ash48: (Now & Then)
[personal profile] ash48
When I sit down to write these I usually have a clear idea how I felt about the episode. This one is different - I can't seem to settle on a clear response so this pretty mixed up...(but mostly positive *g*)



I can't help think that if it wasn't for that final scene this episode would have been a bit so-so for me. I mean, it was solid enough (as in the structure and character notes), but it's so damn difficult to figure out their focus this season that I'm finding if difficult to be thoroughly invested (or maybe that's just the way I'm watching the show atm). I wasn't exactly riveted throughout the episode but by the end I could see how the story worked and felt more satisfied (and heartbroken).

As always, Berens writes great character pieces. This episode was focused on Mary and considering the hard task he had to achieve (her departure) I thought he did a pretty good job. Crappy thing to have to do (and I'm not sure why she had to leave so soon?), but someone had to do it (and I'm glad it was him and not that awful Duo).

The most powerful thing about the episode was the repeated theme of abandonment for both Sam and Dean. I am sure Mary will be questioned by many for her actions, but I think this works in the consistent theme of the Supernatural. Mary is no longer an idolised memory for Dean (and Sam - even though he's never really met her), but a real person - flaws and all. Something that comes up time and again for ALL the Winchesters is their flaws. We might feel that there's no way a mother could walk away from her sons, but we're taking about a Winchester here - so yeah. In order to tell the angst-filled story (including all the man pain), we have to have these wonderfully flawed characters.

And actually Mary's departure did make sense to me. I think mothers can love their children but still feel that they don't fit into their lives or need to "find" themselves in order to feel they can be better mothers. I like the layer it adds to her character - a person not just a mother. I think it's hard for us to imagine Mary, only yesterday, thinking of Sam as a baby and Dean as a 4 year old. This Dean and Sam must feel like complete strangers to her. I also think it mirrors John as a father maybe - clearly loved his children but had an interesting way of showing it.

The final scene was beautifully acted. Sam Smith brings a wonderful quality to all her scenes (I even teared a little in her scene with Castiel). Jared and Jensen's performances were absolutely gut wrenching.

The biggest problem for me is the way they've started this season. Having two episodes of Sam being psychically and mentally tortured and then having almost zero follow up troubles me (of course, I'm not surprised but it leaves this kind of elephant in the room feeling and it's bloody distracting). I thought Berens might have given us a little moment in reference to it - but the only reference was to joke it away. It may be re-visited when we next see the BMoL, but I'm not holding my breath.

I think the opening "then" with Sam saying 'The devil himself has tortured me, what can you do to me?" is a way of saying "what Sam went through was nothing compared to Hell so he's fine, let's carry on". Either that or he's burying it so damn deep that it he acts has if it never happened. Dean's response to it all has more puzzling, but I figure the entire focus has been Mary's return so Sam's ordeal was merely something to fill the screen with for a couple of episodes (sadly).

The only other real stand out to me was Rowena actually doing something "good" (and being less of a caricature). I was so damn relieved that she was able to get rid of Lucifer rather than her buddy up with him. You go girl!

Other stuff:

Loved the motel room (homage to Prince).

Good to see Lucifer's vessel deterioration remembered (though he fixed his vessel last ep so why not this one I wonder?).

I think Mary being possessed at the end (and attacking Dean) might have been a mirror of John being possessed and attacking Dean in Devil's Trap? Cool if it was. Though Sam staying on the floor while Dean was being hurt was weird - I felt liked he'd immediately jump up and tackle possess!Mary. Maybe he didn't want to hurt her.

Mary took John's journal *sadface* (strange I only noticed that on the second viewing). It's clearly her way of connecting with him but it was a real nail in the coffin for Sam and Dean. Not only did they loose their mom but their only connection to their dad was also removed. *sobs* Such an amazing and emotional scene.


Overall it was a light SamnDean episode (and I have a feeling we're going to be getting more of these this season), but that final scene was enough to give us some more layers to their (rather bloody painful) story.

Date: 2016-10-29 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bittersweettwit.livejournal.com
Hi Ash, I am just headed out to meet some friends so I thought I'd quickly offer an answer to something you questioned now and reply later with proper thoughts :)

Good to see Lucifer's vessel deterioration remembered (though he fixed his vessel last ep so why not this one I wonder?).

As I understand it Angels have always been shown to possess the ability to heal the external wounds of those they are possessing. Castiel was shown to heal a bullet wound inflicted on Jimmy and the whole purpose of the Gadreel possession (from Deans initial perspective) was so that he could heal Sam from the damage inflicted by the trial. Therefore, Lucifer's ability to heal his most recent vessels attack by acid was in line with canon. However, the deterioration of an angelic vessel is different. This is something caused by the very presence of the Angel. It is a weakening of the bond between the two and so they can not heal damage with their powers that was originally inflicted by their powers. Rowena's spell simply increased the rate at which the bond between the two broke resulting in the bodies explosion. If that makes sense?
Edited Date: 2016-10-29 12:23 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-10-29 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
Cool! I can accept that - and yes it does make sense. Thank you!

I suppose that means the end of Rick as Lucifer - shame because I enjoyed him as Luci.

Date: 2016-10-30 01:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] percysowner.livejournal.com
I'm not sure it is the end. Rowena banished him to the bottom of the ocean, but Castiel and Crowley said they needed to find him and send him back to The Cage. So Lucifer may be able to reverse Rowena's spell and still be played by Rick. I hope so, because I think he was a wonderful Lucifer at least as good as Mark P and miles better than Cassifer. I really hope to see him again.

Date: 2016-10-30 01:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
I do too! I love seeing menacing Lucifer again. I'm afraid Casifer was too - I dunno - caricature (?). I would love to have seen Misha do a take on his "own" version rather than mimic Mark. If the want to keep Rick they'll find a way around it I'm sure.

Date: 2016-10-31 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddyclothes.livejournal.com
I've greatly enjoyed Rick, because he's putting his own spin on the character. He's not trying to be Mark P., and I appreciate that. He's a good actor and I hope they bring him back!!

Date: 2016-10-29 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] borgmama1of5.livejournal.com
I think you hit the nail on the head about what has made the start of this season disorienting for me--the initial intensity of Sam being tortured being dropped in favor of the intensity of Mary's story. Too bad they couldn't have managed to handle both stories with equal weight--but they choose to make the Lucifer story the counterbalance instead.

I get that they have to spend time on Cas and Crowley because Jared and Jensen can't be in every scene like they were at the start of the series, but I'm here for the Sam and Dean story...sigh...

Mary's departure--the reactions of the boys was heartbreaking...Dean's expression and body language just killed me (how does Jensen do that?!?!)

My read on Mary's behavior is that she simply can't connect yet to 2 grown men being her little boys. She can say the words 'I love you' to them but how can she, really? On an intellectual level she knows who they are but on an emotional level? She's been robbed of the experience of raising them so she is grieving the little boys she knew...and she is also feeling the weight of their expectations for her and she has no idea how to be that mom. So her leaving makes sense...but yeah, another nail in Dean's abandonment issue...

However, at least she's not dead (yet) which is how I expected show to take her out!

Practical observation--Mary picked up her pack and stalked out so they could have that dramatic door slam, but now she's out in the middle of nowhere with no transportation, and does she have any money? Wouldn't have been time to give her a credit card, and Dean had loaned her his cell phone, does she still have that or did she give it back? (Yes, I worry about theses details, I remember being concerned about the exact same thing when Dean made human!Cas leave the bunker abruptly during the Gadreel issue. My mind is weird.)

And I agree that for the first time I actually liked Rowena for her guts in doing that Lucifer spell.

Date: 2016-10-29 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
Hey. Seems we're feeling much the same thing. :)

It's a shame they couldn't work in Sam's abuse somehow (or, you know, mention it) and I actually think it could have been done even with Mary's return.

but I'm here for the Sam and Dean story...sigh...

Oh me to. I certainly don't mind the other characters (even really like some) but I always think that if the show was the exact same format, but without Sam and Dean, it would not be the show for me. Now I just have to accept that our lovely men are fathers and can't commit to the time they used to. And fair enough I suppose (considering all the cons they do too).

Jensen absolutely captured Dean's abandonment issue - it was stunning. And I loved Sam's lost little boy look - I had a mom and now I don't. :(( But then they still have each other...<3

However, at least she's not dead (yet) which is how I expected show to take her out!

This is going to be another interesting dilemma for the show. What to do with her - I assume she's not always going to be in the show (though I could be wrong, she's doing great so far). Personally I'd be interested in them exploring "what's dead should stay dead" - not to kill her off (at all!), but for her to somehow be in a situation where she chooses it. Maybe death actually has a reason. I'm not exactly sure what I'm saying, but if she has to die it would interesting if she wasn't simply killed off to create more man pain.

Practical observation

Ha! Practicalities on the show?! I wonder this stuff all the time. I figure that they think we'll either not think about it or fill in the blanks ourselves. I still wonder about the electricity bills of the bunker. And how do they all get in and out of the bunker? There was only one "magic" key in the start. And how does the Impala get into that huge garage (where is the entrance?). Oh the list goes on...

Date: 2016-10-30 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] percysowner.livejournal.com
They did point out a motorcycle during the episode and they showed us the garage with all the other vehicles during episode 1, so I think Mary could have grabbed another mode of transportation. It would be hilarious if she took the Impala, but I don't think she did.

Date: 2016-10-30 01:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
It would be hilarious if she took the Impala, but I don't think she did.

I think fandom might go into meltdown if that happened!

Date: 2016-10-31 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddyclothes.livejournal.com
Practical observation--Mary picked up her pack and stalked out so they could have that dramatic door slam, but now she's out in the middle of nowhere with no transportation, and does she have any money?

I had the same thought. Although Sam's flinch when the door closed--WOW! Broke my heart.

Date: 2016-10-30 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bittersweettwit.livejournal.com
When I sit down to write these I usually have a clear idea how I felt about the episode. This one is different - I can't seem to settle on a clear response so this pretty mixed up...(but mostly positive *g*

Funnily enough I had this exact experience myself. I think in my case its mainly due to the fact I found myself wishing the characters wouldn't take an action, but the writing was strong enough their behaviour made sense. Even if it wasn't as emotionally satisfying as the alternatives. Examples of this being Mary's decision to talk to Castiel at the start of the episode as opposed to Sam who had offered to talk about things with her at the end of last episode, Castiel going alone to hunt Lucifer when the brothers have just as much reason to want him dead and Dean's joking remark about the torture Sam was put through by Toni.

Crappy thing to have to do (and I'm not sure why she had to leave so soon?), but someone had to do it (and I'm glad it was him and not that awful Duo).

This is purely speculation my part, but I get the impression (for this season at least) that show intends to treat Mary as a recurring star akin to Castiel and Crowley. If this is indeed the case then getting rid of Mary at this point fits in with a narrative structure the show has been following since at least season nine i.e. Episodes 1-3 of a season are heavily mytharc related and tend to be an ensemble with Castiel, Crowley and whatever big bad is present. Episodes four and five are then MOTWs, or brother only Mytharc episodes, that allow us to catch up emotionally with Sam and Dean. So we can get an insight into how they are coping with the events of the preview seasons finale and the action heavy episodes 1-3.

We might feel that there's no way a mother could walk away from her sons, but we're taking about a Winchester here - so yeah. In order to tell the angst-filled story (including all the man pain), we have to have these wonderfully flawed characters.

And actually Mary's departure did make sense to me. I think mothers can love their children but still feel that they don't fit into their lives or need to "find" themselves in order to feel they can be better mothers. I like the layer it adds to her character - a person not just a mother. I think it's hard for us to imagine Mary, only yesterday, thinking of Sam as a baby and Dean as a 4 year old. This Dean and Sam must feel like complete strangers to her. I also think it mirrors John as a father maybe - clearly loved his children but had an interesting way of showing it.


I agree entirely with all of this! I have seen a lot of hate towards Mary for her behavior and while I get why fans might be mad I thought Robert Berens wrote the scene in a very nuanced way. While I feel sympathy for Sam and Dean I don't see Mary's actions as abandonment per say. For one thing they are grown men perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. It is hardly the same as a mother abandoning their toddler to fend for itself. Secondly, Mary spoke of her departure as a temporary thing. She assured them that she loved them, but she needed time to acclimatize because as you perfectly said going from a happily married mother of a four year and a baby to a widowed mother of two grown man is beyond jarring. Not to mention traumatic.
Edited Date: 2016-10-31 01:57 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-10-31 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
I think all those things you brought up in the first paragraph are indeed problematic. I can only think the discussion Mary had with Cas is to a) have a scene with Mary and Cas (I think they are trying to create some similarities between them) or that Mary just doesn't feel she can talk to Sam about that stuff yet. She seems quite wary of the boys (mostly trying to work them out I think).

And I agree that Mary might be around for a while (might even take on a kind of Bobby figure? She might set up on her own and the boys drop in or refer to her every know and then. I mean, they really do need to be able to let her have her own life, even if they feel they've missed out on many many years with her. The potential is enormous and so far I really like what they are doing with their relationship.

The boys (particularly Dean) need to work through their feelings toward Mary. They ARE grown men who have manage for many years without her. She's not gone for good - she made that clear - so hopefully they'll be able to give her the time she needs. Personally, I thought that scene was well written and wonderfully performed. Sam really has added some lovely nuanced layers to Mary already.

Date: 2016-11-01 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bittersweettwit.livejournal.com
I think all those things you brought up in the first paragraph are indeed problematic. I can only think the discussion Mary had with Cas is to a) have a scene with Mary and Cas (I think they are trying to create some similarities between them) or that Mary just doesn't feel she can talk to Sam about that stuff yet. She seems quite wary of the boys (mostly trying to work them out I think).

Oh yes I definitely agree with that! I think it was a case of Castiel being in the right place at the right time that led Mary to confess. The reasons for this being a) he caught her in a moment where the wariness caused by the situation had gotten to her and b) she had nothing to lose by confessing to Castiel that she was struggling to gain a sense of belonging. What I mean by this is this Castiel isn't her son, he isn't even her friend, he is an acquaintance, a friend of her sons that she has met a handful of times. If she had asked Sam that question she would have ran the risk of hurting his feelings as the query would have also had the sub-text that 'she doesn't belong with them". With Castiel she doesn't have to worry about her words causing hurt feelings as Mary and the angel lack the powerful emotional connection of mother and son. As I mentioned I can understand why Mary had that conversation with Castiel as opposed to Sam. It just wasn't as emotionally satisfying as the latter would have been haha.

And I agree that Mary might be around for a while (might even take on a kind of Bobby figure? She might set up on her own and the boys drop in or refer to her every know and then. I mean, they really do need to be able to let her have her own life, even if they feel they've missed out on many many years with her. The potential is enormous and so far I really like what they are doing with their relationship.

Agreed! Castiel and Crowley's current position is the closest the show is ever going to come to having additional 'stars'. I can't ever see them making an actor/character appear in every episode with Sam and Dean. So in that context if the show wants her to continue making appearances then their best option is to set her up as an aid to the hunting community / the Winchesters like Bobby was, or have her opt to leave the world of hunting altogether and only call the brothers in when cases appear in her town. Presumably they'd also visit her in A familal context but those visits would probably happen off screen haha

Personally, I thought that scene was well written and wonderfully performed. Sam really has added some lovely nuanced layers to Mary already.

Agreed out of the long term writers we have left I would consider Berens to be the best writer by far! I believe the next three episodes are all written by newbies. So let us hope they prove to be valuable additions to the team.
Edited Date: 2016-11-01 04:06 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-11-01 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] percysowner.livejournal.com
I do news for Supernatural over at Winchester Family Business, so I have a little knowledge about the new writers. Steve Yockey wrote for Scream and Awkward. I've never watched either show, but Scream has a good reputation. He also has written several plays that have gotten good reviews. Davey Perez wrote for American Crime, which got critical acclaim. Both seem to have a good reputation at least. Now, it may not translate to Supernatural, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Date: 2016-11-02 09:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
Sounds promising. I think some fresh blood might be a good thing for the show. For me, I just want writers who know how to structure a skips and have good, satisfying storylines. :)

Date: 2016-10-31 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddyclothes.livejournal.com
What excellent and interesting thoughts! I am completely over the MOL story. I've also been baffled as to why they've just tossed off what Sam went through...but remember last season, Sam saw Lucifer again and was scared but it didn't seem to have any real resonance? Or when God showed up and Sam didn't ask him why all of this terrible shit happened to him, instead Dean got to ask him all of the Big Questions that I doubt any of the viewers were interested in? The show does seem to go with, "whatever happens, Sam can deal with it. Dean's the one who hurts." Not to get into a Sam/Dean thing, but it does seem to be standard operating procedure these last few seasons.

I'm glad to read that Berens wrote the episode. Because I felt like it had more emotional depth than usual, which is the case when he writes an episode. What upset me about the final scene (besides the content) was that Mary hugged Sam and said, "I love you" while Dean looked like he was going to break in half from heartbreak. She turns and says, "I love both of you," then leaves, without touching her other son. Damn, that HURT. I felt so awful for Dean.

If only they would stop trying to find Big Bads or Big Whatevers. Perhaps have some interconnected storylines without a Big Unifying Factor. Ever since Season 7 this has been a real problem.

Date: 2016-10-31 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] enaiowen.livejournal.com
To be fair, I think she did attempt to hug Dean but he wouldn't *let* her touch him.
He stepped away from her and wouldn't even look at her. And yes. It hurt like hell.
I was holding it together pretty well up til then but that was so hard to watch.
Edited Date: 2016-10-31 05:16 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-10-31 10:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
What excellent and interesting thoughts!

Thanks! :)

I am completely over the MOL story.

I actually like the MoL story, but I think they're not quite sure what to do with it now. They've set it up primarily to create a permanent set - but it seems to have become problematic at times (like how easy it has been for so many people to get into the place!). I'm not feeling too confident about the BMoL storyline - especially as Sam suffered so much and I am pretty sure thats not going to be addressed properly. But we'll see.

"whatever happens, Sam can deal with it. Dean's the one who hurts."

More and more it seems like this. I think the last time we got a hint about how Sam is feeling is after the trials. Since then there's not been much at all. Sadly because there's a lot to explore here I think.

And I agree with the comment below. Mary went to hug Dean but he stepped away. He was just SO hurt by her decision. Sam allowed the hug so she had a chance to say "I love you" to him. She wanted to hug Dean but just said "I love you both" to let him know. It was such a gut wrenching moment. I think it worked perfectly for Dean's character. Sam looked like a little boy lost and Dean looked so gutted. :((


Date: 2016-10-31 02:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madebyme-x.livejournal.com
I maybe enjoyed this a little more than you (I liked it better than last week, but not as much as the season opener I think), and I loved Dean's denial and how Sam can read her. But yeah, it really was saved by that final scene. I really think that Show, and the wonderful Sam Smith, have nailed Mary in every way; her flaws, the realities of her situation, of being in a different world and century, of not knowing her boys and struggling with the babies in her head and the realities of two grown men in front of her. I can understand her need to leave, and I loved how each brother reacted differently to it.

I hope this kick starts lots of brotherly moments too, but I wonder if Dean's just going to shut Sam down each time mentions Mary now. I feel so bad for them but at the same time I do some wounded angst boys. Take care :)

Date: 2016-11-01 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
I have feeling we will be in for lots of brother angst! I am certain Dean will shut down and Sam will try and break through. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the storyline now. :)

I think I enjoyed it more on the second viewing - and after chatting about it. Knowing what happened in the end made all the scenes between Mary and the boys more heart breaking.

xx

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