zimshan: (SPN - Goofy Times)
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I literally jumped off the couch in excitement when Dean pulled over the car and jumped out, because ROADSIDE BROTHER CONFRONTATIONS!!!! A SIGNAL OF NORMALACY IN SPN! Probably my favorite part of the episode was Dean's assurance: “I don‘t even care if you‘ve got soullessness or the friggin MUMPS, MAN, you KNOW better than this.“ Because this was Dean treating Sam AS A PERSON. THAT COULD BE FIXED. Acting instead as a simply a guide or voice of reason for him. A reminder to Sam of who he really is. Because he knows Sam's decision making skills now are flawed in a way that never was the case before. (And I might kinda love just how freaked-out!Dean is by it, just because totally freaked-out!Dean has been a thing for me since 'Home' and I gotta say, I'm amazed at how six years later, they can still bring it.)

My other favorite part was Sam revealing that he could have gotten out of the ropes all that time during interrogation, but he was going through the motions. YOU KNOW, FOR DEAN. So he tries and tries to convince Dean to let him go and then: "I didn’t want it to come to this" and moves his hands swiftly out of the rope and stands up and chucks the rope aside all ‘you can’t hold me. Not here. Or in the panic room...you’re stuck with the soulless guy so why don’t you get work with me? Let‘s fix this.” HE SOUNDS SO TIRED AND DEFEATED EVEN THOUGH HE OBVIOUSLY HAS THE UPPER HAND HERE. I kinda loved it.

AND THEN: "I am watching your every move" "Sounds about right to me” OH SAMMMYYYYY.

There was a point last week where I was replying to comments, trying to talk and stretch this out to figure out my thoughts on it all. Something I couldn't quite place was bugging me about perceptions of this Sam versus what we were getting onscreen and (I think it was [livejournal.com profile] ash48's comment?) about manipulation, where it occurred to me, is Sam's manipulation of everyone around him inherently wrong? Especially if the lack of sense that he is wrong has actually been taken from him?

It was still very up in the air before. But, I do believe the show made it pretty clear last night. Lacking a soul does not necessarily make Sam evil. It definitely doesn't mean he's the villain. If anything Sam is a victim, as this was done to him behind his control. Now he’s vulnerable, not being able to see things clearly. He’s still Sam. He’s still trying. He’s just more inhibited than at any other point in his life.

And more importantly, he’s getting better. Dean was more his brother in this ep than all season, and it got through to him. DID YOU HEAR THE WOODWINDS AT THE END WHEN SAM ASKED IF DEAN WAS WITH HIM?? Woodwinds have been used by Lennertz and Gruska in scoring since S1 in relation to Sam to denote his humanity and pathos, though Gruska grew it to new levels in S4. And it has been completely ABSENT since the opening of this season in relation to Sam. But at the end of this episode as Sam makes clear to Dean exactly what they'll do with Crowley once they figure out another way, a faint woodwind melody begins seconds before the fade to black. I LOVEEEEED IT.

I've also been having this weird sensation like that Sam's storyline felt like the amnesia storyline trope, with just a tad difference that Sam remembered all the facts, he just didn't remember the emotional history behind all those facts.

It hit me while watching this that perhaps a better analogous storyline would be the 'sudden blindness' trope. Sam came back without eyes (his soul or the ability to process emotional content) and now he must trust Dean to guide his way (to temper his reactions to facts). If he runs into a pole every now and then, can anyone really blame him?

I would kinda be worried about the problem of Sam being a victim. Of Evil. AGAIN. But he's a victim with this "defect" (can we call a lack of a soul a defect?) WHILE ALSO being physically being strong and sharp as a tack. With Dean's help in this episode, I found their new partnership to balance out quite well. In a turn of events, Sam is now the muscle, and Dean's the cerebral one. Remember when it was the opposite?

But it is still SO MUCH STILL SAM, and that is what I am loving about it. I know alot of people are quick to want this soul hunt to finish up quickly, and I don't tend to think they'll really wait this out all season. But if we get more of this working together partnership seen in this episode, I gotta say I selfishly might want them too. Seeing the boys work in this completely new dynamic and just working with it, trusting each other, so they can work together, is kinda new and different while being still so familiar and therefore makes the whole thing that much more exciting to watch. IDEK, IDEK, it's strange and bizarre but I'm loving it.

HOW MUCH DID I LOVE THE REVEAL THAT THE CAMPBELLS AREN'T AS BRIGHT AS THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE??? How many demons were working among them all this time? And they were telling DEAN he was out of practice?? I love how after being relegated to back up in the beginning, by the end he was totally taking total control of the situation. “And if we make it through this, you and me are having one hell of a family meeting” LOOK AT DEAN FUCKIN WINCHESTER CALLING THE SHOTS.

People may get tired of Dean as the moral code of the show, but remember when that was Sam? They've both been there, both have had times when something has influenced one brother away from the code, and it's up to the other one to straighten them out. So right now, we have Dean calling the shots on who to kill, but Sam's the one who's holding back Christian so Dean can make his move, or calling out who's the liar.

I'm REALLY curious about Sam calling out Crowley as "bluffing" when he said he was responsible for raising Sam and taking his soul. I'm gonna remember that one. I still don't buy that Crowley's got that much mojo, especially after they made a big thing about angel's nabbing souls now.

IN OTHER NEWS, PURGATORY! There's an extra "urban legend" to take on, show! I'm impressed! Still adding in something new! Or well, building off of the Heaven and Hell thing, by adding in something new. So purgatory is filled with damned souls, of monsters, spirits, and otherwise. And Crowley wants them to interrogate these monsters to find purgatory. Is it to seize control over it, because souls are the top currency right now? I'm assuming heaven has control over it now? But with heaven in chaos, Crowley thinks it might be less protected and just vulnerable enough for Hell to conquer it?

That'd make it really ironic if Samuel did this to save Mary's soul from purgatory, only to give Crowley info to seize her soul and others, wouldn't it? And...well, just about in Crowley's style, actually.

Also, if Crowley's the one making them round up the Alphas to torture them, then he's not the same one who's organizing the Alphas to make more monsters to build an army. Could that be Raphael's doings?

I do think it's pretty hysterical that all these years the Winchesters were unbeknownst-to-them working for Heaven and its ALL-RIGHTEOUS plan. And now they're working for Hell. Ooops. I wonder if the Winchesters are like capital, whoever’s got them bound first, the more important in the universe that side becomes?? It'd be ironic if in recaging Lucifer, they actually tipped the scales for Hell to become more powerful than Heaven.

ALSO. We got some VAGUEEEEE clues about souls in relation to monsters, angels, and Sam. So LIST OF FACTS OF VAGUE CLUES PERTAINING TO SOULS IN THE SPN!VERSE:
- More from last weeks thought on angels and souls: Cas knows the symptoms of a lack of a soul well, doesn't he? Cas asks what Sam is feeling, not physically or mentally, but what does he feel emotionally? Sam can't tell them because he doesn't know. (Remind you of Dean's emotions being uncomprehendable to Cas in early S4?) Cas asked Sam if he sleeps? Sam confirms, no he does not. (And neither do angels, as Sam seating in one position all night watching that tape in 6.06 reminded me of Cas saying he'd just sit by the side of the road all night in 5.04). Also, was it just me or did Cas seemed pretty quiet and non-judgmental about Sam lacking a soul, while being sort of offended and kinda pissed at Dean as he went on flipping out about Sam's soullessness. His two snipes at Dean "you DID this?" in the beginning and "Of course, because your problems always come first" as he left, and even his Chrysler building comment (while HYSTERICAL) seemed unusually defensive.
- The Alpha vamp asks Sam what is like to not have a soul. Later he said to Sam before trying to turn him that he'd be his perfect animal, because you'd be amazed how much a soul interferes. Does that mean that souls of monsters in purgatory can somehow still interfere with the monster on earth? Are we meant to infer then that having a soul in purgatory as a monster is different than not having a soul at all? (or well, at least having your soul locked in Lucifer's cage in Heaven) And if a soul can interfere from purgatory, could the Alpha vamp be wrong that one in Hell might not have connection? Also, does that mean we're supposed to believe Dean's soul went to purgatory and back again when he changed over? Makes that antidote of Samuel's more and more dubious. ETA: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] destina for explaining this one. Alpha!Vamp was talking about where souls of monsters go WHEN THEY ARE KILLED! Ha, there I go completely miss have the point! *facepalm* This makes MUCH more sense.
- A lack of a soul as shown by Sam is characterized by a lack of human instinct. Or capacity to understand the difference between what is important and what is not. It signals the idea that a lack of a soul in the SPN!verse is possibly less immoral [i.e. actively going against what is considered moral] as monsters and demons on the show are, and what popular culture has usually characterized soullessness, and much more amoral [i.e. having no moral code because they can't(like angels?). Whether or not that could him and them potentially more dangerous or not is another question. And partially where Alpha!Vamp might have been coming from.
- I liked how Sam explained it: "Whatever dragged me out, left a piece behind". So while Cas says Dean's question of whether it is still Sam is a "philosophical question", it appears to me from what we have gotten of Sam that in the broad idea of every single piece that makes a person them, the soul is only part of that makeup in SPN's worldview. Of course, whether it's most important or most essential part of who we are as people, I'm sure is something the show is moving towards saying. As this show as the humanity flagship tends to do.

- I loved that the Alpha Vamp talked about Sam as "smelling cold". I thought it was vaguely reminiscent of how Famine talked about Dean last year. Go writing supporting color meta!
- Sam didn't tell Dean because he thought he'd screw it up, shoot first and ask questions later, and they needed questions. That was Sam in 5.20, right?
- Also, Dean was Heaven's torture device in S4. IN BLUE. Now Sam is aiding torture for Hell in S6. IN BLUE.

And idk, I feel like there was a SHITLOAD of stuff they threw us in this episode, but mostly I just ADORREDDDDD how much of this was the BOYS being BROTHERS again. Working together, hunting together, sneaking together, having each other's backs again. I mean, things obviously aren't right or okay, but it just felt more like SPN than anything else in the season so far, and that left me SO HAPPY I CAN NOT EVEN TELL YOU.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] destina.livejournal.com
Does that mean that souls of monsters in purgatory can somehow still interfere with the monster on earth? Are we meant to infer then that having a soul in purgatory as a monster is different than not having a soul at all?

I don't think so. The souls of monsters are not in purgatory until the monster dies; they're in the monster while it's alive. But they get in the way of true evil, is what he's saying. For instance, Lenore and her crew, choosing not to drink human blood; that's contrary to their nature, and they cling to their humanity. That's more along the lines of how I saw this. ETA: think of it this way. Mary was killed by the YED and her soul, I think, in SPN's cosmology, would have probably gone to heaven...except then she became a ghost/spirit. By this cosmology, her soul was probably destined for purgatory after her second "death."
Edited Date: 2010-11-07 02:25 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-11-07 02:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
Ahhh! He meant when they die! HAHA, okay, this episode totally fried my brain cells, yes that makes so much more sense. That was what I had thought before this episode, thinking of Lenore as well, that monsters still had a soul and what made them different from say, angels.

And you know, I had never really thought about why Mary was still a spirit after she died, in the first place, but if spirits go to purgatory, it would fit perfectly. She was guilty for what she had done to her family by making the deal! Hence why she herself was unable to let go. It also goes a long way towards why Ash could find Mary in Heaven. But, hmmm, what about John?

OMG. If Heaven owns purgatory as "soul capital", is that why they make sure hunters exist??? TO MAKE MORE SOULS IN PURGATORY??? Ugh, I need to stop asking so many questions and relying on assumptions, my head hurts.

Date: 2010-11-07 03:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] destina.livejournal.com
Yeah, I had lots of questions after this ep, too; I had to make a separate meta post today. *g* But I love this about the show! I've been speculating that Mary and John are both in purgatory, because John was a spirit who "died" also -- they are probably together, there. How awesome would that be? PRETTY AWESOME.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katsheswims.livejournal.com
"Also, does that mean we're supposed to believe Dean's soul went to purgatory and back again when he changed over?"

I don't think so. Dean still had his soul, it was just tainted by his vampirism, so if he had died his sould would have gone to purgatory, but he's human again so when he dies he will go to heaven (or hell-though hopefully never again).

Interesting theory about Samuel's motivations (Mary), that is also the ony theory I have as to why he would work for Crowley.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
Yep yep, destina just explained that to me above, I didn't get that the Alpha Vamp meant when they DIED which definitely makes so much more sense. I was thinking, 'SPN this is VAGUE. You are normally vague but this is BEYOND NORMAL VAGUENESS'. Haha, so much more sense. Yes. It's interesting that monsters still having souls means that they are closer to human in this verse than normally conceptualized. Which kinda makes sense, if you think about how the show has historically characterized ghosts, vamps, wendigos, shapeshifters, they're all pretty human in origin and emotion.

And yea, idk, it just seems in line with this show and their 'do anything for family' thing. I thought that throwaway comment from Gwen about Samuel not wanting to put her in danger on account of reminding him of Mary had to signal towards something more. And then there was that picture he was looking at at his desk that he quickly stored away.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:43 am (UTC)
ext_11786: (spn:sam&dean:walkthisroadtogether)
From: [identity profile] dotfic.livejournal.com
Acting instead as a simply a guide or voice of reason for him. A reminder to Sam of who he really is.

Oh, nice. Yeah, I liked that scene too. I mean, it's not Sam's fault, but this was like Dean trying to give Sam some sense of himself back, saying look. you have a choice. And intellectually, Sam does know. He just doesn't *feel* it. It was Dean trying to remind Sam of who he was. I really liked your idea that this is, almost, sort of, close to the amnesia trope.

Lacking a soul does not necessarily make Sam evil. It definitely doesn't mean he's the villain. If anything Sam is a victim

ITA. While I don't like this arc for how it makes Sam a victim, removes his agency, makes him a victim of supernatural forces working on him, I do like that they are showing Sam struggling with it. Not how I'd imagined a PTSD story would go. This is a different creature. But he's not evil. And he is trying. Sam remembers, even if he doesn't feel, how he wants to be and he'd like to get back there.

Good point that even while in some ways this story robs him of agency, he's a brilliant hunter, and a sharp mind. Sam's intellect has always been one of his strengths. He's not *helpless* and I see a whole lot of opening here for Sam to be part of the fight to get his own soul back, rather than merely being a victim to be rescued.

The Crowley and Campbell reveals made me go \o/

This ep was encouraging on so many counts.

Date: 2010-11-07 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
but this was like Dean trying to give Sam some sense of himself back, saying look. you have a choice. And intellectually, Sam does know. He just doesn't *feel* it...Sam remembers, even if he doesn't feel, how he wants to be and he'd like to get back there.
I think that's what I find most bizarre in trying to pin this down. Because he does recognize something is wrong. He just doesn't seem to get exactly what. Perhaps because he does have memory of how he had acted in the past? Idk. In fact, it might lend more to why he kept Dean out of it all year, because he wanted to fix himself first? But he kept being pulled back to Dean until finally he thought maybe Dean could help him, and decided to intervene?

I'm still sort of nailbitey about all this, but I agree the ep was totally encouraging. Even if they've got another swerve for us ahead for sweeps, at least this one gave me a chance to enjoy the brothers again abit.

Date: 2010-11-07 03:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abrakadabrah.livejournal.com
- I loved that the Alpha Vamp talked about Sam as "smelling cold". I thought it was vaguely reminiscent of how Famine talked about Dean last year. Go writing supporting color meta!

It relates to the titles of shattering ice, which also relates to the alphas vamp's reference to Dante - in the Inferno, in the bottom level of hell, where Satan is, Satan is frozen in ice. So since they are using Dante's cosmology of Paradise being next to hell, they are being consistent as well, in the symbolism of the cage, the place where Sam's soul is caught as icebound.

Also, last year, there was that scene where Lucifer said he burned cold: Lucifer: Sorry if it's a bit chilly. Most people think I burn hot. It's actually quite the opposite in Swan Song.

Date: 2010-11-07 03:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
Haha, yea, actually I just missed linking that back to my Sam meta picspam two weeks ago when I talked about that, 'cause that's what I was referring to when I said 'color meta reflected in the writing'. But that's what I meant by that, it totally refers right back to those other pieces the show's already laid down. I'm loving all the consistency in the writing as of late. ;)

Date: 2010-11-07 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dev-earl.livejournal.com
I'll be waiting for Crowley to use the John card. Maybe telling the boys that John's soul is in Purgatory, somewhere? *salivates*

Date: 2010-11-07 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
I'm trying to figure John out! Ruby said your soul is tortured in hell until it burns the humanity out of you. But it seems more conceivable that the torturing of the soul isn't what burns the humanity out of you, but the actual getting off the rack and torturing that burns the humanity out of you. I'm assuming that means corrupted or burned souls? But John didn't get off the rack, so his soul should still be fine. His soul escape to earth though, and he resembled a spirit/ghost. He helped Dean finish the job and left in bright light like Molly's ghost. So, I guess it would make sense to say he's in the same place as Mary? *head hurts*

CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW AWESOME IT'LL BE WHEN THE BOYS FIND THAT OUT???? I love that six years later and they're still finding stuff to keep the whole Winchester family ever present. Even if I'm totally getting ahead of myself, since they haven't even said the Mary thing yet. ;)


Date: 2010-11-07 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dev-earl.livejournal.com
I just assume that Mary's in heaven since the boys saw her there. Was that entirely Zachariah's doing?

Date: 2010-11-07 04:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
I kinda always figured Zachariah just took Dean's memories of Mary and corrupted them (the green light!). But for confirmation that Mary was in Heaven herself, they would have had to see Mary in her own bubble, and in her own memories. This purgatory thing where monsters/spirits' souls go when they die suddenly makes alot of sense with Mary's whole staying around for years as a ghost 'cause she felt guilty making the deal that screwed up the boys lives and still needed to let go. It seems natural to me now, well yea, of course she'd go to purgatory. But heck if I ever thought of it before now. ;)

Date: 2010-11-07 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dev-earl.livejournal.com
That makes sense! :D

Date: 2010-11-07 04:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-carnal-mink.livejournal.com

'Family Matters' aka the ep where it got to the credits people too late that HI WE ALREADY HAD AN EPISODE WITH THIS TITLE.

Very similar, yes, but not the same. The previous one was Family Remains.

In a turn of events, Sam is now the muscle, and Dean's the cerebral one. Remember when it was the opposite?

Ooh, that's a really good observation! :) Me likes.

Date: 2010-11-07 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
Very similar, yes, but not the same. The previous one was Family Remains.
Oh yea, that's right! Huh, I had read a report about this episode title being changed from this to 'All in the Family' because they'd already had an ep named Family Matters? Obviously that wasn't the case then, but I had completely missed that that was Remains not Matters. Ooops! *edits*

Hee, glad to oblige then! I love the flippages this show comes up with for these two. :)

Date: 2010-11-07 07:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] samantha890.livejournal.com
Wow. That's some crazy analysis right there! <3

"or well, at least having your soul locked in Lucifer's cage in Heaven" - I know you crossed this out, but wasn't sure if that meant only the alpha bit, or this bit as well - but isn't Luci's cage in Hell? :/

Date: 2010-11-08 12:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
Haha, yes, of course, it should have read 'Hell'. That is why I shouldn't attempt to attempt thinky thoughts while my brain is still fried. ;)

Date: 2010-11-08 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] samantha890.livejournal.com
Lol no problem, I just got super confused and was like... No, it can't be in Heaven? Am I that slow? LOL

Date: 2010-11-07 10:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harper47.livejournal.com
I am enjoying Show so much more these days. With Lisa out of the picture and more Cas, it feels like Show is finally getting back to where I need it to be because I'm loving things. The pace was a little slow in this episode but otherwise it was an excellent setting things up and moving things along episode. And I agree with all of what you wrote about where Sam is right now in relation to Dean.

And yes, I very much agree there is angelic handprints in this besides Crowley. Also I think we can probably assume getting Mary out of purgatory is Gramps goal here. (though I still find MP still skeevy to enjoy much)

Date: 2010-11-07 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zimshan.livejournal.com
(though I still find MP still skeevy to enjoy much)
RIGHT??? So it's not just me then. He REALLY skeeves me out, so much so I keep thinking he's possessed by the YED, even after Cas cleared him as having a soul. IDEK. It's kinda a problem though, and I might have had rage blackouts hearing the Dean Theme used with him again. IT'S JUST WRONG. Also, him all talking to the boys like John use to? ALSO WRONG.

Generally though, I'm definitely loving the show finding it's groove again. The ep pacing might be a tad slower, but we're also getting better season pacing at this point with almost zero filler and mucho continuity, so it makes me a happy girl. I wonder if they figured 'we're in Friday night timeslot now, to hell with the contained MotW method, all we need are the core fans to make the ratings, let's go serialized!' Whhatever it is, I kinda love it.

Date: 2010-11-08 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anniehow.livejournal.com
YES; YES TO ALL OF THIS *applauds*

I am in particular awe of you for noticing character cues in the score. That is HARD CORE, YO.


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