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14 September 2009 @ 11:28 am
5.01 Sympathy For The Devil: What I Need Is You  

5.01 Sympathy For The Devil: What I Need Is You

Lucifer walks Earth;

Angels seek the Michael sword.

Trust is hard to find.


Read the rest; get a drink first!Collapse )



Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: "Sympathy For The Devil" by the Rolling Stones
redrikkiredrikki on September 15th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
Actually, re: Dean as being a suitable angel host, Castiel appeared before Dean in dreams a number of times, as did Uriel. He and Sam were both able to stare at the light of a manifesting Lucifer without any ill effects and while listening to Castiel made all the glass break and gave Dean a headache, it never made Dean have a seizure like it did Jimmy. In short, I think Dean and Sam might actually be of angel-vessel stock.

You are completely right about Zachariah, his post in the heavenly hierarchy and his character traits. He's one of those fun characters we will all love to hate.
bardicvoice: B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>bardicvoice on September 17th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
On the vessel thing, we'll just have to wait for answers. But I'd point out that Dean's dream encounters with angels all took place after the angels in question had taken human vessels, potentially allowing some translation and buffering, and that Sam and Dean were removed from Lucifer's vicinity before things became humanly unbearable. So who knows? I think the jury is still out, and is likely to stay that way for a goodly part of the season. Kripke does love his fan torture!
yourlibrarianyourlibrarian on September 15th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
Sam was hurt by Bobby’s reaction, no question, but in a way, he was also satisfied. He’d been drowning in his own guilt, feeling he should have been punished for what he did, but encountering only Dean’s refusal to satisfy that need.

Yes, I haven't seen anyone else mention that yet, and I also thought it was what he wanted.

However, I think that there has been a change in Dean's thinking, perhaps not as a result of Sam's betrayal, but as a result of his time in hell. When Zach is torturing Sam, Dean won't give in, and in fact asks that they both be killed. While it's a sensible thing to do, it's hard to imagine S2 Dean would ever have made that decision. It reminded me of how Buffy was willing to let the apocalypse happen in S5 to save Dawn, but by S7 was willing to be the general and sacrifice her if need be. I couldn't help thinking that it's Dean who's starting to see the big picture now, and I wonder if we'll see Sam take the opposite road, essentially flipping their positions from JiB.

I like your interpretation of Zach as a bureaucrat, as well as having his own, and not necessarily correct, interpretations of prophecy. I also found your comment about the planting of the false prophecy a very interesting one. I'm wondering who are Chuck's prophecies for? Are they going to become more instrumental for Sam and Dean? Presumably not because from now on they won't be able to trust them. (I wondered, in fact, if this was one reason to have a false one planted, so that Chuck can't serve as a constant deus-ex-machina). Are they for the angels? They all seem to revolve around what Sam and Dean do so they wouldn't seem all that useful for the general public. Why does God need a prophet?
bardicvoice: B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>bardicvoice on September 17th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
I agree there has been a change in Dean's thinking, and it's because of what he learned about himself through his experiences in Hell. He finally understands that being willing to give himself up for others isn't always a virtue, and sometimes is flat-out wrong. I think it hurts him badly to put other goals ahead of the suffering of those he loves, but he'd learned that sometimes, surrendering principles to abate suffering is unacceptable and wrong. And that is brutal and hard and ugly, but it's mature, and it's what a commander and leader needs to be able to learn and accept.

I love your point that the brothers are flipping positions again, with Dean taking the greater good viewpoint while Sam now has to relearn the importance of individual feelings, especially his brother's. I hadn't noted that, and really should have. Thanks!

I do suspect that the primary narrative reason for Zachariah's tampering with Chuck was to make him essentially unreliable for the boys, since - barring Chuck being able to determine whether his visions came from the divine or from a different source - they wouldn't be able to discern true prophecy from manipulation.

As for the purpose of prophecy and the role the divine intended for its prophets, I don't know; my big problem with prophecy has always been the collision between the concept of free will and the indication from prophecy that some things are foreordained and thus beyond free will. I hope to see more of that debate in the stories to come: are all things foreseen inevitable, or is there the chance to avert predicted things? Inquiring minds want to know!
whimsywinx: SN-ImpalaRescuewhimsywinx on September 15th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
Excellent review!

I hadn't considered your theory on Dean and his human condomness for Michael, thinking instead that maybe Dean didn't come back from the dead fully human. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out over the season, as well as the Divine Intervention. Obviously, in a humanist story, you don't want too much of that. I suspect God will let events play out because, again, free-will is involved. Obviously the angels have more than they think if they can plot behind God's back. (Well, think they're plotting behind God's back, anyway.)

I haven't had a chance to rewatch the episode, having a VCR on the fritz and the iTunes Store being futzy with the season pass (they assure me the "this item is being modified" glitch is fixed now). There are so many things I want to see again.
bardicvoice: B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>bardicvoice on September 17th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
My season pass issues got resolved a couple of days ago, Whimsy; did the problem get solved for you too? I hope so - I'd hate to think of anyone being deprived of the chance to rewatch!

I do suspect that God's gift of free will wasn't just to humans. After all, if angels didn't have free will, how could Lucifer have rebelled in the first place? So far, allowing free will to play out is the only reason I've been able to find for why God wouldn't have intervened in the initiation of the apocalypse, if indeed the manipulations of Zacharish's faction and the demons brought it on before God would have intended.

I'm really fascinated with everything that Kripke and company have set up for this season. I look forward to learning the answers, even knowing that it will likely take the full season before we come to full understanding (assuming that our understanding ever manages to be "full" ...)
(no subject) - whimsywinx on September 17th, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
fluffykitty2001: carfluffykitty2001 on September 15th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
Great review as always Mary! I posted a link to this on The Winchester Family Business. The readers are always looking for a great read there and this fits the bill. I'm so glad the show is back and that your fantastic analysis is back as well.
bardicvoice: B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>bardicvoice on September 17th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
Thank you! I always enjoy reading your take as well, whether I manage to comment or not - I can't keep up!!! (Speaking of, I really need to get to bed and give up on the commenting thing again ... there just aren't enough hours in the day!)
(Anonymous) on September 15th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)

Thanks again for allowing "Anonymous" posts....still haven't taken the plunge and joined LiveJournal. I really wanted to share these photos I took in Paris just last week while on vacation. It's Michael and his mighty sword, defeating Lucifer. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when they were featured in our beloved Supernatural. I could hardly wait to share them with my fellow SuperFans. Thank you for allowing this.


I love your reviews and your insight into our favorite show.

Nina (Wyoming307 from TVGuide.com)
bardicvoice: B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>bardicvoice on September 18th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
Thanks, Nina - and what great photos! Thanks for sharing them!
ash48ash48 on September 15th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
Absolutely wonderful meta as usual. I always look forward to your anaylsis. I have nothing to add - you pretty muched mirrored everything I had been thinking (but could never put them into words like this).

I will say that I really, really like that maybe Dean hasn't told anyone that he'd broken the first seal. Not sure why, but I had assumed that Sam and Bobby knew, but it makes much more sense that he's kept that a secrect. And it also means we have that "reveal" to look forward to. :)

I LOVED your explanation as to why Dean didn't step in when Bobby was berating Sam. It was so heartbreaking to watch (and Jared was simply wonderful!) and I wanted Dean to step in, but it makes more sense now why he didn't.

Certainly a highlight for me was the seduction of Nick. I am quite excited for the development of Lucifer. I agree that evil is best represented when the character doesn't see themselves as evil or bad. Like Gordon.

Thanks again. (Hope you don't mind if I friend you - I've been following your work for ages).
bardicvoice: B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>bardicvoice on September 18th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
Thank YOU, and sorry it's taken me so long to respond; I can't keep up! Real life really gets in the way of the fun stuff ...

I'll be curious to learn where my thoughts are right and where I've missed the boat. Kripke always manages to surprise, but he has yet to disappoint! I'm looking forward to tonight, and it's almost here ...

You are of course most welcome to friend! And you are always welcome here!
evil cliffhanger girlalienat on September 15th, 2009 08:57 am (UTC)
She's back again. Yay! As always it was a great analysis of the epi and I mostly I agree with you.

I really think that Dean didn't tell neither Bobby nor Sam about breaking the first seal. If it would have been shared off-screen I would be pissed, because that's just too important to not show on-screen. And therefore I totally agree with you about Dean and his guilt and the way this refers to Sam. Also I really do think that his trust issues have nothing to do with Sam breaking the seal. I think it really is the lying, hiding and cheathing and finally choosing Ruby over his brother. But I also think that they can find their way back to being brothers again and maybe become more stable in their relationship.

As for Bobby, he's my hero saving Dean the way he did, even consider dying in the process. I'm really curious how he will cope with the repercussions of his actions. I hope that he's strong enough to find a way to deal with not being able to walk, especially in the light of the apocalypse, but I'm sure the boys will be there for him.

That Dean is Michael's vessel really bothers me. I just can't see Dean willingly give himself over to an angel. I could understand that breaking the first seal in Hell made Dean special for Michael, as the prophecy says the man who started it has to end it. But that's just what quirks me. Dean wouldn't be human anymore and in the end it would be Michael in Dean's body defeating Lucifer. It would probably a great challenge for Jensen to play an angel, but I just don't want to see that. I want to see Sam and Dean finding a way to beat them all. Just like Dean said in the hospital. Hopefully your thoughts are right and Zachariah just interprets the prophecy in the wrong way.

I think Becky was funny, but as you say some things get old. I read Wincest and that's not what bothers me, but the way she gushed over Sam was a little embarrassing. I can see myself (and I'm a obsessive and lunatic fan - yes, I can admit that) acting the way she did.

On a last note I don't really know what to think of the devil. But I didn't have any sympathy for him, for Nick yes - poor man - for Lucifer not so much. Even if he thinks that God betrayed him. But you're right really villians don't think they're evil, they always have reason to justify their behavior, at least they think so.
bardicvoice: B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>bardicvoice on September 18th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC)
Thank you for coming, and glad that you find things to agree with here. Only time will tell whether we're right or wrong in what we think and hope, but we can continue to think and hope!
hagathachristiehagathachristie on September 15th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
I found your comment about Nick being a nice parallel with John Winchester interesting as I hadn't considered that at all. I was pretty struck by Nick's parallels with Sam last season. Sam was devastated by Dean's death, drinking, and completely alone when Ruby showed up and started her manipulations on him. Just as Nick asked if he could get his wife and child back, Sam had asked if he could get Dean back. Both were offered the chance for revenge instead. I think Ruby used the word "revenge," IIRC, while Lucifer used "justice." Also interesting though is that in Sam's hallucination of Mary, Mary told him he was doing the right thing in seeking "justice."

I certainly agree with your position that Dean hasn't told Sam about the first seal. I just think that revelation would have been too important to happen completely off-screen and without even any direct references. I think when Sam was being told Dean was supposed to be the one to end it, that he would have put more stock in that declaration if he knew it was prophesied so because Dean had been the one to start it.

Do you have an opinion on whether or not Sam was definitely told that Mary made a deal? It doesn't relate to this episode, but while the discussion includes talk of what Sam does and doesn't know, that is another point I'm not clear on.

I enjoyed your entire review and have only just discovered your journal, but will definitely be back for more!
bardicvoice: B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>bardicvoice on September 18th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
Nice job on drawing out the parallels between Nick and Sam! I'll have to think more on that, and on what it may say about what further plans Lucifer may have for the "special child" he charged Azazel to find for him; I don't think Sam's free yet of being a potential pawn of Hell.

I don't know whether Dean told Sam that Mary evidently had made a deal. That Azazel had fixated on her and killed her parents, I'm sure yes; that much explained a lot about what had happened to Sam. But to put the blame on Mom for having made a deal evidently to save Dad? That one, I don't know. Given Dean's state of mind at the time, I'm inclined to believe he would have told all the truth as he had seen it, but I wonder if we'll ever find out?

Welcome, by the way, and I hope you continue to enjoy what you find here! Now I'm going into my bubble until after I finish writing the review of tonight's episode ... just had to finish this response, since I'd begun it before the show started, and then had to put it aside!
Delusions of a TV Addict: Sam & Deansqueemonster on September 15th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Wow, really wonderful thinky thoughts! I especially liked this:

"You see, I don’t buy Dean’s role as being to step aside from himself to let an archangel use his body to ultimately save the day. Personal choice, free will, and accepting responsibility for the consequences of actions taken are all key themes underlying Supernatural’s entire story arc. For all its supernatural elements, the show is ultimately about being human, about the importance of the actions and choices and feelings of individuals and families. I don’t see the show copping out by having its human heart surrendered to the keeping of an angel for the final deciding act. I think it far more likely that the pep talk Dean gave Bobby, however much he didn’t believe in it himself at the time, will ultimately define the core of the story and the choices the characters make to fight for all that is human in despite of both the demonic and the divine. I could see Dean effectively taking on Michael’s warrior attributes and commanding role in the fight of good versus evil, but only as the defender of humanity, and only as a fully human man."

Yes, yes, yes! I've been having similar thoughts as this over the past few days, but have struggled to put it into words. And now I don't have to. ;D

Also, this thought really intrigues me:

"I wonder what approach Michael would take, were he ever to approach Dean directly about his role in the apocalypse? We’ve seen a seducer and a bureaucrat; I wonder about the warrior."

I'm so glad I took a peek at your journal! You've given me much to ponder until the next episode. :)
Taira no Jentairanojen on September 15th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the episode, and I agreed with most of them. However, I personally believe Sam knows that Dean broke the first seal, for several reasons.

Dean told Sam every other piece of information that he received last season, and has never been good at keeping secrets, so I find it hard to believe he is still hanging on to this one. At the same time he found out he broke the seal, he was told that as the one to break the first seal, he was the only one who could finish it. We know for sure that Sam knows about the finishing part-he references it later. I think it unlikely that Dean would have told him the second part without the first part-it doesn't make much sense otherwise-"Sam, I'm the one who's supposed to finish it." "Why you?" "I don't know, they didn't say." As for why we didn't see Dean tell Sam onscreen, we already saw one tearful confession a handful of episodes earlier-a second one would be redundant. Plus, the timeline on when Sam found out about that bit is unclear, but Dean was obviously much recovered after "It's a Terrible Life" and I think he would have been up to the confession then. Another thing that convinces me that Sam knows, is that in this episode Dean says "We made a mess, we clean it up," and Sam accepts this statement of shared blame, he doesn't challenge it. Now, as far as I can remember, their only contribution to this "mess" is breaking the first and last seals. If Sam doesn't know that Dean broke the first seal, what does he think Dean did to help make the mess? Because as guilty as Sam is feeling right now, I don't believe he would allow Dean to share the blame unless he thought Dean had actually done something to contribute to the "mess".

But most importantly to me, if Dean is still keeping that secret and letting Sam agonize about breaking a seal without telling him that he(Dean) also broke one, then Dean is being cruel and self-serving, as well as hypocritical(being angry about Sam keeping secrets while he himself is keeping a major secret directly relevant to Sam) and I'd like to think better of Dean. If it turns out Sam doesn't know, I will think less of Dean.

Of course I could be wrong and you could be right, and this comment got really long, I'm sorry for rambling on. I do really love reading your take on the episodes, since it helps me clarify my own.
adrenalineshotsadrenalineshots on September 15th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
As always, a wonderful view of the episode and some very, very good points and questions raised.
I agree with you in almost everything, except the Dean/Michael's vessel part.

And while, yes, you're right about the inconsistencies between other vessels that we’ve met so far and Dean, I would say that he may as well really be a vessel simply because of the way the episode was written.

There is a clear duality between Lucifer’s siren song, gently pushing Nick in to saying yes, in which he ultimately succeeds, and Zachariah’s dickness, torturing Dean in to saying yes, and ultimately failing.

I think this was the first battle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, and angel-management lost.

It is possible that Zachariah is nothing but a kiss-ass, who is trying to smooth Michael’s descent on Earth by getting his vessel all ready and set to go. It is also possible that, if Michael turns out (if he ever shows up) not to be as much as a dick as good ol’Zach, all possibilities of him ever succeeding might have been ruined by Zach’s failure.
Zoedeath_spoon on September 15th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
The epic-ness that is Becky is beyond comprehension. I love the creators. Love them.
historylover29historylover29 on September 16th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
Great meta, as usual. However, there are some things you said that I don't agree with.

For starters, I'm pretty sure that Dean has told Bobby and Sam his role in starting this apocalypse. He hasn't held anything back before now. There really aren't anythings I can point to and say "Here's proof!"

Second, Dean's not mad at Sam for killing Lilith and setting Lucifer free. He says that at the end. He says it in the middle "We made a mess; we clean it up." He knows that Sam made a mistake--a possible end-of-the world mistake, but a mistake. What Dean's mad at is the constant lies, the betrayal, siding with Ruby, and probably the beatdown he received. And for that, Dean's trust in Sam has been broken. It wouldn't be as bad if the "only" thing Sam did was raise Lucifer.

Third, Jimmy couldn't hear Castiel's voice at first in "The Rapture." It sent him into a seizure. However, eventually, he learned how to listen to Cas' voice. Same thing with Dean, although Cas' true voice didn't send Dean into a seizure. Cas says when he meant Dean that he thought Dean would be one of those "special" people who would be able to hear angels' true voices. Obviously, Dean is MEANT to. He just hasn't learned how yet. And he doesn't really want to either (as opposed to Jimmy.)

I hated the fangirl, but I really hate Wincest.So, from the moment I saw her, I hated her. Plus, most people think it's funny that she couldn't (WOULDN'T) stop touching Sam, even after he asked her to. I don't think it was funny. Reverse the genders and tell me if it would be funny if "Benjamin" kept touching "Samantha's" chest.

I'm actually intrigued by the fact that Dean's "destined" to be Michael's vessel. Although I hope he doesn't become it (I'd prefer him to keep his humanity, because that's what makes him so interesting), I don't mind the idea.

That's pretty much all I have to say.

saltnburnemsaltnburnem on September 16th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
Oh hurray! I was looking for the return of your fantastic reviews. So much was packed into those 42 minutes, my head was spinning! I did wonder about the depth of Bobby's wound, but hadn't thought about the potential role of Zachariah in his paralysis. I, too found the beginning confusing and after the show, I called my buddy and she got lost a bit at that part, too. (If you missed one line of explanatory dialogue, you were toast!) I found Becky's reading(out loud!)of her slash-fic to be as cringe-worthy a moment as the "melon-baller to Sam's eye" moment in TIOMS! Must Kripke and co. focus on such a small part of the SN fandom!? Well.....they're off to a wild start, and a lot was set up with this epi! Thanks again for the great meta!
zofia27: Blinkzofia27 on September 16th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
Hey Professor!

I agree that the beginning felt a little rushed/choppy. I'm wondering if they had to cut some stuff out because of time since this ep ran a little longer than most.

Thank you for a reasonable explanation as to why Dean just stood there while Bobby told Sam to lose his number. It was really bothering me.

The whole Dean as Michael's vessel is interesting and I have to say that I'd be dissapointed if Kripke at some point had Dean allow Michael in and that's how the fight against Lucifer was won. One of the best thing's about Dean is that he's always been Dean. He has never been posessed, he makes his own decisions, and he doesn't make apologies for his actons. Also, he's never had any 'powers'. He's always been portrayed as fully human and his willingness to fight the supernatural without any special abilities is a large part of his appeal.