So did I mention that I’m never going to be over 8x13? Because I’m never going to be over 8x13. And after a few hours of spacing out and running things through in my head (I love my job sometimes, I daydream and get paid for it), I found something else to be happy over. Namely, reaction shots.
This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, but episodes of TV shows (especially a show well into its eighth season) are crafted very deliberately, and there is nothing in there that is not specifically chosen for the tone and the visuals and the story the producers want. One of the most important methods they employ to do this is cutting - choosing which shots to film, how to film them, how to edit them together. And there are at least two egregious examples of cutting in 8x13 that are hard - maybe impossible - to explain if the writers aren’t planning some sort of sexuality-based reveal for Dean.
Other, more talented writers have already done meta about the first cut I looked at - the focus on Dean’s slow folding of his badge. So I’m going to talk about the reaction shot of Sam’s face when Dean tells him that Aaron was his “gay thing”.
^This is the shot I’m talking about. Why am I focusing on this? Because there was no reason for it to be there other than to draw attention to Dean’s line. Which was “He was my gay thing”.
Remember, Dean just kept talking. He was describing how he had felt he was being followed and went straight on to complimenting Aaron on his technique. If the gay thing was a throwaway line for comedy, the shot could have been continuous, with Sam’s face as a funny background event, like his sturgeon face when being handed money at the auction in 8x02. This shot means that the director thought it was important that the audience notice Sam’s reaction to his brother mentioning a gay thing twice in a few hours. His expression is interesting too - like he’s trying to figure out why Dean keeps bringing this up, keeps using that phrase.
This is not the first time this season that reaction shots have drawn attention to things that have little purpose but to cast doubt on Dean’s heterosexuality. For example, many people noticed the cut to Dean’s expression in 8x12 when Sam said his “falling out of the closet” line. Sam is saying that to Henry, so why not just switch between Sam and Henry? Or have a shot of both brothers, then Henry? Why specifically focus on Dean and his expression during that line - an expression that’s rather shifty in the first place? And then there’s the infamous cleaned-up-Cas scene in 8x07. Cas asks “Better?” and rather than have shots of each brother approving or both of them together, the camera cuts to Sam looking happy - and then looking over at his brother, with an expression that clearly says he’s gleefully anticipating the effect that Cas will have on Dean. That’s not a “hey, he looks much better, you think so too?” smile. That’s an “ooh I bet he’s going to be floored by this, I want to see it” smile. Again, drawing attention to Dean’s (rather too stunned and awed to be friendly) reaction.
With the way these cuts are structured and the moments they draw attention to, I really can’t draw any other conclusion than that Dean’s non-hetero sexuality is being moved from subtext to text. It pretty much qualifies as a subplot by now. And rather than litter around hints for the fangirls to search for, the writers and directors are putting them right up front, where even a casual viewer will pick up on them - or at least acknowledge them subconsciously.
You know who Lebron James makes me think of? Cristiano Ronaldo. Now, I will be the first to say that I’m not Ronaldo’s biggest fan. Some of his on and off the pitch actions leave a bit to be desired. But I respect his game. You have to. The guy is just that good. (I feel the same way about Didier Drogba, for example, though I think Ronaldo is a bit more sporting then him, not that that’s saying much- see his actions in the last five or ten minutes in this year’s FA cup final for why) But for someone who is as good as he is, he has to be one of the most polarizing athletes in soccer. You either love him or you hate him. Even when he was at Man U winning them silverware (like any team with a player like Ronaldo is wont to do, except Portugal, see Euro 2012 for more likely examples of their impotency) he was strongly disliked.
Lebron, similarly, is polarizing. Athletes with ‘greatness’ pinned to them seem to be, unless they are Olympic athletes, when they seem to get a pass. No one, for example, seems to dislike Michael Phelps, maybe because he plays for Team USA rather then, well, Cleveland or Miami, for example. But see players like Tim Tebow, Lebron James, etc, etc. People either root for them to win or lose with all their hearts, and there isn’t a middle ground. But the specific reason Lebron makes me think of Ronaldo is the show he makes of himself. The Decision on ESPN was one of the most decadent and ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. I mean, seriously? I get that the sports media had to cover his decision because it’s news, and he’s a big story, but that was just indulgent. I am a full believer in the ‘sports is business, and player loyalty only can and should go so far’ thing. Sports *is* business, and the players *are* employees. Anyone else who sees it differently is fooling themselves. It’s the way that Lebron seemed (and admittedly, who knows what really happened, half of the mystery of these players is built up by the media, which is the magic of being a public figure. Good luck to Vilma on his defamation of character case) to be leading Cleveland on, and then decided to have this very public announcement of his decision on ESPN that just rubbed me the wrong way.
Now, here’s where Ronaldo and Lebron, both players that rub me the wrong way, differ. Ronaldo has his critics, his naysayers, and plenty of people who just don’t like him very much. But he’s always come through. His teams regularly win titles, and he’s neck in neck with Messi in terms of goals this season. Messi, who is considered the best player in the world. Ronaldo, like Lebron, makes no apologies. But Ronaldo, unlike Lebron, has come through and delivered. Whether people have liked him or not, Ronaldo has always scored his goals and won his titles, and just let people think what they want. Ronaldo, mind you, managed not to need a hour long special on Sky Sports or whatever the equivalent spanish sports channel is to announce his departure from Man United to Real Madrid.
Lebron, on the other hand, has had this ridiculous decision show, publicly said he’s not going to win one, or two, or three titles, but six or seven and done… none of those things. Sure, he’s had three regular season MVP awards, and he is still the best player in basketball. But his naysayers, whether Heat fans or the media want to admit it- haven’t been proven wrong yet. He hasn’t come through. This year isn’t over yet, yes, but he hasn’t delivered. He plays a very good game, sure, but where Ronaldo owns his haters, Lebron encourages them by occasionally turning in half assed performances (this was a hallmark of some of his later games in Cleveland, especially some of those last playoff appearances he had for the Cavaliers where he just looked bored) and I’m not talking about having a bad night, I’m talking about legitimately looking like he just didn’t care about what was going on. Then there are the multiple times he’s walked off the court without shaking people’s hand.
Now, I’m not saying that any of his portrayal is fair. I’m just saying this. He and Cristiano Ronaldo are too of the least liked players and widely recognized as two of the most talented players in their respective sports. I don’t particularly care for either of them. But I respect Ronaldo more because he plays a big game, and whether I like it or not, he gets a little more lee way because of it. Lebron talks a big game but has yet to play it. Maybe it’ll come this year, maybe it won’t. We’ll just have to see.
I just realized
The amount of human casualties in the Human-Covenant War doesn’t seem nearly high enough. It says approximately 23 billion civilian and military. I mean, 23 billion is a lot, it’s slightly more than three times the Earths population.
But there were at least 28 colonies that were glassed. Along with a few others that were attacked and about 30 or so listed as “unknown status”. But it was stated that by the Fall of Reach that they had lost all (or almost all) of the outer colonies. I think it was also stated that they were losing inner colonies as well.
And on top of that there were multiple space engagements where the UNSC lost 3 ships for every Covenant one.
I don’t know. 23 billion military and civilian casualties combined seems way too low.