Sam and Amelia
Okay, I don't understand the Amelia hate, except that it now seems pretty misogynistic. She's not a very likeable character, but she's unlikeable in an interesting way. I actually really love the way she sees right to the heart of Sam straight away -- he is a creepy serial killer. He's killed lots and lots of creepy sentient beings. That's his job, and his life. And Amelia sees right through his facade of normality. Awesome.
The meta I've read about Amelia seemed to focus on a) how bad she was for Sam, and b) the dream-quality of her scenes.
Uh, yeah. With the way her scenes are lit and edited, she's clearly meant to represent Sam's fantasy of a happy life outside of hunting. And just as clearly, he doesn't fit into that life. Five episodes in, and it's already clear this relationship is doomed.
Purgatory might have worked as a kind of focusing force for Dean, paring away everything until he was very clear on what mattered to him. Amelia is clearly the same kind of focusing force for Sam. He's had this fantasy his whole life -- he thinks he wants the white picket fence, dog, wife, education, no hunting. It's super clear now that this is why he asked Dean to go and live the dream life at the end of S5 -- it wasn't for Dean at all, it was Sam's dream, which is why Dean felt he had to honour it. Amelia represents a way into that life for Sam, and already by episode 5, his fantasy is creaking at the seams.
Given the "now" moments, it doesn't seem like Sam's actually processed that the dream won't make him happy, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
So why the hate? Why is it so terrible that Sam becomes self-aware about his own fantasy narrative? He needs to in order to grow up and actually have a fulfilling life. This is an important journey for Sam, and if the writers do their jobs, an interesting journey for Amelia too. I think I'm going to enjoy her arc, and enjoy her abrasive clear-sightedness.
This was another major theme in the meta I've read, and hoo boy can I see why. Apart from Dean and Castiel (more on that below), so far we've seen how Kevin-as-prophet cannot maintain human relationships easily, we've seen the werewolf trio self-destruct (not really due to the wolf, but rather the human side), and we've had Benny and Dean, and Benny/Andrea.
It's early in the season yet, but I'm already loving how this is playing out. It's about time that the show addressed the fact that the supernatural beings the Winchesters hunt are mostly sentient. There have been some examinations of this before, but mostly as one-offs. I'm interested to see how it's handled as a recurring and escalating theme. Especially as it's the intersection between humanity and monster that's clearly going to be in the spotlight -- what makes humans monsters, what makes monsters human. Purgatory is a pretty great metaphor for that, actually -- located between heaven and hell and filled with beings who don't fit in either; it's already framing the season in pretty suggestive ways.
I've read a lot of meta about the possibility of Dean/Castiel going canon sometime in the season 8-10 arc. I found it fairly convincing, even taking into account the slash-goggle effect. The kinds of scenes being discussed just didn't sound like the usual subtext.
And yeah. Even though I found the meta convincing, I'm starting to think I was reading it with too many pinches of salt, and attributing too much of it to slash goggles.
Five eps in, and little interaction between Dean and Castiel so far, but the change in tone is already obvious. The theme of human/non-human relationships is already strong enough that the parallels to Dean and Castiel's relationship are clear. Benny rebelling against his "father" for love of humanity? Being resurrected against all expectations? The way he feels displaced and alienated and unreal now? The way Dean is acting as a touchstone? Just whack us over the head with it, why don't you.
Just as Amelia is a way for Sam to confront his own fantasy narrative about the life he thinks he wants, stand-ins for Castiel are being positioned as key to Dean learning about himself, and while it hasn't been said yet, the parallels strongly suggest that this is Dean's journey about figuring out what he really wants too. We have already seen Dean try and fail at the white picket fence life, so we know the story isn't leading us to that conclusion. There are only so many other ways such a narrative, with this kind of construction, can turn out.
Having been spoiled, I know that Castiel is fallen in S9, which means he now gets to experience how the other side lives -- he will also get a "what do I really want" arc. We've seen one way that journey turned out in the 2014 End 'verse, but the conditions are different this time. If the writers are doing their jobs, instead of this being a dead-end 'verse in which all Castiel's choices are gone, at some point Castiel will have to choose between humanity and godhead. Free will. But this time with a completely different understanding of humanity, and a completely different understanding of human needs. Humans will no longer be "art" to him.
That pushes so many of my buttons.
So yes, Dean and Castiel's relationship is already positioned as a central theme of S8. If the writers stay true to the theme, it's definitely going canon as something more intimate than a friendship. Whether it's sexual is another question, but that's not really a priority for me -- it'd be good from the point of view of representation, but I'm personally more invested in Dean learning how to overcome his emotionally abusive childhood and make intimate adult relationships. Intimacy and sex don't have to go together. I want Castiel (and Sam) to learn that lesson too.
I thought this was going to be a major theme of the season, and it is in that it's clear the writers are finally addressing the emotional damage that's crippling both Sam and Dean, and even Castiel and Benny, and possibly Amelia. The focus on "what makes us human/monster" means we'll see some people destroyed by their inner demons, but it also suggests we'll see some finding ways to be more human. I'm really looking forward to that.
This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/410410.html.