Ok so my first thought is: how does the obvious parallel between the banes and the Winchesters (and Max and Dean in particular) and their story in this ep fit into the "finding a better way / not repeating past mistakes" theme of this season? Even if Max didn't sell his soul, I find it difficult to see what he did as finding a better way instead of just history repeating itself...what do you think?
The problem is assuming that there are “obvious parallels” in s12.
And… even the parallel between Dean and Max is flawed…
I’m having an exceedingly difficult time writing coherent meta lately, because s12 is like one of those Magic Eye pictures that you can’t “see” unless you unfocus your eyes and stop TRYING to see it.
(funnily enough I can’t actually see the pictures in those damn books)
I told Lizbob the other day it’s the sound of one hand clapping. I’m starting to feel like a total flake trying to write meta about it, because it’s like writing meta on the sea.
Max didn’t take a deal (SUBVERTED!), Alicia isn’t actually resurrected because she’s just sticks and string with her consciousness overlaid with magic AND UNDER MAX’S CONTROL, not actually completely free. (SUBVERTED!)
I’d been expecting that to happen (or something similar) since Alicia was the first one possessed by the demon in 12.06.
Because in some ways, Max was a closer mirror to Sam, and Alicia was a closer mirror to Dean…
Max was the “natural witch,” the one with freaky magical powers (like Sam). He was the one convinced that their mother was doing the equivalent of Sam’s “pulling overtime on a Miller Time Shift” back in the pilot. HE DIDN’T WANT TO GO LOOKING FOR HER. LIKE SAM DIDN’T WANT TO GO LOOKING FOR JOHN. Max had a date, Sam had Jess.
Alicia was the “normal” one with no freaky psychic woo woo (like Dean), but the one who was legitimately concerned about her mother when she didn’t call in like she usually did. Max made fun of her for it, but she refused to take no for an answer (like Dean did in the pilot).
See what I mean about looking for perfect mirrors in s12? They don’t exist.
It’s like depending on what “layer” of the text you’re looking at, you see two completely different parallels. Opposites, even.
Now Tasha was obviously a good hunter (AND WITCH!) to have lived in the life as long as she did. I’ve even reblogged at least one post that paralleled her to John here. Unlike John, in the end SHE DID NOT TAKE THE DEAL.
Aside from the surface-level similarities in the fact she raised her kids to be hunters, that’s really as far as the parallel works. Everything else about her, and how she raised them (witchcraft! How to flirt with men!) was different.
Looking at the surface level of s12 and trying to speculate is… flawed at best. The mirrors are all broken. Yet the entire story is being told through broken mirrors. You have to unfocus your eyes and look at the cracks to see what’s really going on.
And that sounds idiotic, I know. But that’s how Dabb is telling this story.
Can i ask ur thoughts on the scene between len and flash at argus? Where barry was holding onto len as king shark was trying to pull him back into the cell? I loved that scene. They've come so far from 1x04. I loved how len invited himself to the westallen wedding too.
I thought the entire scene at ARGUS was really fascinating, to be honest. I think there’s a lot that we can clean from it, including how fascinating it is that once they made it past the main guards, Len was so good at getting them to the basement that the show didn’t even see fit to actually, well, show the process of getting down there.
It’s possible they used the facial transmorgrifying to get past any guards, because no one internally is gonna question Lyla once she’s past clearance, I imagine, and they can use her retinal and bio scans to get through most parts or turn off half of their issues, and we’ve seen the cold gun take out lasers.
But still, the whole damn thing goes so smooth until they’re down there. And then there’s King Shark, and Barry being ready to kill him, and Len being unimpressed with that. And it’s not like Len’s unwilling to kill, we know he’s more than willing to, but he clearly holds other people to different standards.
I’ve talked about that before, a bit, why he would maybe hold Barry to a different standard, with the upshot being that the guy who inspired him not to kill and to find better methods isn’t allowed to toss that dedicated out the window now, especially not when he’s asking Len for help.
But anyway, things are going relatively well until the alarm goes off, and then Len gets stuck inside. And it’s neat, he half-expects Barry to ditch him, I think, based on the way he calls Barry’s name as soon as the door closes, separating them.
He switches quick into egging Barry on, reminding him he has to leave in under two minutes, but it’s some reverse-psychology. “This is your chance to show how ruthless you really are” because of course, Barry doesn’t want to be ruthless. Not the Barry that Len knew, at least. Is capable of it? Sure. But doesn’t want it. Doesn’t want to have to be.
And of course, Barry doesn’t disappoint. It’s Barry. No matter the consequences, he has honor, and he’s not about to throw someone under the bus and leave them behind when he’s responsible for them.
It’s interesting too though. Think back to the first trip to E2, with Jay stuck in another cage. Barry could’ve phased through the glass to get Jay out, but didn’t have the energy left, and Zoom was coming, so he left. There were other lives to protect, his friends, but he left Jay behind with the promise that he’d return.
He had reason to believe Jay’s life wasn’t in immediate danger, and he didn’t know Jay yet, but still, it bears comparing.
Because if the guards arrive in the next minute, Len’s probably not going to turn into shark food. Him dying here would seriously screw up time considering he’s supposed to die a hero with the Legends, but Barry also has other lives he has to think about here, and getting caught up in ARGUS stuff and losing the power source would devastate his chances for saving Iris.
But even now, at the “ruthless” end of his rope, Barry doesn’t seem to even consider bolting. Maybe he considers it, but dismisses it immediately. He’s not leaving Leonard behind.
And then the un-hackable door magically becomes hackable (likely because of Len’s tampering with it) and Barry urges Len to get out of there, only for him to get caught by King Shark at the last second. And then we get this.
(he keeps saying “I got you” it kills me, just the reassurance that he’s not letting Len go no matter what)
Barry doesn’t hesitate to dive for him. In the space of a second, he goes from urging Len on under the door to launching himself forward, grabbing Len’s hand and pulling, definitely not letting him go.
And you know something neat about this? Other than implied off-screen speed-running-carrying (since Barry had to get Len to 2017 somehow), the last time we saw them physically touch on screen was when Barry had Len pressed up to the mantle in 2x09? Barry has gone from physically pushing Len as a threat to physically pulling him to save him in the space of a single interaction, really.
I’m not sure what more you want me to say, except that it seems that every time these two work together, one of them gets the other into a pinch but ends up saving them (happens in 1x22, 2x03, and now here in 3x22). Their tally sheet must look like a messy with all the “you helped me, I saved your life, you saved my life, I helped you” back and forth they do. No wonder they seem to have simply thrown out their attempts to keep score.