Somewhere between Heaven and Hell/I Love You More
Okay, so - I don’t really know what to make of this episode. We know Davy Perez is all about brotherhood and family dynamics, and it looks like he forced quite a few things to be able to tell the story he wanted to tell. Which was, overall, good. I mean, I’m less than thrilled that he had to rewrite so many plot points and queercode every single villain to get there, but it was an interesting episode. What it also was - all about Sam and Dean, and whatever the hell is happening now between them, so it turns out the title had less to do with Crowley and Cas than I’d assumed (which is worrying, becase ‘between Heaven and Hell’ - that’s literally where Sam and Dean were in season 4, and boy, those were fun times).
Just to get it out of the way, a short list of OOC things:
- Dean is absolutely not the kind of person who’d wear the same underwear for four days and walk around - or, Jesus Christ, sit down in his stupidly beloved car - covered in entrails if he had any other choice. Which he clearly had, because Sam looked freshly showered, so.
- Ghouls, wraiths and sirens don’t live together, so either Dean went without a shower for two weeks, or, what? They found an underground poker den full of magical creatures? That was weird.
- Also, sirens do interesting things to their victims - show, you lose several points for using one on an offscreen case.
- I thought Sam was done assuming Dean is an idiot? Apparently not, though. And is Dean playing along, or just badly written? Still on the fence on that one.
- Crowley is so fickle. Or, at least, written that way. He can’t be angry and bad-tempered one second, and flirting with Dean the next. That’s not how it works - or, it shouldn’t be.
- And - he’s got a soul, now? Is this canon? Because if it is, it’s Big News. Of course, it’s possible Lucifer was just grandstanding and dicking around, but if so, one line of dialogue would have made that clear (“I’ll eat your soul. Not that you have one - figure of speech.”), and instead - what?
- Cas is in some town where they kill angels (and, remember, we’ve got two Princes of Hell on the loose, one of them, we know, is taking an active interest in Kelly) and Dean’s like, Okay, sounds like fun, bye? I’m just - okay, then.
- Master of secrecy Sam Winchester waited weeks to make his case to Dean about the BMoL, and then just chose to blurt it all out at the worst possible moment because Mick was calling him? Uh.
See, I know I say this every other week, but you can’t just pick and mix. If you write for a show with twelve season of canon behind it, you need to be more careful about balancing that canon with what you need to happen in a specific episode.
Then again, apparently the target audience here is this mythological ‘casual viewer’ who wouldn’t notice any of those things, so, whatever.
I’m not bitter.
Moose and Not Moose
I was slightly uneasy about their relationship before, and now I’m downright worried. Because Sam and Dean were clearly paralleled with Gwen and Marcus, and what the hell was up with that?
I mean - Gwen is this brilliant young thing going off to university, while Marcus, sweet and goofy, stays behind. He’s happy for her to go because it’s a great opportunity, but, of course, will miss her like crazy and hopes they can keep having the same kind of relationship even when Gwen’s away. Meanwhile, Gwen knows she’ll dump him the second she gets to college and move on to bigger and better things.
(Seriously - how much more obvious can they get?)
Also, Gwen has to stay and watch while Marcus is torn apart by Hellhounds.
(Okay, I take that back.)
Now, this is neither nefarious nor unusual. Sam and Dean get mirrored with random characters every week - that’s how shows work. And it doesn’t even mean anything subtextually, because, come on, they’re brothers, okay, so it’s a different kind of love, and of course they would know about each other’s underwear - they’ve basically been sharing a room for thirty years. It’s not weird.
What is weird, on the other hand, is what Gwen said: I liked Marcus. He was sweet and kind. And he loved me. More than I ever loved him.
What are we supposed to take away from this?
I don’t think this is to be read at face value, ie that Dean loves Sam more than Sam loves Dean. I think that what we see here is the same thing we keep seeing about their relationship - what we’ve seen for years and years: that there’s an unbalance there, because they do not behave like brothers, but like parent and child - which is what they are. Dean raised Sam, after all. I mentioned two weeks ago this little detail of Sam being completely unprepared to take off Dean’s clothes and look for symptoms of a lethal curse, and here it is again: the parent/child coding. Sam can be fine without Dean, because that’s what children do. They wander off on their own, generally don’t call, and never, ever realize how much their parents are hurt by this, and how much they worry about them, their wellbeing and their happiness. And it’s no use complaining, because, after all, they’re supposed to make you miserable, as Bobby angrily reminded Dean, right before comparing the relationship John had with Sam with the choices Dean was making. Because, again, subtext, or whatever. In any case - things may be slightly different now, because Sam’s weird and dented (although, we’re still not focusing on that, and aaaaargh), but before - when they were Gwen and Marcus’ age - yeah, that’s exactly what happened. Sam went away to his renowned university, and he was fine and happy and had a whale of a time, and meanwhile Dean was - we don’t know. Hunting on his own, experimenting with drugs, left behind by his father, getting his heart broken by Cassie after a two-weeks relationship he took too damn seriously because he had nothing else.
Getting torn apart by a Hellhound is certainly a quicker way to die, though the jury’s still out on the levels of pain.