Seven Things About Supernatural: 12x10 - “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets”
So basically that was the best birthday present ever and I want to marry Steve Yockey. Which, uh…he’s probably got opinions about, but at least I’m not Lube Guy this time around, right?
- Okay. So. Gender and vessels. I am here for this, and wish we’d get more of it because there’s so much potential for exploring things. Benjamin’s use of masculine pronouns in a female vessel, Cas being very clear that Benjamin is an angel in a vessel, and that these things are distinct, Castiel’s previous female vessel, etc. all make me want more data about how this looks from an angelic point of view.
Angels probably aren’t doing genders the way people do genders, but given that we’ve seen cross-pronoun vessels multiple times over the course of the show (Raphael, Hannah, Castiel, Benjamin) and those gendered pronouns are preserved, there’s some kind of identity thing happening here. Possibly not intentionally on the part of the writers, but…well, there’s enough of it in canon now that the idea of wavelengths of intent having some kind of affinity seems like a thing now, and I’m so fucking here for it.
- There is so much in this ep about angels and humans in relationship, both positive and toxic. Ishim becomes obsessed and abusive toward Lily and hates humanity, Akobel loves humanity and has a positive relationship with Lily, Benjamin has a close relationship with his vessel that potentially reads subtexually as romantic – Sam is the one who says “friend” before Cas can find a word – but is at least mutually satisfying, Cas’ relationship with the Winchesters (with none of them willing to sacrifice the other) develops and is discussed, and even Lily’s possible reconciliation with Cas.
Heaven has always tried to pretend it is a united front, with a monolithic (and often negative/dismissive) view of humans, but this episode shows us how diverse those views actually are in practice when angels are given an opportunity to form their own opinions/relationships.
- Benjamin and Akobel deserved better. Benjamin was interesting for the five minutes we saw him, and I’m so curious about the nuts and bolts of his relationship with his vessel. Angels don’t beg for their own lives; Benjamin was begging for his vessel’s safety. As for Akobel, did you see how kind? How affectionate? How protective? This is an angel who understood The Mission. Who cared. [insert “GROSS SOBBING” gif here.]
- You know, for an episode that retcons the “angels didn’t walk the earth for centuries” thing, this ep is kind of a reverse Buckleming. So many callbacks, so many strong references to, reinforcements of, and reimaginings of earlier canon. Some of it is small, like Ishim’s comment about Castiel being a “spanner in the works.” Some of it is bigger, like Dean’s disapproval of rescues that invoke cosmic consequences, Sam’s experience of soullessness. Hell, we’ve got the wing-shaped burn marks back. I think we can trust Yockey with canon, guys.
- Cas. Cas is so worthy. I’m glad that this episode served to illustrate that, both in terms of the story we see and his experience as a character. This episode has given us so much about his development, and how he has come to deeply respect both humanity and genuine justice. He’s given up on that Great Chain of Being bullshit. He’s ready to fight down someone who is unjust and violent, and to take responsibility for past injustice.
He more than deserved that beer at the end of the episode. I’m also really hoping that Operation Drink And Find Another Way works out. (I mean, it’s Supernatural, so there’s going to be a lot of sobbing and drinking, but…)
- Lily Sunder is probably one of the most sympathetic characters we’ve seen in a long while. She’s just…it’s weird to describe her as reasonable and human and wonderful, but that’s the best way to do it. She’s still a bit otherworldly, which makes sense given that she’s over a century old and burning out her own soul to use Enochian magic, and she’s coldly calculating about Sam’s place in things when Dean leaves to help Cas/fight Ishim, but she’s also got more humanity and conscience than we often see in similar characters. She’s emotionally complex and dynamic. Good, good stuff.
- So many good Winchester Family Dynamics moments. Sam third-wheeling Dean’s snit with Cas, knowing when Dean’s going to storm the cafe, the brothers sticking up for Cas, Dean’s problem with Mary jumping back into hunting v. Sam’s feeling that she’s just being who she is, Dean’s show of respect and understanding when he gives Cas a beer… So good.
But yeah, this ep is so good. Just…