13x01: Full Episode Deconstruction
What am I supposed to say here? Sincerely, what? How can I even begin to create a coherent commentary on this episode when the imagery in my head is the entire crew with their balls out? *prostrates myself on the floor again* *fighting back tears of ever more resilient hope* *because them balls are so beautiful, babes*
I mean, if this isn’t balls out then I don’t know what is. And what the fuck does balls out even mean in the first place?
It means the narrative tying back to the first act, which is S1-3. But they’re bound to - and have so done - do callbacks to the start of the second act as well, which is S4-5.
I believe they’ll be picking and choosing to do callbacks to all the most memorable moments because this final stretch of the road is all about pulling the curtain back and revealing what the show really is all about, what the narrative has really been trying to tell us all along, moving us into an ending that feels surprising and yet wholly inevitable.
Meaning the narrative is wrapping up and is singing its last note as it hurtles down the highway towards positive endgame. So far the sound of that note is a thing of epic proportion and we only have the first episode.
*light sheen of sweat on my brow*
So, here we go, upwards and onwards with this review.
Anyone who has seen the S12 recap reel that they released during SDCC this summer will have been screaming their heads off as well, because that reel was all about family and love and it was so CasDean/DeanCas/Destiel heavy that one cannot even begin to fathom the joy it’s brought all summer long.
And here they go and use the song again (well, as Saz pointed out, now that they’ve got the rights why wouldn’t they?) but also we were just amazeballed in our eye sockets at the reveal that it was the chosen opening song and omfg we were four seconds in and already we could just tell that this. Was going. To be. Epic.
And fuck me I barely even know where to begin. So I’ll follow the above comment on the opening music mind-melt with… the first scene, I guess. Feels a bit boring and standard since so much meta has already been published but, oh well, can’t be galloping on the back of a unicorn over the rainbow in every post.
…….. Can you?
No. Okay, no. Keeping it neat and tidy. Scene by scene, blow by blow —> off we go.
I have a feeling this season is going to be about fatherhood.
That’s totally sarcasm, because we all knew this season was going to be about fatherhood. Dabb has stated it on more than one occasion. Here’s our first introduction to Jack and glowy daddy devil eyes fade and give way for confusion almost immediately, which made me do a little dance and almost make a little love to poor Tink sat beside me on the sofa.
Yes, we knew he was going to be a blank slate but actually seeing it, seeing ALL of this episode play itself out, still gave shockwaves of pure awe. There he is. It’s Jack! Pleasure to meet you, finally.
2. Ummmmmmmmmmm no
I mean YES. Because oh my God, look at his wings on the ground. They’re too magnificent for words. (yes @magnificent-winged-beast that’s a nod to you) (a sad one) And Dean’s face. Look at Dean’s faaaaaaaace. And how it shifts from utter disbelief, like he can’t even compute, like, no, this isn’t supposed to happen, this isn’t right, and into focus at the reason for it and what can be done about it. It’s like he’s looking at Cas thinking How…? Why…? And then his brain clicks and all he can think is Nephilim.
(what is sort of horrifying to think about is that, to Dean, Jack is a baby - Dean doesn’t know that Jack’s all growed up…)
Tink has been banging her drum for this moment of Dean pulling his gun and running up to scare the bejesus out of Jack since May. I think I might’ve given her a bruise from screaming YES and shaking her by the arm. :P
3. Visual Manifestation of Power
Sam is Sam is SAM. God, I love Sam so much throughout this entire episode. He’s so Sam. That’s a shitty comment, but seriously, he IS SO SAM. Compassionate and logical. I believe this season is going to be so good to Sam and he’s already stepping into those Leader Sam boots.
As ever, Dabb uses a scene with efficiency and establishes a lot of things for us here.
Jack has a mission - he wants his father and needs to find him. Jack’s eyes glowing throughout the scene tells us that, no matter how calming Sam is trying to be, Jack hasn’t begun to trust him yet, and then Dean barges in, gun drawn, spots those glowing eyes, takes aim and fires off a shot. So the instinct of self-preservation takes over and Jack’s powers manifest.
The visual of Jack’s power is so goddamn brilliantly effective, because I think we know he’s bound go dark side, and he is fucking scary here. (I hope we’re right) (we have to be right in that he’ll go dark and I can’t wait!) (I can’t wait for Dark Jack!!) He knocks the brothers out cold.
TITLE CARD: it’s so fucking beautiful, what else is there to say?
My first reaction - as I’m certain most of ours was to it - was literally holy fuck, it looks like the sun!!
The up-side-down cross with an I inside it makes me think of how I believe this season will focus on the question of identity more than ever before, based in Dean finally beginning to trust, to have faith in people outside of himself, easing up on his need for control, all of this immediate and necessary stepping stones toward him finding self-worth in realising all of his self-worth is not in being the hammer, it is just as much in being the shield.
He can take the backseat and still be useful, appreciated and loved.
4. Burning on the Ceiling
Dean dreams of Mary stepping between the brothers and Lucifer.
So, this dream sequence tells me that Mary going through the rift is - to Dean - the same as her dying, killed in hellfire once again, and him unable to stop it.
But what else does this image from the Pilot hit home? This nightmare image of Mary burning on the ceiling? What does that image represent to Dean Winchester?
Well, it set the course for his entire life, didn’t it? Losing her again is like a sudden reset, as though perhaps that change that had begun to take hold now after 12x22 was nothing but smoke and mirrors after all and this proves it. Whatever hope Dean had begun to feel for the future was taken from him with Cas’ death, and this flashback to his helplessness as a child when watching his mother burn only underlines how all the change he’s been going through is for nothing: he’s back right where he began. There is no happy ending in the cards for him. Ever.
Mary also bookends the episode, so Dean having a nightmare about her death leads into the reveal that no, Lucifer did not kill her the moment the rift closed: she’s still alive and, moreover, Lucifer is hellbent on her staying that way.
What else will you be proven wrong about, Dean Winchester? <3
5. Does He Have Wings?
The brothers wake up and we get a closeup of Dean picking up his gun. Yeah, he won’t be deterred by some freak power show, they’ve dealt with those before, and he is clearly hellbent on finding Jack. There will be no asking first-shooting later - that kind of power isn’t messed with, it’s put down before it can kill anyone.
The cut on Dean’s lip intrigues me. He keeps touching it, it gets worse, then heals up, and at the end of the episode Mary has a cut in the exact same place after Lucifer hits her. There’s a visually established link between Dean and Mary in this episode. She was always an incredibly strong mirror for him, so this is bound to be meaningful later on. What’s lovely is that she remains a Cas mirror as well, stuck in her own Purgatory.
6. Nature Child
I love this shot of Jack’s feet walking in earth and dried pine needles, Jack surrounded by the forest. It feels organic and non-threatening, Jack sussing out this planet of ours with every new step he takes, and it’s even a subtle link to Cas and how he loves nature.
7. Pirate Pete’s Jolly Treats
Seriously, though. Seriously. We have a fast food joint with its menu changed by a blue-eyed and dark-haired Cas-on-the-outside/Dean-on-the-inside mashup of mischievousness. There is a joyful wink here that is not even subtle anymore and there are no fucks given and I love it. Please let it continue. (I have zero doubt that it will but, as ever, I could be wronggg)
High Seas Butt Combo is probably my favourite, but the buttshake has such a nice ring to it, too.
Now, Clark is a delight whatever view you take on him. Either he’s a guy with a wicked sense of humour and buckets of self-assurance who goes wide-eyed and looks rather delighted at the sight of a naked dude - or he’s all those things and just rather amazed at a dude without a stitch of clothing repeating the word “father” into his intercom. Whatever else there is, at the very foremost, there will most likely be friendship here as it seems Clark reappears in 13x03.
Clark calls his mom –>
8. Sheriff Barker
*insert other people’s brilliant meta on the FUCKING MUG*
The FUCKING MUG could be a plant of the place itself, that something big will happen later on in the season in the spot where the rift occurred, where Jack was born and where Cas died. Kind of a significant place to remember the name of… Then again, they could easily plant it in dialogue or just bring up “the place where Cas died” so… Very very very visual plant of that mug. Or perhaps Phil Sgriccia is selling these mugs on eBay and is making a not so subtle product placement… (goes to check eBay to immediately endorse) (I’m a sucker for a good mug)
9. “Cas is…”
Look at that big beautiful body of water (rebirth) and the mountains (knowledge) and that lone white sailboat in the middle of it. Just so pretty, if you ask me.
Dean: We still have holy oil, right?
Sam: For what?
Dean: ‘Cause we’re gonna have to hit him with everything we’ve got.
Sam: Hold on a second. Can we just talk about what happened back there?
Dean: Sure, which part? Let’s see - Crowley’s dead, Kelly’s dead, Cas is… mom’s gone, and apparently the Devil’s kid hit puberty in thirty seconds flat. Oh, and he tried to kill us.
Sam: Yeah, because you shot at him.
Dean: I tried to kill the monster, Sam, it’s kinda what we do.
Sam: We don’t know what he is yet, Dean, and I had it under control.
Dean: I’m sorry, are you defending the son of Satan?
Sam: I’m not defending anything. I’m just saying, look, with everything that’s happened I’m obviously spun out also, but we need a plan.
Dean: Yeah - kill him. That’s the plan. Look, right now all that matters is finding him and ending him before he hurts anybody else. Now, once we do that we’ll figure everything else out.
Sam: What about Cas? Is he really dead?
Dean: You know he is.
Ohhhh Dabb, the evil man. I’m sure there’s a ton of coda after the weekend (I’ve glimpsed one or two!), but wow, Dabb left out the scene of the brothers going back outside before going after Jack, both of them standing on that sand, by Cas’ body, taking in those wings in daylight, Sam maybe just double checking for a pulse or any sign of life, Dean… well, I think he’d still be just blankly staring because it’s starting to sink in.
Then Dean lifting Cas in his arms and bringing him inside while Sam goes and gets that sheet to cover him with. Oh, my heart. This is where that “You know he is” from Dean stems from, right? Yeah. They moved him inside and they know that there’s nothing they can do. Sam still holding out the smallest hope and Dean feeling it deep inside, that this is it. He’s lost Cas. And nothing else matters, as this entire episode demonstrates to us.
*mind* *so* *fucking* *blown*
Here’s the thing. In this my most recent long ass episode deconstruction I talk about how Castiel entering Dean’s life sets about a change, sets about a sudden need for self-examination, because Dean’s attraction to Cas is undeniable even to him and, to be honest, looking at that small smile in 4x05, he looks like he just might be in the first stages of falling in love. And the point of the love story (of any love story) is to push character progression. To make Dean need something more out of life, which will lead to him slowly daring to hope for more, because the need inside is taking over and is overriding any fear of the possible fallout.
Shooting that grenade launcher and tearing down that wall at the beginning of 12x22, which lead directly into him letting Sam go off and lead a mission before turning around and confronting/forgiving his mother, was a leap and a bound for Dean’s individual arc. What I’m getting at is that the above dialogue ties back into the image of Mary burning on the ceiling and Dean’s loss of hope. He is so fucking bitter, right? “I tried to kill the monster, Sam, it’s kinda what we do.”
It’s like - okay, so this is my only function on this Earth: to kill. Well, then, let me kill. I’ll kill anything and right now what needs killing is this thing related to the fucking Devil. This is all I am, right? This is all I’m meant to be or meant to have.
What is so remarkable about this dialogue is that Sam is subtly, but firmly, standing his ground, just as he did in 12x20 when they had the whole Cas-isn’t-himself exchange, where Dean was spun out of his head with fear, and Sam just did not see the situation in the same light at all. Sam gets to even make the awesome statement “and I had it under control.” Fuck yes, you did, Sam - you’re in control of this situation and Dean is spiralling through his anger-fuelled denial of his grief, wanting a target to blame and having it.
I love you, Sam Winchester.
Dean’s face after he says “finding him and ending him before he hurts anybody else” is also telling of where his head is at and who that anybody else is in relation to. (yes it’s Cas who got hurt)
And then they’ll figure “everything else” out - as in what to do about Cas’ body that they left behind in that house.
And then, of course, we get the lens flare to end all lens flares.
I mean, when the fuck has this colour not been used in a situation related to Cas and now they are fucking undeniably tying it to Cas by having it flare TO CAS’ FUCKING NAME. *they will murder us all* *balls so fucking out and dangling in all their glory*
The rest is under the cut. It got long. *smiles in friendliest manner*