How do you feel about angels?…

The necessity of angels to the SPN storyline is a point of division within the fandom. I’m well aware of this fact. I’m still going to tackle this subject though because, well, I can. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was overjoyed when I found out that season 4 was going to introduce angels. I thought ‘Finally! Sam and Dean can get some help from the good guys!’ Needless to say, I was supremely disappointed when the angels were revealed to be manipulative, petty, sadistic jerks. They’re worse than demons. Well, most of them are. Then there was Castiel. I can’t say that I liked Cas from the start, but he did grow on me. I liked the fact that he really tried to understand humans. Dean in particular. Most of the angels referred to humans using derogatory terms, but Cas referred to humans as works of art. Although he didn’t understand them, he still understood their uniqueness. Gabriel was another angel who understood the value of humans. He understood that although we’re not perfect, we generally try to do better and leave the world a better place than we found it. My hope was that all of the angels would be more like Cas and Gabriel. Alas, most of them were like Zachariah, Uriel, and Lucifer. They hated humans and took great delight in toying with them. Despite my general disappointment with the angels, I still believe they were an interesting addition to the SPN mythology. Especially when we found out that Sam and Dean were the vessels for Lucifer and Michael respectively. It shed a new light on John’s S2 statement about Dean having to kill Sam. The angel problem added layers to our heroes and made for some very interesting drama. Swan Song is still, in my opinion, one of the best hours of SPN they’ve ever done.

Then came…season 6. Sigh. Season 6 was a mess of dropped storylines, a non-cohesive story, a heavenly civil war that took place almost entirely off-screen, less than impressive monsters (with the exception of the Alpha Vamp), the creepy Campbell clan, and a Sam and Dean that were so far removed from the heart of the story that SPN became almost unrecognizable. There were a handful of good episodes (Frontierland and The Man Who Would Be King come to mind) but for the most part, season 6 was a hot mess. My opinion is and has always been that season 6 suffered so badly because of the angels. The fandom fell in love with Castiel and Misha Collins. And honestly, I can’t blame us. Castiel broke ranks and sacrificed everything for the Winchesters. In a world where the angels were causing nothing but pain and strife for the Boys, Castiel chose to stand with and fight for the Winchesters. His character added a great deal to the Winchester universe. Namely, the relationship that developed between Cas and Dean. Dean has never really had any real relationships outside of Sam and Bobby. It was important for him to have someone outside of them that he could confide in and trust. It makes sense that it was Cas since they were kindred souls, if you will. Dean and Cas have a great deal in common. They both were loyal to an absent father. They both blindly followed orders. They were both faced with a choice to either follow orders or do what they felt was right; they chose to do what they thought was right. They both made horrible decisions in the name of trying to do what they thought was right. They were both betrayed and/or disappointed in a big way by someone they loved.  Dean didn’t have very many people he could turn to who truly understood that and Cas didn’t have anyone but Dean. I have really enjoyed watching the evolution of Dean and Castiel’s relationship. Add to that the fact that Misha Collins is awesome. In addition to being a fantastic actor, Misha is hilarious, has great chemistry with Jensen and Jared, and he’s a really sweet guy. Understandably, TPTB wanted to keep him around. But his (and all the angels’) inclusion in the overall season 6 story marginalized Sam and Dean in a massive way. The story (such as it was) really could’ve happened without Sam and Dean at all. It was about halfway through season 6 that I thought to myself ‘why are the angels still here? They need to go.’

The angels were better used in season 7. They were hardly in the season. That is as it should be. The story was able to focus on Sam and Dean again. But I’m glad they aren’t gone entirely. The primary reason I’m glad they aren’t gone altogether is that Cas and Dean need to repair their relationship. Dean loves Cas which is why Cas’s betrayal hurt him so deeply. It was true to character for Dean not to forgive him right off. Cas committed the number 1 sin of hurting Sam, after all. I would’ve been disappointed if Dean had forgiven Cas quickly. But Dean wants to forgive Cas. And Cas wants to be forgiven. They took steps down that road at the end of season 7, but they still have a long way to go. I’m interested to see what effect their time in Purgatory will have on their relationship. Based on some of the things Jeremy Carver said at Comic Con, the angels are going to play a major role in season 8. My hope is that the angels as a whole aren’t too front and center, but I do hope we get to watch Dean and Cas rebuild what was broken.

Well, there you have it folks. A few of my thoughts on season 6 and a tiny bit of my thoughts on the angels. I’m keeping an open mind about season 8. I have faith that Jeremy Carver has something good in store for us. I’m encouraged by his comments at Comic Con that he’s got a plan for several more seasons. It’s such a relief to hear that the showrunner actually has a plan. Fingers crossed it’s a good plan. That’s all for now. Until next time: peace, love, and joy to all. 🙂

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SPN Season 7 Thoughts: Part II

I’ve already talked about a few of the things I really liked about Season 7. Overall, it was a solid season and a good outing for a show as old as it is.  But just because I liked the season as a whole doesn’t mean that I liked everything. For the most part, I can understand why TPTB made some of the creative decisions they made. But I didn’t like all of them. Let me not get ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the things I wasn’t so fond of this season:

1. My primary complaint with this season is one that has actually bugged me for a long while: killing off all the supporting characters. I’ve seen interviews in which Sera Gamble and Robert Singer talked about isolating the boys and making it them against the world. I get that. But the Winchester universe was already pretty desolate after season 5. There was no need to totally wipe out the supporting cast. TPTB seem to be under the impression that they need to kill off everyone the Winchesters meets so that we (the audience) can understand how dangerous hunting is and how no one is safe. Seven seasons in, I’m pretty sure we all get it. Hunting is dangerous and no one ever makes it out alive. Point taken. I don’t need the writers killing off everyone that gives the Winchester universe color to remind me how dangerous hunting is. TPTB seem to be using death for shock value instead of the death being organic to the story and meaning something. Bobby’s death meant something, but that’s because we’ve had seven seasons to get to know him and observe his relationship with the Boys. Most of the other supporting characters haven’t been that lucky. It seems that TPTB have forgotten just how important great recurring supporting characters are to a good story. The supporting characters reveal more layers of the main characters through their interactions. One of the scenes that jumps to mind as illustrating this point is the first time Dean met Rufus in S3. Rufus was grouchy, always had a wisecrack ready, had deep scars left on him by the life, and was a good hunter. He is exactly how I would imagine Dean will be if he lives long enough. Their conversation revealed what Dean professed his outlook of his future to be vs what is actually was. It revealed how scared and desperate he was becoming. And it gave us a glimpse of how the hunting life affects folks who live long enough. I can’t even begin to start talking about how much Bobby has added to the SPN universe. The same goes for Ellen, Jo, Ash, Gabriel, Chuck, and a whole host of others we’ve lost along the way. Now, I’m aware that we need to lose people from time to time. And I’m not opposed to that. But I just don’t feel like the Boys needed to lose EVERYONE and everything. This season they lost their father figure, the only place they could really cal home (Bobby’s house), their car (the only constant they’ve ever really had in their lives), and all the hunters that have meant anything to them. Heck, they even lost all of their rock aliases. By taking away all of their ties to the world, the writers removed a lot of what gives the characters motivation to continue fighting to save the world. Why would Sam and Dean keep fighting to save a world to which they no longer have any real, tangible attachment? Everything they’ve ever fought for has been taken from them. All of the people they really care about are gone. What’s the point? Several times throughout the season Dean said that he keeps going for Sam and Sam said he keeps going for Dean. That’s not enough. They need relationships outside of each other that matter to them. They need real ties to the world. The Winchester universe needs regular supporting characters to help build and reveal the characters’ layers.

2. The writing wasn’t as strong on all the episodes as I know it can be. One of the main reasons I initially fell in love with this show was the quality of the writing. I’m not saying the writing was godawful like, say, most of the other crap on tv. It’s still some of the best writing on tv, but it wasn’t up to the high standards I’ve set for this show. I suppose maybe I’ve been spoiled by the writing we got in earlier seasons from Raelle Tucker, John Shiban, Jeremy Carver, Sera Gamble, and Ben Edlund. I don’t know. But I do know that SPN is capable of so much better than some of the fare we got this season (Yes, I’m looking at you Season 7, Time for a Wedding!). I’ve always enjoyed Gamble and Edlund as a writers, and I mentioned how much I loved Robbie Thompson (Seriously, tie the man down in the writers’ room. He’s not ever allowed to leave this show. Ever.). But I was really disappointed by veterans Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin. They’ve been with the show long enough to know these characters better than they seem to. Sam and Dean didn’t sound like themselves in Dabb/Loflin episodes and I don’t really understand what accounted for that. It’s as if they decided to just phone it in since we’re in season 7. That was also the case with Adam Glass. Glass’s episodes are generally hit or miss anyway, but I was just highly unimpressed by what he gave us this season. I don’t know whether it’s just that I’ve set the bar so high or whether they just didn’t write as well as I know they can. But in either case, the writing on more than a handful of episodes was shaky at best.

3. The Big Bad Leviathans weren’t, well, big or bad. I mean, yeah, there were a lot of them and it sucks that they wanted to eat us all. But how does that make them any different from any of the other monsters on the show? There are a lot of things that want to eat us. There was nothing that made them any more scary or interesting than any of the other creepy crawlies. As a matter of fact, the Alpha Vamp was scarier than the leviathans. And to be honest, I was quite disappointed by how lackluster the leviathans turned out to be because I had such high hopes for them at the beginning of the season. Maybe the primary reason they turned out to be so meh was the lack of lore surrounding them. Lucifer was scary in part because there is so much written about him and most people had their own ideas of who and what Satan is. So for Supernatural to have our heroes face off with him made for great drama and a great villain. In contrast, no one really knows anything about the leviathans so there was no built in fear or concern about them. That coupled with the overall poor writing concerning them made for very uninteresting and common villains. I will say though that I enjoyed James Patrick Stewart as Dick Roman. The leviathans overall weren’t very entertaining, but Stewart seemed to have a fantastic time with his role which made him quite entertaining to watch.

I have a few other nitpicks like the directing on some of the eps, but those are just personal taste kind of things and not what I would consider overarching problems. Like I said before, overall I think it was a solid season. The things I mention above are things I think could’ve made it go from good to great. There were a few storythreads that were mentioned but never really dealt with over the course of the season; (Dean’s drinking for one) which they also did in season 6 (the season I like to pretend didn’t really happen) and it bothered me then too. But I don’t like to dwell on it.

Let me end on a positive note. Season 7, even with it’s problems, was enjoyable and took our characters in some interesting directions. If some of the above issues can be resolved, season 8 has the potential for greatness. We have (sort of) new blood coming in with Jeremy Carver as showrunner. He’s one of my favorite writers and he’s also had some success running the American version of Being Human. I also listened to what he had to say at Comic Con this year, and he seems to realize that the Boys need to step back from some of the mythology a bit and focus on relationships. That was one of the strongest elements of Carver’s episodes. He really understood and captured the brother dynamic. Just as an aside, I’m really hoping Ben Edlund doesn’t get his wish of working dinosaurs into the story because I have a feeling that would be weird and uncomfortable for us all. At any rate, season 7 ended strong and set our Boys up to take off in some fantastic directions. I’m really looking forward to season 8.

Well, that wraps up my initial thoughts about season 7. I’m planning to do a re-watch before season 8 starts, so I may have some new ideas then. Until then, peace, love, and joy to all. 🙂

Just a rambling…

Ok, so I was going to watch the Olympic opening ceremony, but honestly I don’t know what that hot mess was. I mean seriously. What WAS that? Needless to say, I decided to take this opportunity to play around with my blog a little bit. I’m still working on getting it set up all nice and pretty, so bear with me. I’m going to try to post every Sunday evening, but I may post a bit more depending on my schedule. I’m gonna call it a night for now. Although, that 500 ft tall Voldemort they had at the opening ceremony may give me nightmares. Seriously, what WAS that? That’s all for now folks. Until next time: peace, love, and joy. 🙂

SPN Season 7 Thoughts

Ok. For my first SPN post, I’m going to jump right into the deep end and talk about Season 7. I have heard a lot of mixed reactions about it. Some folks think it is the worst season of SPN ever (I’d say that was season 6, but that’s another discussion for another day) and they hated everything about this past season. They hated the fact that Cas was absent for most of it. They hated the MOTW format. They hated the leviathans. They hated that Bobby died (I agree with them about that. Broke my heart). They hated Season 7, Time for a Wedding. Ok, we ALL hated that episode. But you get my point. It was as if Sera Gamble and Co. couldn’t do anything right as far as those folks were concerned. Now, I don’t think their arguments are without merit, but I just don’t tend to agree with them.

Then there were those that really enjoyed the season. They liked the brother dynamic. They liked the leviathans. They liked that Cas was absent for most of the season. They liked the format. I am in the group that really enjoyed season 7. Now, I think there were some things that needed some work, but overall I think it was a solid season.  Since I don’t want this post to turn into a thesis, I’ll break it up into two posts. The first will be the things I liked about the season and the second will be what I wasn’t too happy about. Alrighty; let’s talk about what I liked:

1. I really liked the MOTW format. Looking at the season as a whole, I think I enjoyed the standalone episodes more than the mythology heavy episodes. It was the Boys getting back to what they know best. Saving people; hunting things. It was also nice for them to be able to see that they actually made a difference in someone’s life. They have saved the world over and over again. But the problem with saving the world, is that you start looking at the big picture and totally forget about all the individuals you’re saving. So it’s good that they got to go back to that from time to time so they can remember why they make all the sacrifices they make.

2. I also REALLY liked all of Robbie Thompson’s episodes. He’s a new name, but he really seemed to have a solid grasp of the Winchester universe. His episodes had a great mixture of the dark humor that SPN does so well, and the emotional depth that the boys have earned over the years. Also, he really had a solid feel for Dean and Sam’s voices. Dean and Sam have very distinct voices, and at times I felt like it was slightly off. But Thompson really captured them, and the brother banter in his episodes was always great. Thompson also gave us one of the coolest guest stars ever in Felicia Day as Charlie Bradbury. Thompson really seems to understand not just the SPN fandom, but fandoms in general. Someone needs to tie him to a chair in the writer’s room because he’s fantastic! Just as an aside, Robbie Thompson will always have my love and gratitude for giving us Dean Winchester in 1944. Gangster chic has never looked so good. But I digress…

3. Speaking of the Boys, I liked where their relationship was. Yes, there was that brief time in the middle with the drummed up drama of Amy’s death, but for the majority of the season the brothers have been on the same page. It was nice to see them working together for a common goal and not fighting/hiding things from each other. As everyone knows, the core of this show is the relationship between these brothers, and that relationship showed significant growth during this season. They are learning to relate to each other as adults. It’s not easy to navigate the changes that inevitably occur in a sibling relationship, and I’m glad to see some of the character development pay off this season as far as the maturity of the characters. There was also a bit of a shift in the brotherly relationship. I know the Amy killing and fallout was a hotly debated topic, so I tread lightly here. I agreed with Dean killing Amy. She was a monster who had killed 4 people and most likely would’ve killed again if the circumstances were presented again. I do not think Dean was right to lie about it though. He did what he felt he had to do, and he should’ve been upfront with Sam about it. The Mentalists (which split the fandom almost as much as The Girl Next Door) actually did a good job dealing with that while also showcasing the characters’ growth. Sam reacted to Dean’s lie by walking away from Dean and basically being passive aggressive the entire time they were working the case. This is not the first time Sam has done this (Scarecrow, Hunted) but Dean handled it differently this time. In the past, Dean always went after Sam to bring him back. Dean always apologized and took responsibility for the incident (whether he was in the wrong or not). Not this time. Dean did what he felt he had to do, and he un-apologetically stood by his decision. I was proud of him. Sam, who isn’t used to Dean acting that way, was initially taken aback. But Sam was ultimately able to understand where Dean was coming from, and accept that Dean made a judgment call. Loved it.

4. I really liked the way Sam’s crumbling mental stability was handled. Some of my friends in the SPN fandom were very upset that this story wasn’t front and center the entire season, but I think it was. It was like the elephant in the room that everyone was trying to ignore. I mean, let’s be real about this. There’s no way that we could have an entire season with Sam basically being curled up, rocking and crying in a corner because Lucifer is tormenting him to death. That would not have made for good television. Sam handled his hellucinations the way Sam tends to handle everything else. Once he felt like he had a grip on it, he just did what he could to manage it and move forward. I liked that we only got glimpses of him pressing his scar from time to time or mentioning in passing how messed up his melon was. That’s how the Winchesters deal with things.  I also liked the resolution to that storyline. Some of my SPN fandom friends didn’t like that either, but honestly it ended the only way it could really. Lucifer wasn’t letting Sam sleep. He wasn’t letting him eat. Sam was going to die. However, since Cas needs to neither eat nor sleep (and it was his fault that Sam was suffering like that anyway) it made perfect sens for him to do what he did. The Born-Again Identity was a very well-written episode and gave each of the characters a moment to shine. Say what you will about Sera Gamble as a showrunner, but she is one heck of a writer.

There were a number of other things I liked about this season (seriously, where are the Emmys for Jensen, Jared, and Jim Beaver? I’m serious people!) but this post is already longer than I initially intended. In my next post I’ll talk about the things I felt didn’t really work. Until then, peace, love, and joy to all! 🙂

Welcome to my Blog

Today is a momentous day in history. Well, maybe not world history. Ok, not even in US history, but certainly in my history. Today (with the help of the very awesome Kelly) I have created my first blog! Thank you. Thank you. 🙂 Why would Jessica create a blog? I’m glad you asked. Those who know me know that I have what might be considered a rather unhealthy addiction to movies and tv. I can quite literally go on and on about movies and tv shows (Supernatural in particular) for hours. Days even. Where oh where could I go to ramble on and on about the random thoughts that pop in my head about movies and Supernatural? Thank you Kelly for pointing me toward a blog. This blog will be about Supernatural primarily. At least, that’s where I intend to start. I may also branch out into movies I like (or don’t like) and a few other random thoughts about the state of cinema. If you’re interested in chatting about those things, then welcome. If you’re not interested in chatting about those things, well, you should be. 🙂