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05 March 2018 @ 04:22 pm
Road to hell paved with "Good Intentions"... (thoughts on SPN and episode 13.14)  
I've had some time to chew on my response to this past episode, and I still haven't watched it again. Don't think I will, either. It's not that it was gaudy awful; it just, hmmm … okay, I'm just not invested in this ensemble cast that the show is pushing at us.

cassiopeia7 and caranfindel have both written wonderful, entertaining recaps/reviews of “Good Intentions”, so hit their journals if that's what you're looking for.

I'm going to be contemplative about the current direction of the show, with a big dose of Sam!girl salt. Just so's you know. I'm still in it for the long haul, but I have complaints. (No, YOU?)

As I said above, Supernatural has become an ensemble cast. Jared and Jensen may still be in every episode, to varying degrees, but their characters are no longer actually the central nexus of the mytharc. This is different from the first half of the series' run in that Sam and Dean's relationship and watching them untangle the mystery that was their family (as well as themselves), kept us glued to the TV. Not anymore.

Nowadays, a fan is as likely to be watching for Destiel or Wayward Sisters or Jack or anything else BUT Sam and Dean. And given the popularity of this Destiel business, anything else but Sam.

And it shows.

Sam and Dean are often little more than guest stars in their own series these days. Not only that, they've gone from 'epic' heroes to 'iconic' heroes. (I mentioned this elsewhere, but I'll recap here, because it has merit, IMHO.)

We all pretty much know what an epic hero is: a man whose fortune is brought about by his own admired characteristics. They're proactive, rise above their flaws, and take on Herculean (see what I did there?) tasks. The iconic hero, however, is more like a Conan the Barbarian or a Mad Max. The tale isn't really about them, but they are the thread that connects the plot points together. They're almost like tour guides through a story. This is pretty typical for procedural television, actually. (How much did Jessica Fletcher from 'Murder She Wrote' actually evolve?) Problem is, that's not really how SPN gained the rabid, loyal fanbase that it did. It started as a horror procedural, but bottled lightning when Kripke and Singer realized the magic they had in the relationship between Sam and Dean. It wasn't just the chemistry between the actors; the audience tuned in to watch the brothers unpack their emotional baggage and struggle with each other and a difficult paternal relationship. All the while, monsters, demons and angels nipped at their heels, and ultimately, they had to confront the fact that both of them were inextricably entwined, by blood, with a fate bigger than mankind. They started, and thwarted, The Apocalypse.

Nowadays? The Winchesters have become iconic heroes in the MotW episodes, MacGuffins in the mytharc ones. Per TVTropes: “A MacGuffin (a.k.a. McGuffin or maguffin) is a term for a motivating element in a story that is used to drive the plot. It serves no further purpose.”

Jack wants to be on the 'good' side for the Winchesters. Mary is being told that her sons made a positive difference, so she feels worthy herself. Claire returns to the roost to save Sam and Dean, thereby kicking off Wayward Sisters. Cas, uh, well Dean's there for him so that Destiel shippers have something to do. And Sam is there for Rowena to sucker him into giving her powerful magical whatevers, so she can return to bite them on the ass later. If we're SUPER lucky, we'll get a scattered handful of lines that reveal something about what's going on in Sam or Dean's noggin. Nothing about Sam-and-Dean's relationship. (Wee, it's so healthy now!) Nothing about them being supposedly too “important” to reap yet, per Billie-as-Death. (My guess is Dabb has nothing concrete planned for this.)

Lucifer doesn't give two shits about Sam as his original vessel, nor will Michael give any shits about Dean being his. Sam and Dean are just annoying flies in the ointment, eminently disposable.

Honestly, think about it: if Sam and Dean actually died died right now, it would impact absolutely nothing, plot-wise. Cas would continue to track Lucifer, Jody would continue to shepherd her girls, Mary and Jack would keep each other safe, trying to escape Apocaworld … I'm seriously not invested in the plot anymore. I watch the show out of fidelity, for the horror and the handsome.

This past episode, Sam stayed behind in the bunker while Dean and Cas went off and had a rough-n-tumble little adventure together. Sam, on the other hand, was easily taken out by Donatello, apparently overpowered Donatello later (off-camera) and then spent the last scene of the episode out of focus. Literally wallpaper. (Dean tends to be the Little Black Dress of the show; he looks good with everyone, so he gets screentime no matter what, with lots of those loving shots that linger on his face. I do enjoy those, make no mistake! But y'all know me... )

It's like they're dividing the show into two parts: the MotW episodes, with our iconic heroes (Sam and Dean) going through their typical paces, and the mytharc episodes, wherein our iconic heroes fade into set design, as the other characters become the epic heroes. Or epic villains, as the case may be. And I have to be completely honest: I don't much care about these epic characters. I'm just not invested in them.

I became invested in Supernatural like no other show. It struck me like a heart attack. I have never once wanted to find tie-in novels or search out additional products before, which is how I stumbled on fandom in general, the SPN one, in specific. But I'll tell you, if the current genesis of the show had been the one I'd seen, 13 years ago? I never would've gotten hooked. No way in hell. And this makes me reeeeeally frustrated, as the characters that got me addicted to begin with are still on the show, yet written with such disinterest.

Yeah, I know, it's not easy to explore characters who have long histories. It's far easier to take on characters who are still pretty much blank slates. I get it. Doesn't change the facts for me. SPN is a show that was conceived as one thing, turned into something else, and now is suffering for it. This season has been more “ensemble” than most. Thanks, Dabb. Ya fucker.

The next episode seems to be a MotW, so at the very least, I'm sure to get something more than Sam knocked out or blurred into obscurity. Right?
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: 'Is Your Love Strong Enough?' - How To Destroy Angels
lipglosskaz: dean sam he aint heavy he's my brokazluvsbooks on March 6th, 2018 01:59 am (UTC)
YOU GET ME YOU REALLY GET ME!!!! ditto to all of this this.

Loved your analogy to Dean being "the little black dress" EXACTLY!!! and when Dean is onscreen you are keeping all the SamDean AND Deancas fans happy!

I have never wished that a showrunner would leave, but i gotta say, i LOVED S11 so MUCH, right up until the last three episodes, which is when Dabb took over, and we got Lucifer as a comedic device etc, Mary coming back but having no relationship with her sons, Sam and Dean being all buddy buddy, but losing their connection etc etc.
I think he is the first showrunner, instead of making his own vision, is making the show FOR the fans, which is never a good idea, and in doing so, is changing the show to ensemble and making it just not the spn that i fell in love with.

Look, i like a lot of the other characters, but only as much as i like characters in other shows that i enjoy. For me, SPN and the Winchester family line ARE IT, and i think Dabb has forgotten, that J2 are literal stars on screen, they are such good actors, and beautiful, and when they are angsting together, or over each other, the show is EXCEPTIONAL, take that away and it is just like all the other shows...

In my own opinion hah! Jared thought it was a good idea to expand the universe, to give he and Jensen a break, and obvs thought it would be interesting. I honestly don't know if he even realises that some of his scenes are being cut, that he is being blurred out, or that the camera doesn't include him at all when he is in the scene.
I think Jensen doesn't really like the new format. He usually brings up older Seasons as faves, and said at Vegascon this last weekend, that he wishes the boys were still looking for Dad. I think he kinda knows...

That said, i will be here until the end, i still love show, even if it wasn't what it was, and we still do get scenes of brilliance..my hope is, that we will get a new showrunner to take us to the end..
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffin: pic#120284814quickreaver on March 7th, 2018 11:07 pm (UTC)
I completely understand needing to expand the universe to give J2 a break! (And I think Jared gets excited about stuff and is way more impulsive than Jensen, who tends to be more pragmatic.) I suspect you're also right in that Jared doesn't always watch the episodes, and sometimes doesn't realize when scenes are cut. And here's the thing with that: Jared thinks the viewer has the same understanding of canon as we do, but we CAN'T when we don't get the whole canon! And that's super frustrating.

With great regularity, I'm seeing people questioning where on earth this "new" version of SPN is going, and expressing displeasure. Dabb thinks he can throw in lines from the Kripke era and that means the show is "getting back to basics". Well, no. There is something fundamentally DIFFERENT about the way Dabb runs a show, something that is contrary to the philosophy the show was built on. But Singer is in there too, and he's been around since Day One. I dunno, maybe the dream team of Kripke and Manners was the special sauce?

Thanks for putting up with my laments, Kaz! I'm in it 'til the bitter end too, but that doesn't mean I won't bitch. ;)