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Supernatural 4.02 - Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester. - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Supernatural 4.02 - Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester.
Big things are afoot on Supernatural. The fight against evil has escalated into war, and a holy war at that. God Himself has called Dean Winchester to service, or so Castiel claims, and our boy is shaken to his core. Can this be true, and if so, why him? And if he heeds this call, can he possibly measure up to the task at hand? Can he set aside his feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt, and find the hero we all know lies within? I believe in Dean. I just hope he can find a way to believe in himself.

This episode was all about collateral damage. Every war has its casualties, and the fight between good and evil is no exception. What makes the losses in this conflict especially poignant, though, is the number of innocents who fall. Sometimes they get caught in the crossfire. Sometimes they are chosen to die, for the sweet taste of their terror, and for the devastation their death leaves behind. Sometimes they're just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those who fight on the side of darkness delight in torturing and taking the blameless. Those who fight the good fight, however, are haunted by the lives they couldn't save, and must hold remorse and guilt at bay even as they soldier on.

I think it hits Dean the hardest. Although in the beginning it was Sam who held back and hesitated while Dean charged ahead, even then Sam seemed better able to compartmentalize the human cost of what the boys do, to view the big picture intellectually, accept the reality of it all, and move on, mostly unburdened. Watch Sam when Henriksen hurls his accusations in that gas station restroom. Sam is sorry, undoubtedly, but he's not accepting any blame. He even shakes his head no right before Victor attacks. Sam doesn't dwell on the choices they have to make, and doesn't take the inevitable losses personally. The only life with the power to truly break him, I think, is Dean's. But Dean, who never hesitates to do what must be done, feels everything. He may not show it, and he may not talk about it, but you can see it in his eyes, and I think it never leaves him. And in this episode he was forced to face it head on.

With each of the ghosts from his past that Dean faces, you can see how they live on inside him, still mourned, and far from forgotten. With Meg, Ronald and Victor alike, Dean engages, anguished, and tries to connect, even though he is dealing with nothing more than twisted, angry specters, bitter shadows of their former human selves. And every charge they level against him hits him like a blow, and is added to the list of transgressions he carries with him at all times. If ever there were a man who could be set free by God's cleansing forgiveness, that man is Dean Winchester.

As for Bobby, no death will ever be as hard to bear as his first, that of his wife. Having already made that sacrifice, he knows well the rules of this game. While he undoubtedly has regrets about lives lost in battle, he will never be unduly burdened by them. Bobby rarely expounds on the many horrors we know he has seen. Far from verbose, he imparts his wisdom in the form of pithy enjoinders and moves on. Bobby is a pragmatist. Who else would construct a ghost proof panic room?

Let's take a moment to appreciate the panic room, shall we? First of all, kudos to whoever dreamed it up. It was an inspired choice, both as a set and a plot device. What an awesome idea, to have a safe haven where the boys could catch their breath, regroup, strategize, and even indulge in a little religious philosophy. And the design team outdid themselves with the details, from the pentagram exhaust fan and the salted, riveted, iron walls to the jugs of holy water and the vintage black and white poster of Bo Derek from the movie Ten. Very nicely done. Dean is right. Bobby is awesome. And how long before Dean brings a chick down there? :)

In the end, of course, Bobby and the boys find a way to vanquish evil, and we are treated to a final battle scene that is both relentless and rousing, full of endless salt rounds and hot boys in action. It was beautifully shot and edited, and a joy to watch. I was scared for a minute there that we were going to lose Bobby; thank you for not going there, Kripke.

This episode was a wonderful way to revisit some favorite characters, while continuing to explore the toll this life takes on the hunters about whom we care so much. Victor Henriksen and Ronald Resnick were both wonderful characters whose deaths devastated me, and it was great to see them again, even as evil incarnations. And Nicki Aycox just blew me away as Meg. What an amazing actress! I was astounded by the depth and range of emotion she portrayed, and she couldn't have been more different from the possessed Meg we met in S1. Color me impressed, show.

The ghosts we hadn't met before were probably the scariest of all. Does it surprise you that Kripke, the king of creepy little girls, decided to up the ante by doubling up on them? :) Those little actresses did a good job; the way they looked and the way they talked both freaked me out. The worst part, however, was when they had their little hands on Bobby, holding him down and covering his mouth. *shivers* Bobby looked terrified, and rightly so!

I didn't take much of what the ghosts said to heart. We all know our boys do the best they can, and that they are ever mindful of the greater good. They each have paid the ultimate price in this war, and they both have proved themselves willing to take any risk necessary to protect even strangers in danger. The world would definitely be worse off if they didn't fight at all. I certainly don't think they are at fault when they can't save someone; they dispatch evil and work hard to save whomever they can. That said, however, Meg had a point about Sam and Ruby.

Sam has always been a little more willing to blur the lines between the demon world and our own. He championed the reformed vampires. He had an intimate relationship, albeit a brief one, with a werewolf. He was willing to make Nancy a sacrificial virgin in Jus In Bello. And I still don't know what the hell he's doing with Ruby, exactly. His newly developed powers are mysterious, and awesome, and incredibly hot, but the fact that he's still withholding them from Dean worries me. A lot.

So let's talk about that final scene between Dean and Castiel. I thought those four minutes were more intense and more significant than the whole rest of the episode combined. I have to admit my own religious sensibilities were shocked by Dean's attitude and demeanor, and I am far from devout. He called an Angel of the Lord a dick! *feels faint* Dean, honey, you need to watch yourself. He was such a rage ball! I think his emotions were still raw from what he had just been through, and he was weary from trying to decide if Castiel was really what he said he was. He was reckless, and so Castiel quietly but clearly reminded him of what is at stake here, and exactly with whom he is dealing.

Misha Collins rocks my world. I love everything about his performance as Castiel, and I absolutely believe in the power and the fury of his warrior angel. Dean was clearly taken aback by what Castiel revealed to him. The name of Lucifer momentarily commanded respect, even from a cynic like Dean, but he still couldn't resist the temptation to bring the snark. But when Castiel leaned in close and let our boy feel just a hint of his true power, Dean's eyes went wide, and he couldn't meet his gaze. And when Castiel growled, "You should show me some respect. I dragged you out of hell; I can throw you back in," I got chills. Oh, baby, this story owns me.

Jared and Jensen are so good that it's hard to remember that they're acting. They are Sam and Dean. Jared shows us with every look and nuance of body language the balancing act that Sam is trying to pull off. He's consorting with Ruby, developing his psychic powers, sending demons back to hell, and believing with all his heart that this is his destiny and the best way to save the world, and yet he also can't bring himself to tell Dean all about it. Oh, Sammy, this is so not good. Sam says he's not afraid of angels, but should he be? And Jared shows us Sam's inner conflict in subtle little ways, ways that we can only see because we know, but that Dean and Bobby never notice.

And what can I say about Jensen? The man is an incredible actor. He shows us the depths of Dean's tortured soul in those beautiful, expressive eyes of his, and makes me ache with Dean's pain. I wish I could make Dean see what I see in him, and give him hope, and peace. I can't believe I respond to a fictional character on such an emotional level, and it's Jensen's performance that inspires that. I know in my heart that Dean will fulfill the role that God has chosen for him, and I can't wait to see how Jensen will reveal the hero Dean holds inside. More, please! :)

I also have to take a moment to mention the hotness. Big, sexy, powerful hotness from Sam. Beautiful, emo, masculine hotness from Dean, with a side of gunplay. And disturbing, forbidden hotness from Castiel. Lovely.

Random thoughts: Did the Ginormotron walking through the car yard make anyone else flash on The Iron Giant? :) Jared pronounced the word "library" correctly! \o/ How much do you love that grey v-neck tee that Sammy likes to sleep in? Yum. What was the deal with Sam on the couch and Dean on the floor? Are there no beds upstairs? And just for the record, I'm taking all the mythology and religion presented here at face value. My job is time consuming enough; I don't do homework for my shows.

It seems that some people are finding this new season of Supernatural controversial, and even off-putting. Not me! So far I'm loving this show more than ever, and I can't wait for the next episode. There are so many different ways the show could go with this story, and every one I can imagine intrigues me. Some of them scare me, too, but I'll just have to watch and hope. Please don't hurt me, Kripke.

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Comments
simplytoopretty From: simplytoopretty Date: October 2nd, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure how I feel about this season of Supernatural. On one hand a very interesting and compelling story could emerge. On the other hand, I'm not sure how I feel about the religious angle (I could the better way to describe it would be the additional religious themes since Supernatural had holy water and other religious stuff before). Maybe I'd be more accepting if it didn't seem like it was a Christian religion angle, but yeah...Plus a couple of people on my flist have raised the issue of Sam and Ruby and rape and that's troubling in it's own right.

I did like this episode. It had the creepy factor, the emotional factor, it was good. It had Bobby and I &hearts him. I really liked Meg and that glimpse into what it would be like to be possessed. Horrifying glimpse though.

Please don't hurt me, Kripke.

I feel the same. I also hope he doesn't kill Sam or Dean again.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have reservations about the whole religion thing as well, but so far, so good. I do admire Kripke for taking on such a forbidden subject, and I know the writers bring a variety of perspectives to the table, so it should be interesting.

I still don't think Sam and Ruby are sleeping together, mostly because I don't want to even contemplate going there. Ewww. And I have to agree that if it did happen, on some level it would just be further victimizing the person whom Ruby is possessing. And that possession in and of itself really should be a problem for Sam, IMO.

I ♥ Bobby, too. And the guest cast was stellar all the way around.

I also hope he doesn't kill Sam or Dean again.

I don't even want to think about the possibility! But you never know with Kripke. *wibbles*
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: October 2nd, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a great episode! I hadn't thought about the collateral damage angle, but you are so right! What better way to start preparing for a war than to examine what's been lost in past squirmishes? Things are only going to get worse.

Misha is totally rocking my world right now. *fans self*
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's amazing how this show just keeps getting better. I am so thankful to everyone who contributes to it.

Misha is perfect as Castiel. He was born to play this part. And did I mention he's hot? :)

Alas, I have had no time to hunt down any Castiel icons. *adds task to the list*
stoodupforlove From: stoodupforlove Date: October 3rd, 2008 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, first let me say that reading this made me cry. Of course I'm emotional right now anyway, but still--you put into words everything I'm thinking and everything I'm not, and you do it so beautifully. Your eloquence is refreshing, even when you're "mentioning the hotness." My brain is having a tough time working today, so I'm grateful I read this just before watching this week's episode; it reminded me where we left off last week.

I believe in Dean. I just hope he can find a way to believe in himself.

Exactly my thoughts. He has no idea how worthy he is, and how GOOD.

The only life with the power to truly break him, I think, is Dean's. But Dean, who never hesitates to do what must be done, feels everything. He may not show it, and he may not talk about it, but you can see it in his eyes, and I think it never leaves him. And in this episode he was forced to face it head on.

I agree with every word of this. Dean's anguish is killing me this season. We're used to it with Sammy ("emo" Sam, that's awesome!), but seeing Dean's soul bared like this is tough to watch. I'm loving it, but it's tough.

If ever there were a man who could be set free by God's cleansing forgiveness, that man is Dean Winchester.

This is what made me cry. This right here. Wow, you said it, you hit it right on the head. Dean needs that forgiveness so badly, in order to live a "normal" life (we all know that normal for us is not normal for him), and I'm afraid he'll never get it because he won't allow himself to receive it. One of the things I learned through Christianity is that the door to forgiveness is always there, has always been there; God can't open that door, though--we have to. And I just don't think Dean will ever open that door, simply because he feels that he doesn't deserve it. He feels that he deserves to be haunted by the guilt of those he could not save. It's so sad. Kripke has created an incredibly human character in Dean, hasn't he? And Jensen plays him so very well.

And how long before Dean brings a chick down there? :)

HAHAHAHA! That's funny.

I was scared for a minute there that we were going to lose Bobby;

I really thought we were! I was sad because I finally like Bobby! LOL

He called an Angel of the Lord a dick! *feels faint*

Who but Dean Winchester would dare? I actually laughed in shock. Ah Dean. Dean, Dean, Dean. *shakes head*

And just for the record, I'm taking all the mythology and religion presented here at face value. My job is time consuming enough; I don't do homework for my shows.

I can tell you that they're following the Bible beautifully. My church is non-denominational, but it's Christian, which means we take the Bible at its word rather than following any man-made rituals. The storyline so far seems to follow the Bible, and it's obvious to me that the writers do their homework, thank God.

Edited at 2008-10-03 02:54 am (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've talked about this before in other posts, but it has always struck me how Sam is the more "religious" of the brothers, and yet he's the one with the morally ambiguous viewpoint on a lot of things. And while Dean professes not to believe, he actually more closely follows the traditional concept of right and wrong. I think the show is telling us that there is a difference between labels and reality, and that what you do is more important than what you say you believe. And I think that's true.

Thank you for your comment. I know some people have been scared off by this whole subject of religion, but it certainly does inspire some interesting conversation.
stoodupforlove From: stoodupforlove Date: October 3rd, 2008 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Had to cut this comment in half! LOL Moving on...

Okay, just 15 minutes until SV, but there's something I realized last week that I hadn't realized before, about Sam and Dean. Thinking back to that episode in either the first or second season (can't remember which one) where they stop a killer and then the killer ends up dying from a car crash at the end. What I remember from that episode is that Sam believes deeply in God and Heaven, and Dean does not. Do you remember that one?

Anyway, we know that Dean believes in Hell, right? He's been there. He's struggling with the idea of God being real, though. Sam, on the other hand, hesitated before answering the question Dean asked him at the end of this ep. He said, "Why are you asking me this?" or something like that, when Dean asked if Sam believed in the Devil. So here we have Dean, who believes in Hell and Lucifer (or Satan as he was named after being banished from Heaven) but has a hard time accepting God and Heaven. Then we have Sam, who absolutely believes in God and Heaven, but maybe is hesitant when it comes to Lucifer.

My question is...WHY? If you believe in one, doesn't it follow that the other exists as well? Kind of like yin and yang? Life and death? Love and hate? It's one of those things that if one exists, the other has to, right? That's how I see it, anyway. So why is it so difficult for the boys to believe in one aspect while accepting the other without question? Just one of the ideas that I hope is explored more during the season.

One of my LJ buddies says tonight's SPN is the best one EVER, even better than the premiere. I can't wait!

Signing off now for SV. Yay SV! Yay SPN! And yes, I rambled a lot. Sorry!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's interesting what you say about the boys and heaven and hell. I don't think Dean believed in God or Lucifer before meeting Castiel. I think he thought hell was just the demon world, a parallel universe whose inhabitants sometimes escape into our world and need to be killed or sent back. A horrific place, but nothing to do with God or religion. Castiel made him believe in God, which made him realize that Lucifer, too, must be real. And he was still reeling from that epiphany when he talked to Sam.

I don't know that Sam doesn't believe in hell. I just think he didn't answer Dean because he's afraid to let the conversation go any further at all. Sam wants to find out exactly what Dean has on his mind, because he's afraid it's about his relationship with Ruby, and that his secret has been found out. His life is like a house of cards, lies built on lies, and he's afraid the whole thing is about to come down.

I agree that if you believe in one, it stands to reason you should believe in the other. I know plenty of people who don't want to believe in hell, though, because it's just too terrible to contemplate,

And I think your friend was right about this week's SPN. :)
bananabehr From: bananabehr Date: October 3rd, 2008 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Please don't hurt me, Kripke. I'd like my soul back in one piece, please. I am absolutely loving this season.

T, I love your timing on this review, it totally gave me something to do while in the blackout zone so as not to get spoiled for this week's episode.

*smishes you*
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am loving this season, too, and even more so, of course, after this past Thursday. I'm so scared of where Kripke is taking us, but I can't wait to get there!

I'm glad you could read this during the blackout. :) I swear the minute my shows start on the east coast, someone has to jump on LJ and give something away, and not even with a cut. It drives me crazy.

Matching icons FTW! \o/ Hey, did you ever post those Zachary Levi icons you made? Or did you not make any for sharing?
eeyore1017 From: eeyore1017 Date: October 3rd, 2008 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoy reading everything that you write. I think you write and express yourself so beautifully. I don't know if your writing skills are part of your job, but I definitely think you should be making money off of them somehow. /gushing :-)

By the way, I totally agree about all of the different levels of awesomeness that Jensen brings to his role. Like you said, He IS Dean.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww, you're too nice to me! *blushes* Thank you so much, you totally made my day!

I love Jensen even more after In the Beginning. I'm working on my review now, which mostly consists of trying to think up more ways to say awesome. :)
all_you_wanted From: all_you_wanted Date: October 3rd, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Bobby is MADE of awesome and if Kripke ever kills him off I think I will have to stop watching BECAUSE NO!!!

The Dean/Castiel dynamic is truly one of the most interesting story points on this show ever. I was iffy in the beginning about them going 'there' with God and Angels and the Devil but the more the show is progressing this season the more I'm becoming hooked on it. I hope the same is going for other viewers.

Can't wait to read your take on this weeks episode.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was never much of a fan of John Winchester, so I totally think of Bobby as the father the boys always deserved to have. He, and Jim Beaver, totally rock.

I am fascinated by the way Dean and Castiel interact. It's different from anything else we've ever seen on the show, and I just want more. And every time I think we've seen the most amazing performance possible from Jensen, he takes it all just a little bit higher.

We're hosting a birthday party for a friend tonight, and I still have a million things to do, but I just want to watch In the Beginning again. :)
zofia27 From: zofia27 Date: October 3rd, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great job Tariel!

I really like where this season is going and the 3 episodes they've aired so far have been great. Castiel is a wonderful addition and I love the way Misha Collins portrays him.

And of course Dean would call him a *dick*! LOL...that was so typical Dean but then he got the verbal smackdown from Castiel which was great.

As for Sam and Ruby? I honestly can't believe that Kripke would have gone there. My explanation is that they had just returned from a messy hunt and were cleaning themselves off. Perfectly innocent. I hope Kripke shows that in a flashback somewhere.

Anyway...I'm looking forward to your blog on "In the Beginning"!!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I am loving this season, too. And Misha Collins owns me. :)

I don't consider myself to be all that religious, but it's amazing how deeply ingrained the beliefs I have are. It completely freaked me out to have Dean question the existence of God the way he did, and to be so disrespectful to Castiel. I was waiting for lightning bolts! And yet Castiel's quiet delivery of his warning was infinitely more powerful, and Dean's stunned reaction was just perfect. God, I love this show. :)

OMG, that is the perfect explanation for their state of undress! You're a genius!! Thank you!! I can't even tell you how relieved I am that you thought of that, because otherwise? Ewww. Thanks again, truly. That was really bothering me.
tasabian From: tasabian Date: October 4th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Watch Sam when Henriksen hurls his accusations in that gas station restroom. Sam is sorry, undoubtedly, but he's not accepting any blame. He even shakes his head no right before Victor attacks. Sam doesn't dwell on the choices they have to make, and doesn't take the inevitable losses personally. The only life with the power to truly break him, I think, is Dean's. But Dean, who never hesitates to do what must be done, feels everything. He may not show it, and he may not talk about it, but you can see it in his eyes, and I think it never leaves him. And in this episode he was forced to face it head on.
It's an interesting reversal (or rather reveal) from S1, where Sam always seemed more emotional and prone to self-blame. I think you're exactly right. Sam is regretful but not guilt-stricken; Dean is stricken right to the core.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 4th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dean is stricken right to the core.

I agree, and Jensen is so good at portraying that. He breaks my heart on a regular basis.
jude_judith82 From: jude_judith82 Date: October 5th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not devout either but I found Castiel's speech about angels so wonderful. I at one time actually considered studying theology mostly because though I'm not a fan of church going I actually love learning about different religions and one of my favorite things when I did go to church was Bible study so Castiel mentioning that Angels are warriors not beings on you shoulders made me a little over-excited. I can't wait to read your thoughts on this past week episode.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 6th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the study of religion is absolutely fascinating. Especially because different religions often have more in common than people realize. I also really enjoy Bible study, as long as the group you're with is up for a discussion. I want to explore, examine, and talk about everything. I've been told on occasion that I have a bad attitude. :)

When Castiel said, "I'm not here to perch on your shoulder," I got pretty excited myself. :) I love this storyline!
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