Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,

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SPN: "Abandon All Hope" Episode Review + Meta

So, I finally wrote up my full length review/meta for this glorious episode. One of the upsides to having a hiatus is that I can have time to really write out an episode review without feeling the pressure of getting it done before the next episode, which is a challenge for me with all my fandoms. I've had time to read other people's reviews and metas and really just write this out fully, and trust me, I do have some things to say about this episode. Particularly with certain characters and what happened to them.

Supernatural 5.10 "Abandon All Hope"

It attempts to use the Colt (given to them willingly by the demon Crowley) against Lucifer in hopes to end the rising of the Apocalypse, the Winchesters, the Harvelle's and Castiel enter an abandoned town where supposedly Lucifer has resided in, only to be sprung by surprise as Lucifer cleverly traps Castiel and the demon meg unleashes dozens of hellhounds upon the rest of the gang, fatally injuring Jo and causing them to go into hiding while Lucifer prepares himself to rise Death, one of the Four Horsemen. To buy them time to get out and stop Lucifer for good, Jo makes her final decision in sacrificing herself, along with her mother, to allow Sam and Dean to get away. Unfortunately for them, the plan doesn't go as they thought and get out just in the nick of time before Death emerges.

It's the Battlestar Galactica episode of the season. This episode brings on just how real this shit has gotten, bringing us the pain and the sadness and the angst in very powerful waves, and it proves that this episode truly was the shining last moments of Jo and Ellen Harvelle. Perhaps the saddest, most depressing episodes to date ever in SPN history, no doubt about it.

Tribute to Jo and Ellen Harvelle: The Best Badass Female Characters on Supernatural

This goes without saying that the Harvelle women were quite amazing in this episode, and it really was their episode through-and-through. Samantha Ferris and Alona Tal really shined in their roles this episode; each scene with them had so much raw and powerful emotion, from beginning to the end. Such messages about love and family, of sacrifice of the greater good and staying with your loved ones no matter what, it really gave us a chance to see a hunter family besides the Winchesters who will do anything in the name of those they loved. And they both went out heroically despite the outcome of the situation, and it really was so depressing and sad but beautiful at the same time.

But of course, this has created some drama in fandom because, oh noes, the show has killed two female characters, the sexist/misogynistic issues has arisen once again, and blah blah blah.

Quite frankly, I'm tired of these old arguments being brought up by fandom. I will say this once: this has nothing to do with gender.

What happened to the Harvelles has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are female in a predominantly male-oriented show, their deaths weren't because Kripke and the writers immediately wanted two supporting female roles that they resurrected since season two to be killed off. Jo and Ellen's deaths were necessary to the story because it shows us the reality of this war. War, in general, has casualties and sometimes those casualties are of people whom we care about, and sometimes even if such sacrifices are for the greater cause it can lead to a disappointing outcome, which is precisely what happened here. The Harvelle's were in a difficult position, they all were. Dean tried to hold it together, but Jo had a realistic mindset and understood her fate and realized she could do something productive. Ellen stood by her daughter's side. It might have been pointless after everything they tried to do, but failed to accomplish, but at the heart of it all it was a brave and courageous move which defines their characters more than anything else in the entire series, for sure.

I think that is why I adored their death scenes. Not because I wanted them to die, because I didn't, but it's how it was presented to us. Normally when secondary characters wind up dying it's usually a "now you see you don't" kind of situation, but not here. They actually spent time drawing out their deaths, which adds more to the emotional impact upon realizing that, yes, they are going to die. It was like a punch in the gut even before Ellen pushed that button. It hurt. It was devastating and depressing as fucking hell, especially with the goodbyes and seeing that Ellen was going to stay with Jo, finishing the job.

And you know what? That's amazing storytelling right there. Yes, their deaths didn't accomplish anything good in the end, other than allowing the boys to escape. But it gave us the reality of the situation they're in. It gave us a chance to see precisely how high the stakes have risen in this war. Which is what I'm loving about this season. We've seen a devastating possible future, Bobby is stuck dealing with the reality of being in a wheelchair, unable to do the things he used to do, and we see the sacrificial love between mother and daughter in the grander scheme of things, even if it didn't pay off in the end as they'd hoped. This season is bringing the harsh realities of what they're dealing with. Not everything is going to have a happy ending, the boys cannot save everyone, not even those they consider family. This is the price of war, the price of the Apocalypse, and it's hit them harder than they ever expected. And this is exactly what we needed to see.

I loved it. I loved how despite having them only in two episodes this season, their second being their last, it showed a great deal of character development between the two Harvelle women. Jo especially, since the major complaints from season two were that she had lacked in developing much of any character whatsoever (which I disagree, since they had very limited episodes to really grow and get that character development and it was a mistake on the writer's part due to the roadhouse storyline, but I digress). Here we see a very different Jo Harvelle. She's grown up, she's matured, and I was so happy that she refused Dean's "last night on Earth" speech which, yes, is old and tired and I swore if they'd pulled that bullshit one more time I would scream and have a fit at Kripke. She has self-respect, she has her dignity and that's what I loved about her. She's gotten over her schoolgirl crush on Dean and focused her energy elsewhere, which I liked seeing. She also understood the reality of their situation and thought rationally, and took control of her own fate without cheating it. We also see her relationship with her mother which, from season two was on the fritz a little bit, but having her say to Ellen that she wanted to be treated like an adult based on this very decision? And Ellen's reaction to that, plus staying with her daughter? Tears, man, tears rolling down my face right there. The fact that Ellen did this, it really places their sacrificial love of family right there in front of us. And despite having them die, they died together, as a family. It's absolutely fucking sad, but beautifully done that I can't hate on it.

So with all the noise about females being killed off again on the show, first I can understand the frustrations because this show doesn't do that well with female characters at times, but I would kindly ask those with extreme PC feminist views to put away those glasses for a moment and look at what occurred in this episode in terms of storytelling. It's depressing of course, and we're meant to be sad about it and not like their deaths. But with what is happening in the SPNverse, it's absolutely necessary. I'm happy with how they dealt with it, how their deaths were handled and they handled it with such respect to the characters that seriously, it's just brilliant.

Kripke, you magnificent bastard, thank you for creating such an amazing and perhaps the most saddest moments in the history Supernatural. It felt like a fucking punch in the gut, and like my heart was ripped out from my chest and stomped on repeatedly. In memory of Ellen and Joanna Beth Harvelle, you two lovely ladies will forever be missed and we, the fans, commend you for your utter heroic acts of bravery and all you've contributed to the show. ♥

Castiel and Lucifer: Two Brothers On Different Sides Of The War

Perhaps the most anticipated confrontation, and although we didn't get much of an actual fight between the two, which is something I'm definitely waiting for, I was very happy to not only see Lucifer again but to also have him and Castiel in the same scene together. It's been a long time coming, in fact, and I absolutely loved how it was handled too. With Lucifer cleverly trapping Castiel, obviously realizing that a fellow brother has been traveling with the Winchesters and knew that somehow he would come and investigate, and having just a casual conversation with him (and my favorite part being his question about riding in a car, which I still lol at because it's just so random). The entire scene was brilliantly done, with the lighting of the firelight and the play on shadows and just, ugh, everything. I am in love with their scenes together, and all of Castiel's scenes in general.

But what I found most interesting was how Castiel reacted upon seeing Lucifer. I don't think he anticipated this would be how his meeting with him would turn out, trapped in the circle of holy fire, verbally interrogated by a fallen brother. He seemed very intimidated, scared but defensive at the same time. Defending the Winchesters, showing where his true loyalties lie despite what Lucifer was telling him. It was endearing, but also scary, because we didn't know what Lucifer had intended for our precious angel.

Of course one of Lucifer's skills is manipulation, and although he's more reassuring that he's in the right, since he absolutely believes he truly is and that he's been wronged by God and his brothers in Heaven, what makes Lucifer so terrifying is how he truly does believe that he and Castiel are on the same side. It's the same with him trying to convince Sam later on that he understands how he feels, the same with him convincing his substitute vessel, Nick, that he understands that same feeling. Lucifer cleverly plays on such vulnerabilities of those around him, making those connections in hopes of gaining more followers, more to see his side. When he tells Castiel that even if he is defeated, Heaven's forces will come after him next because he rebelled.

But they are not the same. Lucifer rebelled because he disliked humanity and refused to surrender his love for God for humankind, whereas Castiel rebelled for humanity, siding with Dean Winchester and hopes that humanity does win this war. Castiel favors humanity, loves them and considers them works of art, something that Lucifer never could understand because of his dislike of humans. The only thing I can see in connection is their love for God, but Lucifer's is tainted in wanting approval from his Father (which is very Cavil of him), and Castiel is in the search for their Father because he truly has faith and belief that God still is around, and wants to prove it to his disbelieving brothers.

I'm happy that Castiel didn't listen to Lucifer (take that naysayers!) It was a lingering fear that something might change his mind, but I knew that Castiel would never side with Lucifer, who he absolutely abhors because of all he represents. It's clear where Castiel's loyalties lie, and if I hear ONE MORE PERSON try to say that Castiel is untrustworthy despite all evidence backing up how much he loves/cares for the Winchesters and which side he's fighting for, I will cut a bitch. Seriously.

I do want more Lucifer and Castiel confrontations in the future, because I think there's something more that Lucifer wants to tell, or show, Castiel. I think he knew that Castiel would find a way to escape his trap, otherwise he would have kept a closer eye on his brother. But I am over the moon with what we got in this episode.

Really, Misha and Marksha (LOL I WILL NEVER STOP THINKING OF HIM AS THAT! FANDOM HAS RUINED ME!) have amazing onscreen chemistry. I'm aching for more, since I wanted the subject of whether or not Lucifer did, indeed, bring him back but that didn't pop up. Hopefully next time.

Symbolism: Uncanny Parallels To "The End"

I'm taking this from what alexwhitman25 mentioned earlier during my reaction post to the episode about the uncanny connections to 5.04 "The End" in this episode, and seeing what she says I have to say she is absolutely right.

From Castiel becoming familiar with drinking alcoholic drinks to Lucifer mentioning Sam accepting his role as a vessel in Michigan, which he not only knows but predicts as though it's a known fact embedded in prophecy, but I think the most poignant is the photograph which Bobby takes of everyone earlier in the episode. It's totally parallel to the photograph we saw in "The End", with Bobby and Castiel carrying guns with other hunters in the picture. Not only is it the same kind of camera that took those pictures, but it's the same mood from both; neither one of those photographs is anyone smiling or having a happy expression of their faces. It's all grim and morose, representing an ominous prediction of future events. It's just so uncanny that they would have the future episode showing such events of characters and their fates, and then have this episode which foreshadows the fates of Ellen and Jo.

There's also the parallels to Dean's growing role in leadership, his ability to take charge of the situation despite it being too much for him to handle, and then seeing those he loved getting killed in the middle of this war. Out of sacrifice surely, but still. We also see the reversal of roles between Sam and Dean in this episode as well. There's so much given here that parallel "The End" that I almost fear what might come in the future, and if that future we saw was truly a possible one that could happen and not one that Zachariah fabricated.

Obviously, "The End" takes place five years in the future and anything could have happened between those five years which alter the lives and attitudes of characters, and this certainly may be the last season of the show so hopefully they can avert such events from happening. But could things be unavoidable? Could Sam say "yes" to Lucifer? Are the fates already predestined that no matter how many loopholes the Winchesters find, it will lead to the same outcome?

With this episode it brought on not only the devastation and angst of what happened, but also more worries and fears of what might happen in the episodes to come. I'm just so excited yet scared of what is going to happen, but I'm sure that Kripke has something clever up his sleeve.

Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ The Harvelles: Jo and Ellen, they will forever be remembered on the show. Again, I think this is the most saddest character departure ever in the history of this show, without a doubt. Although they were brought back only for two episodes there was significant character development and growth between the two, and their relationships with the others and this episode truly showed their strengths and how important they were to everyone. I'm also glad that there was some screentime with them and Castiel, too. Having him bond slightly with other human beings, other hunters besides the Winchesters, was nice to see. Especially since the Harvelles are more like family to them than anything else.

++ Speaking of, Castiel and Ellen having their drinking game = epic win. "I think I'm starting to feel something" was totally a shoutout to Legolas from Lord of the Rings, and I'm loling at that so much. So apparently, angels have high tolerance to alcohol, I take it. Oh, Castiel could drink anyone under the table. Dean would be so proud. XD

++ I have to say that although I liked the idea of Dean/Jo from before, the show has pretty much set them up at being more brother-sister than anything else. Even though I wouldn't have minded if they had hooked up, I'm not disappointed that they didn't. Dean's goodbye kiss to her on the forehead and then on the lips I didn't see anything more than that: it was a goodbye kiss, in a familial and a friendship kind of way, nothing more.

++ MARK SHEPPARD AS CROWLEY = MAJOR MOTHERFUCKING WIN BBS! FOR REALS! IT'S ROMO LAMPKIN! IT'S BADGER, Y'ALL! Okay, seriously, you can tell I'm happy that Mark Sheppard was featured on Supernatural. That man is everywhere, like for reals. Perfect casting, just perfect with everything he did in this role. I really, really really want to see him as Crowley again, because although he did an amazing job it was too short of his appearance on the show. WE NEED MOAR CROWLEY, PLZ KTHX. More Crowley, more Gabriel and more Raphael, please show.

++ MALE/MALE KISSING! THE FIRST SAME-SEX KISS ON THE SHOW EVER! \O/ Kudos for the show for going in that direction, something they didn't have the guts to do before, even though it's strictly of the deal-making variety, it's a great step up. now can we has some Dean/Castiel smooching pretty please show? it's already fucking canon just make them kiss, dammit

++ Voyeur!Castiel + "it's, going...down" = much hilarity. lololol

++ UM WE NEED MORE OF CASTIEL'S PERSPECTIVE SHOWN ON THE SHOW, PLZ. Seriously, I was majorly impressed with this decision of showing what Castiel sees through his eyes, which also shows us what angels see and what humans cannot. The scene with the Reapers was so chilling and haunting (and anyone else expecting to see Tessa amongst them? I sure was). I also loved seeing the Enochian symbols on Crowley's home in the way that Castiel would sense them, which makes me think he can also see them on Sam and Dean's chests so vividly which, is kinda awkward when you think about it, lol. I also LOVED seeing how Castiel can disappear/reappear in different locations. Awesome stuff.

++ MARKSHA!!!!! :DDDDDD He was truly terrifying in this episode. Although I still kinda do see Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Lucifer in my head (and thanks to jelost, I now see Callum Keith Rennie as Lucifer too, dammit!), Marksha did an amazing job here. We need more Lucifer in this season, for reals.

++ "Umm...slow. And confining." "What a peculiar thing, you are." THIS CONVERSATION IS MADE OF LULZ BUT AWESOMENESS. CASTIEL FINDS CARS SLOW (which is you know, true, and makes sense since we see precisely how angels can go from one place to another without the need of any vehicle to slow them down) ALSO LOL @ LUCIFER'S CURIOSITY AND HIS REACTION IS PRICELESS!

++ The lighting, the play on shadows and the firelight, just everything about the cinematography in this episode was love. ♥

++ DEATH!!! :DDDDD I know, I know, we didn't see Death in physical form, but I don't care. The fact that we've revisited the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse makes me utterly giddy, and that Lucifer performed the ritual himself to raise Death makes it even more epic. He did the dirty work, which idk if that's even more awesome than having lackeys do it for him.

++ I'm...kinda liking new!Meg. I mean, Nicki Aycox will always be the best Meg, but this new actress is just so great. She has the mannerisms and sarcasm down, something that Genevieve could never achieve when becoming new!Ruby.

++ Confused: Meg said that Lucifer is her father, but isn't that kind of contradictory since Azazel was her father as mentioned in the earlier seasons? Or was this just a general Father of creation, like God being our Father because he created humankind? But what was the meaning of Azazel mentioning that Meg was his daughter from before?

++ The fact that Jo pulled a Kendra Shaw, getting injured and staying behind to manually set off a bomb to kill the enemy, makes me respect her more than I ever did. That's some hardcore shit right there, rigging a bomb. I just, that's deep stuff and the fact that the show went there makes me appreciate this season even more. Again, this makes me love their storytelling this season in certain parts.

++ CASTIEL AND HIS TRICKSEY WAYS! ♥ The mislead of him kissing Meg (which really, in context it doesn't make any logical sense why he ever would, but the way it was filmed made you think it would happen even though you knew it would never in a million years) and then USING HER AS A BRIDGE TO GET OUT OF THE FIRE = MAJOR WIN! \O/ \O/ Not only is he a BAMF, but he's one resourceful BAMF. :DDD

(I read someone's reaction that they were upset by the way Castiel treated Meg, because of the whole male mistreating a female which, wtf?!? MEG = BAD GUY YOU FUCKERS! SHE DESERVED TO BE A BRIDGE ON THE FIRE, CALL ME SADISTIC BUT THAT WAS AWESOME SHIT AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT THAN GTFO)

++ Question: This is something that has been brought up, about Castiel using his telekinetic angelical powers to unscrew the pipes in order to get out (yay callback to "On The Head Of A Pin"!), does that mean that any angel could manipulate things around them to get out? Because Castiel is limited in his powers, so that would mean that archangels like Raphael and Gabriel could have done the same thing, even more so because they're more powerful than the average angel. Or was kinda something that was like "oh hay look, this is cool shit, let's have Castiel be all badass despite being slightly powerless"? Either way, it was cool, but I hope there's something explanation about that somewhere.

++ BTW, I don't think that Castiel is losing his abilities. He said before that there are some things he's limited to, and we haven't seen him gank any demons since he came back. So I think that him exorcising/killing demons is another one of those drawbacks alongside the lacking of healing others. Just so y'all know my opinion on this, we're finally seeing his limitations.

++ "Hello Death" = quote for the entire season, amirite? Goes along with the "O Death" musical promo doesn't it? I love it.

++ Ben Edlund, ILU so fucking hard. ♥ We need more episodes like this, please.

Overall: Like I mentioned, I consider this the Battlestar Galactica of the season, because this is precisely how BSG is on a daily basis with the doom and gloom, the dark and depressing ominous feeling looming over everything and everyone with that lingering feeling of hope over the horizon, but there is no happy ending. People have died for pointless reasons even if it had been out of heroic sacrifice for the greater good, and nothing had been accomplished. There was a confrontation with the enemy, so much amazing chemistry and acting by everyone, Ellen broke my heart, Jo broke my heart, I feared for Castiel, I was intimidated by Lucifer, I wanted to Colt to kill him even though it would have been too good to have been true, and just yeah. Everything about this episode was precisely how I pictured this season going. Doom and gloom and the end hovering over them, realizing that they really need to step it up and that everything is unpredictable. This is war, shit just got real for them.

Just so much love for this episode, I consider this the best out of the season yet. Between this, "The End" and "Free To Be You And Me", I fucking am in love with this episode like, whoa. ♥

There seems to be a series of depressing episodes before the hiatus hit. I heard about what happened on Criminal Minds and now this episode, it feels like Battlestar Galactica all over again. Not that I'm complaining, some of the most amazing stuff happens when there's tons of dark shit occurring and aching angst with characters. But this was emotionally draining, like really emotionally draining. It was great, but still. It makes me wish there could have been a Thanksgiving/Christmas episode of Supernatural this season or something.

But it doesn't matter, because I love this show even if it hurts. Because like what Joss Whedon and Ron D Moore and David Eick bring us, Kripke hurts us so good. And even if we may hate it, we know we love it.
Tags: meta: supernatural, show reviews: supernatural
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