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Supernatural 4.04 - Metamorphosis - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Supernatural 4.04 - Metamorphosis
Last week's Supernatural was a pretty tough act to follow. Could Kripke possibly give us anything that would fulfill the promise of that To Be Continued card he threw up at the end? After everything Dean learned last week, both about the true story of his family, and the role Sam seems to be destined to play in it, could the reunion between the brothers give us a payoff equal to everything that's led the boys to this moment? For me the answer was yes, absolutely. The confrontation between Dean and Sam was intense, heartbreaking, brutally honest, and immensely satisfying, especially after all the months of secrets and lies that preceded it. At the same time it left our boys more estranged than ever, and I dread what is to come, in spite of Sam's assertion that he's finished with his powers. I don't think we've seen the end of what Sammy can do.

The look on Dean's face as he stood in the shadows, watching Sam exorcise a demon with nothing more than the power of his mind, was one of bleak despair giving way to rising fury, and it made me realize all over again how responsible for his brother Dean feels. In a pattern that started when they were both children, Dean often acts parental toward Sam, and when he finally had it out with his brother about what he and Ruby have been up to, he reminded me for all the world of a father who has just been called at 2:00 AM to come pick up his wayward son at the local police station. He felt angry, hurt, disappointed, and even betrayed, but he was also scared, awash in love for Sam, and, I think, asking himself how he had managed to fail his little brother so completely that Sam could think the things he's been doing are okay.

Dean had his say in the motel room, and his words destroyed Sam. They hurt far more than the two hard punches that Dean delivered and Sam just took. Even the shattering news that God Himself wanted Sam to stop couldn't equal the pain of hearing Dean say, "If I didn't know you, I would want to hunt you." In response, Sam just nodded at first, as if somehow he knew it would come to this all along, and both boys' eyes filled with tears. And as Sam tried to explain, we saw for the first time the true depth of his loss when Dean went to hell, and the terrible, hidden price of Dean's deal. Sam was lost, beyond lost, and in trying to make sense of his life without Dean, a life that he had to somehow make worth the trade for Dean's own, he decided to use the part of himself that was born of demon's blood to do good. Oh, Sam, a noble effort, to be sure, but a misguided one, I'm afraid. I have to agree with Dean, a slippery slope indeed.

The boys were interrupted there by the phone call from Travis, but Sam finally had his own say later, by the side of the road, where he exploded first in anger and then in anguish as he tried to make Dean understand what it means to live under the curse of what happened in that nursery so long ago. His outburst, and the desperation behind it, finally made Dean listen, and in that moment his anger was snuffed out, and what was left was only compassion, and sorrow. I was stunned by what Sam said. I don't think I ever truly appreciated what has been going on inside of him, what has haunted him, maybe ever since he first realized he was having visions, but certainly from the moment he found out his father was prepared to kill him. I wonder if that's why they picked that particular setting, on a riverbank, for this conversation: to remind us all of the beginning of Hunted, when Dean revealed the words that John whispered in his ear right before he died?

Compared to the emotional scenes between Sam and Dean, the MotW story that made up the rest of the episode just didn't captivate me. There was an important message to be gleaned from it, of course, but the parallels between Jack Montgomery and Sam Winchester were so heavy handed I felt like I was being bludgeoned with them. Give us a little credit, show, and use some subtlety next time.

The rugaru was definitely one of the grossest monsters I've ever seen, and I had to both shut my eyes and put my hands over my ears during some scenes just to get through them. But I think that was the point. Because Jack Montgomery was a symbol in this episode, a symbol of what Sam fears he will become, and what preys on Sam's imagination is something truly horrific. He's afraid there is an uncontrollable monster inside of him, one that will inevitably emerge to kill those he loves best, or be killed by them. And he has to believe that monster can be saved.

Travis was obviously a stand-in for Bobby in this allegory, although Bobby would never have ended up the victim. He would have torched the monster while he was still passed out from the chloroform, and then quietly but effectively convinced his wife to terminate her pregnancy. He certainly wouldn't have waited around to explain his actions and apologize! Remember what he said to Dean in AYTGIMDW (*snerk*)? "If you're gonna shoot, shoot! Don't talk!" And even if you agreed with Travis that the fetus had to be destroyed, burning the mother alive was just a bit of an overkill, don't you think?

I think the most interesting parallel to be drawn from Jack's story was how Travis himself was instrumental in making the rugaru's transformation complete. I think we're being told that maybe Dean needs not to push Sam too hard, but rather give him a little space to figure out how to follow his own path, rather than the one Azazel had in mind for him.

That first scene with Sam and Ruby creeped me out a little bit. I gloried in watching Sam use his power in the season opener (in that episode it was the last eight and a half minutes that left me reeling, in this one it was the first eight and a half minutes, almost exactly), but this time it was kind of disturbing. He was exorcising in anger, it seemed, and reveling in it a little too much. And both he and Ruby (especially Ruby) looked turned on by the whole thing. Ewww. I like the new Ruby well enough, but this time around, maybe because she's in a different body, I can't stop thinking about the girl she's possessing. That's just not right.

I need to talk about the performances this week, from Jensen and especially Jared, but I know my words can never do them justice. I've said this before, but I continue to be amazed not only by what these boys are capable of doing onscreen, but also by what they're willing to share with us. They reach inside themselves to the deepest corners of their souls, and then pull the secrets to be found there out and put them on display, just to entertain us. Dean's fury was palpable in Jensen's hands, as was his torment. And Jared just broke me, into a million little pieces. I've never wanted so badly to climb inside my television set and give a fictional character a hug. Oh, Sammy, I believe in you.

Random thoughts: I missed my hot angel. And what was with Dean calling him Cass? Did he not hear the part about showing him a little respect? I suppose that means he would call Gabriel Gabe? *rolls eyes* Whose favorite shirt is that, Sam's or Jared's? :) I may never touch raw ground beef again. Yuck. Sam was a mathlete! \o/ If anyone is going to use the word "dick" on this show, I would prefer it be Dean, okay? How funny was it when the boys busted into that girl's apartment? LOL! And the line I couldn't believe I heard? "He keeps it under his mattress, right next to his K-Y." Oh, now they're just messing with us! hee!

I couldn't help but think of Madison as I watched this episode, and I wondered if Dean was thinking of her, too. Now that it's Sam who might be the monster, is everything different? Or is Dean even now steeling himself for what he might have to do? This situation is far from resolved, and I think Sam feels very much alone, despite Dean's assurances. I am fully invested in this story, and I can't wait to see where Kripke takes us next, but after the emotional intensity of these past four episodes, I welcome the comic relief that the promo for next week promises. Bring on the Dean snark and the Sammy bitchface; I'm ready for the boys to make me laugh.

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Comments
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: October 15th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I missed Castiel, too!

I was so mad at Dean for hitting Sam! I know he was upset about his trip from the past that he just came back from, but I wanted Sam to fight back. Because Dean was being so unfair. I was so glad when Sam yelled at him.

I know Sam was fighting for what's-his-name, but he showed one important point: He said they didn't need to kill him until he did something that called for his death. Which, threatening Dean covers. Jared was great in that scene. He looked sad, but resolved.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 15th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Those Winchesters and their violence! Sometimes Dean is such a boy. I really saw those two scenes as two sides of the same coin, and it was interesting to me how Dean's side had the bellowing and the hitting, while Sam's side had the frustration and the anguish. And both were so full of genuine emotion.

I agree so much about Jared in that scene. There was no hesitation in Sam's actions, but he looked so defeated. Poor Sammy.

I wonder sometimes when I watch this show, do the boys who watch it cry, too?
trystan830 From: trystan830 Date: October 15th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
you know i enjoyed it.... and when i got to working on my post, it sorta took a weird turn that i wasn't expecting.....
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 15th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been waiting to read yours until I posted mine, and I've been so curious!

*runs off to read*
trystan830 From: trystan830 Date: October 15th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
oooh interesting
simplytoopretty From: simplytoopretty Date: October 15th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I liked last week's episode much better. It didn't help, though, that this episode followed Smallville and the vast majority of the fandom portion I belong to was talking about how horrid "Instinct" had been for Chlark.

The beginning of the episode did draw me in, but then the MotW began and I sorta lost interest. The parallels were, like you said, fairly obvious, and were a little too much for me. Subtly does indeed go a long way.

Also, I missed Bobby :(

All in all not a bad episode, but not one that I loved. But if I rewatched it I might like it more.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 15th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
To tell you the truth, if they had smooshed the first scene with Ruby and all the Sam and Dean conversations into a mini episode, I would have been perfectly happy to watch that. :) I found myself fast forwarding through the monster parts when I rewatched.

I missed Bobby, too. I love Bobby. I wonder if we'll ever get to see his reaction to this latest news about Sam, or what Dean found out in the past. I thought Travis was Bobby in a red shirt: expendable. :)

Next week look like fun. I'm looking forward to it!
jude_judith82 From: jude_judith82 Date: October 15th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
The confrontation between Dean and Sam was intense, heartbreaking, brutally honest, and immensely satisfying, especially after all the months of secrets and lies that preceded it. At the same time it left our boys more estranged than ever, and I dread what is to come, in spite of Sam's assertion that he's finished with his powers. I don't think we've seen the end of what Sammy can do.


I was struck in the episode by the differences between Sam and Dean. Though Dean may be hiding remembering Hell from Sam. He does tell Sam everything. The Angel, going back and seeing his parents etc. Sam hides so many things from Dean and it's not even that he hides them it's almost as if he dismisses them. Oh I never got around to tell you. I don't know about that. And yes grosses episode ever. My sister had a conniption. She has a thing about blood all I know is I'm not going to be able eat my mom's carne molida (ground beef w/ veggies) for a while. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. I like you welcome the funny next week. It's a nice change and these boys can bring the funny.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 21st, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree that Dean is much more forthcoming with Sam than Sam is with him, and it's always been that way. Sam thinks too much sometimes, and second guesses himself. He's always felt like the outsider in his own family, and finding out the secret about the demon blood only made things worse. I wish he would just trust Dean.
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