I spent quite a bit of this season pouring over caps to see what the set designers and lighting crew had done to tie the episodes in the season together and to find anything that might add depth to an episode. I started to write up recaps with lots of caps around 7.05. As the season went on, there were several things that I started to look for. Some of these things carried over from previous seasons and some seem to be unique to Season 7.
-Flowers in scenes where danger was imminent
-Red and yellow tones as warning colors and then when green was added in
-Mountains, water, globes and dead trees in art and motel themes
-Brick and large rock
-Art and settings that imitated the black goo splatter effect from the title card
-Pink in victim or witness clothing
-Blue plaid indicating a neutral or helpful character
As the season went on, some things were noticeable more quickly than others. The dead trees and goo splatter didn't really jump out at me until very near the end of the season. I wanted to go back to the beginning few episodes and see if those things were there early in the season. Below are some of these themes and colors from 7.01 Meet the New Boss. Sera Gamble, the show runner, wrote this episode. The episode was directed by Phil Sgriccia who has directed many episodes for SPN going way back. He directed a couple of other episodes this season also, Time After Time and Party On, Garth. Phil tends to have shots in his episodes taken from interesting angles, many of them using a camera from above. The first group of caps below show overhead shots. The first one also ties in well with the black splatter effect with Cas amidst the bodies of angels he has just killed.
There are flowers and it's Cas who is in danger of exploding, as the blind man will point out.
This shot makes Cas seem bigger than the preacher and the congregation even though the preacher is a step above the level Cas is standing on. There are flowers here too.
Some shots are eyecatching because the camera is placed at an unusual angle. It isn't until the camera turns Dean's world upside down that you realize he's on his back pushing the roof into place with his feet.
A view of Cas from the Purgatory side of the hole forming.
Dean retrieving the blood that Sam was supposed to get.
Watching Sam from Dean's "I give up on Cas and am just going to sit here" position including Dean's boots on the desk.
The next few caps are flowers and pink being worn by potential victims. There are quite a few flowers in the shots of the preacher that Cas smites.
Purple, pink and flowers on clothing.
Flowers on the windows. Here you can see how Cas is a step below the preacher.
Flowers and pink.
Again the flowers for Cas.
Pink on a worker in the campaign office wiped out by Cas.
On the right there's a box with a rose on it. This is where Sam has a hell flashback complete with meat hooks.
Breaking in to bind Death there are flowers on vases....
and on the urn, one of the few things to catch light in this shot along with the knight standing guard.
Red flowers outside the windows.
Ship picture also used in the Rabbi's office in 7.04.
7.04 picture and the globe on the Rabbi's desk from the caps above.
Death backlit by red.
I liked the effect used to show that Death was bound.
Red and orange on the campaign office walls. The picture could be abstract trees. It's hard to tell.
When we go to see Crowley, we're treated to an ugly RV and the perfect "smite this" attitude.
The chair has the streaky pattern of some of the goo splat art from later in the season. It looks good with all the symbols on the walls.
Crowley's dishes are red and yellow under a light with the same hues. His trailer features the same brown-tone plaid that Frank's will when we meet him later in the season.
Many of the season's scenes were shot against brick walls or walls made of huge pieces of rock. The rock really shows up a lot in motel rooms in the later part of the season. Here's the rock on the house where they go to steal the fulgurite, basically lightning captured in stone.
Rough brickwork at the building where they open Purgatory. Cool shot of the approaching eclipse.
Lucifer reappears in front of a brick wall.
Bobby in front of another brick wall.
Even the voter maps at the campaign office have a stacked stone or brick look to them.
One of the things I liked about this episode was that they showed the passage of time. Sometimes it seems like Dean rebuilds the Impala from the wheels up overnight. This time, we got to see all the different stages from pushing out dented metal through repainting her. We saw the process shot in the day and night. Dean went through several pretty noticeable clothing changes. At the beginning of the episode Dean basically tells Bobby that he doesn't know what to do with Cas on his righteous rampage so he's going to do what he knows how to do. He's going to fix his car and when the time comes, he's going to put Sam back together again too. Dean's narrowed his world down to home (the Impala) and family (Sam). Bobby's included in the process conveying where he fits into Dean's world. Cas, who used to be like family, is only included by way of news reports, just another problem to be tracked.
To emphasize Dean turning toward family, he ends up wearing some significant clothes along the way. When we first see him, he's wearing an Eye of the Tiger shirt probably poking fun at Jensen's leg air guitar performance. The song was done by the band Survivor and I'm sure you could read something into that or the song lyrics.
Then we get coveralls, not real significant, but looking good.
Then lens flare and the Red Plaid Shirt of Angst. Pretty much everything about this shirt screams (sobs) home and Sam.
Now night and an overshirt and a t-shirt. Fixing a car is hard work.
Turns out Sam is up and about and helping. The t-shirt Dean has on is the same one that he wore to work on his truck with Ben while he was at Lisa's. They were family too in Sam's absence.
Repainting in coveralls and having another conversation with Bobby about the state of Sam's cantelope (or whatever word we're using these days). The shirt under the coveralls is the little brother of Red Plaid. It's the shirt Dean had on over his I Wuv Hugs t-shirt at home with Mary in Dark Side of the Moon. Lots of family angsting going on there too.
We'll take a brief detour to note that Bobby's shirt has a mountain on it. There aren't too many other mountains in this episode.
Then we're off to summon Crowley. Looks like Dean's taking point for the time being.
We got a rare look at the outside of Bobby's poor doomed house. In this episode and the next, we get quite a few shots of the house, both inside and out, some from angles we don't usually see.
Crowley comes through at this point.
A nice shot of both boys in the same frame along with Dean's ever-present alcohol.
From there, Death is summoned, has a pissing contest with Cas, eats junk food, sets up another eclipse and leaves. This episode had a bunch of my favorite guest characters, Bobby, Cas, Death, Crowley and Lucifer. These guests are not all favorites of Sam's. However, Jared and Mark Pellegrino bring out really good acting from each other when they have scenes together. Here's Sam in front of another brick wall.
I liked how Sam's character developed this season. It says a lot about what he's learned about redemption and forgiveness that he was able to call Cas and then comfort him when he needed the help, in spite of all that Cas has done. He's a good guy, that Sam.
The episode ends with the end of Cas as we know him and the new boss from the title shows up. There is a lot of blood splatter and creeping black lines of goo in this part of the episode, pretty much setting the tone for where the season will go. The season ends like this also. Bobby gone or incapacitated, Cas not himself, Dean alone facing monsters from Purgatory, Sam alone with the horror in his head.
Caps from Home of the Nutty.