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SPN 9.12 - more flowers

I'm writing this a couple of weeks past this episode and fandom has taken sides between Sam and Dean with an animosity that has surprised me.  All I can put here is my own reaction up to the point this episode aired and I'm not going to comment much on Sam and Dean except in terms of the Impala and the last scene.  I'm not taking sides and most of my comments have more to do with relationships and change in general.  I'm struggling with the overall story arc and with a lot of the writing of individual episodes and I seem to have that in common with part of my flist.

Adam Glass wrote this episode and it seems like he gets most of the Garth stories.  I'm not really sure where this episode fits in with SPN werewolf canon or Norse mythology but Garth lives to hunt another day so all's well for now.  This was the twelfth SPN episode directed by John Showalter.  As far as the filming goes, there were a couple of shots I liked and there were a lot of flowers again in this episode.  In an early meta probably from S4 that I can't find, somebody had a good discussion about flowers showing up when things weren't as they seemed to be.  They've also been warnings of danger.  The first place they really show up is on Garth's gown at the hospital.  We probably should have known something was up.



The next bunch are at the in-laws.



Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family probably showed up in a SPN episode.  We probably shouldn't be too surprised that Bess's mother is dead and that the step-mother turns out to be the bad guy.  How very SPN.



Bess wears that mustardy color that a lot of the female victims have been wearing this season.



More flowers.







Watch out.





There are even flowers outside the sheriff's department.



At the end of the episode, the flowers aren't as noticeable at the house.  Bess and her dad end up wearing colors worn often by allies of Sam and Dean.



We're left with the flowers that are on the table.



There was a bit of art to notice.  Every now and then, some art sneaks in that looks like it belongs in the Pacific Northwest.



This photo looks like it could be from the region where the episode is supposed to take place though.



Then there is this clock that looks like it belongs in a yard sale.  The place where Garth was living was reminiscent of some of the motel rooms the boys have stayed in.  There's a noticeable amount of red, yellow and green here, not usually a good sign.









More of that here plus an angel light that's out.  Sam's out too.



May the monologuing be ever in your favor.



The book and wall hanging at the church are very cross-cultural.  The Norrøn Mytologi makes me smile because I doubt any religion refers to it's holy book as mythology.  Maybe it's just a revered reference source left in a place of honor.  In the banner, there's the obligatory reference to pack hierarchy with the alpha and omega plus the old norse latin - blessed are all who dwell in peace.  Is the whole town aware of the werewolves and just ignoring them or providing cover for them?  How can they not be aware of them?  If the church is open to anyone, people would have to think something was a little different and if the church is by invitation only, people would probably get suspicious of that too.  Why are the weres going after local livestock?  Not really keeping a low profile plus it's a limited resource.  Grantsburg, Wisconsin is on the edge of Crex Meadows, a 30,000 acre wildlife area so you'd figure there'd be plenty to hunt there.  Grantsburg is right across a river from Minnesota so they'd probably find fellow Norsefolk or at least Minnesota Vikings fans.  Is it ok if I figure the werewolves are probably Green Bay PACKer fans.  Groan. Sorry.




Here are a couple of caps I just really like.



Sometimes Dean's eyes are very green.



I love the look the smoker is giving Dean.  I have been related to too many people who sat smoking next to their oxygen tanks.



Sam's knife.  Turns out Cold Steel is a real knife-making company.



I like it any time they show the contents of the Impala's trunk.



Sam sometimes has good taste in cars.  He must have stolen it near the bunker.  It has a Kansas plate.



In light of where the show's been heading with the relationship between Sam and Dean, I thought this was an interesting way to film the guys.  There is no space.  Even though the story has them at great odds, the camera tells a different story.



There were a couple of things that happened at the end of the episode that really stuck out to me.  These are just a couple of observations.  Sam and Dean talked at the end of the episode but a lot of what they talked about should have been stated a lot more clearly.  Of course, if Sam and Dean ever really talked about their relationship clearly, the series would have ended after season 1.  I'm glad Sam spoke up and stated that the relationship is broken and that there has to be change.  The desired change needs to be articulated though.  I don't think Sam should tell Dean those are his terms without spelling them out.  They aren't on the same page so who knows how Dean will interpret those terms.  Maybe I spent too much time in couples counseling where we had to mirror or paraphrase back what the other person said so we both knew we were on the same page.  As the viewer, even I'm not sure exactly what Sam's terms are and with something as serious as this, I don't want to guess.  I'm not sure the writers and the viewers are on the same page about it either and that seems to be adding to the fandom conflagration.

The other bit that struck me at the end was that these guys continue to tango the same crazy dance they have been doing for years.  Neither brother is doing a solo performance here.  For a myriad of reasons, these guys continue to dance with each other.  There are a lot of bad patterns they have perfected but the one that has caused the most trouble this season is that Dean oversteps and makes decisions for Sam and/or lies to him.  Sam gets mad and leaves but then comes back.  They continue on with business as usual and wash, rinse, repeat.  They made some progress at the end of S5 but that all unravelled pretty quickly in S6.  Now, Sam wants change.  In addition to actual communication, for there to be a change in a relationship, both parties need to agree that change is necessary.  That change needs to start with Sam's initial response to the problem action.  If the response isn't different, where is Dean's motivation to change?  If Dean's desire is to have Sam alive and hunting with him, he got what he wanted, even if it meant that Sam got hurt in the process.  Sam is alive and he got back in the hunt with Dean even if he's hurt and angry.  Meanwhile, Dean goes on a guilt-driven self-loathing bender resulting in more bad decisions.  The pattern continues.  This is where the tangled up relationship they have with each other is really glaring.  It's not about a one-sided need of one brother for the other although the way the problem is being framed might indicate that and I think the end of the episode illustrated that pretty well.

At the end of the episode, Sam and Dean have two vehicles.  It doesn't matter if one is stolen, it's still a means of transport and could be replaced with a legally acquired vehicle.  In the case of what I'm talking about here, it's an alternative to the Impala.  To me, what happens with the cars is a lot clearer picture of the state of the Winchester relationship than what the boys do or say.  It's an indication of how hard it is to make changes in a relationship even if you want them.  Patterns are hard to break and there is comfort in the familiar.  The Impala has an emotional resonance with each of the brothers and with viewers.  I look at the Impala and I see several things - it represents home to both boys as well as family history and legacy and it is as much a tool in a hunt as salt and silver.  It's also Dean's treasure and who is driving the car has significance in the boys' relationship beyond just sharing a task to be accomplished.  In that car, the passenger seat is Sam's seat and when he's in it, he goes where the car and the driver go.  In terms of ownership, it's not their car, it's Dean's car.  Even when Sam does drive, it's only a loan of the wheel.  When Sam says that he and Dean can have a hunting relationship but that the brother one is on hold until there is a change, he's basically claiming the role of Dean's co-worker.  In that case, as Dean's co-worker, there is no reason Sam couldn't have his own car and drive himself to the next hunt they do.  With the MoL legacy the boys inherited, money isn't a concern like it used to be.  And yet, Sam went back to the Impala, to the seat that is traditionally his, to be driven to the next case or back to the bunker.  I'm not saying this is a good or bad thing but I think asking why is a valid question.  It could be that their relationship isn't as badly damaged as I think it should be and they have a shot at rebuilding it.  It could also be that Sam is going to find that making the changes that he wants will be as challenging for himself as they will be for Dean and that Dean won't be the only one making changes if the relationship has a shot at being a healthy one for both brothers in the end.



That brings me back to the dancing analogy from earlier.  In this case, the idea that it takes two to tango is pretty accurate.  But in a sense, right now Sam and Dean are dancing to two different tunes and have been for a while now.  That usually ends up being pretty rough with injuries possible.  We've seen this already.  We should probably be prepared for it to get worse before it gets better.  In real life, it's fine for one dancer to walk off the floor at any point for any or no reason, particularly if safety and health are issues.  Working the problems out doesn't always have a happily-ever-after result but hopefully the dancers can get through it and end up healthy in the end.  There's a reason why they are still dancing and hopefully there is enough good in there to help carry them through to something better.  I'm hoping that Sam and Dean can manage this without inflicting a lot more damage on each other.  I hope fans can get through this without inflicting a lot more damage on each other.  It could be that in the hands of the current writing team, none of this will make it to the screen and the patterns will continue until the next catastrophe diverts everyone's attention.   Who cares how the dancers are doing together if the dance hall is burning down?  How very SPN.

All caps from homeofthenutty

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
caranfindel
Feb. 19th, 2014 08:37 pm (UTC)
Hmm... Sam puts Dean right back in the driver's seat, literally and figuratively!
galwithglasses
Feb. 20th, 2014 01:27 am (UTC)
That car is just so loaded with meaning.

Keep forgetting to mention I love your icon.
caranfindel
Feb. 20th, 2014 11:30 am (UTC)
Thank you; it was created by lightthesparks. (Suddenly worries she's breaking a rule by using it)
galwithglasses
Feb. 21st, 2014 12:45 am (UTC)
Lightthesparks lets folks use icons as long as they are credited and you can do that in your userpics so no worries. Excellent choice.
caranfindel
Feb. 21st, 2014 09:52 am (UTC)
Thank you; I had given credit in my user profile but didn't think to do it on the pic itself. Done now. :-)

Edited at 2014-02-21 01:53 pm (UTC)
runedgirl
Feb. 20th, 2014 12:43 am (UTC)
Two to tango indeed. I love your observations :)
galwithglasses
Feb. 20th, 2014 01:29 am (UTC)
Conjures up quite the image, doesn't it? Thanks for reading.
ash48
Feb. 20th, 2014 08:10 am (UTC)
Awesome observations and I love the analysis of the final scene. It highlights that they both need to change in order to instigate and real and lasting change between them. I know fans don't seem to want change, but I'm ready to see a healthier relationship between them. I think we are in for a torrid time ahead and I agree that the question will be whether fans can survive the fall out more than Sam and Dean.

Thanks! Great to see your posts again. And wow - I had no idea there were so many flowers in that ep.

xx
galwithglasses
Feb. 21st, 2014 12:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm a lot more worried for the fans than Sam 'n Dean at this point. I just keep hoping the writing team can pull off whatever it is they are trying to do. I miss when this show had the occasional light moment. Counteragent had a poll about S7 and I can't believe how nostalgic it made me feel for good ol' Dick Roman and Frank. That's the season where they killed off just about anyone left and took away the car for half the year and I still thought of it fondly. Maybe it was the unicorns.....
ash48
Feb. 23rd, 2014 08:08 am (UTC)
I really loved Dick Roman. And Frank. I know S7 isn't regarded very highly by some but I enjoyed it a lot. And I think S6 and S7 were seasons when the brothers were on their most even footing.

I'm just tweaking the motel post. I'll send a link when it's done. Thanks so much! <3
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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