Unfortunately, the song thing seems to be ever present. They also wind up being self referential a lot more than any previous season, with at least one call back to the immediate prior episode in each episode, like how they made a joke about Carvel ice cream in the first episode, and then the Mads did their Invention around it. I still don't understand why Gypsy keeps popping into the theater in each episode. It's good, but you can't help but notice the flaws.
I don’t mind callbacks like that, though it does seem like they don’t have very creative ideas for the Mads yet. From what I’ve read there’s supposed to be a payoff for Gypsy popping into the theater, not sure if they mean at the end of the season or later on, but either way, it’s not a great place for an extended plotline(?). I’m more baffled by Gypsy’s voice being inconsistent for no explained reason, and sounding exactly like everyone else, who all sound like each other. (EDIT: Guess the voice is the same, I just couldn’t tell because she sounded like everyone else in the theater)
I spoke a few times before about how Dean’s loss of self control due to the mark resembled Castiel loosing his agency due to the mind control Naomi asserted over him. But it’s not just those things that mirror in Dean’s and Castiel’s arc. It’s also the answer that is not given in text but is supposed to be inserted by the viewer that is the same. “What broke the connection?“, Dean asks. Cas says he doesn’t know. But the gap that is left is meant to be closed by the audience. The viewer is forced to make the logical leap and make up his/her own mind on what he/she thinks is the answer. And for me it is clear as day what the answer is: It’s love. And I think it’s valid to see it that way without bringing shipping into this at all - in fact to me this has nothing to do with shipping at all.
Castiel was able to overpower Naomi’s control out of love for Dean, or differently worded, him caring deeply about Dean in a completely platonic nature. Likewise in 10x23 “Brother’s Keeper” the narrative suggest that Dean was able to pull back and not kill Sam, because he had been reminded of the unconditional love of his mother. So I think even though Dean wasn’t asked what made him turn around in that moment, I think he wouldn’t have had an answer either, yet I think the gap that is left here was meant to be filled by the viewer too and I personally think that it was love that made Dean come back to himself. Especially as Dean as a character possesses such an immeasurable ability to love.
So, I’ve worked out a headcanon for when the bullying started. The conclusion I’ve arrived at is: approximately Yearbook/Semi-Formal, give or take a few days.
The bully noticed that “Most Likely to Smile Herself to Death” actually got to Riley here and was probably one of the people who voted to give her that category. I’d say it was around this time that the bully decided to target Riley.
And then Rileytown has a bit of a callback to Semi-Formal, though the Semi-Formal moment was a flashback.
“I twirl around when I’m happy.”
It seems like Riley’s making this statement because the bully has specifically mentioned the twirling. Of course, that particular twirl was supposed to be five months ago, but Riley says the bullying has only been going on for a few weeks, which is what makes me place it around the time of Yearbook/Semi-Formal.
I also think this is reflected in the subsequent episodes. Riley’s insecurities are a little more transparent than usual. At first, she tries not to let it get to her, because she’s at least half-well-raised and she knows she shouldn’t. Also, she doesn’t want to worry the people she cares about, who all have problems of their own, which she sees as more important than anything she has to deal with. However, the strain of it starts to show.
It seems like a throw-away line, but I think it’s a bit more telling. With hateful messages lighting up her phone all the time, Riley has started to conceptualize her happiness as a flaw.
I think the bullying might also account for her little jabs at Maya’s life.
Maybe that’s just a bit of teasing between friends. Perhaps a bit harsh, but Maya rolls with the punches. And then in I Am Farkle, Maya asks for “one of your wonderful little Riley-pick-me-ups,” but Riley’s a little off her game.
In fact, she almost seems to snap a bit as she says it. Kind of the same way as when she pushed Maya off the bed in Rileytown. Like maybe she resents being the wonderful pick-me-up.
I almost feel like Riley’s trying to convince herself here. “Your problems aren’t big enough to worry about. Stop being so pathetic. Farkle’s got real stuff going on. Maya’s a bag of cats!”
And the way Riley looks away here. She knows what she said was rude. She’s having trouble keeping a lid on the emotions bubbling beneath the surface. She looks pretty obviously stressed and I don’t think it’s 100% about Farkle.
And then we get to Cory and Topanga. The subtext is rapidly becoming text. Riley feels inadequate, insubstantial. “Maybe some people do just fall off the world.”
And again she snaps when someone brings up her sweetness.
She keeps trying all these different avenues to vent her frustrations. And she is becoming convinced, as she was in Yearbook, that “there is no value to the existence of Riley.” Maya pulls her back in this episode, but ultimately that’s just delaying the full breakdown that comes about in Rileytown. And even then, Riley doesn’t want anyone to worry about her.
And Riley, for all her insistence that she’s fine, looks half-terrified at the thought that Maya might actually believe her. But Maya knows better than that. Maya understands emotions.
And she knows that Riley needs to work through this. Now that she understands what Riley has been going through, she’s determined to see it through.
Aaaand this is what happens when you bottle up your emotions. Maya probably knows that from experience. But even through her tears, Riley still wants to downplay her feelings.
Maya’s having none of it.
A few weeks. At least since Semi-Formal, the way I see it. Riley didn’t want to burden the people she cares about with her problems. I can relate to that on a personal level, which in turn fills my heart with empathy. Riley Matthews is a warrior.
I'm not sure the writers will call-back to Q next season. Why would they? With B, we had constant call-backs, esp due to Franny, and I'm sure those will continue in S7 & 8. B was and still is of huge importance to the show and to C. Q, on the other hand, was not important to the story, it seems, according to the writers. He was enormously important to the viewers and we wanted him to be important to the writers, but the way he was treated, his death and the aftermath illustrate that he was not.
I think he’ll be referenced. The creak in the basement seems like a possible illusion to his memory haunting her. It was very eerie.
We did not really have constant callbacks to Brody, though. There were a handful in season four, not many that I can recall in season five, and a few this season, too.
I think Quinn’s memory and absence will weight heavily on Carrie. He was her best shot up until now at a life spent not alone.
(Contains spoilers for the whole game, including all Friend Events in Free Time and the bonus chapter. Be wary of the Other Characters section if you’ve played through the plot but haven’t befriended everyone.)
11x09 “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” “I know you’re a warriror and your instinct is to resist. But… I can’t be resisted.”
I know this is most probably the most hated scene of the entire episode, but I need to talk about this for a moment, because it was such a pivotal point of the episode. Not only does this kiss follow up on Amara making unmistakably clear that she can - and will - pull Dean’s strings, which is a horrifying thing, because she is well aware of how very unwanted their entire bond is for Dean and that he does not want any of what is happening between them.
That being said. I think it is all kinds of interesting that right after she tells Dean that she can’t be resisted, it’s either that Dean’s soul was able to resist her or she resisted to take Dean’s soul even though she wanted to. Though of course we cannot be certain if she did not take his soul during that kiss. In any regard, I am really massively curious to know what she showed Dean during that kiss, because it seemed it was much more than just what she labeled as “peace” and “bliss”, because Dean asked “What was that?” and to me it seemed not just to mean “Why the hell did you kiss me and why the hell couldn’t I pull away?”, but was a connected to hers “a look into the future” in which they both are one.
I have talked about Dean and Amara’s “bond” as lock and key and “two halves of one whole” multiple times, so her telling Dean that one day they’d have to reunite sort of valified this headcanon for me. This was further highlighted by the way they were circling one another in this scene imo and furthermore, I think they fully intentional with Emily Swallow found someone, who resembles Jensen in a lot of ways. Or at least I think so. The same high cheekbones with the cheeks hollowing out, a similar haircolour, a similar nose shape. I found this to be most recognizable in this shot right before he tries to stab her.
And it makes sense to me they’d resemble one another, because she is in some proximity a part of him and the other way around. They’re bound, protect each other. She is Dean’s female, darker half and as I have spoken way too often in relation to Charlie and Dark!Charlie one can’t be without the other. How did Marie say in 11x05 “Fan Fiction”? Ah yes, “In the second act Dean becomes a woman for some time” as @sleepsintheimpala had also noted. Not the only parallels and callback to that eoisode though. Essentially as @lost-shoe had speculated Dean may be the scarecrow to Amara’s Calliope…
Oh, just remembered something else I wanted to say here. The way this scene connected to the following was really unsettling and does not bode well for Dean at all, because if I remember right the kiss was followed by a shot of hell with tons of skeletons on the ground, which reminded a great deal of the starting scene when Amara kills the group of bible enthusiasts.
When I get the call
for the callback, I’m in my truck with my daughter, Cali, sleeping in
the back, driving with the windows down. Her head is tipped towards
the door and we’re driving through an alley of pine trees, and the
cool summer air is coming in and caressing her hair back from her
eyes. I keep a loving eye on her as I answer the phone, making sure
to keep my voice down so she’ll stay asleep. It’s not easy to put her
back down once she wakes up. “Hello?”
9x04 “Slumber Party” “We couldn’t find a way to kill her.”
While capping some stuff I also stumbled upon this scene again and sort of felt slapped over the head with parallels and possibilities relating to the arc at hand. Just yesterday I have been talking about this episode again and how I felt it might have been foreshadowing for what we’ll get later this season: a witch in the bunker - Rowena. Taking back what the Men of Letters have stolen from the Grand Coven. And whatever spells, objetcs and potions might fall into her hands *cough* Pandora’s Box *cough* Spear of Destiny *cough* it would sure be catastrophic. Rowena herslef said given the freedom to practice her magic at full capacity she’d be unstoppable.
And doesn’t this feel oddly familiar to Dorothy’s story? She didn’t find a way to kill the witch, so she did the only thing she could do - sacrificing herself, choosing eternity locked away with the wicked witch to save Oz. Wait a moment, where did we hear that song before? Ahhhh, right it’s of course the perfect callback to Sam jumping into the cage in S5.
It might not only be a callback though, but possibly also some forehsadowing. Many of us have speculated about Sam using witchcraft trying to save Dean, but ending up making matters worse and possibly unwillingly helping Rowena gather the power that would render her unstoppable. If something like that would truly come to pass it would fit to he switching between “locking something away and letting something out” SPN has been playing with since S1 (see here for a loose write up of said structure). Then S10 might end with unleashing Rowena and S11 might be about locking her away.
And well… in a way that might bring us full circle. Sam would feel responsible for helping Rowena gather power and for making things worse for Dean, so in the end he might consider doing what Dorothy did: Her soul with his. For eternity. Guess it’s all a bit of history repeating…
As always there are just some loose thoughts, I’m not saying this is likely to happen, it’s jsut stuff that crossed my mind while stumbling upon this moment. :)
I adored this ep! It moved forward the plot to take down SAM via the Ice 9 virus, but most of all, it was a character ep with some amazing moments between Harold and TM. In fact, this ep was dedicated to Harold and TM. It focused almost entirely on them and showed us how brilliantly the two of them worked together. It showed us a world where Harold decided not to build TM. It showed us the beginning of the end with TM being destroyed along with SAM. It showed Harold having to make that choice and how much he struggled with it.
It showed us Harold and TM talking. After communicating via words on a screen for such a long time, watching Harold and TM in action interspersed by discussion about AUs, loss, choices, regrets and sacrifices was mesmerizing. Special shoutout to ME for absolutely blowing me away in this entire ep, but especially during the last 10 mins. He was amazing!
11x11 “Into the Mystic” “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
Oh Dean, Dean, Dean… Sam may let it slide, but you certainly cannot lie to yourself. The banshee came after you, because yes, you are vulnerable. And you have always been vulnerable, because despite that sarcasm and the walls to keep you safe, you carry your heart on your sleeve, always have. Probably always will. Cause your heart is your secret weapon. Still it all seems so familiar. Trying to make others and most of all yourself believe you are okay. The same way you tried after you killed Cain. Similarly to when you, Sam, Charlie and Cas sat at this table after you all thought the “Book of the Damned” burnt to dust. It was always just the moment before things went from bad to worse… ;____;
I’d love to have more coherent thoughts on the update but I’m kind of sick and need to take it easy so I have enough energy to make it through the thing I need to do tomorrow.
I do want to say that I loved all the art and little callbacks and shoutouts, though. I really like how Homestuck has that fan-focused element where dedicated and skilled fans get to contribute to making it what it is, and that’s continuing on in the last stretch of the comic. (Also, delegating some of the work on wrapping this monster up was a smart move.)
Congratulations to all the artists who contributed to EoA6 - it was gorgeous and fun and I’m looking forward to rewatching. :)