Toreador (World of Darkness)
Once again we are given a lesson in why genre shows are the best shows out there; what other show would have the temerity to mock itself and the fandom that supports it while deepening, darkening and propelling the storyline forward, ever forward.
“They do know we’re brothers, right?”
Some highlights for me:
- Laundry, after 78 episodes we finally see the boys doing laundry; awesome.
- The RED Inn; someone makes a point of writing about the color red this season”¦I’m wondering”¦.
- Sound crew, last week you had me in stitches over the well timed ‘ding’ of the microwave as the screen faded to black; this week you did it with the cawing of the crow as the Impala roars up the road, thank you.
- The fandom moments came fast and furious: Tattoos, crying men, memorizing all the facts of the boys; I believe I’m not alone in loving this following exchange:
Sam: “As in Sam/Dean, together.”
Dean: “Like together-together?”
Dean: “They do know we’re brothers, right?”
Sam: “Doesn’t seem to matter.”
Dean: Oh, come on that ““ that’s just sick.”
Amen, Dean and Sam; I agree.
Free Will vs. Destiny
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28 NIV]
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done”¦” [Genesis 50: 20 NIV]
I included the two scriptural verses because I believe the writers are blending their own perception of real biblical tenets: God gave us free will, God’s will ultimately will be done, God will take our choices and mold them to ultimately accomplish his purpose.
You can do what you want with that, my purpose isn’t to give a Bible study, but I see this in the writing and thus I’m calling it like I see it.
Was it destiny or free will? I don’t know. God is all-knowing. God knew Dean would run. God knew the bridge would be out. God knew Dean would ask for help. God knew that Castiel would give that help. God knew that the Toreador Inn was the “RED” Inn. God knew Sam would burn the hex bags. According to Castiel that which the prophet has written cannot be unwritten; it shall come to pass and yet what happened here?
I believe Kripke and Co. have an understanding of how prophets of the Old Testament saw far into the distance when they made their prophecies”¦such long distance “˜sight’ can distort what is seen — or as Dean said “He might be wrong about the details.”
To imagine what I mean take a look at mountains in the distance”¦or if you live in the plains, look up some pictures or better yet, hold your thumb up to the moon at night. What appear to be two objects side by side of similar size is a distortion caused by distance ““ and likely other things of a physics nature. In other words, things are not always what they seem. I think Kripke and Co. were hinting at that when they had Dean seeing stars. Did he see stars? Yes, he did. Did you imagine swirling stars over his head? Did you imagine a night sky filled with stars? Anyone figure out it was going to be star-shaped dangling earrings?
What did Dean learn?
- There is destiny, and you cannot hide from it.
- When you come to the end and you ask for help, it is there.
“Well, it frustrates me when you’d rather hide than fight.” Dean has a point, Sam, it’s not running it is picking your battles. But tell me, Dean, what battle are you picking, when will you be ready to fight Lilith, what are you doing to get ready for that battle? I’m not saying it’s wrong to have a plan but you haven’t given any indication of a plan to meet Lilith”¦you have been running. And here Dean stopped.
Go back and watch Long Distance Caller and Time is on My Side; two examples of how Dean and Sam split on a job and went their separate ways, each to nearly devastating effect. In both cases Dean fell back on pillars in his life, Dad and the Colt. Here, Dean gave in to Sam, he stopped running and found a way to stand and fight. Standing and fighting are things Dean does believe in, remember his speech in NRFTW or how about his confident statement last week, minus all the emotional baggage, when he told Sam that he does believe in dealing with that which is right in front of him. Here Dean’s stand is more compelling because it propels the character into new ground; here Dean found a way to stand and fight because he did what he so rarely does; he asked for help, divine help no less.
Actions speak more loudly than words and Dean showed in his actions that he will never leave Sam; it’s a pity Sam doesn’t have that much faith in Dean to realize it.
What did Sam learn?
- “Sam, you gotta know it’s wrong.”
I love you, Sam, I do, but you are one stubborn cuss; just like your dad.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” [Luke 6: 41 NIV]
Sam accuses Dean of running/hiding; he’s running/hiding as well; they both do it through rationalization: Dean, “It’s not hiding; it’s picking your battles.” Sam, “Dean’s not ““ he’s not Dean lately”¦he needs help.”
The circle is tightening, Sam, time is running out. Pam and now Chuck have gotten in Sam’s face, gently sure but they called him out. Sam even had an angry spirit back in After School Special proclaim him evil as Lilith did here. Sam, there is free will and there is destiny; perhaps your destiny is to stop being “˜pushed’ by demons and utilize your free will; the Sam who scored a 174 on the LSATs knew that.
I love that Jared had Sam struggle to find his LSAT score, that slight hesitation showed just how far Sam has traveled.
“I am the prophet, Chuck!”
That got me exploding with laughter and not at the absurdity of it but just that it’s a fabulously delivered line. I don’t know if the intent was to lighten the confrontation with Lilith but the more I watch, the more I believe it was. Here’s why:
My first viewing left me disappointed with the anticlimatic feel as Lilith escaped the woman’s body. After hearing Castiel give Dean the necessary information and then watch Dean “˜convince’ [strong arm] Chuck into helping, it was a bit overdone. We’d heard how to save the day twice now before watching it; no surprises here. After processing a bit, and watching several more times ““ research, I’m dedicated ““
I believe the scene was intentionally made anticlimactic for two purposes; first, it’s not the climax of the episode; second, it’s not the climax of Lilith’s story; she’ll be back.
Castiel’s and Dean’s scene was critical for moving both Dean and Castiel forward in their development; I’ve already touched on Dean so I’ll give Castiel a line or two. Castiel is embracing free will. It’s Castiel who told Dean that what the prophet had written will come to pass and yet here he gives Dean the necessary information to alter the prophecy ““ and truth be told, we saw the flashes of the prophecy that Chuck saw. What he saw is what happened; perhaps Chuck in his humanness “˜filled in the blanks.’
As Dean said, it’s an interesting exercise and we could go on and on and on ““ a la, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
I now greatly appreciate what I first dismissed as a superfluous scene, Dean convincing Chuck to join him. Having watched it again [and again and again and again then one more time], I’ve discovered it is, in fact, brilliant and that without it, this episode would be missing one of its tent poles: free will vs. destiny. Or in the words of Chuck, the Prophet: “I didn’t write this.”
A Little Meta Fun:
Why did I title this Toreador (World of Darkness), simply because there are no coincidences in the world of Supernatural as written by Kripke & Co. Type Toreador into your search engine and you’ll get a wikipedia page with the aforementioned title. A quick scan brings up some familiar phrases [role playing, vampires and daevas to mention a few], click on the White Wolf Game Studios link and you find a treasure trove of Supernatural familiars”¦including LARP; no doubt these are some of the sites our beloved writers search.
Then again, perhaps all the writers meant was that each [Dean and Sam] is a bull fighter and each is a bull, stubborn, deadly and doomed to destroy the other”¦but that’s too depressing, so I’ll go with wikipedia.