I’m so torn. Do I gush first about the writing of this episode that laid the groundwork for so many powerful scenes? Or the brilliant cinematography and direction and set dec and visual effects? Or do I marvel at the acting performances of ALL of the main players, who collectively blew me away and kept me so sucked in that I was holding my breath for most of the second half of the episode?
Not a bad dilemma to face on a Friday morning. I think I’ll gush about all of the above.
Drive-by review — I liked it! I liked how old school the episode was, with the brothers working together to solve a MotW case and the entire episode spooling out with one reveal after another. We had EMF meters, rockstar aliases, ghosts, and baby roaring off down the street. It was suitably old school SPN creepy and scary and at times disgusting, which often seemed to be the case in the early seasons.
The whole ‘ghost in the machine’ thing has always been a bit terrifying, from way back in 2001 A Space Odyssey to Stephen King to that 90s classic anime. Who hasn’t looked askance at their GPS or Siri every now and then and wondered if it was messing with you? I swear, she just sounds judgmental at times. Especially on the fifteenth “recalculating…”
I sat down today to share some photos from HousCon and SFCon that didn’t make it into my meet and greet reports. When I realized that most of them were from the Saturday Night concert, I got to thinking. What is it about that event that makes it so special? (And inspires me to pull out my camera more than usual, even though I’m far from a photographer). This is the result. Call it ‘the evolution of the Saturday Night Special’ if you will.
Since we began our crazy road trip through Supernatural fandom eight years ago writing Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls, we’ve seen both the Show and the fandom evolve. The Show has had its ups and downs, but there has never been a time that I didn’t love it and have faith in the talented people making it. The fandom has had its ups and downs too, with countless examples of fans supporting each other and unfortunately some examples of the opposite, though I still think the former far outweighs the latter. The cast, too, has had its ups and downs. For eight years, many of the actors have done conventions together, travelling the world and sharing an experience few people get to have. Although many of them never even worked together on the Show, they have all become closer than cast members usually do as a result.
Worrying that you’re going to be stuck in the ER and miss Supernatural is not the best way to start a Tuesday evening (okay, maybe that’s not what I was most worried about, but it was right up there in my top two). Luckily I didn’t miss it, and even more luckily, I’m home now to finally sit down and write about how much I loved it.
Reason #1: The acting. The only person better than Dylan Everett at playing Dean Winchester is Jensen Ackles. I was impressed with Dylan’s acting the first time he portrayed Dean, but that was perhaps a bit less challenging, as he was showing us Dean as a teenager. If there were some differences, that was to be expected – pretty sure I’m not exactly the same as I was as a teenager. (Unless you’re judging by my fangirl passion which is thankfully still intact). This time, Dylan had to portray adult Dean stuck in his own fourteen year old body, which means the mannerisms and facial expressions and way of speaking that we know and love in Dean Winchester should be pretty much the same. Talk about an acting challenge!
I wrote this post a few days ago and then was too sick to actually post it. In the interim, there’s been some discussion about ‘SPNFamily’ and whether that term is appropriate for us when there sometimes seems like so much infighting. I hate the infighting and love the sense of community – it’s why we wrote Fangasm and why there are entire chapters on wank and the reasons for it in Fandom At The Crossroads. I hate seeing other fans hurting, whether that hurt comes from inside or outside the fandom. I guess, when you get right down to it, I hate seeing people hurting. That’s what I do for a living, after all.
So I understand why some are questioning the term ‘SPNFamily’ – who wants to believe that someone within your family could deliberately hurt you? There are people in any group who try to cope with whatever it is they’re dealing with by attacking others, or are afraid of losing something important to them and are willing to use whatever means they can find to keep that from happening. That sort of anger-based, fear-based behavior is tough to watch and even worse to be on the receiving end of. And it’s not okay. This ‘family’ we’re in is not perfect. Bobby Singer’s warning that family is there to make you miserable isn’t always off the mark. That’s true of every family I’ve ever known, blood or no blood.
At the same time, I don’t want to lose sight of the many powerful and important ways that this gigantic diverse squabbling infuriating supportive creative amazing group of people is a family. I’ve been collecting stories for a new project about how Supernatural and SPN fandom have changed people’s lives. In some cases, saved people’s lives. Fans, cast, crew – we’ve all been changed by our participation in this widespread, dynamic group. I’ve heard stories of fans going out of their way – above and beyond – to help other fans. I’ve seen it and experienced it myself, in big dramatic gestures and in small moments at cons when someone lost their photo op ticket. That feeling of belonging and acceptance that we wrote about in Fangasm is still there, and still has a strong impact on fans who discover the community of fandom. Like all large families, we have our factions and our alliances and our family feuds, and some people get along better and are happier if they just don’t talk to ‘that branch of the family’ anymore. (Of course, you may still see them at Cousin Martha’s big bash of a wedding…or run across them in the comments on a fandom blog…)
There are a few different kinds of Supernatural episodes (yes, I’ve studied this Show so long I can now identify them). There are episodes where I’m bouncing up and down throughout, or screaming NOOOOOO!!! at my television set, or using up so many tissues that the living room looks like an alien landscape. There are (a very few) episodes where I get to the end and go, meh, that was okay (and a very very few where I say nope, that didn’t happen – canon erase!)
Then there are the episodes where I’m engaged the entire time, wondering what will happen next, watching the boys and trying to figure out what’s going on in their very handsome heads – but I’m relatively quiet. Okay, maybe I grabbed the arm of my chair a few times or asked my television “What now??”, but mostly I just watched, engulfed in the experience. This episode was like that. (It helped that there was one cohesive story line instead of the jumping around that we sometimes get). I didn’t reach for the tissues until that last scene, Charlie and Dean battered and fragile, and Sam standing there like the rock I’ve always known him to be.
I was already in an amped up Supernatural state thanks to the San Francisco convention last weekend, so to say I was excited about the mid season premiere was an understatement. We had a big family pizza party with lots of cousins and aunts and uncles joining us, which was awesome until about 8:49 pm, when I started to hyperventilate a little. Luckily everyone cleared out shortly thereafter, possibly because someone asked “wait, is there a new Supernatural on tonight?” and I answered much too loudly, “YES!!!”
I watched the episode with my daughter, and once again, we both enjoyed the episode despite a few minor quibbles. Yay! So here are Ten Things I Liked About Episode 10.10.