It was my goal today to post a thought-proviking meta piece digging deeper into the ramifications of “Changing Channels” on the overall scheme of things. In struggling to find the time to come up with a coherent thought while tearing apart my basement (don’t ask), I open my email and find this most outstanding piece from Jasminka that’s summed up everything I wanted to discuss beautifully! She has such a way with words and analysis and this certainly got me thinking. I’m dying to see what opinions everyone has regarding her viewpoints.
Also, I should note, believe it or not, English is not Jasminka’s native language. For a second language, she writes better than many that only speak English. So thank you so much Jas! Enjoy everybody.
When Trickster Was In TV-Landâ€¦
â€¦ let the brothers go!
Maybe Gabriel was hoping to inspire songs to spread his glory, but paraphrasing an old gospel is all I can muster up right nowâ€¦ I canâ€™t stop thinking about this episode. Again, the creators have given us a multi-dimensional story in an irresistible combo of comedy, pain, sarcasm and myth, firing up a new archangel. From the hilarious theme song (instant classic! â€“ the brothers on mini-vespas? Tandem with flowers and a baguette in the basket? Playing football in the gorgeous sunlight? Killing me), to the awesome sitcom-overacting, Deanâ€™s adorable fan moments, Nutcracker (is there really such a sick game show on air somewhere?), embarrassing commercial, dead-on Horatio Caine impressions and a speaking car my dad loved to watch â€“ Jensen and Jared, and I guess everyone involved, must have had a field day! Hi there, Richard Speight Jr., great to have you back and introduce us to a new player, namely archangel Gabriel.
In Supernaturalâ€™s universe angels are dicks, more or less. Thatâ€™s what we have learned throughout season four and five. There is Castiel, an angel with a conscience, thereâ€™s Anna, who seems to be a good gal (and an angel with a working mind), too, but the others? Not exactly the kind of guys I would like to sit down to have some coffee with.
Sure, humans are not supposed to actually understand angels. Comprehension would probably lead to knowledge, and faith might be out of the window and the angelsâ€™ money out of the bank â€“ no religion, no worship without faith. Knowledge connects to science, and science tends to ask uncomfortable questions. If your ego demands adoration, you need someone to be worshipped by.
So, keep the â€˜little hairless apesâ€™ on a need-to-know basis. And use them to serve your purpose â€“ you want paradise back? Fine â€“ letâ€™s load all the guilt and pain possible on two brothersâ€™ backs, and let them bring on the Apocalypse. And then â€“ tell them that there is absolutely nothing they can do to prevent thatâ€¦ Good plan. Not the smartest idea, though, when you choose to toy with the Winchesters.
Did Sam and Dean really need to know what came to them in Changing Channels? After all, Trickster/Gabriel has tried to teach them his lesson more than once â€“ and it is he who hasnâ€™t learned anything from his so far useless attempts to nudge the brothers into the intended direction. Why give the whole destiny-speech again to the brothers (come on, Zachariah has tried in vain, even pulling Sam/Lucifer out of his hat of tricks)?
If it is all destiny, then it will come to pass â€“ so, no threats necessaryâ€¦Why push the brothers to finally decide to become â€˜celebrity death matchâ€™ opponents when it is shaped out for them anyhow? All Gabriel could do is sit back and wait until they say yes. According to his claim â€“ â€˜it has always been youâ€™ â€“ it will happen. Why the rush?
Or â€“ is there no fate at all involved, only free will? There might be prophecies (where is Chuck when you need him?!), but nothing is set in stone, is there?
What happened to you, Gabriel? Not being archangel number one finally got to your ego?
According to scripture, he is one of the two highest ranking archangels (only second to Michael). He was the messenger who announced to Mary that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit. Legend has it that Gabriel foretold the freeing of the Israelites and that he will blow the horn announcing the second coming of Christ (when you see pictures or sculptures of Gabriel, usually he carries his symbols, lily and trumpet). He is meant to inspire the faithful (supposedly he inspired Joan of Arc to challenge the King of France, as she claimed in court) and comfort them. Muslims believe that it was Gabriel who dictated the Koran to Mohammed.
All in all, an angel of dignity and honour, it seems. A messenger of God, an angel of mercy, annunciation, revelation, intermediary between heaven and earth. Oh my. Apparently â€“ on planet Supernatural â€“ it wasnâ€™t enough to be an angel. He had to become, at least, a demi-god. â€˜Joined the pagans.â€™ Narcissistic personality disorder included. Pathological narcissists are hardly able to be empathic, they suffer from megalomania (result of a deeply wounded self-esteem that needs compensation), and often donâ€™t care who gets hurt as long as they get what they require to serve their vision of grandeur.
The Trickster relished the pranks he played on Sam and Dean (and the other guys involved) in Tall Tales, but those were not exactly harmless, but fun to watch (and Iâ€™ve loved the Trickster as a marvellous villain ever since).
Then, he turned up the volume in Mystery Spot â€“ and that, in particular, was hard to take. How many times exactly did he kill Dean? Weâ€™ve seen only a few, but Sam told us that he lived through over a hundred Tuesdays â€“ and watched his brother die every possible way. Judging from the deaths we became witness to, the malice of the Trickster knows no bounds, no matter how sweet and amiable he tries to appear. He electrocuted Dean, crushed him, poisoned him, etc.
The only blessing here: Dean doesnâ€™t remember (though Sam surely told him). He possibly only remembers the last one, but Sam hasnâ€™t forgotten. His experience of watching his brother die over and over, eventually living for half a year without him, getting Dean back, and then being incapable of saving him from the pit, again living without him for almost half a yearâ€¦ pushed Sam far from the man weâ€™ve encountered in season one. Sam, now, would not hesitate much to use â€˜a monsterâ€™ to serve his purpose. â€˜The luxury of a moral standâ€™ doesnâ€™t apply to him anymore. The first time I saw Sam step onto that slope was in Jus In Bello when he considered sacrificing a virgin to save the others. That shook me; sweet, young Sammy had changed significantly. It was painful, but utterly understandable.
I donâ€™t think itâ€™s my place to judge him, and Iâ€™m not. I donâ€™t know what I would be capable of in a war or when it came to protecting my loved ones. Luckily, that is the kind of choice I never had to make so far. I believe people are able to do a lot more than they believe possible when pushed to the brink. We all know, innocence is the first casualty in war. And definitions of good and evil change. After all that happened to Sam, I believe heâ€™s clinging to hope only with a thin thread. Probably getting thinner with Gabrielâ€™s revelation at the end of Changing Channels. (Iâ€™m still trying to figure out that expression on his faceâ€¦)
And Sam really gets it this time again â€“ he gets kicked in the jewels (now, being a woman I cannot really imagine how nasty that is, but judging from my guyâ€™s horrified reaction, is must be very, very, very painful.) – That scene, by the way, was a textbook example of perfect comedic timing. – Furthermore Sam must cut out a bullet near his brotherâ€™s spinal column, is forced to admit on TV to having genital herpes, becomes a speaking car and gets holy oil pulled out of his ass, sorry, trunkâ€¦ Damn you, Trickster.
What for? Because you couldnâ€™t deal with your daddy-issues, Gabriel?
You would expect beings as sublime as angels are supposed to be to be able to overcome their problems and move on. Even â€˜flawedâ€™ and â€˜murderousâ€™ humans do. These brothers who â€˜have loved and betrayed each otherâ€™ found a way back via forgiveness, understanding, love. They have each othersâ€™ backs again. If Gabriel wanted his speech to take effect, he should have given it to them earlier. Plus: he probably still hasnâ€™t grasped the sheer stubbornness of the Winchester men. They will defy him. At the very least, they will try. Probably only an impossible choice would make them accept the roles Trickster/Gabriel and the whole apocalypse-loving angelic bunch wants them to play.
It is deeply fascinating to watch the brothers grow even moreâ€¦ There was a time when Deanâ€™s self-esteem was low and wounded, and the defiance he mustered up was a mask to hide his pain. Today, I believe, he means it. He has grown from the boy who obeyed daddy without question. And he surely will not obey any other father unquestioningly. He might have been just a piece in this cosmic game of chess, but he is sitting down at the chessboard now as a player â€“ and, in contrast to his angelic opponents, Dean still is a man of honour. He wonâ€™t let Gabriel rot in that holy fire for ever (canâ€™t help but wonder whether this is wise?).
Judging from Samâ€™s hesitation he might have considered to leave Gabriel there (wonder, whether that would have been wise?). But, again, he chose to follow Deanâ€™s lead. They set it straight between them â€“ Sam is not anymore the little brother to be seated at the kiddie table, and Dean accepts that. More or less â€“ I donâ€™t think his instinct of protecting his younger sibling is gone completely, but he respects Samâ€™s experience in dealing with the paranormal which is vast by now.
They themselves are the best assets in this quarrel, and I donâ€™t believe that their fate is written. I donâ€™t know what is decided for us the moment we are born and which part of our lives we shape without destinyâ€™s guidance. Some life events happen, and they might be called fate. I guess we all have experienced that to some extent. I have. But I do believe that we are able to influence the course of our actions, especially when a situation appears hopeless. I believe there is still something to be done to bring on a change.
That is exactly what Sam and Dean are going to do, Iâ€™m sure. This episode in particular has made me even more curious about this seasonâ€™s storyline. My mind comes up with possible finales all the time, literally anything is imaginable now, even more with Gabrielâ€™s revelation. We might get the Lucifer vs. Michael death match, and we could watch the Light-bearer being sent back to hell. The brothers might survive this season or they might not. They could be at each othersâ€™ throats again or they might stand firm side by side (I hope for the latter).
Damn you and praise you, Eric Kripke â€“ there are so many facets in this supernatural blend of yours that keep challenging my imagination over and over again. And I love that.
I donâ€™t think this was the last weâ€™ve seen of Gabriel (here comes my hope to watch Richard Speight Jr. again, thanks to his remarkable performance the ambiguity of this still-to-be-fathomed character leaves a lot to interpretation, which I also love). Raphael might appear again, and three of the horsemen are still missingâ€¦ Iâ€™d love to hear more about the experiences the angels apparently have with apocalypses â€“ after all, Gabriel used to call it â€˜Sunday dinnerâ€™.
The brothers will not sit tight and wait to be pushed around like chess pieces. I think now, finally, they are taking the reins of their lives back into their hands. Destiny or no destiny. I guess this season is headed to the supernatural superbowl.
The speculations are on. Wherever Kripke & Co. will want to take us â€“ Iâ€™m on that horse.