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03 April 2010 @ 12:52 pm
SPN: "Dark Side of the Moon" Episode Review + Meta  
BEWARE! VERY LONG AND VERY META-HEAVY WITH THINKY THOUGHTS AND STUFF. Needless to say, best Supernatural episode this season, y/y?

Supernatural 5.16 "Dark Side of the Moon"

Bring out the tissues folks, because this one's a tearjerker.

The episode starts off with a bang, literally, as Sam and Dean are killed by two angry hunters and they awaken in Heaven. Castiel finds a way of communicating with them, telling them to find an angel named Joshua, who has seen and spoken to God, and can show the boys the way back to the living. So the boys try to locate this Joshua, encountering a whirlwind of their happiest memories, learning something about each other in the process, finding old friends, and running from Zachariah and his angel cronies as they try to torment them once more. Upon finally stumbling across Joshua and being transferred into the Garden of Heaven, they are given startling news regarding God and what He has requested of them, and what this means for Team Free Will and the Apocalypse.

Following "Abandon All Hope", this is perhaps one of the most amazingly depressing episodes of this season thus far. Giving us a perfect mixture of angst and drama and meta-filled things to contemplate about where all of this is going.


God Is In The Details: Understanding God and the Apocalypse
"God's not on any one side. God's a force of nature, beyond good and evil. Good and evil, we created those. You wanna break the cycle? Break the cycle of birth, death, rebirth, destruction, escape, death...that's in our hands, and in our hands only. It requires a leap of faith, requires that we live in hope, not in fear."
The above quote is taken directly from Gaius Baltar's speech in the Battlestar Galactica series finale, which I think is rather relevant to what happened in this episode regarding the reveal about God to the boys and what God expects of them, and the blatant disappointment they expressed in finding out the truth of the situation they're in. More importantly, I would like to address the issue concerning something that's been on everyone's minds since the announcement of having angels and Heaven introduced into the show, and how God's influence, or lack thereof, can help the course of things.

First off, I don't believe that God doesn't care about what's happening, doesn't care about His children. It's obvious that He does, He just cannot directly intervene with what is happening and rightfully so because God is right, it really isn't His problem to fix. If anyone has seen Joan of Arcadia, this follows the same commandment formula the show used when presenting God in such a light, which means that God isn't going to be a simple deus ex machina and fix everyone's problems. That would be too easy and, kind of a contradiction for what Supernatural stands for, which is about brotherhood, family, and the resilience of humanity and fighting the good fight despite all the odds. If God intervenes now, that message would no longer have any meaning.

But that doesn't mean that God hasn't already intervened for the cause. He saved Sam and Dean along with resurrecting Castiel. Why would He do that if He didn't care? So yeah, God does understand what is happening and does care, He just simply cannot intervene in the way they want him to, that's all.

Consider this as a parental figure metaphor, which technically God really is for us all in that sense. Parents cannot clean up their children's messes all the time, if they do how will the children learn from their mistakes and faults? So God stepping away, allowing His children to run amok isn't the same as leaving and never returning or not caring about anything. It's kind of a disciplinary method, if you will. Seeing which one of God's children is going to be loyal and faithful to everything they've been taught and which one's are going to stray, and then when shit is about to hit the fan He will then reward those who have remained faithful through thick and thin and punish those who have lost their way. This goes for everyone, human and angels alike. I firmly believe that everything we're seeing is a testament of faith. They are all being tested, and isn't that how these things go anyway? You can't just pray and some miracle will happen. One has to undergo a series of obstacles in order to understand what they have to do, to strengthen the faith within them.

I read a quote somewhere where one needs to have doubt in order to have faith; to follow something on blind faith isn't enough, that to question and doubt is the gateway to strengthen your own faith. I feel that is what's happening to these characters, Castiel especially, who have doubted and questioned their orders, questioned God and their own faith. He is also being tested. Even though Castiel is feeling devastation from such a betrayal so his pain is quite raw and new here in this episode, he's been questioning the orders coming from Heaven and doubting his superiors. He has a moral compass, he believes in doing what is right rather than blindly following orders, he's also been the only angel that has ever had such strong faith in God, their Father. Even though it seems like he's losing that faith, I think this is just something he has to go through to understand that he can't always rely on God for everything. But I hope that he maintains his faith despite all this, because we seriously don't want him to become faithless and hopeless like his future!self turned out to be. But if Castiel's faith is just as strong from the beginning, this will only be temporary; it's only a knee-jerk reaction of the realization that God won't be aiding them in the way he thought. But that doesn't mean that all is hopeless, he just has to continue believing and having faith or otherwise they will be without hope.

Needless to say, I really am enjoying the direction they're heading with this, that God isn't going to be a deus ex machina and it's really about them figuring things out on their own. Henceforth why this needed to be revealed in this episode; God cannot help them because he cannot interfere directly in the line of things, however that doesn't mean they should just give up. You don't need such divine intervention from God Almighty Himself to fix things in the world, and that's the lesson Team Free Will needs to acknowledge and understand.

Sam says in the end, "we'll find another way" he is right, they will. I also have confidence that somehow God will help, just not in ways they imagined. Remember: the Lord works in mysterious ways and everything happens for a particular reason or another, you never know what unexpected thing might happen next, and it might just surprise them in the end of everything. That is my personal belief.


Castiel: Faith and Doubt of an Angel of the Lord

Having already discussing my thoughts and theories about how Castiel is amongst those whose faith is being tested, I just needed to add something about him in this episode. Although he was only in there for a few minutes, those last minutes were incredibly crucial towards his character development and it really says a lot about his mindset right now after everything.

I think with what happened to Castiel in those last few minutes of the episode broke me more than what occurred between the boys all throughout the hour, because we're used to seeing the boys getting knocked down and continually kicked; they're always in need of mending but always manage to survive despite it all, but Castiel? Him becoming broken, gradually fading into a shadow of despair, it's something so surprising that although we knew that somewhere down the line he would start having those doubts again I didn't expect it to be this episode where he just flat-out lost it completely. His sadness, his devastation, how wounded and angry and defeated he sounded when he cursed out to God, "you son of a bitch". Even Dean's reaction was of shock because Castiel just doesn't lose hope like that, doesn't lose his faith and certainly doesn't react outright like that. It's when you know how lost he really is. You could also tell from how desperate he was to hold onto that bit of faith, that hope when he weakly pleaded that Joshua could have been lying. But deep down he knew that it was the truth, at least in some ways he acknowledged it to be true.

It's just so heartbreaking watching that last scene. Because it's Castiel people! He's the embodiment of hope and faith for the boys, especially for Dean because while Dean doesn't share the same faith and beliefs Castiel does he's proven, from 5.03 "Free To Be You And Me", that he has faith in Castiel's faith and that's what keeps both of them going. Without that faith, what happens to them now? It's that devastation that weighs on me so much because they are together in this, Castiel has had two things to hold onto after he returned: his faith in God and his faith in Dean. With one gone, he's just hanging on by a thread. It just, it hurts. So, so fucking much.

And that is why I adore this show, because by making such an emotional impact they've proven to really understand and care for Castiel's character. He's practically the third main character now because of the whumpage they've done to him, and in those last few minutes alone.

I still have hopes that Castiel will regain his faith again, because without it he'll just be nothing. Either Sam or Dean or both of them will convince Castiel to snap out of his reverie of despair and disappointment and realize that he rebelled against Heaven for a particular purpose. They are in this war together, and with praying and crossing of my fingers and toes that Castiel does not go down the road we've seen his future!self go down in "The End", that somehow they'll all make it through this. This is just yet another obstacle that Castiel has to hurdle through because again, I believe this is a testament of this faith, that it'll hurt and won't make sense, but if he stays strong in this struggle he'll be rewarded in the best possible way because he would have shown loyalty and resilience against all the odds.

DON'T GIVE UP, CAS BB! EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT! DEAN WILL KISS AND MAKE IT BETTER STAY STRONG!




Knocking On Heaven's Door: Supernatural's Interpretation of Heaven

I'm always very enthralled with people's different interpretations of how Heaven would be to them, since there are a variety of different versions that's been scattered throughout time. From pearly gates and sitting on clouds to going to a completely different plane of existence, a place where peace and love are there always and you can be with passed loved ones, or just a pleasant kind of scenery: green fields, mountains, flowers and lakes/rivers/oceans, something that resembles a paradise similar to Eden. Everyone has different interpretations of what Heaven would look like in their mind's eye.

So color me surprised that we would actually get to see Supernatural's take on what Heaven could/would look like, at least to the boys. The fact that Heaven is made up of all these personal heavens of people's happiest memories is kind of interesting, and everyone's happy memories differ, that there are certain roads one must take to get from Point A to Point B, not to mention the metaphysical-esque atmosphere of stars and moon spinning about above. It's all surreal and dreamlike, really. Kinda cool interpretation, really.

But there's some fascinating and somewhat disturbing aspects to this version of Heaven. First of all, memories appear differently to each person as it represents how they felt during their lifetime, so we see a vast difference in what memory makes a person happy as opposed to another person. Dean and Sam had this conflict in the episode; all of Dean's selective memories were of him with either Sammy or his mom, basically family, whereas with Sam all his memories were of being away from his family and from Dean. Nothing in his personal heaven was about Dean or their own family, but of his escape; Sam's happiness was Dean's nightmare, what Dean dreaded the most. And in this kind of Heaven, if you can visit loved ones in their own little happy memory, what would your reaction be if such a memory was something you hated or had bad thoughts about? Another thing, this was kinda explained in the episode though I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it, the issue regarding soulmates and if two people who are connected personally can share the same heaven together? Or something like that? I don't know, but it all seems very complicated. But wouldn't it seem kind of strange to live inside a memory, no matter how good it is? But I guess if Ash can travel to meet other deceased people in their personal heavens it's not exactly limited, still. It seems rather lonely especially if you can't find those who loved and cared about when you were alive.

There's debates on whether the selective memories for the boys were constructed by Zachariah, and it wouldn't be far from the possibility. The angels have been trying to keep the brothers apart or at least have them become utterly helpless and broken so they can agree to consent to being vessels, and it would seem like such a douchey thing for Zachariah to do. But something tells me that it's either their own minds doing that, Heaven picking up on those memories or whenever they were in Heaven before (which that revelation was a doozy) those are the memories that immediately are picked up. Also, when Dean was talking to Pamela it seemed almost like a setup, like her telling him to just go through with being a vessel. Now granted, we don't know what kind of things she's experienced in Heaven and if she's found that peace or realization, but it does seem out of place for her to say something like that. To Dean, of all people. I don't know, something fishy was with that that had me questioning whether all of this was real or a trick for the boys.

Oh, and especially the fact that angels can go sweeping about Heaven like Zachariah does and manipulate these memories. Does that sound like paradise to you? Zachariah was acting all creepy with memory!Mary, constructing this kind of facade to get underneath the boy's skin, Dean's in particular, but that's a bit scary knowing that whatever memory you're stumbling upon might be a manipulation of sorts. *shudders*

This idea of Heaven seems interesting enough, but not wholly convincing in the sense that it's all paradise. Still, it's something to ponder about because I'm wondering about where the angels reside, as in, where do they chill out in their true forms? Because I doubt they always travel about in their vessels, and I'm wondering because they are already dead can they see an angel's true form or not? Zachariah says he has many appearances and he's using what the boys are accustomed to seeing him as. So it has me wondering. But anyway, yeah. I applaud Supernatural for giving us a taste of Heaven, which is kind of interesting since I remember Kripke mentioning that they weren't going to show Hell way back during S3 because it would be too much on the budget. But I think the creativity of showing Heaven vastly differentiates from showing Hell, just a few minor filming tricks with lighting and settings and voila!


Team Free Will: Where Do They Go From Here?

Dean has been further beaten down time and again, we have Castiel now broken in devastation from learning about God not wanting to help and just staying away, letting him down because he believed in Him so much. Then we have Sam who, probably didn't suffer as much from this episode, but is trying hard to redeem himself and understanding where they stand as of right now. Therein lies that perfectly appropriate question:

Where do they go from here? What is left for them when they've tried everything else?

They're back at square one, with no plan of action or a strategy; everything seems to be against them, the forces of Heaven and Hell hunting and attacking them from all angles, other hunters even as they want revenge after learning that the Winchesters are the ones that started the Apocalypse. Shit just keeps getting deeper and deeper for them, which no wonder the angst was so heavy lately. The odds are always against them, and there doesn't seem to be any silver lining in the future. However, we know that this show is about humanity, the strength and resilience of humankind and it's not about being mystical or having supernatural powers or having a divine destiny; it's about knowing oneself and using that inner strength and faith to defeat evil. That is the lesson I think all three of them need to understand and accept, because right now? They are about to hit rock bottom and they seriously need to rise up and take control once again.

That's something I want to happen on the show; that moment of clarity, of realization, that hey, they can win this and they will muddle through. They've done so before and they will again. Of course, I think what needs to happen is getting Castiel to regain his strength in faith again, because after this episode? Yeah, he needs a pick-me-up and badly if they are going to fight and win this thing together.

I have faith that they'll have faith again. GO TEAM FREE WILL, FUCK YEAH! *fist pump*


Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ Loved the beginning scene, starting off literally with a huge bang. Winchesters are killed. If every episode started off having something explosive like that, holy shit. But I liked it, a lot. Intense from the very first moment and that's awesome.

++

WEE!SAMMY AND DEAN WITH FIREWORKS!!!! Awwwwww! This scene was so fucking touching, my heart swelled because DID YOU SEE THE PURE JOY ON DEAN'S FACE?!??! :DDDDD And the hug! Just, omfg, no wonder this is one of Dean's favorite loving memories, he's with his little brother and they're shooting off fireworks in a field. Of course it would be a happy memory. He's with his brother, no angst, no drama, just pure child happiness of being together. And of course, bringing wee Colin back playing bb!Sammy was just so awesome. I LOVE HOW ADORABLE HE IS. Love this scene forever and ever. ♥ ♥ ♥

++ CASPALA FTW! Still would have been hilarious if Castiel would have done the same thing Sam did, a.k.a. "should I honk?" but nonetheless very awesome. AND DEAN GOT INSIDE THE CASPALA. DEAN WAS INSIDE CASTIEL! INSERT SLASHY INNUENDO JOKES HERE. XD XD XD

++ I kinda love how Dean was acting all like "GOTTA FIND THE ROAD!" and "GOTTA COMMUNICATE WITH CAS!" throughout this episode while Sam was all "....Dean, wtf are you doing? O___o" LOLOLOL! Like Sam just wasn't getting that this was Heaven so anything was possible, but Dean was all nonchalant about most things like with the racecar track and all of that, lol.

++ CASTIEL IS IN/ON THE TV, LOL FOREVER! Seriously, how adorable is that? He was so impatient with them in this episode, he was like SRSLY DEAN I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT, LISTEN TO ME! It's still strange hearing Castiel use curse words randomly into his sentences. But I guess that's part of his slow pull into being familiarized with humanity, he picks up such mannerisms. Usually from Dean, and this may or may not be a good thing, but idk. CUTE CAS IN THE TV! I WANT CASTIEL TO COMMUNICATE WITH ME THROUGH A TV SCREEN....

Oh wait, HE KINDA ALREADY DID WITH US! LULZ!

++ What did it mean, "Don't go into the light"? I'm still trying to figure that one out....

++ "You....wuv hugs" <3 <3 <3 <3

++ AWWWWWW, MARY!!!! *hugs her* I love Mary, so so fucking much. Dean's memories are just too much, seeing him with his mom and just wanting to stay for another moment just to soak it all in again just, oh poor bb Dean. :(

++ "They had a perfect marriage after she died." D: D: D: GODDAMN SHOW, MAKING JOHN SEEM LIKE MORE OF AN ASSHOLE ARE YOU? JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. :(

++ Love the filming and the lighting in this episode. So awesome, very creative and unique.

++ GOLDEN RETRIEVER YAY! :DDDD See, that was more Jared than Sam in that moment, for anyone that knows Jared loves dogs like whoa. I think he probably pissed himself learning that he would be playing with a golden retriever on an episode. D'awwwww. ♥ PUPPY YAY! Named "Bones". Kind of ironic considering there was an new episode of Bones before SPN Thursday, lol. I know that's not what it was named for, but I can't help but make those connections here and there.

++ How much did it hurt hearing memory!Mary say all the things she did to Dean? I mean sure, constructed by Zachariah and the angels, but still. It was like a knife in his gut regardless. :((((

++ ZACHARIAH IS A FUCKING CREEPER, OMFG. EWWWWW. DO NOT WANT EVER.

++ I love Joshua. I really, really love him so much, the actor they got played him magnificently and I loved how earnest he was with the boys. He's not into playing bullshit games with them, he's telling it like it is and I love that. He's so benevolent and sincere with them, and HE'S ROUTING FOR OUR BOYS! ♥ Another thing to make us love Joshua, he wants the boys to win. I kind of feel sorry for Joshua, though. He looked so tired and defeated, like he understands what is happening but there's nothing he could do. That's kind of how Raphael felt in 5.03 when he was explaining how things were in Heaven. Most of the angels that don't seem to have a separate agenda just look so lost and defeated, with no where else to go. That's kinda sad, really. But still, I LOVE JOSHUA AND THE ACTOR AND HE BETTER REAPPEAR AGAIN IN ANOTHER EPISODE! SAME WITH GABRIEL AND RAPHAEL!

++ What does Dean do when they immediately are brought back to life??? HE CALLS CASTIEL! :D OH OTP, NEVER EVER CHANGE. ♥

++ THAT LAST SCENE. STILL CRYING, NGL. D: D: D: POOR BB CAS. ;___;

Major fucking props to Misha Collins in this scene. We know he's a fantastic actor, amazing with subtly moments and how he's been developing Castiel's character since day one. But this scene just, omg, it fucking broke me. HIS DEVASTATED AND SHATTERED FACE! D: I just about died because I knew what was coming, but I didn't want it to happen. Yet it did, and I was screaming at the scream with NO CAS! DON'T GIVE UP YOUR FAITH! KEEP SEARCHING FOR GOD! Just, holy wow. And we all know how Misha is in real life, this was like the absolute polar opposite of how he is and JFC, just everything about those last few minutes just gutted me. Truly gutted me. I'm still reeling and recovering from it.

++ Which I have to say, even though this was Castiel's knee-jerk reaction, I still kind of want him to continue his search for God. Just because with this news doesn't mean he should just give up. He can locate God with the amulet and be all, "hey Dad, what's up with you abandoning us and shit?" or you know, something along those lines. He might be disappointed and deflated from his faith for now, but that doesn't mean he should cease completely. But again, I have faith he'll have faith again. Just give it time as he recovers from this very low blow. *clings to my bb Cas*

++ SAM PICK UP THE AMULET FROM THE BIN, DAMMIT! It's like a double slam on our hearts in that moment; Castiel giving up his faith by handing back the amulet, and Dean, sensing his loss of hope and faith from Castiel's deflation, throwing the amulet away. SAM DO SOMETHING TO PATCH THEM BOTH UP RIGHT NOW!!!!

++ PARALLEL MOMENT: I keep referencing back to Battlestar Galactica, this episode felt like how 4.10 "Revelations" of BSG was. Having high hopes of finding what they've been searching for, only to have their dreams and hopes crushed and everyone is in fucking despair. Except BSG was like that every single episode.

++ ANOTHER PARALLEL MOMENT: Dean made a reference to Heaven being kinda like the Matrix, which that's kinda true. However I'm pulling this from it being like The Attic from Dollhouse. Going from mind to mind in someone's personal hell, a continuing scenario they can't solve? Heaven seems like a continuing stream of memories, except they're of the happy variety. But nonetheless, the episode took a creepy way of presenting it especially when Zachariah appeared and was fucking around with the boys. Or how things are what they perceive it as (the Garden being a park to the boys than some otherworldly paradise) is kinda like how Cylons in BSG use projection, viewing their environments in any form they wish it to be. YES I AM THESE COMPARISON, SHUT UP. I AM THAT WAY, 'KAY?


Overall: A+++++ FUCKING EPISODE. Bravo Kripke, this is exactly how this season should be. See, I do like comedic episodes here and there but honestly, when we're dealing with the motherfucking Apocalypse it should be just like this. Mythology filled, angst and emotionally wrecking. I love emotional character arcs, especially when paired with the huge mytharcs of the season/series. This felt like a Battlestar Galactica episode because we kept getting further and further into the depressing moments, and we ended on such a FUCKING HARSH AND DEPRESSING MOMENT that I just had to sit quietly for a moment to recollect everything that happened. God, this show is fantastic when it has the guts to take it this far. None of the filler episodes or repetitive moments between brothers and them failing to deal with their emotions. We had a lot of interesting material, new things introduced and now...we have to focus on healing Dean and Castiel so Team Free Will can be whole again and ready to fight the Big Damn Apocalypse. Just, fuck yes this episode. LOVE. ♥

KRIPKE YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, I KINDA LOVE YOU. <3 MOAR OF THIS, PLZ. AND MOAR DEAN/CASTIEL AND TEAM FREE WILL MOMENTS, BECAUSE THEY ROCK KTHX. <3 <3 <3


God, from the mid-season finale of Caprica to this episode of Supernatural, it's like an Angst Free For All on my shows lately. My heart is going to be all shredded and stomped on with nothing left to be torn apart, goddamn. D:

But I will say, I am very impressed and happy with fandom right now because almost immediately after the episode aired there have been fics and fanarts and picspams dedicated to this entire episode. Basically, fandom pretty much is awesome because when our show doesn't provide the comfort out from the hurt from an episode we tend to create our own and that's just fucking amazing. ♥ ILU FANDOM.
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Bear McCreary - Gaeta's Lament
 
 
 
dauntperplexitydauntperplexity on April 3rd, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
Okay, so I just skimmed through this and I promise that I will read all of it later, but from what I caught from it...

YES!!!

A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!!

Even if just for your amazing choice of gifs.

Gah. This episode was amazing. But yay for angsty moments and broken characters.
Renée: Dean/Castiel. Bittersweet.rogueslayer452 on April 4th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
I had to use those gifs, bb. Once I saw them I couldn't resist, even though the Castiel ones always make me want to reach through the screen and hug the hell out of him. :( Mah poor bb angel.

HOW MANY TIMES CAN THIS SHOW BREAK THESE CHARACTERS? OH THAT'S RIGHT, KRIPKE LOVES TORTURING THEM AND US! D: DAMN HIM THAT MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, I KINDA LOVE HIM AND HATE HIM FOR IT.
bold_seer: = castielbold_seer on April 3rd, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
Supernatural episode this season, y/y?

– yes. Quality wise, yes. But 5x03 – which is an excellent ep, one of my favourites, but not quite as meaningful as this one – will always hold a very special place in my heart because of the textual D/C subtext and the amount of Cas in the ep.

Gaius! \o/ And when we're talking BSG, cylons and projection, I'm reminded of Chief and Boomer and their thought-haven (or Heaven?).

I read a quote somewhere where one needs to have doubt in order to have faith; to follow something on blind faith isn't enough, that to question and doubt is the gateway to strengthen your own faith.

Yes. If Christ has doubts, why not our angel? And this is actually what makes all those phony RL preachers with shady messages even – phonier and shadier. You can't know anything about God or gods or whatever - this is where blind faith comes in - but you can believe and have faith and hope.

But there's some fascinating and somewhat disturbing aspects to this version of Heaven.

They made a wise choice with Heaven being, well, Heaven for every single person (only not). It looked spectacular, but it was, oh, so false. Actually, my second most favourite book, The Vintner’s Luck, has a similar, slightly disturbing vision of Heaven; the lovable angel Xas talks to his Dean, Sobran, about this supposedly ideal place being – less than ideal. The people aren’t real there, they lack something, and I get the same feeling here with the false real memories.

....Dean, wtf are you doing? O___o

I, too, definitely caught Dean being much more Cascascas than Sam. And then there was the cut from broken!Castiel to Dean at the end, very appropriate.

I procrastinate on my academic essays, but apparently like to write fannish comment essays. ;)
bold_seer: = castielbold_seer on April 3rd, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
Of course, I had to go and lose the best there. (Sorry, I'm a bit OCD and always have to comment that Yes, I'm aware of my mistakes. :/)
Renée: Castiel. Guardian angel.rogueslayer452 on April 4th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
I think overall "Free To Be You And Me", "The End" and "Abandon All Hope" are definitely high on the list of favorite episodes this season by far, and this episode also ranks amongst them too. Just the immense quality compared to the standard SPN episode of the week kinda deal. They really stepped it up a notch which is fantastic.

Gaius! \o/ And when we're talking BSG, cylons and projection, I'm reminded of Chief and Boomer and their thought-haven (or Heaven?).

Definitely a thought-Heaven, in a sense. I wonder if SPN could get onboard with the projection theme instead of just memories for their Heaven. Hmm, Kripke? I has ideas! ;p

The people aren’t real there, they lack something, and I get the same feeling here with the false real memories.

There was certainly something disconcerting about this Heaven for sure because of the fakeness of the memories; it is your memories but...it isn't real. I don't know if it's freakier or scarier than Hell itself, but it's certainly not the ideal paradise most would think of when thinking about Heaven. But I like how it was presented to us in the show, which I don't know if this is because God isn't there anymore and this is the angels running stuff or whatever.

DEAN REALLY WAS ALL ABOUT CASTIEL THIS EPISODE. AND CAS WAS ALL CONCERNED OVER DEAN. <3 Oh OTP, never change. That last scene with them cutting from Castiel to Dean was beautiful in such a broken kind of way, since we see Dean's reaction and that's a very significant move right there. I just know that when it cuts to black that Dean locates Castiel and they console each other. I have to believe that. *nods stubbornly*

Hee, fannish comment essays are always the best. ;D
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on April 3rd, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Dude! I love your deep meta thoughts. You articulate so much better than I do. I too feel the same way you do. That this is a test of faith for the guys and they all have the tools they need. They just have to figure it out for themselves.

Renée: BSG. Six. Made of awesome.rogueslayer452 on April 4th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
Awww, thank you! :D I honestly don't understand how I do that, since my brain and thoughts are all over the place, esp after this episode because whoa, angst city. I just wrote it all out from what was inside my head and what I wanted to say about particular points. I surprise even myself when I can get a coherent sentence written out, heh. ;)

But yeah, it's definitely all on them to figure this out. It's interesting reading how people think that God has up and abandoned them and doesn't care when that's not the issue at all. That may be how the characters feel given their current situation (and very hard on Castiel because, holy shit D:) but I see it as yet another obstacle they have to overcome and realize that they need to find other alternatives by means of strengthening either their numbers or just finding that strength within themselves. That's where the real power lies.
Tracy: Cas Don't Wanna Feel Todayalexwhitman25 on April 4th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
I totally agree with you about God. This isn't his fight. He already saved Dean & Sam by putting them on the plane and he brought Cas back to help. He didn't tell Joshua to tell them to accept fate and say yes, he just said to back off on looking for him, that he wasn't part of this fight. He already has stepped up and involved himself more in this than he has in ages.

While Dean and Cas were further beaten down and broken in this episode, I think Sam actually learned some things. Why he hasn't realized how his actions in the past affected Dean until seeing Dean's raections in heaven, I don't know. But the clue by four seems to have finally smacked him upside the head enough for him to realize how much pressure and responsibility Dean has lived with since childhood. He complained in Fallen Idols about Dean suffocating him and not letting him be his own man without seeming to see Dean's side of things. Now I think he is finally able to see Dean's side and that his actions and choices affect Dean. Finally a big step forward and maybe he will reciprocate and take care of Dean.

I still think Zach played a part in Pamela and Ash's heavens. Before that? Not so much. I don't think he had any hand in Dean remembering the night of fireworks or the memory with his mom. None of the things in those memories played into Zach's hand. While the things in Sam's memories could have played into Zach's hand, I don't believe that he had anything to do with that either. I everyone's memories would have played a more happy go lucky heaven is awesome and better than the status quo angle if Zach was controlling them. Also, I think he wouldn't have let Cas interfere if he was controlling everything at that point. But once he saw the boys in the field and they ran and found Ash? That's when Zach's manipulation started IMO. He knew where they were and was able to manipulate things. Pam especially was spouting off Zach's standard lines. And Mary's 2nd appearance was most definitely all Zach. Quite the deviation from the Mary we saw earlier in the episode.



Renée: Dean/Castiel. Between us.rogueslayer452 on April 4th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
I also have this theory that they all have a specific purpose, a greater destiny to fulfill that is not part of what the angels have planned for them. I think I might have mentioned this before but, to reiterate, I believe that all of their destinies are intertwined with each other, that Sam and Dean were chosen to be the saviors on Earth and with Castiel's help he can also bring order back into Heaven, and together all three will fight and win this war raging between sides. I mean, it just seems so right to me. So yeah, that's what I personally believe.

Now I think he is finally able to see Dean's side and that his actions and choices affect Dean. Finally a big step forward and maybe he will reciprocate and take care of Dean.

Definitely. Even though we know Sam loves his brother, he's never really understood Dean or understood how much he has sacrificed his entire life. Which is why being in Heaven and seeing these memories, most of all seeing the contrast of both their own personal heavens, he's able to see for the first time how his brother views things and how it differs from his own. The fact that Dean was hurt that all of Sam's happiest memories were of being away from their family, I think Sam is beginning to understand precisely who his brother is. He's always said he knows, but know he really knows, or is beginning to. It's seeing both sides of the story, he's had his and has argued his side, but upon seeing Dean's he's starting to realize certain aspects of their relationship. And yeah, I hope that with this knowledge he'll be able to help Dean, which in turn will help Castiel too. Because all three of them are bound together now.

I agree about Zachariah interfering once realizing they were in Heaven, which was just right about the time the spotlight found them. Otherwise they wouldn't have lingered on in the beginning if Zach were to find them immediately as he did after they left Ash's little heaven.
Tracy: Cas BAMF Entrancealexwhitman25 on April 4th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
I found a coherent, well stated post that sums up my feelings on the whole Dean being so upset issue and why it worked so well for me. I totally ganked this from JohnAdams' post at TwoP, hope they don't mind.

"A good comparison, I think, is how Dean's memory of his few free hours in Fitchburg was tainted by what almost happened to Sam. He had fun getting out of the room and playing video games, but you'd never find that in his top ten list of awesome memories, because he came to know that his fun came at the expense of someone else. Similarly, Sam's fun in Flagstaff came at Dean's expense, and even as a 27-year-old adult, Sam says he'd "Never thought of it that way."

I'm not saying that Dean should've let Sam know how hurt he felt... and ordinarily, I'm sure he wouldn't have. But things aren't normal right now, not after last year. He's still very raw about the idea of Sam seeing them as a team, about watching each others' backs, and this just kind of reinforced the theme from last year that what happens to others because of Sam's actions really isn't all that important to Sam.

Obviously, once Sam recognized (after all these years!) that Dean might've been upset at the thought that he was dead, he gained some sensitivity, and I think they might be better off going forward. But it's not about controlling what memories they were shown, and it's not about how he felt when he was a child, and it's not about Dean not being in the memory... it's that, if Dean's fun caused pain or harm to come to Sam, like the Fitchburg memory, that memory becomes awful for him. And Dean took this as evidence that the reverse wasn't true. Ie, they're not the team he thought they were.

It's not the biggest deal in the world. But it's the straw laid on an overloaded camel's back, and I just don't think Dean had it in him to rationalize it away right then. I don't see it as "awful" or cruel or anything else... it's just a man who had his faith in this relationship broken last year and hasn't had the time or opportunity to rebuild it properly, but who's trying to believe things are different now... and he's finding out, to his perception, that things really aren't different. Not at the heart of it. And I can't condemn him for being weary of it all."

THIS. This whole post! That it's not that the memories weren't about Dean, it's that Sam didn't seem to ever consider what Dean was going through/how these events affected him in all this time. And after everything that went down last season and the attempted insta-fix that wasn't really a fix at all, Dean just couldn't take it anymore. He saw it as another instance of false hope. And that's what the amulet represented to him now - false hope and failure with how he thought things were with Sam as well as what went down with God and Cas.

I'm really excited to see what they do with Cas. They could really do a lot of character growth with this, IF THEY CHOOSE TO (which I'm starting to have doubts about since they failed with the God quest). It gives the character additional layers and I think it's prime material to finally do some Dean/Cas bonding this season with.

p.s. I accidentially read a kinda big spoiler yesterday in a con post. I'm intrigued, but super curious how it comes to pass. Damn spoilers, I don't want you.
cheerful_earl: dean/cascheerful_earl on April 4th, 2010 06:43 am (UTC)
I think I am in love with this entire post. Seriously, I've had this episode swirling around in my head since Thursday, and you expressed so well things that I was sort of dancing around in my own mind.

That Gaius quote is perfect for what SPN is doing. I love that they've set up this conflict not as God vs. the Devil, but the angels vs. Lucifer (vs. Team Free Will, heh). I totally agree, they've built a God that is not a deus ex machina and they will muddle through, despite how broken they are.

Also, when Dean was talking to Pamela it seemed almost like a setup, like her telling him to just go through with being a vessel.

That was the most suspect part of Heaven for me (well, until Mary started in on that "You are a burden" rant, heh). It seemed un-Pamela-like. But then, we didn't know her that well, so... IDK.

I loved Dean's immediate call to Castiel, and I loved Dean's reliance on/belief in Cas throughout. I love them! :D
Renée: Six/Gaius. Your destiny awaits.rogueslayer452 on April 4th, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
This episode...it broke me but it enthralled me at the same time because of all this new meta that they introduced, or at least finally mentioned which brings us to where these characters are now. I had a mindwhirl of thoughts since Thursday so writing it all out fills me with relief, but there are still many things I want to talk about.

You can never go wrong with BSG references. ;)

I feel so horrible for Castiel because he believed, he believed so hard in God and believed that God would help them. And seeing him at the end of this episode? That broke me a thousand different ways than you could possibly know. D: I just hope that somehow Castiel will realize that just because God isn't going to intervene doesn't mean he doesn't care about His children or this world. God wants them to succeed, He wants them to understand their true purpose (which imo is not the same as what the angels think it is) and figure things out for themselves without His assistance. Because again, it's not God's fight this time, and I'm happier for it because it allows these characters to learn and grow and understand what is happening and try to muddle through and find alternatives instead of just praying for help.

Because how often do people think that praying for God's assistance instead of doing something themselves? That's precisely what is happening here, and I like seeing that our Team Free Will, no matter how broken, are going to get through this together.

That was the most suspect part of Heaven for me (well, until Mary started in on that "You are a burden" rant, heh). It seemed un-Pamela-like. But then, we didn't know her that well, so... IDK.

Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Besides, wasn't Pamela who was all anti-angel because of what happened to her eyes? She wasn't particularly happy about any of it and while she might have forgiven that after she'd died, this definitely seemed out-of-character for her because you'd think she would try to support Dean in fighting the good fight instead of giving in, knowing Dean and all. Which yeah, I can see Pamela having been manipulated or this was just something constructed to get Dean to reconsider his options.

Although I wished there was more Dean/Cas I loved seeing just how close they are, how Dean automatically is unfazed by things that Castiel does and immediately calls him after being resurrected back to the living, and his face as soon as Castiel outright expresses his losing of faith. Just, gah! <3 <3 <3
cheerful_earl: dean/cascheerful_earl on April 4th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
I just hope that somehow Castiel will realize that just because God isn't going to intervene doesn't mean he doesn't care about His children or this world. God wants them to succeed, He wants them to understand their true purpose (which imo is not the same as what the angels think it is) and figure things out for themselves without His assistance.

ITA. I want Castiel to get that faith back. God gave them what they need to muddle through; He did help them because he detoxed Sam, He put them on that plane, and He resurrected Castiel. God wants them to win, but he wants *them* to win. God's on Team Free Will, IMO, and He wants them to use what He's given them. I just hope that Dean and Cas can get their faith back (or I guess in Dean's case, really get it for the first time).

Because how often do people think that praying for God's assistance instead of doing something themselves? That's precisely what is happening here, and I like seeing that our Team Free Will, no matter how broken, are going to get through this together

YES. Cas was so sure if he could find God, God would fix things, and I can understand how that would be a crippling blow to him. But I so agree with what you said- they need to get through this together, make the difference on their own.

Pamela was definitely anti-angel after her eyes got burnt out, and she was the last person I'd expect to hop on Team Angels, even if her personal heaven was the awesomesauce. She was *pissed* about being killed and seemed like someone who would get what Dean said about humanity being worthwhile because it's *real*.

Maybe the angels can warp your brains in Heaven? They do have control over the atmosphere, so perhaps they have some influence over the souls in Heaven too.

I wish there was more Dean/Cas too, but I too really loved what we got. Dean's face was just... gah. And he couldn't *say* anything, because he was right there with him! :( They just break me!
Renée: Dean/Castiel. Between us.rogueslayer452 on April 5th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
I just hope that Dean and Cas can get their faith back (or I guess in Dean's case, really get it for the first time).

Yes, and I think this is the saddest part of what happened in this episode. From before Dean never had much belief or faith until he met Castiel, and throughout these last two seasons Dean's been gradually getting onboard, every so slightly, with having a bit of faith. But now we've seen Castiel tipping over that edge of losing his faith, or at least becoming bitter about it, that they're both falling over and just seeing them at the end...very much in the same place, really, it just hurts.

This is how you can tell how invested you are with these characters, you just care so much about them. I don't think I've ever been so attached to any character as much as I am with these guys. When they hurt, I hurt. :(

Maybe the angels can warp your brains in Heaven? They do have control over the atmosphere, so perhaps they have some influence over the souls in Heaven too.

It's not an impossible notion, since God isn't there the angels feel like they can have free reign from how things were normally kept, in a sense. To take control, including messing with the minds and memories of human souls. So much meta with this version of Heaven and with the angels in general. Just seeing how this Heaven works has my mind still in a doozy.

I wish there was more Dean/Cas too, but I too really loved what we got. Dean's face was just... gah. And he couldn't *say* anything, because he was right there with him! :( They just break me!

One of my good friends did a picspam comparison of the Dean and Castiel angsting, seeing the similarities of how they filmed Dean's final scene in "My Bloody Valentine" and Castiel's in this episode. It's totally not coincidental, they're both being broken and letdown, bit by bit. My poor boys. :(
cheerful_earl: Team Free Willcheerful_earl on April 5th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I really wish I could look at that picspam, but it's under a lock. I agree though; totally not coincidental. Poor, poor boys indeed. :(

since God isn't there the angels feel like they can have free reign from how things were normally kept, in a sense. To take control, including messing with the minds and memories of human souls.

It's also possible they can contain and separate souls as well- Ash mentioned that he couldn't find John or Mary's souls in Heaven. With the power over Heaven Zachariah has, I could see him doing a number of things to Heaven's inhabitants, if it suited his purposes.

When they hurt, I hurt. :(

Yes! That last scene hit me like a punch in the gut. Supernatural has made me cry more than any show ever has, and it's not just because it's "sad"- it's because I'm so invested and *they're* sad (which is such an understatement).
Renée: Dean/Castiel. BFFs.rogueslayer452 on April 5th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
Shit, I totally didn't realize she had it flocked until you mentioned it. I fail. *facepalm* But yeah, you get what I mean. I've always thought that Dean and Castiel, even with their differences, were more alike than they realized. This just adds more evidence to that pile.

I find Zachariah very fascinating...like in this episode he was all spewing out how he's a laughingstock amongst the other angels and he's trying to be all I WILL MAKE YOU SAY YES ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, until Joshua pops in and goes "God will place you on a timeout" and Zachariah just pussies out. lol But yeah, he definitely seems like he's trying to prove something in Heaven. His speech to the boys was interesting, and yeah I can certainly see him separating the souls of people, keeping them contained to mess with the boys.

(on a sidenote, I really wished they could have kept Uriel around, because antagonistic angels are quite intriguing to see, esp since Uriel was all for Lucifer rising and all, I want to see more angels who had agreed with Uriel's views)
cheerful_earl: dean/cascheerful_earl on April 6th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
No problem. :D I do intend to go back and watch both scenes for comparison, because it's an interesting parallel.

(Also, as a sidenote, though Cas spends a lot of time staring *up*, was this the first time we ever got a view of him from above? That shot was terribly effective, I thought, regardless)

Zachariah is a fascinating one! He's clearly in it for himself, which is very different from the other angelic perspectives. I think he'll do whatever he can to prove himself to *whomever* but in the end, he really is just petty. Like you said, he totally pussied out when faced with God (for the second time, since he did the same in 5.01).

I like Zachariah a lot, but Uriel is probably my second favorite angel, next to Castiel (which is why OTHOAP is one of my favorite episodes!). I wish they hadn't dropped the plot of the other angels who changed sides... Uriel had converted however many, so what are they doing now? I hope we get to see some of that, but with so few episodes left, I sort of doubt we will.
Renée: Castiel. Wings.rogueslayer452 on April 6th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
Also, as a sidenote, though Cas spends a lot of time staring *up*, was this the first time we ever got a view of him from above? That shot was terribly effective, I thought, regardless

I think it was the very first time we see that shot from above, yes. And I agree, it was very effective. *hugs Cas*

I'm kinda pissed that we never got more about Uriel's plan of action or the other angels who had been converted by him. They killed him off so that insufferable redhead could stay and do nothing. :/ Uriel was far more compelling that she was anyday my hatred for her, let me show you its I felt they should have killed Anna off way earlier last season and let the standoff and anticipation between Castiel and Uriel linger on because that? Was just a doorway to amazing opportunities to explore with the differences of angels and their intentions, besides the angels that just want this to happen and win, there are those that want this to happen and join Lucifer's side, kinda like how it was with the War in Heaven in Revelation. I do hope we get something about that because even with Uriel gone there has to be some other angels out there that are fulfilling his plans, somewhat.
cheerful_earl: Team Free Willcheerful_earl on April 6th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
Uriel was far more compelling that she was anyday

Oh, totally! I would have loved to see that standoff- it would have made for an amazing story. Plus, setting Cas, who has growing doubts, against Uriel, who has already given up and joined the other side, would have been so interesting.

But I don't think I would have been nearly as angry if it hadn't been for Anna's words as she dispatched Uriel. She gets these lines that make me want to strangle her. PAH.
Renée: BSG. Natalie is not pleased.rogueslayer452 on April 6th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
Exactly. I'm still very fascinated by Uriel and his story, and the other angels that shared his viewpoints. He was an amazing contrast to Castiel in that manner, even before what we learned in OTHOAP. Just seeing their differences made me intrigued. But now we'll never know.

But I don't think I would have been nearly as angry if it hadn't been for Anna's words as she dispatched Uriel. She gets these lines that make me want to strangle her. PAH.

THIS. God, she was just so fucking annoying and adding that line into the mix? BITCH YOU AIN'T ANYTHING SPECIAL JUST STFO AND GTFO OF MY SHOW, YOU WHORE. >:/ Perhaps that's a bit extreme, but my hatred for the character stems from the fact that her entire storyline was so fucking bad and the actress just couldn't act her way out of a paper bag...just, ugh. I never hated a character on this show as much as I did with Anna. At least with Uriel, we loved to hate him because at least he was interesting and had substance.

I'm gonna stop now because this is going to turn ugly with my irrational-yet-rational hate towards her, lol. XD I pretty much pretend that she never existed in canon, and everything's all good. :)
lloyd, i'm ready to be heartbrokensapphirestar_ on April 4th, 2010 12:07 pm (UTC)
What did it mean, "Don't go into the light"?

i'm thinking it just meant the light. whenever zachariah was searching for them, there was this light, like spotlights, you know? and that was zachariah trying to find them, so it probably just meant that.
Renée: Castiel. Wings.rogueslayer452 on April 4th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I kinda thought that too since that spotlight was kinda obvious. I think my mind was going off into "hidden meanings" or whatever; hey, they're in Heaven, anything there is kinda possible. Then again, "going into the light" has always meant moving on into Heaven and, well, the boys are already in Heaven at that point so, yeah. ;)

eta: also I just rewatched the beginning to catch it and yeah, Zachariah was searching for them once realizing they were in Heaven. Heh. Interesting how they use an angelic spotlight to find them, like they're in a prison yard or something, lol.

Edited at 2010-04-04 04:40 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
ErinRua: Don't fallerinrua on April 4th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!

*glomphs you ~ tackle-hugs your review*

Everything you say. This is wonderful, thoughtful, thought-provoking (I FORGOT the bit about not going to the light!) and just generally wonderful. I'm still trying to muster my words, but THANK YOU for all this terrific, toothsome thinkiness. Bless you! :-)

~ Erin
Renée: Dean/Castiel. Never change.rogueslayer452 on April 6th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you so much for taking the time to read all of that! :D

It's kind of amazing how there will be times when Supernatural really adds more depth into its own mythology and how it relates to the characters and the overall message of the show in general that I can't help but allow my inner meta-monster out to play with all of this new incoming information. I was surprised at how much I had racked up in my brain from this episode alone, and how coherently I'd written it out in this review.

Just, thank you again. Your words are too kind. ♥
mteemtee on April 4th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
That was great... your review AND the ep. Amazing.
I read another meta.. which did a great job comparing this ep to the Agony in the Garden. Was this being aired before Easter a planned event?

I believe she/he got some ideas from a couple other posts. If you want to read a very interesting analogy...http://community.livejournal.com/spn_heavymeta/320440.html?view=1035704#t1035704

For me, after reading this.. the pieces do fit in many ways.

Everyone had their A games going. I've watched it twice already and will be watching it again. That good!

Thank you so much.