butterfly: (Joy -- Nathan/Morena)
[personal profile] butterfly
'tis what the kids on tumblr have been calling it all season. I originally posted this on tumblr but figured I'd post it here, too. I've actually been pretty involved in SPN fandom on tumblr for the past few months. It's a way different format than LJ & I still feel iffy about parts of it, but there's so much good meta out there.

In General

On the whole, I’m really happy about my choice to start watching Supernatural again this season. There were some weak episodes (basically everything by Bruckner and Ross-Leming) & definitely some problematic things (which I will cover at the very end), but I’m glad I watched & will definitely be watching S9.

I’m impressed with how Carver committed to his three-year structure in the finale — makes me feel like the CW PTB do believe in his vision. The character tension he’s set up with Cas and Dean was left very much unresolved, with a set-up for S9 that is ripe for even more tension (Cas is on Earth but not by choice — Dean got what he wanted but in a way he never wanted it).

Pacing-wise, the only issue I have is that I still wish 8x19 had been two episodes, with Sam spending considerably more time in Hell. Otherwise, I’ve felt pleased at how the pace has moved this season.

I was pleased but unsurprised when the show didn’t press a ‘reset’ on S8 (honestly, I’ve never quite gotten why so many people suspected it would all be a dream or a manipulation) — we’ve gotten so many great things this season: little sister Charlie, little sister Krissy, MoL bunker, Dean and Cas’s relationship becoming more complex and nuanced, AARON (he deserves capslock), Abaddon, Benny, Dean coming into himself in a lot of ways (though, like Thursday’s child, he still has far to go), Sam getting the chance to begin to confront everything that’s been weighing around his neck since S3/4.

I was pleased and surprised by all the angels falling. Game-changer, indeed. Visually stunning as well.

I’m really glad that we got that mention in an interview/con (I don’t recall which) that S9 would pick up right when S8 left off, because we need that, for sure.

The plotlines that are set-up for S9 are all really exciting to me, especially given the overall way things have been done in S8.

I am also impressed with how the show bumped up Cas’s importance in a way that felt natural — because he was still gone so often this season, but his memory lingered in a way it didn’t in previous seasons (except S7, when grief over losing Cas haunted Dean’s character, though in a subtle enough way that people who disliked it could ignore the mentions if they wanted). He became a part of the show’s structure of parallels in a way that he hasn’t been before; which contributed to that feeling I had of Cas being the “third lead who happens to be gone a lot”. It was all definitely prep for Cas actually being around more in S9 & I’m mostly happy with how they did it.

Finally, the problematic things, though even this part is more positive than negative:

When I came back to the show, I signed up suspecting there would be sexism, racism, and homophobia, because all those things were very present in the show when I quit back in the start of S4. The sexism has been somewhat lighter than I expected, the racism was about what I expected, but, boy howdy, the show has come miles from S3/4 on homophobia. When I left in S4, all the gay characters the show had introduced were dead fairly quickly — Lily in S2 & Corbett in S3, plus Dean actively used a gay slur in… I think it was S3 but it may have been S2. The primary mentions of queer-related things were gay jokes re: Sam and Dean’s relationship.

Since then? They’ve had a gay couple who didn’t die (S5), a minor nameless pair of lgbt+ characters who kissed and didn’t die (S6), a re-occurring lesbian character who hasn’t died (S7) and who had a hero’s journey including romance in S8, and a Heaven-endorsed gay couple who didn’t die (S8). The show has also actively had characters, including audience PoV character Dean, refute the idea that being gay is wrong more than once.

The transmisogyny we need to work on, though*.

And while I am leery of potential queerbaiting, I am also kinda astonished that SPN has progressed so far in its queer relations that the idea of Dean & Cas becoming canon is so plausible to so many people. Would not have seen that coming back in S3/4.

* I kinda want to assign the SPN writers homework in the form of watching Elementary. And perhaps Spartacus for how you can successfully balance queer relationships in the same show as strong platonic male-male bonds. Both shows are also great with female characters and diversity.

On the Church Scene with Sam & Dean

What Sam and Dean said during the church at the end was very interesting to me because of what was said and wasn’t said. Because Sam is a little jealous of Cas, just like he was jealous of Benny.

“I killed Benny to save you,” Dean protests. He’s willing to let Crowley go! He would never put anything in front of Sammy!

Except that’s not true. And he doesn’t specifically refute Sam’s mention of an angel the way he does Sam’s mention of a vampire. Because Sam might not know that Dean was willing to die rather than leave Purgatory without Cas but Dean knows (and, of course, the audience knows; there’s a reason we had those flashbacks). The part of him that spent months searching Cas out rather than go home to his brother has been pushed back and back in Dean’s head under the weight of all of the evidence that Cas doesn’t have the same need for him, but Dean knows it’s there. It was there in 8x19, when Naomi played on his deepest pains and fears regarding Cas. It was there in his eyes tonight, when Cas told him — told him as something that was going to happen, something that Dean had no right to have input in — that he was going to lock himself up in Heaven with the rest of the angels. That Dean would never see him again. “I need you”, Dean told Cas but he’s seen no evidence that it meant a damn thing to Cas (and, of course, that’s why it was also so important for the audience to see last week how much it did matter to Cas that he’d hurt Dean). Because it doesn’t matter — searching for Castiel in Purgatory, praying to him, begging him. It didn’t make a difference (as far as Dean could see).

When Sam had to choose between another life and staying with Dean, he chose Dean. When Cas had to choose — well, from what Dean could see, he chose not-Dean. He chose a life separate from Dean.

Ugh, the tension between what the characters know and what the audience knows is so thick.

Anyway, yay for season Gr8! It was a lot of fun, for the most part. Glad I watched!
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February 2015


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