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SPN 7.23 - Goo, flowers, trees, color



So we got to the end of Season 7.  Crowley.  Game, set, match.  The episode was written by the departing show runner Sera Gamble and directed by long-time SPN director Robert Singer.  I enjoyed watching the episode, was moved to tears by the goodbye to Bobby, and totally surprised by the ending.  The episode was a bit more low-key than some of the other finales but I think it brought the start to next season to a really interesting place if they can follow through with it.  A lot of the loose ends were tied up in a neat Crowley-shaped bow.  If Dick ended up back in Purgatory, I'm wondering if he's King (or CEO) there now.  The angels seem to be pretty much gone other than Cas and the two in the cage.  That really leaves Crowley with the most resources at his disposal so it's no wonder he swept the board.  For all that he's complained about wanting Sam and Dean dead, I think it suits his plans really well to have them alive and available for whatever use he thinks they'll be.  If they suffer torment because of it, all the better. Often it seems like the finale introduces the idea of what the big-bad will be for the next season.  I think in this case, it could be the fact that Sam and Dean have been separated and each given a really tough situation to work through.  We don't really have to have a specific creature as Public Enemy #1 if that's the premise of the season.

This episode was all about finishing off this year's baddie and I think that was done pretty satisfactorily with plenty of goo.  Many of the colors and themes that we've seen this year carried right on through this episode and were also tied up neatly at the end.  We started where we left off with Crowley trapped in Dick's office.  It's pretty safe to say that Crowley is a double-crossing double-crosser that double-crosses and I'm surprised that for all his smarts, Dick didn't get that.  Maybe it's because they were motivated by different things.  Crowley wants power and an expansion of his current business.  Dick wanted a really cooperative all-you-can-eat buffet dinner.  I'm pretty sure that this all could have gone differently if Dick had just kissed him.  Instead, we get the contract from Hell (ha).



The fact that Dick didn't read it before he signed it left a lot of room for fraud.  I'm willing to bet that if the miscellaneous section at the end were to be translated from Latin, there's a loophole in there big enough to drive an Impala through.  Always read the fine print or something like that.  



I think it makes a difference too that Crowley started out human and probably had that spark that Dick found so fascinating and difficult to copy.  For all that Leviathans were able to pass as human, they never quite got it all the way right.  Maybe it's the difference between being a native speaker of a language and someone who learns it later as a second language.  The pronunciation and grammar can be picked up fairly easily but learning accents or slang is a lot more difficult.  The Leviathans were able to get human memories and knowledge but still ran it through an alien brain.  It didn't help that Dick had an ego the size of Thingstiel.  I think that was the key to his undoing.  



If the deal had gone down and Dick had survived, how long would it be before Canada got an influx of immigrants who'd rather deal with the devil than be eaten.  What would an AU Canada run by demons be like?  I'm sure there's a fic in there somewhere.  The rest of the episode was spent by several people (using the term loosely) making sure that didn't happen.

They continued to show Louisa with Bobby in reflections.  Dick addresses us.

 

Bobby's looking at Dick who's looking at us.



When Louisa gets free for a couple of minutes, she's under a sign reading The Liberty.  I don't know why the angel light would be there.



When the camera shows the paper on the ground by Louisa, the road surface is made from more big rough rock.  There's quite a bit of it in the episode.



I like how the righteous man I thought they were looking for turned out to be a nun.  You go, girl.



Once the boys have the righteous bone, it's time to summon Crowley.  It's fitting that the matches are from the Rendezvous because shortly after that, the whole gang shows up.  Crowley's fashionably late.



When Dean went out to talk to Cas in the car, the camera began by showing us another group of mostly leafless trees.



Then they are reflected off the window in front of Cas.  It doesn't really give quite the same effect as splatter but it breaks up the image.



Calgon, take me away.



I know Cas may not be in the right shape to hear it but I think it did Dean a world of good to tell him to clean up his mess.  It's interesting that Sam is in the middle here as peacemaker, a family role traditionally Dean's.  It is an unfortunate place to position Cas in the shot unless you think antlers are appropriate for angels.



The games that Cas chose this time had lots of primary-colored circles.  I think the titles were significant too.  Twister.



Uno (Wild Tiles) and Mastermind.  It makes me think of Meg's comments from a few episodes ago about how Crowley is always the problem.



Once the boys have all the ingredients, they mix them up and there's a cool shot of Sam's hands with the blood looking like it's lit from within.



I didn't catch it last week but Kevin's notebook has the black goo splatter pattern we've been seeing.  The other thing added to the set is the lovely lamp behind Dean with the deer leg base.    



Then Cas shows up with the blue (literally) plate special, BLT's.  There are several discussions in the episode that skirt the issue of how humans treat other animals.  Cas talks about using monkeys to test cosmetics and our consumption of meat.  There are reminders of hunting for sport and food as well as fishing all over the cabin.  The Leviathan story line is a commentary on our food supply and how we manage it from start to finish.  Kevin says he's a vegan.  Susan refers to Kevin as a mouse out of his cage.



After having some time to think about it, I felt a little better about how they've written Cas's character.  He's a long way from the angel we first met in 4.01.



Just a nice shot of Cas now.



Cas is traveling with Meg.  After this episode, I'm guessing we'll see her in this body again but you never know.  We didn't see black smoke.  She's standing next to a stack of books, one of them titled Fleeced.



While we're at it, here are a couple of nice shots of Sam and Dean.





Meanwhile, things of Great Evil are going on back at Sucrocorp.  In this part of the episode, there are the typical colors and flowers that go with victims and peril.  Kevin is still there and Polly, the next victim, gets herded into the room with him.  She's stoned on corn syrup and the guy who locks her in with Kevin talks to her with typical commands used with dogs.  She's wearing pink with a flowered skirt chewing on a red Twizzler-like candy.



Lunch is delivered to Kevin with a red napkin.  I don't think I'd eat it either.



There have been quite a few globes used in the last few episodes.  This one also showed up in Party On, Garth.



They make Polly change her clothes and even though she ends up in gray, she still has a pink flower in her hair.



We get a closeup of all the flower pins in the bag.  Of all the color choices he could pick from, he picks a pink one.   It's OK Kevin, you're new.





Turns out Polly is going to attend a board meeting.  On their way to meet their cronies, Susan and Dick walk over a stone walk next to a rock wall.



They meet the rest of the bad guys with a backdrop of yellow and red flowers.



They go to the boardroom where there is another big globe.



There are a lot of photos hanging on walls that reflect in the glass.  Polly ends up by dessert with a big red strawberry and the slaughterhouse hanging over her head.



This one's got a smiling woman who is oblivious to the danger around her just like Polly.



We hear the plan for US domination.



That map is reflected in the black and white splatter art. The whole US is full of Leviathans.



It's time for Polly to come to the meeting.  When you look at her, she's what our media would probably find ideal as far as attractiveness goes.  She's a pretty, thin, blonde, white girl.  But the Leviathans aren't looking for a potential mate, they're looking for dinner.  Under those circumstances, Polly is the opposite of what is desirable.  When they make her take off her dress, I'm guessing they don't see her from a sexual point of view. It's more like an animal being judged at the state fair.  She doesn't make the cut so her genes are removed from the breeding program.  She's expendable like a hen that no longer lays eggs.



Looking at what they want, they aren't worried about cholesterol.  They've come up with a new drug to target genetics and kill based on that and they are putting it in the food supply. 



Meanwhile, the boys have found out that Dick has cloned himself.  They run into Bobby on what would be his suicide mission if he were actually alive.  Instead he's marching Louisa to her death and he tries to take Sam out in the process.  Like he did for Dean while he was demon-possessed, he manages to pull back and spare both Sam and Louisa.  When we get a look at him, he looks like he might have started to deteriorate a bit at the top of his t-shirt.



He's not so far gone that he doesn't realize how much danger he's creating and he decides that it's time to go.  I'm glad he got to make the choice.  It's bad enough Sam and Dean have to melt the flask.  Dean actually had to drop it in the fire.  I didn't cry when he died in 7.10 but this made me a weepy mess.  Maybe it seemed more final and there was more of a goodbye.



I'm glad they didn't make us watch Bobby go up in flames.  It was enough to watch the reflected light on the boys.  We got to see their reactions which packed a much greater emotional punch.



I felt bad for Sam in this episode long before we got to the end.  I thought he looked lost.



We had our long, sad goodbye and now we have our extremely short happy reunion with the most important object in the universe.  Before we get there, we're going to see this week's boat, out of water.  Why a boat and not an old truck?



We got a bit of a reconciliation between Dean and Cas and that seemed to be enough of a push for Cas to throw himself back in the game.  Where do they talk about feelings on this show?  By the Impala, which has some cool shadow patterns.



I like that they talked in a barn-like building very much like where they met at the beginning of 4.01.  The tone of this talk is a lot different from another finale discussion where Dean talks Cas around to helping him.  



Born To Be Wild.  There was a lot of discussion about who drove the car through the Sucrocorp sign.  It looks like two people are riding in it when it gets to the parking lot.



And on the lyrics "explode into space," Sucrocorp meets its match.  Although it's not black goo, we still got the look of an explosion when the car hit the sign and are left with a lot of debris after.







Then her window gets shot out.  Argh.  At least she's still drivable.



Security comes running out of doors that I think look like they have a face.



It appears that Sam, Dean and Cas have different jobs to do on this mission.  There was a snip of footage that made the preview film but not the show.  It had the boys going separate directions with the parting words "don't get killed".  It looks like Sam's job was to go find Kevin.  He appears in front of the only new art besides Sucrocorp promotional pictures and it's a big wave that looks like it's going to swamp him.





Crowley starts to reel in the players, starting with Meg.  She gets picked up by demons wearing the red and black version of the angel suit. 



Dean reached his objective.  This is his "I'm going to skewer you, capicse?" look.  People and critters seem to under estimate Dean.  Back when he confronted Dick outside Bobby's hospital, Dean told him, "We're coming for you, and not just to hurt you – to kill you. You understand me?"  He generally follows through on threats.



Dean is the dangerous one here with the red and yellow behind him.



I just don't get why nobody dives for cover when there is an impending explosion.  How come they aren't covered in goo when they land?



This scene is a nice way to wrap up the splatter theme.  The dangerous creamer is in the red lettered box.  Will it get out?  Pays to take your coffee black.



Then Crowley shows up to grab the prophet and strand Sam.  Do you see gloating?  I see gloating.





Then Sam is all alone.  The camera draws back to show how really alone Sam is.  



Really alone.



We cut from the bright white lab spattered with black to someplace very dark with just a little light.  And smack in the middle is a big dead tree.



Pan to Dean lying on the ground and he already looks alone.



I think Dick had dead tree art in his office because he was homesick.

.

Cas gives Dean the really bad news that he's the only flesh-n-blood thing there and he's surrounded by hungry creatures with a grudge.  Then Cas disappears.  Did he freak out and vanish or get eaten?  Doesn't matter, the result is the same.



Then Dean is all alone.  The camera draws back to show how really alone Dean is.  



Really alone.



He can't even yell "SAAAAAAAAMMMMMM" without drawing the wrong kind of attention.  

So Purgatory...Wikipedia says that Purgatory is the condition of purification or temporary punishment by which those who die in a state of grace are believed to be made ready for Heaven.  It seems to be largely a Catholic belief generally meaning a process but many believers would probably state that it's a place like Heaven or Hell.  It is believed that prayers offered for the dead can help them move through more quickly.  It is not intended to be a permanent stopping point.  In that case we should probably pray a novena for Dean.  But this is SPN with it's own version of theology and it seems like Purgatory is the final destination of monsters.  We know there are souls there because that is what Cas put back when he reopened the door.  Do monsters have souls?  Anyhow, if Purgatory is treated on SPN as a waystation for the Heaven bound, there is a huge list of characters from earlier seasons that could be there: John, Mary, Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Henrickson, Rufus.  Any monster who helped the boys or has a score to settle will also be there.  Just from this season alone, Dean's daughter and Amy Pond are probably there.  Which, you know, awkward.  Presumably Dick is back there and Dr. Visiak.  I hope they leave Dean there long enough to explore those possibilities, plus the fact that he's there without alcohol.  What is he going to eat?  Wendigo or werewolf?  Is he going to be stuck there if he eats the local food like a pomegranate or fairy food?  As far as I could tell, he had a machete.  He might have his car keys, which would be really bad for Sam, maybe matches and a gun, and the clothes he's wearing.  He might have an angel if Cas didn't get eaten.  He's also been a monster himself or nearly anyway with the vampire escapade and from when Eve bit him.  He's been marked by the fae.  I doubt that will figure into the story but it's fun to think about anyhow.  I wonder if he'll end up like 2014 Dean or someone entirely different.  I hope they don't have us lose another year because continuity is hard enough already.

Then there's Sam, who looked an awful lot like hallucinating-hell Sam at the end.  If he can get out of the building, he might have the car, Jodi Mills and Garth in his corner.  He's smart and good at problem solving.  If he can keep his head together, I figure he can work this out.  Seems like he's learned from the past about living without Dean.  This could be his shot at rescuing Dean.  I hope he has to go in after him and there is an epic reunion hug and then they have to fight their way out together.  It seems like the situation could either be the Odyssey with Dean as Odysseus and Sam as Penelope or Opheus and Eurydice with Sam as Orpheus.  Or maybe more like Saving Private Ryan.  I hope they don't waste the potential of the plot and I hope they let both the boys be heros.

On the whole, I enjoyed this season.  October seems so far away.

All caps from Home of the Nutty or true_fellings.


Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
etoile444
May. 23rd, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
Where to start? Fantastic meta!! Ok, so early on we actually have foreshadowing with Dean, Cas, and leafless trees by that car. Looks like purgatory. Do we have foreshadowing with Sam and blood?

I do hope that Carver carries this through. So much potential. But Crowley needs to die. They have the colt, the demon killing knife, spell work, memorized exorcisms that have been shown to stop demons in their tracks. Come on.

Another foreshadowed perhaps was Kevin choosing the demon color to pick the lock with. Wonder what they will do with him?
galwithglasses
May. 23rd, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
Poor Kevin, he's so in over his head. Crowley strikes me as being a strategic thinker. If he can't use Kevin to be a prophet for him, he'll use him as a bargaining chip for a deal. He's probably got his next moves figured out about 8 or 10 moves ahead. I think he counted on Sam being shaken up enough after Dean disappeared that he wouldn't even think to do anything to get Crowley. He was probably hoping Sam would get sucked in too. I like Mark Sheppard as Crowley and I have fun watching him. I'm guessing he'll be around for a while yet.
etoile444
May. 23rd, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
They can do so much with Crowley, because he is so incredibly secretive and ready to double cross. Oh yes, he is a planner!!! I love it!
zebra363
May. 24th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC)
It is an unfortunate place to position Cas in the shot unless you think antlers are appropriate for angels.

I hadn't noticed that!

There are several discussions in the episode that skirt the issue of how humans treat other animals.

I've enjoyed the commentary on that and on modern food production/eating habits.

You and ash48 are training me to be much more observant about sets. I noticed all sorts of things about House's apartment that wouldn't have registered with me previously!
galwithglasses
May. 24th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
There were the Cas antlers and in a couple of the caps, Sam is in front of the window with red markings and it makes him look like he has horns but that seemed much more accidental and brief. I figured he had enough trouble and I shouldn't pick on him so I left them out.

I really liked the food process commentary and the SPN look at corporate culture and how we pick our media heroes.

I've been enjoying watching your reaction to the House finale. I know nothing about the plot but your reviews have been fun. I was really oblivious to most extra detail until SPN season 6. It's changed how I look at everything. Loads of fun.
ash48
May. 24th, 2012 07:21 am (UTC)
Another absolutely brilliant post.

Some things that I didn't notice (same on me!) and loved! The painting behind Dick! How friggin' awesome that it's like Purgatory. This just shows us how observant the designers are. I love it. (reminds me of those paintings with bodies drawn in the earth).

Also love the recurring stone working, not only in this episode but throughout the season. All those stone wall motel rooms and of course the one in their cabin.

I really struggled with why they had the girl change. They wanted her in bland grey for the presentation. It seems more significant now after your food observations. She's not there to look attractive.

Yay pink and red and yellow. And and all that blue!

Also, the lights in Dick's office are curious - not shown here but I was looking at some other caps and they are almost like lights in an operating theatre. So bright and clinical. Like his whole office.

Just adoring all the details. Thanks so much for pointing it all out.

And I seriously hope we at least get a fews eps in Purgatory. The opportunities could be amazing.

xox


galwithglasses
May. 24th, 2012 03:31 pm (UTC)


That's a good observation about the operating room feel.  It's sterile and there isn't any warmth or softness.  It's all cool blues, grays, and blacks.  Really clinical.  Not colors we really associate with food either.  It's glass and very exposed, like being a bug in a jar or under a microscope.  They shot a lot of the scenes through glass walls and that just adds to it.  In a weird way, it's like they are manufacturing food in a clean room rather than growing or raising it.  Very removed from interacting with the food source unless they are going to consume it.  It also has a bit of a science fiction feel to it with lots of high tech materials because it's so smooth and shiny.  Sucrocorp could be a microchip manufacturer.  It's a good looking front with all the warmth and mess of humanity removed, kind of like Dick.  That's a common thread when people talk about corporations as cold heartless entities that consume resources and people.

You have no idea how hard it was to write that without putting Dick and softness in the same sentence. 
ash48
May. 25th, 2012 05:29 am (UTC)
Hee... the word "dick" and any other words seems to conjuring some innuendo. :)

I think them being very removed from the food source is such a lovely comment on the corporations today who view food as a money making venture (what can we do to food to make it last longer, look better etc.) and not something to sustain us in a wholesome way.

It's an aspect I've loved about the big bad this season.
maenad
May. 24th, 2012 09:04 am (UTC)
I love your observations on the set design. All those trees look so spooky in retrospect. Thank you. These are things I don't see easily, and I love it when people point them out.

It's pretty safe to say that Crowley is a double-crossing double-crosser that double-crosses and I'm surprised that for all his smarts, Dick didn't get that.

Didn't the contract finish with '... will forfeit all of Canada'? That gave me a moment's pause. So if Crowley betrays Dick and gets him killed ... he doesn't get Canada? Of course, that was probably an amendment to an amendment and there may well have been nastier penalties in there as well - but that was the concept they ended on. Not exactly watertight. That said, Dick was prepared for Crowley's betrayal and given what he did to the vampires probably had no intention of letting the demons keep Canada, so I suspect all that haggling was just for show - in case Crowley bought it.

I just don't get why nobody dives for cover when there is an impending explosion. How come they aren't covered in goo when they land?

I wonder if has to do with a change of state? Angels talk about having completely different forms on their own turf. Maybe leviathans aren't black goo when they're at home. Of course, Dick should be dead - but what does that mean when you're in the afterlife? Well. All that, or maybe they just didn't want our last view of Dean to be him trying to get bits of Dick out of his eyelashes. :)

But this is SPN with it's own version of theology and it seems like Purgatory is the final destination of monsters. We know there are souls there because that is what Cas put back when he reopened the door. Do monsters have souls?

They should, shouldn't they? Most of them are simply humans who've been transformed. Those few that aren't are presumably the descendants of humans who've been transformed. That was how Eve worked, generally.

That was something that struck me in There Will Be Blood - when Sam said they were 'monster cousins'. But a vampire would be a hell of a lot closer to a human than to a leviathan - they were human once, the leviathans never were. Not that that means humans and vampires should be friends, but they should be much better able to understand each other's minds than a leviathan could.

It seems like the situation could either be the Odyssey with Dean as Odysseus and Sam as Penelope or Opheus and Eurydice with Sam as Orpheus.

Hm. I spent most of the season-four finale yelling 'Don't eat the food!' at my TV screen. I may spend much of season eight yelling 'Don't look back!' Or possibly 'Don't tell people your name!' :)
galwithglasses
May. 24th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
Not that that means humans and vampires should be friends, but they should be much better able to understand each other's minds than a leviathan could.

Yeah, I really think it was Dick's inability to understand humans from a human perspective that was his downfall. In some ways the angels were similar but they had had thousands of years watching humans and even then, they didn't really get it. The Leviathans got their first look at humanity not through the eyes of a human, but through an angel on a power trip. They obviously picked up a lot while they were organizing but they still missed something. It's cheesy but I bet that they don't understand love. There are lots of words used to express the idea of love but I'm not sure what it would be here. I don't mean romantic love, I mean the self-sacrificing for a stranger kind. I think to even pull the devious kinds tricks Crowley did, he had to know what that kind of love is capable of in order to circumvent it. I think the Alpha Vamp gets that too. You need to know your opponents' motivations, not just how they taste with BBQ sauce. Underestimate them at your peril.
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