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I want to say something profound and properly analytical about episode 5.10 "Abandon All Hope." Unfortunately I think it broke (or maybe ate) my brain.

I went into tonight's episode knowing that it would probably be suspenseful and cliff-hanger ridden and for the first time in a long time, Supernatural actually had me nervous, anxious, wound up tight with anticipation. And of course it only got worse as the episode went on.

I was thrilled to have Mark Sheppard in this episode. I think it's some sort of honor--it's a sure sign that a show has arrived when he gets to play some masterfully, morally ambiguous character.

I was really happy to see Ellen and Jo back on Supernatural. It was a real treat to get two episodes with them this season. I never hated Jo (unlike a large and vocal part of the population), although, I do admit to being duped into thinking Ellen was actually working for the demons back in season 2 (the whole Gordon/"roadhouse connections" debacle in season 2; *sigh* a prime example of why dropping storylines after you've already laid the groundwork for them can be a bad thing; your audience gets confused). But then again, Kripke also killed off two of the best female characters he's had on the show, after ignoring them for two seasons. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. Their sacrifice was noble, and it does mean that the entire Harvelle family died trying to help Winchesters. But then again there's also the futility aspect to it, insofar as the Colt won't kill Lucifer. (But they did ensure that Sam and Dean got away and got to test out the Colt.) Still, this does feel like Kripke (or rather his writing staff) doesn't really know what to do with female protagonist-type characters, so they get killed off to make it easier on the writers.

Boy am I worried about Cas. I don't think he's caving to Lucifer (I hope), but then again, his powers seem to be fading faster than they did in the alternate future we saw in "The End." Go Cas for how he got himself out of the holy oil fire ring! I actually cheered aloud when he used Meg to break the circle. As demons go, she is one cranky little comeuppance-deserving menace. Although, I'm really hoping she wasn't killed by that stunt. I want more Meg. I particularly want to know what happened to convert her from "I don't give a rat's ass about the master plan" and being all bitter at her "daddy" Azazel and being star-struck, henchdemon for Lucifer. I'm guessing he related to her on the "we got screwed over by our families" level.

Dean was lovely in this. Sucks that he got knocked out and missed Sam and Lucifer's exchange ('cause what are the odds Sam will actually share that tidbit?), but otherwise his characterization seemed to be, for the most part, genuine. I loved his "last night on earth" offer to Jo (although, that whole almost-kiss/her turning him down thing was a little over-the-top as fanservice goes... and Kripke might have been reaching a little far to try to please both the Dean/Jo fans and the Jo-haters at the same time, but at least this packed a bitter punch when it turns out it was Jo's last night on earth). I think I may have to go back and watch some Season 2 Jo (don't gasp; I already said I didn't hate her), just to get a good juxtaposition of both her and Dean's characters then and now. The nice thing is they really did grow and change, showing actual, genuine character development.

Let's see... I'm not sure I like where Kripke's heading with the plot, although, if he's going to either of two hypothetical place I think he's probably going, at least I'll be right, even if I'm not happy about it. Sammy's "I'm gonna kill you" promise to Lucier was reminiscent of Dean's pledge to kill Azazel way back when. Dean made good on his threat, so maybe Sam will too.

I'm also glad that the Colt actually *can't* be the Deus Ex Machina this time around. Now, I would like an explanation of why the Colt can't kill Lucifer and 4 other beings (the Horsemen maybe? Or can it maybe not kill god and Michael and maybe a few other people/things; it's all very curious). I also wonder if the original (pre-Ruby reengineering) Colt could have killed Lucifer. Hmm... But like I said, I'm realy glad it's not going to save the day this time. We were really starting to run out of ways to make Boss baddies dodging bullets suspenseful and original.

I wish they'd showed Cas at the end. Yeah, I'm confident he got out of the battlfield, but still; it seems like they have a tendency of abandoning him at the end of an episode (I'm thinking of Sam and Dean sinking into the Impala at the end of "Changing Channels" while Cas was left standing by himself all banged up). I also realized that I experienced genuine fear for Cas's character and I really don't want him to die. I am also anxious about him becoming disempowered. Who knew; I was really pissed at him for being so sanctimonious and for burning out Pamela's eyes last season, but I really do like him now, and who he's becoming (Cas and Ellen doing shots is probably the funniest-bad-wrong thing Supernatural has ever done, IMHO).

I had more thoughts. I had good analysis. But the episode ate my brain. It's all too jumbled up. It's been so long since Supernatural actually packed enough suspense and anxiety to really make me white-knuckle it through an episode, that I forgot how draining it could be. And now we have to wait 2 months for a new episode. *sigh* But for now, we have many deep, frightful thoughts to ponder about Sam and Dean's futures and whether or not they'll be able to short-circuit this millennia-old family drama from playing out to the same inevitable conclusion again. (I'm really hoping they do.)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
a_phoenixdragon
Nov. 20th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
Good synopsis, honey - you hit on a few things that really packed a punch for me, here.

*hugs*
paleogymnast
Nov. 21st, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks; glad you liked the synopsis. It was definitely an emotionally rough episode!
lovetheguys
Nov. 22nd, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
I always love what you have to say; your intelligence in speaking about SUPERNATURAL shines through no matter what.

I think we had four relatively funny/amusing/mytharc-light episodes in a row because Kripke knew he would be leaving us with this heavy, upsetting heart-breaker for nine weeks. Looks like the one we get upon our return will be heavy and tough to watch, too.

Jo and Ellen were favorites of mine from the first episode in which they were introduced. I was one of the few who liked Jo from the get-go, even if I felt she was wrong for Dean, romantically. I'm glad they didn't go down that road. Truth be told, I thought Sam a better match for her, but they didn't go down THAT path, either. It would have been more poignant had we seen them in the third and fourth seasons, of course, but I was bummed out enough at their brave deaths in this ep to cry during and after for a long time. Seeing vids and photos of Jo and Ellen huddled together just before their deaths starts my waterworks going all over again.

I'm glad these brave women went out with a bang, even if the Colt didn't kill Lucifer. Bobby's ceremonial burning of the photo choked me up all over again, and seemed a fitting send-off for Ellen and Jo, whose bodies were already immolated. Dean's tender goodbye kiss on Jo's lips was the most romantic thing I've ever seen on SUPERNATURAL, more so even than Sam's lovemaking with Madison or Dean's with Anna or Cassie.

Sigh.

You will be missed, Ellen, Jo, Pamela, Ruby 1 and 2 (by some), Bela (by some), and any other female characters who have bitten the dust. So, who's next? Step right up,
ladies, the water is truly bloody if you're a gal!

Love, Robin
Editor, SUPERNATURAL
moogi.com
Ep 5.10 up now!
paleogymnast
Nov. 22nd, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! I really value your thoughts too. I have to say, I am definitely grateful that Kripke gave us several "comedy" episodes in a row before leaving us with this. If we had continued at the pace we started and plowed right into this, the audience would probably all be in shock and terrified of watching another episode. I read reviewers on one site say they had given up all hope now that they knew the colt couldn't kill Lucifer. To the contrary, I am really relieved. Supernatural has been far too happy to be a one-trick pony when it comes to dispatching the big bads. While I am emotionally drained from "Abandon all Hope," I am really looking forward to seeing what they do, what they try, and where they go with the rest of the season. I still have my doubts about whether or not we'll get a satisfying ending (or rather what would be satisfying to me... I really don't want Supernatural to turn out to be an "everyone dies" downer ending after such a long investment... if I wanted to do that, I could go and recreate my childhood experience of reading CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia). But satisifying ending or not, I am really intrigued to see what happens. The boys are hurt, scared, demoralized, greiving, and don't know what to do. Maybe they'll think on their feet for once and get really creative and live up to the hype about what fantastic hunters they're supposed to be. No *that* I'd like to see.

It saddens me that Meg is the only female character of any length and depth left on the show, and she's a villain (and one I'd rather like to see bite it), but at least she's still a good character. I'm hoping maybe they'll have more time to explore her motivations this season. Plus she's probably going to be very angry with Cas after that stunt he pulled. I guess we'll have to see.

Thank you so much for your comment! :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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