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SPN 10.10 - Where is the blue?

The episode was directed by John Badham, the veteran director of many TV shows and movies including Saturday Night Fever.  It was written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner.  This post doesn't deal much with the plot of the episode so much as comment on how dark it is, both in terms of lighting and in color, particularly in looking at Dean.  That's probably not a surprise as the season arc has him pretty dark anyway.  What prompted me to write this entry was that Dean got a new shirt.  It's a lovely plaid shirt like so many of them are.  For me, this shirt stands out from most of the others because there isn't any blue.  It looks like it has gray and a lot of black or really dark brown.  The colors that do stand out are red and yellow.  I've written a bunch about how those two colors tend to indicate demons or danger.  In an episode where Dean is fighting the Mark of Cain and its tie with Hell, it seems appropriate that his shirt would have those colors.

Throughout a lot of the episode, Dean looks physically dark.  At the beginning, he's alone in his room dealing with the fact that he just massacred a bunch of people and the Mark is bothering him.  I like how the camera makes him look small in the room.

We got another shot of Dean this season looking in a mirror that is distorting his image.

Even when he's talking to Sam and Cas the plaid is subdued and so very dark.

When Metatron sees him for the first time after he killed him, Dean is almost entirely in darkness.

He's more than half in the shadow.

Later, when he's alone with Metatron, Metatron is lit pretty well in contrast with Dean.

Then this.

What I think is also interesting in this episode is the lack of blue and in contrast to Dean's darkness, to see where the light colors are concentrated.  Blue has been used in SPN to represent angels and traditionally, it's a color often worn by Dean.  The combination of red, white and blue often go with Team Free Will or with the idea that you are free to make choices.  In a couple of the shots above, you can see Metatron, an angel, has a blue shirt.

The doorway to Heaven is outlined in blue too.

Although the angel(s) guarding the door have a good mix of a lot of other colors, the blue is still there.

The angels delivering Metatron don't have any and neither does the person who used to be noticeable for his blue tie, Cas.

So that's two parts of the TFW triumvirate without blue.  What about our last guy?  Turns out Sam doesn't have any either but also no red so I think that's good in this case.

In terms of color, Cas and Sam both look pretty neutral.

It isn't until Sam and Dean are together in the dungeon with Metatron that Sam's shirt color (or lack of one) seems to be more important.  Sam is the only thing in that shot with any real light to speak of, especially with his light shirt which is such a contrast with Dean's dark one.

Even when he's on his own in the bunker, Dean seems to be fading into shadow.

The only place Dean seems to be well lit is in the kitchen.  If only he'd stuck with making sandwiches.

It's all darkness after that.

Until he gets pulled back by Cas and Sam.  Cas is there to protect his chunk of Heaven as much if not more than he's looking after Dean.  It's Sam who grabs Dean and pulls him off.

It's Sam who then creates a barrier of his body between Heaven and Dean.

He's hauled Dean into the light.

After all of that, Dean is back to brooding in darkness.

Sam brings the light back in along with an idea and a beer.

I like that Sam's brought him a beer which seems somewhat symbolic of these guys being there for each other and being on the same side.

Dean's listening and a lot more illuminated than he was before Sam came in.  At this point, I think Sam is Dean's 'light in the darkness when all others have gone out'.

This is another episode that really tried to cram a lot into it and there are a couple of other things that go along with the darkness and light.  For the most part, scenes with Claire are very dark.  I'm not buying that Claire is any kind of monster to compare with Dean and the MoC but I think the attempt was made to draw a parallel.  She's just another kid who got screwed over by angels, demons, family, and the system.  She gets a shot at self examination though.

I'm so glad she called Cas on wearing her Dad's body and that being super creepy.

She ends up meeting some 'friends' in a bar loaded with warning signs including a red covered pool table.

Even Claire has red on now.

There is a Texas sign with some blue though.  It turns out that the only blue other than the angel blue mentioned earlier that shows up in this episode is with this bit of the plot.

First we have the campfire though with the green flowered camping chairs.  There's bad news right there.

Equally bad news is Crowley arriving near the red and yellow parking sign.

Everything in this scene is pretty dark.

It really didn't matter because the part of this episode that people got the most excited by about had nothing to do with the writing or the plot.  We have the weather in Vancouver to thank for this.

Positioning Sam in front of the red and yellow light makes sense to me because if Dean gets the blade back, I think Sam is the one in danger.

Cas agrees that this is a stupid idea and he knows from stupid ideas.  I love how the shadows look like wings here.

All of the scenes in Hell are understandably dark.  I like how Crowley's dream of him losing his job as king and his life has a candle holder that looks like an iron crown.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, we get the obvious Shakespeare reference.  But Guthrie is an honorable man.

I love Crowley's lion-headed chair arms.  I'm still having trouble believing they are in Hell because of the windows.  I think Crowley relocated his throne room above ground.

There is entirely too much outside light.  Maybe they have a natural light source in Hell.  What do I know?

Why did Rowena send Ulrich after the blade if Crowley was just going to end up with it anyhow?  Did she really hope to get the blade for herself or was she just messing with Crowley's head and taking out a trusted minion in the process?

I did like the shot of the crypt doors opening.

For the last part, the location seems familiar.  We get Dean heading off to a meet-up with a troubled teenager who's father figure he just slaughtered.  How could this possibly go wrong?

This whole bit bothered me.  Who are the two yahoos Claire met in the bar?  They didn't seem to know Claire very well.  What is their motive for attacking Dean in a busy trailer campground in the daytime?  I thought they were demons but it turned out they were just stupid.

There are pedestrians all over the place and they are next to some sort of an industrial building.

And that camper with its orange, yellow and green isn't suspicious at all.  I like how Dean is holding the cuffs of his jacket.  I do that when I feel really shy or awkward.  Earlier in the bunker, Dean was wearing jeans but the blue didn't seem to even matter as far as color went.  Now the blue of the jeans and his red shirt are pretty visible.

I did like the attempt to make the scene attractive anyway.

How could it not be?  Dean looks a lot lighter than he has in a while.

Curiously, the rest of the blue in the episode shows up on the clothes that Bonnie and Clyde are wearing.

Just a casual stroll though the woods with baseball equipment, oh tee doh tee doh.

And a stroll out and about in a public area with an AXE...whatever, no big.  The woods needed thinning anyhow.

I ended up thinking about the blue in relation to the fact that everyone in this scene has the choice to be here or to walk away.  Evidently Claire has had some epiphany and begins shrieking as a warning.

And then again and that's what seems to bring Dean back to himself.

Dean's still looking pretty dark but maybe there's some hope in there after all.

At the very end, we get Cas showing up to find Claire.  They say some stuff and then he lets this girl go off on her own, hitchhiking.  This girl who is a minor with very poor taste in companions and who has shown all kinds of lack of good judgement.  Within days, this kid is going to be the latest victim on a long list of missing and exploited children.  I don't think she should have stayed with Cas but letting this kid go like this is what makes this show a horror story.

The least he could have done was handed her a chunk of cash so she could buy food and get shelter without resorting to desperate means for either.  Instead, he leaves her on the side of the road to her fate.  All I can do is hope that he got out of view and called in the report of a runaway and made the best choice from a series of lousy options.

All caps from http://screencapped.net


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 4th, 2015 04:59 am (UTC)
Fascinating--I never notice these things until someone points them out and then, I'm amazed. So cool!

I thought they were demons but it turned out they were just stupid.

Feb. 4th, 2015 05:19 am (UTC)
Right. ;-)
Feb. 4th, 2015 09:14 am (UTC)
I'm always amazed that when you do a write up you point out something I never noticed, bravo! My main love for this episode came from seeing Metatron bleed, over and over and over (I may have rewound a few times ;D)
Feb. 4th, 2015 12:52 pm (UTC)
I can't stand Metatron and won't be sorry to see him leave the show when it happens. Ugh.
Feb. 4th, 2015 10:26 am (UTC)
Gah! I love this review. SO MUCH.
Feb. 4th, 2015 12:53 pm (UTC)
Feb. 8th, 2015 01:31 am (UTC)
Ooo, I noticed that Dean was pretty dark here (most evident in the shot in your first cap), but the lack of blue (like Cas's missing tie) didn't register at all. Awesome catch. \o/ \o/

The only explanation I can come up for the yahoos is that they wanted Claire to join them (to exploit somehow) and removing Dean would've left her with no reason not to. In fact, she would've been grateful and they could've blackmailed her to stay. But attacking Dean in the middle of the day after Claire reported seeing Dean gutting people? So stupid.
Feb. 9th, 2015 03:45 am (UTC)
I didn't think of the blackmail angle but that could make some sense. It all seemed really odd.....
Mar. 15th, 2015 05:40 am (UTC)
Wow! I see Dean's shirt and think wardrobe failure and you see a whole underlying theme. The shadow and light effect you highlighted was very impressive!
Mar. 15th, 2015 02:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, not the most attractive shirt....they are pretty deliberate about most of their choices though so a weird shirt usually goes with weird other stuff.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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