Actor, Writer, Jedi, Singer,

Actor, Writer, Jedi, Singer,
You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you

Friday, August 14, 2015

Supernatural Review Part 2: The Gamble Era




Now onto the Sera Gamble era of the show (seasons 6 and 7). :)
SPOILERS!

    While a lot of fans seem to dislike these two seasons, I really loved them, especially season 6. They have a nice tragic quality to them and since Sera Gamble wrote some of the best episodes in previous seasons she of course does an awesome job in this season.
      The seasons under Gamble also have an epic quality to them as I stated last review; in fact, at times it comes across as as sounding like those old epic poems that were written long ago; one with heroics, flawed protagonists, sacrifice, the complexities of fractured friendship, etc. One last thing that makes this era unique is that Mrs. Gamble had to pick up the show after the Apocalypse and think 'now what?' What do the heroes do once the 'evil, bad, scary' thing they had to beat is done?
                           Well, this era explains and explores that to impressive and satisfying affect.









Season 6 is definitely one of my favorite seasons. It has such an air of tragedy about it that I can't help loving it. I know that it isn't a fan favorite but, in all honesty, I've always been a bit of a maverick...sooooo..
Yeah, I'll get back to the review...

Season 6 is where I feel like, besides the tonal shift, the characters' relationships to each other all become totally different and varied. Dean and Sam become a bit closer to being more like normal brothers, though they still have conflict; Castiel and Dean's relationship becomes a lot deeper, more complex, and much more tangled together. Dean and Sam become even more entrenched in Bobby's life and he's more their father figure than ever. Even Sam and Cas and Bobby and Cas have some good changes in their relationship (well, good AND bad).

Season 6 explores what happens to the hero after stopping the apocalypse and there is a sadness for all involved. Dean is living a somewhat happy- yet depressed and messy life- with Lisa and Ben (who he promised Sam he would try to reconnect with), Sam is, well, erm..soulless, and Castiel is floundering and unsure of himself in what is occurring (all he knows is that he wants to help Dean). Each story with the main characters is exciting and very well plotted. While the middle is a bit lagging, the beginning and the ending are both fantastic and make up for the lackluster midpoint.

The show begins showing Dean, as I said, living with Lisa and Ben (a woman he had a fling with a long time ago- and who he reconnected with on a hunt- and her son who he relates too) and while he's surface-level happy, he's still a mess after losing his brother (he looks but can't find anything to save Sam) to Lucifer. Seeing Dean in a relationship was very nice and I really do wish we could have seen more of Lisa and Ben. They both had potential and were good characters for Dean to care about and love. The relationship between Dean and Lisa doesn't work out for many reasons, but the fact that they do care about each other a lot does shine through quite easily (I wanted more Lisa character development, dammit!). A lot of people don't agree with this, but I do think Dean was in love with Lisa to a degree (not fully, not truly, but he was in love with her).
And then, Dean finds out that Sam is mysteriously alive- out of hell- and has been for a year (and Bobby knew all along). Also, surprise, we have family, Dean! Isn't that great!? And all of this comes crashing down on poor Dean's head and he has a hard time dealing with it :(
It becomes obvious as to why Sam didn't come to Dean sooner- he's soulless, body on earth but soul still stuck in the pit :( (poor Sammy) - but seeing how hurt and thinking about how Dean suffered alone for all that time is quite upsetting.

Also, on a side not, seeing Dean try so hard to protect the shifter baby- being the only person in the group involved that seemed to actually care- and then be unable to fight against the alpha was heartbreaking. Really represented how Dean's mental state is- he couldn't protect Sam, couldn't save him, and he now can't even save a small, innocent child (cries for all eternity).

It takes a while to figure out why Sam is different, but Cas does eventually realize it (even though he was the one that got him out of hell *cough*). What happens next is a dizzying bout of handling alphas, fixing Sam's soullessness, the war in heaven with Raphael, the rising of Eve (the mother of all monsters), and the secrety secret alliance between Castiel and Crowley that has been going on in the background (mwhahahahahha haha. ha. *falls down*).

Which leads me to the last few episodes and the best part of season (and one of the best episodes of the show). As charlie-minion says in this meta (http://charlie-minion.tumblr.com/post/126135310772/i-watched-swan-song-and-i-still-dont-understand ), season 6 makes complete sense when the last few episodes are taken into account. She mentions that everything Castiel did- misguided though it may be- was done for Dean. And she is absolutely right.
In "The Man Who Would Be King" we come to understand all the little snippets of scenes between Crowley and Castiel that we've seen and have been thinking 'huh'? about. In this episode we not only get a good look into who Castiel is (and his mental state), but also the brothers (especially Dean). We come to realize that our heroes- in cleaning up the aftermath of saving the world- are still just flawed humans (or angels, in regards to Cas), who make mistakes and are messy and horrible in their showings of love and care for each other. It's strikingly real and that's what makes the last few episodes of the season so heartbreaking. Because, really, everyone was just trying to do good but somehow that's not how it all turned out. People were crappy friends and made crappy decisions and it all falls down on top of them in an elegantly written tragedy that just makes you sit there and go 'wow'.


And there's Godstiel. RUN!!!


Favorite episodes

The Man Who Would Be King (HANDS DOWN! MY SECOND FAVORITE AFTER SWAN SONG)
Let It Bleed
Two and a Half Men
The French Mistake
Exile on Main St.
Weekend at Bobby's
Live Free or Twihard
Frontierland
Clap Your Hands If You Believe
The Man Who Knew Too Much
My Heart Will Go On
...And Then There Were None
Appointment in Samarra

                                                                Destiel

                   Season 6 is a very Destiel-y season for me and for good reason: this is where I started to see the romantic love angle from Castiel's side. Now, a lot of people didn't see it until "The Man Who Would Be King", but I saw it early on in the season (but it definitely was extraordinarily prominent there). I remember thinking that, when the season started, that there was just something different in regards to Cas when he was around Dean and it wasn't long before I picked up on it. Castiel, at this point, is definitely head-over-heels in love with Dean (though I believe he doesn't quite understand it yet). And like I've read elsewhere, Castiel is a being who loves selfishly but with everything he has and the results are he doesn't think clearly and jumps onto a plan that he thinks will help the man of his affections without realizing that it was wrong. But of course, the most obvious thing in the season is just the way he looks at him, especially that longing/tragic/sad stare(s) in "The Man Who Would Be King". Those really got me since that is exactly what I look like when I pine.
             At this point, I don't see it from Dean. He clearly viewed Castiel as his 'family' (Dean never really says anyone very close to him is his 'friend' for some reason) and he was in love with Lisa. However, his utter trust in Castiel is truly inspiring and the fact that Castiel broke it when all he wanted was to protect him just makes everything even more sad. Also- even though they were fighting against each other- Castiel still wanted to protect Lisa and Ben and healed Lisa when she was dying. And this was when they were on opposite sides!
Even if you don't ship it, you can't deny that they do love each other in some capacity.







Missed Castiel while he was gone but was really glad when he came back! :D Also, CHARLIE! :D KEVIN! :D And JO! :D And MEG! :D (more on this below).

                    Season 7 is another great season of the show (which is something I'm always going to say since I love the show, so yeah...-_-) which continues Sera Gamble's tragedy narrative. The brothers have to deal with many losses and this is the season where they really have to become adults and learn to handle things themselves (after the death of Bobby....even though he does become a ghost for a bit). And not only that, they have to deal with the fall out of Castiel's betrayal, Sam's memories of hell being back (and him having hallucinations of Lucifer), and the Leviathans who are extremely hard monsters to beat (and also...Dick Roman...don don don >:D ).

The show starts off with Castiel running around, trying to be God (I may not like what he was doing, but I do like that he healed people and that he made the KKK get disbanded which honestly should happen in real life) until the Leviathan souls become too much and they take him over (though he does try to make things right by attempting to banish them all back to Purgatory and his wish before he 'died' was to redeem himself to Dean); he then walks into a lake and doesn't resurface (though Dean finds his trench coat and holds onto it).

The character arcs this season are actually all very interesting and even though there are some things that are a bit uneeded (like the Amy Pond thing), overall I loved them.

Sam's is the most pronounced, so I'll go over it first. This season, Sam has to deal with the fact that the wall Death had put in his brain to protect him from memories of his torture in the cage (in hell) was knocked down by someone he considered a friend (Sam and Cas weren't all that close at this point, but I think Sam would've considered him that). The hallucinations he gets because of this are slowly driving him crazy. For a while, he almost thinks he's still in hell but (in a beautiful scene; probably my favorite Dean and Sam scene) Dean discovers a way for him to realize that the things he's seeing aren't real (the wound on his hand that he has which definitely didn't happen in hell). Seeing Sam struggle with this- since it gets worse and worse throughout the season until Castiel's return- is heartbreaking and really gives him a good story arc. Also, the end of the season where he is completely left alone really makes you feel for him- especially with Crowley's words echoing in the air (eerie..). You are completely alone.....

Dean's, like usual, is a bit more subtle. Here he has to deal with a boatload of guilt. He drinks more this season than normal and is just..very miserable. His best friend betrayed him and while he was pissed at Cas he still was devastated at his death, his brother is falling apart, he killed a monster who was in a gray area and now he feels guilty, he loses his father-figure Bobby, and the world is just screwed up (no wonder he's a mess). Plus, he has a guilt complex the size of the sun, so that doesn't help his downward spiral. What makes this whole situation even sadder is that, when he does get Castiel back, his friend doesn't remember him and when he does he quickly takes Sam's madness upon himself and- after being in a coma- he is a shell of his former self and isn't all right in the head (which makes it even harder for Dean since they can't TALK about what happened- sure they got to talk briefly, but it wasn't enough for an actual resolution). Dean is a mess this season and even though he does keep fighting he's- like Sam and Bobby point out- just not completely there.

Castiel- while not there for the majority of the season- is still a strong presence in the story arc. And when he does appear, his awesome character development continues. He realizes he has made a very shitty mistake and sacrifices his sanity to save Sam, who he hurt so much. He also- while he's Emmanuel and even when he gets his memory back- wants to comfort Dean and do right by him. He spends a long time in the season with his sanity pretty much gone, but even then he still tries to do what is right. He helps Dean and Sam when he can and even when he doesn't want to kill anymore, he still throws himself before Dean and helps him kill Dick Roman (and therefore setting things right, since it was his fault- along with Crowley's- that the Leviathans got out of Purgatory).

Bobby also gets some great development, especially in his death episode (he does come back as a ghost for a while, but still, he does die).We see why he's such a good father figure yet why he never had biological children (he was worried he'd turn out like his abusive father, but he realizes that he WAS a good father to Dean and Sam and that he shouldn't let his shitty parents define who HE is) and we see how and why he's such a good hunter.

Besides this, we also see some welcome familiar faces and some new cool characters.
Meg Masters- who came back in her second vessel in season 5- is just great here (as she was in season 6). She has some badass moments and I really enjoyed seeing her slowly begin to develop some genuinely good traits (her care for Castiel is really sweet, even if I do ship Destiel). Definitely a favorite character of mine :)
Jo also makes an appearance as a spirit and has a nice chat with Dean. As a favorite of mine, seeing her again was a real treat. Hope we can see her again soon

For new characters, we have Kevin Tran and Charlie Bradbury, both of who give a nice bit of diversity to the show (Kevin is a South Eastern Asian-American and Charlie is a woman and a lesbian). And what's nice is that neither character is a stereotype. Sure, they have some 'stereotypical' traits but they are both fully fleshed out and real characters that are welcome additions to the show.

Kevin Tran is a high school student applying for college when he suddenly called to be a Prophet of the Lord and is able to read the tablets (leviathan, demon, angel) which are of great importance in this and upcoming seasons. He is an important character who grows a lot and having a character around my age on the show was very exciting for me.

Charlie- while only appearing once this season (she becomes a recurring character from here to s10)- is such a dynamic character that she immediately makes an impression; since, not only is she a non-stereotypical lesbian who is more than her sexual orientation, she is SUCH an accurate representation of a female geek (we pretty much NEVER see accurate female fans in fiction). She is smart, quick on her feet, and helps to save the day in a really cool way (also, she can't flirt with a guy so Dean talks her threw it..... XD *cough* Dean is Bi, pass it on *cough*. Before that, Sam used Hermione to help her be brave and she has a Leia tattoo that she got at ComicCon....yeah, she's awesome!).

The show ends with poor Sammy all alone :(, poor Kevin kidnapped by Crowley :(, and poor Dean and Cas stuck in Purgatory :( (OH YEAH!!!!).



Favorite episodes
The Born Again Identity
Survival of the Fittest
There Will Be Blood
Reading is Fundamental
The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo
Death's Door
Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie
Adventures in Babysitting
Meet the New Boss
Defending Your Life
Hello, Cruel World
Party On, Garth 

                 
                                                                     Destiel

           Castiel sadly does not have a physical presence for most of the season, but there is still a good amount of Destiel in it. Cas continues to show me that he loves Dean in a romantic way as well (getting right in front of Dean when confronting Dick Roman, his horrible guilt at what he'd done, his encouraging words when he was Emmanuel because even without his memories he loved Dean, etc) as showing a deeper care for Sam (which was nice; really enjoy how their friendship develops later on! :) ).
While I didn't see it from Dean on my watching of the season, looking back and thinking on it, I think this was when he started having romantic feelings for his Angel friend. He kept the trench coat (literally carrying it in the back of every stolen car they had when they couldn't use their Impala), he grieved for his friend for months and months without any closure, and when he gets Castiel back he basically doesn't hesitate to be willing to move past it (in fact, he was willing to move past it at the beginning of the season, or at least try to). I definitely see it in season 8 from Dean's side- as I'll get more into in part 3- but I'm convinced this was when it started and when he hadn't quite put a name to it (which, I believe, he figured out in Purgatory).


                                         So endeth the review (again) ;) >:D XD

I hope you enjoyed the review! Now on to the more hopeful (and more Destiel-y) Carver era!! :D (coming soon!)


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Supernatural Review Part 1: The Kripke Era




(found on tumblr; made by 'savedean'.) 

BEWARE! SPOILERS! 

If you follow me on tumblr, you've probably seen how much I've been posting about Supernatural. Well, that's because I've been really obsessed with the show, especially since I've been watching the seasons regularly over the last few months. I finished season 10 (and I'm currently caught up), so I thought I'd start my three-part review of the show. I'm breaking it up into reviews over the different show runners the show has had (Eric Kripke, Sera Gamble, and Jeremy Carver; Robert Singer worked on all of them as well). 
Each show runner brought something new to the table with the show and the change with each one is one of the main reasons why the show is still up and running after 10 years (and we're getting an eleventh season! :D). 
Eric Kripke- the guy who created the show- starts the show with an eerie, dark tone. The show was a lot bleaker and scarier when he was in charge (while with Sera Gamble, the  show gave off an epic tragedy vibe, and with Carver the show gives off a bleakness with rays of hope, which the show lacked in earlier seasons). 
The show also has a lot going for it in general. The acting is phenomenal (seriously, the main actors are super freaking talented), the characters are very well developed, the show has great world building, as well as pretty good continuity (it's not perfect, but it's better than most shows that have less seasons). The show does have it's problems, of course, which it needs to work on, but the show is good enough that I would still definitely recommend it (for mature viewers, of course, due to the level of violence/gore and the inappropriate scenes that crop up a few times).

The show, basically, is about two brothers named Dean and Sam Winchester who are 'hunters' , which are humans who know about the supernatural (monsters, demons, ghosts, witches, etc) and save people from the things that go bump in the night. The world has since expanded and has grown to include things such as angels, heaven, purgatory, leviathan, knights of hell, the mark of Cain, etc. Along the way, they make their own family since they lost their first one, and learn that 'family don't end with blood.' 



Season 1 of the show has a pretty simple premise which is strong enough to hold the viewer's interest until we get to the more complicated seasons that follow. The season (after showing the fire which launched their dad on a  'revenge' mission to kill the thing that killed his wife (and the boy's mom) ) starts with Dean showing up at Stanford, Sam's school, to help him in finding their dad (who had taken off and appears to be missing). The search for their dad, and later them working together, is the overarching plot for the season, as well as the emotional states of the two leads. 
One of the great things about this show is that it balances the world building and the mythology with the character development. While the characters appear one way at first glance, the farther one gets into the season the more wrong about the two boys- and their father- the audience is proved. Dean Winchester is far from the devil-may-care ladies man that we meet in the pilot. Sure, he is silly and is attracted to women (I also believe him to be bisexual and I will get to that later), but he's also got a ton of empathy, cares about people, is very good with children, loves his family and will do anything for them, is very intelligent and good at his job, and is actually a very emotionally driven person (and very emotional in general). Sam, while a very good 'kid', is also much more confident in some areas than his older brother (I've always felt he has a stronger confidence in who he is as a man than his brother), is much more like his dad, has a darker side that we don't expect, and while he is very book smart he is by no means a bad fighter and is excellent at all kinds of combat.
The show also gives us a variety of in depth looks at a variety of topics, one of my favorites being the beginning of looking into what exactly 'faith' is. It- and praying- is brought up throughout the show at various times (even before the Angels arrive!) and each time it gives us many a thing to ponder and think about. The show has a depth to it that many do not and- beneath the surface level- their lies an excellent wealth of meaning. I also appreciated the look at racism, the subtle analysis of classism, the underlying damage children with abusive/neglectful parents experience (not only with the effects of this abuse on Dean and Sam, but with others as well; this story-line gets more explicit in its telling later on), the beginning peeks at the effects of effemeniphobia on men in an overly macho culture (this is a good, subtle story and I love it so much since I identify with it so much), the complexities of bullying, and even more.
Plus, it's just a lot of fun and there's lots of cool action scenes and monster hunting and who doesn't love that?! :D (well, some people don't, but I'm being silly here, so there XD). And that fact that Dean Winchester is extremely pretty doesn't hurt. 


As I said above, the acting of the main cast is superb, with both Jensen and Jared giving us Oscar-worthy performances. Each has a talent every actor should aspire to and I look forward to seeing what these two guys will do in the future. 
They make you really identify with and feel empathy for their characters and you start caring about them pretty early on. I especially felt close to Dean, who I feel is similar to me in a lot of ways. We're both the oldest sibling, we have a similar personality type, we both have effemeniphobia, and there are just a bunch of little things I see in him that I also see in myself (such as getting snappish when people tell us what to do and saying things like "I know, I'm not an idiot", our awkwardness at comforting someone and preferring to try and fix the problem, our empathy for kids, etc).


Favorite episodes of season 1

Faith 
Devil's Trap
Phantom Traveller
Dead in the Water
Bloody Mary
Scarecrow 
Salvation




Season 2 starts off with a bang and is definitely one of the show's strongest seasons. 
It continues to widen and develop the world, gives the story a opened scope, and introduces new characters into the mix. Dean and Sam both get excellent character arcs and both grow tremendously. Sam's purpose and connection to the demon who killed their mother is finally revealed (to an extent) and his story this season is excellent and exciting to watch unfold. Dean's story- a quieter but no less powerful narrative- shows him struggling with his father's final command (to kill Sam if he were to go dark side, which is something he can literally NOT do) as well as beginning to lose hope in not only his job but in the meaning of his life.  Both brothers also have to struggle with their father's death (Dean especially, since his father's died in a deal to bring him back and he now views himself on borrowed time). 
Not only do the brothers get more development, but we meet new characters. Bobby Singer- who appeared once in the season 1 finale- appears several more times throughout this season and his integration as their father figure is cemented pretty quickly (and he is a much better father to them than John Winchester). We also meet Jo and Ellen Harvelle, a daughter and mother duo who run a road house for hunters (Jo ends up becoming a hunter herself, later on) and are both badass ladies and I love them both so much ! (they beat Dean and Sam in their first entrance..hahahahaha XD :D ). Ash is another important character this season, as he helps them with information, as are Gordon and Victor (who have good roles in the show, though I wish they'd been expanded upon). This enlarging of the cast and of the world really helps to give the show a stronger, grounded feel which makes it even more enjoyable. 
Funnily enough- even though (according to what I've heard) Mr. Kripke hadn't decided to use Angels in his show at this point-, the show makes another excellent episode exploring faith (I know, it's random to bring up, but they just did SUCH a good job with this topic that I have to mention it again). I especially like how Dean- unlike Sam- has little to no faith and doesn't pray (compare this to him in season 8, just saying ;) ), but him and Sam almost kind of change places here. Dean sees a miracle happen and while Sam looses some of his faith when what he thought was an Angel was just a ghost, Dean starts getting an inkling that maybe there is something possibly good out there. This show is just so deep sometimes and you really have to watch it to get the full impact. 

This season ends with another huge bang with a great circling of themes-  John sold his soul to hell to save Dean in episode 1 (of season 2), while here Dean sells HIS soul to hell (only getting 1 year instead of the usual 10) to bring his baby brother back to life (seeing Dean's low value of himself is so heart breaking :( I'm really glad he's got Sam and Bobby now and that he'll get Cas later to be good emotional support). Then the gates of hell are opened, more demons walk the earth, their father is freed, and Azazel is finally killed in a badass scene.
Definitely what you want in a season and in a finale. 

Favorites episodes of season 2
All Hell Breaks Loose part 1 and 2 
Houses of the Holy
What Is and What Should Never Be 
Croatoan 
In My Time of Dying 
Everybody Loves a Clown
Tall Tales 
No Exit
etc (since I love pretty much all of this season, to be honest)






Season 3 continues the epic story by developing our already ongoing characters, adding some new badass women (Ruby! Bela! YAY! :D), and giving us an excellent story with Dean struggling with his fear of going to hell in a year ( :( ) and the rise of Lillith: a powerful demon who becomes a major figure for the next two seasons. 
One thing I really appreciated this season was the cool female characters that were introduced. Our first character is Ruby, a demon, who is a very important character for the next two seasons (she is played by two different actors). And she's SO COOL. She's an awesome fighter, is capable, and has a non-romantic part in the story (this gets a little derailed in season 4, but it all makes sense in the finale, so all's good); also, she gives them her demon killing knife, which has been a great help throughout the show :D. Another character I appreciated was Bela. She is a bit of a con and she is so smart and sneaky! On several occasions she tricks and cons the brothers and it is absolutely hilarious and fun to watch! I love Dean and Sam, don't get me wrong, but it's always so nice to see competent women in fiction (especially those who aren't of the supernatural). 
One of my favorite parts of this season was how well Dean's desperation and fear were handled and how in character it was. He tries so, so hard to be strong and to appear all right but it's obvious the poor baby is scared and doesn't want to go to hell/die :( Sam continues to have a 'destiny' surrounding him- this time it being that he can defeat Lillith- a danger who is rising in the wake of Azazel's demise- with the powers he has due to the demon blood in him. 
Bobby Singer continues to be a welcome presence in the series and I'm glad he was included in the series for as long as he was :) Those brothers needed a good father :) 

But then the season ends with Dean going to hell and Sam crying and Dean being in hell screaming and just NOOOOO :( :( :( 


Favorite episodes of season 3

No Rest For the Wicked
Dream a Little Dream of Me
A Very Supernatural Christmas 
Mystery Spot 
Jus in Belo
Bad Day at Black Rock 
Bedtime Stories
Ghostfacers


Season 4 is probably one of my least favorite seasons (there was some stuff in the early episodes that squicked me out a bit- nothing that bad, but it still rubbed me the wrong way), but I still love it and it's a good season, because we finally get ANGELS and CAAAAAASSSS!! :D (Castiel). 
If there is one thing in the theology of the world I'm glad the show did it was them bringing Angels into the mix. Most stories with the supernatural or magical beings never include Angels and if they do they aren't anything like the ones found in the Bible (and God is never really brought up). Here, however, the Angels are used in an excellent way and God has an actual presence in the narrative, even if he hasn't been seen in a long time (and there is a certain character who has SOMETHING to do with God *squints at Chuck and leans forward in suspicion*). 
I especially love the introduction of Castiel, played by the fantastic Misha Collins. He brought a new, fresh aspect to the show which just added to the overall enjoyment of it. He provides a great contrast to Dean and Sam and, to be honest, I find him to be very relatable. Him and I are very much alike (he comes across as having aspergers like me- Misha Collins has even stated that he believes the character to be on the spectrum-, as well as being ace like me; we have a lot of the same personality traits and we're just so alike it makes me happy! :) ). Castiel also ends up being such a good things for the Winchester boys- and vice versa- and I love their little family and I just want everyone in this show to be happy by the series' end :( 

The character's arcs this season are also, again, fantastic. With the few episodes touching on faith and angels and heaven in previous seasons in mind (as well as Dean and Sam's reactions), the both of them interacting with Angels is definitely a treat. The Angels are definitely not what they were expecting (Sam thought they'd be all morally upstanding while there was a lot of corruption in the upper ranks; Dean thought they didn't exist, so he was more receptive- I think- to Castiel and how the Angels, in reality, were). 
The story of preventing Lucifer from walking free is an eerie and good one and was played with just the right amount of hidden menace to feel like it was a viable threat. The twist at the end was also very good and exciting and leads well into the next season and the apocalypse! 


Also, for my fellow Abrahamic religious followers, I want to give a warning. While I personally don't mind most of the uses of my faith in the story, I know others could possibly be offended. So, if you want to watch it and you are sensitive about certain things in your religious beliefs, I'd look up about what happens in the show and see if it's something you are okay with or not. 



Favorite episodes of season 4

Lucifer Rising
On the Head of a Pin
When the Levee Breaks
The Rapture
Lazarus Rising
Criss Angel Is a Douchebag
Death Takes a Holiday
It's A Terrible Life

Destiel
One of my favorite pairings ever is Destiel, the pairing between Dean/Castiel. Since this is the first season in which Castiel appears, I will have a little segment at the bottom of each season's mini review, explaining how I view the relationship at this stage.
In season 4, I do NOT see there being a romantic angle. At this point, they aren't even really friends. Castiel, I feel, gains a lot of affection for Dean over the course of season 4 (starting with when he pulled Dean Winchester from hell)  and begins- when he sees the corruption of heaven- to put a lot of faith in Dean. Dean dislikes/distrusts Castiel at first, but by series' end he has a strong respect for the Angel and it looks like the two might be on their way to becoming friends. They have a lot of great scenes and I am currently writing a fanfic about these two which explores their relationship and this season has been a treat so far :) 

(for a good understanding of their 'profound bond', definitely read this awesome meta from one of my favorite tumblr bloggers, charlie-minion - Go here ). 



Cas Healing Dean - damon-and-alaric-dean-and-castiel Fan Art

Ah, season 5. Probably my most favorite season (along with 2, 9, and 6) of the entire series' run. It has got an epic feel to it what with the apocalypse coming to a head and the Devil walking the earth. This season is one seamless story in a lot of ways and this strong, overarching narrative does many a great favor to its storyline.

Now that Lucifer is free (thanks to Ruby's manipulation of Sam into thinking he was doing the right thing), Dean and Sam both find out that they are Angel vessels- particularly, the true vessels for Michael and Lucifer. Not wanting to be forced to fight the other and pretty much wipe out the world, Dean, Sam, Bobby, with the help of Castiel and later Jo and Ellen decide that they chose Free Will instead of predestination and won't let themselves be ruled by fate. 
This is Eric Kripke's last season and he definitely goes out with a bang. Had this been the last season of the show, I would have been content, since everything was wrapped up nicely (well, except for the HOW DID SAM GET OUT OF THE CAGE?! :O That, thankfully, got answered in season 6) and it had such an emotional impact. When the show finally does end it needs to be as good as Swan Song.
Seeing everyone work together towards their goal of saving the world- with everything hanging in the balance- was a lot of fun and I hope we get something like this in season 11 :D

 "So, what's it all add up to? It's hard to say. But me, I'd say this was a test...for Sam and Dean. And I think they did all right. Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well...isn't that kinda the whole point? No doubt -- endings are hard. But then again...nothing ever really ends, does it?" (this is why I think Chuck has something to do with God- either he's God's vessel or he's God but he wiped his memory and doesn't exactly remember who he is; I'm going with the former, since in Swan Song he seemed...very aware and more sure of himself than he had before. What I do know is that he wasn't a prophet like we were lead to believe). 


Favorite episodes of season 5

Swan Song
Abandon All Hope
Point of  No Return
Two Minutes to Midnight
Changing Channels 
Dark Side of the Moon
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
The Song Remains the Same
Sympathy for the Devil

Destiel
By the point of season 5, I believe that Dean and Castiel had reached the point of being friends. I  didn't sense any romantic feelings between them during this time, but I still loved their interactions and it was clear that they cared greatly for the other. I don't think Dean ever really had true friend before Castiel and the same can be said for Cas (everyone else seemed to have been more familial in nature to Dean, except Jo, but even they weren't really 'friends'), so seeing them bond and grow closer was especially nice. As I stated, they do love each other, but it isn't romantic (Castiel, especially, seems to have a very close emotional attachment to Dean). As charlie-minion stated in her excellent meta, Castiel views faith and love as interchangeable, since how he showed love to his father was through faith. By the end of the season, Dean has not only his friendship, but his faith and love which will prove to be both a positive and a negative for the world and for their relationship as a whole (and for the rest of the show!).

So endeth the review ;) 
Supernatural is definitely an amazing show and- if you can handle the subject matter- one that I'd recommend greatly. :) 
On to the Sera Gamble era! :D (and the Carver era! :D)



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Avengers: Age of Ultron review


I finally got around to watching The Avengers: Age of Ultron a few weeks ago. Since I watched it around a week after its release, I sadly heard some spoilers as well as the many complaints. Luckily, I avoided anything too spoilery and managed to go in to the theater without too many preconceived notions. 

It sadly wasn't the strongest Marvel movie to date and it wasn't as good as the first Avengers film, but it was still a great movie and I definitely enjoyed watching it. 

The plot was mostly strong. The villain- Ultron- could have been better (he was no where near as strong as Loki in the first Avengers film), but the character interactions and the climax (and denouement) were all very strong. I especially enjoyed the focus of the Avengers on protecting the people caught in their crossfire. In some stories (which I avoid anyway), it seems like the heroes don't really think about the people around them, so this was nice (especially since most superhero/superhero groups don't do this). The humor was also as perfect as ever and I laughed a LOT in the movie. I especially loved Iron Man going "go to sleep, go to sleep!" and Vision picking up the hammer and everyone being all "WHAT!!??" 
The ending was especially powerful, what with showing of Black Widow and Captain America training the new Avengers team- which awesomely consisted of a very diverse group (a woman, two African-American men, and a human/robot entity). I can't wait to see this new group in action! :D



Characters (I'm going in an order of who was in the movie the most, not in my order of favorites).

Iron Man

Tony Stark had some great moments in this film and I enjoyed how his character continued to develop. Even though he was wrong in creating Ultron without consulting the team (except for Banner, who shouldn't have gone along with it), I can understand WHY he did it- he was scared that the world would get screwed over if a treat came up that they couldn't deal with alone (which, considering how he used to be a selfish jerk, is really quite impressive). He needs to learn that the fate of the world is not solely on him, but I think by film's end he's started learning that lesson. 
I also really liked his relationship with Captain America and it should be interesting to see how their new-found closeness affects them in the upcoming Civil War film (where the two are pitted against each other). 


Captain America
Can I have some of your super strength, Steve? Please!? :) 

Captain America proved even more in this film that he's a good leader and why he's one of the two chosen to train the new group of Avengers. He also did a great job in handling the evacuation of the town. I feel like his good leadership qualities are one of the reasons he was nearly able to lift the hammer. He also had some great humorous moments, like when he says "language" at the beginning of the film and everyone keeps giving him grief about it XD (not sure why language would bother him- he was in the army after all, so he probably heard it all before) Didn't get why he said "if you die, walk it off", since that is logically impossible (I guess it was supposed to be funny? I just don't see the humor. Oh well). 

Black Widow

Black Widow was still awesome as ever! While I had a couple of complaints about things 'involving' her character, her character overall was awesome and it was nice to see an awesome, kick-ass female in a superhero movie again (it's been getting better lately, of course, but still- not where I want to be yet). It was great to get a glimpse at her past (though we got more from Agent Carter), and now I think we really need a Black Widow movie (like, seriously). I did have one issue with the film that was a bit sexist. In one scene where she is talking to Bruce, she pretty much acts like she's a monster because she was sterilized (and was forced to kill people, but the sterilizing seemed to be the part she was most upset about- at least, in my perspective). This in of itself isn't a problem- often times, victims do blame themselves for what happened to them, and this actually would have been a very interesting topic to delve more into with her character. The problem is that Bruce didn't contradict her and say "no, that doesn't make you a monster." Because, being sterile in NO WAY shape or form makes you a monster (seriously, women aren't just their uteruses). For a longer description on why I don't like it, go here (one of my favorite bloggers explained it well). 
Really, that was my only issue in regards to the film's presentation of her. The more important issues with sexism in Marvel and in the industry in general are much more pressing (such as Black Widow and other female characters being left out of merchandising for the movies, the EXTREME lack of female-led works, whitewashing of certain characters, the fact that female characters/characters of color/LGBTQA+ characters- when they appear- always die first -_-). So people, don't blame Joss Whedon, he's at least TRYING (and we've seen that he actually cares about his female characters and gives them agency). The problem is much larger than one person. 


Hawkeye

Hawkeye gets much more screen time in this installment and it's definitely appreciated since we got very little of him in the first Avengers film. We learned a lot more about him, and seeing his family was a very nice touch; he seemed devoted to them, and I'm glad his wife and children knew everything and weren't kept in the dark (in fact, the scenes where the Avengers were at his home were some of my favorite). He definitely had some great moments and I liked how he related to Scarlet Witch (more on that in her section), as well as his funny running gag with Quicksilver (which turned out quite sad). 

The Hulk 

While I really liked his character in the first Avengers movie, I just didn't find him as interesting this time around. He seemed a tad out of character and for some reason more uncontrollable than in the first movie(at least, that's what I took from it). He did have some good moments- and I will always love Mark Ruffalo's performance-, but I felt like some things could have been done better with his character. Though, I did enjoy his friendship with Tony and I liked the idea of his romance with Natasha in theory (just wish it had been implemented into the plot better). As my friend James from JandJ Productions pointed out, it made sense for them to get together (both have something about themselves they don't like and since Natasha is a warrior, she probably needs someone who is unlike her to help her see other sides of the picture; just like Bruce needs someone to control him if he get out of hand). 


Thor


Sadly, my favorite Avenger didn't have as much to do this time around. He did have some funny parts- and I loved seeing how proud he was of his girlfriend (it was so cute and endearing :) ). He had some cool action scenes through out the movie, his interactions with Vision were priceless, and the running gag with his hammer was a lot of fun. 
One thing I didn't get was why Maria Hill made the testosterone comment when Thor and Tony were going on about how cool their girlfriends were. Like, they obviously think a lot about their girlfriends and are bragging about them. Isn't that what everyone wants from their spouse/significant other?(if they have one). For them to be proud of them and their achievements? Aw well, it's her loss if she can't see that she's being silly :p .
Looking forward to seeing more of Thor in his upcoming film :) 

Scarlet Witch


I LOVED HER SO MUCH, YOU HAVE NO IDEA!! 
Like, I think she was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Finally, we have a girl with superhero powers in a major superhero movie. She has a great character arc and I look forward to seeing more of her in the upcoming film (just wish they'd cast actors of the right race- from what I've heard, they weren't; of course, I could be wrong).
One thing about her that really stood out to me was her scene with Hawkeye before she goes out to help (where he says "if you step out of that door, you'll be an Avenger"). Usually, this kind of talk is given man to man, but here it was given to a woman and I just loved that. It takes the stereotype, turns it on its head, and it turns out so very well. I really wish we could see more of this in fiction- more times where women are treated just as competently as men. In most films, Hawkeye would have encouraged her to stay in room and be safe- here, he lets her decide what she wants, giving her the agency to make her own choices. And it pays off- with her becoming the hero he knew she could be. 
And that is beautiful. 

Also loved how she ripped Ultron's heart out. >:)

Quicksilver


Quicksilver isn't in the film too-too much, but what scenes he does have are good ones. His running gag about Hawkeye not seeing him coming was funny and ended in a tragic enough way. I just wish his death had been given more gravity than it was. 

Vision


I hadn't known too much about Vision before this movie, but I really liked him. He was naive, but poised in a way that is relatable. I thought it was cool how he was created, how he could lift Thor's hammer, and I'm interested in seeing if his romance with Scarlet Witch plays out like it does in the comics (from what I've heard). I mean, to be honest, it was Scarlet Witch and Vision who ultimately defeated Ultron so they're MEANT for each other XD. 

Overall, another good installment on Marvel's awesome run of new films. Not as good as The Avengers, Thor, Iron Man 3, or Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but it tells it's story right, is exciting, and is just a, plainly, a whole lot of fun. 
Looking forward to Civil War! It's just going to be awkward, because I'm pretty sure I'll agree with Tony, while we're supposed to be on Steve's side. Oh well. :P