galathea: (sam_lookdown)
[personal profile] galathea
Hi folks! I know it has been quiet around these parts lately, mainly because I spent most of my summer hiatus busy with non-SPN related stuff. However, these last couple of weeks, I have also been writing in fits and starts on my missing S8 reviews, and even though I am far from being finished with any of them, I still hope I get at least some of them out before S9 starts to air. Anyway, this weekend I was tinkering with my review for Sacrifice, which, as usual, finishes with a retrospect on the past season, and I kind of ended up writing a whole passage about Sam’s story – in particular about the whole 'Sam did not look for Dean' issue – that went beyond the scope of the general overview I was aiming for. I spent too much time on the paragraphs to just scrap them, but I did not want to leave them in the review either, so I decided to just post them as a standalone bit of meta.



About a year ago, when I wrote my review for the S8 opener, I was convinced that Sam’s evasiveness and vagueness regarding the year he spent without Dean was due to a secret that would be revealed later in the season. Obviously, that assumption turned out to be wrong. However, looking back at S8 as a whole, I have revised my interpretation of Sam’s demeanour in the season opener. I now think there is only one explanation for Sam's choices in the aftermath of Dean's disappearance that makes sense and is supported by S8 canon, namely that Sam thought Dean had died in the blast that killed Dick Roman. Sam's surprised comment – 'You're freakin' alive!' – when he is reunited with Dean, as well as his statement that, as far as he knew, hunting got every single member of his family killed, suggest that the possibility of Dean being alive did not even cross Sam's mind. I will admit that I failed to attach any value to these statements when I first watched the season opener, but now I think they are crucial to the understanding of Sam’s story. The impression that Sam believed Dean to be dead is further substantiated by Sam’s flashbacks in the following episodes. I mean, whenever Sam talks about Dean, his tone and choice of words convey grief over losing him. If Sam had abandoned Dean to an unknown fate because of a mental breakdown or for fear of losing himself again in the attempt to find him, I'd say his grief would have been tinged with guilt, but he never comes off like that to me. Moreover, it is obvious that Sam's situation with Dean is set up as a parallel to Amelia's situation with her husband. Amelia thought that Don had died in the war overseas; Sam thought he had lost Dean in the war against the supernatural. Sam and Amelia’s story is about two people grieving their partner and being completely thrown by the revelation that their partners had survived.

Now, Sam’s reaction to Dean's disappearance in Survival of the Fittest is often compared to his reaction to Dean’s disappearance in Time After Time. Back then, Sam immediately threw himself into finding his brother, so why would he fail to do the same just a couple of weeks later? However, I think the two situations are very different. In Time After Time Sam saw (his very much alive) brother fall into a 'time portal'. There was no reason for him to assume that Dean was dead. In Survival of the Fittest, on the other hand, he saw a supernatural explosion that disintegrated Dick Roman, so the conclusion that said explosion disintegrated Dean as well was not entirely unreasonable. Granted, as I explained in my review for We Need To Talk About Kevin, it was not the only conclusion Sam could have drawn, but I think we have to factor in Sam's state of mind here. Only weeks before, Sam was terrified at the thought of Dean dying and leaving him alone (The Slice Girls), and given the brothers’ track record, it is not difficult to imagine that, when they headed into their confrontation with Dick Roman, the possibility of Dean dying in the attack was at the forefront of Sam's mind. Taking this into consideration, it is not that surprising that Sam leapt to the worst possible conclusion, especially since Crowley’s gloating statements about the unpredictable side-effects of the anti-leviathan weapon and about Sam being on his own now could easily be read as a confirmation of Dean's death. All in all, if Sam truly thought that Dean was dead, there was simply no reason for him to even try and look for his brother. After all, Sam knows for a fact that when Dean dies, he goes to heaven (Dark Side of the Moon). All he could do was to pick up the pieces of his life and try to move on.

Unfortunately, Carver & Co refused to give us any direct insight into the first few months Sam spent without Dean, but that does not mean that the aftermath of Dean’s 'death' remains a complete mystery. I mean, the past seven seasons gave us ample opportunity to study Sam’s reaction to losing Dean. In Faith Sam refused to accept the medical reality and did not rest until he found a way to save Dean, regardless of the consequences; in In My Time of Dying he suggested to find a faith healer, again, human sacrifice be damned; in Mystery Spot Sam went completely off the deep end and, again, considered human sacrifice to bring Dean back, and after Dean’s death in No Rest for the Wicked Sam went into a drunken, suicidal rage. Sam is known to lose any and all mental and emotional stability when Dean is threatened or taken from him, so when he tells Amelia in Southern Comfort that his world imploded when he lost his brother, we do have a pretty good idea what that means. However, the knowledge of Sam’s past reactions to Dean dying is not all we can rely on in our assessment of his state of mind when Dean seemingly died in Survival of the Fittest. There are indirect references in S8 canon as well. In Heartache, for example, the writers draw a direct parallel between Sam and Brick, a depressed man who drove his car off a bridge because he could not bear the thought of living on without his wife, and in Hunteri Heroici Sam compares himself to Fred, a man who had a mental breakdown and fled into his own head because he was unable to deal with reality. All this strongly suggests that Sam was emotionally unstable, suicidal even, after he lost Dean. I daresay that meeting Amelia saved him, in every sense of the word.

Still, the guilt and self-loathing following in the wake of the realisation just how wrong he had been about what happened to Dean must have been absolutely crushing for Sam, and Dean's open hurt and disappointment must have felt like rubbing salt into an open wound. So I think Sam’s evasiveness in early S8 is owed to that overwhelming sense of guilt at having failed his brother, again. Sam explicitly tells Dean in the season opener that he thought he was dead - he even mentions it three times to Dean - but in his anger Dean dismisses his statement, and every further attempt to explain himself to Dean would probably have felt like a hollow excuse to Sam. I think guilt is also the reason why Sam is rather subdued and weary in early S8 and why he accepts Dean’s bitterness and aggressiveness without much protest. He thinks he deserves it. This interpretation of Sam’s state of mind in early S8 is retroactively supported by Sam’s desperate confession in Sacrifice that he considers letting Dean down his greatest sin of all. His sense of guilt even grinds Sam down to the point where he thinks of dying in the trials as a just punishment for said sin, and I think that, too, illustrates that Sam would never have been able to move on with his life, had he not truly believed Dean to be dead. The guilt would simply have eaten him alive. I will say, though, that the writers undermine Sam’s story in Taxi Driver by putting the same nonsensical excuse about Sam and Dean's (never before heard of) agreement not to look for each other in Sam's mouth that Dean already cites in the season opener. No matter how we look at it, the line just does not work because seven years of canon contradict it. However, I think it is possible to argue that the brothers had an unspoken understanding not to bring each other back from the dead, so I choose to re-interpret Sam and Dean's 'agreement' along those lines. Let's pretend it is just poorly phrased.

All in all, I will probably never forgive the writers for their poor treatment of Sam's story - or Dean's for that matter - and the damage they did to the character by refusing to give his perspective the weight it deserved, just so they could create conflict between the brothers, but at least the above-mentioned interpretation of Sam's story gives me some peace of mind on the matter.

Date: 2013-09-04 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maenad.livejournal.com
Hi. :)

All in all, if Sam truly thought that Dean was dead, there was simply no reason for him to even try and look for his brother. After all, Sam knows for a fact that when Dean dies, he goes to heaven (Dark Side of the Moon). All he could do was to pick up the pieces of his life and try to move on.

I agree that this is probably what the writers were going for. But ... well, I still think it's shoddy and uninteresting. In Supernatural, saying someone is dead isn't very enlightening. They might be in heaven, hell or purgatory. Their souls might have been obliterated entirely. They might be a ghost. Given that there are other gods still extant, it's even possible that there are other places a soul might go.

And that's the thing. Yes, Dean went to heaven in Dark Side of the Moon, when it was advantageous for Yahweh and the angels (for different reasons) to send him there. He also went to hell when the terms of his deal demanded it. He came perilously close to becoming a ghost in In My Time of Dying. You could reasonably argue that Sam was right and Dean did spend the year dead (for a given value of 'dead') - only this time he went to purgatory, because apparently that's what happens when you stand too close to an exploding leviathan. There was always a reason why he went to a certain place. I don't understand why 'dead' is suddenly an answer.

And even if Dean did go heaven, why would that be a reason not to look? The other thing that happened in Dark Side of the Moon was that he and Sam were mercilessly pursued and tortured by Zachariah. He's dead, but Sam and Dean made a lot of enemies up there - and you'd think plenty of angels would hate them for their connection to Castiel. Heaven isn't safe. Except now, suddenly, it is.

It bothers me because Carver and his writers want it both ways. They want the rich complexity the previous seven seasons built up - where heaven is a morally grey place, where people like Naomi engage in torture and mind control to stay in power, and where the king of hell can buy himself an angel. But they also want heaven to be the good, fluffy bunny, he's-in-a-better-place-now afterlife so they don't have to engage with what the world they've created means for their characters.

However, I think it is possible to argue that the brothers had an unspoken understanding not to bring each other back from the dead, so I choose to re-interpret Sam and Dean's 'agreement' along those lines. Let's pretend it is just poorly phrased.

I'd say that piece of rationalisation was badly garbled, but this is a generous but reasonable interpretation of what they meant. I agree that they made some attempt to show that Sam imploded. It's just that by reducing it to 'Dean is dead and Sam is sad' they fail to do anything with it. As you say, we can draw on old episodes to work out Sam's behaviour ... but there's nothing new there. There were different contexts to stories like Faith and Mystery Spot that shaped Sam's actions.

I thought Dean's behaviour in season six was interesting because it provided new developments - Dean walking a careful line between honouring his promise to Sam and betraying it because the situation had changed. But here - they don't say Sam knows Dean is in purgatory and has to decide what to do about it. They don't say Sam doesn't know where Dean is and has to decide what to do about that. They just treat 'dead' as a simple category, and Sam's 'failure' is in not realising Dean isn't dead (even though he kind of was).

It just seems to me to be missing the point of any unspoken agreement they may have had ('don't break the universe' would sum it up for me) and sidestepping all the interesting aspects of the situation. I'm not angry at Sam for not looking - I agree that the story frames it as an understandable decision, and he was certainly miserable without Dean. I'm just frustrated because the logic they're using here doesn't seem to have anything to do with the logic they've used previously. I suppose I just have to accept that Carver isn't interested in any of the things I'm interested in.

But I am ranting again. Sorry. :)

Date: 2013-09-04 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
Hi there! You've been quiet this summer as well. I was hoping to see your Salvation review on my flist at some point, but apparently you're just as motivated to write as I am.

But ... well, I still think it's shoddy and uninteresting.
Don't get me wrong. I am not claiming this is a particularly good or interesting story. In fact, of all the possible narrative options the writers had at the end of S7 this is positively the worst they could have chosen. I was just tired of the accusation that Sam deliberately left Dean to rot in purgatory or did not look into his disappearance because he could not be bothered and saw his situation as a convenient way out of the life. I was also tired to read elaborate, long-winded explanations as to why Sam did not look for Dean that have little hold in the few facts that S8 canon actually gave us. In the end, I tried to find the version of Sam's story that was compliant with S8 canon and at least resembled a sensible Sam characterisation. Also, at the beginning of S8, I vehemently argued against the possibility that Sam believed Dean to be dead, so this is a kind of retroactive retraction.

In Supernatural, saying someone is dead isn't very enlightening. They might be in heaven, hell or purgatory. Their souls might have been obliterated entirely. They might be a ghost.
Well, as far as we know, purgatory is not actually a destination for human souls after their death. It's strictly reserved for monsters. Dean being sucked into purgatory was a one-time event in the history of earth, and the fact that he was alive and human was the reason why he could leave purgatory in the first place. He did not belong there. Sam could not have assumed that Dean's death had released his soul to purgatory. I daresay that, after Bobby, Sam had very good reason to believe that Dean would not have opted to become a ghost, and he had no reason to believe Dean would go to hell. So, from Sam's perspective, obliteration due to the explosion or heaven were the only two options in Dean's case.

I don't understand why 'dead' is suddenly an answer.
I'd say the term 'dead' is to be interpreted in the simplest possible way, namely as opposed to 'alive'. Dean physically died when he was ripped to shreds by the hellhounds, he (almost) physically died when he was electrocuted, he also physically died when he was shot in Dark Side of the Moon. But he did not die when he was pulled into purgatory. He was simply spatially displaced, just like he was temporally displaced in Time After Time. Bringing Dean back from the dead is against the natural order, Death made that very clear. Bringing Dean back from purgatory, however, is not. Given the Winchesters' history, Sam could not risk going against the natural order, again, and had to accept that Dean was lost to him, no matter if he thought heaven was a particularly peaceful place for Dean's soul or not. So, 'dead' is an answer because it gives Sam a reasonable motivation not to try anything to resurrect Dean. Had he know that Dean was actually alive, he would have taken steps to bring him home. :)
Edited Date: 2013-09-05 07:22 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-04 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
And continued because LJ didn't allow me to post it all at once ...

Heaven isn't safe. Except now, suddenly, it is.
Well, let's face it, in the Supernatural universe the only real option for a soul to be at peace is complete obliteration. The ghostly realm, hell and heaven are just three different degrees of awful. Although I would argue that, if heaven were to be purged of its corrupt elements and if Sam and Dean's souls were to be left in peace in 'Winchesterland', heaven would at least present a viable option for the brothers' afterlife. Still, I agree that Carver & Co didn't really think this through in the context of the mythology. But well, what else is new. It's not like they did think many of the plots in S8 through with regards to past mythology.

But here - they don't say Sam knows Dean is in purgatory and has to decide what to do about it. They don't say Sam doesn't know where Dean is and has to decide what to do about that. They just treat 'dead' as a simple category, and Sam's 'failure' is in not realising Dean isn't dead.
I completely agree. As I said before, this is the worst possible narrative option the writers could have chosen, and it vexes me that this option was apparently chosen just to create some stupid conflict. The lack of creativity, the lack of in-depth examination of what this particular situation means for the characters is frustrating, and the extent of it, as well as the writers' obliviousness to it, tells me that the show as I knew it ended with Survival of the Fittest. I have no hope for S9 whatsoever. /sigh

Date: 2013-09-06 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
I would like to be in a position to add more than 'EXACTLY!" to the discussion, but at the moment that's all my brain will allow (seems my mind if on hiatus also). I say "exactly" because I think what you have stated (Sam genuinely though Dean was dead) is exactly what the writers had in mind. Looking back Sam did make it pretty clear that that is what he honestly thought. It just US - the long term viewer, that couldn't accept that Sam would think he brother was dead. Death isn't really death in the SPN 'verse -but I think Carver misread the long term viewers acceptance of that. He forgot that we can't accept that the brothers let each other die. They never have, so why would this be any different.

Thanks for the thoughts. I am actually quite confident that Carver knows what he's doing in S9. Doesn't mean it will be good or solid (as I am sure the writing will let it down), but I am hoping the intention, and therefore the heart, will be there.

Date: 2013-09-07 08:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
He forgot that we can't accept that the brothers let each other die. They never have, so why would this be any different.
See, I don't believe this is the problem. Dean let Sam die when he agreed to Sam's plan to say yes to Michael, for example. He realised that there are things that are bigger than just he and Sam. And while he may have been looking for a way to bust Sam out of the cage, I have to believe that he would have kept his word not to risk the world in order to bring Sam back. Sam's situation was similar. The very thing he always feared would happen - namely that one day hunting got his brother killed - actually happened, and I have to believe that, after what happened the last time Dean died on Sam, he would know better than to 'break the universe' again in order to resurrect/avenge him. All the growth and maturity Sam displayed in S5-S7 would have been for naught, if he had gone crazy in an attempt to bring Dean back from the dead.

So, I don't have a problem with Sam accepting that Dean had died. Should he have looked for irrefutable proof before accepting it? Maybe. But I think it is easy to make a case for his fragile mental state at the time. My problem is with the fact that the writers never allowed Sam to make his case; they never built an actual story around Sam's struggle to let his brother go and make different choices than 4 years ago. My problem is with the fact that they deliberately undermined Sam's story in order to facilitate conflict between the brothers. My problem is with the fact that, once again, Dean's position was given more weight, which left a significant number of fans unable to connect with and understand Sam's side of the story. I could have lived with the fact that the writers disregarded the complexity of the show's own mythology where the non-absolute nature of death is concerned, but I can't get past their bad treatment of the characters.

I am actually quite confident that Carver knows what he's doing in S9.
I am glad you still have faith in the current team. I honestly try not be one of those fans that, instead of just letting go of the show, spoil the fun for others by ranting and whining non-stop about it. I hope your faith is validated in S9, I just can't share it at the moment. :)

Date: 2013-09-08 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
*nods* Your problems are my problems. I will never forgive them for the handling (or lack of handling) of Sam's story. It baffles me completely that they didn't explore Sam's story more especially when they (seemed!) to have so much time to do so. I was pretty much ready to give the show up after Torn and Frayed.

But for me it was quite a revelation to accept that Sam thought Dean was dead (it took me a long time to look at it this way). I mean, I don't buy it (no way would Sam accept that without seeing a body) but I have been able to move on a bit with that knowledge in mind (not happily mind. I essentially block out the first half of S8. Except for Benny...;D)

My faith in Carver isn't massive I have to say, I am just feeling more confident because the second half of the season worked for me much better and signalled that he still knows what makes the show tick. I think I am also going to be going into the season with lower expectations. I won't be looking for the meta as I used to because I honestly think they are passed that. Looking for character development and growth is going to be pretty fruitless I think. It's a massive shame (and why I angsted so heavily over it half way through the S8. I was acutely aware that something had died in the show and a certain level in which I enjoyed had disappeared forever).

Date: 2013-09-10 10:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
I essentially block out the first half of S8.
ROFL me, too. Like you, I was ready to call it quits after Torn and Frayed, and then LARP happened and I got pulled in again, but those first 10 episodes of S8 did a huge damage to my investment in the show. The writing let the characters down so badly, I never thought it could happen like that with Supernatural. I had phases of discontent with the show before, but S8 really put those phases in perspective.

My faith in Carver isn't massive I have to say, I am just feeling more confident because the second half of the season worked for me much better and signalled that he still knows what makes the show tick.
The second half of the season worked much better for me as well, but it still missed all the layers and nuances and continuity. I am also under the impression that it wasn't Carver who turned the season around, but Singer. There was such a clear break, tonally and narratively, between the first and the second half of the season, it seemed like the show switched showrunners mid-season. I think I read somewhere that Singer put his foot down, but I can't find the source at the moment.

I won't be looking for the meta as I used to because I honestly think they are passed that.
Yeah, I won't write episode reviews anymore either. I just feel that kind of time and energy commitment on my part is no longer warranted. Looking past the surface of the show has become a frustration rather than an enjoyment. :( And I agree, I think the show as we knew it ended with Survival of the Fittest. All we can hope for at this point is that the writers refrain from mangling the characters any further.

Date: 2013-09-10 10:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
I think I read somewhere that Singer put his foot down, but I can't find the source at the moment.

Oh. I didn't know that. It definitely looks like there was a sudden change of show runners. In fact, I was watching this with a gal who isn't into the show as much as I am. She watched some of the first half then saw some of the second and asked if there had been a change of that sort.

The thing I can't get passed is Carver wrote SPN Xmas and Mystery Spot, so I keep hanging on to him actually getting those brother feels right.

I will still write up ep reviews. It seems I still have rather a lot of energy (especially after seeing the S9 promo), but I will probably be less likely to look for deep connections like I used to. Or try and find hidden signals that TPTB might be giving us. There's talk of S9 being character driven so maybe there will be more thought given to their journeys (though I am thinking that we had a Sam reset last year. I have a sneaking suspicion we might be in for a Dean re-set. Or rather - repeat....

Date: 2013-09-10 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
The thing I can't get passed is Carver wrote SPN Xmas and Mystery Spot, so I keep hanging on to him actually getting those brother feels right.
Yeah, it is puzzling. I think that maybe we have to attribute Carver's outstanding episodes to a close collaboration with the rest of the writing team, like Gamble, Edlund and Kripke. For example, if I remember right, Kripke mentions in the audiocommentary for In The Beginning, that Carver wasn't comfortable with writing important mytharc developments, so that most of the exchange between the YED and Dean in that epsiode was written by Kripke. Maybe Carver had more help overall than we realised. Personally, I can't get over the contrast between Point of No Return and Sacrifice. Both episodes written by Carver, both episodes feature a reconciliation between Sam and Dean, and the first is so subtle, so layered, so rife with understanding for the nuances in the brothers' relationship, while the latter really seems to miss all that. So, yeah, I really don't know what to make of Carver anymore.

I will still write up ep reviews.
Oh that's good. :) I always look forward to your episode reactions. They are usually a good indicator for how I will feel about an episode. I won't write in-depth reviews anymore, but I will probably write some kind of episode reaction as well. After 8 years, it's pretty much impossible for me to just stop thinking about the show. As long as I am watching the show, I will have thoughts about it. But I won't invest 70% of my free time anymore to write up 3000-4000 words of meta every episode.

Date: 2013-12-14 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cheebles.livejournal.com
one day hunting got his brother killed - actually happened

Yes, and I can't help but think that if Sam believed that he'd have had no qualms in joining him. I don't mean outright suicide, but that Sam would have thrown himself into hunting down the remaining leviathan and finding Kevin. He would have been reckless and relentless because if he got himself killed in the process, it would have meant being with Dean. That's the Sam I know. That's the Sam who helped a girl by vanquishing a spirit while dying in a mental hospital. My problem has never been just that he didn't look for Dean but that he just quit. Yeah, yeah, "my world imploded" but it's imploded before, and he never just gave up.

My problem is with the fact that they deliberately undermined Sam's story in order to facilitate conflict between the brothers.

Absolutely. The beginning of S8 is as close as I've ever come to just giving up on the show. It was such manufactured drama that the first half of the season wasn't enjoyable storytelling.

I know this is an old post, but bittersweettwit directed me to it and I just had to comment. I've friended you and look forward to reading your thoughts so far on S9.

Date: 2013-12-15 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
That's the Sam I know.
Well, but here's the crux of the matter: That Sam, who allowed his grief to overwhelm him, who could not let go and threw himself into a vengeful rage in order to avenge his brother and get himself killed in the process, is also the Sam who allowed himself to be manipulated into releasing Lucifer. S8 Sam could not allow himself to become that Sam again. All his character growth post-S4 would have been for naught, if he had just gone down the same path he did back then. S8 Sam had to adhere to the same principles he asked of Dean when he faced eternal damnation back in Swan Song, namely to not bring his brother back and instead try to go on living in an attempt to find happiness. That he quit hunting because a) it fuelled his darker impulses and b) was too intimately connected to Dean to ever allow him to move on is completely understandable for me.

The beginning of S8 is as close as I've ever come to just giving up on the show.
I, too, was ready to quit after Torn and Frayed. I have never been more dismayed with the show than I have been during the first half of S8. While I think it got better afterwards and S9 is easier to watch, the basic problems in storytelling remained the same, though. SPN is no longer the show I fell in love with. :(

I've friended you and look forward to reading your thoughts so far on S9.
I've friended you back. :) I hope you enjoy reading my reviews. Although nowadays my reviews are no longer as detailed and extensive as they used to be in S1-S7 - an unfortunate side-effect of my growing dissatisfaction with the show.

Date: 2013-09-09 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
So I can't really contribute anything that hasn't already been said nor do I want to rehash all of my show gripes of late, but I'm glad you posted this. I have a feeling I could be trying to reconcile this season's characterization, explain the gross manufactured conflict, and justify the writers' substituting emotional manipulation for plot for eons and still never come to any decent or satisfying conclusions. Part of me wants to throw up my hand and just watch show casually from now on and part of me is insisting that there's still something there worth watching. I just started a S8 re-watch last night, so maybe a light bulb (or a million of them) will turn on and I'll feel better about everything. Or not. Or maybe I'll eventually be able to discuss S8 coherently without it devolving into ugly, frustrated emoticons.

TBH, (like Carver apparently *wink*) I'm having trouble keeping the laws of canon and canon details straight these days. And from reading here, it just occurred to me that perhaps it's not just a matter of my brain being too full but because canon no longer adheres to its own logic (ugh, Taxi Driver). Memorizing random, contradictory facts isn't my forte.
Edited Date: 2013-09-09 05:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-10 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
Part of me wants to throw up my hand and just watch show casually from now on and part of me is insisting that there's still something there worth watching.
I hear you! It's difficult to suddenly switch to casual viewing, after 8 years of looking at something with an analytical mind. Looking past the surface of Supernatural has been incredibly rewarding for so long, but lately it has become incredibly frustrating, and that puts a damper even on my casual enjoyment of the show.

I just started a S8 re-watch last night
How you can stomach a S8 rewatch so soon after the season finished, I will never know. I doubt I will rewatch the season any time soon, if ever.

it just occurred to me that perhaps it's not just a matter of my brain being too full but because canon no longer adheres to its own logic (ugh, Taxi Driver)
That might very well be. You know, I really don't mind the occasional retcon or canon error. Given how complex and vast Supernatural canon is, I can't blame the writers for being forgetful of the details. However, an episode like Taxi Driver demonstrated such an utter disregard for even the most basic canon, that I have to fundamentally question the writers' competence and overall commitment to the story.

Date: 2013-09-10 03:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bittersweettwit.livejournal.com
Hey I hope you don't mind me posting a reply. I was just lurking to see if you had posted any of your remaining S8 reviews yet and couldn't resist peeking in on your Sam thoughts, which of course I agree with *hug*.

There was such a clear break, tonally and narratively, between the first and the second half of the season, it seemed like the show switched showrunners mid-season. I think I read somewhere that Singer put his foot down, but I can't find the source at the moment.

I wouldn't be so certain that Singer is the one who should be credited. Apparently in a recent interview or convention (Francy mentioned it to me and I can't remember which) he stated he prefers season eight to season seven. He also took credit for the awful reconciliation process that occurred in Torn and Frayed. By the sounds of it Singer is just as much to blame for the mess that is season eight as Carver is.
Edited Date: 2013-09-10 03:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-10 10:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
Why would I mind? I told you, you're more than welcome to post here. :) I feel bad for not having finished my reviews yet. But I will get at least Pac-Man Fever out before S9 starts, that's for sure. LOL

He also took credit for the awful reconciliation process that occurred in Torn and Frayed. prefers season eight to season seven. He also took credit for the awful reconciliation process that occurred in Torn and Frayed. By the sounds of it Singer is just as much to blame for the mess that is season eight as Carver is.
Well, it really depends. I am not going to argue that the 'reconciliation' in Torn and Frayed was awful, but it was the starting point for Sam and Dean to get back on track. Maybe, if Carver had his way, the bickering and fighting and pettiness had continued. So, if Singer forced the 'reconciliation' - Torn and Frayed really doesn't deserve that name, though - so they could go back to Sam and Dean being actual brothers, he is to be credited for the sudden turnaround after all. But I guess we'll never know for sure. I'm going to get the S8 companion just to find out if there is something about the plans for the seasonal structure in it.

Date: 2013-09-10 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bittersweettwit.livejournal.com
Aw don't feel bad! I just lurk to check because I don't want to annoy you / make you feel pressurised by asking about them constantly *hug*

So, if Singer forced the 'reconciliation' - Torn and Frayed really doesn't deserve that name, though - so they could go back to Sam and Dean being actual brothers, he is to be credited for the sudden turnaround after all. But I guess we'll never know for sure. I'm going to get the S8 companion just to find out if there is something about the plans for the seasonal structure in it.

Yeah I get what you're saying but I don't know the fact he said he prefers season eight to seven suggests that he was pleased with eight overall. I of course don't know about the back room politics, but if he had the power to 'put his foot down' why didn't he do so earlier instead of allowing the first half of the season to get so bad? I mean if this year is anything to go by where at Comic Con Jared had claimed to read five scripts I think it was? and Misha mentioned something about eight in total he would have had plenty of time to fix up the first half. Unless of course the reason for them being so far in advance this year is that Singer wanted to ensure he could do just that with season nine :D. But then if he is censoring Carver so much why not just announce him as show runner? :s

And even then with episodes like Taxi Driver and The Great Escapist the second half of season nine was far from superb either. You know watching S5 which I do adore faults and all and noticing all of the mytharc faults and strange characterisation in the first half of the season. It makes me wonder while everyone contributed of course was Kim Manners (RIP) the glue that tied everything together and made sure things flowed nicely (with the odd exception here and there) the way they did in S1-4.

And if you do get the season eight companion and it mentions anything let me know
Edited Date: 2013-09-10 11:00 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-11 12:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
You're not annoying/pressuring me. I am just a bit annoyed with myself for letting 4 months go by without so much as writing a single word on my reviews. LOL

But then if he is censoring Carver so much why not just announce him as show runner?
Honestly, I have no clue. Maybe Singer prefers to be in the background. He was never official co-showrunner with Eric Kripke or Sera Gamble either, even though we know that his opinion did have a lot of weight with them as well. I would actually have expected Ben Edlund to step up as showrunner, but maybe he didn't want it either? It's all just guessing and hearsay, since we only have limited insight. Even interviews do not tell us everything, because people tend to give 'politcal' answers to questions. It's not like Singer would come out and publicly say S8 sucked, even if he thought that. LOL

And even then with episodes like Taxi Driver and The Great Escapist the second half of season nine was far from superb either.
Oh, I know that. But at least Sam and Dean's characterisation wasn't off-the-charts OOC anymore. It still lacked layers and nuances and continuity, but the characters felt more natural again.

It makes me wonder while everyone contributed of course was Kim Manners (RIP) the glue that tied everything together
I am pretty sure that Kim Manners was a major stabilising influence, but I don't know how much he was involved in the planning/writing process. The writing team sits in LA and Kim Manners acted as the person in charge in Vancouver. It's difficult to discern how much he contributed to narrative integrity and continuity.

By the way, I know you're having your S5 marathon at the moment. I'm not sure if you're reading through the old episode threads on Buffyforums, but if you do, I'd like you to ignore my reviews there and instead read them here on LJ. I often expand my reviews and work on better structuring/grammar/spelling in the weeks after I posted on BF. Especially my Dark Side of the Moon review got a major overhaul after I posted it on BF. LOL

Date: 2013-09-11 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bittersweettwit.livejournal.com
You're not annoying/pressuring me. I am just a bit annoyed with myself for letting 4 months go by without so much as writing a single word on my reviews. LOL

Heh don't be! I admire your preservation considering how much you hated S8. When I hate something it puts me right off writing, which is why after The Great Escapist despite plans to do so I could not motivate myself to write about Clip Show and Sacrifice. So you deserve a clap on the back I say :D

Honestly, I have no clue. Maybe Singer prefers to be in the background. He was never official co-showrunner with Eric Kripke or Sera Gamble either, even though we know that his opinion did have a lot of weight with them as well. I would actually have expected Ben Edlund to step up as showrunner, but maybe he didn't want it either?

Sorry I got caught up a bit rambling about possible speculations, I have such a bad habit of rambling at times *blushes*. You know one of the biggest problems I have with the show is that in recent years it feels like they're constantly treading over old ground as you rightly said S9 spoilers make it sound like a rehash of S4 and S6. Maybe the reason for bringing back Carver was the old guard (Singer, Edlund etc) knew they were out of fresh ideas and hoped he'd bring something to the table. But of course so many speculations about what went on, but sadly most likely we'll never know :(

By the way, I know you're having your S5 marathon at the moment. I'm not sure if you're reading through the old episode threads on Buffyforums, but if you do, I'd like you to ignore my reviews there and instead read them here on LJ. I often expand my reviews and work on better structuring/grammar/spelling in the weeks after I posted on BF. Especially my Dark Side of the Moon review got a major overhaul after I posted it on BF. LOL

I've actually been reading both the Buffyforums discussion thread and your reviews here on LJ (feels like a stalker haha). I love seeing other peoples opinions on episode shortly after rewatching and the BF members and your friends comments are the only sources I know of from that time :)

Date: 2013-09-12 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galathea-snb.livejournal.com
When I hate something it puts me right off writing
I am the same. Writing becomes a chore and worse, by dwelling on an episode I didn't like, I become even more annoyed with it. Sometimes it's just better to push past it and not give it too much thought. LOL

By the way, I read a discussion on another journal this morning that supports the impression that the mess that was the first half of S8 was mainly caused by Carver. Here's the link to the comments I am talking about, in case you're interested:

http://cheebles.livejournal.com/38787.html?thread=742787#t742787

I can't say how accurate the information in that discussion is, I didn't check out the source material, but it kinda fits with the Carver interviews I read back in early S8.

Date: 2013-09-12 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bittersweettwit.livejournal.com
I am the same. Writing becomes a chore and worse, by dwelling on an episode I didn't like, I become even more annoyed with it. Sometimes it's just better to push past it and not give it too much thought. LOL

Indeed. Of course there are times such as The Great Escapist for me when it is a great to write to just unburden your mind of the things troubling you. But then when the rant is over show leaves me so angry it's hard to get back into a good zone you know? Thus my failure to write after that episode. I'm sure it was the same with you and Taxi Driver. *hug*

I can't say how accurate the information in that discussion is, I didn't check out the source material, but it kinda fits with the Carver interviews I read back in early S8.

Ah that was interesting and I have heard similar things myself namely Jared's unhappiness about Sam's decision at the beginning of the season and Carver's statement we just have to accept it. Don't get me wrong in my comments I haven't been trying to absolve Carver of blame he is the show runner and at the end of the day it is his job to not let things get as bad as they are.

I'm just a bit wary of accrediting all of the faults of the season to Carver and giving Singer the credit for what works. As I said before if he truly had the power to put his foot down about the things going wrong, well I can't help but wonder why on earth didn't he do so sooner? And as we've discussed while I don't have the same love for S7 you do, I can certainly appreciate the fact Gamble had a clear vision that unfolded throughout. So when Singer said he prefers season eight to season seven... Well like I said I'm just a bit wary of absolving him of all blame when it comes to the faults of the season. Of course that is just me :) Maybe you're all right... I suppose we'll never truly know what went on backstage lol.
Edited Date: 2013-09-13 11:27 am (UTC)

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