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Seven Things About Supernatural: 12x08 - “LOTUS”

So despite my general policy of not singling out particular writers/duos and going in to an episode with specific expectations, I decided to give @messier51′s BUCKLEMING BINGO card a go during my rewatch this morning.  

And.  Well.  

I could have given myself a bingo with sexualized violence and bad pacing, or bad pacing and OOC-ness, but I gave Buckleming a pass on these because the pacing because it wasn’t that bad, the awkwardness among TFW was more a matter of stilted dialogue than anyone being truly OOC, and…okay, so sexualized violence is a near thing, but neither Lucifer nor Kelly were trying to be sexy (nor was the scene shot as if they were) when he attacked her over the pregnancy at the motel. 

It’s not Azazel torturing Ruby, or Abaddon threatening Dean.  It’s very much a depiction of violence against women that is sex-adjacent.  And boy howdy am I uncomfortable with the whole thing – see “unfortunate implications” – but yeah.

I’m also not giving them Bechdel-Wallace, because a two-second phone call to a named woman about a pregnancy?  Nuh-uh.  Especially not with the rest of the baggage.  

Anyway.  Seven Things, some positive and some not. 

  1. Have we ever seen Lucifer to be harmed by religious objects – and particularly Christian objects? – or those objects to be affected by him?  It’s a badass visual, but I feel like there’s a shift from Lucifer as an Angel Who Is Part of The Plan to making him something more akin to a Great Evil.  

    It’s a badass visual, and the show is clearly having an excellent time playing with it, but this is more in line with demonic activity than angelic.  Canonically, the nearest thing I can recall in terms of similar phenomena would be statues crying blood, which we see in 4x09 (when Alastair arrives at the church) and in 5x20 (when crying statues are mentioned in conjunction with Pestilence’s arrival).

    We can’t necessarily just chalk it up to Lucifer having a bit of fun with his role, unless we can extend that logic to Castiel’s Patented Nephilim Pregnancy Test.  That’s not entirely out of the question, but it’s asking the audience to do a lot of work to get there.  So. 

    On the other hand, it does make the prayer scene a lot more interesting, given that Lucifer’s words are some of his most sincere, yet awkwardly shoehorned into a format he despises.
  2. President Rooney feels like an amalgam of a lot of white conservative politicians from the last decade or so.  While I saw some people reacting on Twitter about the prayer scene, I’m from Missouri, and got a pretty heavy John Ashcroft vibe.  

    (Ashcroft, if you don’t know, is Pentecostal, and led daily prayer meetings among his staff while in office as US Senator and Attorney General.  His father anointed him with oil at his swearing-in.  It’s not a stretch.)

    Jeff Rooney isn’t quite as otherworldly as all that – he’s in a sexual relationship with Kelly, one of his staffers – but he at least appears to be sincere in his beliefs.  He’s also a widower, which places him firmly in Lucifer’s preferred zone as far as vessels go.  
  3. And actually, Kelly is the one being screwed here, in every sense of the word.  She is tricked by Lucifer into sex she would not have consented to/cannot consent to, and conceives a Nephilim as a result.  Lucifer reacts violently when she says she won’t carry the pregnancy to term, while TFW are pressuring her to terminate.  Because, you know, literal spawn of Satan. 

    Did we mention that she can set a Bible on fire by touching it now?  Which, given that she is visibly religious in a visibly religious administration with a deeply religious boss/lover who, by the way, isn’t going to remember any of this?  There may be no right answers for Kelly.

    I’m viscerally uncomfortable with basically all of this.  I know that about half of that is intentional on the part of the show — Lucifer is bad and does bad things to people who don’t deserve it – but the implications of the thing?  Yow.

    I do think it’s interesting philosophically that there are angels on both sides of the question of termination.  In general, religious Americans (like Kelly) are cast as being firmly anti-abortion, and there’s every possibility that President Rooney ran on an anti-abortion platform.  Lucifer, however, is firmly in the role of violent patriarchy, while Castiel is…the show doesn’t say as much, but the subtext reads to me that he is the one who’ll be making the termination happen.  At the very least he’s one of a cast of men pushing for it.

    It’s violent, infernal Patriarchy vs. something that feels like “benign” Patriarchy, with Kelly in the middle.  The show at least lets Kelly make her own choice, which is ultimately a good move, but the whole thing still feels very skewed.  We’re not supposed to like her choice, if she ever had one.
  4. LUCIFER HAS NEVER HAD OCCASION.  This would be funnier in any other context, except that Lucifer is, again, a Bad who does Bad Things.

    Interesting, though, that this is also his first act of creation, and that this is exciting for him.  Worrying, too, given that the Nephilim conceived might well be an ideal vessel for him.

    How concerned are we that the ritual might not have worked?  That we might have a New Amara on our hands?  Anybody else screaming internally?  Just me?  And is Heaven going to start paying attention to things again because of the OH SHIT of it all?
  5. Given what the Winchesters do, any interaction with a sitting President was bound to end like this one, even without Lucifer putting the Secret Service on it.

    (Side note: the whole scene with Lucifer cluing Agent Sanchez in that the Winchesters are a Problem was cut entirely by my CW affiliate. We only knew we’d missed a scene because we saw the very last second of it before Sam starts dialing Mick.  I’m told other viewers in other markets had the same problem.  The casual viewer is super confused right now.) 

    They’re not even a difficult target because their lives make them look like exactly what Lucifer says they are: mentally unstable, probably involved in some kind of cult, out to kill him because he’s Satan. 

    Sanchez reacts perfectly, too.  Satan’s not a thing!  Satan’s a metaphor!  It’s fun, because Lucifer is obviously Not Pleased by that sentiment, but Sanchez is unimportant in the greater scheme of things, easily disposed of, as long as he solves this problem first.  

    The end of this ep in terms of Trouble To The Winchesters rates on a scale with 2x12, except instead of getting away to “Renegade” in a couple of SWAT uniforms, they’re literally disappeared.  No legal process, no media attention.  Quick, quiet, and very, very serious.

    On first viewing there was a lot of objection on our couch about how long the Winchesters stuck around, but I’m on the fence about it.  Yeah, they had a short broment, but it feels longer because we’re being shown two things happening essentially at the same time.  We’re talking a span of fewer than three or five minutes.  

    Waking up the President is questionable regardless, but…it’s quite as bad as it could be?  The plan was for everyone to get out quick.  Team B just failed to get out quick enough.

    Potential plot issue: during Ketch’s attack/rescue, he asks Castiel to erase the agents’ memories, but Agent Sanchez arrives later with other units, apparently unscathed, and there is Meaningful Eye Contact.  Obviously the on-site agents called them in, but Sanchez gets a lot of camera time.  He is Important™.  Either something is broken or something is going on here.
  6. Ketch is condescending about it, but can we  just take a minute to appreciate Cas’ statement that the truth is sometimes situational?  That’s kind of a big deal.  Actually, I’m loving some of the Cas moments:

    - Working with Crowley in a hunter’s milieu and taking it (maybe a little too) seriously.  
    - Working with the Winchesters and giving zero fucks about the Secret Service after Sam and Dean (quite reasonably) lose that scrap.
    - Being pretty much Done with people like Ketch treating him like a tool instead of a being with a name.
    - The closet scene.  

    The ep has problems, and Cas’ abilities in places seem to work only when the plot dictates it’s convenient, but there’s still some pretty good Cas in there, and I’m into it.
  7. Sam fucking up Lucifer’s plans?  My jam in every possible way.  This ep gave us the right person getting to take the shot.  I enjoyed that a lot, even if the emotional payoff wasn’t as big as it could have been.  

    Granted, “too easy” on Supernatural generally means “exponentially worse trouble later,” which I’m ready to grant on account of the BMOL providing the ordinance.  Lucifer was becoming a singular, outsized threat.  The BMOL?  They’re nastier in a more personal way. 

    Still, Sam got to ruin Lucifer’s day.  It feels good, even if everything else feels bad.

Bonus Thing: Crowley.  Agent Zappa?  I approve.  Having human agents that he strings along?  Yep, I’m all about this.  Blowing up Rowena’s terrible would-be fiance?  I laughed.  Crowley isn’t a nice person, but he is occasionally his own reward.

Bonus Thing #2: Okay, so I have no idea if the bird shit on the motel sign was deliberate or not, but it was a wonderful visual contrast to how manicured the other environments were, and so I’m awarding credit.

Bonus Thing #3: Ketch with a trunk of neat toys is the show showing us the gun.  No way this ends well.

“Supernatural” is a very serious show. You can tell because none of these are bloopers.

For mercy sake, more are under the cut!

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Are Dean and Cas fighting?

I wanted to make some Castiel GIFs. So, I went and rewatched the episode LOTUS, S12x08. I can’t help but notice that it seemed like Dean and Cas were having a domestic.

Exhibit 1: Dean being snippy.

It is quite obvious here that Dean is acting snippy. He is annoyed by the camaraderie between Cas and Crowley. 

My interpretation: When Cas, in the previous episodes, told Dean that he was working with Crowley, Dean was unhappy with the collaboration. But he went along with it and was ok since Cas seemed to hate it. But in the previous episode, he witnessed Cas developing a grudging friendship with the demon. 

Now Dean enters to find them standing together, using Dean’s favorite band musicians’ names and greeting him in unison. This annoys Dean, causing him to be prickly. Cas notices Dean’s reaction but seems to dismiss it.  In the next GIF, Cas does it again defending Crowley and using the singer’s name. But here, we see Cas is getting pissed at Dean’s sarcastic comments. Dare I say Dean is jealous and he has missed Cas?

Exhibit 2: Cas in the bunker.

Here we see that Cas hears foot steps approaching. He turns to see that it is Dean but does not deign to acknowledge his presence. We can see a clear reaction of Dean looking confused because Cas refused to acknowledge him. I think here Dean actually forgot that he was snippy with Cas. Crowley is not in the bunker with them so Dean is much more alright with Cas.

Exhibit 3: Cas being snippy now. Did the bunker’s warding fail?

Cas very well knows that the bunker’s warding did not fail. He knows Dean has tampered with it because Dean is the only one absent in this room. But because now Cas is angry. He is not taking Dean’s bullshit anymore and doesn’t comprehend why Dean is being a jerk to him. 

Exhibit 4: Cas tried to make eye contact with Dean

Cas feels bad about being angry with Dean. So he is slowly looking at Dean to re-establish eye contact, maybe to wordlessly communicate that he is sorry.

Exhibit 5: Dean and Cas quiet moment alone.

Cas and Dean get a quiet moment alone without the presence of Sam or crowley here, because Sam has sneaked off to call Davis. I think they might have had a talk because after this scene, they seem have made up somewhat.

Exhibit 6: Destiel made up again!

After their little alone time together, Cas and Dean seem to have overcome whatever hangups they might have had. Cas is now leaning right beside Dean and Dean comes running when Cas suddenly collapsed to make sure he is alright.

Now, with Sam and Cas in his Impala, Dean has his family back together. He is much more comfortable with interacting with Cas. Even though bullets can’t hurt Cas, Dean asks him to stop. Obvious concern for his angel boyfriend is obvious. In the last Gif, Cas and Dean are standing side by side, their arms touching with Sam slightly situated behind them. Again, this shows them seeking comfort with one another.

Bonus:

Throughout LOTUS, we see Cas and Dean slowly coming together which makes Cas sitting alone in the bunker counting the days Dean [and Sam] have been missing all the more heartbreaking. I am not crying, the room is just dusty.

Crossroads 5

Part 5
It’s Called the Sun

Summary: In where demon!Y/N steals a prized possession, and alcohol creates interesting things…

Words: 1,550

Warnings: excessive alcohol consumption, swearing, that’s about it for this one.

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