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Helloo!! I keep hearing Charlie Bradbury in my ears - I'm back, bitches! But as I don't actually ever say that in the wider world, I'll just content myself with saying- at last, a new computer. I've been without one since January. I have used my i-pad to keep up with things, but posting anything beyond a tiny piece of fic feedback or the occasional comment on that feeble little keypad was just too frustrating.

I've been reading everyone's posts, save those with spoilers for SPN.

Supernatural: Ah, Supe; just when I thought I was out, they dragged me back in. I didn't much enjoy S8; as always, there were individual highlights, but the whole murky first half just annoyed me, particularly when Sam's abandonment of Kevin never got much of an explanation except that he was in the mood to do so. I think we've been spoiled by some very, very clever writers in the past; I kept expecting some devilish twist in the whole Amelia thing, and to find it was all actually just as turgid and vapid and soap opera-ish as it initially seemed was a real disappointment. Whatever liking I had for Sam pretty much evaporated over all that, and the self-justification that followed. For the record, I don't blame him for not pursuing Dean - as far as he knew, Dean was gone. I get that. But leaving Kevin in the wind was appalling.

So watching a show with one of two main characters well-set in the I'm Really Starting to Dislike You Zone was always going to be tough, and after about four episodes I bailed on this season. Dean and guilt is such an old song. I kept recording, but there was always something else to watch: the sheer insane fun of Vikings, new Justified, new Sherlock.

But this week I sat down and caught up with the Season So Far and - I actually enjoyed it. Some interesting stories, I'm enjoying the angels stuff, and I think the break allowed me to deal with the fact that so many aspects of the show that I used to love are gone, and I just have to accept that and take it as it is. They're no longer underdogs. I don't get that delicious sense of threat any more, and challenges never seem insurmountable; we know that these are the Winchesters, goddamit, and whatever is thrown at them they'll find something or someone or some way to win. There have been a few too many "Hey, look what I just found!" moments. Too many resurrections, too many Get Out of Jail Free cards. So the investment in terms of mystery or adventure or suspense is significantly watered down from the heyday of S3.

But I still care about Dean. Ridiculously. I wasn't surprised by Sam's speech in The Purge - lord knows, that boy's worst traits have been sanctimony and selfishness since the start, so no big shocks there. I have no real hope he'll grow past these flaws any time soon. But Castiel's support of Dean gives me some comfort. And who knows - maybe Sam will be reminded of all the many, many times that Dean has not only forgiven him far worse trespasses, but actually shouldered the blame for them. Maybe Sam will acknowledge to himself that it was his choices that resulted in Hell's non-closure - he chose to take the trials because he wanted to live where Dean was ready to accept his own death, and then, at the end, when Dean pleaded the case, Sam made the choice to accept Dean's arguments. (I was surprised at the pure depth of Sam's lack of self-awareness when he laid the fall of angels at Dean's feet - although it was a bit of a 'kitchen sink' moment for Sam, when he flung everything he could think of at Dean to justify his deep anger). Maybe Dean's battle with addiction to power will wake some kind of empathy and compassion in Sam - always his best traits - as he recalls his own troubled past in that regard. If we get just one scene with Sam becoming aware of all Dean has done and suffered for him, one moment of reconciliation, well, I'll call it a draw.

And for all my denial, I still do have some sympathy for Sam. I do get that Sam's big need is for independence, so Dean's actions cut right into him at his most vulnerable point. I'm sure that's why Sam is being so reductionist about it all. But what he has not learnt is that isolation as a form of defining one's self is the weakest and least authentic. A truly independent person, a fully realised personality, understands and accepts that part of themselves that takes strength and pleasure from interdependence.

Perhaps at heart that's the tragedy of the Winchesters. Dean is someone who needs others beyond a healthy level, due to the deep trauma of losing his mother at such a young age and so violently, and simultaneously losing his loving father, his home. Terrible stuff for a little boy to cope with, and Dean has clung hard to those ever-shifting sureties in his life ever since. I am sure that the classic questions of guilt and punishment a child of that age might have asked - Why did Mummy go? What did I do? Was it my fault? - went unanswered. I don't blame John, but it's pretty clear that his mind was spiralling into obsession just when Dean needed him most. So Dean fixated upon the two people left to him, made them his world - and then found that they weren't much interested in being that for him. It's never a great idea of course to put your happiness into the hands of someone else, but there was no one to explain that to Dean. The peripatetic life that followed would have exacerbated this dependence upon John and Sam; nothing else was constant. Against that, Sam has grown up under the stifling guardianship of a father who was aware of his possible destiny and therefore no doubt scrutinised everything he did, and an elder brother for whom he formed the major part of his life. Nobody needs that kind of burden as they grow. And it's completely understandable that Sam's instinct is to push at these bonds, just to get some air. But to reduce Dean's love to a simple selfish need is to belittle them both. Yes, Dean's needs are deep-seated, but his self-sacrifice for Sam's sake is real, too. And more; he was able to give Sam up in Swan Song. The strength that took is extraordinary, and frankly I'm glad the writers gave him back Lisa just about then; the alternative is too bleak to contemplate.

Justified: I still haven't seen the last three episodes, as I'm depending on a friend to get them to me and she's swamped by too many things. On one hand, it continues to be very good, although I haven't been as enthralled as I was by, say, S2. On the other - dammit to hell, Graham Yost! Where's Tim???? You say he and Rachel are going to get some good screen time next season - I hope you're right. The one decent scene Tim's had all season was a gem. I have to admit, I'm surprised they didn't do more with Tim. I see so many critics who highlight the character (or did, in S4), and the only kind of fannish buzz I see based on the show pretty much centres on him. Great fanfic by Freshouttaideas and carolinablu85, amongst others, continues to be written. Jacob Pitts continues to delight; any time an actor has the insight to explicitly deplore his white privilege I am on my feet and applauding. He is officially adorable, and I duly adore.

Vikings: I am enjoying the hell out of this show. Avoided the first season due to an appalling trailer that made me think it was something like the execrable 'Tudors'. I love history too much to handle the usual Hollywood ham-fistedness. But when I watched an episode or two of the second season, I saw much to like. Mad Ragnar (and he's an Echuca boy!! That's a country town about two hours away from me - I had no idea.), mad Aethelstan, shield maidens. (I could slash Ragnar/Aethelstan, too easy). It's not historically perfect, of course, but it gets so much right, and I love the exploration of that whole period that is rather skipped over in the history books - 'The Vikings came and raided, pillaged, raped, murdered, and then decided to stay and everyone got over it.' How the hell did that actually happen? I don't actually fan for anyone, I'm just enjoying the story (and the look of it- the scenery is stunning).

So - that's me, and all is well in my offline life, and I hope to hear from anyone still out there!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2014 11:40 pm (UTC)
Corby!! I'm SO happy to see this post! I was afraid you were gone forever! I sent you a message on LJ because I'm disorganized enough to have lost your email addy and when I didn't hear back from you I fell weeping to the ground. Well, okay, maybe that's a SLIGHT exaggeration. :-) Anyhow, if you didn't get the message please let me know. My email is xuwriter at gmail.com in case you need it.

As far as your post goes: YES to all of this! Season 8 had so many marks of a really bad soap opera with the horrendous flashbacks. Every time they showed one I pretty much cringed. Well, I guess I liked a couple of Dean's flashbacks all right, but Sam's were so incredibly wretched.

I hear what you're saying about so much of the reason we loved the show in the past are gone. Just ... gone. Except, of course, for the physical presences of the boys and Cas. Sigh. There was a time when I was so obsessed with it that I couldn't bear a day apart from LJ but now I go days and days without checking it.

This season's Sam is such a butt munch. It makes me sad! I miss old Sam. New Sam lays so much at Dean's feet undeservedly. But I guess we'll get some sort of resolution at the end of this season? I hope so. I love your analysis of Dean's vulnerabilities. Poor little 4 year old Dean. I just want to squish him with hugs.

As far as Vikings goes - I'm right there with you! I thought the first season started out weaker than it ended up, and I'm really enjoying season 2 so far. Lagertha!!! I'm so happy with her story arc. At first I feared she would go away, but thankfully that hasn't happened. I'm digging Aethelstan's angst, and I'm hoping that he and Ragnar are reunited sometimes soon.

I tried to watch Justified during the first season but I just lost interest for some reason. I'm not sure why.
Apr. 25th, 2014 02:26 am (UTC)
Yay! Hello to you, too. No, I don't have a message from you, fire away at me. My computer was absolutely fried, so I lost just about everything, and then my use of the i-pad has been haphazard, to say the least.

Oh, yes - Dean continues to be a pretty, pretty princess, and I'm loving what we're seeing from Castiel, too. I've always been able to admire Misha Collins' looks without falling for them, if that makes sense?

Sam puts all his blame outwards, Dean puts all his inwards. It was always and ever thus. Sam has tremendous difficulty in accepting his own part in his own problems. And why should he? Dean has always been there, an acceptable and even compliant scapegoat. It's hard to blame Sam when Dean has more than enabled Sam to shift responsibility whenever he needed to. But of course we *do* need Sam to grow up in this regard.

Lagertha!! She's bloody awesome. I worry for Aethers, I think he's hanging on to sanity by a thread at this point. And I worry that the Ragnar/Aethers reunion is going to be a horrible one. How will Ragnar view his living with King Dickhead? And isn't King Dckhead's son going to come after him, too? I fear for poor little priest boy. Can't stand Rollo, do like Siggi, and Floki is as mad as a cut snake. It's all good fun.

Justified - if you can, watch Season 2. It is just outstanding. Margo Martindale - woo.
Apr. 25th, 2014 12:17 am (UTC)
Hi! Wow, long time no see! Glad you could finally get back online to the degree that makes it possible for you to talk to us all. :)

And i'm glad you're finding a new interest in Show. No, it's never going to be season one again, but really - that would be kind of dull, to only have season one-type stuff over and over and over.

I like your words about the boys - insightful and a bit harsh, but *truthful*. And not without affection.

All good. :)

Nice to have you back!
Apr. 25th, 2014 02:11 am (UTC)
G'day! Thanks for the wave - nice to see you too, though I'm often in the trenches with you on ONTD political.

Oh, yes, I'm glad they're not who they were at the start - that would be utterly frustrating. It's always that difficulty, isn't it, for show writers and fans alike; you fall in love for a particular reason and with a particular show, and if that core identity gets too diluted, you lose interest - but if it stays in amber, unchanging, it becomes dull and pointless.

Good to be back - and yes, my comments are always done with affection, and probably almost always wrong, so there you go!
Apr. 25th, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC)
Heee! Yes, indeed. But hey - makes life exciting. :)

Nah - there's no right and wrong when it comes to opinion and personal interpretation. I love Show, and the boys, and am always happy to see people on my flist who still enjoy the show. The negativity and hate some people have is a bummer, and i tend to avoid LJs that only ever talk about what they *don't* like.
Apr. 26th, 2014 01:38 am (UTC)
Well, yes; if it gets to the point where you don't enjoy anything, walk away. It pissed me off hugely in the Due South fandom when fans of the first Ray hung around just to trash anything and everything about seasons 3 and 4. Just - no. It's such a huge waste of time and energy and sucks life out of your soul. You need to stop and think - hey, you know what? I'm investing all of this effort in trying to wreck other people's enjoyment. There's no way that's healthy, or admirable.

Mind you, I also campaigned in another fandom (very successfully) and I think that's a separate issue. Campaigning for change makes sense *if* there is some hope of it having an effect. (I think fans often over-estimate their impact). But, for example, campaigning to get Kripke back would be ridiculous. If you're not enjoying Supe at all now, I can't see any way that campaigning would change it. Just - walk on.
Apr. 26th, 2014 02:45 am (UTC)
Exactly - *especially* if you really just don't anything more than try to ruin other people's enjoyment.

I guess i don't even notice 'campaign' type stuff. I tend to stay on the fandom side more than the rl side of things.

But - yeah - sometimes fans need to just back off.
Apr. 25th, 2014 08:06 am (UTC)
Hurrah, you're back. So good to see you.

I've kind of given up on SPN, I'm bored by the whole angels thing. The Vikings sounds good. I don't think it's on here. I'll have to check it out.
Apr. 26th, 2014 01:42 am (UTC)
Thank you! I have kept up with you, reading your entries and I think I commented a couple of times. Greater love hath - using that awful i-pad keypad drove me nuts! Sorry to hear of the publishing woes - any word on that front?

Oh, yes, if you don't care for the angel shenanigans there's not a lot else to get into. I completely understand that, and was with you until the marathon watching run this week. I'm invested enough now to see this season through.

Vikings is fun. Some very, very strong women, buff blokes, lots of butchery. It's got a great soundtrack (cod-Celtic); I've ordered it, because I'm always on the lookout for good writing music.
Apr. 27th, 2014 08:58 am (UTC)
Well, there was Dean in the shower and those few seconds made me *very* happy.


Buff blokes and strong women - I need to find Vikings!
Apr. 26th, 2014 03:09 am (UTC)
Glad you are back! I loved your thoughts on SPN. I think you were totally on target. (I don't watch they other shows, so you might be dead on there too!) :)
Apr. 27th, 2014 04:31 am (UTC)
Well, thank you! As for being dead on - I think there are so many ways of approaching this show, I would never claim to be right. All I can offer is my particular, subjective-but-trying-to-be-objective view. I'm glad that works for you! *g*
Aug. 25th, 2014 01:57 pm (UTC)
I think i also need a new laptop soon. This ageing one is starting to behave badly.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )



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