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Okay, so: that final ‘okay’? Okay, sure, Sam won’t pursue the whole ‘Cage’ route. Okay. Dean knows it’s insincere as soon as it’s spoken. The director assumes the audience will need a little longer to absorb that obvious fact, hence necessary Soulful Stare Past Camera from Sam as the closing shot.


Now, proceeding from that to consider the rest of the episode: we have a similarly heavy-handed ‘THIS IS THE BIT THAT APPLIES TO THE BROTHERS OKAY’ moment when the sister of deceased (I don’t remember names because I don’t remember names) inserted a whole “fear paralyses us, it makes us not do things we should do or do bad things” moment into The Great Reveal Speech. Plus “I spent my whole life sticking up for my brother WHAT IF I WAS WRONG”. In case we missed the fact that the sudden change in narrative tone meant that this applied to our main characters, we also zoomed in on both Sam and Dean to see their reactions.


In Sam’s case? Easy and clear. Sam has been fearing pursuing the ‘Cage’ route - part of which is telling Dean about it, which he resolved to do and did by the end of the episode. We are left with the heavy implication that he will go further with it. (Hello, Lucifer!) He has, moreover, affirmed this personally within the episode by facing down the clown - which would have been a cute callback if it hadn’t felt shoe-horned in just to make that point, sigh. I love Sam’s clown fear precisely because it is irrational and so very human; that is, belonging to an entirely different category in his head to the epic/heroic/‘real-world’ sort of fears that he has to face on an everyday basis. Lucifer and the cage should belong in this category: as something he has faced, and something that has traumatised him, but which he can compartmentalise and (to a certain extent) control. 


If I were to don my fanfic hat for a moment, I’d say - “ah yes, but what if some version of Lucifer has entered the irrational terror part of Sam’s brain, the same as that occupied by clowns?” I would say “aha, that would be Hallucifer, who was obviously not actual Lucifer but Sam dealing with the idea of Lucifer and of a lack of control of his own psyche, since he behaved so very differently to that dignified, distant, driven archangel that we saw in season 5, and if this is the case then we could have this resolved by having real Lucifer return as a comprehensible and realistically motivated adversary”. Sadly, my fanfic brain tends to outstrip actual canon writing, so I doubt this will happen. Meh.


But that’s just Sam. We panned to Dean as well, when talking about fear. I assume the fears we’re meant to associate with Dean at this point involve the Mark and a loss of control (and, therefore, hurting Castiel - interestingly, demon!Deanm’s attempt to kill Sam doesn’t seem to haunt him? at least it hasn’t been referred back to by the narrative). But I see less of that - and this whole episode was generally Sam-focussed, so I think it remains open how we’re meant to read Dean’s fears right now.


All of that said. I can’t help but feel there’s something more going on with dead-guy himself. Allegations of paedophilia, wrongful accusations, accidental murder? That’s some rather heavy stuff, and I’m surprised we didn’t pick up on that in more depth in the episode. Feels like a dropped thread - or one that might possibly be picked up later? 


Plus masks and puppets, but that felt both too heavy-handed and also not particularly relevant to what’s going on now. More… you know… season 5. When there was a possiblity of them being meatsuits. To archangels. Ahem.

And am I the only one who got the impression that the MOW was protecting women? And since it wasn't, why did it suddenly kick into action against Doug and Donna? Doug wasn't in on it, was he? It was just the two guys, whom the ghost got - so why didn't he stop after that?

Incidentally, that one manuscript we focussed on when Sam was grumbling about how none of the ‘pre-Biblical’ texts Castiel had brought back were useful, as they were all in Aramaic or had nothing to do with the Darkness? 

Definitely neither Aramaic nor pre-Biblical - couldn’t see close enough to read any of it but judging by the general aspect of the page and the shape of the words, it’s definitely medieval Latin, probably 13-14C book hand. Although, to be generous to them, one could say it was a later copy of an earlier text; if only medieval Latin translations had not been at all influenced by, you know, the medieval church. If it’s worth translating it’s worth translating properly - ie, finding the ‘truth’ in it, which probably means a very loose translation heavily influenced by western patristic tradition. And therefore any ‘darkness’ it references will have been filtered through many layers of whatever every copyist for at least thirteen centuries has considered to be ‘darkness’, in whatever language and cultural context. No wonder it’s no good. Sam, honey, you really need to learn to study cultural, semantic, and linguistic context for every text you consult, not to mention, you know, the months or years of work that any manuscript / early-text scholar will put into constructing a provenance for every manuscript and a tree for every text suggesting its dissemination and influence and so on. 


Good responses I’ve seen to this episode: (will be updated as I see more, and feel free to add links in the comments)

Meta -
 this one little snippet from goodquestionharlie;
a fairly sound general review from thedailyfandom;
almaasi’s reaction post;
reflections on God and Amara from this and the previous episode, by postmodernmulticolouredcloak;
masks and burning things frmo dustydreamsanddirtyscars;
and, obviously most important of all, an ongoing BUT CAN CAS FLY THEN debate.

Fic/art -
non-explicit wincest drabble frmo kansaskissedlips - “I’m cold”. Poor Sammy! 
destiel drabble "How was Gaza?" from ozonecologne

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O, brave new world!

an epilogue to season 8


Alonso: Arise, and say how thou camest here.
Miranda: O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!
Prospero: ‘Tis new to thee.
The Tempest, William Shakespeare (Act V, Scene 1).

Written: 18-22 May 2013.

Pairings: Dean/Sam, Castiel/Dean, Castiel/Dean/Sam.

Rating: Explicit.

Genre and tropes: Wincestiel, episode coda, fallen angels, human Castiel, hurt/comfort.

Word count: 9500.

Spoilers: Through to (and especially for) the finale of season 8.

Summary: “Are you okay?” Sam put in, and Dean was fiercely stupidly grateful because he couldn’t ask it himself.
“I,” Castiel said, and he sounded so fucking lost. “Metatron was lying.”
“Oh, y’think?” Dean snapped out, and snatched the phone from Sam. “Where are you?”
“I’m not,” Castiel said, and, “I don’t know. Dean, everything is written in Italian, and I should be able to read it but I can’t remember most of the words and I can’t feel the Earth’s magnetic field or where the equator is or this vessel’s negotiations with gravity, Dean, I don’t know where I am.”

Warnings: None.

AO3 link.



Say how thou camest here.


Everything was very clear suddenly, as Dean hustled Sam outside, crouched with him in the lee of the Impala: clear in a way that Dean had almost forgotten. Sam was his, fierce as iron: the clutch of his hands in Dean’s jacket, the shake in his voice when he said Dean’s name like it was the only word he knew, the warm solid weight of him against Dean’s side. What was that they said - if you love somebody set them free, and they might even come back? Sam was sagging against him, coughing and groaning, but he was leaning on Dean and happy to do it, for as long as he needed it. For the first time in - hell, years - there was no crap between them, none of the push-pull and how-could-you and anger. Brothers again, and that was more important than anything. And they were going to be okay.

Then Heaven began to fall.

Dean couldn’t leave either of his men alone for five freaking minutes.

Read more... )
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Mole End

Written: Friday 9 May 2013.

Pairings: None, although there’re several could-be-preslashes lurking about.

Rating: G

Genre and tropes: Angstfluff. Shh. It’s a genre. Also, bunkerfic, reading to sick people, hurt/comfort, and the idea of home.

Word count: 2200.

Spoilers: Episode coda to 8x21.

Summary: The bunker doesn’t really feel like home right now. Dean is restless, Sam’s a mess, and Castiel just won’t heal. Until one day, for no obvious reason, he begins to get better.

Warnings: None.

Notes: Just in case anybody doesn’t recognise it, the book in question is The Wind In The Willows.

AO3 link.

In her last text, Charlie asked how things were going back here at the hobbit hole. Coming from her, that’s... well, sweet, because Dean knows what she means by it, only just now Dean isn’t entirely sure it won’t be a grave instead.

Read more... )
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Angel: So that's everything, huh? No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away, and what's left?
Buffy: Me.
Buffy, S02E22.

Written: Thursday 2 May - within an hour of watching the episode!

Pairings: Castiel/Dean preslash.

Other characters: Slight sightings of Charlie and Sam.

Rating: Teen.

Genre and tropes: Hurt/comfort, preslash, a little fluff, bunkerfic, Castiel being grouchy.

Word count: 2k.

Spoilers: Assumes knowledge of 8x21 ("The Great Escapist").

Summary: Let's just say it picks up directly from the end of the final scene, Dean makes more stew, and there is some discussion of the nature of angels.

Warnings: None.

AO3 link.

Read more... )
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 Oh, Teen Wolf. You are all kinds of cute and do interesting things with tropes while pretending to be cliched and have kind of crappy dialogue when Stiles isn't about, but I just need to say this:

That thirteenth-century page from a bestiary you keep showing as describing the kanima?

It's a hyena. The creature is a hyena. The animal in the illustration is manipulated to look more like your kanima[1], but the scene depicted is exactly what hyenas are always depicted doing, and you haven't bothered to change the standard description of it (not even the bit that says 'est animal quod dicetur hiena" directly under the illustration)[2], presumably because that would involve messing around with the handwriting and language, and that's complicated.[3]

The result of this?

The animal described and depicted, which we are told is the kanima, has all the characteristics of the (mediaeval idea of the) hyena - lives near tombs, drags out the bodies of the dead to eat them, etc, etc.

And also, as you can see in some of the pictures above, male and female genitalia. See that bit at the very top of the right-hand page? "aliquando masculus sit aliquando femina'? Yep.

Sorry, Jackson. That bite really, really did not make you more manly.

Teen Wolf, I adore you. I know you didn't mean this latest bit, but I still love you for it.


[1] In fact, a very little searching turns up the original, which is, for those who care about manuscript shelf marks, British Library, Royal 12 C xix, f 11v.

[2] 'This animal which is called the hyena', obviously. And there Lydia might run into trouble - the only letters there are 'Est animal qd dr hiena', so unless she's done extensive manuscript studies as well as language ones she won't know all the bog-standard pan-European abbreviations used in manuscripts at the time.

[3] Although not that complicated, because it isn't 'archaic latin', whatever that's meant to be, it's very formal thirteenth-century Latin in a very expensive luxury-item thirteenth-century manuscript that someone put a lot of money into (gold leaf, people, used liberally, and a very skilled scribe) and probably kept as a display piece to show off to all the other very important people who wandered through their house, and I'm not sure why we're talking about that like it's older and more obscure than classical latin.

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I tried to reflect on season seven generally. I honestly did. But the thing is? I don't feel like I've got a handle on it.

I don't feel like I've followed the emotional arc of any character since season 5. And I've tried, honestly I have. I want to feel that I can trust the writers with their own characters (and forget that I never really connected with season 7 Buffy, or anything past season 2 Angel, for precisely that reason). Supernatural has got to the end of season 5 with power, and the season 6 arc (much as I wish I could fix it) does make sense. I just don't want it to.

So, what do I do? )
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Okay, anyone want a transcription of Crowley's scroll?

Caveat lector: the Latin is very badly written. Which is fine, of course, because they weren't trying to make a proper legal document, just something that looked pretty and had a lot of the right words in it. However, their cases and tenses and subject/verb agreement and, basically, grammar generally, are very hit and miss. Add this to the fact that most of the sentences are in fragments, and what you have is basically what you'd get in English if you took all the words in a sentence, removed off any endings or pronouns (like "'s" or "s" or "his" or "theirs") that told you how things were organised, burned half the words, then flung the remainder randomly at the floor and tried to assemble the original sentence from that. This means that, while I've got all the words that appear, my ordering of them in the sentence may not be what the writers meant, and is largely my own interpretation according to sense and context.

Read more... )
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Firstly: No, I didn't do a 7.22 reaction post. Instead, I did this, which I will edit and repost as a proper story once I'm done flailing. And write a sequel to, once I'm done with my current major project. Consider it an alternative ending to season 7, but written before the finale actually aired (so not a direct criticism).
Secondly: This is my direct (and tipsy) reaction post, unedited, typos and all, flailingly pounded into the keyboard as I watched the episode air. I will type a more thoughtful whole-season response later.
Read more... )


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