The season 11 finale of Supernatural. Love it or hate it? I frequent a Facebook group run by the lovely people at Supernatural Fans Online. Recently a discussion began about the finale. There sprung a conversation about Amara. In response to a comment there, which bemoaned the sudden turnaround of Amara from scary godlike killing machine to, and I quote, “I talked to Dean and an old lady, now I’m fine.”, I analyzed Amara’s character arc. Because it wasn’t an arc of a single episode and when viewed as a whole, it becomes one of the most developed arcs for a villain in the history of the show.
Beginning from the point we discovered she was God’s sister (episode 6, “Our Little World”), and especially once she became an adult (specifically ep 9, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”), her destructive motivation was revealed. This, of course, being she needs her brother to notice her. Her leaning towards needing love is also revealed in that episode (though it’s hinted at in ep 1 “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire”), when she speaks with and kisses Dean. This episode alone sets up much of the rest of her arc: she needs to be accepted. She yearns for love and places her belief in Dean for this acceptance. As he resists her, she becomes increasingly despondent. Her brother will not even acknowledge her presence, even after serving as judge, jury, and jailer. Even Dean, mortal though he is, tries to kill her. This is such a pivotal episode. Not only does Dean turn on her, it’s the first time we really see someone try to blow her to kingdom come. All the power of heaven rains down on her and she’s, meh, a little scratched.
Bringing it back a bit, and maybe more concrete, is her interaction with Rowena in episode 18, “Hell’s Angel”. Obviously she shouldn’t trust Rowena, but her childlike innocence as well as her inability to interact socially are both on display when she mentions “Uncle Crowley”, and flinches from Rowena’s hand. Her desire to be part of a family is overshadowed by her inability to connect. This brings up another fascinating aspect of her character. She needs to be loved but she doesn’t know how. And you see again her yearning for love and acceptance if you catch her meaningful look at Dean when she comes to steal Lucifer.
When Dean uses her feelings to simultaneously trick and reject her in episode 21, “All in the Family”, and God still refuses to speak to her, that is her final straw. Scorned, rejected, and alone (she’s discovered both Rowena and Uncle Crowley working against her as well), she goes on the warpath. But again, this anger is motivated by hurt. By a broken heart. By being cast aside by everyone she ever tried to love. As they throw the collected power of heaven, hell, and earth at her in episode 22, “We Happy Few”, she finally confronts her brother. At this point, she is furious. She’s been jailed, beaten, rejected, and then He tried to kill her. All because she wanted Him to love her. In the heat of this battle and the complex emotions, emotions she has no means to deal with, she tries to kill Him back.
Then, the finale. She’s accomplished her goal: He talked to her, acknowledged her. Then they tried to kill each other. As she watches His creations die, knowing it’s because He is dying, the fear and anger she’d been feeling turn to remorse.
The one person she truly cared about in her entire existence was dying. And it was her fault. It was her doing. All the rejection she’d experienced she turned around and blasted at Him. And it hurt far worse than she could have imagined. Having no frame of reference for these feelings and therefore no way to really process them, she waits for the end.
But then she meets someone who does have a frame of reference. Wisdom to share. She begins to realize there might be a different way. And finally, finally after the whole season, she’s ready to listen to what Dean has to say. He tells her, using his own well documented experience, to let go of her anger. As a bonus journey, we watch the elder Winchester grow as well, seeing it illustrated right in front of him that anger just causes more, and it escalates until it destroys everything. Once she lets go of her anger, her fear, her hurt, she can face her brother again. And begin to heal. As they fade away, she gifts Dean with love the best way she knows how. From scary god-monster to loving sister, Amara’s arc is subtle and drawn out. But it is the most satisfying arc of any villain the Winchesters have faced.
Welcome to my regularly scheduled review of the latest Supernatural episode! As usual, SPOILER ALERT.
This week, my biggest hope was that Sammy not think he was alone anymore. When we left him last week, I felt bad for him. I wanted to cry for him. He seemed so hopeless there at the end, sleeping sitting up in a cold basement.
When we joined him, I’ve heard reports there was some confusion. Having seen the teaser trailers for this week, I assumed it was all a trick and worked on that assumption. Tricky, Accent. Tricky. I mean it’s pretty clear to me at this point you can only attract Winchesters with honey. The rest is a bloody mess. Also, is it just me, or does Sam have an active fantasy life involving British chicks?
So, anyhow, let’s leave Sam here, undergoing some easy torture.
I was #mega excited to see Ruth’s name in the credits. Some of you may not like her, but I just adore both Ruth and Rowena. She’s got to be my favorite foil since Crowley became more friend than enemy. I like her better than Lucifer, even. (blasphemy? Maybe.) So here’s the poor girl, trying to get her life back together, when who should appear but her ungrateful son, the demon. She gave me a good chuckle when she told Crowley she loved that guy she was talking to. Give me a break, Rowena. You do not.
I thought Crowley’s plan a bit foolish, but it was so nice to see him being Crowley again. King of Hell with a capital K. Smooth talking, smooth planning King of the Crossroads, I was nonetheless nervous for him when Luci walked into the room. Proven right, I was not surprised to see him tuck tail once again and run. I think he’ll need the help of a couple humans called Winchester to win this battle.
Speaking of Luci, let’s discuss him a bit, shall we? There’s a pocket of the fandom who want no one else than Mark Pellegrino to play Lucifer. I understand that. He’s my favorite screen Lucifer of all time. No one could possibly measure up. Misha came close, but I really don’t envision ever having a more favorite Lucifer. Prior to Mark, Peter Stormare in “Constantine” was my favorite. I think it’s the sass. And no one delivers that sass the way Mark does.
So when Rick Springfield was tapped as the next vessel, there were those in the fandom who resisted. But let’s be honest, we had to get a new vessel. Lucifer already mentioned he’d have to get a new one when he and Sam spoke in season 11’s “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”. The Nick vessel is no longer available, unless God rebuilds it. Which just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. He’s busy rebuilding Gabriel, one hopes.
The new vessel, a stronger one than the ones he’s been burning through, turns up in rocker Vince Vincente, played by Rick Springfield. No, he’s not Alice Cooper. He’s the guy that did “Jesse’s Girl’, for one. He’s also done some acting in things like General Hospital and True Detective. I went into it with an open mind. One, we don’t know how long he’ll be the vessel, so we might have to like him for a while. Two, no one is going to be Mark, OK? No one. Open minded as I can be, I will say my opinion is that Rick’s acting is good. It’s good, solid acting. The level I’ve come to expect from Supernatural. But is he our Luci?
No, he isn’t.
I’m not trying to bad mouth the guy. Like I said, the acting is good. But he is not our Lucifer. We’ve seen three different Lucifers (right? Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Besides the visions.), and they all align. Memory refresh- Mark, Misha, and Jared have all played Lucifer. They’ve all been their own Lucifer, but they’ve all also had something at the core of them that was the same. Some sort of confidence maybe. Not a style, a feeling. That, no matter how much I wanted it to be there, is missing from Rick’s performance. But in the scenes he shared with Ruth, she elevated him. It’s good they’re together. Also, it was wonderful to see the wings of an archangel. I was a little intimidated.
Enough about them all. Let’s get back to our boys.
Sam’s reaction when Dean was pulled around the corner was perfect. So happy to see him, relieved he’s not alone, and the hint of another problem solved for the moment. Miss Lady Bitch underestimated Sam once again, though, when she thought hurting Dean would get Sam to talk. I’m willing to bet it would have taken a lot more than she was prepared to do. Sam knows Dean is tough. He can handle a little pain. He’s been to Hell, too. Pain is nothing new. And when Mary turned up? Pfft. You might think you have a handle on the situation when you have two Winchesters tied up in your basement (you don’t), but three in the same room?
Ha. Haha. Hahahahahaha. No.
It was nice they threw in that little reminder that Dean is smarter than he looks. I love it so much when they do that. He’s not just a monkey with a gun, he’s not a tool. He’s a smart man with a strong arm. He’s all superhero, all the time. He’s Batman.
Now, this new Man of Letters who let the Winchesters go? Too nice to be real, or live long. I don’t trust him, but I will tell you what part of the story he’s serving. You’re not going to like it. He’s there to show Miss Lady Bitch the error of her ways. He’s there to plant the seed of doubt in her head that maybe she shouldn’t make enemies of the Winchesters. And when he dies, she is going to switch sides. She will be a Winchester ally by the end of the season. Maybe even mid-season. Yes, we’re going to have to put up with them getting along. Which is OK with me. She can have Sam, Sam needs somebody strong.
Side note: Dean has Amara, so don’t ask. As I’ve said before, he’s always been at least a little in love with the Darkness. Now she is real, and she gave him his mom back. When he dies, he will go to her without a moment of hesitation. Will the writers do that? Will we see it happen? Probably not. But that doesn’t make it less true.
At any rate, who isn’t just in love with Samantha Smith at this point? Now I know where Dean gets his sassy mouth. His attitude. His humor, even. Sam and John always butted heads because Sam was just like him. Dean is his mother’s child. I don’t know about you but I think it’s perfect the way they’ve written that. But when she said, “he was a GREAT father”, it was a little awkward. Just a bit. There are a few things she needs to catch up on.
I took part in a conversation on facebook earlier today about the episode. The conversation started when someone said they found it a bit jarring that we went directly from the basement reunion to dinner. They felt maybe we got cheated out of Sam and Mary’s reunion. I countered with what I imagine happened between the two scenes. First, we don’t need to watch Dean and Sam hug again. Sam thought he was dead, he’s not, now everyone knows, we can move on. Second, I feel the writers skipped those scenes because we didn’t need to be a part of them. Pretty much what happened, as I imagine it:
Dean tells Sam what happened in the garden with Chuck and Amara, Dean tells Sam about what happened when he stumbled upon Mary, Dean tells Sam about hunting him down. Sam tells Dean about the British Men of Letters. They arrive at the bunker, Sam takes a shower, Mary orders dinner. All the while, Sam staring at his mother, as she aptly put it, “Like [she’s] going to explode”.
I feel the scene we saw in Mary’s room was in fact their first real conversation. The first time he hugged her. He has 33 years worth of issues to dig through. Breaking the ice was not going to come easy, but it made me cry all the tears when he did.
Dean looking at pictures, including a picture of the boys with Bobby, reminded me I hadn’t cried all the tears yet.
It’s going to be a rough road this season, but it’s off to a great beginning.
Oh my goodness, you people. Are you as happy as I am that Supernatural is back?? Of course you are, that’s why you’re reading this. Let’s dive in, shall we?
You should be expecting this, but I’ll say it for those in the back. SPOILER ALERT.
So, over hellatus, we all had time to wonder what was going to happen to Supernatural when we heard Jeremy Carver was leaving (check out his new show, Frequency, it’s pretty good). For myself, I wasn’t worried for long. The article I read about Jeremy leaving also informed us of the new show runners, Bob Singer and Andrew Dabb. If I had to pick one person still working there who knows what makes Supernatural Supernatural, it would be Bob Singer. I trust his capable hands. If I had to pick two, the other would probably be Phil Sgriccia (who directed this episode), but Andrew Dabb is a solid choice. Anyhow. I didn’t even think about these changes for the first half hour. I did not notice a difference. It’s business as usual over there on set, it seems.
The Business, as Dean explains to Mary, of saving people and hunting things. If she’d come along at a different time in their lives, she may have gotten a different attitude. But I can see now I was wrong about Dean. He’s not mad anymore, he’s accepted what he & Sam’s lives look like, and he proved it during that little talk with Mary.
Let’s rewind to early in the episode, though. As Dean explained to Mary who he was and when/where she was, my heart broke for her a little. I didn’t expect it, but Samantha (who goes by Sam, but I’m going to call her Samantha to avoid confusion) did such an excellent job it killed me a little to see Mary realize how much she’d missed. We all know what Dean told her as they sat on that cold park bench all night. I don’t know if she’s realized the full import of some of it, but as a mother of a son I can only imagine how I’d feel if he told me half the shit Dean would’ve told Mary.
So, Dean and Castiel’s reunion gave me unexpected feels. Cass doesn’t usually show much emotion so this was a welcome exception (Destiel shippers rejoice! If you choose to see it, which I don’t – but I don’t judge – this episode was full of subtext). Cass has learned quite a bit about humans and I was impressed to see him immediately grasp how Dean would feel about his mother being brought back to life. Being brought back is not new to Supernatural, but it’s something different when you thought that person was gone for good. Remember, no one in heaven has even seen Mary. Nobody even knew where she was to bring her back. Apparently Amara had the inside track.
Who didn’t just fall in love with the scene where Mary sees Baby? We got to admire Baby with new eyes, and see her in a slightly different light as the place where Dean was probably conceived. And his face when he realizes his mom has the same fun memories of the backseat as he does… Priceless. Jensen’s comedic timing is such a blessing.
And where are they going in Baby? To save Sammy of course. This is where I got my seven chuckles in. This bitch right here? This “accent in a pantsuit”? She did a nice job trying to convince us she could hurt Sam with her little pen cap and cool demeanor. Raise your hand if you thought she was going to break Sammy.
Me neither. It was fun to watch her realize her failure, though. She started off on an extra high horse so her fall was more obvious to us. It was almost cartoonish to watch her realize how powerless she is against a Winchester. Lady, you should be afraid of Dean. But it’s Sammy you really need to worry about.
It hurt to see poor Sam getting tortured without any time to mourn Dean. But he’s strong, we know he’ll be OK. When Toni saw physical torture wasn’t working and said, “we break his mind”, I almost fell off the couch with laughter. If Lucifer himself couldn’t do it, really you don’t stand a chance. You either get on their side with a quickness, or your son never sees you again. Those are your choices.
It was nice to see the Winchesters back on top. Even cuffed to a chair, we all knew Sam was in charge of that room.
That’s most of it, but before I wind down on this episode, I need to give a quick shout out to Samantha. She just killed last night. My boyfriend was not surprised and really I wasn’t either, but remember, this is not the role Samantha was cast for. She was cast as suburban wife who falls victim to a Supernatural occurrence. She was cast as the token first-five-minutes death. Who Mary is now is light years away from who she was. And Samantha handled it with grace, strength, and realism. I look forward to seeing much more of her.
One more quick note on Sammy before I go. I knew he wouldn’t be broken. But please, writers, don’t make him be alone much longer. He broke my heart at the end, as he curled up on the stairs and inched next to tears. He’s all alone, and he’s a hero, but he’s also scared and sad. I want to hug him. I want to give him Dean back. They’ve had many reunions over the years but Sam never knows which one will be the last, and he thinks he’s already had it. I cannot wait to see his face when Dean and Mary get there.
And a ps. I don’t get to live tweet with the cast because of my time zone, but I did get to watch without distraction as Misha’s Twitter devolved from live tweeting the episode to a fight over how to abbreviate Castiel. For the record, the writers spell it “Cass” in the script. They always have. There’s a couple reasons I won’t bore you with, unless you ask me to, but rest assured they spell it with two esses. Much of the fandom spells it with one, and it was all but mutiny on Twitter last night when they “found out” the truth. I spell it like the writers do, but it’s understood that the one S version is an acceptable alternate. It was pretty funny watching half the fandom lose its shit, though.
I’ve been thinking all week about writing a new blog. Of course also asking myself…would anyone really even care about reading it?
The subject should be self-evident, just from that sentence.
As humans, I think we all doubt ourselves all the time. We’re constantly asking for input from other people.
“Does this taste good?”
“How do I look?” “Isn’t my new car awesome?!”
“Watch this show I love! I think you’ll like it!” (subtitled, “If you like it, that means I’m not crazy!”)
Even more when it’s something we create, like food or art or writing. We ask for other people’s input. We want other people to like it. No matter how much I say “I don’t care what other people think”, that’s not 100% true. No matter how much I want it to be true and no matter how true it really is, I’ll never get past that 99%. Because we’re social animals, the opinions of our peers matters to us.
I think that’s why we’re our own worst critics. At least for me, if I’m over-critical, I know there will be less for others to find fault in. And that makes me feel better, knowing it’s as awesome as I can make it before I send it out.
By day I make electronic parts for airplanes. And that is fun because I create things. It is also fun because there are exact parameters to follow. I know if it’s wrong, I know if it’s not. It’s right there on the schematic.
For writing, the parameters are less sure. And you can get everything right, follow every rule, and still produce crap. Or at least, produce something no one will enjoy, or even read, for that matter. This lack of a blueprint is daunting, because there is no formula for success.
So, what if you punch self-doubt in the face, as Chuck Wendig suggested (WARNING link contains lots and lots of strong language) earlier this week? Great! Now you can work without the ugly spectre of doubt looking at the screen over your shoulder! No longer hiding under the blanket of optimism to keep the peeping eyes of doubt away!
Not so fast.
I am having so much fun with my second novel. Now that I’ve completed a novel and gone through three sets of edits, I’m pretty confident I can finish another. And I’m enjoying writing it. I’ve found my voice as far as long-form fiction goes. I’ve explored my characters, understanding their likes and dislikes, getting to the core of their motivations by thinking about their backstories, getting in their heads to understand not only how others see them, but how they see themselves. Even if they’re not a POV character it’s nice for me to know how they see themselves from inside their heads. It informs their decisions, as well as their expressions and movements.
Having done that, I find what situation I’m going to be putting them in for the scene, write the first few sentences, and let the hole in the page open. And it does, and it’s fun. I enjoy my characters, I like where the story is going, and I think it’s all going to come out alright. I’m about 15k words in, and I’m confident and happy. Because I’ve worked pretty hard on punching self-doubt in the face.
So here it comes. The doubt.
Instead of saying, “you’re not good enough” and “your story sucks” and “you write like crap” and “no one is ever going to want to read this”, it says:
“You don’t have enough doubt in yourself. You should doubt yourself more.”
Ok self. So I’m not critical enough for you now. Great. That’s…thanks.
I imagine dealing with this is just another version of dealing with self-doubt, it just is wearing a different mask. But I guess what this proves is that there is no getting rid of doubt, even if you get rid of doubt. Oh the world of art. What a tease.
Mumbling under his breath, he dug into the couch cushion beside his leg. Feeling nothing, he squeezed the other hand down the other cushion, coming up with half a Cheeto and some lint. He rolled his eyes and stood, pulling the cushion he had been sitting on to the floor. Change, more Cheeto’s, some dog hair. No remote. The room at large absorbed a string of curses as he yanked the next cushion from the couch. He pocketed the additional change under it and rolled his eyes at the dirty sock that had also been hiding there. The third cushion flew, just missing the lamp as it sailed across the room. It bounced to a stop against the bookcase, shaking the DVD’s. Three of them fell over but his attention was diverted. He’d found a rip in the lining of the couch that had been so recently covered by a cushion. Thinking the remote had fallen in, he’d plunged his hand into the innards of the couch. His fingertips skidded across slick plastic. He groped, closing his fingers over warm, pliant plastic. Extracting his arm from the slit, he opened his hand and stared. He forgot about trying to find the remote and his pupils contracted until they were the size of pinholes. The object in his hand glowed, the light of the sun emerging from deep inside its baseball-sized interior. Shifting it, he held it in both hands and brought it up, almost touching it with his nose as its mystery hypnotized him. Unnoticed, the room around him began to dim as though the thing was sucking all the light into itself. The room dimmed while the little orb glowed brighter. He felt pulled toward it in both the figurative and literal sense. As his nose approached its surface he felt his feet begin to tingle. Risking a glance he watched his feet leave the ground. Something knocked his head and he looked up, pieces of the popcorn ceiling falling in his eye as his head brushed more of them loose. He looked back at the tiny singularity. Whoever left this here wasn’t going to get it back.
There’s so much advice out there about writing. A lot of it is obvious. For instance, I read an article yesterday that suggested two things about how to write. One, sit down (optional). Two, write. Yes, two is required. Thinking about writing is not writing. Reading advice columns like this one is not writing. Doing all the things I am about to relate to you is not writing. Writing is writing, period.
But you’ve got to keep writing. You’ve got to be able to concentrate. And it’s helpful if you feel productive. So here are the ways in which I’ve done that.
Much of what I’m about to tell you I learned from a few sources and combined into my own little system. Litreactor columns like this one and this one. Like I’ve said before, Litreactor has been an incredible resource for me. I urge you to check it out for the times when you want to read about writing. Honestly, just because reading about writing is not writing, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. In fact, I think (and I’ve read) that continuing your education in writing is essential to growing as an author. So let’s get on with it.
I keep a writing journal
Yes, I got this suggestion from another article. Yes, it has worked for me. I modified it to meet my specific needs. What I do is, I write down things like what time I sat down to write and what time I finished, my beginning and ending word count, if my football team won or lost (lots of wins last year, just saying), whether or not I’ve had caffeine recently, the days this year when I lost two good friends. Why do this?
It helps me see several things. It helps me keep up with productivity, AKA my word count. It shows me what affects my productivity. Death absolutely does, I knew that. But time of day does too. I write best at night. That’s just how it is. I’m too easily distractible during the day. I’m a night owl. Makes sense I’d be more able to focus the darker it is outside.
Knowing when and how I’m most productive gives me a better opportunity to be at my most productive. And when I’m on, I’m on. I only get about an hour on an average day to write. When I do it at my most productive time, I can crank about 1k to 1500 words regularly.
But there’s more to that story.
I listen to music with headphones.
After I work all day, spend time with the kiddos and the boyfriend, the munchkins go to bed and I write. But the boyfriend is a night owl too, sometimes the kiddo wants water or whatever, the dogs bark, you know, normal house stuff.
So when it’s time, I put on my headphones and go to my writing place. Instrumental music is best because it’s been proven that your language center cannot decipher two inputs at once. So if I listen to music with lyrics, maybe my brain is working on those words instead of the ones I’m putting down on the page. Even if those aren’t the words I think I’m focusing on, I might not be able to instruct my brain to do otherwise without some effort of will. That affects my productivity. I don’t want that. So for me it’s instruments only, or instruments mostly with some wordless vocalizations. Some excellent suggestions for a jumping off point are here.
I have a Routine
If you have kids, you’ve probably discovered that routine is wonderful for keeping them happy. They might complain about it, but if things are presented to them in the same way each day – breakfast at 9, lunch at 11 followed by nap, snack at 2, dinner at 6, bedtime at 8, for example – I’ve found things go so much easier. They know what to expect and when, and they are comfortable within those boundaries.
Funny thing is, I’ve found adults are the same way. I might complain about going to work every morning at 6:30, especially since I’m a night owl, but without that routine I get a little lost. Routine soothes me. It’s the same for most of us, so I’ve read.
So when it comes to writing, I have created a routine. Just like a bedtime routine helps to make you tired, a writing routine gets me into the writing frame of mind. After the kiddos are in bed, I put on my PJ’s. Might as well be comfy. Then, I put on the kettle. While it’s getting to a boil, I check my facebook, email, twitter. Like mad. I make comments, post pictures, do a bunch of stuff. Whatever internet related stuff I want to do, especially that pesky social media. (Research is reserved for research time, and I just do that whenever. Like on a break at work or whatever.)
The water is boiling! Great. I put in the teabag and set the timer for steeping. It’s at this point I go to my writing place. I turn on my lamp. I power up my computer. Bust out my journal. Fill in the journal. Beep! Tea is ready.
All these things, in the same order, tell my brain it’s time to write. On to the next step.
Turn off the internet
This is not a joke. This is not a maybe. This is a must. If you live alone, you can turn it off altogether straight from the router. If not, you can turn it off on your computer.
Place your phone in another room. Or at least out of arm’s reach. Just get rid of the internet. Research is for another time. Checking your facebook is for another time. Reading about writing is for another time. You don’t need the internet to write.
Ah, here we are. Now is the time. I plug in the headphones, start up my music, put the screen in front of me, and write.
So there you have it. I’ve added my voice to the proliferation of voices that tell you how to do this writing thing. But here’s the thing about it. This is what works for me. Take what you like, leave the rest. Find what works for you! That’s the way to truly be successful at getting that writing done. Writing is just as personal as anything else you do, and how you do it is up to you.
But however it is you do it, I hope you have fun doing so.
If you look closely, you can see that most of the things in this image are whole galaxies. (The really bright thing is a closer star) Imagine. All those galaxies, just like our Milky Way, filled with billions and billions of stars. There is someone out there, somewhere, looking back at us and wondering. Wondering if there is someone out there, somewhere, looking back at them and wondering. We’ve thought for so long that life on this planet was some sort of cosmic accident. A perfect combination of so many factors it might be impossible to predict whether it would happen somewhere else. With the sheer number of possible planets out there, the probability that we are all alone is already near zero. Even if we are one in a million, LOOK at this picture. There could be billions of planets in this one picture of one corner of the deep night sky. But look up hydrothermal vents. Far beneath the surface of the ocean, life thrives in that warm and inviting atmosphere. As we study this phenomenon, we have begun to learn about how life begins there. I believe we are perilously close to discovering exactly how all life forms. And if we can prove it does so in a consistent and predictable manner… well then we’ll know. There’s someone out there, looking back at us. And wondering.
To find out more about this photo, visit NASA here.
EDIT: Hi guys, I see lots of people stop by here so I thought I’d include a short disclaimer: This was written as a GISHWHES 2016 item. It’s not exactly a joke, but it’s not exactly serious either.
Miss Jean Louis is known as the G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. second in command and also the babysitter of Misha Collins, gracious overlord and brain trust behind the mayhem that has become the first week of August. MJL, as she is known to Gishers around the world, is the one who keeps it all on track.
But she is more than that.
She is also known to collaborate with 20,000 Parades, an LA based art collective. They are known as the warriors against social norms and through art, they challenge what we think of the world around us, particularly how we use urban space. From “ladies of leisure” to athletes and architects, they fight to maintain what some have called an “inspirational social experiment”, and what others have dubbed “a seemingly meaningless endeavor”.
Much the same way G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. is both meaningless and social.
Armed with this, MJL brings a dearth of useful experience to our little scavenger hunt. Using it, she wrangles the troops and helps to guide Misha down a winding and senseless path. She is the Keeper of Emails and the Mother of Gishcots. She is our Khaleesi.
I love Sam and Dean, very much. But since the publisher doesn’t know me, they don’t want to look at my book. I’ve concluded I’ll need more credits to my name before I can get my foot into the door writing Supernatural novels. And likely an agent. In the hopes of having something more with which to entice an agent, I’ve begun my next book. It’s currently titled “Reclamation”, and is a story about what happens after the zombie apocalypse is over. I love zombie stories because they frighten me, like actually frighten, as in give me nightmares and everything. But with the proliferation of zombie tales, I’ve begun to wonder just what happens after we’ve taken the planet back from the dead. Assuming we can. In order to explore that topic, I decided to write about it. Yet at its core, the story is about family, growing up, and finding your place in the world. I’ve been rolling the story around for a while, but I was having trouble getting it going. I decided to age the main character up, so that I could relate to her better. That made a huge difference. Now I’ve got the characters mapped out, their individual journeys, and a three act outline (omg I used an outline!). I’m still having slight trouble opening the book, but now that I know the characters I think about them, who they are, and what they want. I can’t wait to write about them. One thing about the beginning is I can always rewrite it later. I just have to put something down, if nothing else as a placeholder. Right here I was going to put a bit about things Stephen King wrote in “On Writing”. He’s my favorite author, as you may know, and a prolific and successful one at that. His advice in “On Writing” is sound. It’s probably the best memoir on the craft and one of the best advice books out there. But I completely misremembered his advice when it comes to plot, story, situations, and characters. So I’m not going to say what I was going to say. What I will say instead is if you are a writer and you haven’t read that book, do so immediately.
The other thing I will say is there is so much writing advice out there, it would be impossible to read it all in your lifetime, much less follow it all. Much of it is contradictory, some of it is nonsense, all of it is a matter of preference. Yes, there is an accepted way to do things, a way things are being done. They have not always been done that way, however, and anyone who tells you so is lying. Language and storytelling are constantly evolving. Doing things as they’ve always been done gets you what you’ve always got. There has to be some acceptable risk every now and again. My point being what I take from all these sources gets more weight depending on the source, then it gets dumped into the memory box, shaken, and sprinkled into the soupy mess that is my thoughts. Hopefully what that produces is palatable.
What I was going to say up there, though, must be something like my own thoughts. I enjoy a character driven story. A story that is not a story, so much as a journey for the character. It doesn’t have to be a literal journey, though it can be, but is always a journey from one state of mind to another. Also, I don’t want it spoon fed. I want to have to think as a reader, and as a writer I’d like to make you think. That way we can all accompany the characters on the journey as something of a participant, instead of just a viewer.
I’ve created these characters and I can’t wait to accompany them on this journey they’re undertaking. My outline is not rigid, and it will probably be more fluid than I think it will, but I have an emotional place I want them to come from and go to. Everything in between is window dressing.
I hope it’s enjoyable window dressing.
But most of all, I hope I don’t fall into that category of “bad writers”. I’m never positive about my place in the pyramid. Exciting times!
Apologies for taking so long to get this one up, but I have been processing feels. To be honest, it’s Dean Winchester’s fault I started watching Game of Thrones, so I was still reeling from Sunday when the Supernatural season finale hit. I probably shouldn’t have to say this, but as usual…
IT’S SPOILER LAND DOWN THERE! REPEAT, SPOILERS AHEAD!!! And this is a long one. Buckle up, it’s season finale time!
Oh man, where to begin. Season 11 has been a really enjoyable, super fab season. Probably the best since my fave, season 5. We all know how good this season has been and if you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re as familiar with The Road So Far as I am. So I’m not going to recap, I’m just going to talk about season finale goodness.
Dean’s face when he realized he was talking to Cass and not Luci, let’s begin there. I knew Lucifer had been smited, but it was good to learn we for sure don’t know for sure what happened to him. In Supernatural speak that means he’s alive and we will get to see Mark Pellegrino again someday. Dean was pretty obviously relieved, and kudos to Jensen for showing us the difference between his regard for Lucifer compared to Cass with such a simple expression. The transformation on his face was delightful to watch and if I weren’t already thrilled to see Cass returned to us, I would have been after that.
On the other side of the room, we were treated to a Chuck who was finally “a little less lordly”. I have to admit, it was nice to see. Even given the argument that they’ve killed pagan gods on the show before, as well as Norse and Hindu, I was fairly certain they weren’t going to kill this one. Seeing as Chuck=Kripke=God, this one has been elevated to Creator. And that makes it pretty tricky to kill him. Also, who doesn’t just love Rob? Why would we want a Supernatural universe in which he couldn’t pop back into one day? I wouldn’t. So, sidetracked, I was able to watch the scenes with god with a sense of humor instead of foreboding. To me, that increased my enjoyment.
Also with a sense of humor-any scenes or situations which led us to believe one or both Winchesters were going to die. We all know the show has been renewed, so for at least one more season finale we aren’t worried about a permanent death.
What a show where we have to qualify what sort of death we’re talking about, i.e. “permanent“ or “not so much”. I love it.
So, back at the bunker, we were treated to some of the best scenes of the season. Seriously. Dean stating his purpose in life and asking the real questions (“How are we supposed to fix the freaking sun?“), Sam reaching in to try and pull him out of his hole, and the glorious scenes between Crowley/Rowena/God. I hope everyone enjoyed that heart to heart between Crowley and Chuck without any actual eye contact as much as I did. Mark was a delight throughout, as always. And listening to Rowena and God get going about their children was laugh out loud hilarious. Mark delivered some very excellent one liners all evening.
The heart to heart with Dean and Cass in the car was shot from a funny angle, one I’ve noticed they’ve played with a bit this season, and the conversation was a long time coming. I’m pretty sure Dean had mentioned how close they are before, but was it to Castiel directly? I can’t remember, I apologize. I’d have to sift through a few episodes to find the conversation I’m thinking of. Either way, Cass looked genuinely touched. And what I realized when Dean told him, “You’re one of our best friends,” is that they really don’t have that many, do they? They never really have, being as transient as they are. Sure, they have associates, people who will work with them, but not a lot of actual friends. Not many people who truly enjoy their company. Not anymore. And not only does Cass enjoy their company, enough so that he gave up Heaven, he routinely pulls their asses out of the fire. I’m glad Dean finally spoke it out loud, to Cass.
Come to think of it, Dean was pretty touchy feely all episode, wasn’t he? He knew, deep down, that he probably wasn’t going to make it out of this fight. He always knew that when the Darkness went, he was going with her. For myself, I’ve always felt like Dean was in love with the Darkness before she had a name and a face. So while the connection, the pull, he felt to her made him uncomfortable, it wasn’t exactly unexpected. I think it made him uncomfortable because he could see himself leaving with her. He always could, but now she was real. I wonder if that’s where he will go when the show is over?
Let’s not talk about that.
Right, so here we have Sam, ever the optimist, making plans to save the world. And it wasn’t a bad plan. Sam’s got the ideas, and with Dean to back his play (man, I love this season), he’s got the fortitude to pull it off. But again, as always, when it came time to make the “spirit bomb”, his power level was over nin…sorry. Wrong show. When it came time to make the bomb, after some fun hunting Waverly Hills, we all knew who would step up to sacrifice himself.
As Sam and Dean said their final goodbyes, again, I began to get a sense of melancholy. They really think that the next time they die will be the last. And again, while we all know the show will go on, they do not. Sam and Dean really thought Dean was going to die. So when they pulled back and showed them in the cemetery where Mary was buried, I lost it. I’m not going to lie. I already had the tissues handy, and was surprised I had not reached for them by half way through. But after the reveal of their location, I didn’t put the tissues back down. And I found myself about three feet from the TV.
The goodbyes in the graveyard were just…oh my goodness. Castiel pulling Dean into an unexpected hug. And the speech again (“Don’t douche her up.”). But to have Dean be the one to initiate the chick flick moment…my tender little heart couldn’t handle it. I all but sobbed aloud. I didn’t think at all about how excellent a job either of them did because in that moment, everything was so perfect I forgot I was watching actors. Here’s Sam and Dean Winchester, saying goodbye for what both of them truly believes is the last time. Tragedy.
So with everyone else awaiting the end in a bar, Dean stands alone with Amara in the garden. It was a beautiful, idyllic little botanical garden. Excellent job set department once again, by the way. You guys just really knock it out of the park on the regular. Even when forced to use the same sets over and over and over and over and over again. How did that staircase make it all the way to England?
Sorry, sidetracked again. I’m all over the place on this one, huh? One more note. I swear, was that Tim Omundson carrying that “The End is Near” poster?
So here we have our heroes, all the work they can do done, awaiting the apocalypse in a bar. I can only imagine where Sam was in his head. Hoping it would work because he must save the world, but wishing Dean would fail because that would mean he lives. What a terrible conundrum for him. Either way, he can have no relief. And in the end, you can see the clash of emotions all over his face as the sun heals but he knows Dean’s sacrifice was what made it possible.
But I get ahead of myself. There’s the rest of our intrepid heroes, and here’s Dean with the Darkness. As a villain, I kinda liked her. She was never bad for bad’s sake, she always had this conflict. She didn’t understand humans, she had been locked away for too long. She was as removed from humanity as God, but she was always curious just what it was she was missing about them. It was this, and her love for both Dean and her brother, that made her accessible in those final few moments. I knew it would be her love that was her undoing. Because she loved Dean, she let him talk. She let him convince her there was another way.
By this point, I’m dying in front of the TV. I don’t want to give too much away, but an ending like this, where they use love to kill the monster instead of guns, IS WHY I WROTE MY BOOK. You guys, this plot, this solution meant everything to me. To see them finally get it. Sometimes the force is necessary. But more often than not, there is another way. What was it Martin Luther King Jr said?
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Yes, that. To see the boys finally learn that, and Dean of all people, was the best thing I’ve seen happen on Supernatural in seasons. Seasons. It was amazing. What a lovely, lovely way to end this beautiful season. When Amara and Chuck ascended, it was both thematically and visually stunning. I was so happy, I needed another few tissues.
Let me stop. I need to shoe-horn in a reference to the new character, Toni, just like she was shoe-horned into the episode. I will give this new Man of Letters a chance, but I’m not thrilled with the way they decided to introduce her. And we all know she didn’t kill Sam. I’ll even give you reasons. One, she was ordered by the “Old Men”, our new villain I presume, to “bring him in”. Two, if these Old Men and Toni really are who they claim to be, they will know that killing a Winchester is no solution. It’s only asking for trouble. Three, we all know they can’t kill Sam yet. For those reasons alone, I guarantee you she didn’t kill him. Only grazed, if that.
If you thought Dean’s face was like the sun breaking over the horizon after six months of winter when he saw his mother, imagine Sam’s face when they both show up to rescue him. They’re both dead, remember? I literally cannot wait to see that. I’m getting teary just thinking about it.
I was going to end with that, but I have one more note. I have heard a bit of dissention, not much mind you, but a bit, about Mary being back. Saying they don’t need their mommy and such. I couldn’t disagree more. No, they don’t need a mommy to kiss their boo-boo’s and apply band-aids as needed, but it is a gift to have her back nonetheless. I lost one of my parents when I was young, and I still have the other. As someone who has been able to experience both having a relationship with a parent as an adult and not having one, I can tell you I know what I’m talking about here. Sometimes I wish for a relationship with the lost parent as an adult so much that it hurts. The relationship you have with your parents as adults is far removed from the one you had as a young child. You get to know them as people, and almost, almost like peers. They become human to you. More real, I think. And Sam and Dean never had that opportunity with their mother. They barely had it with their father. I am overjoyed for them to have this chance. I cannot wait to see what they get into while working together.
But she is going to be PISSED at John Winchester when she finds out how he raised them. Pee-eye-double ESSSSSSSED. She is going to let him have it the next time she sees him. Which I think is possible, as long as filming schedules and contracts and things can be worked out. Either way, Sam and Dean have entered an exciting new chapter in their lives, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
Now all Mary and Dean have to do is find and rescue Sam from the Men of Letters. Should be a cinch.