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SPN 10.01 - Cool shots

So Season 10, can you believe it?  The episode was written by show runner Jeremy Carver and directed by Robert Singer.  I didn't know what to expect but I was pretty nervous.  I'm not over some of the stuff that went on last season even with a hiatus.  I also can't watch torture scenes and I had seen enough spoilers to be really leery of this episode.  It turned out that there was a bit of that which I mostly skipped.  I was also afraid that drunk!demon!karaoke!Dean was going to hit my embarrassment squick but even that turned out to be ok.  I really admire Jensen's ability to sing entirely off-key when I know he can sing really well.  In the end, my reaction fell somewhere between thinking this gives the show somewhere to go with the story and beyond bored with the angels.  For a season opener, it was underwhelming but gives me some hope for the season.

We started with a pretty scary segment with Sam obviously on the ragged edge, trying to figure out where Dean is.  I know Carver said Sam was going to do something monstrous but if that was it, Carver can eat his hat.  I'm guessing there might be more to it than that.  I did think Sam looked at the bloody blade like it might make a good snack.

We got to the bunker and got a very cool shot of Sam looking into the abyss Dean's room.  He looks about 3 acres tall and so very thin.

We got a look at a note presumably left by Dean.  Looks like his handwriting.  Is this a badly punctuated request or a declarative sentence?

We got a cut-off comment about Sam's arm.  He got thrown around by ghost!Kevin taking vengence for S9.

Looks like Sam has been living off cereal and coffee.  He talks to Cas who is doing the unangelic - sleeping, coughing, dying.  He's too sick to go with Sam and probably too sick to heal Sam's shoulder.

Sam gets a lead in Wisconsin and heads off to check it out.  I really like these shots with Sam's red striped tie and the US flag.

He finds out that there is something demonic going on with Dean's body.  He goes off to the Gas n' Sip to interview the cashier who turned out to be awesome.

When did Sam find the time to get a haircut?  He looks more FBI-regulated now, I guess.

There, there, it's only hair and it will grow out.  Maybe Kevin stuck gum in it when he busted up Sam's shoulder.  Sam got a break by finding the dead guy's phone.  Did Crowley plant it there?  Anyway, smart!Sam uses it to unravel a big piece of what's going on.

We'll take a break from the orderly recap of the episode to make comments about all the cellphones.  First of all, Cas's phone cracks me up because if anything looks like stereotypical heaven, that would be it.

At the end, we see Dean answer his phone and he's got water.

Angry kidnapper man uses Sam's phone.

Drew Neely has a selfie.

He's been getting messages and calls from Chuck, Werner, Clyde, Walt (surely not of Walt and Roy fame).

He's also got emails from Chuck Z, Boss, Jesse, FreePills.org, and Boss again.

So Sam is in Amherst Junction, Wisconsin, a tiny town pretty close to the center of the state.  There are plenty of bars which might explain why Dean would have been there.  Besides buying porn, of course.

Sam traces his call with Crowley to Beulah, North Dakota, a town close to the center of the state. It was named after Beulah Stinchcombe, the niece of a local land developer.

There is a roadhouse there.

Turns out, they've been hanging out at the Black Spur, evidently also a road in Australia.

Although the roadhouse is in North Dakota, it's got several pictures of Mount Rushmore on the walls.  That's actually in South Dakota.

Evidently Dean and Crowley are howling at the moon and being besties, according to Crowley.  In this case, that means bad karaoke, alcohol, darts, foosball, and sex.  It sounds like college minus the calculus.  Now l have "I'm too sexy for my shirt" stuck in my head.  Ugh, what an earworm.  We'll come back to the songs Dean sings in a little bit.  Nice red light on him, though.

Dean hooks up with a woman who turns out to be an interesting character even though we only see her for a couple of scenes.  I like how she shows up in pink and plaid.  Plaid is good.

So yes, this is fan service.  It's also a chance to see that Dean's anti-possession tattoo is still intact.  At one point, the Mark of Cain is visible on his arm.  Not much handprint anymore.  The most important thing is what you can't see.  No, not that.  Minds out of the gutter, people.  It's the massive fatal stab wound that should be right square at the end of his ribs.

No scar.

Demon or no, Dean likes this girl.  They probably would have made a good pair before the MoC.  I've written in journal comments that I think human!Dean is still very much a part of whatever he is now but the longer he does what the blade urges him to do, the less the bit that is still human will reign over decision making and action.  I think there is still a lot of typical Dean emotion going on but it's harder for him to hear it.  Undemon!Dean would have stood up for Anne Marie against a nasty dude but there would have been a bit more white knight in there rather than using it entirely as a play to keep her attention. Dean is like a mean drunk right now in that he's on a very short, unpredictable fuse with little regard to the well-being of anyone else.  He's got the impulse control and reasoning of a child which doesn't help. During the foosball game when he was telling Crowley to be quiet because it was distracting, there was an edge there of spoiling for a fight and if he hadn't been distracted by bigger fish to filet, Crowley might have found himself gutted.  Dean's been able to channel his anger into killing the other demons but killing them was something he allowed himself to do when he was still all Dean.  When he starts to kill humans beyond some sort of defense, we'll know he's close to no return.

Interesting placement of black hat man.

Then we get Crowley calling off his attack dog under the watchful eye of whoever that is straight above him.  Cue scary music so you just can't miss that the dude is bad news.

What did Crowley do while they were hanging out at the roadhouse?  I bet there will be a lot of weird deaths in town in ten years.

Crowley answers Sam's call and baits him long enough for Sam to trace it.  I haven't been spoiled so this is pure speculation but I think one crucial thing right now is how the Mark came to be and that was through one brother killing another.  That's what made Cain into what he was.  I think the Mark is driving Dean towards fraticide and if he succeeds in killing Sam, that will turn him entirely.  That means that having Sam anywhere near Dean has huge risks for both of them.  Crowley didn't just let Sam get close because it forces Dean to move on, it brings Sam within range of the Mark.  Right now, Dean is probably still human enough that he doesn't have to answer to any Hell hierarchy.  Crowley isn't his king yet.  If Dean flips entirely, he's probably subject to some sort of demon law, even if Cain largely ignored it.  I think that had a lot to do with the 'let me go' note.  Dean knows what the Mark wants and he was at odds with Sam to begin with for a lot of last season so there's plenty there to feed the Mark's urge.

Then Crowley finally tries to get Dean to move on with Crowley's plan of Hell domination.  Pass.  I saw some interesting tags on a tumblr post by amonitrate that talk about how Dean isn't so much happy at this point as he is free of the responsibility for making choices.  He's not responsible for anyone at this point.  While this whole discussion is going on Yes Indeedy by Ryan Cain and the Ables (even the band name fits) is playing in the background.  It's about a guy singing about being dead after living a life of troublemaking and he was needy, greedy, yes indeedy and we all know where he went.

So Crowley gives Dean one more night to get it together and then what?  What does Crowley have to hold over his head?  I'm not seeing it.  So Dean proceeds to get drunk.  I'm surprised he still can with the MoC in the mix.

I don't know too much about what shirt color looks like under different lights but I think they used some footage shot from over the shoulder they must have taken earlier and mixed it into this section.  I think that's the brown shirt from the first karaoke session.  It's what it looks like from the picture where he sees Anne Marie from the stage.   raloria pointed out that the lyrics on the screen jump back and forth between the two days also and don't always match the song Dean is singing.  I never gave it much thought that they must have shot this all in one shooting session.  That's got to be a lot more complicated than I realized for the actors as well as the crew.

Back to blue.


Then back to blue.  I think Dean's reaction to Anne Marie cutting him off is more drunk wonder that anybody still cares than anything else.

That brings me to what Dean is singing.  For all that these are pop songs, they are both about lovers leaving or turning you away, at least in the lyric portions they filmed.  Depressing as hell.

And here's Anne Marie, who doesn't love him but cared enough to get him somewhere to sleep it off.  She kind of looks like a vision of what an angel could be or a mom or someone who loves him.

It's all imaginary though.

Then she tells him she's not going with him and it's like the needle scratches across the record to a halt.

I think he was surprised that Anne Marie wouldn't go with him in a weirdly naive way and had a real sour grapes reaction. Even before the MoC, Dean didn't like to be called on his behavior and deflected it, usually through cutting insults.  I'm thinking of how nasty he was when Sam, Cas and Bobby stopped him from saying yes to Michael.  I think she's lucky that he liked her as much as he did or she could have gotten physically hurt or killed in addition to having her feelings flayed. On tumblr, waterbird13 made some really cool comments about Anne Marie's arc in this episode and how she called Dean out in much the same way that Sam had last season.  This is Carver writing the episode so hopefully it's a follow on from last year and maybe Dean's behavior won't get passed off as just happening because he's a demon.

There were a couple of other things that happened during the episode.  I like Cas enough to be glad he's still on the show, however mangled his story arc has been, but the whole Heaven/angel/freedom/choice thing has been hashed to death and was only marginally interesting after Team Free Will interrupted the Apocalypse.  Now - boring.  They're the ones that get the heart to heart over the car though and the reflections in the sunroof are nice.

But there's one bit about this scene that caught my attention and bugged the heck out of me.  Cas comes down hard on Hannah because in order for him to get better, they'll have to kill another angel.  Angel, smangel...what about all the VESSELS THAT WILL DIE?  Yeah, that's yelling.  In this episode, at least 2, possibly 3 possessed people are killed as well as one angel vessel.

Daniel, who only wanted to fish.

And picked a lovely spot for it.

The other bit going on was that everyone seems to be eating cereal and coffee for breakfast.  Sam earlier and now at the house of the other stranger who comes to town.

These are Champies, the Breakfast of Wheat Eaters.  I like this kid in his plaid and his Mom in purple.

Turns out the kid has a Marine father bent on revenge on a monster.  We know the survival odds here.

I liked the filming in so much darkness.

I wonder what he thought when he came upon Sam's Holy Water flask.

How did Sam even end up getting caught so easily?  When did Vengance Man have time to plant the kill switch?  How did he track Sam down?  Did he just happen to go to the Gas n' Sip at the same time?  Even I know enough to be really leery of any guy who might stop to help in the middle of the night so either Sam became an idiot at some point after the gas station or he let this happen.  Maybe he's using himself as bait.

Vengeance Man (VMan) calls Dean to threaten him with Sam's death and we get this back and forth.

DEAN No, you listen to me. There's no trade. There's no meet-up. There's no nothing -- except the 100% guarantee that, somewhere down the road, I will find you, and I will kill you.
VMan Well, that'll be a cold comfort to your dead brother.
DEAN I told him to let me go. So whatever jam he's in now, that is his problem.
VMan Yeah, well, I'll be sure to pass that on to him as I'm slitting his throat.
DEAN Yeah, you do that, 'cause he knows me. And he knows damn sure that if I am one thing, I am a man of my word.

This is all very cryptic and I keep wondering if there was some special Winchester code in all of that.  As a reminder of Dean and promises, here are a few he's made.

Don’t worry, Sam. I promise I won’t trade you for smokes.

DEATH I know. So, I need a promise. You're going to let your brother jump right into that fiery pit. Well, do I have your word?
DEAN Okay, yeah. Yes.

You've got one hell of a daughter, Mrs Middleton. I promise you I will find her.

I love this last shot and notice Crowley isn't riding shotgun.  Onward to Tuesday.

Caps by homeofthenutty and me.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
I always love your observation skills. I noticed Cas's heavenly phone background, but not Dean's. Do you think it means anything?
Oct. 13th, 2014 09:42 pm (UTC)
I think Cas's is probably a joke. I don't really think the rest of it means much unless Sam's has fire or a forest and then we'll have a gathering of the elements.
Oct. 13th, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC)
Great post! The shot of Sam in the dark doorway to Dean's room is very pretty!

The talk about the Mark needing to be sated or Dean turns into a demon kind of sounds like that the demon part of Dean will take control unless the Mark is fed regularly. So there's a good chance that Dean's brain still contains and knows the emotions human!Dean had.

I think the song choices were discussed at a recent con (not TorCon). Apparently "Imaginary Lovers" is about masturbation and that's why it was chosen. :)

Also, I found it curious that we were shown the pouring of all the liquids that are included in the breakfast at casa Vengeance Man.
Oct. 13th, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
I don't know what was up with all the breakfast stuff being poured unless it was maybe a homage to some other movie that I'm not familiar with.

It pays not to look too closely at the real reason songs and other things were picked on the show. There's usually something at least vaguely pornographic about all of it. I'll just continue on blindly thinking there was a loftier reason. Uh huh. Riiiight.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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