying reason for that is usually because a person is bothered by lying. How fascinating is the thought that Dean has more moral qualms on that issue than Sam? *ponders*

Weigh in. What does everyone else think about the episode?
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michelle: Sam and Dean - walkcertainthings on November 10th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)

*protects Sam's forehead from insults*

Normally, I can't really see Sam being sort of insulting like that with the Matlock reference. But. I can here because he's probably worried and freaking out about his brother and he's been arrested for God only knows what and no one is telling him anything so yeah.

I think Dean's snark is just part of his front.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on November 10th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
Sam's forehead can protect itself-- it's make of chiton, rather like certain lumpy bugs. :0

he's probably worried and freaking out about his brother and he's been arrested for God only knows what and no one is telling him anything so yeah.
That's a good excuse. He's not having a particularly great day here, is he?

I think Dean's snark is just part of his front.
Oh, I agree-- but it's a dumb time to pull it out. *pokes him*

You walked right past the M/L porn, BTW... ;)
bluesister on November 10th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
Yes. I've already replied to dodger-winslow and la_folle_allure and, basically, we all seem to agree that someone from fandom should have written this episode. It had all sorts of potential, as you pointed out with the "who set the fire?" question.

A weekly show doesn't have all that much time on air, you know? So I don't want filler. My only guess is that this didn't get polished because they ran out of time or, more likely, it exists to introduce the boys to newbies and, maybe, to set up another, longer storyline about being fugitives.

WHY aren't you all writing this show?!
bluesister on November 10th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
And those children's authors are MEAN. Meaner than the meanest fangirl.
*shudder*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on November 11th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
Oh, it was a really good story-- really inventive. It's a morality tale, actually.

But what a heartbreaker. Ouch.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on November 10th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
:D There are times when I wish we were. Oh, what could have been done with a Skinwalker aftermath. Think if it had returned, or one of its ilk. THAT I'd liked to see. ;)
Ice-T: an actor, also a refreshing beverage: SPN - I <3 Deanfiddleyoumust on November 10th, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC)
You know, I never thought Dean is bothered by lying, just that he's bothered by people. He doesn't like having to deal with them and their emotions and their humanness. He doesn't feel like he should have to put forth the effort that comes with making up lies. Just give him the information he wants so he can do his job and move on. Which makes me wonder does he hunt to save lives (because in my opinion he doesn't ever think very much of the people they save), or does he hunt to kill demons? I think Dean generally wants to save "people", he just doesn't want to specifically save Rick, or Jane, or Bob. That's too close for him. That freaks him out. He likes to remain anonymous, forgettable.

So it's not that he's a bad liar, just that he really doesn't think about the human element involved with all these people.

Meanwhile, I think Sam should be the better liar. As the one who actually wanted to go out and form bonds with people other than family members, he would have to be more adept at it. It's not like he could actually tell any of those college buddies the truth. Which Dean actually brings up in Skin. Dean just chooses to not have friends if he can't tell them who he is and if they don't like who he is, he just moves on. (Cassie in Route 666)

Anyway, it seems like a pretty normal thing that Dean in turn is not the better liar. He's never really had to lie to anyone when it comes right down to it. Not those important little relationship lies that we tell to get out of this or that. He's only ever had John and Sam and he can tell them anything. Eventually.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on November 11th, 2006 12:07 am (UTC)
Oh, I like this thought. It's true, to blend in the way he so desperately wanted, Sam would HAVE to become a good liar. Otherwise, he'd never be able to dodge all the wierdness implied by the things other people saw and heard in his family or background.

I don't think Dean actually likes people much. He likes what he can get out of women. He likes his family. But other than that, people are just something to deal with.
merctales on November 11th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
He likes kids!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on November 11th, 2006 08:33 am (UTC)
He appears to like kids that are of a certain age, anyway (they can talk, and they're not teenagers yet). But perhaps not randomly. Or maybe he's not as suspicious of them as of regular people. The boy has trust issues. And crankiness issues too. :P
mercurybard on November 11th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah...yeah...get all technical with me...

The boy has trust issues. And crankiness issues too.
But that's what makes him fun.
Ice-T: an actor, also a refreshing beveragefiddleyoumust on November 11th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
Yes. Yes. I think Dean likes people more in theory than in reality. Like in his mind he knows he doesn't want anything to happen to another family like it happened to his family. But, when he thinks about those families, I think he pictures his own in their place. Because when it comes right down to it, the family in question would probably annoy the hell out of him.

Which doesn't make what he's doing with his life any less. He's not in it for the fame or the glory. But he's also not really in it to help people. Not really. I think he just knows that he's doing good. That his job is an important one, and that he's good at it. But I don't think he actually gets any kind of great satisfaction out of saving people the way Sam, or even Jo does.

I actually kind of really liked that in No Exit, Jo makes the comment about that girl living another day because of them to Sam. It would mean more to him. Because Sam needs that extra push to continue to hunt. He doesn't love it the way Dean does. He needs to know he's helping people, saving lives to continue doing what he's doing. To make giving up his "normal" life worth while. That automatically is going to put him in closer proximity to the actual people he's helping. Again making him the better story teller.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on November 11th, 2006 08:36 am (UTC)
I think Dean likes people more in theory than in reality.
Yes-- that's exactly how I was going to phrase it before. People in theory need to be protected and have their happy lives. Actual people are mostly a pain in the butt, apparently. :P

I think he just knows that he's doing good. That his job is an important one, and that he's good at it. But I don't think he actually gets any kind of great satisfaction out of saving people the way Sam, or even Jo does.
I sometimes think it's more "ridding the world of badness" than "protecting goodness," if you know what I mean. But he's not a warm and fuzzy guy in any way, is he? He loves his car and his family, and everything else pretty much pisses him off unless he's trying to get something from the deal.
Ice-T: an actor, also a refreshing beverage: SPN - Dean is the shit stick figurefiddleyoumust on November 11th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
I agree completely. The thing that sticks out most in my mind is his willingness to let other people get hurt if it means protecting his family. Where as Sam has a harder time crossing that moral boundary. Sam knows he would rather Dean live than Joe Schmo of the street, but he can't really morally wrap his mind around letting Joe die in order to save Dean. Where as I think Dean would allow Joe to die, maybe even kill him himself in an instant if it came down to Joe's life or Sam's.

I actually saw it argued yesterday that while Dean is perceived as the more "shady" brother, it's Sam who has the more questionable values. It was an interesting theory, but I can't support it. Sam can lie, but he can't kill. Not when it really counts. Which makes me sort of pissed off that the writers missed such a golden opportunity in Simon Said for him to deal with that moral issue. If he'd been awake, and capable of saving Dean from not!frodo!, would he have? Dean was prepared to shoot the guy with a sniper rifle to save Sam, but at the end of the ep we get Sam calling the other twin a killer for putting down his brother even though Dean would be dead if he hadn't. That ending really sort of bothered me. Because I'm on Dean's side there. What do you do with a murderous person who can make other people do whatever he wants? I just don't get how Sam thought that was going to end peacefully.

Anyway, I think Dean's morals are much grayer than Sam's. Bloodlust amused me greatly because Dean only thinks he lives in black and white. Really he's always existed in shades of gray. What's morally right changes with the circumstances. What's right or wrong depends on what day it is. How much damage he's willing to do is swayed on who might be effected by it.

Despite all that, I love Dean more than I love Sam. Mostly I think because he's more human to me. Sam is sort of like Buffy sometimes. So morally superior that I can't relate to him. Where as Dean's human enough to admit that sometimes he's selfish. Sometimes he wants what he wants, his brother, his father, his car, his family, and to hell with the rest of the world. That's something I can relate to, because who hasn't felt like that to some degree in their lives?
mooyoo: Dean/Sam - Orangemooyoo on November 11th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
My thoughts exactly - I get the theory that because Sam has an easier time lying that he has more questionable values, but I just don't see it. Besides the fact that I really believe each of their abilities to lie comes down to the situation (Dean is better at coming up with things on the fly, while Sam looks like a big nerd when he tries to pull something out of his ass - "Oh my god! The painting... It looks so good!" :p), it seems like Dean just generally has much less of a problem lying and cheating people in general. Sam will do it if he needs to, but he will constantly make it known that he doesn't want to and doesn't like it or approve. The only time we've seen him use one of the credit cards is when Dean was in the hospital in Faith, and other than that he doesn't participate (and often won't even be around Dean when he hussels money and such).

If he'd been awake, and capable of saving Dean from not!frodo!, would he have?

Yes! Man, I was really disappointed with that, and the fact that Sam was so pissy at the end about good!twin killing evil!twin - especially since evil!twin was about to kill Dean. I have a feeling this will come up again and that Sam will be forced to make a choice between his brother and someone else, but it bugged me that he takes such a morally superior attitude here, when you know that Dean wouldn't have hesitated to kill the guy for Sam (or any other innocent person, probably).

Sam is sort of like Buffy sometimes. So morally superior that I can't relate to him.

I think that's part of the reason that Dean has always appealed to me more than Sam - Sam's the kidn of person that I'd probably be friends with in real life, but Dean's the one I understand and can relate to a bit more. Dean doesn't let his emotions go as easily as Sam does, and he lives in a much more morally fuzzy world than Sam, which I can understand. I think Sam's the person most people would want to be and would want to be with in real life, but Dean is a bit closer to what many people actually feel (credit card scams, car theft, and husselling notwithstanding).
mooyoo: SN - Brothers Oijimooyoo on November 11th, 2006 03:31 am (UTC)
I'm with you on most of your bad points (though I think Sam's forehead looks way better than the bags - he still desperately needs a haircut, but I like this a lot more than last year's hair). Why why why would Dean just go and poke at the body with no gloves on? Even though the cops showed up so it didn't make much difference, he still should know better (and does know better, as we've seen him worry over fingerprints before). The Matlock quip seemed pretty random coming from Sam, especially 5 seconds after meeting the lawyer, but I chalked it up to him being worried and stressed out and taking it out on the guy. Really didn't like the pea soup reference at the end, felt very tacked on and hammy, but the brotherly shoulder-bump totally made up for it for me.

If I'm not mistaken, Sam used Dean's EMF meter-- and it served a crucial purpose!

I couldn't tell if that was Dean's or a new one, because it didn't look much like the "beat up walkman" one.

As for Dean and lying, I've always seen it as Dean is great at thinking quickly, thinking on his feet, hirriedly coming up with something to momentarily appease soemone, while Sam is really good at more serious, thought-out lies. So Dean can easily charm someone or throw out some fake info to get what he needs in that moment, but his lies often fall apart under just a little scrutiny. Sam, on the other hand, can play things up much more sincerely (and here I think it helps that he has a much more sincere and reserved attitude, while Dean comes off as cocky and abrasive) and make people believe him without much questioning. So I think their attitudes have some effect on their effectiveness, and that Dean really doesn't put much thought into what he says, just says it quickly and confidently.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on November 11th, 2006 08:39 am (UTC)
because it didn't look much like the "beat up walkman" one.
I think it was Dean's but I might be wrong. It was big and kind of kludgy-looking, as if it was hacked together out of spare parts of other stuff. Just like Dean's creation.

and here I think it helps that he has a much more sincere and reserved attitude, while Dean comes off as cocky and abrasive)
The tone really makes a difference. Sam genuinely likes people, and that comes through even when he's snowing them. Dean mostly can't be bothered with other people, and consequently doesn't seem to try hard enough with them when he really should. :0
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on November 11th, 2006 08:43 am (UTC)
I had a couple of minor *handwave* issues that I chose to ignore because I just wanted to enjoy the show and enjoy them being such BOYS and BROTHERS and DORKS and such a TEAM without nitpicking anything.
I just remember being far less nitpicky last year, so I kind of don't like that the show makes me go there! (of course, it could also just be me and how I'm feeling right now...)

However, one of the things I so love (aside from them showing that they 'get' each other and are in tune with one another) is their Dork Moments. Those will never stop being funny to me. And the fact that Dean is this weird combination of Cool and WTF-dumbass-dork just absolutely cracks me up.

Hey, I posted up a fic listing for the last couple of months! I know you said you'd gotten behind in your reading. But there are some slash pieces I'd love to have you read and comment on ("Shattered," and then perhaps one of the others as an antidote), and several Halloween-themed thingies. Also PirateCrackFic. :0
Kernezelda: spn focus of intentkernezelda on November 20th, 2006 12:11 am (UTC)
Regarding the EMF meter, this is the same one they've used since Home. After Phantom Traveler, we don't see the original walkman version again.
I've a couple of posts about the boys' equipment here:
http://kernezelda.livejournal.com/284851.html#cutid1
http://kernezelda.livejournal.com/283807.html#cutid1