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SPN 8.19 - Street art

We're heading into the final stretch for the season and we had another late season episode that covered a multitude of story lines and characters.  This post is pretty much about the look of the episode.  There have been a lot of comments about the content of the episode that tackle the plot better than I can, particularly this one by maenad.  This ep was written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner and is their fourth episode this season along with Heartache, Slice of Kevin, and Man's Best Friend.

The episode was directed by Guy Bee, whose work I tend to like.  This is the episode they were filming when they made the Harlem Shake video.  Guy commented on Winchester Radio that they included iconic things like the Impala (and Jensen and Jared Sam and Dean).  They filmed it in the largest devil's trap they've done for a scene.  Guy also mentioned that there were a couple of things added to episode scenes during production that were suggested by Jensen and Guy - the comment about hot chick demons (Jensen) and the pie (Guy).  He talked about some of the sets and I'll add some of his info as I get to the caps.  The thing I liked best about the sets in this episode was the mural in the alley with the door to Purgatory.

Guy didn't mention it but one of the directors for an earlier episode said that the space for filming on the boat is very small.  I liked that Guy managed an overhead shot to show how confined Kevin was.  It looks like things are closing in on him.

Osric plays a kid on the edge pretty well.

Then the Winchesters arrive and are met by Kevin and his fry pan.  What good is that against demons?  Maybe it has a devil's trap in it.

One of the things about looking at caps is that they can be taken out of context and you can catch fleeting expressions.  Sam doesn't appear to be too impressed with Kevin's defensive tactics.

Who knows what Dean is looking at but he does a pretty good Betty Boop.

Here's Sam looking a bit more serious.

And here.

I like how they frame the demon with the boys.  He looks trapped by more than marks on the ground.

Great crane shot of the crossroads.

I like how it transitions from the devil's trap underfoot to the one overhead.  If it was really this easy to get a demon to crack and tell how to get into Hell, don't you think Sam would have squeezed it out of a demon back in Season 4?  He squeezed info out of Alastair with less motivation.

It's fun to see the Watchman set again, this time done as a seedy part of town with strip joints and bail bonds.  Guy said it was rainy and cold every time they shot at this set.  It makes for cool reflections.  Later when there is a closeup of the reaper talking to the boys, you can see the steam from breath.  The front cab is from Red Check Cab.

A cross behind the guys as well as a pregnant woman and a guy hitting the bottle pretty hard.

Spend your evening at Sally's Bar and then go get saved after last call.

The psychic sign appropriately stays behind Sam while he's talking with the reaper.  It also picked up the reflection of the white neon cross from the mission across the street.  The wiki says that the bumper sticker says "How's my driving? Call 1-555-GO2-HELL".

Dean gets the red adult movies sign.

Is the cab driver the SPN version of the ferryman who takes souls across the river Styx?  Sam and Dean argue about who will go.  For once it works out ok for them even though they split up.

Sam and the reaper go down a dark alley surrounded by great graffiti.  Guy said that one artist did the whole thing.  They were looking for skulls and pretty much everything off every heavy metal album ever made.  There's also a homage to Banksy, a well-known street artist who's been around since the early 90's.  Here's my favorite of his images.

I think the woman on the wall behind the demon is the piece that's supposed to be the tribute.  I'm not sure what she's doing.  The demon is surrounded by red light and there's a disembodied head wig stand in the window as well as a leg.

Skulls, teeth and tentacles.

When Sam is hanging on to the reaper waiting for the door to open, this is what's on the wall next to him.

I love the door.

This was my favorite special effect in the episode.

With nothing better to do, Dean goes back to check on Kevin.  He brings him food from Biggerson's and the black checked food containers show up again.

Kevin comes out next to the caution vest on the wall.


With all the checks this season, I expected this to be a checker cab too but the cab company for this taxi is KC's Sunshine Cab Company claiming "No Destination Too Far."  Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Sam finds out he's in Purgatory where there is a convenient door to Hell.  Crowley and Cas couldn't have used this in Season 6?  Maybe Purgatory had to be opened another way to harness the souls' energy.

Looking good there, Sam.  Another week or two and he'd be grubby enough to look like a Purgatory native.

Then he gets sucked through a rock door which he left open.  I wonder if any other Purgatory residents also decided to go to Hell.  In addition to the fact that the episode didn't mention that either of the guys had been to Hell and what it meant to go back, this is the most cliched version of Hell possible besides a literal burning pit.  It's the equivalent of the fluffy white cloud, cherub-infested version of Heaven. I'm going to figure this is so far less than what happened to Sam in the cage that he's just going for a stroll and doesn't even notice.

I did like his mirrored image with the face on the wall.

We don't really get any idea how long Sam wanders around looking for Bobby but it doesn't seem too long.

This chick was the eeriest thing here.  Was she expecting Sam to come as the Boy King or Lucifer?

I didn't have any idea Bobby was going to be in this episode.  I really miss him.  For as long as he's been in Hell, he seems surprisingly undamaged.

He's still got the red Hell light while Sam has the more white while they're on their way out.

A brief look at Crowley dressing down an employee who could pass for an angel.  He's got a little bit of home blazing away in the fireplace.  Looks like they got snow, wherever he is.  Probably not Hell unless it's freezing over.

Dean puts the fry pan to it's intended use.

Then he gets a visit from Naomi.  I like how he gave her a wide berth.  The whole interaction between these two was done really well.

Then this face knowing Sam had to pass through Purgatory.

And this face knowing he's asking for Benny's life.

I'm glad they didn't have Benny go off the wagon.  They let him go out with honor.  He still has his bag of AB with him in the truck.

Bobby looks grimy enough for Purgatory already.

This was another really well done scene and we got to see more of the mural.  Shopping cart.

Fire and feathers.

Lots of fangs and a wheel?

I think in the past it's been Benny sticking his hand out.  This time it was Dean.

Awesome face looking out the door with the horns and more little fanged faces.

And a bit of light in the corner.  Maybe a halo?  And a wing?

These two shots after Dean drives away were some of the best.  There's the adult movie sign reflected on the sidewalk.

Then this foot splashes down into it.

Evidently you continue to wear what you died in when you get wherever you're going.  Note to self, don't die in the shower.

Here's a big act of trust on Sam's part.

Straight off the cover of some romance novel.

I think I wrote in an earlier entry about how Sam and Dean would work out their stuff and we'd get another hug.  Close enough.

Sam delivers the bad news about Benny.  It's another friend Dean has lost to the war.  Way to feed Dean's abandonment issues.

I liked the effect they used for Bobby's soul and the way the boys watched it go up.

The dark demon smoke tangled with it was cool too.

So is Naomi just an angel or something else?  Why doesn't she just smite Crowley?  For that matter, why doesn't Crowley just kill Sam and Dean?

Thanks to bertee, I will never be able to look at this and not think of a patronus.

Only the penitent man shall pass.

Then Crowley goes for Kevin and shows up under the red light.  Did Naomi tip him off?

Ominous full moon.

I enjoyed the episode while I was watching it but afterward, was pretty dismayed by what they did to canon and what a disappointment Hell was.  Throughout all eight seasons, we've had various villains but looming in the background, bigger than the Big Bads, was Hell and it's impact on the boys' mental health.  I read maraceles thoughts about Hell and they helped a little but overall the episode just smacked of a lack of creativity.  If Heaven is a road trip through your best memories, shouldn't Hell at least be related to your worst memories and the path something you have to figure out?  It's just crying out for comment fiction about what Sam's journey could have been like.

Caps from homeofthenutty, another LJ source I'll credit as soon as I can find the username and me.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2013 04:49 pm (UTC)
that was some lovely graffiti!
Apr. 13th, 2013 01:15 am (UTC)
I loved all the color. Often SPN scenes are so dark so it's nice to have some contrast.
Apr. 13th, 2013 01:17 am (UTC)
Loved seeing that amazing art, and some of those caps are really cool. But urgh, this episode...
Apr. 13th, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
/o\ Urgh about sums it up.
Apr. 13th, 2013 01:57 am (UTC)
The graffiti is perfect and I was hoping you'd do a cap by cap look at it. I can't believe there are tentacles in there. The surely must troll our journals!! The fang faces are so cute! Some great work. I'm glad Guy directed this. I think we got more than we would have done out of that script if it had been someone else.

The FX are certainly shinier these days.

thanks for that. I like taking a closer, visual look at the eps. :)
Apr. 13th, 2013 05:25 am (UTC)
I think we're lucky too that it was Guy. There were plenty of hugs which helped and some pretty good one on one scenes that worked largely because the actors are talented and have a really good connection with the depths of the characters they play.

I thought of you with the hotel sign with the crown on it from the Watchman set. That's a reuse, isn't it? The other thing I wondered is if they had this graffiti artist also do the walls where Sam went to find the dealer when Lucifer wouldn't let him sleep. The part of the mural that has a point with the halo around it has a real familiar feel to it. I love the little fang faces on this one.
Apr. 13th, 2013 09:45 am (UTC)
That crown does look familiar. The Watchman set was used in The End wasn't it? I'll check out where that crown might have been seen before.

Re that graffiti - I will PM you about that. I have some more info...;)

Apr. 14th, 2013 08:46 pm (UTC)
The crown was at least in "The End" (5x04) and also in "Tall Tales" (2x15). Quite possibly elsewhere as well. (In 2x15 there was a text "Kings Lair" at the bottom and that part of the sign was seen in 4x01.)
Apr. 15th, 2013 07:22 pm (UTC)
I think the crown showed up in season 7 too. I'll have to look back and see where. I didn't realize it had been used so much.
Apr. 14th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
this is awesome! I'm really glad you did caps of this ep with the graffitti :D And I didn't notice the neon signs as much when I watched, but you caught some really cool shots of those too.

re: the hell chick who was happy to see Sam - Was she expecting Sam to come as the Boy King or Lucifer?
MAN, wow! I wanted to think Boy King but I assumed she just mistook him for someone. But BOY KING. Lucifer would have been great too! Then, I wondered if she was a character we'd seen before who died, but that would have been too obscure probably. I saw someone online joke about her mistaking Sam for Jesus, which seemed like a joke about Sam's hair, but what if she really mistook him for Jesus?? Swan Song has just cemented my love for Sam's Christ figure role.

Anyway, I can't decide if I wish the script had clarified what she meant, or if I'm happiest just trying to think of all the possibilities!
Apr. 15th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
There have been crosses all over the place as well as what seems to me to be a lot of Jesus references in set backgrounds. It will be interesting to look back when the season is done and see how they tie in with the overall arc. I thought that creepy chick was interesting in that she appeared crazy but otherwise had a relatively undamaged physical appearance. And big puffy sleeves.
Apr. 16th, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
Puffy sleeves! Maybe no answers to our questions about her, but considering that the final episode is "Sacrifice" (I think?) and Sam is in a quest/martyr role with his trials, I do have hope for these Jesus references coming to something interesting! :) SPN finales always pack a punch.
Apr. 14th, 2013 08:40 pm (UTC)
That high-angle shot of Kevin's room in the first cap reminds me of Bobby's panic room.

And the Watchmen set was full of familiar things. The neon sign for Sally's bar is the same one as for the Honeywagon in 4x14. The psychic+the palm neon sign was in Miss Thibideaux's window in 7x07. I love it when Shoe recycles. :)

Ooh, did you notice the sigils in the door of Kevin's room? Some of them were painted in prophet-blue (from 8x07).

Dean puts the fry pan to it's intended use.

I've always known that bacon and eggs are evil. That's a textbook case of red+yellow. *nodnodnod*
Apr. 15th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
Breakfast of Doom...

I didn't think about the color on the sigils. I'll have to go back and look. Kevin had that sky blue thing going for him for a while but not so much lately. I think it's interesting how the demons and angels are starting to dress more and more alike. The blue angel suits seem to have been replaced by grays and blacks. I wonder how it will all come together. Just a few more episodes now....
Apr. 26th, 2013 02:02 am (UTC)
Just watched this.

If it was really this easy to get a demon to crack and tell how to get into Hell, don't you think Sam would have squeezed it out of a demon back in Season 4?

That bothered me a LOT. They made it seem like it was a walk in the park for Sam to get Bobby out of hell lol, and it took, how long - 3 whole months? - for him to fail in getting Dean out back in S4.

Someone told me that Jensen had a moment with Ty in this episode and apparently Jensen talked about it in an interview? So I was looking forward to that particular Moment and I wasn't disappointed. That Dean-Benny final scene broke my heart.

I like the effect on Bobby's soul going to heaven, too. Heheh, patronus! :)) I wish Dean could see him though, the way he saw John in AHBL 2. The look they exchanged, John nodding his approval, I could never ever forget that.

One thing I don't quite understand is why Dean had to hack off Benny's head for him to enter purgatory. Was it because they didn't have the Ferryman to open the gate of purgatory for them so Benny had to die first?

Apr. 26th, 2013 04:20 am (UTC)
Dean hacked off Benny's head because a dead vampire goes to Purgatory. The reaper wasn't around to open a portal for Dean to go in, and dead, Dean was likely to end up someplace else other than Purgatory. Dean was hoping Benny would help Sam and travel through the human portal in Sam's arm and they could bring him back to life again. Then Benny would be the un-dead undead...my brain hurts.
Oct. 25th, 2013 05:27 pm (UTC)
I realize this is like 10 years later, but still..
About squeezing information out of demons about a way to Hell back when Dean was serving time there, you know that was back when everything was running like clockwork within the grand plan, there were no rogue ferrymen/reapers/whatever, no easy roundabout ways to get things past Hell & Heaven's plans, that is until Sam & Dean did exactly that, & now we have a brave new world where almost anything goes, even changing the past & the future through time travel..
As for the nature of Hell in SPN, Show has already referenced Dante more than once, so it's safe to assume that there's more to Hell than one simple definition...
Oct. 25th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
After watching what's going on now, it makes me wonder when the reapers decided to go rogue and why Death doesn't rein them in. It would be a nice nod to what's gone on before to tie it to the failed apocalypse or the cracking of purgatory. I suppose if Sam and Dean can have free will, reapers can too.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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