The mid-season finale of Supernatural is often when something very bad happens – in fact, it’s often when a character I’ve come to love and care about is brutally killed off. Ellen, Jo, Bobby….and now Kevin. The ending of this episode left me reeling, so shocked that for a while, I didn’t even need the ever-present box of tissues beside me. It took a few of the stages of grief before reality set in and I started to tear up. Is Kevin really gone? And why didn’t I see that coming?
More on that question later, but first, the rest of the episode before I ended up open-mouthed and staring in horror at my poor oft-abused television.
I was mostly unspoiled for this episode, including knowing who wrote it. That was probably a good thing, as this writing pair has written some of my least favorite episodes. Not knowing allowed me to watch with an open mind, and all in all, I thought this was a solid episode that delivered emotionally. The last scene has haunted me for the last two days, which must say something good about the writing and directing – and definitely the acting.
I’ve been prepared since the premiere for Ezekiel not being who he said he was, at least as far as his motivations, but not necessarily expecting him to be another angel all together! Gadreel is apparently an interesting biblical character – he was one of Lucifer’s generals in the rebellion, and let the serpent into the Garden of Eden. The connection to Lucifer can’t be a coincidence (at least I hope not, I’m giving Show more credit than that), but perhaps the most interesting thing about the plot twist is I’m pretty sure that if Gadreel is the serpent, Dean was the one seduced, so that makes him Eve. So is Sam the forbidden fruit then? Fanart, anyone??
Jared is playing Gadreel as an angel with ambiguous intent. He’s espousing what seems to be the theme of Season 9, “I did what I had to do,” again and again, and at times it looks like he means it when he says he wants to make up for his past mistakes and do the right thing. On the other hand, he just killed Kevin Tran! The parallels to Season 4 Sam, when he was hooked on demon blood and willing to do just about anything to kill Lilith, are chilling – including the “I did what I had to do” mantra. I have to take a moment and just marvel at the acting Padalecki is doing this season. The subtle differences between Jared as Sam, Ezekiel, Gadreel and Gadreel-as-Sam are amazing! I found myself sympathizing a bit with Gadreel because of the nuanced way Padalecki played him – guilty, wronged, with an almost childlike desire to please and be affirmed. Unfortunately, it’s Metatron he’s looking for affirmation from, and that’s inevitably going to go wrong. Anyone who’s counting on Metatron to help do anything remotely good is in for a big disappointment. Curtis Booger plays him as so sleazy that I literally cringe when the camera is too close up on his smarmy expressions and manipulative words.
The first part of the episode showed us what Castiel has been up to, and I really enjoyed the scenes of Cas once again determined to be a hunter and be helpful. Misha Collins can play subtle humor very well, and his naïve excitement at being teamed up with Dean and Sam again was both amusing and heartwarming. He so clearly looks up to the Winchesters and wants to emulate them, but that never quite works for him. He’s pretty adorable while he’s trying though. And despite the vulnerability of being human, Cas proves his heroism – he’s determined to stop the warring angel factions even if it means his own death. Also, as Osric noted in a live tweet, Collins looks damn good in a suit. Just saying.
I admit to doing a double take when Cas sliced his former torturer’s throat and consumed his grace – since when is that possible? Why did Anna have to go to such great lengths to find her OWN grace then? And why did Cas not do that before? Are we to assume that he wanted to remain human? Some sort of penance perhaps, or maybe a way of identifying with Sam and Dean, the beings he cares most about. At any rate, it seemed like an easy fix and came out of nowhere, completely throwing me out of the moment. So much for Castiel’s humanity. Will he still get to wear those great suits??
I’ve seen many fans and reviewers say this, and I have to agree – I’m just not very invested in the whole warring angel factions thing. There are too many angels and none of them are memorable, so I don’t pay enough attention and end up having to go back and try to figure out what the hell is going on. I miss charismatic angel bad guys like Zachariah!
There were some other light moments early on – Sam so confused about missing time, and Dean’s lame explanation. (And his “Would I lie?” – OUCH!)
The last scene was made so much more horrible because Kevin did trust Dean. I don’t think either of them took the designation of “family” lightly, and both had pledged their loyalty to each other and to Sam and Cas. In the end, that trust only made it easier for Gadreel to kill Kevin. His last words were to express how worried he was about Dean – that broke my heart! I might have screamed “NOOOOO!”, which is what I suspect Dean was screaming on the inside too. And then Dean’s murmured “Kevin…Kevin…” put me over the edge and made the tears start flowing. Ackles’ trademark “One Perfect Tear” (OPT TM) was just the icing on the cake.
Dean was utterly devastated. The full weight of the guilt he’s been carrying all season came down on him, and with it the terror of not knowing if he’s lost Sam too. Dean did all this – the lies, the secrecy, the risking other lives – to save Sam. Now it’s not clear if he managed to do that after all. Oh, Dean. What have you done? Also, how creepy is it that Dean’s own words (or perhaps Gadreel’s) – “There ain’t no me if there ain’t no you” – are coming back to haunt him. If, as Gadreel said, “There is no more Sam,” does he think that he’s pretty much destroyed Dean too? There’s so much truth in that statement, that I have to wonder the same thing.
And if Sam is alive (which of course he will be, since there ain’t no Supernatural if there ain’t no Sam and Dean), how will he react to knowing that his body killed Kevin? Was he aware at all of that while it was happening? I like that Show is going there – that it’s not shying away from the full extent of the horrors of possession and being forced to do things you don’t want to do.
Back to my original question. Why didn’t I see this coming? When Metatron handed Gadreel that slip of paper, why didn’t I think it might be Kevin? Because I didn’t want to. That’s how beloved the character of Kevin Tran has become – and how much I’ve come to like and respect Osric Chau, the actor who plays him. That I didn’t dare consider the possibility of losing Kevin made his death that much more powerful.
Oh Show, why? Why are you doing this to me? And how am I going to wait until January 14 for another episode???
As devastating as this episode was, if you were watching the West Coast feed, at least you didn’t feel like you were watching alone (even if your family consistently vacates the living room as soon as SPN comes on….) Osric Chau was live tweeting even as his character was being killed off.
Osric, a true fanboy himself, had written some fanfiction a few days earlier to express his feelings about Kevin Tran, wishing the character a happy birthday and fantasizing about his celebration with Sam and Dean in the bunker. Knowing that Osric knew at the time that Kevin would never see another birthday made the post heartbreaking. Reading it again actually necessitated even more tissues than the Show itself. Add to that Osric’s own tweet about what being on the Show had meant to him, and I needed another entire box of tissues.
Osric: As I was filming this last scene, I could not help but feel a deep sadness for what was to come. It was inevitable after all, of course it was, Kevin Tran advanced placement of Neighbor Michigan was supposed to die a less than heroic death by the end of Supernatural’s 7th season. Sam and Dean would take a moment to sigh in regret and then move on as they should and we would have done the same. This show was supposed to be nothing to me… but it became everything….I had prosthetics on my eyes so I couldn’t see, nor could my eyes be seen. That was for the best because it was in those moments that I said my farewells. To the studio, the houseboat, the Men of Letters bunker where I spent so much time. To craft services, the caterers, and the candy tray, where I spent even more time. To the faces I’ve gotten so used to seeing over the last two years, I had to say “see ya later” because I just couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye, all the while hoping that the glue holding my eye pieces in place weren’t in jeopardy of dissolving. It’s been an amazing ride and though I knew it was coming, it’s still this strange sensation that I can’t quite readily describe in this mindset. I’ve met so many wonderful people and I’ve made so many memories I’ll cherish for a lifetime.. but it’s that time where I say my thanks and take that last step into the fandom and let that world envelop me as I continue to support the show and the fans that have changed my life. Thank you for everything you’ve done, everything you’re doing, and everything you continue to do. Thank you. And yes, I do think #KevinLives. In all of our hearts 🙂
We’ve gotten to know Osric a bit over the last year (see our interview with him last month on this blog) and have come to love him – that made the loss of Kevin even more devastating.
Jared and Jensen were live tweeting together (or Sam and Dean were, as Jared put it….lol). For some reason, I find it rather adorable when they share Jared’s twitter. Every few tweets, Jared would start a tweet with “JA:” to let us know that it was Jensen commenting.
Misha Collins live tweeted too. Arrow star Stephen Amell joined in, as did frequent director Guy Norman Bee and bodyguard Clif Kosterman. And then, to make it even more awesome, ultimate fan Orlando Jones joined in. There were times when his tweets and gifs and Tumblr-esque graphics had me laughing out loud, and then the Show itself threw me right back into near tears. I had nearly as much whiplash as poor Dean trying to deal with Jared’s amazing shifts between “Zeke” and Sam.
Here are some of my favorite tweets of the evening:
Osric: I gotta say, Misha Collins looks good in a suit. Slowly learning how to appreciate suits.
Jared to Osric: Quit hitting on Misha
Osric: Don’t worry Jared, you’ll get your turn (smiley face)
Orlando Jones: Misha Collins is the king. I’m just fangirling over here #supersleepy style enjoying da #ProfoundBond
Stephen Amell: I thoroughly enjoy Jensen Ackles. I mean…I think he and Jared have enough PCA’s…But I do really, really enjoy them.
Fandom: What he said.
This prompted Jared and Jensen to post a photo of them watching the episode together, with their People’s Choice Award sandwiched between them.
This prompted….well, a lot.
Jared to Stephen Amell: This is how me and JA watch Supernatural. How do you watch Arrow?
Guy Norman Bee: What’s that shiny thing between you and how many ‘D’ cell batteries does it take?
Jared: It’s powered by the most amazing fans in the world! #spnfamily
Guy Norman Bee: Oh, my mistake, it’s just that sometimes I walk past your trailer and I hear….That sound…Uh, never mind…
Fandom: Falls over laughing
Guy Norman Bee: You’d think Sam would be much happier than he is, if that were the case. #someoneneedsaninstructionmanual
Fandom: *volunteers to instruct*
Maybe that was just me, actually.
When we interviewed Osric in October, he confided that he took a lot of grief on set after cosplaying Princess Bubblegum at a Supernatural convention. Apparently that was quite true.
Jared: We were messing with him so bad. JA: “Osric did not enjoy doing his coverage during this scene.”
Why do we think that was probably an understatement?
Osric to Jared: Well after Princess bubblegum happened I was ready for hard days on set.. you two delivered. Hard. How predictable! 😀
Poor Osric. And during the scene when Dean calls Kevin ‘Cinderella’ –
Jared: JA: “great, now you’re gonna go as Cinderella to the next convention….”
Bodyguard4JandJ: I want to see Osric as Ariel next
Osric: Clif, please stop reading my mind!
Misha during the torture scene: In this scene, production said they were out of money for makeup, so they just had @bodyguard4JandJ and Osric beat the shit out of me.
Jared: JA: “bullshit, they put you in a room with de-winged butterflies and that’s how you emerged.”
Jared: I showed up on set during Misha’s torture scene…he was actually tied up…too bad I’m saving all of the trouble for when he directs!
Fandom: Run away, run away!
Bodyguard4JandJ: Misha on his knees, nothing new
When we got to the last climactic scene, Orlando Jones posted the perfect captioned photo:
Misha Collins to Orlando Jones: You post relevant photos on your feed so fast it makes me think you’re really just a bot amalgamating two twisted fandoms
Fandom: Don’t stop!
And Jensen Ackles made it impossible for me to stop crying.
Jared: JA: “Osric wasn’t there to look at. just the camera and dolly. I pictured Osric with his eyes burnt, and that he was gone.”
The live tweeting was so much fun, but – as often happens when this cast gets together – it was also heartwarming.
Jared: I have the actual piece of paper that Metatron handed me with the name of who to kill. Who wants to raise money for charity?
Osric: I’m in! I would be in the bidding for that. For Chariteh!
Jared to Osric: You can have it…it can go to your charity of choice.
Fandom: (once again) Awwwww
Fandom’s reaction was swift and wonderfully creative, as always. On Tumblr, blizzardean adapted a holiday classic in response to the episode:
Jingle bells, angels fell, Sammy went away
Kevin’s dead and Dean’s alone –
This is not okay
This photo edit appeared on LJ and took my breath away all over again. (If it’s your edit, please let me know!)
Fandom bard Alice Marie Music wrote an original song dedicated to the lost Prophet:
How are you dealing with ALLTHEFEELS after this episode? Send me your coping strategies so I can stop thinking about that last scene and biting my nails!
And remember, our book Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls makes a wonderful holiday gift – for you or your favorite fangirl or fanboy! Click the link at the top of the page to read.
40 thoughts on “Holy Terror – Supernatural 9.09 Lives Up To Its Title!”
Great review! I’m avoiding thinking about the ending of the episode (#KevinLives) – so instead I’m wondering where are all the demons? With all the Angel on Angel violence going on,you’d think that demons would be taking advantage of the situation, but not a peep out of them.
Hmmmm…that’s a very good question (and also a way to get me to stop thinking about that traumatic ending…) Where ARE those usually opportunistic demons??
I’m still dying. I tell random people “Kevin is dead!” and they just give me a strange look… probably should stop announcing it to the people at Wal-Mart… I tweeted that Supernatural broke my heart – and broke it hard. 🙁
No, I totally think everyone in Walmart should suffer right along with us. lol. Oh Show, why??? *shakes fist*
Where was the archangel that was supposed to be protecting Kevin? Most SPN characters come back at least once after one little death. If he really is dead, who will be the next prophet? I want to know who Kevin’s dad is. Kevin will live on and on as Osric Chau in Supernatural Convention Land.
Kevin (and Osric) will definitely live on in the SPN Family, but that’s a good question. Poor Kevin became the prophet in the middle of an angel war, so I guess he doesn’t get that same protection, alas :/
I saw it coming at the last second and yelled at my TV “No! Don’t kill Kevin!” and then immediately started sobbing. I NEVER yell at my TV. Other than Sam and Dean’s “real” deaths, I haven’t cried this hard over a character dying. So tragic! I also really feel badly for Osric. I want to find him a job stat!
Um, yeah, no, me too, I never yell at my TV…. *shady look*. But seriously, this one really hit me hard. I just didn’t *want* to think it could be Kevin…and then it was. *sobs more*
i walk around shaking head thinking can,t believe Kevin is dead. they do it to us every time. Kevin is supposed to be safe in bunker. i feel like i have lost a family member.
I can not believe that Kevin is gone. I am still in shock. It was so intense and sad at the same time. I had to bite my tongue so I wouldn’t scream out loud. I was so happy that Cass got his grace back (well, not his). Yet so sad that Kevin was killed. As always I love your review. You were able to capture the thoughts and the feelings that we were feeling.
Thanks so much, I’m so glad you’re enjoying our reviews! I’m still in shock too – there’s still a bit of the disbelief of ‘did that really happen??’ Is it January yet??
I was screaming and crying at the end when Gadriel murdered Kevin, absconded with Sam’s body and left Dean a crying wreck. Then I lay awake half the night replaying the scene, over and over, hearing Gadriel telling Dean that Sam isn’t here anymore. Oh, God, I’m getting too old for these intense mid-season cliffhangers, dammit! My aging body can’t handle the stress! But I love the cast and crew for the excellent job they did in making all of us feel this way. Bravo! You all deserve a standing O! We’ll miss you Kevin! Love, Robin
I’m glad I’m not the only one who couldn’t stop thinking about this episode’s ending! But you’re right, it does take a toll. The cast and crew really made us feel it this time, and that says something very good about their talent, even if it does hurt 🙂
I suspected Kevin was on Metatron’s hit list. Metatron doesn’t know that Crowley can read the tablet all of a sudden? He couldn’t before in season 8. For Crowley to become involved in the arc, he needed to be the one to read the tablet, spells, etc so Kevin had to go. But why kevin’s blood for Crowley? there has to be a plot reason= to escape as a human? It is always about the blood. Not that I am not saddened deeply as I grew to accept Kevin as part of the family. But being family with the Winchesters usually leads to the ultimate gank. It was a great episode with good writing and solid acting(of course). The evil twist with Gadreel was the great surprise. The writers did what they had to do. And that’s our theme for now. And another opportunity for Jared to wear another mask and for Jensen to to continue to be central as Dean in this twisted and tangled angel war. Another family that is so dysfunctional and brought their issues into our world much like the cousin who brings angst to the family dinner. Kudos to the cast and crew. Osric did so much with this part. Is it January yet?
You make some very good points, and yes, that all makes sense. And still, my heart is broken for Kevin. At the same time, I can’t wait for it to be January to see what happens next!
I know I am too late, but I was just going through older episodes’ reviews… Just wanted to clarify something (according to my understanding).
Crowley can’t read the tablet (in this or any previous episode). Kevin translated the tablet into another script (i don’t remember what it was called), which Dean called “doodles”, which apparently is an ancient language no one knew how to read, but Crowley did.
So, my point is… Crowley can’t read the tablet, and you are right, if he did, it would make for some impressive continuity issues, since it would make the whole kidnapping Kevin (and later other prophets) in season 8 quite redundant.
A wild emotional ride. Fantastic episode. Jensen deserves an Emmy for those final minutes of raw despair. I still don’t get killing Kevin when another prophet will come on line immediately. And why didn’t Cas take Hael’s grace? But Dean, oh Dean. My heart aches for Dean. He’s going to go off the rails, isn’t he? Six weeks … sigh….
I don’t understand why Cas didn’t take Hael’s grace either, since he was going to kill her. But yes, my heart aches for both the brothers. Both are in a terrible place, and I have no idea how they’re going to get out of it. Is it January yet??
I have a theory about this. On the call with Dean, Castiel said something about how terrible it was a thing for him to do. I got the impression this was something he never envisioned lowering himself to do, but he ‘did what he had to do’. It seems the theme of ‘doing what you have to do’ is tied to things one would never think they could do – things horrible – Dean allowing Sam to be possessed, Sam / Gadreel killing Kevin. So perhaps that is why it was never done before, because it is unheard of, terrible and comes with it’s own consequences….
Agree about Jensen, he is nothing short of amazing. It’s thanks to Jensen that we not just see but feel right along with Dean, Dean’s devastation. Jensen conveys it with everything he has, his facial expressions, his eyes, his body language and his tone and delivery of just saying “Kevin”. Just amazing.
Crowley now has some of Kevin’s blood… Don’t know why I am talking about it. Is there any hope or comfort in it?
I’ve been wondering that too. What does it mean? Why did that happen? Does it give us some small reason to hope that Kevin might return?? *hopes*
I love your review, especially how you include the cast’s comments since ya’ll are best buds- hehe. And like you this finale hit me hard too. I’m a Dean gal and as such can be pretty protective of that character (LOL) so I’ve been on the edge of my seat from the beginning of the season since Dean’s desperate decision to save Sam at all costs was made. I knew it would spiral out of control and I hated seeing Dean digging himself in deeper with lies, and on such shaky ground-trusting the word of an angel and putting other peoples lives in jeopardy all so that he could cling to the hope that Sam would be saved and everything would turn out fine. Or as “fine” as anything does for a Winchester. We know Dean, we know he’s a better hunter than that, that he has better ‘gut’ instincts and has followed those hunches, no matter how wild, to win the day in implausible ways before. But all bets are off when it comes to Sam. And Dean had everything riding on the word of an angel. Because Dean, no matter what, can not let Sam die. That is his one weakness and this season we saw what happens when Dean ignored his gut and was guided by his blind side. Because when it comes to Sam Dean can not see or think straight.
Yeah, I thought Cas’s sudden capacity to lie after being tortured so that he could grace-nap a brothers power way too convenient. (canon-what canon?)
Yeah, the sudden appearance of Metatron was unexpected and finding out about Gadreel drives us in a totally different plot direction.
Kevin’s death and the way he dies, was shocking and felt random and pointless. And that is exactly the emotional response TPTB wanted to wring out of us. I still don’t have to like it though.
Yeah, the question of Sam even still being alive is a shocker! Could he be only ‘mostly’ dead like Wesley from “Princess Bride”? (LOL)
So my walk away was frustrated anger. I guess that is what the writers were shooting for. Dean gets buried in guilt and grief, people close to him that he thought he was protecting died. The bunker is proven to not be as safe a place as we all thought and he still did not save Sam.
What would make me happy? I would like to see Dean rise up in righteous anger and kick all the angels back to heaven. Lock the gate. And then go get Sam back from where ever Gadreel has “stored” him. Then if Sam wants kick Dean’s butt for loving him so much that he put the entire world second to him fine. But I want the brothers back again if only to see that they both are ok before the writers have them say goodbye to each other again over this.
I had to laugh at your Princess Bride quote. Love that movie 🙂 And I LOVE your scenario for what would make you feel better – YES! I confess to loving that Sam is the exception to all Dean’s rules and good sense, that he loves Sam so much that he puts the entire world and everyone else in it second. It’s dysfunctional as hell, but that’s why I watch a fictional show! I too want the brothers back again. Fingers crossed!
I am beyond devastated. I keep saying “Kevin is NOT dead! I refuse to accept it!” Maybe Cas can heal him?
I think alot of us are holding out a tiny sliver of hope for that, but….
“Why did Anna have to go to such great lengths to find her OWN grace then?”
Remember in season 4 only an angel could kill an angel, and the show quickly changed that rule by the next season.
There are two readings as to why Cas didn’t take an angel’s grace before; one is Cas made it seem like it was a line he didn’t want to cross, I mean angel removing it’s grace voluntarily is one of the biggest rules an angel can break, they were ready to kill Anna when they found her. Second, the look on his face when he kills Theo is either a look of trepidation, regarding killing him or a look of “I have no idea if this will work.” Plus add on his conversion with Dean, he seems pretty uncertain about the effects of what he’s done.
Good point about the changes from S4. I can see both of those readings as having some validity, though it seemed he might have taken Hael’s grace since he was going to kill her anyway. Maybe he was still in shock then. Hmmm.
I think with Hael it could have been heat of the moment panic, he needed to shut her up. The pharmacist, that was a kill or be killed, survival was probably the one thing on his mind, and Ephraim he didn’t want kill, he tried banish, but it become another kill or be killed.
Hurting or killing another angel is the last thing Cas wanted to do, and you could read stealing another angel’s grace as worse the killing them, considering most angel’s low opinion on humanity.
That wasn’t a rule, I don’t think. “only an angel can kill an angel” was said by Uriel, a bad guy. I took it as something akin to the villain going “you can’t defeat me!” Perhaps to that point, nothing had gotten ahold of the angel killing blade, and he truly thought nothing could kill angels besides another one. I wouldn’t be too quick to take a villain’s word as gospel.
Great episode, truly. The insertion of Gadriel into the Sam-mix was a huge and worrying surprise, sure, but the shock of Kevin’s death and Dean’s total emotional annihilation in 9.09 were almost more than any fan should have to bear. Still, we’ll pick through the rubble left on Jan. 14! I just hope I can last — with some dignity — until then!
I’m with you! Total emotional annihilation is a very good way to put it. Now everything Jensen kept saying about Dean going to an even darker place makes perfect sense. Oh, Dean…. Is it January yet??
I figured grace stealing was something not known to most of the angels, which is why Cas, Anna, all previous murderous angels, never used it before. Metatron would know since he got info direct from Chuck. I had many issues with season 6 and the whole Cas as master mind/liar alleged “noir: enchilada; unfortunately the writers (our true Big Bad) can, and apparently did, fall back to that precedent. I don’t think I can talk rationally about Kevin yet. 🙁
I watched the ep. on Hulu and went back to read the live tweetage with head spinning. Felt better but wrote this on Tumblr. Begging indulgence to repost it here:
>>You Can’t Handle the Bad Boys.
I’ve been thinking on this since Bad Boys aired but after Holy Terror I’m feeling the need to put it somewhere other than my ranty brain. I enjoyed the hells out of BB, btw, especially Kim Rhodes finally getting to gank the monster. However, the concept of this show’s denouement with Vesta, heck, even her name, is pretty much a rewrite of Veritas in You Can’t Handle the Truth. Things like goddess hiding in plain sight, goddess punishing liars, saying basically ‘what are you? you aren’t human’ to Sam, yadda yadda.
I can’t imagine this didn’t get discussed here or on twitter so sorry to chew on a dead horse. Unfortunately I believe it’s the writers doing the real cud chewing on S5. Intentionally. Do they want us to think we’re building up to 2014 by another road and, if so, do they think changing a few words and names will be enough to justify arriving at the same End? Repetition can be effective as emphasis when used sparingly. But once again it’s Sam called out for being inhuman, with a few more rewritten problems, and Dean heroically keeping his brother alive by any means, with a few more rewritten problems. One of the things I love about writing is finding new ways to dress up the same several few stories humanity cares about. The magic comes when the reader/viewer forgets they’ve already seen the end.
P.S. <3 Orlando Jones!<<
To drown my sorrows I finally ordered Fangasm! Yay! Can't wait to read. 🙂
Thanks for sharing, you raise some very good points. And we all have plenty of time to chew on them, alas!
Ooh, and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Fangasm – happy reading!
Jensen has had the yeoman’s work this season, he doesn’t have the flashy storyline, but I think he’s been the heart and soul of the show, the connection for the audience. Dean has been pretty tightly wound, all his emotions and actions have had to have been controlled and measured, and Jensen has had to convey all of Dean’s conflicting emotions without any obvious or overt movements or dialogue. It’s all been about subtlety and nuances, which, I think is one of the hardest acting challenges.
I recalled something Laura Prudom wrote in a recent episode review, Jensen “Ackles is one of the most gifted actors currently working, especially when it comes to conveying emotional nuances with the subtlest shift of expressions…”
Episodes like this most recent one remind me again how good Jensen is at conveying so many emotions. It’s one thing to have an expressive face, which with some actors seems to mean gurning, but to have a face which shows about ten different things at once in a way which constantly reflects different feelings and changes in feelings – that’s not easy. When you let Jensen play subtext and subtlety, he’s one of the best on TV.
Totally agreed – I have never seen anyone be able to convey so much with just a subtle tick of the jaw, a shift of the eyes. I don’t even know how he does it, I just know it’s amazing. And amazingly consistent. One of the reasons my heart is so broken right now is because he was able to portray Dean’s devastation so perfectly. Ouch :/
Man, that was a painful episode. You asked about coping strategies? I found myself irrationally angry with Dean and I had to write a coda to the episode to find my compassion and empathy for him again. http://archiveofourown.org/works/1075698
Fanfiction makes it all better! That was a painful but beautiful coda – I have a great deal of compassion and empathy for Dean, who I think is hurting every bit as much as your fic portrayed, even as I’m still reeling from the horrific results of some of his decisions. He’s human, very very human. *goes back to sniffling*
Dean has been in a lose-lose situation since the beginning. The writers constructed the rules and conditions such that Dean was damned if he does and damned if he didn’t. He’s a bastard and bad brother if he lets Sam die and he’s a bastard and bad brother if he saves Sam. Kevin was on Metatron’s hit list and would have died no matter what. Kevin died at the hands of Gadreel and Metatron. Gadreel, had never shown to be dangerous to Kevin before, even though he had been living in the bunker with the others, including Kevin. So, I don’t think anyone’s actions would be different even if Kevin had been told it wasn’t really Sam. Gadreel made a conscious choice to side with Metatron and kill Kevin, but I believe no matter what, the result would be the same, with Kevin being dead.
Great review. It took me days to process Kevin being dead. It still hurts a week and a half later. I give all the credit in the world to Osric Chau for making his portrayal of Kevin so wonderful that his death has me reeling. I never imagined back in season 7 that I would grow to love Kevin Tran as much as I did, and still do.
Jared’s acting has been just amazing this season. It’s gotten to the point to where I can tell the difference between Sam and Ezekiel/Gadreel in pictures by the facial expressions he’s making. He truly created this whole other character separate from Sam Winchester. In Gadreel’s scenes with Metatron I was floored. He made me sympathize with Gadreel, who seems to have a bit of a problem with trusting seductive angels if we’re to believe the story about Lucifer talking him into entering the Garden of Eden. In the scene where Metatron handed him the piece of paper with Kevin’s name on it, he looked sullen. He’s inside Sam’s headspace, he knows who Kevin Tran is. He knows how much Kevin Tran means to Sam, he’s become like a surrogate brother to him, and that seems to make him hesitant. But he still carries out his mission in order to prove his loyalty to Metatron. He justifies it by saying “I did what I had to.” Chilling.
The saddest thing about all of it is that Kevin never even saw it coming. The last face he saw was Sam’s (while worrying about Dean. Heartbreaking!). I wonder how Sam will react to all of this, as well. Will he blame himself for this? I certainly hope not! But with the way Sam thinks I can still see him doing that. Because the knowledge of Kevin being killed by someone wearing his face is something that Sam would have major issues with. Especially when he asked Death to make his death final in the premiere so no one else would get hurt because of him. Kevin got hurt all right. Kevin got dead.
How will Dean react to all of this? Will he learn any lessons after all is said and done? He went into all of this with the intention of saving his brother’s life but unknowingly put Kevin’s life in danger and ended up losing Sam anyway. That’s gotta hurt. Not to mention how he’s alienated Castiel in the process. What will be the long-term consequences for his actions? Will Sam and Castiel fully trust him again? Where does he even begin to start trying to make up for all of this? We all know that Dean will take this out on himself worse than anyone else can, but I can only imagine how long it will be before the people closest to him will be ready to put their full trust in him again. It’s going to be a rocky road from here on out, I think.
So many questions and one long hellatus ahead of us. Show pretty much delivered with this mid season finale.