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[personal profile] bowtrunckle
So, I don't know what's up with Show, but it's making me want to post things!  Maybe that's good?  Or bad in the case that probably 3 people on my "flist" remember me and the rest of you are wondering who this random person is.  ;)

I just finished SPN 10x08 and, wow, I feel like I've been waiting for that episode since S3 but didn't know it until I actually saw it.  I feel like this is what show could be with a cast of supporting characters.  As much as I love Sam and Dean and how multifaceted and developed (in terms of, hehem, character development) they've become, they can't be everything all the time.  They can't fill the all the edges and corners of a story.  And when the story is made so narrow that it pretty much revolves around them (as they have done for the last million years), the story starts to teeter on the edge of feeling claustrophobic.

Yes, there's Cas and Crowley.  But, for me, their roles are limited by the characters they play.  Cas is an angel, and by being an angel (degraced or not or newly human or not), he has to maintain a certain "angelness" about him, a sort of naive, detached, earnest and literal persona, which I enjoy, but is hard to identify with or develop beyond certain strictures (but, to be honest, I was finding Cas's story interesting this season, especially with Hannah as his foil, but now she's gone).  Crowley is ... Crowley.  And despite his human blood addiction, apparent need to be loved (which, you know, will probably be played out as a thing with, Rowena, his mother), and his wheeling and dealing amongst his fits of yelling and smooth talk, he doesn't resonate with me (if anyone can figure out why let me know!) despite the fact the writers/show runners have manufactured the story to continually keep him involved season after season.

But Jody and Donna?  Now those are two characters I can get behind without blinking an eye.  They're funny and crass and lovable and tough.  They don't take bullshit even from Dean Winchester.  And somehow they can go from cracking jokes to being vulnerable to being funny on a turn of a dime without it feeling contrived.  And, a la brothers Winchester, they are complimentary opposites, which makes for interesting and unpredictable scenes.  But because by the middle of the episode it was clear there was a growing bond of loyalty and fondness (and protectiveness on Jody's part), "unpredictable" for me never meant uncomfortable or awkward or second-hand-embarrassment inducing.  For me, it hit that sweet spot of good unpredictable, vacillating between snort-laugh funny and tragically sad (Jody's dead family scene), giving me that weird lumpy-throat feeling you get when you see someone caught in a vulnerable moment and you don't know if you should hug them or pretend to ignore it (Donna's got that sad puppy-dog eye thing that Sam's got).

But, seriously, I can't remember an episode were I was actually left wondering what was going to happen, not in terms of the story arc or the plot, but in terms of what the characters THEMSELVES would do.  We know Dean will always choose Sam, and that Sam will do anything to save Dean.  We know they'll do their best to try to save people and kill the bad guys and then drive off and have a deep talk of few words, which will usually resolve nothing but still impart the fact that they care about each other in some backwards-brotherly way.  We know they will each silently angst over each other alone and in private (or in Sam's case while gazing out of the Impala on a rainy night).  But I didn't know what Jody and Donna would do when Sam and Dean showed up.  I didn't know what Donna's reaction would be when she found out "everything".  And not knowing was sort of exciting.

If anybody here remembers anything about anything I've written in the past decade while being on LJ (or maybe not), it's the fact that character-driven stories are my thing.  And part of the draw of character-driven stories is being able to be surprised in a predictable way.  Surprised in that characters do interesting and novel things that are completely believable for who they are and, in hindsight, are 100% predictable.  They are moments of insight where a reader/viewer sees new aspects of a character that slot in perfectly with what has come before.  It's called character growth.  And it a wonderful, marvelous thing if it's done well and with care and consistency because it’s a joy to discover new things about someone who feels familiar.

The most interesting thing about the pairing of Jody and Donna this episode was that it highlighted for me just how mundane SPN has become over the last 3 years (I’m not using mundane to denote something negative.  I’m using it for exactly what it means … run of the mill).  Jody and Donna were literally a breath of fresh air.  They reminded me what it’s like to watch something that’s not a reincarnation of a previous conversation/scenario or the 10th reiteration of a theme/through line. They reminded me of the joy and anticipation of pleasant surprises and how much fun it can be watch what happens when interesting characters are literally thrown in a room together.

But more than anything else this episode demonstrates that there’s a place for non-supernatural supporting characters, ones that aren’t antagonists or convenient plot points.  That Sam and Dean Winchester can and should have friends; that this TV show can and will portray women as independent, well-rounded, and well-balanced characters; and that, since the departure of Bobby, Jody and Donna are exactly what this show needs.  I feel like the perception over the years has been that recurring female characters who are not antagonists just “don’t stick”.  And this is me saying that they can and they do.  And they should continue to do so.

And to The Powers That Be, THIS IS WHAT A SPIN-OFF LOOKS LIKE.

Date: 2014-12-03 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kazluvsbooks.livejournal.com
*sings* I remember youuuu.

and i agree!! I have been really enjoying S10 but yes,the boys need other characters to bounce off, now that they don't have Bobby.. and the girls were BRILLIANT!
Not some typical, generic, looks the same as everyone else but REAL WOMEN, the sort that Sam and Dean would be surprised by and respect.

I hope they don't get a spin off - we need them on SPN.
Also, boys looked really pretty (cough)

Date: 2014-12-08 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
*sings* I remember youuuu.

*sings back* Yeeaahhh! :D

Not some typical, generic, looks the same as everyone else but REAL WOMEN, the sort that Sam and Dean would be surprised by and respect.

Exactly. I love Jody and Donna for who they are, and the fact they're not the typical female on a network like the CW endears me more. They're believable. I think it would add some depth and variety to have them around more often.

I hope they don't get a spin off - we need them on SPN.

I love them interacting with Sam and Dean more, yes. But even though I'd love to see them in SPN more often, part of me thinks the reality of that is slim. So instead, having their own "adventures of" would satisfy my itch because I'd just love to see what else they could get themselves into. :) Something similar to how I understand "Arrow" and "The Flash" are set up (the same universe with the potential for continued character crossover) would be great: secondary characters who we can't/don't see on SPN, could pop in on a spin off along with Sam and Dean or mentions of ... ramifications of events from one show affecting the other, it would be a superfan's wet dream. ;)

Date: 2014-12-04 12:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] percysowner.livejournal.com
I totally agree that THIS is a spinoff I would watch.

Date: 2014-12-08 03:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
If the spin off could be made a separate entity AND relevant to SPN proper, meaning major events could cross over with minor characters jumping between shows once in a while (and Sam and Dean of course), that would be AWESOME.

It'll be interesting to see how the new incarnation of the spin off evolves....

Date: 2014-12-04 04:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galwithglasses.livejournal.com
Hey, nice to see a post from you. Jody and Donna are a breath of fresh air, for sure. It was a cool idea to put them together in an episode. They play off each other really well.

Date: 2014-12-08 03:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
Hello, there! It's nice to be around again (however brief).

It was a cool idea to put them together in an episode.

I'm curious to know what exactly sparks these ideas in the writer's room. Sometimes it seems like a lot of it has to do with a particular writer's attachment to a character--one they may have created (ex. Charlie, The Ghostfacers)--and their tenacity to reincorporate them into the fold OR else some sort of indescribable "something" an actor possesses that's recognized by TPTB, who want to work with them again.

Date: 2014-12-04 07:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brightly-lit.livejournal.com
YES, fresh new characters! I read this review of yours before I watched the episode, and I kept thinking, "What she said!" the whole time; I LOVED the ep! Would that we could have more eps like this every season; plus then J2 get a break ...

Date: 2014-12-08 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
Oo, you read this before the episode! :)

Would that we could have more eps like this every season;

Sometimes I think that SPN would be more powerful it if had a 10-episode cable schedule, but then one-off episodes like this come around and it makes me reconsider. If it weren't for a 23-episode schedule we wouldn't have had some of the best SPN episodes because sometimes they have to be not tightly coupled to the main Sam-and-Dean storyline in order to have the distance to be playful/experimental/delve into secondary characters/plots. I'll just be thankful that we get fun gems like this episode. :)

Date: 2014-12-06 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hugemind.livejournal.com
Remind me who you are again. ;) But do keep posting, because YESYESYES.

I would watch that spin-off. \o/

Also, this "finding new things about something that feels familiar" reminds me of the Js talking at one of the more recent cons about how they felt that the MoL bunker did just that. :)

Date: 2014-12-08 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bowtrunckle.livejournal.com
YOU! :D *smish*

I hope you're surviving RL. I've been thinking about you even though I've not been good at commenting/replying finding time to be a presence online. Booo, me.

Also, this "finding new things about something that feels familiar" reminds me of the Js talking at one of the more recent cons about how they felt that the MoL bunker did just that. :)

YES! That's why the MoL reveal was so AMAZING. *dances* I remember being so excited and then freaking out about all THE POTENTIAL on LJ (also, I might've had a little crush on Henry Winchester bec. I have a thing for smarty-pants characters). I'm still hoping that we see the MoL history tie in with the Winchester's personal story, past and present, in the future rather than only using the MoL's bunker for a convenient place to find cases and solutions (the MoL's library is the new Bobby). TBH, I want John Wincheter's story to come back into the fold and by doing so that would drag in Henry's Winchester's story, too. Hell, I want John or some other family member (like Mary or Adam) to be part of Show again to shake Sam and Dean's world. Those boys need some MAJOR life-altering thing to happen so they start doing new things and refresh the story in an old way.

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