I loved you meta (the moose lamp meta) but I do have a question. When Sam says "lurks in the background of its victims"... don't you think Dean lurking in the background in this shot makes Sam his victim?
Tricky question anon…
As an Impala-crazy, pie-munching, angel-of-Thursday-loving Dean!girl I want to say no, because I don’t want to think of Dean’s actions as having harmed his little brother, but lets face it, they have. So yes, I think Sam is victim of Dean’s co-dependence. I hate that this is the way I look at the Gadreel-possession, but I just cannot see it any other way.
I think part of the reason why there is such vehement debate in fandom about this topic is that victim is such a loaded word. Television, news, and movies have us associate the word victim with people in a fetal position, crying, helpless. Sam does not fit that image. He is angry, he is not taking any of Dean’s shit, he is not forgiving. That doesn’t mean he is not a victim in this. In fact, if we look at the etymology of the word - the Latin victima, meaning sacrificial offering - he fits it 100%. In my reading of the situation, Sam’s autonomy was the sacrifice on the alter of Dean’s co-dependence.
Now as for what this could mean for the rest of the season…. Personally, I would be disappointed if they take the story to a Cain and Abel conclusion and Dean ends up killing Sam. The current story-line could take it there, but I feel we have had that plot-line in season 5 with Lucifer and Michael. I don’t think this is where we’ll go, though. Even the Biblical story of Cain and Abel itself has already had this season’s “book-doesn’t-match-cover” treatment, so I really doubt this is what we’ll be getting.
As to where it is going…I kinda want to wait till after Blade Runners (possibly even till after the next Cas episode) before diving into the end of the season speculation.
Do you think they hog-tied Dean to that pole to force the blade in his hand? Maybe there are reasons why he didn't want it anymore? Maybe it works like a possession as soon as you grip it?
I’m not entirely sure what scene you are referring to, anon. Would love to respond properly, cause what you are referring to sounds like it would fit in nicely with the theme of consent this season as well as Dean realising too late he has made a wrong choice for what he thought were the right reasons. Help me out with a link to a pic/video?
Something I didn’t notice until Neven pointed it out in her 9x14 review…Dean is now drinking the same brand of beer as Cain.
The Head of Medusa
Peter Paul Rubens, ca. 1617-1618
In a season that has had lots of mirroring, how interesting that they have chosen a painting of Medusa, the monster destroyed by catching her own reflection in a mirror!
Perseus beheaded her and used her head as a weapon to kill the monster that was going to attack Andromeda but subsequently found it too dangerous to use and gave it up to the goddess Athena instead. She set it on her shield where it became a symbol of divine protection and a ward against evil.
Without reading too deeply into symbolism in the paintings: both Dean and Sam are standing in front of paintings of dead things. Medusa was a bona fide monster, killed by a bona fide hero guided and protected by the gods, in defense of an innocent; the head eventually became a shield instead of a weapon. The critters in the other painting are simply dead, perhaps killed for sport, at best killed for dinner (the birds look pretty tiny but I can’t imagine a cook in the 1600s throwing out meat). The paintings and their associations with Sam and Dean kind of call back to the two halves of the “saving people, hunting things” line, the philosophical divisions between the Men of Letters and the hunters, and maybe to the hippies in “Dog Dean Afternoon” commenting about hunters defining themselves by what they kill.
The connection to Athena might also be a link to the Men of Letters - and maybe to the combination of “brains and brawn” that Sam and Dean were said to represent? Athena was a goddess of wisdom, but also of warfare. The synopsis of both this episode and the next seem to imply that Sam will be getting more involved with the Men of Letters…
As far as the other painting and the symbolism of the birds and rabbits - I’m struck by the lines in the painting pointing at Dean, and him pointing back with the First Blade. Since the creatures are dead, could it be a symbolic “killing” of the hope of redemption symbolized by living birds and rabbits? Also, apparently bigger piles of dead game represented bigger “fleshly lusts” - I’d have to call it a signal of Dean fully embracing his dark side.
Still Life with Hare and Game Birds by Jan Fyt - circa 1630-1650
From wiki: “The negative view of the rabbit as an unclean animal, which derived from the Old Testament, always remained present for medieval artists and their patrons. Thus the rabbit can have a negative connotation of unbridled sexuality and lust or a positive meaning as a symbol of the steep path to salvation. Whether a representation of a hare in Medieval art represents man falling to his doom or striving for his eternal salvation is therefore open to interpretation, depending on context.”
Ohhhh this is so good! Like the two sides of Dean Winchester right here. Is he unclean (poisonous) as he believes, or is he capable of being saved, of being better? And the hare is belly up, almost as if it has given up, but it’s still alive (or it appears to be to me?)…there’s still hope. What are the birds in the painting? Are those sparrows in the back? SOMEONE HELP ME FIGURE OUT WHAT THE BIRDS REPRESENT BECAUSE REASONS.
YES I am so happy someone could identify that painting. Okay, so from that wiki page and some investigation // actual use of Art History “The hare is often associated with moon deities and signifies rebirth and resurrection. It is a symbol of fertility and sensuality, and appears in depictions of hunting” [x] The painting is also very much the prey and trophy’s of a hunter.
Resurrection, rebirth, fertility, unbridled sexuality, lust, unclean. I think there is a good point to be made with that concept of “unclean” “unholy” and the idea of rebirth, especially in the growth-decay-transformation, he must finally let all those things which are destroying him (the “old” Dean of codependency, I know best no matter what you say, sleeping with people with no emotion behind it, I am unworthy//self hating Dean) and come out the other side, be reborn as a transformed person in season 10.
(I’m just using birds in general because I am not an ornithologist by any means) Birds are also a symbol of resurrection (in the case of the phoenix or the peacock), peace and love (though of emotional “innocent” “simplistic” vs the physical love, sex and lust). The bird represent part of the trinity (representative of the Holy Spirit) Birds can also be symbols of baptism, the act of cleansing the soul of sin in order to be pure once more. Dante used birds to symbolize the souls of the damned, and are also a symbol of eternal life [x]
It’s funny that hares and birds are two sides of the same coin, sexuality, one side of the physical (where he is right now) the other of the emotional (where he wants to go)[9x04 “no one wants him here more than me”, 9x08 “always the adios” v meaningless sex, “because you didn’t want to be alone” 9x13, purposeful sitting on 1/2 of the bed with two nightstands 9x14]. Rebirth and resurrection (where we want Dean to go // S10 Transformation, character development, etc.) v. damnation and eternal life (where he is right now // mark of Cain and it’s side effects, his downward spiral, decay etc.). Unholy v holy. Sexual maturity v innocence. And both the hare and bird represent something Dean has lost by taking on the mark, his purity, vitality and soul itself as well as his freedom (note that the birds and hare are of course dead and are trophies/prey/causalities of the hunter).
The more you kill, the more you turn into the monsters you hunt the more your humanity and your freedom falls prey to the Mark and the farther you are away from the things you desire from life. [symbolized also in both Sam, Cas, Kevin, even Charlie and Garth being taken from him // pushed away, leaving him, moving on without him // him isolating himself] Basically Dean is on the edge of a knife. It’s up to him whether he lets this consume him (sparrow, impending death, finch, souls returning to heaven [x]) or rises above it and is reborn and that dichotomy between those two choices is actually pretty much perfectly split down the middle between the two animals represented in the painting above his head as he uses the Blade and Mark of Cain for the first time.
Ha! Good work so far! Just to add hares and birds are animals that fall into traps - snares and nets - and in the ‘disguised symbolism’ of Flemish art are considered to represent sinners.
HOLD ON A TICK.
The first pic is when Cain shows Dean and Crowley the Mark of Cain. The second one is after he’s sent Crowley and Dean out of the house—after he’s given Dean the Mark.
Cain clearly still has the mark in the bottom pic, so the mark is something he can give to another without giving it up himself, and we know that it confers some sort of power, and allows the marked person to wield the First Blade.
We also know that Lucifer hand-picked the Knights of Hell, Cain being the first one, that Lucifer himself gave Cain the mark, and Cain then went on to train the Knights.I have a very bad feeling, here, that the Mark is specifically related to Cain being a Knight of Hell, and that Dean, who refused to listen to Cain when he tried to point out the fine print of accepting the mark, may have just signed on as a new recruit.
This makes a lot of sense, particularly given all the hints/foreshadowing of Dean being possessed.
1. Abaddon commenting on his perfect vessel.
2. Possession in Slumber Party (together with Sam who has already been possessed this season. It would be a nice parallel.)
3. Dog Dean Afternoon with Dean being unable to control the canine side-effects of the spell.
Hell, in a way I would even add the Suzie hook-up as possession in the sense of Dean only being able to sleep with his fantasy porn star by acting as a character in a porn (hell he even switches languages) and his inability to see her as anything than a fantasy/object.
Basically, we have seen a lot of Dean’s character traits presented as marks of possession/obsession. Traits that have always been presented as endearing, quirky or positive before. This season is giving a big fuck you to a lot of them. Loyalty in Dog Dean Afternoon came with uncontrollable negative side-effects. Choosing Sammy over his life at the home for boys in Bad Boys was presented as detrimental with Sam even apologizing. Dean’s liberal, easy-going attitude towards sex made him look like a grade a asshole just this side of noncon in Rock and a Hard Place. His need to protect Sam turned into something that got other family killed in Holy Terror. His mantra of Free Will turned into making choices for others throughout the season, but particularly with Sam and Cas. Dean’s positives turned into negatives.
And don’t even get me started on how many torture references he has made or how often he has actually tortured: “lets Zero Dark Thirty his ass”, isolating Crowley, to name but a few.
In addition, the Mark not being transferred 100% would mirror the grace that stays behind in Vessels after angel possession nicely.
So, yeah. This is a scary, but very probable piece of speculation here
edit: it would also put Crowley’s comment of Dean being worthy in one hell of a scary context.
It never occurred to me before that Dean hadn’t seen his Mom on the ceiling. His Dad probably told him how she’d been killed but the reality had been left to his imagination. Then suddenly he runs into Sam’s room and for the first time, he’s able to see for real what he’d thought about all his life. And it’s even worse than he’d ever imagined.
With your mindless chatter
Like I don’t need them
And I don’t need help
And I don’t even need to see the end (x)
Yes. Yes you were. And it seems like you are going to make just another stupid choice. Cause you’re still on a downward spiral. Cause you still haven’t hit rock bottom. When will you reach breaking point? Dealing with angels. Dealing with devils. There’s no difference anymore. Just kamikaze. You’re scared and angry and so so tired. Exhausted from the worrying, the lying, the guilt. And it’s all your fault. There is nobody else to blame. It all came down to choice. To free will. And you chose. Time and time again. Who gets to die and who gets to live. And isn’t it ironic that the doctor told you, that Sam’s life now was in god’s hands? And that you told him that this wasn’t good enough? So you took it in your hands. Played god. Played death. In over your head. And you knew it. You knew that it was wrong. You knew it right from the start. But you wanted to believe so bad. Wanted to belive that it would just be for a little while. That maybe it would be alright. That maybe not everything would go to shit. But don’t you know that the worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves? And so things went from bad to worse to spiraling completely out of control. You lost your brother, pushed away your best friend and watched Kevin die. And your intentions used to be so pure… And you know that you don’t deserve it. His loyalty. Don’t deserve him. Don’t deserve his empathy. His understanding. Cause when the places where turned you couldn’t give him any of it. So him telling you that you were stupid for the right reasons with such concern and love in his eyes hurts so much more than if he’d taken a swing at you. The way he did when you were about to do something stupid as well. Saying yes. It’s always about the little things, the smallest words. Yes. And so you can’t meet his eyes. Can’t face that he’s here. Even though you fucked up. Epicly. Hurt him, pushed him away. And despite all of it. He’s here. For you. And he knows. Knows exactly the way you feel. Cause he has been there. Walked down that road. The one that is paved with good intentions. But maybe. Just maybe. He can show you the way back and you don’t have to walk alone.
Our fourteenth episode of the season was penned by Robert Berens and directed by set designer Jerry Wanek. In this episode, we explore the darkness of captivity, in both a figurative sense and a literal one. And while it gave us some of the most beautiful subtextual imagery of…
I find the attitude that a lot of people on my dash have right now….draining. I will call it draining. I’ve seen SO much wank about Misha and him not being used for as many episodes as we expected, and while I personally would like Cas to be in every single episode from now until the end of the…
This is the best explanation I could come up with for why it takes me so long to do updates sometimes when, at other times, I’m typing them up like clockwork.
I’m like this with my original fiction, too.
You guys forgot this one: