Saturday, October 04, 2008

Supernatural: "In the Beginning"

I typed as I watched this time:

Dammit, Sam, sneaking out again. So not liking that. And Dean, never knowing? Wake up, boy!

Why do they always drive muscle cars? Did the waitress Ruby is possessing own it, or did Ruby steal it? Three eps, same Ruby. Maybe they won't be changing the actress.

The screams in Dean's dreams sound like an amusement park. Deliberate for maximum creepiness?

Damn Castiel's crypticity.

Hee, cell phone went with Dean. Whole jacket, with journal, in fact. He wakes up later with the jacket on him, but I didn't catch if he had it on him in the beginning. I don't think so. So Castiel made sure he had it. (Since Castiel touched his forehead, I'm of the belief that Dean didn't actually "travel"--it happened all in his head.

LOVE the Back to the Future references, like squeal-and-hug love.

I think young John is perfectly cast. You know, as far as casting someone who looks the right age but otherwise not nearly enough like someone ten years from now--no one is that different IRL without, like, losing a lot of weight or something. But it's a lot harder to unage an actor than to age him.

Castiel looks away when he fibs to Dean about time bending. I wonder if that's a tell.

The car! The kind of interaction Dean and John never had as adults in real life. So poignant.

Dean VanHalen. He couldn't come up with something less weird? LOL

I didn't at first see any real flaws in this episode, but watching again, I'm thinking about how John in the future is shaped as much by his military background as by the hunting. That doesn't really show here. He's described and portrayed as "sweet." Though we don't know what happens over the intervening 10 years. Maybe he's still in the service and just on leave, or goes back for a while like my father did.

Young Mary is awesome. I never thought "hunter," with all the possible reasons she recognized Yellow-Eyes in season 2. I love that her fighting fits the time period. It looks like the 70s, not like our 21st-century wire-supported fancy fighting.

Mitch Pileggi was perfect. He even channeled Fred's version of YED, but that's later. As a father, he's very much like what John becomes after Mary's death.

How funny is it that Dean was named after his grandmother?

They have lots of great lines, especially the references to how people are now that contrast with what happens in the future. Like "can you imagine John mixing with spirits?" and Mary not wanting her kids to grow up like she did.

Mary's smile at her dad's pom-pom comment (at the farm) tells us as much about her as any exposition or action could.

Father Cheney! Ha! And Dean is already clicking with him like a grandson, taking the mickey out of him.

This scene with Charlie starts the roll of information that just keeps flattening me every time I recover from a revelation. Yellow-Eyes making deals? Not revealing what he wants? Then we find out this is how he picks his kids, gets access. And it keeps going, and going... Even though Fred Lehane can't reprise his role, I really love that they still have connections to him in the "new" mythology of the show.

I love that Deanna isn't just the wife of a hunter. She's part of it, and leaves the impression that she's as competent as her husband (even though she's totally helpless against the demon).

"My dad could see the future." Haha! I guess it was hard to come up with something better.

The next part, Dean saying goodbye to Mary, is heartbreaking. Her not telling John about the world she tried to leave behind, and her wish for the boys not to be raised in it, was instrumental in making it happen. Very Greek tragedy.

One of my friends and I talked about how before this, we knew Mary as sweet and John as tough, and in the past it was the opposite. I said we only saw Mary from that five minutes in the pilot, a very brief moment as a mom in "Home," and through the eyes of a grown-up four-year-old's fantasy. We don't know that she didn't carry her toughness, her strength, into her non-hunting life. Also, all those friends of hers that Sam found out had died? That Yellow-Eyes apparently killed? I think she didn't fully leave hunting. Probably didn't hunt herself, but stayed connected somehow.

Damn, Jensen Ackles is an amazing friggin' actor.

Nice avoidance of the question, Castiel. I think he was just trying to get the measure of Dean here. How he feels about family is going to be instrumental in his influence over Sam.

Interesting that Elkins remained in the same place for 40 years. Doesn't seem typical of hunters.

I think when Castiel said he could bend time, he really meant he could bend perception and reality. He inserted Dean into a depiction of the events of the past without really changing them. I'm guessing in the real past, Mary's friendship with Liddy is what led her across the path of the demon. There wasn't something in place already to negotiate with--no abusive dad or dying family member--so he created something. Her father probably did go after him in some way and get killed, but not because Dean orchestrated events.

Something was obviously off about Samuel asking for the gun, but I didn't see possession coming! I think the moment when he put his thumbs to his eyes, kind of covered his face, is when YED took over. His demeanor was different when he spoke again. But subtle, just a little determined, a little hard. Masterfully acted.

After that, it's shock after shock.

The war wasn't the end game? What was? And how can it still matter, since Azazel is completely gone? Or is he? Is someone else putting it into motion? Lilith?

So Sam doesn't actually have demon blood "in him." This always bothered me, the way he said it and the way people talk about it. He ingested it, didn't have it injected wholly into him. His body would digest it and break it into parts. I am not part cow because I've eaten juicy steak. But here, YED explains it. It's like taking medication or steroids. Doesn't make him part demon, just gives him some abilities. Power. And since he's lived his whole life as a good person, it's pretty clear that he's still in control. Just like with any power, what he does with it and what it does to him is up to him.

More shock. John's dead, and my stomach is sinking. This is how he gets Sam. It's so inevitable and inescapable.

Ew! No kissing!

He makes the deal sound so innocuous. She's stupid. But young, and desperate, and suddenly orphaned, and 10 years is a long time away, and I'm sure she can't imagine him demanding something worse than what's happening right now.


Damn, I hate when they escape like that. It happens a lot, the demon leaving the body just before it gets ganked.

Mary looks at Dean, and knows what she's done, you can see it. Not the details, but the truth of it, the kind you feel in your gut. She's never going to be the same. (Well, she wasn't going to be, anyway, but...)

Castiel says they don't know what Azazel's end game IS. Present tense. So that implies that he's still in the game. Interesting.

He also says, "Destiny can't be changed, Dean. All roads lead to the same destination."

It sounds contradictory in combination with his order to Dean to stop Sam, but I don't think anything Castiel says is that straightforward or can be taken at face value. He told Dean they could bend time, and to "stop it," but he didn't mean stop what happened in the past--the truth was completely different from Dean's interpretation of his words. So we just have to wait and see.

But if we assume, for the sake of argument, that Castiel is really on earth under God's command, trying to stop Lucifer from being freed, then we have to also assume he doesn't believe his own statement. If destiny can't be changed, God and the angels can stay out of it, and it will happen anyway. They can protect themselves. Remain in the rarified air where they spent their last 2,000 years.

If it's destined for Lucifer to get free, or not, either way, why bother to get involved? There's nothing worse than the fruitlessness of knowing that if the wrong thing is destined, there's nothing you can do. The absence of hope rests on the side of evil, not good.

So it's possible he meant it the way I took it at first, that once something has happened, you can't alter it. If it hasn't happened yet, you can have an impact on events. If so, "destiny" is the wrong word, because it defies time.

Since they don't know where Sam's road is going, they don't know if his destiny is good or bad. Perhaps it's Dean's destiny to save Sam from making a horrible decision. If so, then Castiel didn't need to educate him on the past. If he needed to know, he'd find out a different way. It kind of all feeds into the Greek tragedy subtext, because in Greek tragedies, if people didn't get prophecies, they wouldn't do the things that fulfilled them.

There are other possibilities. The absence of hope rests on the side of evil, not good. So maybe Castiel isn't good.

Or maybe he is, and he's still lying. Maybe he knows what path Sam is going down, and that he's part of Azazel's end game. Or maybe destiny isn't written in stone, but he just said what he said so Dean wouldn't focus too hard on his failure to stop what already happened and fail to focus on stopping what still could happen.

Man, my head would hurt if I wasn't in so much glee.

So yeah, they're even heavier into the possibility of pitting brother against brother, something I really didn't want them to do. I'm okay with Sam and Dean employing different means to aim for the same goal (something touched upon in "Time is on My Side" last season) and being at odds about that. But I really don't want them to be actively against each other, like Buffy-killing-Angelus-who's-now-Angel-to-save-the-world against.

But even if they take us down that road, if they do it with the skill of what they gave us in this episode, I don't think I'll mind a bit.


MaryF said...

LOL - I did the same thing, and I'm watching it again now.

I missed the Back to the Future reference the first time.

I like your explanation of John maybe going back, and that toughening him up. And yes, if Mary had been in danger, he would have come out swinging. I also agree, after looking at my dh's pictures 10 years apart, that he would have changed significantly. Mary looks a lot more like the other actress, though.

I love how Dean asks Mary about his dad. Love that.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

The "Tab" ad on the bench was kind of quick and innocuous. The whole diner scene was a tribute, of course, with Dean making fun of the counter guy and his pop culture reference and the turning when someone comes in and says "Winchester!" and recognizing that it's his father. And then when he confronts Castiel on the street he mentions DeLoreans. :)

MaryF said...

I loved Tab back in the day, so I caught it right away. The dh had no idea what the episode was going to be about, so when he saw the street scene, he knocked it off right away.

I love that he chose to watch it today - was our plan to watch it last night before the whole ER trip.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I'm sorry such terrible circumstances delayed the viewing, but glad he didn't wait too long! :)