ashkiryn: (ienzo/zexion)
[personal profile] ashkiryn
Oh man, oh fucking man. Guys, there is just so much going on in this episode, it's actually pretty damn amazing. The subtext is so incredibly rich in this episode that it's actually moving up in my esteem, as well.

Spoilers abound, especially for the future episodes of "In the Beginning", "A Little Slice of Kevin", "Fallen Idols", and "Scarecrow". The story of this episode is by Eric Kripke, and the teleplay by Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes Burton.

Hoo boy, where to even start?

Okay, let's start at the relative beginning, with the episode title. "Bloody Mary" indeed.

Yeah, so this was the first episode of the show that truly scared me (though the drowning part in "Dead in the Water" did freak me out), because guess who played the Bloody Mary game at several slumber parties when they were young? Uh-huh, I was one of them. Yep, there's nothing quite like old childhood traumas coming back to traumatize you on a whole new level, is there?

But what's getting me this time around is the irony that this episode is rife with. I mean....come on, Sam and Dean are hunting a monster that shares the same first name as their mother. Mary Campbell-Winchester, who died because she had a dark secret, a secret that involved the deaths of several people (her parents and John). Yes, the Bloody Mary legend existed long before the character of Mary Winchester was conceived, but I still find it very curious on Kripke and the writers' part to give said character that particular name, and then included an episode featuring said legend, a legend which all too closely parallels their character. Look at the background they give "Bloody" Mary Worthington----she's killed in front of a mirror, her eyes cut out, and she spends her last few moments trying to expose the killer that a cop speculates that she knew and was having an affair with, and that she was killed because she was going to tell the man's wife the truth. Oh, and the way the eyes were cut out was professional, and the cop's suspect was a surgeon, but the cop couldn't prove anything because the man was too meticulous to leave evidence. Let's break this down and see how it all parallels Mary Winchester, shall we?

Well, like with Mary Worthington, Mary Winchester knew who her killer was, knew that he was a 'man' (demon) with whom she had had a relationship that's reminiscent of an affair with (after all, demon deals are sealed with a kiss/make out session), and furthermore the word 'affair' in and of itself has a negative connotation, and you really only have 'affairs' with people that you know you're not supposed to be with; affairs are thus typically had with married people, but in Mary Winchester's case it was a demon that she knew she wasn't supposed to deal with.

Bloody Mary brings in two pieces of symbolism that signify the same thing: mirrors and eyes. Mirrors reveal your soul, and eyes are the window to your soul---which then becomes interesting in light of the fact that what demons are typically most interested in is your soul, huh? "Cut out eyes" could easily be read as an allusion to the demons who take your soul. In addition to all this, Mary Winchester spent her last few seconds alive screaming, which was basically an attempt to warn John of the danger, though of course he didn't figure it out right away, or later have enough proof to get justice. And in a way, why were Mary Winchester (and John) killed in the first place? Why did the writers make it necessary for the narrative to have them die? Well, who's writing the script, in-universe at the moment? The angels. And what's the goal of the angels? To divide and isolate the Winchesters and make them as fucked up as possible, so that they have fewer reasons to want to say 'no' to being vessels, when the time comes. And you know what would have helped Sam and Dean? If they had known the truth. So essentially, Mary Winchester was killed to prevent her from eventually revealing the parts of the truth that she had known.

As for the killer being a professional...well, Azazel is made of nothing but this, isn't he, when it comes to making those special demon deals, and he's so good at leaving little evidence to find that it took John over twenty years to track him down.

The parallels between Bloody Mary Worthington and Mary Winchester don't end there, however. They both become, in the black-and-white, John Winchester vision, 'monsters', spirits embodied into things that were key elements in their deaths (the mirror and fire, respectively), were trapped and unable to move on, and thus while stuck ended up punishing people (Mary Winchester was more benevolent and just scared that little girl, but you get the drift), and then the only way that they're both able to be freed in some sense and move on is by being confronted with mirrors of themselves---literally in Bloody Mary's case, and metaphorically through seeing Sam (who especially through this episode and "In the Beginning", has a significant parallel with her) for Mary Winchester.

And again, wonderful Sam and Mary parallel time----both of their lovers died from them keeping the exact same secret. Mary died when she was confronted with the consequences of those actions ten years later, and Sam almost dies in this episode. The difference between the two of them, and which will continuously make the difference throughout the series, is that Sam has Dean there to save him (the power of redemptive love, baby! XD :P). (And vice versa, but that comes later.)

Anyway, I found it utterly fascinating, that throughout this episode, the people who did the actual summoning of Bloody Mary (until Sam, but he doesn't count, precisely, here) all contained a certain amount of disbelief. Between Lily and Donna Shoemaker and Jill, none of them actually believed in Bloody Mary or in her power to hurt either them or the people around them. Hmm. Sounds like someone else I know, doesn't it, Sam? Once you recognize what your looking at, the anvil becomes pretty loud and heavy, but this is still, I think, a good parallel to Sam: so desperate to run away from his dark past, his certainty that permanently severed ties with the hunting life, his willingness to disbelieve that any of the supernatural could touch him now in his "safe" life, and so he turned a willfully blind eye onto his visions---until he was confronted directly with a supernatural entity (and curiously, both Constance Welch and Mary Worthington, along with his mom and Jess, are women who appear in white gowns), and as the mirror symbolism in this episode demonstrates, confronted with the part of his true self that could never have truly been hidden or suppressed. And even Bloody Mary Worthington's appearance in the mirror, both as the twisted Sam and as that grotesque creature; those are both basically the reflection of how Sam sees the hunter part of himself at this moment, and later the demon blood and his status as Lucifer's vessel (and all of the blood all over the place becomes interesting in that it's present in a giant Sam episode, given the later significance it has in Sam's storyline).

Everything just gets better and better when you realize that all of the deaths that the characters kept secrets of were basically replicated later in the show, complete with secrecy being an element in them.

The boy who Jill hit with her car, and then ran? I don't know about you, but that kind of reminds me of a certain scene with the Impala getting T-boned by a semi, which almost killed Dean and was the catalyst that led to John dying. (Also, Jake Talley knifing Sam from behind in "All Hell Breaks Loose" was kind of like a hit and run.) Linda Shoemaker ODing on pills, and her husband's questionable accountability? Sounds to me like Cas ODing on Purgatory souls, and the endless debate on Dean's culpability in those actions. Charlie's boyfriend committing suicide because she left him? It's basically what Dean did when Sam 'left' him. And of course, we then have Jessica the collateral, Jess who is thought to have died because someone she trusted withheld critically important information from her. Basically Sam at the end of season 4, right? (And ooh boy, that makes Sam into Jess's Ruby, which proves interesting points in a meta my brain is semi-cooking up, about how Sam looks for himself in his love interests, but Dean seeks out things that he thinks he can never have in his. But that's another story.) In these, Sam, John, and Cas all kept secret about their doings, and as for in Dean's case, well, he tried to keep it a secret for while from Sam about how he'd sold his soul.

To wrap up my Sam-metaing, I've noticed the continuing pattern of Dean having to save Sam in the episodes so far, and for many to come. And I had to wonder....when does Sam start doing some major saving of his own? Well, it's not until he saves Dean and Emily from being sacrificed in "Scarecrow", episode 11 of season 1. Which is a very intriguing thing....because then it essentially only happens because he comes back into hunting on his OWN terms, because he truly CHOOSES and WANTS to be there. It's an interesting and powerful thing....before that, he's only hunting, first as an obligation to Dean, and then because he feels he needs to avenge Jessica, but he's not all that good at it, and he often ends up in trouble that he needs to be saved from by Dean, because he's doing it all for the wrong reasons. And it's not until "Scarecrow", when he finally snaps and leaves, and when he then decides to go back, not because he needs to or feels that he has to, but because he wants to do it, that Sam is finally the one to save the day. Only now that he's owning hunting, doing it on his own terms and thus for the right reasons, does Sam achieve some equality with Dean, and then the episodes start having a balance between who gets to play the hero and who needs the saving.

Now, to turn some brief attention to Dean. First, with the Paris Hilton reference. I find it curious, because a kind of god-creature in the season 5 episode "Fallen Idols" assumes her shape, and the episode comes complete with a reference to a move she was in, called "House of Wax". Therefore, with all of this assuming of identities, fake smiles and masks and such, I find it interesting that Dean, Stepford Smiler extraordinaire, compares himself to Paris Hilton. HMM, REALLY, DEAN?

Also, the moment where Sam sees an apparition of Jess, his lost love, that then vanishes, is then called back on when Dean sees basically the same thing with Cas. Ahhh, parallels, I do love them so when they appear in stories. Especially this one, where I could go on about how Jess was looking particularly angelic in her appearance, and what with Cas being a literal angel....but I won't go too much farther into that. All I can say is that Cas is certainly Dean's "true love", and that I think Jess was Sam's. Because from what I can see, she is the only person Sam's been romantically interested in that doesn't fit the usual pattern he has; I've noticed that he tends to go for people that he sees himself in (Lori Sorenson in "Hookman", who was surrounded by hypocrisy and a society that she hated to conform to, who was self-righteous and believed she knew better; Sarah Blake in "Provenance" who lost her mother and closed herself away from people for a time; Madison, Ruby, and Amy, the monsters and freaks; Amelia Richardson, lost, broken, and grieving). Jessica seems to be the only exception to this rule; granted, we hardly know anything about her, but I think it'd be reasonable to infer that Sam, trying to distance himself from his past and most of the things that he's known, would have been thus drawn in and attracted to someone who was nothing like any of that.

*snorts* And that went right back into being a Sam meta. Heh. Oh well...I really don't spend as much time thinking about Sam as I probably should, so I can't really begrudge the poor boy this entry.

The only other thing of note that I can think of at the moment is that Dean really shone through in this episode as being like Sam's maternal parent. Like, really, the entire conversation in the car, with Sam and Dean arguing about Sam's plan of summoning Bloody Mary, and the way basically everything was spoken...fuck, but Dean is so totally Sam's mom. Sam's line to Dean, "You've got to let me do this," particularly highlighted the inherent power imbalance in their relationship at this point. I'm sorry, but this just isn't the kind of power structure that exists between siblings. This is a relationship between a parent and their child, and it gets complicated with the Winchesters because they are in fact brothers, but up until now have mostly been so in name only, and the confusion and struggle comes with them trying to redefine their relationship and make it appropriate and healthy and equal for the brothers that they are and want to be.


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