The Big Empty
Jared is so handsome. Anyway, the THEN segment is now over, so I can talk about the show, I guess...
Murdering ghosts. I can't remember the plot of this one at all.
The argument about whether to bring Jack along or not... And the usual character trait of Dean's where, he wants to focus on work, so that he doesn't have to focus on grief.
Sam: "So you want to move on... from mom."
Mary: "Right now, I want to kill some dead guy's dead wife."
- Sam's pretty offended that Dean has given up on their mother still being alive so easily. It's not hard to understand why. Remember the last time Sam gave up on someone still being alive when there was no body left behind? I'll give you a hint - a year later, he was proved wrong, and Dean (and fandom) has NEVER STOPPED GIVING HIM SHIT ABOUT IT. And yes, I think it was out of character and super shitty writing, but however you want to rationalize it, it happened in canon, so there are consequences in canon. Sam isn't giving up on Mary until he has a confirmed death, and Dean isn't seeing his own hypocrisy here, because he's TOO UPSET and he almost needs her to be dead, because that makes his emotions easier.
- Whenever Dean is feeling a high volume of stress/emotional distress, he wants things to be clean-cut and easy situations to navigate. He wants clear hunts with easily definable monsters. He's got too many emotions to successfully navigate nuanced and sensitive situations, so he avoids them to the point of belligerently turning nuanced situations into clear-cut ones. His bestfriend didn't just die leaving Dean in charge of a super-powerful monster-child who is equally capable of both good and evil and needs careful caring quidance - that's too nuanced and sensitive. No, what really happened is that a monster duped his bestfriend, got him killed, and now Dean should kill the monster, like he always does. His mother didn't just get sucked into an AU from which she needs to be rescued - and the only way to do that is to guide and train that super-powerful monster kid that Dean resents for getting his bestfriend killed. No, instead his mother is dead, and they don't need this evil monster kid, and so Dean can kill him and feel a measure of accomplishment in the face of his failure to save both his bestfriend and his mother. Seeing Jack as a child in need of protection and an ally, enters Dean into that grey zone that John taught him didn't exist - any non-human is a monster, it doesn't matter that Cas is also non-human, it doesn't matter that Benny also wasn't human, it doesn't matter that Dean knows LOGICALLY that there are many exceptions to that rule, and he's grown as a person - when he's upset, he reverts back to longing for that childhood simplicity of seeing the world in black and white.
- Basically, that's all to say that Dean's giving up on mom, because it's actually easier to do that emotionally for him than it is to have hope. And he's SO emotional about it that he can't even see the fact that Sam may have very well done the same thing when he had even less knowledge of where Dean had disappeared to at the end of S7.
- Also, I'm sure when we get to the episode of Dean discovering that he was wrong, he's going to feel just as guilty as Sam felt when he discovered that HE had been wrong - but the difference is that Sam's not going to rub any salt in that wound.
Sam: "I really think a change of scenery might-"
Jack: "Get my powers working again?"
Sam: "Yeah, maybe."
Jack: "So I can be your inter dimensional can-opener? You're using me."
- Ooo, I forgot Jack took Sam to task about that.
Sam: "Jack, when you were born, it ripped a hole in reality. Like a door from this world to another. To a really bad bad place. So, Dean and Cas and I, we closed that door, but our mom, Mary, is trapped on the other side. If we can get your powers back, maybe we can open that door back up, maybe-"
Jack: "You want to save her."
Sam: "Yeah, yeah, I do. But if this doesn't work. If that can't happen. That's okay. Because I do care about you. But I should have told you, I'm sorry, it's a lot and..."
- Ooo, nice save Sam. Honesty is the best policy, especially when your intentions really are coming from a good place. Sam is trying to give everyone what they need - Sam and Dean need a way to save Mary, Jack needs people to have his best interests at heart. Sam's walking a line here, but he's walking it really well.
Jack: "Dean can't stand to look at me. He wants to kill me."
Sam: "I won't let that happen. Listen, if there's one thing Dean respects, it's effort. So come on, help us out. Let's go be the good guys."
- I still think that Dean "threatened" Jack as a mercy, rather than an actual threat. I think, from Dean's perspective, he was trying to reassure Jack that Jack didn't have to worry about hurting people or doing evil things, because if he did, Dean would kill him and the world would be saved. I mean, it's the promise that Sam tried to get him to make in S2. it's the deal he tried to strike with Death in S10. Dean has learned that having the reassurance that someone will kill you if you're a danger to other's is a GOOD THING.
- So, really, this is all just a cultural misunderstanding. Dean and Sam live in a VERY SMALL AND SPECIFIC SUB-CULTURE. Jack is NEW, so it's no wonder that he doesn't understand what it means.
- I mean, it also doesn't help that Dean DOES resent him, so it's not a "killing you out of a kindness" promise, it's a "killing you because I told you so" promise, and those FEEL very different when you're on the receiving end of them (I'm guessing.)
Alex is so good at looking sad that Dean keeps rejecting him.
Sam: "Dean! What's up with all the orders, you're starting to sound like Dad."
Dean: "And that's a bad thing?"
Sam: "I'm just saying, his drill sergeant thing worked with you, it didn't work with me - and that's not the way we're going to get through to Jack."
- Ah, parenting arguments. This is why, if you have the luxury of PLANNING a child, you should hash out your parenting style with your partner before the child is born. In Sam and Dean's case, however, it's not a surprise that they're conflicting approaches are discovered only after being handed a newborn teenager.
Dean: "Look, you wanted the kid here, he's here. But I'm not going to hold his hand and tuck him in at night. Pass. I'm not going to be his mother, and neither are you."
- I mean, yeah, it's 2018, I think it's time we moved past gender-roles too. (For the record, I doubt I'll ever have kids, but if I did, I'd much prefer to be their father.) NOW, that being said, I don't think Dean should dictate what role Sam takes in Jack's upbringing, if Sam wants to be more stereotypical maternal role, he should be allowed that. BUT, I also agree that Jack has three dads, and that none of them are "the mom" they're all dads.
I really love small things. Like Sam helping Jack out of the grave. The fact that it really looks like Jack dug that grave up himself, because he's the only one jacketless and filthy.
Cas in the Empty.
And we see "The Shadow" for the first time here too.
Sam: "Dean, he's not our intern! I asked you keep an eye on him."
Dean: "I can see him."
- Haha. I actually love Dean treating Jack like an intern.
Ah, yeah, this is the one with the therapist - I thought it might be.
Sam: "My brother, he's not processing his grief."
Dean: "...because I know that mom's dead. And I know that she's not coming back."
- Dean IS processing his grief, but Dean is the type of person who has to process through distraction, not attention. He had to have his brain churn things out in the background while he keeps busy. Dean DROWNS in emotions, it's why he takes up so much space in the room. If he actually sat down and felt his emotions without distraction, he'd probably sink into a pretty deep depression and have a hard time clawing his way out again. Spreading out that processing through distracting tasks, so that he can't dwell, PREVENTS that.
- Sam's a much more rational and logical person, so he can better temper his emotions through reason. He's feeling just as much emotion as Dean, but he has a greater ability to prevent them from overwhelming him. (Ironically, since I'm armchair psychologisting anyway - basically Sam and Dean are the opposite of Jared and Jensen. Sam is more similar to Jensen, and Dean is more similar to Jared, in the way they relate to their own emotions, in my opion.)
- It's also interesting that BOTH brothers are actually concerned about the other one. Sam sees Dean's drive to hunt and not address the possibilities of their mother's fate as "not dealing with his grief" and Dean sees Sam's hope as a deep denial of reality, and also a refusal to deal with his grief.
Dean: "My brother's delusion..[...] He won't even admit that mom's dead. Won't even admit it."
Dean: "Because if he admits it, then it's real. If it's real then he has to deal with it."
Sam: "Right, because this is so easy for you, huh?"
Dean: "No, it's not easy."
Sam: "But at least you had a relationship with mom. I mean at least you had a relationship with mom. I mean who did she always call? Who did she look to for everything? You had something with her, I never had - and now I'm just supposed to accept that I never will have it!"
- Awww, Sammy.
- I copied all that out, but now I don't think I actually have anything to say about it.
- I think Sam's right? I mean, I think Mary WAS closer to Dean - because A)she died when Sam was a baby, she never even knew his child-personality, like she had bonded with Dean's 4 year-old personality. B)There is SO MUCH baggage with Sam, since Mary is the one that doomed him to the life that he had. We already addressed that a little in S12, but they had only started to move past it an episode or two before Mary "died" - so, yes, of course, Sam is going to be grieving both his mother and the lost potential that he only just caught a glimpse of before she disappeared.
- So, then the question becomes - did they plan the fight, so Sam could snoop? Or did they have the fight, Sam stormed off, and then he realized that he could snoop. I think it's the latter.
Therapist: "And Jack - he's terrified of you."
- Haha, yeah.
Therapist: "You're angry, Dean."
Therapist: "And if you don't want to do anything about it, that's your choice. But you're aiming it at everyone in your life."
- Which is Dean's MO. And also the MO of a lot of people who were brought up in an environment with a lot of toxic-masculinity. Boys aren't allowed to have emotions, unless it's anger, and as a result - when they need to express an emotion, they express it THROUGH anger or AS anger, in order to be socially acceptable. (I used to get into fights with my male BFF about which was worse - only being able to be angry or being able to feel all emotions, but having them all dismissed and belittled because you're a woman. We both thought the other had it better... but upon reflecting upon it further, and in light of the events of resent years, I'm thinking that our argument was too focused on the personal - and having 50% of the population channel all emotions through anger is WAY worse for society. Also, for the record, I'm well aware that both problems come from the same source, which is misogyny.)
I really like the actress who plays the therapist. She's so good.
Cas in the Empty.
I actually really like accent he does for the Shadow/Cosmic Entity.
Shadow: "Yes, that's right, nothing. Nothing but Empty. And you are soaking in it. Angels and demons, you all come here when you die..."
- This actually confirms how I laid out the universe WAY back in S4 or S5 or so... (which was based partially on the way the universe is set up in the Manga/Anime Bleach) Though, I didn't have an entity in charge of the Empty.
Therapist: "...the only one I ever met, other than my mother."
- I love that little detail, because up until now we've only seen "male" shifters - as in shifters that create other shifters by sleeping with women and then abandoning them to raise their shifter children without instruction (so the shifters are eventually, I'm assuming, abandoned or locked away by their mothers and thus turn monstrous from the rejection). Therapist having a shifter mother, though she still could have raped a dude to get pregnant, means that the Therapist wasn't abandoned by BOTH her parents, nor raised by a parent who didn't understand who they were or their abilities... but rather raised by a single parent exactly like them. It explains why the Therapist is an example of a Shifter who (besides a past abusive relationship) seems to have had a stable life and is a functional member of society. Now, of course, that also tells us a lot about the Therapist's mother, because she could have just as easily taught her to kill people or hurt them... but she obviously didn't. (Now, I realize in Bloodlines we had a mafia-esque family of shifters, so we already knew there were family units... but honestly, the bloodlines episode was just so outside the realm of what SPN usually is, that I kind of just disregard it and consider this to be the first example of a non-violent non-criminal shifter.)
I was just at this location this October with a friend who had come in for VanCon, and we tooled around and visited some locations. Anyway, fun times.
Jack: "...Sam told me about the plan for your mother."
Dean: "Well there's something you should know, Sam's plans don't always work out."
- I mean, he's not wrong. But, I also feel like Dean is Sam are having the Red and Andy fight about whether hope is a good or bad thing.
Shadow: "If you can't sleep. I can't sleep. And I like sleep. I NEED sleep"
- It's me!
Shadow: "I know what you hate. I know who you love. I know what you fear. There is nothing for you back there."
- Awww, poor Cas.
MIA! Sorry for calling her Thapist this whole time.
Jack: "I know I should feel bad. I SAY I feel bad... but most of the time, I don't feel anything. That's why I think maybe - maybe I'm a monster."
Mia: "Jack, it doesn't matter what you are, it matters what you do - and even monsters can do good in this world."
Jack: "You really believe that?"
Mia: "I have to. I have to."
- Awwww... hugs. Jack should totally keep seeing this monster therapist... oh wait, does she die? I hope now.
SO GROSS!! Ugh. I hate Shifters, but I'm also SO HAPPY to see them go back to classic shifter mechanics. I really hated the clean version that Carver introduced.
Only Cas can annoy someone until they give him what he wants.
Dean: "Sam believes in you - and when he believes, he'll go hell for leather. But you gotta try"
- I love how Dean leans on Sam's resoluteness.
And Jack saves the day! Also, Mia is still alive. Yay!
Mia: "I just wanted to help people"
Jack: "You did."
- Seriously, they should keep in touch.
Dean: "Hey. You did good today, Jack"
Dean: "Listen man, back at Mia's, I was out of line. I'm sorry for being a dick lately."
Dean: "Maybe you're right, about the kid. He tries, I'll give him that. And he tapped his powers, saved our ass - so that's a win."
Sam: "Yeah, I guess."
Dean: "What's up?"
Sam: "What if you're right, about Mom? What if she is dead and I'm just in denial?"
Dean: "Don't say that."
Sam: "What? You've been wanting me to admit that since it happened."
Dean: "I know I have, but don't say that. I need you to keep the faith, for both of us. Because right now, I... right now, I don't believe in a damn thing."
- Dean needs Sam to be the resolute hopeful one, because Dean's emotions OVERWHELM him and cause him to not be able to think rationally or logically. Dean has to deal with Castiel's death, and he is, by distracting himself, but I think as long as Sam holds out hope for Mary, Dean can put that off just a little bit longer - he can have Mary's death be an argument rather than a reality. I'm not saying that Dean doesn't believe Mary is dead, because he does - but having her death be an argument is different than acknowledging or dwelling in the grief of it. I mean, think of the things people debate on TV - how cold they can be towards human suffering, and they're doing it on purpose - even when you're listening, you're doing it on purpose - you're focusing on facts, so that you don't focus on the reality of human suffering. Dean is a very emotional person, and turning things into an argument is a way to mitigate the level of emotion he has to experience. Fighting with Sam and about whether or not Mary is dead or alive is WAY better than Sam saying "yeah, she's defs dead. Let's stop fighting and sit around and be sad now."
Cas is back! And the Cosmic Entity/Shadow repaired his clothes!
Oh man, also, Cas turns his face up to the sun and looks happy, and isn't that a kick in the head after 14x08. Fun fact: BOTH were written by Meredith Glynn.
This was a REALLY good episode. I'm actually shocked that I didn't remember it more. I guess it got lost amongst the build up for Wayward Sisters and the stuff about the season that I didn't like... but man, this is a super strong showing. And it's pretty obvious why I like it:
1) Focuses on the brothers and their relationship and emotional state.
2) Besides the occasional cut to Cas in the Empty, it follows only one plot.
3) No scenes where we follow only the villains and know information on heroes don't know. (Except for the ONE scene with the shifter impersonating Dean before we see Dean unconscious on the floor - but that's like 30 seconds, and that's acceptable.)
Meredith Glynn may have just taken up the spot behind or equal to Robert Berens as my fave current writer on the show, not gonna lie. I haven't been tracking what episodes she wrote, but I just looked her up on the SuperWiki and she was the one who did Regarding Dean, which was also awesome. Her others, I don't necessarily have strong memories of, but that doesn't mean they're bad. I didn't have strong memories of this one either, and it was an absolute joy to rewatch. It caused me to do the rewatch old-school style where I go on WAY TOO LONG and it takes me three hours.
Needless to say, no rewriting needed for this one.
As always, let me know what you thought in comments!