Awesome! Oh, sorry, that was last week's word. This week's is vampirates and I am a happy gal. Ben Edlund was back in good form writing this week's episode. He had good dialog, a plot that moved the story forward and was plain entertaining. Guy Bee directed this episode and he's one of my favorite SPN directors. There were a couple of things that I really loved. Right at the top were the Purgatory Leviathans landing like black goo artillary (cannon) fire and resolving into a human shape.
The Purgatory fight scenes and Benny taking down Sorento at the mansion were stellar bits of action. I liked the dialog. Characters said thought-provoking things and Sam and Dean bickered like an old, married couple. I'm liking Benny and thinking the Amelia plotline has somewhere to go. I really liked Sam talking with Everett. BAMF Cas is way more appealing to me than crazy Cas. All in all, I'd have been happy with all of that but they gave me DEAN ON A BOAT! And pirates.
To go with the shipping, pirating theme, there were a lot of ships and water in art at the mansion. I was glad to see that we are back to more colors than red, green, and blue. There was a lot of yellow added back in as well as salmon and brown. The were a lot of grids and plaids in backgrounds as well as leaves on walls and floors. Even though I don't think flowers are so much associated with danger this season, I can't stop seeing them. There were literal caution and warning signs all over the place and Benny grasped or shook hands with everyone he didn't kiss or kill.
The exploration of what it means to be blood brothers was nicely done. Wiki says blood brother can refer to one of two things: two males related by birth, or two or more men not related by birth who have sworn loyalty to each other. This is usually done in a ceremony, known as a blood oath, where the blood of each man is mingled together. The process usually provides a participant with a heightened symbolic sense of attachment with another participant. I'm guessing bleeding together in battle probably counts. There were three different sets of men tied by blood: Sam and Dean by birth, Dean and Benny (and Cas, too) by blood spilled in battle, and Benny and the men from his nest that shared the blood of their maker. The episode started with Benny on the dock looking for another member of his nest.
On the way into the scene, there are angel lights and Cas is back so that makes some sense. I like how they echo the lines in the ship windows and catwalk.
Quentin should have worn a different shirt. Turns out that he's wearing his house colors.
Meanwhile, the Bickersons are moving into room 208 at the Paradise Motel. Lots of people have commented on trouble in Paradise. Paradise is over there somewhere beyond Sam. Or at least away from the direction Dean is going to take. Maybe it's behind both of them at this point.
Where it appears to be is the passenger side of the Impala. I love this gorgeous shot.
The room is full of grids and crosses and the colors are pretty bright, especially compared to the motel where Sam finds Amelia. I know ash48 could probably tell you where the light and lamps are from. There's a lot of red and yellow and a really GREEN desk.
That lamp is from Shut Up, Dr. Phil. These guys are still arguing and keeping secrets a couple of years later.
I love the martini glass art. Sam's shirt fits right into the rest of the grids.
Even the floor. The green and red on that chair are extremely vibrant and Sam is sitting right on top of it.
The picture of the city above and this one were used together in the diner in Slash Fiction where Leviathan Sam and Dean shot the place up. That was the episode last season where the big secret was spilled too.
Sam was pretty mad at the end of that one too.
I like the leaf shadows and the stars on the shutters.
Sam, spying out the window. The red and yellow are really prominent. Usually a warning.
In case you missed the warning, it's here.
And it's not just for Dean.
It's a traaaapppp....
You could probably do a 30 page meta on the idea of being trapped as it relates to SPN. It's not just the trap for Benny and Dean, Sam and Dean have been set up by Kevin a couple of times now. They probably need to start paying better attention. I'm glad they aren't dropping the Kevin storyline. Kevin is going by Kevin Park now and that's pretty close to Kevin Parks, longtime first assistant director on SPN. He does the odd episodes according to the Super Wiki. Along those same lines, I wonder if Amelia's last name being Richardson is a shout out to Jensen's home town.
The subject of stalking came up more than once. Amelia accused of Sam of it when he was fixing her sink. Sam was trying to convince himself that he wasn't stalking Amelia through her credit card, he was just concerned. What's the difference between stalking and hunting? I think Sam is going to have a hard time letting anybody he cares about out of his sight or at least his ability to track.
Watching Sam over the last couple of episodes, it seems he's freaked out that he's going to lose Dean again. It's an understandable reaction cosidering everything he's been through. I don't think he was upset that Dean was taking a day off the Kevin hunt so much as afraid Dean wouldn't make it back. In the early seasons, Dean was the one that feared everybody leaving him. Now I think Sam has that fear. His anger at the end seemed like anger at Dean keeping him in the dark as well as the reaction you have with your kid when they wander off and you find them again, relief mixed with anger once the sheer terror has passed. It makes me think there was more to Sam's lost year than just Amelia. Sitting next to the phone waiting for Dean to check in as well as driving to get there 90 miles an hour aren't signs of a guy who would let his brother rot in Purgatory if he'd had any idea where to look.
We got a sense that Amelia has had some sort of loss and that she and Sam bonded over that. Neither of them seem to be at a very stable point. Amelia seems to be working through whatever it is similarly to Dean's method of coping if the number of alcohol bottles lying around her room are any indication. She must be able to work though because Sam thought she had done nice stitches. If this were fan fiction, she'd end up putting Sam or Dean back together after they tangled with something toothy. As it is, I wonder if she and Sam were equally helpful in getting each other pulled back together. Sam's not there anymore so I guess we'll find out how it went.
In addition to empty bottles and cans, Amelia is surrounded by plaid and green when she runs into Sam again. More grids. Her room is one of the places there are flowers - on the bedspread above and the pillow under her arm. They are also outside her room. There are ocean scenes in the pictures above the bed.
She's got a "no smoking" warning too.
If Sam hasn't come up with a name for the dog yet, he's still keeping it at an emotional distance. We get a feel for the passage of time. The day Sam fixed Amelia's sink, the dog still had a cast on. It's off now so Sam probably saw Amelia at one more vet visit in between then and now.
Grid on grid on grid.
The flowered green chair was in the kitchen of the werewolf house in Bitten. The picture has been used before but I can't remember where.
While Sam was fixing Amelia's sink, he said something that sums up so much about Sam and how he's felt about his life since the beginning of season 1.
SAM: A motel is not actually part of the town that it's in. It's not part of anywhere.
I liked how Jared delivered the line. The lonely cafe in the picture behind Sam just adds to the abandoned in nowhere feel. In spite of it all, Sam's made friends with Everett enough to care about him and his dad's situation. Maybe what Sam found in his year apart was the ability to connect with other people and become part of a community.
Throughout the part of the story where Sam is beginning to work at the motel, there are a lot of splashes of blue, green, yellow and red. They aren't quite as bold as the ones in the hotel where he was left behind by Dean. They're there in the fire extinguisher and warning sign on the ice machine and Sam's jeans.
These same colors are used in the scene where Dean goes to find Benny.
By the time Dean gets Benny pulled back together, it's evening. The day Dean said he'd be gone is up. At about the same time Sam is waiting for Dean (outside so he'll be able to see him coming back) contemplating the bug getting fried by the bug zapper, Dean's waiting for Benny in similar light. Just after Benny tells Dean that he has to kill his maker before he kills him, the scene cuts to the fly getting zapped.
He probably should have called Sam right then but I don't think he gets how freaked out Sam is that he'll lose him. Instead, they end up having an argument over the phone in a house full of vampires. Somewhere along the line, Dean shaved, probably with a straight razor while driving the car. How do the vampires who can hear a beating human heart not know that Dean's there? I like how both guys blend with the background during these scenes.
Sam, beyond freaked at this point, steals a classic car. Guy Bee is a muscle car enthusiast so it's probably something really cool. Do the guys steal classics because they are easier to hot wire? There's probably a lot less security built in and less electronics for sure. The car is a subtle YELLOW. Actually Sam probably would have stolen a Greyhound bus if that's all that was available.
Backtracking a bit, one of the things I like about Dean is his loyalty. If he counts you a friend (or a brother), he'll put himself on the line for you over and over. Of course he's going to go with Benny. These guys have the kind of brotherhood forged by soldiers fighting together.
Benny thanks Dean for helping him out with a handshake. That gesture gets repeated several times as the episode goes on.
Now that they've decided to go do this hunt together they need intel and Dean loots the dead pirate for cash.
Then they're off to storm the castle and Benny is sitting in Sam's seat. Wrong, wrong, wrong. He talks about how there was a woman. Of course there was and she's worth avenging and Dean's down with that. Let's go steal a boat.
My first fan crushes were Joe Namath, NASA, and Captain Hook in the musical version of Peter Pan. My Mom had the vinyl album from when she was young. I was probably three and a bunch of men yelling "yo ho" and singing was the height of cool. We had a Disney storybook with Captain Hook in his fancy hat and amazing red coat. I wanted to be that....until I got just a little older and realized that Captain Hook was the bad guy and flying was better than a red coat so I switched allegiances to Peter Pan. Fickle kid. Still, a pirate was my first Halloween costume. My folks also had the soundtrack to a movie filmed in Cinemagic, the 1950s version of IMAX, called Windjammer about a tall ship from Norway with a singing crew. No pirates but the ship on the fold out album cover was beautiful. I pretty much love everything about the ocean and ships, particularly naval warfare during the Age of Sail. So back to SPN. Red Sky at Morning was a disappointment to me. I'm waiting for them to have Dean fire a cannon but I'll take this awesome island arrival as a win until then.
The arched boards march right on up to the house. This was some pretty nice filming.
Looks like some wisteria, maybe? Flowers anyhow.
The arch is repeated in the fireplace.
And a bit in the hallway. This is a pretty small space for a lot of action. Heads will roll.
I like the composition of this shot with the curling swirled lines in the stairs, rail, harpsichord and chair arms. Evidently the Old Man treasures the harpsichord and he's got Andrea's picture right next to it.
When Andrea arrives, you can see the flowers in the railing and on the vases behind her.
There is an armillary sphere on the table like we've seen before in many different scenes usually when there is an alternate universe. The earth is at the center in the older ones and the rings mark the locations of the astronomically significant features. They could be used for telling time. In renaissance portraits, people would hold them as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. It's flanked by angels.
The harpsichord dropped out of use in the 1700s. The swirls on the front nicely echo the stairway.
Later, when you get a better look at that corner, you can see another angel. The carpet is covered with leaves.
When Benny gets to the Old Man's study, the wallpaper and carpet are covered in leaves too. Last year, there were a lot of dead trees in art and I wonder if leaves will be something this season. The stained glass window with the naval battle on it says de mortuis aut bene aut nihil, latin for about the dead, either well or nothing. Less literally, "speak well of the dead or not at all."
Benny comes in placed in front of green tree art.
Sorento charges out of a battle scene.
The Old Man looks like he's about 25 maybe. I kind of wish they would have cast this one a little differently. He came across as a spoiled brat rather than anyone to hold a group of supernatural creatures in thrall.
I like the empty hour glass on the desk. Keeping time on a sailing boat used to be necessary to establish the position of the ship. They generally kept 30 minutes and when they were turned the ship's bell was rung to let the sailors know the time and how far through their 4 hour watch they were. This dude is out of time. Eight bells for you, buddy.
After the Old Man is dead, Benny lays the bloody knife on his prized possession. Andrea should have seen that for the warning that it was as she was valued like the harpsichord.
There's another clock and Andrea's almost out of time. They have one of the other bits of dialog I really liked.
ANDREA: You think you're better than me now?
BENNY: No. I think we're all damned.
I wonder if Benny would have killed her himself if Dean hadn't got there. What do you do when you've taken your revenge? Where does Benny go from here? It doesn't seem like he knows and Dean doesn't seem to have a lot to offer as far as advice goes. Benny wanted to know why Dean brought him back instead of just dumping his soul in a ditch. Benny doesn't know Dean very well if he thought that would happen. Dean generally does what he says he's going to do, getting Cas through the eye of the needle notwithstanding. Many have found this out to their short-lived dismay.
I think this was cemented for Dean when Benny saved Cas and pulled him up after the Leviathan battle. I like this version of overly literal, fighter Cas. He finally asks the question I want to know the answer to.
CASTIEL: Well, I think we're clear for the moment. It does present a curious curl in the metaphysics, doesn't it? If you murder a monster in monster heaven, where does it go?
Here's Dean in the middle of another couple of strong personalities. He was in this position with Sam and John a lot.
Here's Benny offering his hand to another person.
Now they're going to head back to Dean's original blood brother. I wonder if they torched the mansion. I like this shot with the light on the water.
Busted and now here comes the reckoning.
Sam is pissed, probably rightly so. Lots of comments have been made about this picture, some over at ash48's journal. The comments are funny, too. It looks like horns of a bull or the devil, etc. I would add that of all things, it's a life preserver, and Sam is also backed up by a bunch of greenery. The background is pretty chaotic and I think he looks trapped here too.
Dean's in the middle again.
Benny offers another hand and Sam gets a surprise.
It reminded me of Sam meeting Cas and how Cas was reluctant to shake hands but then did anyhow, graciously. In a way, I think it was the tipping point for Cas in starting to understand humanity and ask questions. Sam was glad to meet whatever it was that got Dean out of Hell when he couldn't.
With Sam, now he's meeting the creature that spent a year with and helped Dean out of Purgatory while Sam didn't even know where Dean was. Sam's reaction to go for a weapon first says a lot about the lives of these guys. Then he waited for Dean's assurance before he stood down. Despite everything, he's still trusting Dean to be straight with him on this. I wish these guys would learn from past situations between them. Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. According to Ray Bradbury, "insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage." Oh well, clear the decks and run out the guns.