Seven Things About Supernatural: 12x11 - “Regarding Dean”
Let me begin with the caveat that I prepared myself for this episode thus:
Not pictured: the communal emergency ice cream.
In my defense, the wine was for @treefrogie84, but I did finish the dregs so that she could have, you know, a work night, and I did several shots in rapid succession about 2/3 of the way though the ep. SO.
Hey, so y’all remember when Dean took a depressing shower in 9x18, and we reblogged it for years because wet Dean is nice to look at? Yeah, Dean riding a mechanical bull in slo-mo is this year’s shower, and I a-fucking-okay with that.
And really, let’s just take a moment to appreciate that a) the bull’s name is Larry, b) Dean was canonically an “amazing” rider, c) so amazing that he also had some kind of sexual experience with an on-duty waitress afterward, d) this all goes down at a place called The Pickle Jack Shack, and e) and that montage ends in Dean falling back on the bull, sensually – as if spent – to the words “my son you’ll be a man.”
Because you guys, that right there? That thing where Dean is totally unapologetic about either experience, and is not put off by Sam pointing out that the bull’s name is Larry and then not being like, “OKAY, BUT FOCUS ON THE CHICK” is possibly the queerest thing that has crossed my screen in the last 48 hours. If you’re not reading dean as bi/pan/queer – and probably a versatile power bottom – I am not sure what I can do to convince you at this point.
I think a lot of us went into this episode expecting the memory loss Dean experiences to be chronological, when really it was multiple waves of degradation. It starts with a period of unconsciousness and a blackout of the night before, and then progresses from simple forgetting and difficulty with basic things into increasing helplessness and innocence.
What’s interesting is that Dean himself never really goes away. He loses his sophistication and a lot of his affect, becoming more and more innocent as he goes, but his moral compass and drive to help others never disappears. There are things that are in Dean’s nature that are shaped by nurture, but they’re always there.
He’s silly. He loves what he loves. He does not like being a killer. He does not like arguments in which the ends are supposed to justify ugly means. Even when he is losing everything up to and including his name, these things are true.
(Incidentally, the mirror scene is where I started drinking in earnest.)
Ooh, this is an interesting ep for Watching While Pagan.
- The glyph Gideon (whose family appears to be Irish based on their surname, though given names are a bit wonky) uses is ogam. Ogam is an Irish alphabet developed in either just before or right around the time of Christianization in Ireland. The alphabet was later popularized by the Welsh “Druid Revival,” which was separated by centuries from actual druids in the sense of the priestly/scholarly class among ancient Celtic language speaking peoples. The “language of trees” stuff is also a late invention by Robert Graves; most ogam are not named for trees or associated with them necessarily in older lore.
- The characters of the glyph written strangely in the sense that it’s got diagonal feda on two axes, while the ogam alphabet only has diagonals going in one direction. It doesn’t make sense for the reversed diagonals to be read alone – they’re the same fid! – and vertical ogam is traditionally read bottom to top.
- Ignoring orientation issues, the characters are (from bottom to top) MUIN - neck, trick; GORT - field, garden, MUIN (again); and NGETAL - wound, charm. From right to left, IPHIN - sweetness, and UILLEND - elbow. As a collection of things, it’s a reasonably coherent charm because it twists/bends, works with the physician’s skill, ruins the garden with tricks, etc.
- Also, “ancient Druid” is not a language, and Celts were not a homogenous group but a broadly dispersed collection of cultures and peoples who shared a language group. SO.
I have not always been a fan of Rowena – her early arc was uncomfortably familiar to me in bad ways – but I really loved her in this episode.
In terms of the present she’s learning to adapt and thrive on her own terms, fnding new and satisfying ways to make her way – including, apparently, playing high-stakes poker in the most atmospheric server closet ever – but we’re also getting more glimpses of her as a whole person with a history.
More and more we’re seeing Rowena as someone who has survived as an underdog, who has been rejected over and over because she wasn’t what other witches considered worthy. She’s still not the greatest of witches – Catriona Loughlin immobilizes her relatively easily – but she’s still got significant skill, especially if she’s got good documentation at hand. She’s also got some regrets, and a grudging respect for the Winchesters’ work and world view.
I’m tempted to say that Rowena is becoming Sam’s Crowley in the sense that she’s the one he hates to need when things are happening that he lacks the esoteric chops to handle. Also, like Crowley, she’s got the measure of the boys well enough to leave Dean a series of progressively more hilarious notes in the Impala.
Also, she gives her poppets googly eyes. GOOGLY EYES. That alone is Witch Goals, frankly.
Lots of really excellent brother moments, mostly at Dean’s expense. Sam takes him to task and gives him shit for what looks like a deeply irresponsible night, is amused/smug/teases him about not remembering “blowing off steam” with Elka, etc. The Post-Its are also great, because they’re this simple gesture that highlights Sam doing his best to be helpful and protective. Dean may win, though, simply for having the sheer gall to prank Sam with Rowena’s help.
Also, did anyone else get the impression that Dean remembered his ordeal afterward? Because the BM scene at the end made it seem to me that he did, or at least had some strong impressions of what happened.
Okay, but can the record reflect that this episode put Jared’s supports for waffles over pancakes into Dean’s mouth?
Audience Member: “PANCAKES OR WAFFLES?” Jensen: “Pancakes or waffles? Again, solid question. I’m gonna go flapjacks.” Jared: “And true to form, I’m gonna go waffles. You get more syrup to surface ratio on the waffles.” Jensen: “This is why pancakes: waffles catch the syrup. The syrup spills off of pancakes and onto my bacon. ‘Cause maple bacon? Come on!” Jared:
“Bacon wasn’t a part of this conversation, Jensen!” Jensen:
“It is now! And you know it’s always a part of the conversation. Bacon’s never off-limits.” Jared: “Waffles – waffles are like several little bowls –” Jensen:
“This is not a debate!” Jared: “You can dip your bacon in the waff–” Jensen:
“I just said that maple syrup blends with the bacon.” Jared:
“I can use the bowl of syrup to pick up the bacon.” Jensen:
“I hate your face.”
Meredith Glynn, we salute you.
If you want to do yourself significant personal injury, go listen to and/or read the lyrics to “Broomstick Cowboy” and think about Dean Winchester.
Bonus Thing: KUMA. KUUUUMA.
Bonus Thing #2: So are we entering tonight’s roofies-that-were-not-roofies into the litany of ways in which the show has talked about sexual assault with men as the targets? It’s ambiguous – it’s a pretext, not reality – but as the conversation continues between Sam and Elka, you see her shift from ha-ha, these guys are dicks to oh shit, oh shit, this guy got hurt and I maybe hurt him too. That was…uncomfortably real.
Bonus Thing #3: Dean Winchester will man the flashlight. Good job, Dean.
In a Relationship (2015) 20 min | Short, Comedy, Drama, Romance
In a Relationship is a spirited yet achingly tender look at modern love. Shot mockumentary style, this short film follows two young couples in opposite stages of romance: Matt and Willa, who have been hooking up for six days, and Owen and Abby, who are trying in vain to breathe new life into a five year relationship that is growing stale. It’s an exploration of the grey areas of contemporary dating and how much we keep from the people we’re closest to.
Director: Sam Boyd Writer: Sam Boyd Stars: Nicholas Braun, Peter Gallagher, Dakota Johnson
In spite of all the funny moments and silliness, both the books and the films emphasize the importance of family and friendship, bravery and courage and acceptance of each other’s differences. Even in writing TKWR (The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm) I do not lose sight of this because it is what makes Thranduil what he becomes and what gives each character their strength and propel them to do things they never thought they could do. Circumstance is what it is; fate is what happens when character is challenged. The outcome belongs to us.