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A Thread For All Seasons: Saving People, Hunting Things; The Family Business


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#4111

yimhappy

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 2:20 PM

I just feel like the show doesn't really know anymore what it's about.
...
If you ignore what was important, nothing is important anymore and boredom sets in.

Well said. This was what I meant when I used to harp on themes. To me, this was a show about family dealing with hard knocks, authority, and fate. It was even hopeful, since our heroes would triumph (sort of) despite incredibly harsh cost. Now, the characters pay harsh cost for nothing it seems.

I know Castiel's dark arc is a dead horse, but it's such a good example. In interviews, SG said that Castiel's arc was supposed explore "brother betray brother" in a way SPN couldn't do with Sam/Dean. Fine, but Castiel's "betray" arc wasn't resonant, and I didn't feel like it told me anything except we can lose someone we depend upon senselessly.
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#4112

supposebly

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 9:41 PM

Castiel's arc was supposed explore "brother betray brother" in a way SPN couldn't do with Sam/Dean.


I don't normally read external sources, I even avoid episode promos like the plague. But that would have been a ridiculous undertaking to even compare.
Nothing has ever bothered me as much as when Sam kept lying to Dean with no good reason that I could see. And not only because there was no good reason but because up until then, there was no question of either one of them ever doing something like that.
I theoretically understand what they were trying to do with the so-called betrayal of Castiel but I never cared for the supposed bond between the two characters, especially after Castiel let Sam out of Bobby's panic room.

After the nightmare of season 4, where Sam was written to keep trusting Ruby for no apparent reason except that he apparently had drunk away his brain in a month or 2, this could never come close in resonance.

Edited by supposebly, Apr 16, 2012 @ 9:52 PM.

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#4113

Observe

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 8:07 AM

Nothing has ever bothered me as much as when Sam kept lying to Dean with no good reason that I could see.


IA. His lying had a valid (from what he could see) purpose/motive in S4, but having him continue to do it just made it look like he hadn't learned from that experience. It's one of the big issues I have with the way Sam has been written, because I think his character never seems to progress. And that makes no sense to me because he's presented as being a smart guy who should know better – so why won't they let him?

Outside of the narrative though, I think it's just more evidence of the piss-poor plotting being allowed to drive the characters and inject tension into the Sam-Dean dynamic, since there are no more OCs to inform that.
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#4114

supposebly

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 12:47 PM

His lying had a valid (from what he could see) purpose/motive in S4, but having him continue to do it just made it look like he hadn't learned from that experience.


But that's the problem. The Sam as written before would not have seen a motive to behave as he did, so writing him that way made no sense to me. It seemed to me they needed to write him differently to get the stupid plot moving even though I'm sure they could have used any number of character traits that wouldn't make him look a like a completely different person to do that. Why they had to write him as an arrogant, distrustful moron who had left his brain somewhere in the hiatus between season 3 and 4, I will never know. Bitter? me?
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#4115

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 2:52 PM

The Sam as written before would not have seen a motive to behave as he did, so writing him that way made no sense to me. It seemed to me they needed to write him differently to get the stupid plot moving even though I'm sure they could have used any number of character traits that wouldn't make him look a like a completely different person to do that. Why they had to write him as an arrogant, distrustful moron who had left his brain somewhere in the hiatus between season 3 and 4, I will never know.


Yeah, I don't see the Sam of pre-NRFTW doing it but I can rationalize it afterwards in terms of how seeing Dean die in such an awful way – for him, essentially – would have made Sam desperate for revenge and also desperate to make sure nothing like that happened again after Dean came back. And I've always assumed that anything outside of that was really related to the demon blood maybe accentuating traits he might have had (a desire for control arising from a lack of control over his own life, and an anger over how unfair their lives were) but that hadn't been overly heightened until the blood was in the equation... I didn't really see him being arrogant and distrustful; I got more of a sense of desperation...
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#4116

yimhappy

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 2:57 PM

Why they had to write him as an arrogant, distrustful moron who had left his brain somewhere in the hiatus between season 3 and 4, I will never know.

This was why I speculated that SG made EK's same mistakes, in a bigger way.

For me S4/S5 was love at first site, but Sam's arc left me scratching my head. Sam still seemed like a smart, compassionate guy mostly doing the right thing. I could sympathize with Sam not wanting to kill demon hosts, or tell Dean things. During "When the Levee Breaks", I felt for Sam's plea to be trusted. "Heaven and Hell" did help me get that maybe Ruby was trustable.

But, I struggled to hand wave every bit of dialog where Sam called Dean weak. Those incidents were jarring, and to me bad dialong. All SPN had to do was adjust Sam's words a bit so that Sam sounded concerned/protective of what his brother had gone thru, rather than judgmental. I was a newbie watching S4, but I couldn't add it up.

I had to basically shut my eyes and focus on Sam's desire for Lilith's permanent death, to stop the breaking of the seals. Plus remember that family interactions sometimes don't make sense.
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#4117

MadCaps

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 5:01 PM

"Why they had to write him as an arrogant, distrustful moron who had left his brain somewhere in the hiatus between season 3 and 4, I will never know."

I thought Sam always had these elements to his personality but they were amped up in season 4 because of his grief and anger at Dean for making the deal and Ruby's ego-stroking and demon blood.

As far back as Bloody Mary he was keeping things from Dean when he didn't tell Dean about the dreams of Jessica dying. He also never told Dean about what Azazel showed him about getting fed the demon blood. And I know miles vary on this, but I have always felt that JP has played Sam as believing he is smarter and stronger than Dean. Sam also says as much every time he is under the influence and his inhibitions are lowered such as in Asylum. In season 3, he says on more than one occasion that he will use Ruby, never believing for a minute that she could be playing him, even after Dean tells him that she lied to him about being able to help him save Dean. My understanding of Sam is that he generally believes he is the smartest person in the room and when you add that to his need for control and power after learning about Azazel's plans, his actions make sense to me.

Sam's "fall" came from a mixture of his own character flaws and external manipulation. That was a powerful story and my problem wasn't with the execution of it during season 4, but with the clean-up in season 5 that seemed to gloss over the very reasons it initially highlighted. So the fall was well done but the rise of Sam back to hero seemed to fall into a series of short-cuts, hand-waving and narrative excuse-making which lacked the emotional honesty of season 4. IMO.


ETA

But, I struggled to hand wave every bit of dialog where Sam called Dean weak. Those incidents were jarring, and to me bad dialong. All SPN had to do was adjust Sam's words a bit so that Sam sounded concerned/protective of what his brother had gone thru, rather than judgmental.

Watch Asylum or the scene with the Crossroads Demon in season 3's Bedtime Stories. Both of those episodes show that Sam thinks Dean is weak, needy and pathetic. So his believing that about Dean in season 4 does not feel out of character to me.

Edited by MadCaps, Apr 17, 2012 @ 5:05 PM.

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#4118

shamangrrl

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Posted Apr 18, 2012 @ 7:00 PM

I've gotta agree, MadCaps. In the Pilot, the Woman In White flat out tells Sam that betrayal is in his blood - and the journey started by the end of S2, and really became apparent by the end of S3. Hell, the three sins that made a beeline for Sam in Magnificent 7 should have given him pause (Pride, Wrath and Greed, wasn't it?). To me, I saw the progression, especially when Sam was ready to sacrifice Nancy in Jus In Belo. Like you, I feel the "fall" was well done, and for once, relatively subtle. It didn't happen all at once, but over time. The execution of Sam's redemption, however, was a massive fail, because in-show, it was presented as nothing being Sam's fault. Yes, Sam was manipulated. But what never gets a mention, is that Dean was manipulated as well. And making it okay to ingest demon blood for Swine Song - that alone would have totally set the character back, if any growth had been achieved. What I find odd, is that Castiel's journey was actually handled much better. He started out thinking he could control Dean, started to believe in Dean, went through Angel re-education camp at Zachariah's and/or Uriel's hands, betrayed the brothers, but once again, he found his way back. When Dean really needed him, he laid it on the line. He never told the guys about letting Sam out of the panic room, but by his actions, he started earning his redemption, instead of talking a lot or blaming others. Why couldn't they do the same for Sam? Why have him repeating the same mistakes, over and over, and keep excusing them? Shitty writing doesn't cover it, because by this point, I really believe the writers/showrunners believe they've turned Sam into a BDH. At least, that's what they keep Telling. But I want some Show.
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#4119

hat

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Posted Apr 18, 2012 @ 8:55 PM

I really believe the writers/showrunners believe they've turned Sam into a BDH. At least, that's what they keep Telling. But I want some Show.

It seems to me they've been trying to show this for at least 3 seasons, but it always falls flat. I'm not sure if it's the writing, the acting or the directing, but whatever, I'm kind of bored and tired of the show trying to show/tell me this. I'm more than ready to have some BDH Dean episodes again with a generous sprinkling of Badass Angel Cas to spice it up. JMO.

Edited by hat, Apr 18, 2012 @ 8:55 PM.

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#4120

yimhappy

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 1:54 PM

I've heard talk that Bobby's farewell in "Death's Door" was cheapened by his sort of return. Maybe, but I don't see it that way. I think "Death's Door" was the springboard episode for Bobby's new existence. It gave us what was behind Bobby's critical choice. It also showed that Bobby's reasons for staying a ghost are unusual, maybe leading to later repercussions. "Farewell episode" was another red herring.

Drama is about having your protagonist make big choices. I'm OK with Bobby having a good story, although it makes me wish the Winchesters had good, well-told storylines too.

Edited by yimhappy, Apr 22, 2012 @ 1:56 PM.

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#4121

Tralah

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 2:02 PM

I think it would have been better had they ended "Death's Door" by showing us that Bobby had decided to become a ghost. The way they tried to insert suspense and "surprise" us with this storyline was pathetic and just made me roll my eyes. I think instead of trying to be coy, if they had just played it straight by having Sam and Dean figure out much quicker that Bobby was with them as a ghost, I wouldn't be quite as annoyed as I am by this storyline. I could have lived with Bobby having trouble manifesting himself at first, but Sam and Dean are supposed to be these smart, experienced hunters. They looked stupid for me for not figuring out ghost!Bobby sooner.

Edited by Tralah, Apr 22, 2012 @ 2:04 PM.

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#4122

femalecobbler

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 2:33 PM

I think "Death's Door" was the springboard episode for Bobby's new existence

I don't understand why Bobby needed a new existance, nor do I understand why Bobby, a guest star, should have most of the season devoted to him and have a storyline that involves only him, while Dean Winchester, a lead, hasn't had the honor of a story in years.

To me, the show is wasting time and energy on a character that isn't as popular as the leads, and I think this may be because none of the showrunners or producers have any idea what makes good drama.

Adding the stupid plot about some unexplained incidents, when everyone had already guessed that it was Bobby's ghost, then acting like it was the biggest surprise ever doesn't make the characters look stupid, it makes the creators look stupid.

I also don't give two hoots what happens to Bobby and don't know anyone that does. Maybe some fans do, but I don't feel it's as many as the PTBs think it is.

Edited by femalecobbler, Apr 22, 2012 @ 2:47 PM.

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#4123

yimhappy

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:56 AM

I was wondering if there was more to fan irritation with Bobby than "brothers not doing their own research" or "annoying dialog". Sometimes, I felt uneasy about Bobby too.

Then, I realized that part of what bothers me about Bobby is why do the Winchesters need a father figure?? They're in their thirties, grown men, hunters since forever and world savers. But, a father-like character makes the Winchesters seem younger, or even regressed, like they haven't grown from all their experience.

In S2, they processed loss of their father, but the presence of Bobby makes it feel like they never grew into men who function without a father. It didn't always feel that way, but it does now. In S4-S5, it seemed like the brothers were owning their own huge decisions, being their own authority(& father). But Bobby's father-like importance grew in S6-S7.

There are other reasons why it feels like the brothers never grow, but maybe this is another reason.

Edited by yimhappy, Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:09 PM.

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#4124

Aeryn13

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:33 PM

The behind-the-scenes-reasons for killing off John Winchester (i.e. JDM having other projects) aside, one of the biggest storytelling reasons Kripke has given for that was that it should allow Dean and Sam to grow into their own, take over their own destiny and not follow John's clues and mission in some way.

Now, five years later, this seems like a joke because Bobby has become more of a hold-up than John ever was. Even in Season 1 when they followed his bread-crumbs and were kept in the dark about vital knowledge on the Yellow Eyed Demon, they were perfectly capable to finish their own hunts and make up their own minds. And sure, they could work with others but on a partnership level.

Bobby has become surrogate Daddy and it's like because he is supposed to be "nice" Daddy, that's okay. They haven't build their own contacts or network because Bobby has known every hunter who ever lived on this Earth and if they need one, they get a referral. They don't need their own research and least of all their own instincts or deduction skills because once they've done some legwork and gathered a couple basic facts, they'll call Bobby and he will pretty much immediately name which monster-of-the-week it is, how to kill it and refer them to where they'll find the object to do so. They are the junior partners and somewhat the muscle of the operation.

Coupled with the crotchety old man shtick and the "idjits" and all the tough love rants, even Bobby's dialogue is coded as immensely paternal. He (and everybody) even refers to them as "the boys" even though they are two adult men.

I think the show tried to create some bastard version of the wise, old mentor in teen shows here, like Giles on Buffy. Only and very important difference is: the characters on these shows are TEENS. Meaning it's okay for them to need such a person. Supernatural started when both main characters were already well past that stage.

And I think their Season 1/2-selves would kick their Season 7-selves asses, both in hunting and in general.

I don't understand why Bobby needed a new existance, nor do I understand why Bobby, a guest star, should have most of the season devoted to him and have a storyline that involves only him, while Dean Winchester, a lead, hasn't had the honor of a story in years.


True. I'm all for supporting characters, I'm also not averse to giving them stories but don't build the attic before the cellar here.

At FIRST, they should fix the writing for the lead characters and give them exciting, plot-related and genre-themed stories. And then, they can bring the second bananas up to speed.
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#4125

supposebly

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:43 PM

Then, I realized that part of what bothers me about Bobby is why do the Winchesters need a father figure?


Agreed. Dean's mind is supposed to be about 70, I don't know how long Sam was supposed to be in the cage but since he doesn't remember, I think we can safely assume it's not older than his body is. Based on life experiences he's old enough.
This is why I hope very much that Bobby's bad decision will carry some weight and won't be "rewarded" in some way. So, please, don't bring him back, or make his decision be the key to solve the Leviathan problem. For exactly the reasons stated upthread, the Winchesters don't need a father figure and their relationship needs to be put on a more equal footing. Which means that Bobby's "paternal" speeches and the episode pattern described by Aeryn13 need to go.

I love what Jim Beaver brought to the role but even more like the Winchesters, Bobby hasn't been allowed to grow beyond his initial characterization. If the writing can't accomplish that, it's better to let the character go.
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#4126

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:03 PM

or make his decision be the key to solve the Leviathan problem.

You may be hoping in vain there. It's a good bet that Bobby's ability to become invisible and the leviathans inablity to eat him will play a crucial role.
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#4127

Bruinsfan

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:44 PM

Of course, they were able to have an effect on a powerful spiritual being like Castiel from within, and Mother-of-All could mutate souls and reel them in to her own dimension upon their deaths like the catch of the day. It's not out of the question that the Leviathans could affect Bobby even in his current state.
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#4128

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Posted Apr 24, 2012 @ 12:12 PM

It's a good bet that Bobby's ability to become invisible and the leviathans inablity to eat him will play a crucial role.

If the big finale is going to end up being an heroic moment for a secondary character, then truly this show has lost its credibility. Especially a character as whiny and self-delusional as Bobby, who seems to think that the world will be destroyed without him because the Winchesters are too stupid to save it on their own.
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#4129

supposebly

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Posted Apr 24, 2012 @ 11:54 PM

I'm calling it now (really not a spoiler): Bobby will be influential, because he can't be eaten and Castiel will take them down to make up for the mess he created. It's a good thing this show isn't called The Winchesters.
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#4130

yimhappy

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 4:26 PM

It's a good thing this show isn't called The Winchesters.

Yeah, it's not like the brothers aren't in almost every scene for 22 hours x 7 seasons. It's not like Sam/Dean are the ones who make the big save in almost every episode. It's not even like SPN doesn't make world affecting storylines all about the Winchester's reaction to it.

Jeez, why can't it be a team win, rather than 1 BDH win?? Or, since the show is about family, then family wins? I find a family win more touching & meaningful.

Edited by yimhappy, Apr 27, 2012 @ 10:50 PM.

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#4131

supposebly

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 4:32 PM

Sorry for being dense. My excuse is that I'm not a native speaker of English. What does BDH stand for?
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#4132

Aeryn13

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 5:12 PM

Jeez, why can't it be a team win, rather than 1 BDH win?? Or, since the show is about family, then family wins?


Because that's not how the Finales of this show work.

Devil's Trap? It wasn't a win at all.

All Hell Breaks Loose II? Well, this one may go to Dean and Spirit!John.

No Rest for the Wicked? Again, no win at all.

Lucifer Rising? Doubtful on how much of a win that can be counted as, technically Sam kills Lilith.

Suck Song? Sam gets the big win alone.

The Man who knew too much? Another doubtful scenario. Technically, Castiel defeats Raphael.

Whatever Season 7 is shaping up to be points more or less to Bobby getting the big win alone.

This show may spout stuff on teamwork and family and humanity triumphing but that is all talk and not really born out by action. And really, before second bananas like Bobby get their turn at the solo win, I'll root for the second main character first.

Sorry for being dense. My excuse is that I'm not a native speaker of English. What does BDH stand for?



Stands for "Big Damn Hero".
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#4133

supposebly

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 7:53 PM

Thanks, Areyn13.
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#4134

supposebly

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 7:53 PM

Oops!

Edited by supposebly, Apr 27, 2012 @ 7:55 PM.

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#4135

MichaelaBelle

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 6:41 PM

I was thinking how hard it is to believe there are only three episodes left in the season when nothing much has happened all season long and the brothers aren't much further along in defeating the leviathans then when they started. Then I remembered all that had happened this season:

Cas went crazy, declared himself God and dissolved into a pile of goo
Bobby got shot in the head and died
Sam got married
Dean had a daughter and Sam killed her
Sam had Lucifer hallucinations and landed in an asylum
Cas got married
Cas went catatonic and ended up in the asylum
The brothers teamed up with Meg
Bobby turned up as a ghost

All that happened and yet I'm left with the overall feeling that nothing happened and this season was a complete waste.

Edited by MichaelaBelle, May 3, 2012 @ 6:42 PM.

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#4136

Blackmantra53

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 9:35 PM

Maybe it's because nothing you've listed relates to the Leviathan with the exception of the first event.
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#4137

veq

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Posted May 4, 2012 @ 11:22 AM

Or perhaps itīs because most of those happenings werenīt interesting or that well executed. e.g. samīs wedding or deanīs daughter incident or getting rid of Imapala till (probably) season finale
And when there was something interesting going on it was all packed in one episode *iīm staring at you, born-again identity*

This season has been horribly boring.
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#4138

Observe

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 7:57 PM

I'd like Castiel a lot more if they'd stop finding stupid ways to bring him back and even more stupid ways to continue making him relevant. He's the Fanservice in their back pocket that has about as thrilling a plotline as Bobby's Ghost this time around.


Still more interesting to me than what the Winchesters have been saddled with lately.


This. Hopefully with Carver running things we won't be set up for year 8 of something's wrong with Sam, Dean must wring his hands over it. I'm ready for Dean to be proactive and I find the Dean-Cas relationship way more interesting than the Winchesters' yawnsome sibling angst.
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#4139

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 8:04 PM

I'm mildly hopeful for Carver but the Standard Sam Explanation is not the problem.

It's that they routinely kill off / traumatize / psychologically damage every single character yet because of the nature of the show, said changes cannot
A) be permanent
or
B) be as bad as they theoretically should be.

Not that I expect any of the characters to be well-adjusted but the constant putting Dean, Sam, Bobby, and Castiel - all four of them - in some kind of terrible horrible state that should send them all to a psych ward and then not actually following through and putting on a magic band-aid and being "All better! Next trauma!" is a real storytelling problem. And has been done over and over ever since they decided to send Dean to hell and bring him back well enough to function in S4 (this is not a comment on Dean - it's just that this is the first offender in a long, long line of character-related situations that are basically serving as pointless psychological torture porn).

I think they're too dependent on the manpain over actual plot to change this but I won't be upset if they prove me wrong.

Edited by Gwonk, May 6, 2012 @ 8:05 PM.

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#4140

hat

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Posted May 6, 2012 @ 8:14 PM

While I feel there should be some underlying arc, (please no more what's wrong with Sam this time), I would love to go back to saving people, hunting things where the PiPs were in danger and needed saving, instead of becoming Mary Sues who saved the day while the leads stood by and watched.

Some great urban legends is what is needed, with real monsters that are not demons, and real situations that don't have to do with ending the world, yet again.

Edited by hat, May 6, 2012 @ 8:14 PM.

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