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12 December 2010 @ 09:24 am
SPN: "Appointment in Samarra" Episode Review + Meta  
Supernatural 6.11 "Appointment in Samarra"

In desperation, Dean resorts to a last resort of dying for a few minutes in order to make a deal with Death in bringing Sam's soul back from Lucifer's cage. Death agrees, but on the condition that Dean wears his ring and does the duty of "death" for a day. Reluctantly, Dean agrees to these terms. Sam is rather displeased in learning that his soul is gonna rejoin him, so he calls upon Balthazar to help him find a solution in not allowing his soul to return to him. Balthazar recalls a spell ritual that requires the blood of a father, leading Sam to Bobby and in the means of killing him for it to work. Meanwhile, Dean partners with Tessa in a Dead Like Me-type style of taking the lives of those whose time is up. Dean then learns the difficulties of having to do the required work of playing Death, and comes to the painful realization of changing the rules of the natural order of things and seeing the chain reactions that occur, and none for the better. Leading to -- gasp! -- character growth and development for once this season!

Dean stops Sam just in time from killing Bobby, and reports back to Death about his failures however also learns another lesson from him, and despite everything Death agrees to go retrieve Sam's soul and building the wall that wouldn't destroy him, giving Dean a cryptic message about souls in the process.

This episode had interesting factors were involved; the concept of natural order and souls and the roles the brothers are playing, and the lessons Dean learned over the course of the episode. While as a whole underwhelming, it gave us something to ponder about.


The Natural Order Of Things: Grander Significance to the Seasonal Arc?

Throughout the episode there was constant talk about the "natural order of things", how if one disrupts it there is an interruption and a new chain of events will start and screw everything up from how they were supposed to have gone. This struck me as being something rather significant, not to mention it furthers my theories about what has been happening this season concerning the mytharc.

What if after averting the apocalypse they shifted the natural order of the universe?

Think about it for a second. The angels and demons were completely gung-ho about this apocalypse being taken place, it was foretold and destined that the Winchesters play their parts in becoming Michael and Lucifer for this huge showdown. They wouldn't have made such a huge deal out of it, through resurrection and manipulation and screwing with their heads, for this entire thing to not have been such importance in the grander scheme of things. When the fight didn't happen on the battlefield and when both Lucifer and Michael got trapped in the cage, something must have shifted in the universe because that's not how things were supposed to have gone. They averted one crisis only to have something else happen, a chain reaction. Perhaps even worse and more chaotic than they anticipated. In this episode Dean thinks that saving a 12-year-old girl who has been suffering from a weak heart would be merciful since he cannot bear having to take the life of a young child. However by doing that he inadvertently set course another person to have their life taken away, through a more painful and unexpected turn of events. Something more destructive since the woman who had been unfortunately chosen was expected to live a longer, healthier life. She died an untimely death and her husband was suffering terribly, all based on the decision Dean made on saving the life of a little girl who was prepared for the worse and although sad, it was meant to happen.

Granted, there is a constant debate back and forth on this show between destiny and freedom of choice, that had they not stopped the apocalypse either Heaven or Hell would have won and controlled the world as their own personal kingdom. Nonetheless for every action there is a reaction, no matter how positive or negative it may be. It's been my speculation that since averting the apocalypse Sam and Dean unknowingly set off another chain of events that is still unfinished and it's creating chaos in Heaven, Hell and on Earth.

I'm not entirely sure that's what the show is getting at, but I felt the message was very clear in importance to that theme that it makes sense that they would head in that direction. At least in my opinion anyway they should, it would explain a lot of things that's been happening.

Just some food for thought.


Purgatory: The Cryptic Message Death Gave Dean

Obviously things are leaning more towards Purgatory, considering that is gonna be a main focus point in the second half of the season, so Death's cryptic words to Dean weren't necessarily about Purgatory itself but rather what he means about them figuring things out for themselves once they reach that point.

Death made it pretty clear that the Winchesters have a greater purpose despite them continually breaking the laws of the universe with their constant meddling, however this meddling in particular is of use -- for what and why, we're not entirely sure. Though I have a feeling that once they figure out the importance about "it's all about the souls" which Death told Dean, it would definitely be more about life and death and some Earth-shattering revelations. Again, I'm not entirely sure where they are going with this, it seems rather interesting (more interesting than what we've been dealing with lately earlier this season at least) that I'm looking forward in seeing how they handle it. Or not, depending on how far they plan on going.

Theory Time: I mentioned before earlier to someone that perhaps this could be a hidden link to where John and Mary's spirits have been. They aren't in Heaven as revealed last season, so where else could they be? Purgatory seems to be the most likely answer.


Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ FREDDY MOTHERFUCKING KRUEGER LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! I knew that Robert Englund was to be guest-starring, I just didn't know when and lo and behold there he is, being all creeptastic in his pseudo-doctor ways. \O/

++ Tessa. ♥ I love Tessa so, so fucking much. It was such a surprise seeing her again, but a pleasant surprise because where there's Tessa there's bound to be amazing shit going down, at least characterization-wise because Tessa is just as much of a stern hardass without being condescending which sometimes certain characters on the show can be. Also, did I mention I love her so much? Because I do. ♥ ♥ ♥

++ Death too, I love him. It's nice to see both Death and Tessa together in the same episode, working side-by-side together even. Hell, I think what I love most is seeing Dean around these two since they have absolutely no problem telling Dean straightforward how things are and see directly through his bullshit and call out on it. Tessa has done so in the past, and Dean is far too terrified shitless of Death to even dare say anything to challenge him (although he did briefly in this episode, but immediately regretted it).

++ Seriously, how hardcore and badass is Death anyway? He literally went into Lucifer's cage and brought Sam's soul seconds after saying he was gonna do so. Motherfucker cannot be messed with because, well, he's fucking Death, yo.

++ Dean wearing the ring and being "death" for a day: the highlight of the episode for me. Mostly because the boy actually learned a lesson for once this season and stopped being an asshole to consider what is happening around with others behind that curtain that doesn't always revolve around the Winchesters. It reminded me of Dead Like Me, the touching and retrieving of souls. Interesting....

++ BALTHAZAR, YOU'RE A SEXY BEAST. ;D Minimal screentime was minimal and really fucking short, however he worked it. Though I'm sure he's all jealous that his crush friend is running around with these humans. Though psst, wrong brother buddy. Dean is Castiel's boyfriend. Duh, everyone knows that. ;p But I understand his bitterness, he just wants Cas to fuck him join him and all of that.

++ Question: You can call upon angels through rituals like that now? Has that always been the case? I know that Castiel does angelical rituals to locate before, but I never thought particular angels had different calling signals (aside from praying, that is)

++ Bobby is a badass. His house is filled with booby-traps! :D

++ Despite missing the fun entertainment soulless!Sam brought us, I found this entire plot of him being soulless rather pointless if all Dean had to do was bargain with Death. I mean seriously, it took them this long to get to this point? I know it was for ~~dramatic effect~~ or whatever but seriously, come on. They could have saved us the burden of the horrendous episodes in the beginning of this season if they'd only gotten this far ahead. I'm just saying, instead of rehashing all the manpain and ignoring it until this solution, they could have dealt with it more seriously, or something.

++ THEY MENTIONED ADAM! \O/ Unfortunately, he got the short end of the stick. Again. :( At least they remembered, but of course Dean was gonna choose Sam. Still, I hope there's at least something of tell in that Adam's soul is alright and placed back in Heaven, not damaged, and at peace. He deserves that much.

++ I'm still rather "....huh?" at the entire soul situation thingie going on. All this time I'm trying to wrap my head around how it all works. Though I've got to say, I feel rather cheated that Sam is gonna get out of this without a scratch (for now) while Dean had to, and probably still does, suffer with the memories and everything from his forty years in Hell; tortured and doing the torturing, all the horrible things that happened to him. And this is entirely different from what Sam probably went through because the cage is solitary confinement where as with Dean....yeah, we know. I guess I'm more angered that they could do that with Sam but not with Dean. Granted Dean had some character growth and dealing during seasons four and five, and even now. But yeah, I'm not certain this was the direction they should have gone. Or, rather, the explanation they should have gone concerning Sam, unless there is a valid reason for it (aka Purgatory, finding out the significance of souls, etc).


Overall: It was rather an underwhelming and "meh" kind of an episode, nothing super exciting happened; we knew Sam was gonna get his soul back eventually regardless of what anyone said or how much Sam fought it, and we knew that Bobby wasn't gonna die this episode anyway. I mean, come on. However I did enjoy Dean playing the role of "death" for a day while learning something in the process. Something he should have already know, considering everything he's been through. However it's like what Tessa said, he refuses to accept it but knows deep down. He just has to admit it openly to himself, and I think that's the main lesson here for Dean. Not just with the "everything happens for a reason" and the "natural order of things" concepts, but just realizing that there are other things that matter besides his own problems.

Oh, and having three of my favorite supporting characters (Balthazar, Tessa and Death) plus a surprise guest-star made this episode worthwhile for me. I approve. :)


I actually had thinky-thoughts instead of raging capslocks, and that's a good sign. Step up from the previous episode that we can all pretend never fucking existed brainbleachplz. Have to wait until January 28th to see how the second half of the season does, and I'm praying it actually gets shit done because I'm tired of feeling frustrated with this show.

Also, yes, thanks to kaiyote for that plotbunny suggestion, I want Tessa and Death to appear more often as Dean (and Castiel's) sassy gay friends. It's perfect, and there needs to be fic of this stat. ;p
 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Breaking Benjamin - Anthem of the Angels
 
 
 
I need more fandoms like CKR needs more sexylove_jackianto on December 12th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
'++ Bobby is a badass. His house is filled with booby-traps! :D'
Man, I loved that trapped door. Considering how many hunters have been killed in their own houses, it makes perfect sense that Bobby would have traps.

I really loved all the minor characters in this episode.

'What if after averting the apocalypse they shifted the natural order of the universe?'
Makes sense to me. In Weekend at Bobby's they did say that that creature found only in Japan was somehow in America, so it could have something to do with that.

'Or, rather, the explanation they should have gone concerning Sam, unless there is a valid reason for it (aka Purgatory, finding out the significance of souls, etc).'
Same here. Until I see otherwise, that 'wall' seems like an excuse/plot device to give Sam back his soul but not have to have him deal with being in Hell. Knowing these writers, that might be the case.
Renée: Castiel. Guardian angel.rogueslayer452 on December 13th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
Bobby is just full of surprises, hence why I love him. ;)

Makes sense to me. In Weekend at Bobby's they did say that that creature found only in Japan was somehow in America, so it could have something to do with that.

I'm just thinking, in spite of the frustrating things we've felt this season, it makes most sense that this would be the direction they would be heading into. If anything, there's definitely an imbalance and whatever the boys are gonna find concerning Purgatory might fix things. How that'll happen, I don't know. But it seems to be an interesting direction to head, if they are indeed heading there.

Same here. Until I see otherwise, that 'wall' seems like an excuse/plot device to give Sam back his soul but not have to have him deal with being in Hell. Knowing these writers, that might be the case.

Unfortunately I think so too. I think perhaps they don't wanna deal with Sam having PTSD like Dean did/does, which was more effective when dealing with his heavy storyline during the last two seasons. I just feel like, if this isn't directly gonna be used for something later on in the season, we've been wasting the entire first half just dilly-dallying until they actually did this eleven episodes in. Like seriously show, get to the good stuff already.
I need more fandoms like CKR needs more sexylove_jackianto on December 13th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
'How that'll happen, I don't know. But it seems to be an interesting direction to head, if they are indeed heading there.'
It will be if that happens.

'I just feel like, if this isn't directly gonna be used for something later on in the season, we've been wasting the entire first half just dilly-dallying until they actually did this eleven episodes in. Like seriously show, get to the good stuff already.'
I know. Anyone who thinks the writers are actually going to let the wall break and Sam becomes a vegetable, didn't see the 'Dean's going to become Michael ves... oh look it's Adam' storyline. I just hope Sam has guilt from all the stuff he did when he didn't have a soul.
Revy: maybe I'm a masochistallodole on December 12th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
I actually liked Tessa a little less in this episode. Doesn't mean I don't love her. She's awesome *3*

I wonder how the summon spell for an angel works, like, do you draw that particular angel's name in Enochian or something? PLEASE EXPLAIN, SHOW. I'm curious. Not to mention how exactly shows work, if Adam is gonna ever exist anywhere again, what's Lucifer's Cage like, is Meg gonna disappear forever and ever, what are they gonna do with the Purgatory now and how do the Campbells (or what's left of them) fit the picture now etc.

The whole free will vs destiny-thing confuses me to no ends but at least it's the good kind of confusion. Should they have let the angels win and the world to become a Paradise and let 57095705790 people die? Or let the demons win? Or this, which is probably the best option out of all, but still ends with all the worlds in chaos. (Though we don't what's up with Hell..) At least that's something the show's always done well-> no matter what you do, someone is always going to suffer. One way or the other. More than the monsters and angelic civil wars and all, it's always been about life and death and what you do with it. Does that make any sense?

I'll stop now before I start to make some sort of a Defensive Speech: Why I Like This Show. /zips up

I want this sassy gay friend-fic to happen like yesterday.

All this episode proved is what we all know: That Death > everyone else. And Bobby > everyone else, although goddammit dude, he got caught a little too easily in the end.

For a rather dull episode, it did raise good questions and made me think.

Edited at 2010-12-12 05:47 pm (UTC)
I need more fandoms like CKR needs more sexy: SPN- Team Emolove_jackianto on December 12th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
At least that's something the show's always done well-> no matter what you do, someone is always going to suffer. One way or the other.

Oh, oh points to icon.

Revy: Overlordallodole on December 12th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Heee :D I don't mean just in their tiny group of Man-Pain, but like, globally. It's the way with the real world too, after all.
I need more fandoms like CKR needs more sexylove_jackianto on December 12th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
True.
Renée: Castiel. Searching for answers.rogueslayer452 on December 13th, 2010 06:22 am (UTC)
I wonder how the summon spell for an angel works, like, do you draw that particular angel's name in Enochian or something? PLEASE EXPLAIN, SHOW. I'm curious

THIS. I'm assuming they learned it from Castiel at some point, or done some heavy research, since searching for and banishing angels isn't really something new. But calling them without prayer is definitely new, which means...if Balthazar has a call sigil, does Castiel? Though I'm sure that since Castiel is their friend they wouldn't need to use it, since all Dean has to do is pray and he'll pop in (assuming it's the right time for the right purposes nowadays with his business upstairs and all). Curiosity, I has its.

At least that's something the show's always done well-> no matter what you do, someone is always going to suffer. One way or the other. More than the monsters and angelic civil wars and all, it's always been about life and death and what you do with it. Does that make any sense?

That makes absolute sense, and I agree. While their handling of these things is rather frustrating and inconsistent at times, the actual ideas and concepts about the morality and ethical matters of the plot has been rather intriguing. The message is that nothing gets a happily ever after, someone will always suffer because that's how the world works. You can never get paradise. It's something I've been fascinated with since no matter what they do, there's always something else that's gonna happen. I wish they would explore this more, or at least give clear explanations or something to theorize more about since it's obviously one of the few interesting aspects the show gives off rather perfectly between the morality of situations. In this episode in particular, we know that Dean wants to save people regardless and could definitely save everyone if he could, but he realizes that he cannot. Because that's not how things are supposed to be, and it sucks, but he struggles and understands this. That's why I loved his moments in the episode because of that realization.

I want this sassy gay friend-fic to happen like yesterday.

Seriously! It needs to happen! ;D

For a rather dull episode, it did raise good questions and made me think.

Yeah. I wasn't really squealing with joy however the philosophical aspect was there that really made my brain churn. It's kind of shocking learning that Sera Gamble co-wrote this episode (I know right?), though I suspect since she had a writing partner it works better instead of it being all about her own work.
just a small town girl: [supernatural] pensivecarameltrap on December 13th, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)
I haven't watch this episode yet but one thing that the show does right is that for everything that is done, a disaster averted, a life saved, there is always the consequences of it. This reminds me of that episode of the miracle healer where Dean was saved but someone else had to die to give life back to Dean. I'm more interested in seeing whether or not this lesson will stick with Dean for the remainder of the season, if he'll remember this or just push it down inside when a situation arises or when he has to make a decision.

That said, I think I'm going to like this episode because TESSA. I love Tessa whenever she appears in an episode. She's neither condescending or grating on one's nerves. She's just that awesome.
Renée: SPN. Castiel.rogueslayer452 on December 13th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of that episode of the miracle healer where Dean was saved but someone else had to die to give life back to Dean.

Oh yeah, that almost slipped my mind, I was thinking there was a better example of where we've seen this before and obviously we have. And I agree, they should have this be something Dean learns from and remembers for the future, considering all the shit he's seen and witnessed, I felt like what he saw in this episode truly affected him, and he agreed that the "natural order" sucks, so I hope this isn't a one episode kind of deal because I honestly do feel like he learned something. Having the conversation with both Tessa and Death, and all.

That said, I think I'm going to like this episode because TESSA. I love Tessa whenever she appears in an episode. She's neither condescending or grating on one's nerves. She's just that awesome.

Oh, word. There needs to be more characters like Tessa on thsi show. Seriously. This show has a knack for getting hit-or-miss guest appearances which can either help or dampen an episode. Tessa is definitely a good addition of recurring supporting characters. I loved her when she first appeared, and I'm happy to see her reappearing even more on the show. :D She is really awesome. I would love to have her verbally bitchslap Dean more often in her non-condescending yet stern manner that she does so well.

You're also gonna love Death too because, well, when isn't he just flat out awesome? ;)