ashkiryn: (namora)
[personal profile] ashkiryn
So, here we come to the episode that really kicks off the MythArc; aka, Epic Plot Shenanigans are afoot in this episode. If one is like me, and pays attention, this should be exceedingly obvious, as this episode was written by Eric Kripke himself (who had a hand in the majority of the big Mytharc episodes of this season; except for "Heaven and Hell" and "The Real Ghostbusters", for the rest of the seasons that he was Showrunner, he stuck to the first and last episodes of the seasons. And then I guess he stepped in as some kind of guest writer for the last episode of season 6, "The Man Who Knew Too Much").


I didn’t get to write the meat of this review after I watched the episode of “Home”, because LJ decided to be monumentally stupid and not allow me the use of the enter key, and so I couldn’t space out paragraphs. And then I always had places to be, and there just wasn’t a good chunk of time for me to dedicate to writing this. And really, there still isn’t a good time. I’ve got maybe 40 minutes at the moment? But I decided I might as well fucking write at least a part of this, anyway. But the point of this bit is to say that the episode isn’t as fresh in my mind as I would prefer, but it’s good enough, I guess. So yeah. Onwards.

I suppose the thing that sticks out the most for me in this episode, especially in regards to a few comments I made about “Skin”, is that when they’re introducing themselves to Jenny, Sam cuts across Dean, and introduces himself as Sam Winchester. He doesn’t quite tell the complete truth of why they’re there, but instead of assuming a disguise and an alias, he chooses instead to be himself, to go with what I don’t doubt is the truth, at least for Sam: he really does want to see the house.

Personally, I’ve never seen Sam so eager to tell what’s basically the truth, to be himself, and even if there is a bit of fabrication in his story, I’ve still never seen him so enthusiastic before. And honestly, I can’t recall much exciting him like this even later in the series. For fuck’s sake, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Sam had starting bouncing on his toes. He was kind of reminiscent of a kid going to Disneyland for the first time, lit up with wonder and awe at finally getting to see this magical place that he’s only ever heard tell of before. And indeed, I think it must have to Sam felt like a magical, fairy tale-like, surreal place, because in this house in Lawrence the Winchesters were normal; and as we see in “Dark Side of the Moon”, most of what he seems to hear from John (and probably Dean, at least a bit) about their lives before, particularly Mary and John’s marriage, has been idealized (see Dean’s comment about their marriage: “It wasn’t perfect until after she died,”). Here, the Winchesters had been just like everyone else: he’d had a mother, a loving father (and not a drill sergeant), an actual house, a room, a yard, the Impala had just been a car. Basically, this house to Sam is utterly symbolic of everything he was and didn’t remember, everything he could have been, and everything that he’s wanted to be. And perhaps even then he was feeling Mary’s aura, because Sam wants to know this place, wants to open himself up fully and embrace everything, he wants to welcome and accept into himself the imprint of normal Sam that resides in the house. Again, I think this is one of the only times in the series that Sam has really, really wanted to be Sam.

It becomes ironic, because of course Dean contrasts this, and has probably never wanted to be himself less than when he’s in Lawrence. I find it rather sad, that Sam is so thoughtless when he deprives Dean of the shield and distance that Dean had been trying to erect when he’d been about to lie about their identities. He also in that moment deprives Dean of being able to treat this like a normal job. I mean, I agree with Sam that honesty is the better policy, but my problem is that Sam never spares a second to think about the repercussions of the majority of his actions in this episode. The metaphor that comes to mind is that Sam is the bull in the china shop of Dean, smashing everything in his brother as he revels in the discovery and drags his brother along with him, regardless of Dean’s wishes. And fuck if it doesn’t make my heart ache, the fact that no one in this episode gives the time of day to Dean’s feelings.

And most especially, I want to punch John in the face. Look, I cut him more slack than a lot of people do, honestly. I recognize that he’s a fallible human being, who fucked up more often than not, but who did try. I even feel sorry for him on occasion. But there are two things that John does in particular on-screen in the series that I can barely understand, and that I do not forgive him for, and one of them occurred in this episode, when he refused to go see and comfort his children after that phone call that Dean gave him. The other time was when he didn’t respond to Sam’s phone call in “Faith” about Dean dying, and on both accounts, fuck you very goddamned much, John Winchester.

See, I can forgive Sam for being, once again, a bit of a self-centered idiot, and be caught up in freaking out over psychic nightmares and getting to know, in a way, the mother and family and house that he never really knew, and for therefore not totally noticing his brother quietly breaking down. Both boys were dealing with shit, and while it might make me grumpy, I can respect that, to a degree. I can forgive Missouri Mosely for ragging on Dean, because honestly, there was probably no way in fuck Dean could ever bring himself to like her—seeing as she’s a psychic, Dean knows that she can see inside him, and so in order for him to like her, he’d have to stop hating himself first, which certainly wasn’t going to happen in the first season of the show, and even now in season 8, would take a lot of fucking time and dedication—and so there really was no way for her to win without shattering Dean.

But John? No. Because how fucking often does Dean ask for help like that? Almost never. And how often does he fucking beg and plead like he did? Dean only does this when he’s absolutely broken, and feels that he has no one to turn to. And of course, John like most people in this series, only reinforces Dean’s abandonment issues, and the idea that Dean and his problems are unimportant to basically everyone in the world.

And what really makes me want to carve my heart out of my chest is that this is still happening to Dean, even as we near the end of season 8. :/

I know that this is really more of a Sam-centric episode, and I’m fixating on Dean…but damn it, SOMEONE needs to. *grumps*

Also, while we’re kind of still on the subject of Dean…it interests me that his role as the Heart is being fulfilled even way back here in “Home”. Over the course of the series, Dean’s unwavering support and love, and subsequently their love for Dean, has allowed four possessed characters to regain control and stop themselves from continuing to hurt Dean (in order, these were John, Bobby, Sam, and Castiel); thus, fans have semi-joked that this, recalling loved ones to their right minds, is Dean’s super power. In light of that, I find it interesting that Sam only starts seeing the flaming figure as Mary when Dean finally enters the scene, and basically starts moving to defend Sam. I dunno, but it’s kind of cool to think Dean helped Mary recall a bit of her humanity as well. Because hell, but Dean’s got to have something to do while Sam’s off carrying the Myth-arc.

So, let’s talk about Mary, shall we? Because really, she seems to be unique amongst all the ghosts of the series, because I can’t recall another one that largely spends their time looking like a non-human entity and unrecognizable from themselves when they were alive. Hell, she’s far from the only woman to have even died in that manner, so what is it that makes Mary so special and different from everyone else?

Most character parallels with Mary seem to be drawn between her and Sam—both were raised as Hunters and yet they both wanted out of that life and view being Normal and Safe as exclusive from Hunting and preferable—but I honestly think you can draw just as many parallels between her and Dean: they were both the ones who made demon deals to bring back a loved one because they feared being alone, and theirs were the ones that basically ensured the Apocalypse to happen; hell, they were even alike in their protectiveness over Sam in “Home”. And now that I think about it...well, Dean is soon to descend into Hellfire and begin the process of losing his humanity; interesting that Mary mostly appears as a figure of flame, no?

In this episode, the actual enemy is a poltergeist that exists to be creepy as fuck—except, its presence and identity is cloaked by Mary, both in the shadow of her death as the Winchesters question whether it’s the same thing as what killed her, and also in that we see her flaming silhouette early on and aren’t told who she is. Throughout the episode, the viewer is left questioning as to who’s doing the attacking—is it the flaming figure? And the question isn’t answered until the very end, when Mary demands that the poltergeist get out of her house and let go of her son, before she brings up her energy to cancel out that of the poltergeist (I’d also like the canon to tell me what exactly that means for Mary—where is she now?).

When I was trying to parse out the thematic and symbolic nature of the poltergeist, my thoughts turned to Missouri, and her lines about how it came to be in the Winchesters’ old home in the first place. As she explains it to Sam and Dean, great evil visited their house that night, and the tragedy that occurred leaves wounds, “and sometimes, those wounds become infected.” The poltergeist was drawn to the house, like bacteria to that “wound”, and festered.

In light of this, it interests me that “Home” is the first episode since “Pilot” that we’ve seen a hide or hair of John. John, who has deep wounds caused by Mary’s death, wounds that have never been healed…and, you might say, that have been infected by the desire for vengeance. Which, of course, is the self-same desire that has lashed out and hurt and almost outright destroyed everything John has left in all the years since Mary’s death—because John may have loved his kids, but man, has he completely fucked Dean and Sam up; sometimes I fear almost beyond repair. The parallel continues when you consider the fact that John, like the poltergeist, is cloaking his presence and hiding, and isn’t revealed to be there until the end of the episode.

And hell, that makes Mary’s canceling out of the poltergeist into foreshadowing, because what’s the one thing that’s powerful enough to banish such a dark entity, where previous attempts at purification failed? Sacrificial love: Mary is able to banish the poltergeist when motivated to protect her sons, and John is only able to give up his vengeance so that he could save Dean instead.

Huh. I’ve actually surprised myself with this observation, especially since I’ve put off writing this analysis for quite a while. :P

In another character parallel, I find it interesting that in this episode, Sam ends up stepping into his father’s shoes—he calls back to John in the Pilot, when he tells Sari to take her brother outside as fast as she can, and to not look back. The moment is an underline, meant to draw our attention to the fact that, hey, John and Sam are really quite a lot alike, and it’s one amongst many that are necessary to heighten their divergence at the end of season 1, when Sam proves that he’s better than his father, by letting go when John could not. It’s these subtle sprinklings through the course of the season, though, that ensure the emotional impact is all the more powerful, and especially in a rather tight-knit season like the first, is indicative of excellent storytelling. It’s satisfying and rewarding, to be able to look back and see how far Sam has come, an example of character development and arc done right.

There’s also an interesting juxtaposition present in this episode—the boys are here digging for the truth about their mother’s death, and Sam’s using honesty as a tactic; and then there’s Missouri, who lies to her customers because, “they don’t come here for the truth.” People come to Missouri for peace of mind. Which she gives them, and which she denies Sam, first by stating that Azazel isn’t there, and then by being unable to tell Sam anything about his psychic abilities. And the truth behind Mary’s, “I’m sorry,” also lies just beneath the surface. Sam also comes clean to Dean in this episode about the nature of some of his nightmares, and then there’s more lying from Missouri about John’s presence.

I don’t have much of a point here. It’s just an interesting theme; which would you choose? Peace through ignorance, or the truth, and all the pain that comes with it?

You know, it rather resembles the question that Castiel will bring up to Dean at the end of season 4: would he rather have peace or freedom?



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ashkiryn

December 2015

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