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I am completely and utterly FLOORED by the depth this episode provided, not only for the storyline of the Winchesters but for the story of Becky and Chuck. I mentioned that I had some thoughts about this episode on my Twitter, and I'm hoping that I can make them cohesive here. Before I go anywhere, I must give kudos to Mr. Ackles on his incredible direction. Using his keen eye and knowledge of the story being told, he crafted an incredible story through the visuals and the editing that he did. Every shot was for a reason and every cut or change was with a purpose.

picture3Now, I think we first need to talk about Dean. When I initially watched the episode, I was completely and utterly unmoved by Dean. That's not to say I didn't find his character interesting, but he was acting in character and there wasn't anything that stood out to me. He seemed to be acting as he would be expected to act in the midst of his grief and pain. He finds a hunt for him and Sam to go on and he continues to bolster and support Sam in his time of need. Then, I was scrolling through my feed and I saw some mentions of the idea that Dean was not acting in character because of his constant eating and his drinking from the flask. Now, over the past 15 years, we've seen a lot of Dean. We've seen him happy, sad, mad, grieving, frustrated, and a whole range of emotions. If there's one thing that I've noticed that's consistent about Dean, it's that no matter what the situation, he eats. Happy, Dean eats. Sad, Dean eats. Grieving over the loss of someone, Dean eats. We've seen it time and again. In Season Four when he was dealing with the trauma of Hell, what did we see Dean doing? Deflecting, but also drinking heavily. In Season Nine and Ten, when dealing with the Mark of Cain, what do we see from Dean? Drinking. Even as a Demon, Dean took to a bar and drank. Most recently, in Season 14's Mint Condition, we see Dean dealing with the trauma of Michael's possession by holing himself up in his room with what? Junk food, alcohol, and movies. Now in that situation, Dean was able to be drawn out with a hunt. His attention was able to be held with the idea of someone being attacked by a Thundercats doll. Dealing with a possessed statue of his movie bad guy was enough to bring him out of whatever funk he was stuck in. This hunt, however, was not. He needed the support that the food provided through the hunt.

So, seeing Dean with a food item or his flask in hand throughout the episode wasn't something that particularly shocked me. I looked into a few more things people were saying and one thing that caught me was the idea that Dean's eating is a pathological behavior. I can see where that might come from because a behavior done over and over again can become pathological, but again, Dean has always loved food and drink. If we use the last fourteen seasons as a guide, it is quite clear to see that Dean uses his food and drink for two things: coping and soothing. In terms of coping, we see Dean use alcohol more than food to cope with his experience. He uses the fuzz of alcohol to numb himself to the pain so he doesn't have to feel it as strongly. He uses food as a distraction to cover up his pain. On the same side of the coin, but different, he also uses his food and drinks to self-soothe. He truly enjoys his food in a way that helps him feel better when he's down. We all have things that help us do that. Some healthy and some not so much. However, consistently we've seen Dean use food in this way, so while it could become a pathological behavior, I don't think it will be. When I think of a pathological behavior on Supernatural, the first thing that comes to mind is Sam in Mystery Spot after Dean's final death, or Sam on the demon blood and desperate to find Lillith and kill her. In both cases, there is a rapid shift in behavior from one type to another, to the detriment of the character in question. Sure, with Dean we've seen the drinking affect him here and there, but it has never turned into a thing that holds Dean back from living his life. Additionally, I think it's worth noting that one of the ways that Dean shows love is through his cooking. We've seen Dean cook for Sam time and time again, like when they moved into the Bunker, or when Sam was doing the Trials. We've seen Dean use food as a way to show his love for others (and by others I mean Sam), so why is it surprising that he might use the same method to show himself some of that same love? It felt to me like Dean was perfectly in character, using his food and drinks to cope with the burdens.

AM6Now, onto Sam. I'm kind of struggling with Sam this episode. I felt he had some great moments, but generally, I was a little underwhelmed by Sam. But, then again, Sam has always been a master at holding in his emotions. He keeps things close to the chest and wants to appear as if everything is okay. I can understand that, and we did get to see some glimpses behind that veneer, like when they were at the crime scene and he was mentioning how they do the dirty work so everyone else can go on with their white picket fence lives. I find the callback to the white picket fence life something that keeps coming back. Right from the beginning, Sam has been the one who has wanted out of the hunting life. Slowly, he's come to accept his life, but there is still a clear longing for normal. There is still something within Sam that keeps wanting something "normal." Or when he says, "The end of the world, is the end of the world," to Billy's parents. It is clear he is having trouble feeling any sympathy for them, even when he is usually the one who has endless amounts of both empathy and sympathy (I acknowledge your pain, anyone?). We see him, throughout the episode, having little patience for others, with the exception of Dean. We see the frustration on his face when he realizes that Suzie's friend isn't the vamp because she has braces. We see the level of frustration with Billy's parents when he says, "Awesome parenting. Awesome." Then, in the car, we see him try and give voice to what he's feeling with, "I don't know. Uh... I-I don't know if I can move on. You know, I... I... I... I can't forget any of them." Here, we finally see Sam. Consistently, we've seen Sam take responsibility for things that were either outside of his control or not his fault. For example, in "Peace of Mind," last season, we see Sam taking on all of the guilt for the deaths of the AU hunters, even though it wasn't in his control. We see him still feeling guilty over Jessica's death, even though it wasn't on him. Perfectly in character for this Winchester, and I think an interesting thing to explore with the idea of Chuck and being free.

SPN 0175Also, the vision that began the episode was particularly interesting to me, because it didn't really show things from Sam's perspective. Usually, in a dream or vision situation, we see things from the dreamer or vision haver's perspective. This one seemed to be from a more third-person perspective, raising the question, is someone else controlling the visions? Is someone pushing them onto Sam? I think it is quite possible because Chuck and Sam have that connection through their wounds from the Destroyer (which I just found out was named that the other day...did I miss some crucial detail?) I'm intrigued to see how this will play out. The content of the vision was interesting because we've seen Sam on demon blood before, and the Sam we saw in this vision did not seem like the version of Sam we saw back in Season Four when he was addicted to the stuff. Sam seemed to be acting more like he did when possessed by Lucifer. Now, I don't know if there was something I missed and he was possessed by Lucifer, but it didn't really seem like Sam was acting under the influence of the demon blood. I guess we'll find out more, or we won't.

Okay, Winchesters are taken care of. Now it's time to talk Becky and Chuck.

The only thing I'll say about Chuck is that he's getting more and more on my nerves because he is just so freaking annoying. I just can't stand him. I mean, I guess that means the writer is doing his job, but more than the fact that I don't like him, he feels a little one-note. He doesn't feel well rounded as a character and that's bothering me. I can't suss out why I feel that way, but I just want him to feel less like he's a simple villain. Right now, he feels a little too simple. Sure, the Winchesters are his "favorite show," but there has to be more there than the fact that they didn't do as he expected them to. There has to be something deeper than that. (And I'm sure the bullet wound in his shoulder isn't helping.) Either way, Chuck is driving me up the wall.

am13Becky, Becky, Becky. Right before the episode aired, I saw some rumblings about the return of Becky. My initial reaction, up until I really saw her in the episode, was one of annoyance. I didn't want to see Becky return. I never liked her throughout her appearances early on, and I was glad to see her never return. But, instantly, seeing her with a family and children calmed some of my ire. I realized that she wasn't going to be the same crazy girl that first showed up. Furthermore, seeing all of the scenes between Becky and Chuck made me fall in love with her in a way that I didn't think was possible. When Becky first made her appearance in Season Four, the fandom was young (not in terms of age, but in terms of length of existence). There wasn't really a true understanding of what this fandom really was, and what it meant to the people involved in it. Becky made her appearance as what a fan was PERCEIVED to be, at the time. Obsessive, quite excitable, annoying, and sexually assertive (not exactly the term I'm looking for, but struggling for a better one. If you think of one, let me know in the comments!). Her appearance in Season Five reinforces that idea with the convention and the idea that Becky and Chuck are getting into a relationship. Again, the fandom was quite young at the time and people were still a little baffled by this show that gathered an audience of all types of people. So, they continued to present the narrative that fans were women, often young women, who were obsessed with something to the point of it being creepy. Plus, the relationship with Chuck put a bad taste in everyone's mouth because it supposes that given the chance, a fan would want a relationship with someone who creates the thing they're obsessed with. I'm not saying it's not possible, but I don't think many people would want what Becky did with Chuck.

Then Season 7, Time For a Wedding hit and ruined all of our lives. This episode single-handedly did SO many things to destroy the hearts and souls of fans everywhere. It again presumed that all fans are women, thus excluding the male sector of the fandom and making them feel alienated and unrecognized. It, again, showed a fan as obsessive, to the point of taking away someone's bodily autonomy. I don't think any fan would do that. It showed fans as awkward, socially inept, and weird. In reality, fans are incredibly sociable and undoubtedly weird, but in a good way, rather than an uncomfortable way. It made fans into a joke, rather than the living, breathing, beautiful people we actually are. Also, it showed fans as people who are unable to have a life outside of their fandom. It showed Becky as someone who, because of her fandom, couldn't have a successful life otherwise, because her fandom was all-consuming. I think fandom is just the opposite. It is a place where people can use their obsession to find a social circle that accepts them for who they are and are willing to allow them to geek out on the things that they love, rather than shunning them for it. But, right from the first line when she brings the motion sickness pills for her son, we can see a distinct change in who Becky is.

am14We see her as self-assured, proud of her fandom, but not consumed by it. No longer the crazed young woman, but a more mature fan, enjoying the sense of community that comes with fandom and also being able to make a living through her fandom. She's just as passionate about her fandom as she was before, but she found a way to not only balance it with her life but balance it with herself. It was truly amazing to see this incredible transformation in Becky. She became all of us, no matter age, race, gender, or whatever else. Fans are well rounded, calm when we want to be, understanding, self-reliant, confident, loving people and we take that and apply it into all parts of our lives. Before this episode, Becky was what a fan was PERCEIVED to be, by people who didn't really understand. Within the space of this episode, and this episode alone, Becky was transformed into what a fan actually is, by people who now understand this fandom and what it is (because of social media and other things). Someone who is no doubt in love with their thing, but also just a person, who is flawed and makes mistakes, but who also can have all of the things they want. It was tragic to see all four of them go somewhere else, and I hope we will see more of who Becky has become. I am just SO happy with this change because it brings acceptance and love to a character that always represented the collective shame we all felt for being involved with something as, according to some, ridiculous and juvenile as fandom.

I think that's all for now. As always, happy to engage here in the comments! I hope everyone has a great week!