The Sketchy Feminist

Staring down the male gaze, or: Looking at looking at women in popular culture

Tag: Abaddon

Some Thoughts on Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 10, “Road Trip”

I very much doubt I am going to get the next 13 of these things up before SPN Season 10 kicks off on the 7th, but here’s another “Some Thoughts” on Supernatural, anyway. With even more random “thoughts” than usual. It will probably be pretty confusing if you haven’t watched the episode recently. (It also might be confusing if you have watched it recently.)

“Road Trip” was written by Andrew Dabb and directed by Robert Singer.

WARNING: SPOILERS.

The Title

I got nothin’.

The Premise

Dean is guilt tripping over Kevin’s death in classic self-flagellating “Global warming: that’s on me” fashion. To be fair, Kevin’s death is partially his fault. As is global warming! (Baby’s not exactly environmentally friendly.) Re-Graced Castiel comes back to the bunker and Dean tells him all about how he let not-Ezekiel possess Sam to save Sam’s life. They decide they have to find not-Ezekiel and communicate with possessed!Sam so that Sam can cast not-Ezekiel out. They enlist the captive Crowley to help them, and they all head off in Castiel’s pimpmobile car.

CROWLEY: Really? What are you, a pimp?

CASTIEL: I like it.

Dean makes Crowley and Castiel sit in the back together, and away they go.

Further “random thoughts” under the cut:

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Some Thoughts on Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 6, “Heaven Can’t Wait”

Wow, I haven’t posted a Supernatural response in a long time. So here’s one. Considering Episode 12 just aired, this is not exactly timely. But what can I say? I’m playing catch up.

I started drafting this response right after “Heaven Can’t Wait” aired (before putting it on a virtual shelf and allowing it to accumulate virtual dust), so the bulk of it was written without any knowledge of what comes to pass in the subsequent episodes.

“Heaven Can’t Wait” was directed by Rob Spera and written by Robert Berens.

Season 9. Episode 6 of Supernatural has four speaking roles played by women in it. Five if you count the disembodied voice on the suicide hotline. And six if you count the wailing infant. (All playing human or human-like parts, and not just voicing non-human animals.) Actually, I think this is a female-representation record for the season! [E/N: Until “Rock and a Hard Place,” anyway. I will share my … opinions … on that episode later.] Confetti and cookies for all!

Are they all roles that in some way feed into stereotypes about women? Yes, yes they are. Except for the infant. But infants get a pass for being dependent and vulnerable. What the hey, I’m still pleased. Because women! They exist!

Castiel’s New Job

Much like “I’m No Angel,” this is really Castiel’s episode.

When Cas first shows up, he is doing the most humiliating thing the showrunners could think of: working at the Gas N’ Sip. (Cue lightning and dissonant chords played on a pipe organ.) I wonder how many fans of this show work at gas stations, and how many of them threw things at the screen when this episode aired.

And this is … a pretty idealized version of working retail, actually. I mean, Castiel’s boss seems appreciative (at first anyway), the delivery guy is polite and we don’t see Cas encounter any whiny, invasive or verbally abusive customers. And the place is very clean. (Though that may just be because Cas himself is so good at cleaning it.) A customer service job without annoying customers? I don’t think any other “sales associate” in the world has experienced that.

Dean’s Reaction to Castiel’s New Job

As it turns out, Dean is kind of an elitist, which is weird considering how self-conscious he’s always been about his own relative lack of education (compared to Sam). When Dean first sees Cas at his new job, he’s all, “You’re too good for this.” Shut up, Dean. Some people work for a living. Also, for most of your life, your finances have come from pool hustling and credit card fraud. And since we never saw you set Cas up with sweet, sweet fake IDs or fraudulent credit cards or cash or even a short-term loan, I’d say he’s doing pretty well for a homeless dude with no ID, money, references or personal history. Just saying.

Also–in this episode and in earlier ones in the season–Sam keeps asking Dean about how Cas is doing (and I love that Sam is thoughtful like that), but he never brings up the money angle. Right now, I’m assuming that Sam is assuming that Dean has already thought of how Cas will need money to survive now that he’s human.

Yeah, Sam really should know better.

No, Wait, It’s Actually Babysitting That is the Most Humiliating Thing the Showrunners Can Think Of

While on the job, Castiel thinks he is being asked out by his attractive supervisor, Nora. Apparently, however, she just wants him to come to her house and babysit her small child, while she goes out bowling with someone else. The whole sequence–and most of the episode, really–seems intended to embarrass Cas, or to make us feel embarrassed for Cas, and Cas ending up having to care for a baby when he thought he was going to get sex (or at least stuff that would lead up to sex) is just oh-so-emasculating that we must all feel sorry for Cas and Cas’s sexual frustration. And I do feel sorry for Cas. Mostly because his boss is clearly taking advantage of him.

I’m a little annoyed with how the episode handles the miscommunication between Nora and Castiel. It would have been really easy to have Cas misunderstand Nora’s intentions simply because he’s still only newly human and he has a hard time picking up on social cues. Castiel’s boss could have asked him to babysit in such a way that the audience would understand what she meant, but Cas would not. Instead, Nora “delicately” phrases her request as follows:

NORA: I’ve been afraid to ask. I don’t wanna take advantage of you as my employee, and I certainly don’t wanna jeopardize our working relationship. But as a working, single mom, it’s hard enough to get a date, let alone meet a really great guy, and–Tomorrow’s my night off, and I know you’re off, too, and I was just wondering if there’s any chance you’re free tomorrow night?

CASTIEL: Um … yes? Yes.

NORA: [kisses him] You’re the best.

Yeah, the thing missing from this request for babysitting services is the actual request itself.

This means that it really, really seems like she’s asking Cas out. Which, in turn, makes it seem like she’s leading him on. And even though she doesn’t seem to realize that she’s leading Cas on, the whole thing still reads like a bait-and-switch in which Nora lures Castiel to her home with her feminine wiles, only to drop the (horribly emasculating) chore of babysitting in his lap.

Cas himself certainly seems to think babysitting is emasculating. When he learns of his night’s true occupation, he sighs out the word “babysitting” with an air of utter resignation. As if he associates some stigma with the task of caring for another person’s child. Where would he have even picked up on that? Did the topic of babysitting come up a lot in his garrison?

It just kind of irks me that the thing the show tells us is even more humiliating than the (presumed to be humiliating) occupation of customer service is the female-coded occupation of caring for a child.

And to add insult to, well, insult, Castiel’s supervisor never offers to pay him for his night of babysitting, even though, as his boss, she surely has some idea of how much he needs the money. Babysitting can be very difficult work, and even when it is not exceptionally difficult, it can still be stressful. It is something you ask family and maybe close friends to do for free. In the right circumstances. Everybody else, you reimburse for their time.

Also, getting your employees to do stuff for you, for free, outside of working hours? Yeah, that’s just tacky.

And the rest of the post is under the cut:

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Some Thoughts on Supernatural Season 9, Episode 2, “Devil May Care”

Here be my incredibly SPOILERY reactions for “Devil May Care,” Supernatural Season 9, Episode 2. (Directed by Guy Norman Bee; Written by Andrew Dabb.) The following is full of SPOILERS.

The Title

“Devil May Care”? Meh, they’ve done better.

Dean

Oh, Dean.

Dean keeps a secret from Sam. Dean feels guilt. Dean drinks. See Dean drink.

So, back in Episode 1, Dean agreed to let the angel Ezekiel possess Sam’s body to save Sam’s life. Sam is in the driver’s seat most of the time, but Ezekiel is still in there. Now Dean feels all bad about the angel deal he made, but he won’t go back on it or fess up, because then Sam could evict Zeke and die without the angelic healing mojo Ezekiel is pumping into his system.

I get that Dean feels like he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s either let this angel possess Sam’s body or let Sam die, and neither of those options are good. Still. What Dean and Ezekiel are doing to Sam is reprehensible.

I do like that Dean has started calling Ezekiel “Zeke.” Because he wants Zeke to be the new Cas, clearly.

My favorite Dean moment in the episode is when he tells Kevin that he’s family, and that the four of them, Dean, Sam, Castiel and Kevin, are all a part of that family. Dean, I just knew you were meant to play mother hen to everybody. I hope Castiel moves into the bunker soon so that the whole family (plus a body-sharing angel and a captive demon) can all start living under the same roof.

Samzekiel

Possession-without-true-consent issues aside, Ezekiel seems really nice. Too nice. “Oh, sure, you want me to ride in the backseat of your brother’s mind, healing what would have been the fatal damage from his Hell trials, never letting on that I’m there or interfering in his life in any way, except on–and ONLY on–those occasions when I can save him from certain death. And once he’s healed and I’m healed I’ll leave and never bother you again. And in return all I ask is a brief ride in the Sammobile, during which ride I will main as unobtrusive as fallen-angelically possible.”

I’m not sure even Castiel at his pushoveriest was this accommodating an angel.

And while I can’t stop waiting for the other shoe to drop (at which point we will surely discover Zeke is some kind of Lucifer-and/or-Michael-supporting baddie, or something along those lines), I really hope Ezekiel turns out to be trustworthy. Because all the consent vs. free will stuff surrounding this very odd situation is just so much more interesting if Ezekiel really is just trying to help.

My new, dearest hope for Sam this season: Sam comes to terms with sharing his body with Ezekiel. Then, whenever he’s in a tight spot, he shouts “Shazam!” to summon his angelic alter-ego.

I know it’s not going to happen.

But … please? I really really want it to happen.

My sketch of Samzekiel in Supernatural 9x02, "Devil May Care"

Shazam, bitches.

Abaddon

Yay, Abaddon’s back!

Wow, Abaddon is really attached to her Alaina-Huffman-shaped meat-suit. I mean, she could have just gone out and possessed any one of millions of bodies that have not been shot, minced, buried alive, dug up, sewn together and immolated, but instead she gets a henchman to practice necromancy to revive her favorite body.

So if, as it seemed, Abaddon spent some time as smoke while waiting for her favorite meat-suit to come back from the figurative dry-cleaners, does that mean that Josie got a chance to go to the afterlife? Or do human souls return when their bodies are cured of the whole being-dead thing? I think this show needs to put out an “ABCs of Possession” handbook: Angels and Demons and the People They Wear, because this is all very confusing.

Abaddon rises from the bathtub where her henchman performs the dark necromantic ritual on her favorite fleshly outfit, and we see a few blurry, tantalizing glimpses of Abaddon’s (Josie’s) naked body. Because she’s the sexy kind of evil.

My sketch of Abaddon in Supernatural 9x02, "Devil May Care"

Her clothes burned away, but her makeup, hairspray and nail polish were somehow reconstituted. Don’t ask.

Apparently, Abaddon is now thinking of upgrading her meat-suit to Dean Winchester, whom she sees as a superior vessel (well, Michael wanted him; she’s probably got a point). That’s what she tells Dean, anyway, once she’s got him in her well-manicured clutches. Honestly, it seems like an empty threat considering how clearly attached she still is to Josie’s body. Why else would she have gone through all that trouble to get it back?

So now I have this fantasy that the season will eventually include an Abaddon-in-Dean vs. Ezekiel-in-Sam showdown, which would be pretty cool. And hey, maybe somebody could possess Cas, too, just for fun. (Like, maybe a demon could possess Cas, and then get ‘healed’ by the Winchesters, and then an angel could possess the healed demon in Cas, who would still be possessing Jimmy, and it would be like possession nesting dolls. Because why not?)

So, Abaddon seems pretty set to become the Queen of Hell. With Crowley still in the Winchesters’ dungeon, there’s not a lot standing in her way.

And the rest of my Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 2 reaction is under the cut:

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