bardicvoice: (Supernatural University)
Supernatural University Master Post

This post links to all my individual Supernatural University essay posts, in the order in which they were written. Additional Supernatural University discussions take place in most, if not all, of my episode commentaries, but those tend to focus on specific episodes; the standalones tend to cover bigger topics and haven’t been easy to find. But here they all are. Hope you enjoy them!

I’ve grouped these into the seasons in which they were written. Bear in mind when they were written as you read them; each essay only references episodes that were in existence when they were written. I used to have a lot more time available for meta; as the seasons progressed, more and more of the meta became integrated into the episode commentaries.


This way to the Table of Contents ... )
bardicvoice: (9.01)

9.01 I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here: There Ain't No Me If There Ain't No You

Sam's inner debate:
Fight for life, or die in peace?
Dean loads angel dice.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

Put me on the list of fans who loved this episode. I know it created controversy among fans – hell, what episode doesn't these days, given the different lenses fans always watch through? – but it worked brilliantly for me. In this discussion, I'm going to look at angels in the human outfield; what was going on in Sam's mind as he lay in that coma; Dean's decisions; Castiel dealing with humanity from the inside; and the enigmatic Ezekiel.

Read the rest ... )

In his internal debate about living or dying, Sam unconsciously stacked the deck against his own survival by emphasizing all the things that make human life hard: struggle, conflict, anger, pain, loss. All too often, I think we, like Sam, lose sight of the very things that make even the hardest life worthwhile: love, concern for each other, generosity, acceptance, forgiveness. Sometimes, we need to take a leap of faith and place our trust in someone else to find our way back to ourselves. Every time we do that, we take a risk – but don't you think life and love are worth a risk?


Want to read my commentaries and meta earlier? They always post on The Winchester Family Business a few days before they appear here. Check http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/!



bardicvoice: (happy by <lj user=galathea_snb>)

Staying In Love With Your Partner (Show)

Relationships are seldom easy. Oh, some friendships can be – but love? Keeping things both fresh and committed can be hard, because the people (shows) we love are uniquely able to hurt us as well as delight us. Here's some advice on making your relationship with your beloved partner (favorite TV show) work!

Read the rest ... )

So, those are my basic bits of successful partner (show) relationship advice. Do you have additional ones to contribute? Weigh in!

And stay in love!

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



Supernatural University: Tragedies, Bloodlines, Legacies – The Evolution of the Family Business

“Saving people, hunting things: the family business.”

That's been the tagline of Supernatural from the very beginning, memorably given voice by Dean way back in the second episode, Wendigo, and repeated multiple times every season since. But it's never been a static concept; every part of that phrase has undergone evolution as the seasons progressed. In this discussion, I look at how the show has changed our understanding of family and the family business from its original presentation of hunting, hunters, the Winchesters, and saving people to where we stand at the beginning of season nine. Welcome to a multidiscliplinary Supernatural University analytical session!

Read the rest ... )

Anticipation, It's Making Me Wait …

Season nine promises to continue exploring the Winchesters' MOL legacy and – through the consequences of Sam's trials, Dean's decisions, the angels falling, and Castiel being rendered human – the tensions in both the Winchesters' immediate and extended family. I suspect we'll see even more evolution in the family business concerning what it means to save people and hunt things.

But no matter what comes, I know family will always remain at the heart of the show. After all, this all started with another family business that diversified from its origins – Kripke Enterprises, a metal scrap dealer in Toledo, Ohio!

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



Supernatural University: Demonstration Angel

Even in the Supernatural universe, Castiel is absolutely unique. Oh, every angel is unique, like every person – each one is an individual with its own identity and personality – but from everything we've seen, Castiel stands alone as the only angel ever to die and be restored … not to mention experiencing that more than once. He's done things no other angel ever contemplated, and doesn't behave like any other angel we've ever met. Why is Castiel so unique? What is his purpose? Welcome to a speculative Supernatural University session in myth, theology, philosophy, psychology, and television production!

In my previous meta on angels as a group, I said I think Castiel represents the quintessential angel, the truest vision of what God intended angels to be. In this article, I'll look at Castiel from three very different but inextricably linked perspectives:


  • In practical television production terms, I'll explore why I think the writers – the show's other gods – designed and introduced him the way they did, why certain things happened to him along the way, and why I believe his initial role expanded largely because of what Misha Collins brought to his portrayal.


  • In terms of character development, I'll explain how I think he's different psychologically from most other angels we've seen, and postulate that his contact with Dean and Sam caused him to consider concepts he otherwise wouldn't have.


  • In story terms, I believe his innate differences, combined with his experience, are why he keeps being brought back from the dead: I propose the show's in-story God may be using him as both an exemplar and a test bed for angel development: God's demonstration angel.

Read the rest... )


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

Supernatural University: Calling All Angels

This is the first of two articles exploring angels in the Supernatural universe. In this one, I'll be looking at the role angels have played and how that developed through the history of the series, including how angels relate to monsters and humans, and how I think their role has both meshed with and changed the show's “bible” over time. In the next article, shifting from the general concept of angels to the specific, I'm going to explore in detail the unique role of Castiel and put forward my own theories on his nature and purpose. Welcome to a multidisciplinary Supernatural University session in myth, theology, philosophy, psychology, and the nature of television production!

Read more... )

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

Supernatural University: The Rainbow Connection, Or Can You See What I See?

Addressing the emotional fan reaction on the internet to catastrophic events in The Rains Of Castamere episode of HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Game Of Thrones, Smithsonian Magazine tweeted an excellent article on how and why we bond so strongly with fictional characters. The neatest thing – to me, anyway – about the theory put forth in that article is that it would also explain very simply why we Supernatural fans can all watch the same show and yet have such vastly differing, strongly held interpretations of the characters of Sam and Dean, not to mention other characters in the show. Here's a little Supernatural University psychology and physics discussion about why fandom fights about characters will always be fruitless and never resolve into sense.

Read the rest ... )

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

8.23 Sacrifice: It Was Always God's Intention, The Ultimate Sacrifice

Metatron's Heaven:
Exile angels for revenge.
Closing Hell is death.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

My reaction to this episode was mixed. On the one hand, the performances, direction, and technical production aspects were absolutely stellar, and it filled my eyes and broke my heart in good ways; on the other, I had serious issues with aspects of the story, especially the divine metaphysics of falling angels, and it took a couple of viewings for me to get comfortable with the dialogue concerning Sam's confession to Dean and Dean's response. In this discussion, I'm going to address Metatron's expulsion of the angels and the emotional situation between the brothers.

Read the rest ... )

And here's my point. You've doubtless noticed my joy in this episode was not unalloyed. I have issues with the metaphysics of falling angels and with the idea of curing a demon by making it artificially feel remorse though injections of human blood. I've had criticisms of other episodes in this season, and throughout the run of the series.

But you know something? My delight in this show goes beyond my criticisms of the specific details that didn't work for me in a story or a season. I'm not concerned with having everything the way I want it to be. What makes me happy is having Supernatural itself: the story of two brothers who love each other and build a family of much more than blood, for whom saving people is the family business. What makes me happy is the passion and love of all the people behind the show who consistently make it more than an hour of entertainment; the quality it has that makes me think and write about it for long hours after an episode – or a season – has come to an end. What makes me happy are all the people I share my passion with, and the way they give it back to me.

Those are the blessings set before me, and with them, I'm content.

But really impatient for season nine.

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

8.21 The Great Escapist: When You Create Stories, You Become Gods

We can all be gods.
Our minds write our own stories;
Angels, demons, men.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

Ben Edlund never disappoints! This episode was chock-full of information advancing and reinforcing the overall mytharc of the series. I suspect I'll be doing many more analytical pieces during hiatus, because there was too much here for me to deal with in a single write-up. In this discussion, I'm going to look at angels rewriting their roles, the impact of the trials on Sam, and the nature of the trials themselves.

Read the rest ... )

Good stories take us out of ourselves and put us into other universes. When we watch an episode of Supernatural like this one, we can be escapists getting away from the problems of our personal worlds, much the way Metatron fled his angelic troubles to become absorbed instead into human fiction. But great stories can also take us deeper into ourselves and enhance our understanding of and connection with others, as Sam and Dean managed to force Metatron to become involved by personalizing Kevin's story and their own.

Perception can be everything. And if we open ourselves to it, our perceptions can change, and we can become better, more focused, more involved, more caring people.

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

8.19 Taxi Driver: No Reason To Think I Won't See You Again Somewhere Down The Road

Reaper shows the way.
Sam frees Bobby's Hell-trapped soul;
Benny says goodbye.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

I was thoroughly caught up in the emotion and rollercoaster nature of this episode while it was playing – tribute to all the actors and highest marks to the VFX crew – but once it ended, all the logic and plot holes weakening the script became glaringly obvious. I'm still going to treasure this episode despite the script issues, though, precisely because the characters' emotions were so profound and true.

In this discussion, I'm going to explore Reapers; speculate about Kevin, Crowley, and Naomi; celebrate Benny; and theorize about Sam and the trials.

Read the rest ... )

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

8.17 Goodbye Stranger: I Can't Take Any More Lies – From Anyone

Lucifer's lost crypts
Conceal the angel tablet:
Win and lose at once.

Commentary And Meta Analysis

This episode was a game-changer in many ways, and I enjoyed them all. It also harked back to much of the show's history while shining a different light on it, and I appreciated that as well.

In this commentary, I'm going to speculate a lot about Crowley's history, contemplate what's happened to Sam, and delve into the bond between Castiel and Dean.

Read the rest ... )

As I noted, I have more to say, but no time at the moment to say it. I'm on tenterhooks for the rest of this season, and for what season nine will bring; I think the show right now is on an amazing creative roll, and however much it scares me, I can't wait to see where it goes. Especially when this is what the episode left with us to think about:

Goodbye stranger it's been nice
Hope you find your paradise
Tried to see your point of view
Hope your dreams will all come true
Goodbye Mary, goodbye Jane
Will we ever meet again?
Feel no sorrow, feel no shame
Come tomorrow, feel no pain …

Not on Supernatural. We'll feel … everything.


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:
Hereditary.

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: (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: (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 ... )


Profile

bardicvoice: (Default)
bardicvoice

December 2015

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags