Supernatural 5.14 "My Bloody Valentine"
On Valentine's Day, disturbing occurrences are happening when couples suddenly are killing each other in the most unnatural ways (one couple, in attempts of having sex, start cannibalizing each other until they're both dead). The boys call for Castiel's help in the matter, who thinks this is the work of a Cupid gone rogue, only to discover that instead this is the handiwork of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Making people overindulge in whatever they hunger until the drop dead so he can feed off their souls. It starts to affect Castiel, who craves red meat, and strongly on Sam, who starts reverting to his demon blood addiction as desperately tries to fight against it. Unfortunately, the hunger is too strong and takes over. Famine brings a revelation about Dean to the surface whereas Sam has to deal with his addiction once again.
This episode brings the hilarity and the gross factor in the beginning, but it ends of a bittersweet and angst-ridden note, particularly in terms with the two brothers and what it means for them and their attempts at being all "team freewill" and whether or not it's possible. And all of this before a six-week hiatus? Goddamn you, people.
The Revelation of Castiel and his Vessel
I feel like I need to discuss this straight away, since the episode aired my brain has been racking around what this could possibly mean, or what it doesn't mean, and how I interpret it from what the shows is presenting to us in terms of vessels and consenting.
I think the majority of us believed that since Castiel died with the standoff of the archangels in the finale that Jimmy's soul ascended to Heaven, and that when Castiel was mysteriously resurrected it was him in the physical body, but without Jimmy. Like somehow because of his original body being blown to pieces. But since this episode and the one-line reveal about why Castiel suddenly craves red meat, and it made me seriously ponder because clearly, this is something that's been somewhat speculated but never clearly made evident until now on the show itself.
It's been my personal theory, which I still believe, that the hunger for red meat was simply a residual kind of thing; an echo left behind by Jimmy, if you will. That once the body was rebuild and remade by whoever it is now officially Castiel's, as the last request made by Jimmy was to use his body for whatever work intended and not to use his family as conduits for this cause, it would make perfect sense. Now that Castiel is cut off from Heaven he's beginning to slowly, but surely, become familiar with human behaviors and their ways and perhaps due to that the body is starting to become really his own, in a way. So perhaps the body's craving was much deeper because that was who Jimmy had been; he craved meat, it's not something that magically goes away because that is what the body was used to, so due to Famine's influences of cravings suddenly the body needed what it hasn't had in quite a while. This is my firm belief anyway, that Jimmy's soul departed once the body was destroyed, but whoever brought Castiel back for his particular purpose he was brought back in the body as his own.
However, what if it's not that complicated at all? What if Jimmy still does exist somewhere and is held purely because of his consent?
This is the scenario most of us aren't liking, because based on Jimmy's own words in "The Rapture" it was a horrible experience. He said that it felt like being strapped onto a comet, and quite frankly none of us want Jimmy to still be suffering somewhere in there, mainly because while we all love and adore Castiel, Jimmy Novak's story is definitely heartbreaking because of what he had to give up, his life and his family and his self-sacrifice to the divine cause. So it would be a relief to us if Jimmy's soul had gracefully departed once his own body was destroyed, because he had done his part, and when Castiel returned it was in the identical body of the vessel but it was just himself alone. Although I've been thinking about what this season has been teaching us about angels, humans and consenting to their special destinies, and for those with high belief they are doing something good it seems like a nice idea, but in the reality of the show itself it's not all what it's cracked up to do.
What if that's what this means, that once consenting there is no turning back from it? Once you give your freedom of will away you can never get it back, that you are forever bound to the mercy of whatever deity is possessing you for whatever purpose and you are stuck in this loop until they are finished with you. This is what terrifies me...since angels have to gain consent from their chosen vessels, making them different from their demon counterparts who just take with no regard of anything, living or the dead, so once having that consent they are free to do what they will with them, the souls of those either knowing or in the dark about what is actually happening. The whole idea about consenting is giving away your freewill to the higher beings, and once doing that there's nothing you can do about it, and all in all this is primarily the issue that Sam and Dean are trying to avoid at all costs.
Also, given the fact that an angel dies in the human vessel they are possessing, what would happen to the soul of that person? Would they ascend to Heaven, like I hope they would, or would they just explode into oblivion, into a vast nothingness? What about in Castiel's case, when he died and then was resurrected? Would Jimmy's soul have been destroyed as well? Gone to Heaven, but then returned? What if this is part of the consenting contract to being an angel's vessel? Because that would be pretty sucky and shitty of a situation, don'tcha think? I would hate to think that God or whoever else would be so mercilessly to the human soul like that, because Jimmy might have played his part at first but he deserves to be at rest after everything.
Honestly, it's all complicated and confusing. Both scenarios are plausible and debatable, and I pretty much want the first to be true because I think none of us want Jimmy to still be suffering somewhere in the background. It's also very tricky and complicated issue on the fanon level, too. We just need a straightforward, definitive answer to this whole issue, because otherwise I'm going for my own personal canon.
Destiny and Predictions: Allusions of the Post-Apocalyptic Future
At first I thought that the possible future Zachariah showed Dean in "The End" was something he constructed and fabricated so Dean would consent to becoming Michael's vessel, but the more this season goes one the more I realize that there are subtle things that are creeping up that allude to what that future showed us. It might not end up like that future, not entirely, but little things are starting to rise to the surface.
First of all we have the revelation about Dean's emptiness, how he doesn't need to fulfill something inside of himself because he craves nothing. This is a frightening notion because future!Dean was dead inside, he acted mercilessly and cold, had no remorse and was for the mission instead of emotion. Our Dean has suffered through so much over the years, recently watching those who he loved and cared about, those he considered his family, die in the most horrible way possible. There's still a gleaming part of him that holds his humanity, but what if that's not enough? What if he does turn into that dark and cold individual of that future? It certainly is seeming that way. There's also Sam, who is desperately trying so hard to resist what Lucifer wants from him, yet we see him (reluctantly) revert to those old ways of his demon blood addiction, the hunger for power. We also see Castiel, still an angel, though with his powers having been diminished he's becoming more and more human with each passing day. We've seen him drink alcohol, riding in cars, now eating excessively; although that was part of what I mentioned above, of the body needing to be nourished and that nourishment was stronger than anything else at that time, Castiel is familiarizing himself with humanity and being around Dean that he's being influenced by our worldly things. With this episode that hunger was strong enough to overpower him that he was weakened by it, so what does that say?
In any case, the allusions and parallels towards this dark!future we were shown are starting to worry me, not that I'm not positive they'll avert the End of Days so to speak, but because of how they'll all end up afterwards. I don't want Dean to still be broken, I don't want Sam to be tormented by his need of redemption and getting sucked back in again, and I don't want Castiel to fall. But it seems all signs are pointing towards those inevitable things, and it pains me incredibly.
But I think that's the lesson here, that despite all these warning signs about fate and destiny and the inevitable, about how both sides are so positive that Sam and Dean are going to give in at any given time, it makes it much more easier to root for them and their resilience and the strength and courage of humanity. That even against all odds they will pull through, and we have to hold onto this hope even if at the end of the episode it seemed that their weaknesses are showing them quite the opposite.
Dean Winchester and His Painfully Devastating Destiny
Famine revealed how utterly broken and empty Dean is in the end of the episode, and while it might be somewhat of a broken record since we've all kind of watched Dean kind of slowly deteriorate since he returned from Hell, despite that "give 'em hell attitude" he wears as his poker face most of the time, this actually gives some interesting light to where he is now and what might in fact happen in the future between him and the angels.
Tell me I'm not the only one who thought Dean was considering actually saying "yes" to Michael at the end of the episode? Because I feel if anything, that broken emptiness inside of him would be such an indicator for getting him to agree to anything; to stop the pain, the hurt, of watching those he loves die and especially after watching his little brother go back to his addictions. What if this is precisely what the angels are waiting for, if they understand how stubborn he is they just want him to break. I don't know, it just seems that way based off of everything. Sam, despite his best efforts, giving into the hunger for power; and Dean, being told how empty and dead inside he is, might as well have nothing else to give other than to go for the last resort.
In the end Dean was praying towards the heavens -- to whom, we don't know. To God, to his parents, to anyone that would listen to his pleas. There's all this incredibly weight on his shoulders and although he was all "team freewill" in the last episode, this tells him the contrary about how weak they are, how there are limits and eventually they will break.
He won't though. I'm praying that he won't because like I said before the show is about the strength and hope and resilience of humanity, and while it seems like things are going downhill I have faith that they'll find a way.
But Dean is not dead inside, no freaking way. He might be devastated and broken for sure, after everything that's happened and might be at loss of what to do and where to go next, but he's definitely not empty inside. He still has hope, which is holding on by a thread right now but even so, it's a glimmer of something. I think what Famine said to him was like reaching in and pulling out the harsh truth and sticking it directly in his face, because it's something he's been kind of pushing back because he keeps moving forward, but he has to acknowledge it. And I thought he had been, in the premiere he was upfront with his brother about how they weren't on the trusting page anymore, but that could have been a sign of his waning hope in certain cases. Not willing to fight it, just letting it be. I hope he gets restored soon because, God show, can you break him even more? For goodness sakes, let him heal, let him find that strength again.
Memorable Moments of the Episode:
++ Episode title "My Bloody Valentine" <----- I SEE WHUT YOU DID THAR SHOW, LOL
++ EPIC DEAN/CASTIEL SCENES LIKE WHOA
Obviously not exactly what we were wishing for in regards to a Valentine's Day episode, with the smooching and the influenced by Cupid kinda deal we were all praying would have happened, but we had some pretty amazing scenes with them that included major slashy tones. THE EPIC CELL PHONE CONVO, Castiel stealing Dean's burger (he totally wants his manmeat, for reals), their little "date" in the car, just every single moment with them on screen is magical. Every episode should include this kind of Dean/Castiel scenes.
++ I LOVE CUPID! HE'S TOO ADORABLE! Just from the giddiness and the attack of hugging everyone as "their handshake" which, lol! Also with the crying and getting upset and HUGGING CASTIEL TWICE and his "I LOVE LOVE! AND IF LOVE IS WRONG THEN I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT!" OMG LOL AWKWARDNESS YET SO CUTE. Too bad that he only got just that one scene with Castiel and the boys, but it was a priceless scene nonetheless. I still want him to come back though, he's quite enjoyable. Plus I wouldn't mind some Cupid and Gabriel antics, I think that would be beyond hilarious. XD
++ Also note: it appears that the Cupids aren't that well aware of what is happening upstairs in Heaven, since they are more commonly Earth-bound with their duties to get couples together from their orders, they don't need to know anything else. I found that quite interesting. Not that it would do them any good anyway, since they don't seem fit for fighting in the warrior sense. Heh.
++ I found it interesting how Castiel eats. Like, I never had any fascination watching others eat, because it's kind of awkward and a little strange, but there's something with how Misha portrays Castiel's eating habits, especially since this is the first time we've seen Castiel eat anything, was just interesting to see. Plus, did you all notice just how animated Castiel seemed? He was so distracted by the burgers too (bringing forth more nicknames from Dean, "the Hamburglar"? "Happy Meal"? Idky but I find these little petnames cute, heh)
++ Nothing says "I love you" more that cannibalism. Yummy.
++ Disgusting and gross this episode was, though I might not have been squeamish like others are because hey, I can watch gorey horror films while eating myself (because I am some kind of freak, apparently) but afterwards uh, yeah. I thought twice about eating something.
++ "It's Famine" LOL oh Castiel, you never learn do you?
++ Neither does Dean, apparently, because he punches Cupid not remembering that punching angels is like punching your hand against concrete. *shakes head* Oh boys.
++ I'm very proud of Sam, he resisted and he knew he was being affected by the need for hunger, and he tried to stop it. But it was too much to handle. Oh, the poor boy.
++ QUESTION: I'm still confused about Sam's powers, since I thought that the demon blood was just a mindtrick thing for him to think he needed the blood to boost himself up, but like Ruby had said to him he didn't need the blood. The blood was like the Dumbo's feather, he has the ability inside him all along. Or is this more about being power-hungry for that taste of blood, that once getting hooked you can't stop? Like those who are alcoholics and start to recover, you know you want to but you resist until something pushes you over the edge, like in this episode with the effects of Famine's power. But that makes me wonder, with Sam's hunger for the power and his obvious rage, all these are things that Lucifer needs, and him seeking redemption how will he contain it all? It's just kind of confusing for me right now.
++ PARALLEL: In comparison with Buffy the Vampire Slayer this time, I couldn't help but think of how Dean and Sam are just like Buffy and Willow in S6; Willow with her dark magic addictions and Buffy just going through the motions of life after being brought back. Interesting, really.
++ I didn't like Famine comparing Castiel to a dog, obviously, because it said it in the nastiest, degrading way possible (and where Castiel is kneeling on the floor, all fours, eating ground meat from the bin, oh God such a horrible thing). However, in the sense of being absolutely faithful and loyal towards the Winchesters, Dean especially, that's where I see the dog comparison. Because let's face it, Castiel is sorta like a puppy. A lovable, adorable and sweet puppy, and gets all protective over the boys whenever danger lurks.
++ THE ENDING SCENE OH GOD. Whenever you need a good angst scene, always count on Jensen Ackles to give his best performances. From the single mantear to the mainpain, yeah. It's not Supernatural unless there's angst involved. Just seeing Dean plead and pray to whoever is listening, that just broke my heart. His face when he and Castiel were standing outside the panic room, and Castiel trying to reassure him (which was beautiful because Castiel doesn't normally do the reassuring thing, but he does it with Dean and I love that). But that ending, with him leaving to go outside. Just, God. WHY DIDN'T THEY HAVE CASTIEL GO OUT THERE TO COMFORT HIM, FOR GOODNESS SAKES?! HURT/COMFORT PPL. HURT/COMFORT, LET HIM HAVE A HUG FROM HIS ANGEL DAMMIT. :(((
++ BEN EDLUND, I FUCKING LOVE YOU TO PIECES. Write for more episodes, okay? You bring out the best of the show and the characters, particularly with loads more Dean/Castiel moments (and Castiel and the boys really, them together being awesome is great stuff). PLUS NEXT TIME HAVE SOME DEAN/CAS HUGGAGE, PLZ?! They both need it.
Overall: From a streak of some random episodes that weren't exactly on my radar of that interesting, we finally get back to the swing of things with these last two and "My Bloody Valentine" really got back to how the show should continue to be. It's not that I don't like the occasional monster-of-the-week episodes, but we shouldn't have them constantly in a season where the boys should be more focused on the larger issue, being the Apocalypse and Heaven and Hell and all of that. "My Bloody Valentine" was a combination of the hilarity with the gross factor, and tying in with the apocalyptic storyline while hitting those emotional points with the boys towards the end. This had the kind of formula of what "Changing Channels" was, only with more gore and bloody and grossness. And I loved it, a lot. Plus any episode with Castiel getting into antics with the boys is alright with me, especially if it contains more of the Dean/Castiel goodness because I've missed their epic chemistry. ♥
Frakking hiatus, oh well. We have time to think and analyze things over and get prepared for the last half of the season, hopefully with minimal interruption the next go around. It just seemed like we came back from the long winter hellatus, and now we're in yet another one. Ugh.
Hey, it still doesn't beat the seven month hiatus between the first half and the second half of the final season of BSG, let me tell you. Now that was a hellatus if anything.