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008: Supernatural's Economy of Souls (or: a Rambling Defense of Sera Gamble)
useyourlove
I know Seasons 6 and 7 for Supernatural in particular get a really bad rap, but I think they're brilliant for a variety of reasons. They're messier than the first five (which, upon close scrutiny, are actually pretty messy), but they take that first-five mythology and they make it better (why does that sound like a freakish inversion of the Final Five Cylons? OFF-TRACK)

Now, I came into this late, so I got to watch Season 1-7 straight through in like two weeks of insane main-lining. I'll admit that S6 had me on the ropes. They introduced plot after plot and I was like "there is no way you're going to wrap up these fifteen different things in one big bow, and if you don't do that I'll be sorely disappointed." But! They did. Everything in S6 mattered even if it was kind of "wtf" there until like episode 20 or whatever the hell. But even then, rewatching it, it's all there. All the little clues add up.

So what is it that I like so much about Season 6? Season 6's arc takes the mythological groundwork that was laid under Kripke--the whole demons, angels, various gods, etc. thing--incorporates the creatures directly into the groundwork (the werewolves, vampires, etc.) and then builds straight onto that a system in which every single religion, and urban legend, and myth works perfectly. It introduces an economy of souls--not just the human soul, but all souls (that's why the Purgatory bit is such a huge and important part of the mythos of that season.) The more souls the more power for you and the less for the other gods. This works with "A Very Supernatural Christmas" it works with "Fallen Idols" it works with "Hammer of the Gods"--explicitly stating that framework of "the soul is the power that drives this engine" makes everything about Supernatural's internal mythos stand up better. That's why there are lesser gods still hanging around (and why they have to murder for their tribute to stay even vaguely powerful, since they no longer receive worship), the monsters as creations of a pre-angel pseudo-goddess (which explains why they don't fit neatly into those other mythologies, although most of them are pagan ideas bastardized into villains by Christianity, or otherwise have Christian origins), it just makes everything work.

Sera Gamble gets a lot of unwarranted shit for "ruining" the show. If you haven't noticed--the damn thing is still on the air and it's still fantastic. Season 6 retroactively stopped up some of the gaping holes that Kripke left, and Season 7 deconstructed the entire melodrama framework (and the fandom--good god, did it do a number on the fandom!) and left the characters with more dignity and dimension than they'd ever been allowed before. The whole debacle reminds me of when Marni Nixon was in charge of running Buffy the Vampire Slayer and "THAT BITCH SO RUINED THE SHOW. SHE RUINED IT." But Nixon's seasons are my favorite of the entire series.

So what is it? Aversion to change? Dislike of dark or potentially messy story lines, despite how poignant they are or how well they get wrapped up? Blatant screaming misogyny towards any female who dares think she can handle running the blessed glory of our God Joss/Kripke?

I know what the answer is for Supernatural. I've been in the fandom long enough to figure that one out. And with Jeremy Carver at the helm now and "SEASON GR8!" I think it's painfully obvious (and really weird) that a fandom so full of women hates them so much.

You are fully within your fandom rights to dislike Seasons 6 and 7 for whatever reason you see fit--I mean, I hate Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a flaming passion and that's largely heralded as the "best one"--but if you spout bullshit I will call bullshit. Gamble didn't ruin anything, and what she actually did do with the show was enhance it, screw around with the pieces to test their limits, and ultimately put it all back together stronger and leaving everyone with a better understanding of how it works. Just how perfectly it worked (as evidenced by every episode of S8 that has freakishly echoed my exact words on multiple occasions.)

I know this was mostly about Season 6--I have another whole defense of Season 7 that I'll probably write when the mood strikes.

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AHH<33 This is one of the reasons I have a huge issue with television and film being written off as brain rot, because when used right it can act as this huge method of reaching people and what about that is a bad thinggggg.

LMAO I do it with so many fandoms though, either because I used to be a part of them or because I have friends who are a part of them or because I'm curious about them. I think the only exceptions are fandoms I expressly hate, and who have usually nothing of value to say. (((Glee))) ((((OUAT))))) (((((SHERLOK))))))

Oh man, one of my majors was Media Studies. You don't even have to tell me how amazing film is--you can read it using the same techniques you use to read and interpret literature (my other major was English). But, if anything, knowing how to do that with media is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT, because we are ENGULFED by media and all these various messages and people are in no way equipped to handle all the shit that's thrown at them so it washes over them in a deluge and they're unwittingly allowing their perceptions to be shaped by what they see in media like film and TV without even understanding that it's happening. (I have a thing for media literacy. Whoops.)

Lol, yes to all three of those fandoms being awful (as well as the shows. I used to like BBC Sherlock but the fandom killed that STONE DEAD.)

YESSSSS AHHHHHHH

& omg SAME. I wound up loathing Sherlock with the fiery passion of a thousand suns not only because it has one of the worst (if not THE worst) behaved fandoms I've ever witnessed, but also because of the simple fact that they obliterated the character of Irene Adler in a single episode and it was so fucking disappointing and gross. What is the point of bringing in a character-- not even just a character, but a woman-- who is every bit the equal of Sherlock Holmes, only to reduce her to someone completely under Sherlock's ~~spell and thus thwarted by her own emotions, which is not only demeaning but also not canonical?? What a way to butcher a powerful female character man, and what a way to blatantly misread the text. Like, the source material was better at gender and that's saying something since it was written OVER A CENTURY AGO.

(...omg SO MUCH RESIDUAL RAGE sorrrrrrryyyy.)

The writers on Sherlock like to think they're so sly and when shit blows up in their faces they say people are too stupid to understand and just don't ~get it. When really they were too lazy to think through the implications of their writing and actually do justice to the text they claim to venerate.

Look, I shit-talked them without saying either of their names. \o/

I mean, aesthetically the show is gorgeous and I really love the way they film it and put it together (the way they do text messages??? aaaaah). But like... I don't know, I'm just so disillusioned with it at this point because it is really good. But it's not that good. (AND ELEMENTARY IS BETTER. THERE I SAID IT.)

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