In Kripke I Trust… For Now

When I have the time–which isn’t often these days–I write episode reviews for this blog. And considering I’m only halfway through the “Hell House” review, I’m obviously behind.

Supernatural Mastermind Eric Kripke

Supernatural Mastermind Eric Kripke


However.

I’m breaking my usual “keep-thine-opinion-to-thineself-and-be-an-unbiased-editor” shtick for a little while and do something I rarely, though those that know me might argue otherwise, indulge in here; I’m going to show my bias. I doubt this’ll become a regular highlight, but who knows. In either case, many thanks to Ally for editing the editor.

Supernatural 4.03 “In The Beginning”

(Need I mention the fact there are spoilers ahead?)

In the beginning, there was Kripke. And in the first season, Kripke created John Winchester, and for him, a woman named Mary. This begat the very first Christ parallels. And they begat two sons, as did another Biblical couple named Adam and Eve, and these sons were named Cain Dean and Abel Sam. Kripke also created a serpent demon, which by his actions drove the Winchesters out of an idyllic family home (that would be Eden) with fire.

Yes, I’m making a point, and I won’t belabor it any longer. The point is there have been quite obvious parallels the entire run, from day one, leading up to the fact that both Winchester boys are on the side of the capital-G Good.

Need I mention the numerous Dean resurrections? Four seasons, three resurrections. Or Sam’s resurrection? And before I leave this point entirely, let me throw in one last quote from the Apostolic Creed: “… born unto the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into Hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead…” Never let it be said my forced Sunday School attendance was wasted.

In the second season, “Houses of the Holy” handed out on a silver platter the concept of the Winchesters being used by a higher Good power, only this time, Sam was the “instrument.” And while the angel in this case was as fake as cubic zirconium, it definitely chummed the waters. But “Houses” also showed something else: an angelic icon of the Archangel Michael and the priest says, “The archangel Michael, with the flaming sword. The fighter of demons, holy force against evil,” and later in the same scene, “Well, I like to think of them as more loving than wrathful; but yes, a lot of Scripture paints angels as God’s warriors: An angel of the Lord appeared to them, the glory of the Lord shone down upon them, and they were terrified. Luke 2: 9.” Dean’s recognition of that description as fitting himself and Sam as well as the Archangel reinforces the idea of the Winchesters as Good’s Chosen Agents against Evil.

All in all, the precedent for Castiel’s existence in the Supernatural universe and the choice of a Winchester isn’t at all out of the ordinary; it’s been building since Mary burned to death on the ceiling of Sam’s nursery.

That being said, “In the Beginning” (and the whole fourth season so far, all three episodes of it) has taken the previous seasons and skewed them about thirty degrees off-center.

Since the end of “All Hell Breaks Loose,” the Yellow-Eyed Demon, Azazel, had put forth the notion in Dean’s mind that Sam wasn’t one hundred percent himself when he was brought back to life. And in “Mystery Spot” we see a cold, almost mercenary vision of a Sam without Dean’s influence. But outside of that exaggerated Trickster’s ploy, Sam has been growing and maturing. There’s been a switch, even, as we’ve seen Sam begin to embrace the hunting lifestyle even as Dean’s grown tired of it and is even willing to die at the end of his deal to escape it.

Now, though, that’s changed. Sam is suddenly being presented as The Adversary. He tells the first lie, that he wasn’t using his psychic powers, and keeps the first secret, that Kristy is actually Ruby, and not just a one-night-stand. And while Sam is thrilled to learn that Castiel–an angel, because remember, Sam is the one with faith and daily prayer–has yet to show himself to Sam, further isolating the brothers from each other and perpetuating the Sam-As-Adversary situation.

“In the Beginning” sets that relationship into stone. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the episode. It was truly the mother of all payoffs, in every way except one–SAM WAS NOT INVOLVED. Yes, the payoff was for Sam’s storyline, which really gave him a definitive presence in the episode despite not being there, but it also makes it all the more inexcusable that Sam was not present for his own resolution! Instead, he is further demonized, all puns intended, by a thirty second cameo at the start of the episode where he’s seen sneaking out of the motel to meet Ruby and is given on only single word of dialog: “Definitely.”

This out-of-nowhere turn into left field has left me feeling very dissatisfied with the season so far. Granted, it’s only three episodes at this time, so I realize any judgment is premature, but it just doesn’t make sense.

Logically, it would seem to me that Castiel and the other Concerned Parties (be it Angel, Deity, or otherwise) would be backing Sam up, not trying to alienate him. The real bad guy–that’d be Lilith, in case the writers forgot (and they’re busy folk, so I can forgive that)–tried to kill Sam and couldn’t!

Where’s the resolution or answer to that? If the bad guy that Castiel is fighting can’t kill someone, wouldn’t it behoove you to, oh, I don’t know, find out why!? Maybe even throw some angelic back-up his way in case they try again? Or, radical concept here, reach into Hell and pluck out the one guy who could keep Sam from going dark? Oh, wait…

Because let’s face it. Most of the psychic kids (Max, “Nightmare”; Ava and Jake, “All Hell Breaks Loose 1 & 2”) went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs when they started exploiting the full range of their powers. Miraculously, Sam hasn’t. Or, if he has, he’s really good at being a high-functioning lunatic pretending to be normal.

And Castiel is obviously aware of what’s going on, because he tells Dean that Sam is going down a dark path–no lie, Sherlock!–and that if Dean doesn’t do something about, Castiel and his Concerned Parties will.

Ordinarily, I’d say it’s never wise to threaten Sam to Dean’s face like that, but now? I just hope Ruby’s watching Sam’s backside. Because Dean sure isn’t.

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12 Responses to “In Kripke I Trust… For Now”

  1. Everyone assumes Castiel is an angel simply because he said so. But wouldn’t Lilith have some enemies in the underworld?

  2. Well, it’s not just on his say so. There’s angelic lore on the Archangel Castiel (sometimes noted as the Angel of Thursdays) as far back as you want to go. He’s never been a fallen angel or anything like that, so I think the assumption of Castiel as an angel is a legitimate one.

    However, the interesting part of your question is this: Azazel *is* one of the fallen angels. And in some of the angelic and demonic lore I’ve been reading lately, Lilith is Azazel’s daughter. Lilith was also (in Jewish Lore, I think) Adam’s first wife, and in the CS Lewis stories, she was the Mother of the White Witch, and the Djinn giants.

    I don’t know how the Azazel/Lilith connection is going to play out in this show, or if it is even going to come into play at all, but I think Lilith’s enemies would be more heavenly than underworldly, although I have absolutely no problem believing she’s upset more than a few underworld demons as well.

  3. I really enjoyed your insight on episode 4.03 and agree that Sam not being involved was the biggest problem. Kripke doesn’t seem interested in portraying Sam in a sympathetic light this season, which I guess is a big clue as to where the storyline is headed. As a diehard fan since day one, I am very disappointed.

    I am beginning to wonder if Sam is one of the 66 seals that have been talked about and if so, if having Sam kill his brother, the person who loves him the most, is the way the seal is finally broken? Just a thought!

  4. Hi, Shelby. I’m glad you enjoyed this; it’s a rather polarizing opinion, but one that I’m finding quite a few other people share.

    I don’t know if it’s lack of portraying Sam in a sympathetic light or not, because he just hasn’t been portrayed, period. I don’t know why this is, but the first few episodes have been entirely too Sam-light (and Jared light) for my tastes; I obviously favor Sam, but I tune in because I like The Winchesters. I don’t mind that they have different paths, but this is exclusion.

    As for Sam being the last seal, I *really* like that idea and find it really intriguing; I also have to wonder if Sam is being “primed” as it were, to be host to a demon (possibly Lilith, possibly Satan; if they’re trying to release Lucifer, they’d need a big, powerful body, and Azazel did say that demon blood made you grow up big and tall, just like Sam has.)

  5. ” I just hope Ruby’s watching Sam’s backside. Because Dean sure isn’t.”

    Who is the one who has been sneaking out in the middle of the night leaving his just returned from Hell brother without protection, without any knowledge of where Sam might be if something comes up? But I guess Dean is always the one who is supposed to put himself aside, put his problems aside to watch Sam. Dean to his knowledge was still covering Sam’s six, he just didn’t know Sam was going off doing extra curricular activities. Sam sure doesn’t have Dean’s back right now.

    I thought Sam was supposed to be a grown man? Aren’t his choices his own responsibility? It’s one or the other, people can’t go around claiming Sam’s his own man, has a right to make his own decisions and then get on Dean’s case for not following him around like a guard dog and making sure Sam doesn’t do anything wrong(since when does Sam do anything wrong anyway? Sam’s never wrong, not on anything which might have consequences, I’m sure that isn’t going to change). However it’s not surprising they are teasing with it, the show for 2 seasons was giving us the “Sam might go evil” plotline, while never having Sam do anything more than a tiny bit questionable, which was frequently excused by the next episode. This should not be even remotely a surprise nor is it out of place that they are ramping that up a little. It had to happen at some point.

    For 3 seasons, Dean was nothing but a hanger on in the mytharc. It doesn’t seem to me like we got resolution to Sam’s arc here. For one thing, Sam knew at least some of this stuff and he had been keeping it from Dean since the beginning of Season 3. He knew there was a problem related to his mother’s family, all her friends and relatives were dead. He knew she recognized Azazel when she caught him in Sam’s nursery. He knew Azazel had dripped demon blood into his mouth. He kept all of this secret from Dean.

    So yes now Dean’s got some extra information but Sam had more information than Dean did for a year. It doesn’t resolve Sam’s arc, it just moves it ahead somewhat. And at the same time, it also shapes what Dean’s arc is. It’s not just Sam’s, what happened there in the past isn’t just about Sam. It’s about them, their family, it’s about why Dean is here now, instead of still being tortured in Hell. The same way Mary’s dead friends and Mary knowing who Azazel was was ultimately about their family. Sam never revealed any of it. So actually it’s largely Sam’s own actions which led to this episode, and I seem to remember alot of people defending his “right” to not reveal those secrets and that knowledge to Dean.

  6. Hi, Arla!

    “Dean to his knowledge was still covering Sam’s six, he just didn’t know Sam was going off doing extra curricular activities. Sam sure doesn’t have Dean’s back right now.”

    How do you figure that? Sam was the one who was trying to get Dean out of hell, tried everything he could but it wouldn’t work. Sam’s the one actually doing the JOB, going out and killing demons and so forth. And when Dean *could* have used backup–facing Castiel–what did Dean do? He lied. Just like Sam did. I’m not saying either one of them is innocent, but if I’m supposed to buy Dean as the good brother? Then have him start acting like one and quit lying to Sam.

    Ultimately, I hope Sam does go evil; I’d like to SEE it more than I have, and that’s where my problems really boil down to it. I haven’t SEEN a single thing that Sam’s done that he hasn’t done before, other than exorcise a demon.

    “For 3 seasons, Dean was nothing but a hanger on in the mytharc.”

    How do you figure that? The second season was all about Dean’s Manly Pain At Knowing Sam’s Destiny, and the third was all about Dean’s Manly Pain At Knowing He Is Going To Hell For Sam and Ruby’s Mysterious Questions For Sam. Dean’s the one who got moments with John and Mary both, in fact, Dean got two with John, plus DEAN was the one who got to kill Azazel–not Sam, who’d had his mother AND girlfriend killed by the demon.

    I agree, Sam knew about all of Mary’s friends dying, but now we’re suddenly supposed to expect Sam to BELIEVE what Azazel showed him? When it’s been pounded into skulls since Phantom Traveler that demons lie and are untrustworthy? I’m shocked it actually turned out to be true.

    I’ll defend Sam’s decision not to tell Dean that because he was going to hell in a year. Gee, let’s see. Spend every waking moment trying to save my brother from going to hell, or tell him information from two demons that he won’t believe anyway and will just cause arguments and rifts at the very time I don’t want want to be rifted from my soon-to-be-dead-and-in-hell brother.

    That’s a toughy.

  7. Hi Kelly!

    I am enjoying your input here and on the SFuniverse site.

    I think it is obvious that Sam is going to go evil and I will admit to having a hard time with that fact. I have always loved Sam’s character. I adore that he is the little brother, that he believes in angels and in the inherent good of most people, that he would do anything for his brother, and that he feels guilty for all he has failed at and for many things that are not even his fault. If Sam is going to “go evil”, I want to see the progression from this character that I dearly love to the person who will kill at will. Other than demon blood, how does evil get end up getting its foothold in Sam Winchester? I want to be a witness to the transformation. I don’t want to find out about it after the fact.

    Although, I don’t want to see the character of Sam go down this path, and really don’t believe that the character that has been presented up until this season would, I am coming to terms with the fact. As a huge Jared fan, I realize that given the Dean focus this show has taken, the only opportunity that he will have as an actor to shine (with both material and screentime) will be if he “goes evil”. I just regret that this opportunity will apparently come at the sacrifice of a character I have come to love.

  8. Great piece , the Sam goes ”Evil’ path has been obvious since season 2 when Eric stopped caring about Sam the human being.And as with Shelby I adore the boy and so far hasnt really done anything ‘Evil’ to be treated has if he has?
    But the focus this show as become and I love Dean but to much in his quater Sam will be sacrificed or good Sam will be and thats sad.

  9. Kel, I agree with you except for one thing – Castiel is not an archangel. There are only seven archaengels, and he was never one of them. He’s barely mentioned anywhere in religion/mythology except as the “Angel of Thursday.” So he would be a very easy target in terms of Kripke warping his meaning.

    I personally wonder if he’s working with Lilith. I would be disappointed if Castiel is all goodness and virtue and Kripke isn’t pulling a bait-and-switch. That would be boring.

    That said, in terms of the episode I’m glad they laid out the family history, even if it was kind of predictable (I knew Kripke was going to go with a deal – he’s used it too often not to). I thought it was ridiculous that Sam wasn’t in the episode, though. There was no need for that. I also was not impressed with Dean telling Mary not to go to the nursery. Hello! At that time he hadn’t had his conversation with the YED yet. For all he knew, Sam would’ve died in a fire without his mother’s intervention!. I couldn’t believe that Dean would intentionally put Sam in harm’s way like that. I have to say, I’m not liking what Kripke is doing to the boys. Dean iis being turned into some kind of perfect Godly saint, and poor Sam, when he’s onscreen, is being painted as morally ambiguous. So Dean is given all the redeeming qualities and Sam has none. It ain’t a balanced story.

  10. Hi Shelby!

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the discussion; I am too! I admit, I tend to respond to someone in the same vein they’ve responded to me, so if I get sarcasm in a response to me, I’ll give sarcasm back, so I get very afraid of muting my point. I’m glad that’s not happening.

    Unlike you, I’m kind of looking forward to Sam going dark, or at least, darkER than he is now. I think Born Under A Bad Sign was one of the best episodes of the series, mostly because it showed another side of Sam, that we hadn’t seen before. The same with the Trickster’s Trick in Mystery Spot.

    I think the Mystery Spot bit was actually even more revealing than BUABS, because it showed how Sam COULD lose the warmth that makes him human, and easily lead him down the dark side. Unlike John, who had his children to worry about to keep him from going totally over the line, Sam–who is just like his father in his single-mindedness–doesn’t have that. Once Dean is gone, he is completely unfettered (just like he was when Dean was in hell) and it would be entirely easy for anyone to start subtly corrupting him. Is that what Ruby is doing? I think so, probably not intentionally, but as Yoda once said, “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”

    So as a character progression, I’m very much looking forward to seeing it happen. I just want to SEE it.

  11. Hi, Markie!

    And as with Shelby I adore the boy and so far hasnt really done anything ‘Evil’ to be treated has if he has?

    Not that I am aware of. It’s quite irking, in fact, because he really hasn’t done anything. The only really questionable things he’s done is keep information he wasn’t sure was true (because he got it from Azazel) from Dean, until the beginning of this season when he suddenly did an about-face and started lying to Dean for no good reason. Even Ruby seemed mystified about why Sam hadn’t told Dean what was going on. I get the wibbling about needing time and so forth, but DAMN.

  12. Hi, Rachel!

    About Castiel being an Archangel, I’n sure you’re right. I’ve googled and researched him, Uriel, and Azael in so many places, I don’t remember where I’ve read what. I do remember reading he was considered a cardinal angel, I think he was the south point of the compass. (… or is that Uriel? If it turns out to be Uriel, I’m gonna feel sheepish for jumbling things up in my head!)

    I don’t know that I could believe Castiel working for Lilith, mostly because he got Dean out of hell, and Dean is ideally helping them to foil Lilith opening the seals to let Lucifer out. The only rationale I could figure for that would be possibly that Lilith thinks Dean being back on Earth will keep Sam weaker than he is. Then again, with the way things seem to be going, I wouldn’t be shocked in the least.

    Like you, though, I thought the episode as a whole was extremely well done, and I don’t mean to disparage it. Sure, I have a few quibbles with things–like Mary making the deal with the demon and John possibly thinking he gave Mary’s father a heart attack, and little tidbits like that–but overall, it did answer a lot of questions, and it made a lot more things make sense in the framework of the episode.

    I did not get the point of Dean telling Mary to stay in bed that day. I mean, I do get it, but I don’t. It was kind of pointless, and it was very much sacrificing Sam, because by this point in the series, even if he didn’t know the specifics, he knew the demon did something to Sam the night of the fire, because of all the research they did in Salvation and finding the YED in the baby’s nursery in that episode. So it was very much Dean sacrificing Sam for Mary. I don’t think it was so much about the fire, because Dean was the one who carried Sam out of the nursery during the fire, and John was the one who handed Sam to Dean, so I imagine he thought John would rescue Sam regardless. But it still smacks as selfish and stupid and dare I say, evil? Sacrificing your little brother to a demon so you can have a family? Not very saintly.

    I completely agree it’s not a balanced story, and it’s getting unpleasant to watch, and if it’s not balanced soon, it’s gonna get boring watching Dean be Mr. Perfect.

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