ESPN’s Jason Bennett explores the journeys of four members of the Australian Matildas national women’s football team — KYAH SIMON, LISA DE VANNA, SAMANTHA KERR & CAITLIN FOORD. This exclusive Aussies Abroad special outlines the ups & downs of life as a professional female footballer as the quartet further their travels by playing in the inaugural season of the US National Women’s Soccer League.
After having slept a night on it and after reading larinahs awesome additions that sparked afew more thoughts of my own (see here), I am now feeling kind of tempted to remove the question mark, because after re-watching the episode again, I have to agree with her, that maybe this wasn’t accidental at all. Especially when keeping in mind that Robbie Thompson wrote the episodes, her and my metas/specs deal with most:
8x11 “LARP and the Real Girl”
9x11 “First Born”
9x18 “Meta Fiction”
Episode placement in seasons is the first thing I would like to talk about some more, because it might be a funny accident that it was the 11th episode of season 8 that may have foreshadowed what happened in the 11th episode of season 9, but it could have been a well-thought out decision as well (I am still leaning towards the first option, but we’ll see…). And on top of that funny co-incidence, one should keep in mind that 8x11 was about fairy magic. Fairies, who we know only target first born sons. Fairies, who we know kidnapped Dean, who is a first born. Dean, who takes on the mark of Cain in an episode called “First Born”. This thing alone has me losing my fucking shit over here… But wait, we are only getting started. Saying it again, buckle up, ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be a crazy ride and like always these are just the crazy ideas my brain is dumping all over me. ;)
Let’s talk about the biggest parallel first (see the gifs above): the mark(s).
I actually find it kind of awesome that they even rhyme: Tree of Pain / Mark of Cain. Here is what Sam finds out about the mark in 8x11 (as far as it was possible for me to decipher it):
“The Tree of Pain is a symbol of Fairy Magic. It was used by the Ancient Celts for magic rituals and casting spells. The Tree of Pain is used as a hex to maim or kill the subject bearing the mark for the uninitiated. It symbolizes pain. Both physical and spiritual. For the initiated practitioners of Celtic Fairy Magic, the Tree of Pain is a powerful protection symbol that served to bind the tribe. The Tree of Pain symbol had been passed down to the Ancient Celts from cultural…” (and that’s where it breaks off)
Now, colour me crazy, but I think this is kind of a perfect description of the Mark of Cain as well (both in SPN lore as well as in relation to the biblical version). I think it is extremely fitting that the Tree of Pain has a duality to it the very same way the Mark of Cain has. A possible good notion and a very bad one. In terms of the MoC this would be being able to kill Abaddon as a plus and possibly getting turned into a knight of hell while doing so as a huge minus. Even more fitting though I find the description of the ToP as symbolizing physical as well as spiritual (emotional) pain. This has always been a pretty important aspect of SPN. Hurting on the inside manifesting itself through violent actions has been part of the season from the start. For example, Dean destroying the Impala in S2. In fact, one could argue, that it is the basis of the show given John’s inability to cope with the pain of Mary’s death set the boys on this path. And how fitting for Dean, especially in this season, where the true big bad is internal. This whole aspect screams Dean Winchester to me as loud as an audience at a rock concert asks for an encore. And finally the last bolded parts about the mark to those in the inner circle serving as a protection symbol (fitting to the biblical meaning of the MoC, that the mark served as some sort of protection as well) and also something that is binding the one carrying it to a tribe. The tribe in this case could be understood as the Knights of Hell (I personally feel very much reminded of the Death Eaters in Harry Potter, who all sport the same dark mark on their arm - a mark that burns and moves, when Lord Voldemorts calls out to them - nice parallel to Cain telling Dean to come to him, when he calls for him (which reminds me of this shot)). And just like the ToP, the MoC can be transferred. To someone, who’s worthy (though it still being up for debate what worthy means here, does it simply mean “being a killer” or does it also carry the notion of “looking out for your family”), which fits as well.
The next thing I’d like to talk about and which is much more spec rather than meta, is this line from 8x11:
“We were named to the queen’s honour guard in anticipation of the coming Battle of Kingdoms this weekend. He broke protocol, so I called Ed after game hours and accused him of cheating and then I challenged him to adool wands and swords in the morning. […] He was the Lancelot to my Merlin.[…]”
The interesting thing here is that they were called into the queen’s honour guard. Might that be what Abbadon wants as well? For Dean to join her team? As part of her honour guard (new recruit as a knight of hell)? Crowley clearly does want Dean on his team, that much is certain. Question is: Who will Dean choose in the end and will he be truly ~free in his decision? Will it be Abaddon? Or Crowley? Or neither of them?
Anyway, the far more interesting aspect here might be the other bolded parts. Because what do we have? Two good friends, usually playing for the same team - they are Lancelot and Merlin after all (and don’t even get me on the possible subtext in terms of Dean’s sexuality and of what nature his relationship to Cas is, here, because I find it rather interesting how Sam says: “They were… brothers in arms”) being set up against one another and in the end both dying. It kind of makes me remember how they have been visually setting up or at least alluding to Dean and Cas ending up on opposing teams (for that see here). Is this the fate Metatron has in mind for Dean and Cas? To re-create this story, in which one thought the other was betraying him (Jesus/judas vibes…). It’s impossible to say anything definite about it, but I sure as hell think it’s a possible reading.
Now, the Battle of Kingdoms was a huge thing in MoonDoor. And isn’t that similar to what we are heading towards as the seaosn draws to a close as well? A battle of kingdoms?
Take a look at the gif above. That is a map showing all the groups fighting one another over the “forever crown”. Four groups: Followers of the Moon, Warriors of Yesteryear, Elves, Shadow Orcs. Kind of similar to what we have in S9 as well, no?
There is Abbadon in one corner and Crowley in the other. Then there is Metatron and on the opposing side Cas. And who is right in the middle of it all? Right, the Winchesters. On which team will they fight? All in the same? Or will they choose not to play at all. This did the trick in “Pacman Fever” after all…
In this case it is interesting to note what Charlie says once she learns about what is going on:
“Dropping my sword, walking off the stage, bitches, have fun storming the castle.”
(“Drop the blade, Dean. It’s over. Magnus is dead.”)
Back then she already refused to play, but got pulled back in and even more so, she turned against the story Jerry had in mind and became the hero of the narrative.
I would love to see the same thing happening to Metatron. Him getting defeated with his own weapons. With pen and paper. And maybe a little more than that, but you get what I mean, right? :)
Charlie had to destroy the book (similar to how Harry had to destroy Tom Riddle’s diary in order to destroy all of the horcruxes Lord Voldemort created - might the Winchesters need to destroy all the tablets beyond repair as well, because while writing Metatron has left a piece of himself in those tablets?). Maybe that is what TFW will have to do with Metatron as well - he is “An entity of his word” after all, as he said quite arrogantly and possibly fatally for him. (BTW, when thinking about Mettaron writing and changing the rules, etc., I keep coming back to Dean’s lines of “Somebody changed the playbook, man. What right is wrong and what’s wrong is more wrong” and “What’s up is down and down is sideways”)
There are a couple of other nice shots - larinah mentioned this before in her post and I felt like gif-ing them - connecting the episodes and might give further hints on, who is standing on whose side or whether or not one might hurt the other while being under the influence, under a spell or however you want to call it.
In 8x11 we have Dean fighting with a shield showing Medusa.
In 9x16 “Blade Runners” we have this shot of Sam showing him with a painting of Medusa.
There are two ways of interpreting this. Either you could say Dean is the one keeping Sam save since he uses the shield of Medusa and saves him from getting beheaded (killed) or one could think Dean is too far gone and is actually the one to hurt Sam…
And since I am on the topic of interesting parallels. Remember how in 8x11 we had a prisoner exchange…
…that Metatron might have been drawing inspiration from?
Anyway… I need to find an ending, tie up all the loose ends (who am I kidding I won’t be able to), because this is ridiculously long already… So maybe it’s best to go back to the start and take a look at the thing that sparked this whole meta in the first place: the mark(s).
Especially the dual nature of the ToP and the MoC. It’s a protection symbol and a mark of death at the same time. Like Sam said: “Who gets marked, gets ganked." Will this be Dean’s fate as well? He sure sees the mark as a suicide mission, so he doesn’t really care either way, because he thinks he is poison. And that brings me to my last parallel for now (I actually think about doing a 3rd installment of this, because there are still a lot of things I was unable to fit in here without getting blown off track even more).
The second victim died because he was poisoned by Belladonna. Not, not the porn star (as Dean and Charlie has asked), but a plant/fruit. A plant/fruit with an interesting description and impact (aside from death). The "atropa belladonna” is named after the goddes Atropos, one of the three goddesses of destiny, the one to cut the thread of destiny. The one thing TFW always fought against. But this is not the most interesting part about this toxic plant. The plant or rather fruit causes the pupils to blow up. Do I have to say what that makes your eyes look like? Yes, almost completely black. I guess I don’t need to say anything more than…
But back to the episode. The problem for the doctors was, that they could tell by the symptoms and the outcome that it must have been belladonna, but they were unable to find any traces of it in the victim’s bloodstream. This imo fits perfectly with Dean. Dean, who thinks he is poison. But isn’t. He got poisoned as a child and now the mark is poisoning him as well, but when you look underneath all of the protective layers he accumulated over the years, you will find that he still is ~pure.
And since all of this takes place in MoonDoor and as a sort of last note, I might want to remind you of this line from 9x16 “Blade Runners”, that Magnus said:
“I am offering you the moon here, Dean.”
The moon, something that in 8x11 was an entire kingdom. So the question remains… “Dean Winchester: Handmaiden, Knight of Hell or King of the Damned” Indeed a Curious Case of Accidental Foreshadowing…
So yes, this small thing here, like larinah suggested, might have been a wonderful visual of foreshadowing…