bowtrunckle: (Sam laughing)
[personal profile] bowtrunckle
So last night I went to finish another meta, but this came out instead.  My brain was Abaddon-jacked.  Oops. ;)

Abaddon is a worthy opponent.  She’s charismatic, gleefully sinister, driven, ambitious, dangerous, bloodthirsty, forward thinking, and has amazing hair.  Unlike Dick Roman and Crowley, she’s a proven warrior, and unlike Lilith, hopefully we’ll actually see her menace develop on screen.  But I think the closest comparable Big Bad is Azazel.  Like old Yellow Eyes and his secret knowledge of Lucifer’s endgame, which allowed him to manipulate the pawns, Abaddon has strategic intelligence and potential, juicy ammunition that could give her an emotional and psychological advantage.  Because, like Azazel, Abaddon could wage a very personal war with Sam and Dean, one, like Azazel, that spans generations.  And I think all of these potential aces in Abaddon’s pocket are due to one subsidiary but not insignificant person, Josie Sands, the soul in her meat suit.

What’s interesting about Abaddon is her host, Josie Sands, a Women of Letters so to speak.  She was about to be accepted into the Men of Letters with Henry Winchester, so it would be likely she knew as much as Henry knew about spells, rituals, and the supernatural, and, like Henry, she probably wasn’t the dullest knife in the drawer.  We also saw her shooting film of the demon purification ritual in “Clip Show” (8x22), working in tandem with priests, affiliates of the Men of Letters, so it’s possible she had a network of personal contacts to draw information from.  But what I find most fascinating is Josie’s personal connection to the history of the Winchesters.  From her and Henry’s interactions in “TGB” (8x12), it was clear they knew each other, liked each other (the first time I saw the episode I was convinced that Henry was having an affair with Josie).  It’s not out of the question that Josie may have known things about Henry’s personal life, his other job, his family (more on this later).

The point is: Josie Sands knew stuff.  We know demons can access their host’s memories as corroborated by Meg in “Goodbye Stranger” (8x17).  Therefore, it’s not a stretch to assume that Abaddon very well knows everything that Josie Sands knew about the supernatural, the Men of Letters, the network of Men of Letters affiliates like, but not limited to, hunters and priests, and the family Winchester.  These facts in and of themselves could provide huge munitions for Abaddon and her growing war machine.

But what I find even more interesting are the things Josie Sands knew that Sam and Dean or any present-day hunter would have no way of knowing.  She’s a direct link to the possible Golden Era of Supernatural Study where a secret society of scholars and teachers not only worked with, disseminated information to, and had knowledge about hunters but other anti-supernatural collectives like the Juda Initiative “Everybody Hates Hitler” (8x13).  Furthermore, the Men of Letters seemed to have their pulse on supernatural phenomena not just in the conterminous U.S. but all over the world as evidenced by the maps and war tables in the bunker, and such a large area to draw data no doubt pales in comparison to the body of knowledge Sam and Dean have amassed in the last 8 years driving from town to town in the U.S and what’s written in John’s journal.  And as we’ve seen, the bunker is vast with a large library, a shooting range, storage rooms with what look to be case files, as well as secret rooms (like the demon cell now holding Crowley); who knows what else is in there or what other secret rooms could be hiding?  Based on “Clip Show” (8x22), we know there are rituals like the demon purification that have since been lost and yet to be rediscovered by the Winchesters (how much and how fast can Sam read?).  Such a vest network and the collective merging of supernatural scholarly endeavors have apparently never been seen since.

We all know that knowledge is more than just what’s written on paper or cataloged in a dusty cabinet; it’s the collective working body of knowledge of the where, when, why, how, who.  And it’s the combination of all that contextual information that make what are disparate facts operational, powerful, and relevant pieces of information that can be assembled into Knowledge.  What Josie Sands had in her head is far beyond just what’s documented in the Men of Letter’s bunker or written in a dusty book, things that any literate person could access.  She could have a fundamental understanding of how that secret society worked, their methodologies.  Abaddon has access to Josie Sands life experience not only to give her possible advantages but also to show Abaddon exactly what not to do, what supernatural booby traps, defenses, weapons, and perhaps some rituals the Men of Letters knew and were researching (as we saw in “Clip Show” (8x22)).  This gives Abaddon the unique advantage of potentially being two steps ahead of Sam and Dean not only in her offensive strategies but also in her own defense, which isn’t significant being that Sam and Dean seem to rely on the element of surprise and ingenuity to battle demons.  And we’ve seen what a quick, adaptable learner she is evidenced by the Kevlar vest she wore in “Devil May Care” (9x02) that repelled bullets presumably inscribed with Devil’s Traps, which were her downfall in “As Time Goes By” (8x12).

Sure, it’s obvious Josie Sands didn’t (thankfully) know everything about the Men of Letters being that she had yet to be a fully appointed member; for example, she didn’t know where the bunker is located (but she did know it existed and that entrance was gain with a single key).  But Abaddon had earmarked Josie from the start (her work with Father Thompson and his failed attempt at curing a demon in “Clip Show” (8x22)) and not another, so it’s a safe bet that Josie was a strategic advantage in some way.  For example, Henry knew how to harness the power of his soul in order to time jump out of a closet 55 years in the future.  And not only did he time travel, but he did so linked to his own bloodline.  It’s possible that Josie could’ve also carried such knowledge around in her walnut.  That’s not insignificant when the role of blood magic so to speak is examined in the broader context of SPN’s canon: we’ve seen the power of blood in terms of angelic possession and bloodlines, the power imbued in drinking demon blood and using human blood for a variety of dark rituals (like curing a demon) as well as demonic communication.  It may be unlikely, but it would be interesting to see a resurfacing and merging of some of these established canon “facts” incorporated into this season’s story in a fresh way.  After all, reinvention seems to be a trend this season as many of the thematic threads in terms Sam and Dean’s story are retreads of previous seasons repacked in what we’re being told are new ways.  Why not apply this to other areas of the story, too?

But I think the most compelling and surprising things for Sam and Dean that Josie Sands could know, especially from an emotional storytelling perspective, would be about Henry Winchester and his family, in particular his son John.  Just like Josie is a treasure trove of lost information about the Men of Letters and whatever spell, incantation, ritual work they possessed, she is a direct link to the Winchester family that Sam and Dean weren’t a part of (being that John lost his father at such a young age and apparently knew nothing himself of Henry’s involvement with the supernatural).  It’s one thing to have an intelligence advantage or to attack your enemies with unknown weapons or employ guerrilla tactics, but it’s something else entirely to wage emotional warfare.  With Josie Sands in her pocket, Abaddon could make credible and devastating claims about the Winchester family, ones that Sam and Dean may not be able to refute—if the claims are true or not is something else entirely.  But truth isn’t the point when war becomes intensely personal.  It’s about making sure your enemies acknowledge that you’ve won, it’s about breaking them, going that extra step to twist the knife.  Personal warfare isn’t cold and calculating and exclusively about winning the endgame (in some cases that’s not even the point), it’s about inflicting as much emotional and psychological damage as possible, breaking your enemy, and making each and every battle count.  A personal war is fueled by emotion and less so by rational thinking.

And the wonderful thing about good stories and fully rounded characters is that they’re driven by emotion.  Their wants/needs/desires propel the story, and it’s the clash of those wants/needs/desires in opposition that creates juicy conflict.  Furthermore, when characters have a personal stake in an outcome they predictably begin to act unpredictably, and that’s when stories become the most interesting and riveting.

Abaddon, being a demon and a Knight of Hell, apparently hand-picked by Lucifer, is a formidable and worthy adversary: smart, cunning, and aggressive.  But combined with Josie Sands’ mind and all the knowledge therein, Abaddon has the potential of being the perfect Big Bad not only in a strategic sense but in a personal way that has roots in the Winchester history, the likes we haven’t seen since Azazel and his past with the Campbells.  The characters populating the chessboard this season are interesting with a lot of potential.  However, it stands to be seen what’s done with them.  Hopefully we’ll get something worth watching and a big, fat, complicated, personal war rooted in SPN’s history that pays tribute to established canon facts.  And some surprises and kickass fight scenes.  \o/\o/\o/


Other questions and points to consider:

1. How long has Abaddon been possessing Josie Sands?  Presumably sometime after Josie’s work with Father Thompson, but how much time passed between then and her attack on the Men of Letters?  How much and what aspects of the Men of Letters organization did Abaddon personally witness?

2. Is Josie Sands still (remarkably) in her body or was her soul separated at the end of “Time Goes By” (8x12) when her body was beheaded or at the end of “Sacrifice” (8x23) when Sam burned her body with holy fire?  It probably doesn’t really matter as Abaddon has likely had enough time to get whatever information she needs from Josie, but it’s something worth considering if nothing more than a canon detail surrounding demon possession and their meat suits.  We know, for example, from “Devil’s Trap” (1x22) that Meg was keeping her meat suit alive after the multi-story fall in Chicago in “Shadow” (1x16), so demon possession is relevant to the survival of the human soul and could be considered essential if the possessing demon needed ongoing intelligence from their host.  However, we know from Ruby in “IKWYDLS” (4x) that demons can possess empty/dead bodies.

3. It’s interesting that Abaddon has been established to be a powerful demon who can be trapped by a Devil’s Trap but whom Ruby’s knife or the exorcism ritual doesn’t affect.  She’s can be burned by angel holy fire, is affected by holy water (which is interesting because Azazel was impervious to it), and can blind people and cause their eyes to bleed, something eerily similar to what angels can do to humans.  She can also send a demon back to Hell with her touch; not completely dissimilar to what Sam did in S4 and S5 while amped up on demon blood.




This is a long shot (but fandom is for pontification, right?), but I wonder if it’s possible Abaddon is a hybrid demon-angel.  After all, Lucifer was (is?) an archangel who created demons and Abaddon was originally one of the first demons to fall.  Is it possible that when Lucifer knighted demons, he was able to impart some angelic powers to them?  Wouldn’t that just be the ultimate slap in God’s face to remake demons with angelic grace (not to mention the ultimate supernatural fighting machine)?  Arguably there’s a reason some demons were chosen as Knights while others weren’t, there’s obviously a hierarchy (something we’ve known since S2 and the emergence of REDs, BEDs, and the YED) that’s partially demonstrated by the fact Abaddon has powers that other demons don’t.

And finally, it’s not a kickass day without a little Abaddon.


From [livejournal.com profile] fiercelynormal.

Date: 2013-10-20 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] borgmama1of5.livejournal.com
Reading this gave me an explanation for how Abaddon reanimated Josie's corpse--what if it was a ritual the Men of Letters had put under lock and key that Josie had seen? It fits perfectly with your meta.

Date: 2013-10-20 11:02 pm (UTC)
ext_29986: (Dean - staring into the sun)
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
I liked the similarity between how Abaddon's body was reanimated and the way Dean reanimated Benny.

Date: 2013-10-21 01:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
See? Blood "magic"! It's like the ultimate ingredient. ;) I was always struck how similar Dean's arm containing Benny's soul looked to Sam's glowing arm during the trials.

Honestly, though, I'm surprised that we're not seeing more mytharc tied to blood and the power of human souls considering how both keep popping up repeatedly.

Date: 2013-10-21 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
Oh cool! That does sound plausible. :)

If the writing team decides to take advantage of Abaddon knowing what Josie Sands knew, it could open the door to a lot of twists and turns in favor of Abaddon and her style of warfare. It does, however, run the risk of becoming the easy answer/easy fix and require ways to keep her from becoming too powerful as we've seen happen with Castiel and his angelic powers becoming easy back-up/miracle fixes for the Winchesters.

Date: 2013-10-20 11:15 pm (UTC)
ext_29986: (Angry Rat!)
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
This is a very evocative line of pursuit.

I think that Josie would certainly know everything that Henry knew, since they were both up for initiation on that same night.

I really doubt that Josie had been possessed for long, because I think that there would have been too many rituals and tests that a demon-possessed person would fail. That's just my gut feeling based on the kinds of magic the Letters did. She failed as soon as she went into that room -- which is why she didn't get the key. And I'm pretty sure Henry didn't know what the little box even was, or that the Letters had a huge bunker full of more knowledge, because Henry had no idea what he was giving to Sam and Dean --- they got that info from the more fully initiated men they tracked down.

I'm continually fascinated by the amount of Angelic magic that Henry had under his belt. In the most recent ep we saw Abaddon skedaddle at the first hint of Angelic presence. Whereas Azazel may have been a fallen Angel himself (we don't know for SURE that he wasn't), Abaddon seems pretty threatened by Angels in a way that Azazel wasn't.

I am pretty suspicious of Angels and their motives in the SPN verse. I wouldn't be at all surprised to think that Michael and his crowd simply turned a blind eye on Henry's predicament /John's orphaning, whereas it's clear that they passed a lot of knowledge of Angelic magic to the Letters. The language of Legacy is pure Archangel Michael to my ears!!

I'm trying to write about every female character. Thanks very much for your thoughts on Josie. It'll give me plenty of ideas about what to write for her!

Date: 2013-10-21 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
I think that Josie would certainly know everything that Henry knew, since they were both up for initiation on that same night.

*nods* It's probably something that's assumed by most, but I brought it up because whenever you get a bunch of academics together they usually specialize such that they can compliment each other and provide more academic coverage. Plus academics are somewhat territorial unless it's a mentor/mentee relationship, and redundancy is a waste of good brain space. It's not really relevant to the current SPN story, but the idea of a bunch of nerdy brains dorking out over their particular supernatural specialty like faculty at faculty meetings totally cracks me up (I love the idea of it).

She failed as soon as she went into that room -- which is why she didn't get the key.

Excellent point because it makes no sense that she'd blow her own cover when she was poised to be initiated and essentially be privy to the MoL's secrets AND be granted easy access to the bunker.

I'm continually fascinated by the amount of Angelic magic that Henry had under his belt.

That's part of the reason I was so excited by the MoL reveal. The fact Henry used the power of his soul to time jump seemed like it *should* somehow be wound into the importance of human souls in the mytharc. I'm still waiting for that....

Abaddon seems pretty threatened by Angels in a way that Azazel wasn't.

For all of her bravado, she did scamper away fast. I found that odd, but attributed it to the fact that apparently all the other Knights had been killed by angels. Although it was done by Archangels, who are more powerful than some random angel, none of which were even there. I wonder if Abaddon knows what's happened to all the Archangels during her time jump.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to think that Michael and his crowd simply turned a blind eye on Henry's predicament /John's orphaning, whereas it's clear that they passed a lot of knowledge of Angelic magic to the Letters.

Agreed.

The language of Legacy is pure Archangel Michael to my ears!

No kidding. Fate, duty, and responsibility and all that jazz.

I'm trying to write about every female character. Thanks very much for your thoughts on Josie.

Awesome! I've read some of your Women in SPN fic in the past, it'll be nice to see more. And thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts!
Edited Date: 2013-10-21 02:01 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-10-21 01:09 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-10-21 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
*waves pom-poms and cheers back*

Date: 2013-10-21 12:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kinkthatwinked.livejournal.com
If I could have one wish regarding how season nine (and S10) play out, it would be that the show's writing team read this meta, and write Abbadon accordingly.

You're right, she could be the next Azazel, in terms of a villain who could really do some long-term damage, and should be too hard to kill for the boys to just finish her off at the end of this season.

I don't know if the writers are thinking of all the emotional scars she could inflict, but since even they know the strongest episodes are about Sam & Dean's familial bonds, I hope it crosses their minds that she could drop some info about John or Henry that leaves the boys floored.

Yeah, there's potential here ... :)

Date: 2013-10-23 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
I'd love it if Abaddon turned into a truly legitimate threat to Sam and Dean. If played properly I could see her staying through until S1, too. Exploiting the idea you mentioned about running it through a Sam and Dean familial bond filter would be smart. Let's hope that some of Abaddon's potential comes to fruition. *crosses fingers*

Date: 2013-10-22 04:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valoryhope.livejournal.com
"From her and Henry’s interactions in “TGB” (8x12), it was clear they knew each other, liked each other (the first time I saw the episode I was convinced that Henry was having an affair with Josie)."


Wouldn't it be interesting if Josie was John's mother?! Unless I missed something (very possible), we've never seen or been told anything about his mother...have we?

Could be that Henry & Josie were keeping their relationship (and family) under cover (being professional colleagues), or maybe the romance was over, and Josie decided that she didn't want to raise a kid 'cause she wasn't the maternal type. Either way, I got the same vibe from her & Henry, and I don't know of anything that rules her out as John's mother. So would that make Abbadon the boys'...Grandma???

Calling all fanfic writers!!!

Date: 2013-10-23 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
Oh, wow, that would certainly turn the Winchester line on its head! Talk about juicy secrets! We haven't heard any details about Henry's wife and/or John's mother, so anything is possible. It's good to hear that I'm not the only one who got vibes from Henry and Josie. The two actors who played them spent time together after their appearance, so maybe there was some genuine chemistry (or at least friendship).

Date: 2013-10-26 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hugemind.livejournal.com
What sort of interests me in Abaddon is that when she time-traveled after Henry, she also missed out on what happened between then and now. She had no idea that Crowley was running Hell. She probably has no idea that Dean's been to Hell and that Sam slammed Lucifer back into his cage with Michael and himself (and, well, Adam). Well, she has no idea unless someone's informed her of this, but since she's so involved with storming Hell and taking it for herself, I don't think that the Winchester boys' past Hell trips are considered important info. Things could change though, especially when she realizes that the boys are the best hunters on the planet and can throw plenty of wrenches into her plans. That's also when she would/could start playing mindgames with them by feeding them (possibly) false info on Henry (and why not also on the MoL).

It's a very good point that Abaddon also probably knows some tricks the boys don't, thanks to Josie Sands. Henry mentioned that all secrets were to be revealed after the initiation, but he knew the secret of time-traveling even before that, so Josie could have all kinds of neat tricks in her head. I'm guessing that Sam flambeeing Abaddon in 8x23 also killed Josie (if she wasn't dead before that), so the question becomes what does Abaddon remember of Josie's memories. Does she retain all Josie's memories perfectly or would she have to try and remember what thoughts and memories floated inside Josie's mind back when she was alive?

Date: 2013-10-30 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
What sort of interests me in Abaddon is that when she time-traveled after Henry, she also missed out on what happened between then and now.

I know, what a mind trip! The whole freeing Lucifer from his cage sage would be a lot to take in. I'm guessing when she does find out (or when she did?), she'll be extra pissed off at the Winchesters being that she's Lucifer's Knight (bec. knights are sworn to their King) unless she's THAT POWER HUNGRY and is glad he's locked up. But if I were her, then I'd fascinated with the Winchesters from a strategic advantage, being Lucifer and Michael's vessels. In fact, from a character motivation standpoint it logically could relaunch the quest to free Lucifer again even though Show has no reason to go there (nor should it).

Does she retain all Josie's memories perfectly or would she have to try and remember what thoughts and memories floated inside Josie's mind back when she was alive?

Good question. It would be interesting to know what, if anything, gets lost in translation. I think it would be just desserts if Abaddon tried using some of Josie's memories only to get them wrong, or, heh, if Josie "planted" misleading thoughts while she was trapped in her own body bec. a Woman of Letters would be THAT awesome. :)
Edited Date: 2013-10-30 02:41 pm (UTC)

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