bardicvoice: (6.19 Car boys by <lj user=meg_tdj>)

8.16 Remember The Titans: This One Was Supposed To Be On Me

Prometheus' fate –
Die every day forever:

Commentary And Meta Analysis

I enjoyed this episode a lot more than I expected to when I first learned about it. Supernatural has an unfortunate track record when it comes to stories involving non-Christian gods; they have most often come off as sloppy caricatures bearing little resemblance to their source mythology. I particularly loathed everything about the travesty that was Hammer Of The Gods and the bizarre depiction of Osiris in Defending Your Life, among others. This episode had its significant inaccuracies and issues, but it escaped the gross stupidity of prior outings, and I found the story of Shane, Hayley, and Oliver magnetic.

In this discussion, I'm going to look at Supernatural's cosmology and its treatment of gods and myth, and talk a little about the Winchesters' current relationship and the parallels I saw between them and Prometheus.

Read the rest ... )

This was a monster of the week story rather than one heavily into the show's mythology, but I very much enjoyed the way it still managed to tie the brothers' overall themes and issues into a standalone tale. That kind of solid linkage always makes a MOTW story more memorable and enjoyable, and with all the emotional and thematic resonance among Sam, Dean, and Prometheus, I will remember and savor this one for a long time.

bardicvoice: (Modern Classic by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)

8.15 Man's Best Friend With Benefits: And Then Some Other Crap

Witch and familiar:
Partners in magic and love
Confront jealousy.

Commentary And Meta Analysis

I didn't care for this episode at all. This poorly conceived monster-of-the-week outing did nothing to advance the brothers' story, and the whole witch story didn't work for me for many reasons. In this discussion, I'm going to speak mostly to my problems with the episode's witch lore, and look at what little it had to say about the relationship between the brothers.

Read the rest ... )

Again, apologies for being so late posting this here. It went up on The Winchester Family Business back on Wednesday. WFB always gets at least a 24-hour exclusive; when I encounter interface problems or real life busyness, delays take hold. Sorry!

bardicvoice: (Modern Classic by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)

8.14 Trial And Error: This Is My Perfect Ending

God's obstacle course:
Three deadly trials prepare one
To slam shut Hell's gates.

Commentary And Meta Analysis

This episode clearly set the stage for the rest of the season, and perhaps longer. I particularly loved the honesty we got from both of the brothers and the way their respective declarations demonstrated the profound differences in their mindsets facing the quest to close the gates of Hell. With Sam now committed to perform the trials, I really hope the honesty continues, although I'm betting it won't at first.

In this discussion, I'm going to speculate about Kevin's difficulties with translating the tablet and what that may mean for the quest, and I'm going to look at where Dean and Sam stand psychologically and emotionally.

Read the rest ... )

Apologies for the delay in posting this here: I've had problems with the LJ posting interface on Chrome. It's being a bitch. These posts always appear first on The Winchester Family Business: you might want to look there first.

bardicvoice: (worth it by <lj user=galathea_snb>)

8.13 Everybody Hates Hitler: Knowledge Is Power, Isn't It

Claim inheritance,
Hunt down secret enemies;
Take charge of your life.

Commentary And Meta Analysis

This episode was pure delight from beginning to end: a signature Ben Edlund blending of humor and horror beautifully realized by the cast, director Phil Sgriccia, and every single creative production department. The headquarters bunker set of the Men of Letters was nothing short of amazing, and I can't wait to see more of it and learn about the resources it provides.

I don't have a lot of things to say about this episode in terms of meta, so this discussion is going to be very short by my standards. I'm going to look at the season's continuing theme of taking responsibility, speculate about secret societies, and enjoy the brothers' reactions to their inheritance.

Read the rest ... )

I know this is just the calm before the storm, but I can't help being cheered by the resources the Letters' bunker provides the Winchesters. Eckhart was right: knowledge is power, and with the Letters' library combined with Kevin's work on the demon tablet, the Winchesters have access to an unprecedented quantity and quality of organized knowledge: a veritable arsenal of power.

What they do with it and what it will cost them remains to be seen.

bardicvoice: (Modern Classic by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)

8.12 As Time Goes By: As Long As We're Alive, There's Always Hope

What if your whole past
Isn't what you always thought?
What's your legacy?

Commentary and Meta Analysis

While this episode was beautifully shot and had some powerful emotional beats, I had real problems with it because it seemed to radically change things we thought we knew and add many new, mostly derivative ones without providing much logical supporting structure for them. I felt like last week's Maria, aka Gholandria the Wicked, watching a surprise genre mash-up of Supernatural, Buffy, Highlander, and Warehouse 13. I'll be curious to see how they smooth over the story seams in upcoming episodes since they've already started down this the road, but in the meantime, I'm working hard to find ways to make what I saw make sense in the context of show canon as I've perceived it. And this season is all about perception, isn't it?

In this commentary, I'm going to discuss my difficulty dealing with John's sudden acquisition of issues with paternal abandonment; the problematic legacy of the super-secret Men of Letters; and the latest wrinkles in the show's systems of magic.

Read the rest ... )
bardicvoice: (impalamusic by <lj user=crazypandabear>)
My latest audiobook just got listed to sell on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes! It's called "Mr Darcy Takes The Plunge," written by J. Marie Croft, and it's a pun and word-game-filled retake on Jane Austin's "Pride And Prejudice." If you don't like puns, you won't like this, but if you're in the mood for some romantic silliness, listen to the sample!

If you do listen and enjoy it, consider leaving a review behind.  :)
bardicvoice: (Whee! by <lj user=talulababy>)

8.11 LARP And The Real Girl: Escaping Isn't What It Used To Be

Frustrated LARPer
Binds fairy to kill rivals:
Brave hearts win the day.

Read the rest ... )

I found the way this episode ended, with the brothers taking a few hours simply to play together, happily healing. They have a long way yet to go to rebuild the full strength of their brother bond, but they've both taken purposeful steps toward that end. And I think they will take those lessons with them when they leave Moondoor's escapism behind to go bravely into the next world – their real one.

bardicvoice: (B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>)

8.10 Torn And Frayed: I Can't Enjoy A World I Need To Save

Who controls angels?
Crowley and Naomi both
Tamper with base code.

Commentary And Meta Analysis

Torn and frayed pretty well described all of our heroes by the end of this episode. But despite being torn and frayed, a blanket can still keep you warm, and the way this episode ended, with the Winchesters deliberately reunited by their own conscious choice, it offered us a warmth and hope we've long been missing. I loved this episode and look forward to where the story will take us from here.

In this commentary, I'm going to look at angel source code, tablets, and what's happening in Heaven; Sam and Dean's choices and relationships; and Benny's struggle with addiction.

Read more... )

I know I've been missing in action from commentary during much of this season so far, but I have to say I've been enjoying what showrunner Jeremy Carver has brought to the table. I'm in for the long run, and I can't wait to see where we go from here, with Sam and Dean back together again. And while their coats are torn and frayed and have seen much better days, as long as this show plays, they'll steal my heart away.

bardicvoice: (SU brothers by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)

Supernatural University: Being Your Brother's Keeper

We know season eight is exploring issues of perception. Even if we didn't have the interview words of showrunner Jeremy Carver pointing that out, we'd have known it from what we've seen thus far of the conflict between the brothers, particularly given its basis in their differing experiences and views of those experiences from their year apart, and from Castiel's pointed demonstration in A Little Slice Of Kevin of the crucial difference between Dean's memories of events in Purgatory – his perception of reality – and the truth of what really happened when Castiel chose to remain behind.

As usual, however, there's more than a single theme to the season, and I think one many people have overlooked involves a question the show has been asking, albeit mostly rhetorically, from the beginning: how responsible are we for the well-being of others? Or in other words, to what extent are we – and Sam and Dean – personally, socially, ethically, and morally responsible for being our brothers' keepers? How much of our time, our substance, and ourselves must we give to others? When have we given enough? When can we say “no more” without feeling guilty or being called selfish? And do hunters owe a greater duty to others than those who don't know about the supernatural? Welcome to a philosophy and psychology discussion at Supernatural University!

Read the rest ... )

Sorry this has posted so late; I wrote it before Torn And Frayed aired, but it got held up in the queue for publication over at The Winchester Family Business, and my agreement with WFB is they get to post first. I think it's clear from the last two episodes that Dean has been able to adjust his perception at least a little to be able to see things from Sam's perspective!

bardicvoice: (B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>)
8.01 Heartache: This Last Year Has Given Me A Whole New Perspective

Eternal youth deal
Goes awry for love, because
The heart is the key.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

Sorry I'm so very late! I liked this episode a lot. Supernatural has often drawn parallels between monsters, their victims, and the Winchester brothers, and I've always enjoyed episodes where the case of the week played directly into the psychology of the brothers. I thought this episode accomplished that goal with subtlety, avoiding anvil-dropping. And while the clues to Sam's solo year are coming with agonizing slowness, I'm appreciating getting the little pieces of the puzzle. In this analysis, I'm going to look at the parallels drawn by the case and then expound a bit on my view of Sam's and Dean's current mindsets. Be aware that I’m going to get a bit personal in that latter discussion, because I have some specific reasons for feeling the way I do.

Read the rest ... )

And now I'm out of time. I'm consistently going to be late with my reviews at least until January, but I hope after then to be the master of my schedule and be able to allot more time in a more timely fashion.

bardicvoice: (B&W brothers by <lj user=clubinthesky>)

8.03: What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?: It’s About The Sacrifice

(Previously published on The Winchester Family Business)

What's the price of peace?
Mother's soul for her son's life;
Dean's Winchester guilt.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

I will apologize in advance, because this one’s going to be short and shallow given the current strictures on my time. I hope to be able to come back and explore more things later – for one, I already have a whole meta in process on the role played by Castiel throughout the show, something I began over a month ago, and I agree with Samandiriel’s comment on heart – but for the time being, I’m going to run very briefly just with the glimpse inside Dean this episode gave us.

Read the rest ... )

bardicvoice: (Welome back boys by <lj user=Cakehole_Ca)

8.02 We Need To Talk About Kevin: Let's Do This

(Originally published on the Winchester Family Business)

Escaped fighter Dean
Disrupts Sam's new life of peace.
New quest: Word of God.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

I'm afraid this won't be up to my usual standards – I'm hideously hard-pressed right now juggling the career I'm leaving, the career I'm starting, family matters, and my fannish heart – but I had to return to blogging Supernatural. I hope you'll forgive the absence of the episode summaries and the scattershot and incomplete nature of the commentaries, at least until my life takes on its new proper proportions in January. I promise to try to do better then, although I think the summaries are toast. Alas.

In the meantime, this discussion explores my thoughts on Purgatory, Dean, and Sam.

Read the rest ... )

Suffice to say for the moment that I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, need to watch it again, and cannot wait to see where Carver and company are taking us! I especially want to know what happened to Castiel; Dean's whole story in Purgatory; exactly what happened to Sam after Dean and Castiel disappeared; and why the angels haven't intervened to secure the stray Words of God on Earth … Oh, and I hope we get to keep the rock music this season, because opening with Jethro Tull and Styx was wonderful!

Bring it, season eight!

bardicvoice: (bardicvoice by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)
Popping in just for a quickie, here.

I really liked this episode. While Sam's behavior concerns me, I am absolutely confident that we still have a LOT to learn about what actually happened to him after the moment season 7 ended, and when we learn the whole, we'll realize that what was going on wasn't remotely a man being callous, selfish, or shallow. I will wait to see what happens.

I'll go into a lot more detail later, when I manage my episode write-up, but here's one quick piece for thought.

Read the rest ... )

I loved war vet Dean, jumping out of his skin from the constant overstimulation of his combat reflexes by perfectly ordinary sounds and sights that have been made alien to him after a year in constant combat. I'm intrigued by Benny and want to see how his connection with Dean developed and led to their escape from Purgatory. And I'm dying to learn the fate of Castiel and to see where the whole quest for the Word goes.

Bring it, season 8!

bardicvoice: (DeanSky by <lj user=clubinthesky>)

Supernatural University: Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose

(Originally posted on The Winchester Family Business -- Contains Discussion of Spoilers!)

As always in the anticipation of a new season, many fans are bouncing off the walls reacting to spoilery tidbits about the upcoming storyline. I'm going to say up front I've never understood the fannish tendency to jump off cliffs making judgments about things we haven't even seen yet, especially leaping to angry, bitter conclusions about the writers throwing one character under a bus while obviously favoring the other purely on the basis of short, deliberately vague interviews and attention-getting, tiny clips. Prejudging on the basis of incomplete information strikes me as short-sighted on so many levels, and can ruin the viewing experience not only for the judger, but for others who simply want to see where the story will go. My advice to fans (including me!) is always the same: don't assume things in advance, be aware of your own biases before accusing others, and give the writers time in which to build and develop their story – don't expect all the answers in the first five minutes, or even the first five episodes. If there were no mystery, where would the story have room to grow?

Read the rest ... )

And we'll all know more about whether I'm right or wrong as the season progresses! Give it time. I will.

bardicvoice: (On location)

2012 Location Tour, Spoilers Only!

(Originally posted on The Winchester Family Business)

Russ offered a few very tiny little spoilers for season 8 during the location tour. They don't give away anything about character or plot, so they hardly qualify as spoilers at all, but for people who are thoroughly keeping their heads down and eyes averted to come into the season as total virgins, back away now! Otherwise, come on in; I don't think anything here really gives anything crucial away …

Read the rest ... )

And that ends my report of spoilery information from the location tour. On to season 8!

All my specifically spoilery photos and videos from the tour are here.

bardicvoice: (On location)

2012 Supernatural Location Tour (No Spoilers!)

(Originally published on The Winchester Family Business)

This article takes you along on the 2012 Location Tour with locations manager Russ Hamilton. While we clearly went to some locations that are being used in season 8 – heck, Supernatural reuses so many locations that it would be impossible to avoid that, and we saw a glimpse of Purgatory at the end of season 7! – this article doesn't include any of the spoilery teases provided on the tour, so you can read this and stay unspoiled. The teasing bits Russ provided will appear in a very short follow-up article clearly marked as containing spoilers. Please don't mention spoiler-related information in your comments on this article; save them for the next one. I know what I skipped saying here!

This year's tour took us to the Purgatory woods, which have also been other things in the past; the DOD lands, also called the North 40, which have been used in so many episodes I've lost count; the backlot, originally built for Watchmen and now a staple of the local studio scene; Como Lake, where Castiel walked into the reservoir and released the Leviathan in Hello, Cruel World; the Paramount Gentlemen's Club in New Westminster, used in Criss Angel Is A Douchebag; and the Minoru Chapel, the deconsecrated church where Castiel killed the preacher in Meet The New Boss.

Read the rest ... )

Well, that's it for the non-spoilery report on the 2012 Location Tour. If you're okay with spoilers, check out the next post; if you're avoiding spoilers, wait until after the first five episodes air before you check it out.

And I think I'll be planning on joining Russ for next year's tour … :)

A slideshow of all non-spoilery tour photos - with captions - is here.

My photos and videos are here.

bardicvoice: (bardicvoice by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)
My second audiobook performance - "Courting Constance" by Teryl Cartwright - is now available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. The sequel to the first book, "A Sensible Match," it's another Regency-based Christian romance. Listen to the samp
le here on Amazon: or on Audible: or search for the title on iTunes! If you enjoy what you hear, let me know ... better yet, provide a review of the performance!

And I just signed contract last night on another book, and am submitting an audition for a fourth. I am REAL!!!!

Thanks for rejoicing with me!

bardicvoice: (SU brothers by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)

Supernatural University: Shameless Spoilery Speculation -- Season Eight, The Search for … Limbo?

I avoid spoilers, but accept teasers – by which I mean sanctioned interviews with writers, actors, producers, and directors. So I did follow the coverage from the San Diego ComicCon (although I haven't had time to see it all!), and of course, it sparked some thoughts in my overly fertile brain. What follows is just speculation, pure and simple, so don't take it as anything more. It's probably totally wrong, and trust me, I'm perfectly fine with that; I'll welcome seeing whichever way Season Eight goes, and I trust Jeremy Carver & Company to take me for a fine ride! But while I'm waiting to board the Supernatural Season Eight soul train, I'm going to indulge in a little wild-assery – come along if you dare!

Read the rest ... )

bardicvoice: (bardicvoice by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)
This is another real-life post, so if my Supernatural writing is all you're interested in, skip this with my blessing. *grin*

The next chapter of my life -- my voiceover existence -- has officially begun! The first audiobook I recorded professionally, a light, fluffy, Regency-based Christian romance novel called A Sensible Match, written by Teryl Cartwright, is now for sale through, iTunes, and! My second performance -- the sequel to the first, called Courting Constance -- should be available within two weeks.

If you'd like to hear what I sound like, even if you're not interested in buying the book (and it's not something I'd have bought for myself, I'll admit!), there's about a three-minute sample clip posted at all three sites where the book is for sale. Take a listen, and let me know what you think!

I'm now auditioning for more books in a variety of genres. This will be my full-time life following my departure from the U.S. EPA at the end of November:  wish me luck!

bardicvoice: (bardicvoice by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>)

I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. Starting a new business while still working a full-time job has meant stepping away from writing meta essays and episode commentaries on Supernatural and indulging in other creative exercises, but it hasn’t stopped me from thinking. And recent events, combined with the habits of all the philosophical and analytical thinking that went into those Supernatural blogs, pushed me into codifying certain essential things I believe.

This essay has nothing to do with Supernatural, so if you visit this blog for fannish things, feel free to bypass this entry. But if you would like to learn something about the core of who I am, you’re welcome to read. Just be aware that what is contained here is personal to me. You may or may not agree with what I think, and that’s fine. But this is not a debate. This is my belief, born of long and careful thought. And it is my personal response to the increasing polarization of society along ideological lines largely driven by conflicting religious and cultural imperatives.

Read the rest ... )


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December 2015



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