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5.05 - Fallen Idols (SPN)

As it turned out, writing a review for this episode hasn't been easy because my emotions were conflicted. I really shouldn't let fictional characters get to me so much. In fact, I should just focus on the eye candies sometimes. However, it was catharsis for me to write down how I felt, so here it goes...

Before I start, can anyone please enlighten me on how one can destroy a pair of bifocal glasses by lighting it on fire?

No?  I suppose not.  Is it me or is the show getting sloppy here?  I must not have been paying close attention because I completely missed the salt part of the Salt 'n Burn.  But oh boy, can Dean be any more adorable when he put on Lincoln's stovepipe hat and went: "Four score and seven years ago, I had a funny hat..."

And wasn't Sammy hot when he started speaking Spanish?  I don't care if it was broken sentences, I'm a sucker for a guy who can speak a language that I can't.  But, er... Consuela, were you faking not being able to speak English?  Because when you asked "So I go home now?"  your English sounded pretty decent.

Then there were those clues that just went over my head:  for the life of me I couldn't construe how Dean deduced "James Dean" was in the garage when Cal was killed.  All I could see was a blotch of red that might be the famous jacket.  But come on!  James Dean can't be the only dude who wore that colored clothes.  Besides I couldn't even tell it was a person by the shape of the reflection let alone make a positive identification.  Also didn't Consuela left Professor Hill's house for the night before "Lincoln" showed up?  How did she then become an eyewitness?  I had no idea what made Sam decide he needed to poke around the dead guy's stomach for clues.  It was too contrived when he happened to find those seeds in the guy's belly.  That was pretty gross by the way, I could barely watch.

I know these things aren't major, but they kinda jarred.  Compare to last week's excellent episode, this one was underwhelming to me.  I don't want to lay the blame on Paris Hilton because I appreciate the publicity she brought for the show, I really do.  But her performance was the weakest link here.  Story wise, I don't mind putting the Apocalypse on hold for a bit and focus on a simpler MotW hunt.  The idea of another mischievous pagan god actually holds a lot of appeal to me.  The last time we saw one, it was the Trickster, and I loved him.  The problem with Leshi however, is when we finally get to meet her, she was more ho-hum than interesting; and speaking of deviousness, the wickest thing I find here was the pointy heel of her Christian Louboutin shoe.

Maybe I'm expecting too much.  Paris is no actress after all.  All things considered, the lines were pretty funny, I just wish she didn't sound as if she was merely reciting them.  But her very presence did provide the hilarious "I've never even seen the House of Wax" moment, although to truly appreciate the joke, one has to know a bit about Jared's past career choice.  I have to say Paris is quite a trooper to take a jab at herself with the line about spray tan and tiny dog.  Even hubby chortled at that.  Then again, doesn't Jensen own a pint sized puppy and has to wear fake tan for the role?  So, um yeah, the joke is not exclusively on Paris.

The juiciest parts of the hour were the scenes where the brothers confronted each other.  I could never get tired of watching Jensen and Jared act together.  That is the reason that unimpressed I was with the episode, I watched it at least a couple of times:  once when it was aired, and once on Saturday night with hubby.

With that being said, I suspect I hold unpopular view on what was happening between the brothers.  I haven't read many reviews yet except a couple I stumbled upon.  Of all the things I read and glimpsed, people generally seemed happy that Sam and Dean both matured into having a healthier and more balanced relationship.  However, my view is exactly the opposite.

To begin with, although Sam claimed he still "punishes" himself hard for the mistakes he made, he was acting mighty defensive for someone who's supposedly contrite.  When Dean told Sam they needed "training wheels" to ease back into the throe of things, Sam immediately took offense thinking Dean implied he wasn't good enough, whereas Dean merely meant they as a team needed readjustment. Then there was that phone conversation Sam overheard.  Of course things are open for interpretation, but based on how Dean acted and what he has been saying all along, I don't think Dean was bitching about Sam to Bobby on the phone.  Ever since their escape from the "light of doom," Dean has been vocal in accusing the angels jump started the Apocalypse.  I don't think that view has changed here.  So if Dean complained whose fault it was, he's more than likely to point his finger at Zachariah.  Besides when confronted by a petulant Sam, Dean acted more nonchalant about the phone call than sheepish.  I have no doubt Sam felt bad for breaking the last seal, but he was also acting like he's having a chip on his shoulder, which in my opinion renders his claim of self-flagellation insincere.

It also robbed me the wrong way when Sam all but accused Dean as the reason he erred with Ruby in the first place. He said Dean's tight control belittled him and made him seek other means to feel strong.  But if I remember correctly, Sam never had a problem going off to do his own thing before.  When he wanted a normal life, Sam headed for Stanford without a backward glance; when he wanted to look for their father in California, Sam was quick to leave Dean alone back in Indiana; when Sam wanted to search for answers after Dean disclosed John's last words, he left Dean in the middle of the night without a word where he was going.  Thus the pattern is quite clear:  Sam is so headstrong that when he wanted something, he gave very little consideration to Dean and how his actions would affect his brother.  So it's a little pointless to blame Dean being bossy.

Besides, the minute Dean came back from Hell, Sam already began lying to him about Ruby, pretending she's just a nameless girl he picked up for a bit of fun.  That action alone said Sam instinctively knew he was doing the wrong thing but he chose to do it anyway.  How was that Dean's fault when he just crawled out from six feet under?  Therefore projecting the blame on Dean now sounded a lot like evading responsibility to me.

Sam wasn't wrong when he said partnership requires trust.  However that trust needs to be earned, especially after it was destroyed.  But Sam's actions over the past year haven't exactly given Dean a reason to implicitly grant that.  Yet he whined about being put on "double secret probation" (which was all in his head anyway) and threatened to leave Dean once again.  How was that for learned his lesson and being mature?

Sam abandoned Dean at a time when Dean needed him the most.  He witnessed first hand how broken Dean was after his ordeal in Hell.  But instead of being there for his brother, he thought Dean was weak so he went off with Ruby instead.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  that was an ultimate betrayal of trust.  Forget about the Apocalypse, that's not what Sam needed to apologize to Dean, and Dean never blamed Sam for that anyway.  Instead, Sam should apologize for what his action has done to Dean.  Until Sam does that, his relationship with Dean is always going to be one sided.

When hubby saw the last scene where Dean apologized to Sam, he blurted out: "He shouldn't do that!"  That surprised me, and I really wanted a man's point of view on this.  So I asked him to explain why he thought so.  This is what he had to say: "Dean has done nothing wrong [in watching Sam closely].  He did all those to protect Sam, and Sam gave him every reason to act that way.  Sam needs to man up and stop complaining so much."

Well, turned out hubby's POV wasn't far off from mine.  Imagine that!  The thing is, as much as I sounded disappointed with Sam, I'm actually very happy the boys are back to where they were before.  And that's the crux of the matter:  with everything that has happened, neither Sam nor Dean has changed much here.  But that's the way we fell in love with them, right?

My score for the episode:  C
ETA:  The more I thought over this episode, the less I'm happy with it.  So I downgraded it from a B- to C.  Show, do you really want to make no distinction between admiring Lincoln, Gandhi with worshiping Paris Hilton?  Really?

And here's a mini Dean-centric picspam.  Click images to enlarge (1280x720)...









































Phew!  That's a lot.  Here's the link to the rest of the screencaps I made for this episode.  I also made a few screencaps for the SOON promo at the end here, but I'll post those in a separate journal entry.

Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Oct. 14th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
Yes, yes, YES!!!!!!!! I so agree with EVERYTHING you said. This episode just rubbed me the wrong way. I think the characterization of both boys was awful--Dean looked like a jerk at times, and I basically had the same thoughts about Sam that you had. I had a big issue with Sam saying he went off with Ruby to get away from Dean--um, he was with Ruby while Dean was in hell! And since when has Dean been that controlling over Sam? Ugh! Now, I can get behind Dean apologizing more with this episode than the last one, as he was apologizing for his actions in this one, but I am tired of him saying "I'm sorry." I still don't think that Sam gets it--it's not about the apocalypse, it's about how he hurt his brother. He needs to say to Dean, "I am sorry I hurt you." That, to me, would show some character growth, for him to realize how his actions affected his brother. But, it seems that everything is now magically fixed. UGH!!!!

I also had a hard time with the James Dean face--I couldn't see a thing, either. And since when can Sam perform an autopsy? Everything felt so contrived--like the writing was leading the story as opposed to the characters (if that makes sense). This one seemed more like a (bad) season 1 episode than a season 5 one.

I do give props to Paris being willing to make fun of herself (and I have to admit to getting a little excited when she mentioned John! I was all, "JDM is in this one!"), and the "House of Wax" thing was funny, but, yeah, she can't act.

Man, I'd love to watch an episode with you!!!!!!

mick
xwacky
Oct. 14th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
LOL *HUGS* Mick!

First of all, I would so loooove to watch an episode with you! Too bad Supernatural or the boys never featured at Dragon*Con (or did I miss something?) Otherwise it would be so awesome to have a reunion in Atlanta and we can just feast on watching BSG and SPN! *wistful*

I think the characterization of both boys was awful--Dean looked like a jerk at times...

I agree with you here. I think they went out of their way to show the crude side of Dean to make viewers more sympathetic with Sam. I don't deny Dean can be jerkish, after all that's what Sam's nickname for him, but they usually are not this pronounced, especially with his facetious attitude toward Gandhi.

Speaking of the man, I've been thinking more about this, and I can tell you another thing that bugged me HUGELY is the way they group Lincoln, Gandhi, and Paris Hilton in the same category. They drew no difference in worshiping public figures such as Lincoln, Gandhi, and Paris Hilton. Now that's just wrong! So WRONG!

And since when has Dean been that controlling over Sam?

Yes! Exactly. Dean might be a bit bossy which I think is a character trait that stemmed to the way he grew up, but Dean has never been able to control Sam.

I still don't think that Sam gets it--it's not about the apocalypse, it's about how he hurt his brother. He needs to say to Dean, "I am sorry I hurt you." That, to me, would show some character growth, for him to realize how his actions affected his brother.

Word! I so don't think anything is fixed except the brothers back on the road together like they were before. The problem plagued their relationship in the past is still there and unchanged. When I think more on this, I wonder if it wasn't left like that intentionally. One of the biggest driving force behind the whole myth arc is the question "Will Sam go dark, or Will Dean be able to prevent his brother turning to the dark side." As long as Sam continue to have that tendency of thinking only in terms of himself, he has that affinity with Lucifer, and thus the angst is still alive.

I have to admit to getting a little excited when she mentioned John! I was all, "JDM is in this one!"

OMG! I forgot to mention that I had a moment of mixed jubilation and panic when Paris Hilton said: "One distant father figure coming up!" I totally expected JDM to make a brief entrance, and horrified that one of the boys had to chop off his head!

Edited at 2009-10-14 06:11 pm (UTC)
layne67
Oct. 14th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
Sam has a long way to go yet, but he's getting there. IDK, but I think he's just being what he is, the Younger Brother. He wants to be treated as an equal but it's not easy for Dean to let go of a lifetime role, and especially not after what happened during season 4. The hurt is still there for one thing yet at the same time he knows what would happen if he let Sam go, so yeah, the ... balance, for want of a better word, is still not there fully.

Dean apologizing, I didn't like that either, but again, I think he was being the Older Brother there, what the people in my part of the world would say as "giving way", if you know what I mean.
xwacky
Oct. 14th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
I think you hit everything I wanted to say here. You are absolutely right, in your succinctly put words that at the end here, Dean and Sam fell back in the "Older Brother" and "Younger Brother" mode.
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i_o_r_h_a_e_l
Oct. 14th, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
Wow. This is great. Very great.

Though it's going to be hard to read if you're a Sam girl. But I'm not, so it's okay for me. :)

Anyway, I just want to say the last part of Dean saying, "For that, I'm sorry," will still be the most touching, poignant thing for me. My poor Dean. I always see him as a kind of a parent to Sam and as a parent, in my place, at least, most of the time, you just accept things, think that everything is your fault, etc., as long as it's for your child's sake. As long as your kid is safe, happy, and so on. And that's Dean to Sam for me, which makes him always such an angsty character. And your review only strengthen my view of how angsty he is, which I love. My poor Dean. My most beloved thing. *sniffs*
xwacky
Oct. 14th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks! <333

I understand what you mean by not a happy read for Sam!girl. The irony is although I'm a Dean!girl, I love Sam very much too. Maybe a little too much that I expected a lot from him. When he fells short from the level of maturity and growth I'd like to see from him, I may have become overly critical of him.

That's why I didn't cross post this at dean_sam. Like I said, writing this has been catharsis for me, thus I was afraid my thoughts were too emotional to be unbiased.

And I agree with your take on Dean here. I too felt Dean once again was being the ultimate parental figure/older brother in the end. Which is also ironic considering Sam all but wanted to be equal. But in the end, he still came off as the little brother.
anastdean
Oct. 14th, 2009 07:53 am (UTC)
This is so cool I love the spam and you're right I do that focus on the eye candy, I'm all shallow, it's more fun that way.
Leaving this place with a wish: "I wish I was that Pencil"
*huggles*
xwacky
Oct. 14th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
LOL! Love that icon of yours. Yeah, that pencil is a lucky *pencil*!

*smirk*

{{staring at the boys intently...}}

Huh? Wait, what?! Shallow? Shallow is good... I'm right there with you!

Hehe, I so agree "shallow" is fun! And the boys made admiring them (if not the characters) so easy. =)

(Deleted comment)
xwacky
Oct. 14th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
See, that's exactly why his reaction would be if he blamed himself. Someone says something and he interprets it as if they are putting the blame on him!

I very much agree with you that Sam felt bad about what he had done. But feeling bad and seeking penance (as he claimed he was doing) are two different things imo. You are right he was overly sensitive here, which made perfect sense. But he also exhibited a degree of annoyance with people (i.e. Dean) for seemingly laying blame on him. IDK, I tend to think those who thought they were wronged get offended easily. Therefore, my take is as bad as Sam felt, he also thought he didn't have much choice due to the circumstances at the time.

That's also true-to-character. Sam doesn't see his actions objectively. He's in denial.

I couldn't agree with you more on this. Sorry about your mother, but I have a close family member acts exactly as you described here. So I see exactly what you are saying.

I don't see it as an error on the writers' part, but rather an error of Sam himself. He's being unfair, selfish and he's also hurt.

I also completely agree with you here. Like what I said in the comment to Mick above, the more I think about this, the more I think this is exactly where the writers want to leave the characters.

I see Dean's apology at the end as his way of pacifying his baby brother. And I didn't fail to notice it came after Sam threatened to leave because he thought them together wasn't working out. Like you said, nothing new here. They've been down that road before, and their dynamic is still the same--not as equal, but still as big brother/younger brother.

And I love this show too! :)

*huggles* ♥

{{heads over to read your fic...}}
(Deleted comment)
xwacky
Oct. 14th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
Hee sweetie, thanks for this lovely feedback! <333

You said it so well yourself here. I understand all about wrestling so much with ... conflicted thoughts over Sam in this episode. Because that's what I did too in the beginning. Then I thought why should Sam always gets a free pass in the end while Dean gets the blame. I'm tired of hearing: Sam got killed because Dean didn't do his job; Sam got the wrong end of the stick because Dean was being selfish and sold his soul; Sam got seduced by Ruby because Dean went to Hell and left him behind; Sam chose to follow Ruby and her shenanigans because Dean was too controlling. The way I see it, these notions are not only unfair to Dean, they are also not good for Sam because they "baby" him to the point of keeping him from taking responsibility for his own actions.

I don't deny I maybe too emotional to be impartial over this. But these are my truest feelings invoked by what I saw. I have no intention of bashing Sam. I'm only ever so disappointed in him because I had hoped he would grow up a bit. Instead I see him as pretty much his old self.

When Dean said: "...I didn't see what [my action] was doing to you. So for that, I apologize." I had wished so fervently these words were addressed to Dean coming out of Sam's mouth! This is the exact apology I want to hear Sam make to Dean. I wonder if we'll ever get to hear Sam say something like that.

I was so happy to hear Sam thanking Dean and telling him he won't let him down in the last episode and I truly believed he was going to prove himself and make it up to him, but after this episode, he just seemed so ungrateful and defensive and all those promises were forgotten.

Word! Not only those promises were quickly forgotten, Sam was so ready to leave Dean once again because he didn't think their partnership was going to work (to his liking).

So when everything all said and done here, we have Sam and Dean back to where they were before, the same big/baby brother dynamic.
(Deleted comment)
corbyinoz
Oct. 17th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
YES! Hallelujia, yes. I completely agree with everything you've written. I thought this was a shoddy episode - I'm very underwhelmed by Julie Siege's writing. We've never seen Dean behave so bossily towards Sam before (going off to a bar while Sam researches? Really??), and it all seemed horribly contrived to support Sam's complaints. It didn't sit with me at all, and Sam's speech about needing to escape from Dean being the reason he went with Ruby? I wanted to slap him! He may well have wanted to escape from the *guilt* he felt when he was around Dean, certainly. It seemed like a monstrous dose of projection to me - Dean made him feel bad by calling him on his relationship with Ruby and what he was doing, igniting his conscience, so therefore Dean is to blame for driving him away.

I, too, couldn't see James Dean in there. And the bifocals getting burnt? WTF?

I don't think the show was equating liking Paris Hilton with admiring Gandhi/Lincoln - it was ism ply the act of hero-worshipping another human being rather than a god she was referring to, I believe.

Thank you for a great review.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 17th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
provides access
Hello, I discovered your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up. Your weblog looks good. Have a good day.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 17th, 2011 09:53 am (UTC)
painter 11
Nice work Brian you obviously put a lot of work into it. Lets hope 2010 is as fruitful for you.
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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