So, while I was considering my choices for today's article I spent a half hour going through some material at other sites, especially trying to catch reviews about the most recent episode, "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester."   I decided after taking in way too much negativity that this analysis elle sent me would be ideal to share.  We all need these reminders once in a while, even though all I needed to do was come back here and feel better again!  Thank you again Elle for taking time to write this.  Enjoy!  


The Mechanics of Supernatural

 
The recent comments on The Winchester Family Business sparked an interesting thought in my twisted little mind that would not leave me alone. The idea is that we, as fans, can become very wrapped up in particular aspects of the show, such as characters we love or love to hate, but how often do we think about the utility of each component of the show and the way they all come together? Our show is a mosaic if you will, and all the pieces that we love to debate over individually come together form that which we spend our Thursday nights worshipping, Supernatural.
Consider the following example - Bela:

Bela was introduced to us in season three, in the classic Bad Day at Black Rock. Had we never seen her again after this episode, many might have, dare I say it, liked the character (save for that shooting Sam incident). Nonetheless, Bela stuck around for most of season three to inspire a (mostly) unified hatred of this character. That aside, let us look at her from a purely utilitarian point of view:

Bela served two significant functions in the storyline. One, the more obvious, she was the first to utter Lilith’s name in connection with Dean’s contract. Two, she stole the colt. Now, while neither of these in and of themselves is huge, a domino effect is created. When Bela stole the colt, she robbed the boys of a way to destroy Lilith without involving Ruby’s knife, and therefore, Ruby herself. The theft of the colt resulted in a lot of drama of the police station in Jus in Belo. It led Sam and Dean to involving Ruby in the final plot to kill Lilith (inadvertently brining their enemy: undercover demon Ruby- closer into the fold). While the knife is effective at killing a demon, it had no effect on Alastair and thus there is no reason to believe it would have worked on Lilith. Additionally, where the colt would allow a distant shooting, the knife required the boys to get up close and personal with whatever form Lilith had adopted, at the risk of a wall-pinning or worse.

Ultimately, Ruby and Lilith arranged it so that Lilith, apprised of the boys plans probably from Ruby (and yes, I am piecing that off-screen information together retroactively with the knowledge that Ruby was undercover for two years with the Winchesters) so that Lilith was able to kill Dean and drag him to hell in the end. So, to end this domino-effect theory rambling: Bela stole the colt, name-dropped and ultimately, these two things led to Dean’s deadly encounter with Lilith in No Rest for the Wicked.

It could be said that any number of roads would have led to Dean’s demise and subsequent southern trip. However, the point is that Bela, a less-than-beloved cog of the Supernatural machine was an integral part of how Dean’s death did play out, not how it could have played out. Ruby can be viewed in much the same way: as a piece that was necessary in order to get Sam in St. Mary’s Church with a dead Lilith and the impending arrival of one Satan. This formula isn’t just true of the major characters either: look at the demon Casey, the djinn, Madison, Andy or anyone else, for that matter.

The storylines of Supernatural have always, always been enduring (for the most part, writer’s strike aside) and this, as I have stated many times has always been one of the things I loved about this show. There is nothing I hate more on a TV show than when an incredible experience happens to a character, a major epiphany, a big break up or suffering a trauma, and then it’s never mentioned again. The character never experiences the fallout of that situation or event beyond the scope of that single episode - which just isn’t realistic. Human beings carry all their experiences with them; they drive us, motivate us, influence us, and yes, even bias us toward certain opinions or actions over others. What I propose then, is that for all the mysticism and supernatural elements of the show, the writers of Supernatural have a true understanding of the human condition and use this to their everlasting advantage (and ours) by piecing together long-term effects and durable subplots to achieve greatness.

I leave you with this: while it is fun to analyze our show, the characters and the plotlines, every once and a while, stop to consider the whole vehicle and the essentiality of each part. Whether you’re a Sam-girl or a Dean-girl, a Cas-lover or a Ruby-hater, this wonderful world of Supernatural that connects us wouldn’t be possible without these pieces and parts.

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?


Comments  

Suze
# Suze 2009-11-02 04:51
You're right, one of the good things about the storylines is the way they submerge for ages then bob up again and bite you in the leg when you're not expecting it!

I didn't mind the idea of Bella ... Snotty posh totty with sticky fingers and the morals of a stoat ... She would have made an effective now-and-then Nasty, an Antihunter, but she was so overused it just got stupid ... Oh look, it's her again! She's ripped us off the last 20 times we met but let's give her another chance, shall we? ... Even the Winchesters aren't that dim!
Dany
# Dany 2009-11-02 07:17
I've never really thought about it, but now that you've write about it I totally agree with you Elle!

Over the years I've stop watching a lot of shows because they never "felt" real (am I making any sense?), but when I watch Supernatural the felling is completely different. Supernatural is humanly believable that is impossible not to love this show and it's characters, and that's why I love this show so much and the reason why I've never stopped watching (even if that means I have to wait for it to download) and why I came here every day to read what you all write about it.

So I thank Eric Kripke, the writers and the all team for given us this very awesome show to watch and to (over)analyze and compare notes and thoughts with each other.

I'm just enjoying the ride (and it's been a pretty good one!).
elle2
# elle2 2009-11-02 07:54
Elle,

Great job! I echo your thoughts wholeheartedly. Supernatural is fun to look at episode by episode but to truly 'see' the show one needs to look at the whole, the whole season, the whole arc...you get it.

I love going back and watching Season 3 and seeing Bela for now I know...as Paul Harvey used to say: "The rest of the story."

Thanks for writing this.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-02 08:24
Elle, hi,
I’m with you there. Sometimes I think we, as fans, ponder too much about certain aspects of the show and analyze our favourite characters, and although I have fallen victim to that myself, I keep reminding myself that it is, after all, only a tv show. Not real. But the characters – from the wonderfully drawn out leads to the smaller roles – are part of one organic whole, your’re absolutely right!

This show would have gotten nowhere with the Winchester brothers alone. We need the other characters to serve as catalysts, Macguffins or the proverbial deus ex machina to bring important elements into the storyline or send the main characters on their paths.

I have loved one character more than the other, some I did not like in particular, which is deeply human - I don’t find every person I meet likeable, and some are there who don’t like me. That’s okay. All that bashing that has been going on in various forms is not, though. I guess that the strict rejection of a character come in close connection with some aspects people don’t like about themselves or they are being reminded of individuals they don’t like or that might have wronged them. Disliking someone is deeply rooted within those experiences you mentioned. I noticed with me that some characters I had issues with reminded me of some of my own, sometimes painful moments I lived through.

That has never deterred me from taking a closer look at those characters, trying to understand their motives, which relativized my opinion about them and changed aspects of my perspective. It’s been great fun doing that, since the characters are so well drawn – the writers really take care about their psychological continuity. I love that!!! There’s one important part of this unique quality we all love about the show. We’re lucky to have intelligent writers and producers here who take care about the ‘human condition’ and the demonic or angelic ones.

I agree with you that some important events or experiences characters suffer must not be forgotten. There are a few moments that have been bugging me for a while, and I hope (and trust) that the whole creative bunch will take of that and bring it all to a logical conclusion. E.g. that Mary knew Yellow-eyes was established in All Hell Breaks Loose and Azazel’s high-def replay of Sam’s nursery. But we had to wait till season four, In The Beginning, to learn the background of that info.

I don’t care much about the smaller inconsistencies , they don’t bug me, really. It happens to the best writers and in the best movies or shows.
I, for one, can’t bring myself to hate a character here. I could mail Zacariah onto a wall sometimes, but he does serve his purpose, too. And, let’s be honest, it’s fun, too, to get angry at a character – as long as we stay within reasonable bounds of courtesy and common sense.

Love, Jas
vana naine
# vana naine 2009-11-02 08:42
Personally I have never cared much for Bobby. He is WAY too perfect. (Now, however, immobile and depressed as he is, he works better for me. Not fine, but better.)
What that says about me? That I'm too perfect? Or I try too hard to be perfect and dislike those, who manage where I fail?
Interesting.
Narcissus
# Narcissus 2009-11-03 00:08
Hey everyone, sorry I've been missing...I'm right smack in the middle of final exams. I've been browsing through quickly but haven't time to comment. God I miss this place!

Elle, I agree! Even for the characters I hate, it's a love-to-hate situation because I know that no matter how annoying they are, the writers put them there for a reason. It's the same thing in real life..everythin g and everyone we've ever come in contact with has made an impact on who we are today.

Just an opinion, but look at how SN humanizes the baddies and villains. Part of why this trick leaves such a strong impact is that, when these evil characters are given human attributes such as emotions, it automatically becomes easier to see their impact on the boys. Which just proves you right Elle :-)
Randal
# Randal 2009-11-03 13:39
I think the human condition is THE driving force behind the show; everything else is window dressing, granted, of the best kind. With the human element, the foibles, trials, tribulations, any cliché you can think of, Supernatural would simply be a well-executed monster show. Because we *care* about the characters, it's elevated into something else and because *they* care about them enough to make them 3-D, circle of, well, not life, but loyal viewership.

Not that I wouldn't have minded Bela vanishing after Black Rock, though.